A two-way radio is a radio that can both transmit and receive (a transceiver), unlike a broadcast receiver which only receives content. A two-way radio (transceiver) allows the operator to have a conversation with other similar radios operating on the same radio frequency (channel). Two-way radios are available in mobile, fixed base and hand-held portable configurations. Hand-held radios are often called walkie-talkies or hand-helds.
Two way radio –v- Cellular telephone
Sometimes customers believe mobile phones might be an alternative to two way radios. Here are a few things you should know before you commit to lengthy and expensive cell phone contracts:
- Two way radios are easier to use; Push a button and start talking.
- The correct two way radios will provide better reception in hard to reach areas (inside and outside) Cellular network coverage may not extend into buildings or rural locations away from the road network)
- Two way radios can be equipped with a telephone interconnect which can make and receive telephone calls through your existing telephone equipment and carrier. To be able to have the telephone interconnect the user will need to buy an interface, after the initial purchase calls can be made for no additional monthly charge.
- With two way radios you can immediately reach everyone with one call. Generally cell phones require a separate number to call each person individually; having to call everyone individually is not ideal in an emergency situation. Although some cellular companies are now offering a ‘press-to-talk’ functionality via cell phone, this still requires network coverage whereas two way radio works without.
- Two way radios that are programmed with selective calling lets you speak privately with one person at a time or with everyone at once. Two way radios equipped with selective calling also have a caller id display so you know who you are talking to.
- Two way radios (ATEX intrinsically safe versions) are designed to be used in highly flammable or explosive areas without fear of sparking.
- The man down / lone worker option is available on many two way radios. This feature will send a distress message when a worker / radio remain horizontal or motionless for a designated period of time or if the user fails to respond to a pre-set interval alarm.
- It has become apparent (due to various worldwide disasters) that two way radios continue to work in an emergency when cell phones and even land lines become unusable. A properly designed private network (or rented system) will have back-up power and continue to provide communications during periods of bad weather/power loss. A radio system is not shared public resource and so won’t be prone to overload during public events or security alerts.
- Two way radios (properly equipped) are available for use in high noise areas, dusty, dirty or wet environments, when hands free operation is necessary, when security is paramount or covert communications are required.