A two-way radio is basically a radio that is structured to transmit and receive. In general, most voice-wireless communications technology, counting cellular systems, are categorized by two-way radio definition. Usually, a two way radio refers to a radio system primarily utilized for group call communications. This two-way system is also called PAMR Public Access-Mobile Radio, PMR Private-Mobile Radio, LMR Land-Mobile Radio, and PMR Professional-Mobile Radio.
Portable 2 way radios are frequently called “walkie-talkies” or “handie-talkies.” Not much different from “handie,” the term sometimes used to describe mobile phones. While we’re on the subject, it’s probably best to get something out in the open right now. People often interchange the terms two-way radio and walkie-talkie.
However, walkie-talkie is chiefly a generic or slang-term for hand portable two way radios. Moreover, the term usually implies non-professional, license free, consumer type, or “toy” equipment. When referring to two-way radios, people are basically talking about professional licensed equipment. A walkie-talkie is generally a hand-held CB radio. A 2 way radio is of superior quality and utilizes much higher frequencies. Two-way radios can also be found in mobile and base-configurations in addition to using radio network-infrastructure.
In addition, two-way radios are usually decked out with a PTT or “Push-to-Talk” key to trigger the transmitter. Users simply press the PTT key and quickly begin a conversation. The user lets go of the PTT key in order to hear others.
A two-way radio user can talk immediately with other radio users or utilize radio network-infrastructure. A direct-talk amongst radios, normally referred to as direct more operation/talk-around mode, has restricted reach because of limited radio power. To defeat this restriction, a radio network-infrastructure can be used to expand the communication range.
WHY USE A TWO WAY RADIO?
With numerous choices in wireless technology today and with 2 way radios being one of the first wireless devices, some wonder if this type of radio is still a useful gadget in the current world of technological communication. Well actually yes. There are two main features that differentiate two-way radios from other wireless gadgets:
Two-way radios offer instant communication. Users can simply press the PTT or “Push-To-Talk” key and inside a fraction of a second, the user can instantly speak and convey their message. This is because of the quick-call setup time entrenched in the technology. This quick communication possibility is one of the main reasons why businesses and organizations prefer two-way radios for their operational or tactical communications.
An additional unique feature of two way radios is its ability to facilitate “group-calls” or “one-to-many” communications very effectively. This means that one user can easily communicate with one, five, twenty, hundreds, or even thousands of other 2 way radio users simultaneously.
In other words, there’s no need for users to repeat themselves time and again if they need to communicate with more than one user. Moreover, two way radios performs perfectly for group communication using a minimal amount of RF channel-resources. If every user were in the same vicinity the majority of the time, they would only need one-channel resources to speak to hundreds of other users.
WHY NOT SIMPLY USE ANY WIRELESS-SYSTEM?
There is an abundance of wireless-technology today, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice of which technology is idea for one’s group or association will depend upon if the technology can satisfy the user’s requirements. For users who need to function in a group, communicate instantly, and remain mobile, a two-way radio is the best choice compared to the other wireless technology available on the market today.
You may still wonder how this can be possible with smartphones, iPods, iPhones, tablets, mobile phones available. Here are the main reasons why these technological gadgets may NOT meet the above requirements:
Consider this scenario. You are out hiking, run into an emergency situation, and must communicate quickly to confirm your dilemma. If you were using a mobile phone, for instance, you must dial a number, wait while the call is being setup and connected; that’s if you get a signal. The phone must then ring to the other person, and they finally answer, if their voicemail isn’t on! The whole procedure could take several seconds and within that valuable time, your situation could easily worsen.
With a 2 way radio, you simply press the PTT key and yell “emergency” while the other users “immediately” pick-up your signal. This is assuming that RF-channel is accessible. However, there is a way that two-way radios features can surmount RF-channel blockage and give highest-priority to emergency calls, a feature not available to other wireless devices.
Take this example. You need to let your staff know that there has been some changes for a planned meeting. If you have to contact them one at a time, it could become tedious. With a two-way radio, you can simply select your talk-group, press the PTT key, and begin your message to five, 10, 15, or however many staff members you need to communicate with simultaneously. Now, raise that number to 1000 workers and imagine the work involved if you had to go through cellular phone channels.
Though some wireless systems permit group calls, it usually restricts the amount of group members that you can communicate with at one time. With a two way radio, you simply need to speak once and be heard by many.
WHO USES 2 WAY RADIOS?
Two-way radios have been utilized for many years by numerous industries and associations. Because of the nature of their operational requirements, they use two way radios to broadcast their operational and communicational needs. Organizations and industries that may depend on two-way radio usage are:
-Public Safety associations such as EMS emergency medical services, police, ambulance service, fire brigade, disaster-recovery agency
-Security like intelligence agencies and military
-Transportation industries like subway, railways, seaports, airports, subways
-Oil and gas companies
-Utility companies like cable TV, telephone, water, gas, electricity
-Construction companies for road and bridges, residential, commercial
-Transport service companies like trucks, limos, taxis
-Hospitality industries like tourism, restaurant, resort, and hotel
-Service industry such as towing and delivery companies
-Government agencies like public works, embassies, municipal, district governments, and ministries
-Contractors for roofing, plumbing, excavating, electrical
-And many more…
Overall, those who utilize two-way radios are frequently businesses or agencies with many staff members or workers who work in groups and are mobile.
TWO WAY RADIOS TODAY
Today, two way radios come with additional or improved features from years before. For example, display screens show important information at a quick glance, keypads lock to maintain channel settings, there are various ring-tones and silencers to choose from along with out of range alerts, and much more!