2-Way Radio FAQ

2-Way Radio Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Can a VHF radio communicate with a UHF radio?
A: No. VHF radios operate in the VHF 150-174 MHz range and UHF radios operate in the UHF 430-470 MHz range. Since radios need to operate on the same frequency in order to talk to each other, it is not possible to match their frequencies. FRS radio are also


Q: Can a VHF or UHF Two way radio talk to FRS radios?
A: No. As the FRS frequency bands are from 462.5625MHz – 462.725MHz they are not capable of speaking with either


Q: Should I use VHF or UHF Two way radio?
A: VHF Radios are used mainly in outdoor applications which have few obstructions and can be used in line of sight (Boats on water, Oil fields or Motorcyclists for example) and under these circumstances the radio frequencies will travel further. UHF Radios are used when working in and around buildings or are faced with other obstructions as the frequencies penetrate walls, steel structures and the “other” obstructions better.


Q: Can Planet Headset Black Box Plus and Bantam radios “talk” to my old radios?
A: There are several options: please contact us so we can match the frequencies for you at contact@planetheadset.com or at 1 (866) 663-7023.


Q: How long will my two way radio batteries last?
A: Depending on: work cycle, battery chemistry, and charging cycles one should expect 1 to 2 yrs. Like a cellular phone, Talk time also varies but you can expect up to 8 hrs per day.


Q. Some retail stores and manufacturers claim that their radios can work over 30 miles. Is this true?
A. Yes and no. A radio can work for 30 miles if nothing is in the way of transmission (like on the water or in space). There always seem to be obstructions and never line of sight for this type of distance. These type of claims are typically noted for 1/2 watt FRS radios. FRS radios are not recommended for business applications demanding every day all day usage.


Q: If I have a problem, what is the first trouble shooting step for my two-way radio?
A: The battery. If the battery charge is low, radio features are not dependable. Make sure the battery is fully charged and holding its cells before proceeding to other steps.


Q: Will Planet Headset radios attach easily to uniforms or clothing and support the weight of a radio?
A: Our professional UHF and VHF radios weigh ~15 Oz’s and have excellent clips making attachment a breeze. Our Black Box radios have Lithium ion batteries which help reduce the weight of the radio and offer longer talk time. As light as our Two Way radios are the durability is not compromised.


Q: Is a license required to operate two-way radios?
A: FCC regulations require all radios operating on business band frequencies 1 watt or more to require a license (Planet Headset professional Black box radios operate at 4-5 Watts). Instructions for obtaining a license are included with each package. It is up to the user to obtain the license. A license is NOT required to purchase a radio and can be done easily after receipt of delivery. FRS or Family radios operating at 1/2 watt or less do not require a license.


Q: Where can I obtain Government FCC regulations?
A: http://www.fcc.gov/


Q: How do I change the frequency on my radio?
A: Planet Headset has programming cables that can be connected to your PC and two way radio and the software is free – contact us for more information


Q: What are PL/DPL?
A: (CTCSS/DCS) Private Line or Digital Private Line. These codes Let the user receive only the calls accompanied by the radio’s code and to place calls only to those that accept the code. PL or DPL codes help eliminate disruptive conversations of others who may be sharing radio frequencies. If Planet Headset is to program to your specific frequencies it is essential that we have your DPL or PL codes otherwise your radios will not communicate with one another.


Q: Can other people hear my conversations?
A: With consumer model radios (FRS Family), anyone can tune into your radio band and be able to hear your conversation. Planet Headset professional radios offer encryption mode and we can also program your radios for privacy (a easy to obtain FCC license will be needed for this feature).


Q: What is the deadline date for changing to narrowband radios?
A: The FCC says that all commercial radios must be narrowband (12.5 kHz channel spacing) by January 1, 2013. Planet Headset Black Box Two Way radios are already narrow band compliant.


