Improving Two Way Radio Range


The most obvious (and most frequent) question: “How far will I be able to reach with this radio?”. Honestly, there is no simple, straight-forward answer. The factors affecting the range of a two-way radio are: the radio’s antenna and power, and the terrain. Some insight on how each of these factors impacts your ability to transmit and receive over distance is below.


You know the higher you go, the greater the range. Having a tall antenna means having maximum range. Motorola two-way radios have removable antennas, so upgrading your antenna is a low-cost (around $20) easy way to improve range performance.

Mobile radio antennas are mounted on the outside of a vehicle, preferably on the roof, so the antenna as high as possible, providing maximum range.


Operating at maximum power will also help to improve range. Using fully charged batteries allows transmitting and receiving at the highest power level possible

The average li-ion battery contains 1.2V of power, and the average alkaline battery pack produces 1.5V. That makes battery packs worth looking into. Motorola IMPRES II batteries too. Having the right battery may mean the difference in getting the message out or not.


Terrain has more affect than any other factor. Using a high perch, over flat terrain a two-way radio can transmit and receive up to 30 miles. On the ground with no obstacles to interfering, the curvature of the earth limits communications to about 6.5 miles. Adding obstructions such as trees, hills, valleys, and buildings may decrease a radio’s range to under a half mile.

Know your terrain before you buy. If you are needing radios for use in a fairly open area, then VHF model radios are best. The longer radio waves of a VHF radio give a greater range over open spaces. UHF is the best choice for use around structures and in dense areas.

IF THERE IS A NEED TO IMPROVE SYSTEM-WIDE RANGE: consider Motorola Two-Way Radio Repeaters or Bi-Directional Amplification (BDA).

A radio repeater is a combination of a radio receiver and a radio transmitter that receives a weak or low-level signal and retransmits it at a higher level or higher power. The result: two-way radio signals can cover longer distances without degradation. Repeaters are usually located on a mountain top, tall building, or radio tower. This allows communication between two or more bases, mobile or portable stations that are unable to communicate directly with each other due to distance or obstructions between them.

The repeater is synonymous with the base station, which performs both functions in most emergency dispatching systems.

The repeater receives on one radio frequency (the “input” frequency), demodulates the signal, and simultaneously re-transmits the information on its “output” frequency. All stations using the repeater transmit on the repeater’s input frequency and receive on its output frequency. The Motorola repeater product line-up provides a variety of choices, allowing you to tailor your solution to fit your needs and budget.

BDA’s are ideal for increasing range within buildings and down into basements. Concrete and metal strongly affect radio signals and limit range. Adding a BDA can amplify a radio’s transmit and receive strength and help get through those barriers.

<b>Connect with your account manager to learn more.</b.

A Comparison of Analog and Digital Radios


In the two-way radio world, there are two types of radios available; analog and digital.

The main difference is the way in which signals are transmitted and received.

An analog radio works by picking up the signal from a transmission site using carrier radio frequency waves. Listeners tune into analog frequency stations on their device. They listen to the electrical radio waves as they are transmitted directly from the radio station to the analog radio. These radios waves are transmitted continuously, without interruption to the sound.

Digital radios work by picking up a processed signal which turns sound into patterns of digits rather than the radio waves which are used for analog transmissions. These digital signals are transmitted via satellite to listeners’ radios by the same technology as is used for digital television signals.

Pros and Cons of Analog Radio:


  • Analog radios are relatively inexpensive when compared to digital radios. They are far less complex and easy to use.
  • The number of products and accessories offered is much larger and provides for more options.
  • Analog systems make good use of bandwidth and are well understood.
  • Analog radios are eco-friendly by comparison to digital radios.
  • Analog radio waves broadcast a continuous signal, so every tone of a transmission is heard as a complete sound.
  • Analog systems use the natural voice, which is a feature preferred by many users.


  • Typically only one two-way conversation can occur at a time on each channel.
  • Analog systems require hardware receivers and transmitters that are designed to fit the particular transmission.
  • No software-driven business applications are available for analog radios.
  • Analog radios cannot filter out other noise around the sender.
  • There is no privacy on an analog radio.
  • Analog radios pick up interference from other transmitting stations.

Pros and Cons of Digital Radio


  • Digital radios have greater range than analog.
  • Digital and analog voice signals can be combined in the same digital devices.
  • Digital signals can be handled by standardized antenna systems and existing infrastructure equipment.
  • Digital radios have far more capabilities, such as: voice filtering; direct and group calling; text messaging; call privacy.
  • Longer battery life.


  • Radio frequency noises can impact the signal received on a digital device.
  • First-time users may experience a steep learning curve.
  • Digital is currently typically more expensive than analog.

