Learn the Telltale Signs of an Aging Two-Way Radio System

January 15th, 2016
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Can you hear me now? Those are 5 words that you never want uttered during vital company communications! You might not want to spend money to update an older two-way radio system, but the end cost of using outdated, decrepit radios can be far greater. Spend a few minutes and learn how to spot the signs of an aging two-way radio system so you know when it needs to be replaced.

Loss of Clarity and Signal Strength
If you notice that your radio is losing signal strength and clarity, you should first check the batteries. Make sure they are fully charged. Try them in another device, if you can, to be certain they’re working as they should be. Rechargeable batteries, even if properly cared for, don’t last forever. You should also pay attention to where you’re trying to communicate. If you’re on a VHF radio, are you trying to use it a location with many obstructions? If yes, you should know that VHF frequencies have trouble penetrating concrete, metal and wood, so they’re best used in wide open or hilly terrains. If it’s neither of these things and you feel you should be getting a better signal, then perhaps your radio is losing its effectiveness due to old age.

Are you on eBay Again Looking for Spare Parts?
If you regularly find yourself on eBay or another used radio parts website, it might be time for a new radio. You’re taking a big chance when you purchase replacement parts from a third party seller. You can’t be completely sure that what you’re buying is fully compatible with your unit and if it’s of high quality and reliable. The safest bet is to purchase original manufacturer’s replacement radio parts, and of course, most manufacturers will stop making older parts after a certain length of time goes by.

Is Anyone There? Communication Break Down
Do those who rely on internal radio communications have trouble hearing each other? Any newer radios that are brought on board may be unable to communicate with the older devices. Even if they are all UHF or all VHF radios, not all radios are completely compatible with each other. Consumer two-way radios that operate on certain frequencies using either the FRS or GMRS bands are more straightforward than business radios. Choosing the correct frequencies for business radios is not the only issue. It is possible that older units have pre-programmed custom frequencies that might not be compatible with a newer radio. This might be the case even if they are the exact same model!

This Won’t Connect with That
If you’re having trouble finding access accessories such as headsets and microphones that will work with your older handheld two-way radios, then it may be time to update them. There are several different kinds of radio earpiece and headset connectors. Motorola and Kenwood each have their own proprietary connectors, such as the Motorola M1 and M2 connectors and the Kenwood K1 connector. You might not be able to find an older earpiece and headset that has the right connectors for your older radio, and newer accessories might not be compatible.

The Ragtag Army of Outdated Radios
When you have a ragtag mixture of different vintages of radios attempting to communicate with each other, this is bound to create unexpected failures at different times, leading to a lot of frustration and potentially a dangerous situation of not being well-connected in the event of an emergency.

For many reasons, it is critical to have up-to-date, fully operational equipment. For example, firefighters need to know when it’s not safe to stay inside a building. They must be able to hear the radio call from their supervisor who is advising them to retreat. Police officers must be able to quickly reach their precinct to request backup in a dangerous situation. Campus security at colleges and universities must be prepared for any kind of emergency. Knowing the telltale signs of an aging radio system and being aware of when it needs to be replaced keeps your entire team operating at their very best.

Categories: Two Way Radios

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