Q: Do I have to replace all my radios when the dead line arrives?
A: No, only your radios that do not have narrowband capability and if they do they will have to be reprogrammed to narrowband during this time frame.


Q: Will I have to change my radio licenses when I change to narrowband?
A: Yes. They will have to be modified.


Q: What is the range of portable radios?
A: Two way radio Coverage is dependent on power, antenna height and terrain. On-site portable radios will typically cover from 1 –5 miles in radius (4-5 Watt UHF / VHF radios), while wide-area radios can offer coverage up to a 30-mile radius with a repeater. One should expect about 1 mile with a FRS or Family Style radio.


Q: What is the main benefit of a two-way radio versus a cell phone?
A: Cost and group contact capabilities. Two-way radios are easy to use with a push-to-talk feature which enables the user to communicate instantly with anyone or an entire user group on the network. Two-way radios are designed to be utilized in extreme conditions and offer rugged features. There are no monthly fees or per minute airtime costs regardless of your talk time usage amount.


Q: Do Stubby antennas work the same as the Standard Antenna?
A: Stubby antennas are used to help increase radio frequency waves through walls and other structures typically indoors (i.e. Dental Offices, Night Clubs, Medical offices etc) but you should expect ~25% less distance in overall radio wave transmission. If your communications requirement is for usage indoors this should not be a concern.


Q: Can my brand of UHF or VHF radio communicate with your Black Box Plus and Bantam radios?
A: Yes, we simply need to know your programming frequencies including DPL codes. Contact us for further information


Q: Can I leave my two way radio turned on in the charger?
A: Best not to do so and best to turn off the radio in the charger as the battery will eventually discharge due to the radio using more out than the charger is putting in


Q: Is there any training required to use Walkie Talkie Radios?
A: Planet Headset’s Black Box two way radios come ~30% charged (one should fully charge your radios before 1st usage) and will work out of the box so associates just have to turn on the units and begin using them.


Q: What is the warranty of Planet Headset Two Way radios?
A: All of our business Radios come with a two year warranty from the date you purchased the radios. Please contact us for warranty issues so we can service you. Contact@planetheadset.com or 1 866 663-7023.


Q: Will Black Box Plus and Black Box Bantam radios work with a repeater?
A: Yes, let us know and we can have this programmed into your radio for your specific repeater.


Q: Will “privacy codes” on my Motorola FRS radios keep my conversations private?
A: Privacy codes is a feature that expands the number of channels you can use by adding 38 CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) codes. The term “privacy code,” however, is a somewhat misleading because choosing a given code does not block or scramble that channel or in any way prevent others from listening in to your two way radio communications.


Q: What is the main differences between FRS and GMRS radios?
A: GMRS radio use requires the purchase of an FCC operator’s license and GMRS radios generally achieve a slightly longer range than FRS radios.


Q: How many channels might we need?
A: Channels are used to segregate work teams within a jobsite. Each work group can have their own channel to minimize disruptions in other departments. For example, when the Security Department speaks on channel one the front office will not hear radio traffic if they are on channel two. Most organizations have a common channel so that all users can hear the radio traffic in case of emergencies. Planet Headset’s Black Box radios have a convenient feature of channel enunciation which enables the user to turn the channel knob and hear out loud which channel they are on without having to look down at the radio.


Q: Are Two way radio chargers compatible from one radio series to another?
A: Due to different battery chemistries, sizes, capacity and radio build form factors battery chargers are not compatible. With Planet Headset’s 6 bank chargers you do have the ability to charge different brands of radios simultaneously.


Q: What is the range of UHF radios?
A: Approximate range for UHF 2 way radios in urban conditions:
1 watt = 1 miles, 200,000 sq. ft., 15 floors
2 watt = 2 miles, 250,000 sq. ft., 20 floors
3 watt = 3 miles, 300,000 sq. ft., 25 floors
4 watt = 4 miles, 350,000 sq. ft., 30 floors
5 watt = 5 miles, 400,000 sq. ft., 35 floors

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