When considering your next fleet radio purchase, it will help to understand which transmission type will suit you best. Assess the level of reception of digital and analog radio signals at the location you intend to use the radio to help ensure you are making the right choice. Keep in mind the United States is moving in favor of digital transmission, which may affect the long-term worth and usability of analog models.

Whichever  you choose, the Sales Team at 2-Way Communications will be happy to help with the selection of radio and accessories that best meets your needs.Give them a call at (603) 421-6288 or send an email to

WAVE Work Group Communications


On Facebook the other day I shared a Motorola video on their WAVE technology. Incredibly cool  … push-to-talk (PTT) on any device, anywhere … here’s a brief overview of the technology.
This Motorola technology provides unified communications between your devices and networks, anywhere, anytime. By connecting your different networks to WAVE’s PPT platform, you can communicate between smartphones, radios, computers, and landlines.
The system allows you to leverage broadband, integrate networks, and use any device. This means you can now bring secure PTT to the smart devices your organization’s members are already using while connecting radio systems together for real-time coordination and better response. Your team members will be able to freely communicate on the device that suits them best, from virtually any location.
Motorola’s Broadband LTE solutions give you the ability to make the most of the data-rich, real-time information available through broadband LTE networks, smart applications, and intuitive devices. The result is anywhere, anytime access to multimedia information with the priority and security your organization needs.
The broadband PTT solution allows your organization to connect radio, cellular, WiFi, telephony, and more so that team members can communicate between these networks. Interoperability with broadband networks will keep your personnel connected despite the world’s rapidly changing communications environment.
Finally, Motorola’s WAVE Web Communicator enables PTT capabilities on any (that’s any) device via a web browser.
If you’d like more information about the technology, or how it can be applied to your organization, give the Communications Division Sales Team a call at (603) 431-6288.

Motorcycle Radios


Motorcycles and two-way radios … makes sense, right? Using a cell phone is almost completely out of the question – you have to stay in control of the bike even while sending and receiving, and some states require “hands-free” operation of vehicles. Whether you are talking with another motorcycle rider or trying to communicate with a base station, two-way radios offer the perfect solution. Today’s digital radios are feature-rich, providing great benefit to the two-wheeler. Here are 4 features you should consider before buying in order to get the most out of your radio.

Headset Support

A two-way radio with quality headset support available will help you communicate with ease. Headsets come in numerous styles with a range of functions. It is worth taking the time to find one that works well while out on the road, protecting you and your team’s safety. It will also ensure you can communicate hands-free at any time.

Radio Range

Two-way radio range becomes more important when you are using radios to communicate between motorcycles. Motorcycles are usually used to travel a good distance which means you are going to need a radio system having a similar range. Also, if you are communicating between other bike riders you will need a greater distance of range under some circumstances.

Battery Life

Your battery must last at least a shift, or 8 hours … if your battery is short-lived it’s going to be difficult to rely on your radio throughout your travels. Motorcycles don’t typically come with power outlets meaning it’s impossible to charge your radio on the go. Check out earlier blog articles about quality Motorola batteries.

 Water & Dust Proof

Two-way radios used on motorcycles may be exposed to harsh elements. Having a two-way radio that is manufactured to IP standards is crucial. If not you might end up with a fully charged radio that is unusable because of exposure to dust or water. Which IP standard is right for you? Check out an earlier blog article for details about IP ratings.
If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team ( With years of experience, and a strong desire to develop a long-term partnership, you’ll get the information you need to help make a great choice for your organization.

Motorola’s MCD 5000 Deskset System


Introduced in 2015, the Motorola MCD 5000 Deskset is a powerful and easy-to-deploy VoIP solution for your radio system.

The device uses IP technology to allow installation of desksets wherever needed – dispatch environments, back-up sites, alternate locations, special events and will allow call monitoring. The result is expanded communication capabilities throughout an organization for increased safety, awareness and coordination. The MCD 5000 radio gateway unit (RGU) allows connection of to up to 4 radios over an IP network and the deskset dynamically switches between RGUs, expanding an organization’s communications capabilities.

Additional features include programmable soft keys, an automatic security time lock, and the orange emergency activation button present on many Motorola radios. The deskset allows for remote operation of all the functions of a connected radio, permitting tailored configuration of multiple resources from a single deskset/location. The automatic time lock feature is used to keep the unit secure if it’s in a location not staffed continuously or open to the public. Each deskset allows users to manage incoming alerts from Astro 25 systems and other types of subscribers. Finally, supervisors receive priority over traffic.

The system is scalable from small operations to large control centers. It seamlessly integrates a wide variety of radios, and with an intuitive layout and adjustable view angle is easy to use.

For more information email the sales team or give them a call at (603) 431-6288.