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Chicomm Blog

How Does it Work: Digital Two-Way Radios

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Using a digital two-way radio is pretty start forward. You go the the docking station and grab a handset. From there you turn it on and make sure that you’re on the right channel to begin or join a conversation. After double checking the volume and receiving a message, you hold the Push to Talk Button while you share your response.

The first time that you used a two-way radio, you probably didn’t need detailed instructions to operate the device. Although using this system is simple and doesn’t require any technical training, understanding the science behind the technology is slightly more intricate.

Radio Frequency

Radio communication is based on radio frequency. Radio frequency is a measurement of how fast or slow aElectromagnetic_Waves radio wave carries its signal. Since these waves travel at the speed of light, the measurement documents the height of the vibration, called oscillation.

Radio Waves

Radio wave are a form of radiation that can occur naturally from electromagnetic forces as well as being artificially created. The latter formation of radio waves is the primary contributor to radio communication. These frequencies can be used with devices that are compatible with radio waves, including cell phones, satellites, GPS systems and digital two way radios.

Radio Transmitters and Radio Receivers

In order for these devices, referred to radio transmitters and receivers, to use the radio waves, they must be involved in a circuit that includes antennas and tuners.

Radio transmitters are devices that actually disseminate the message over the frequency. With the help of an antenna, the transmitter creates its own radio waves in order to communicate with other devices, such as the radio receiver.

Radio receivers intercept the radio wave and allow the user to access the information that is being communicated. To receive the desired message, the controller of the receiving device must use a tuner, a radio accessory that sorts and filters radio signals, to make sure that he or she is on the designated channel for the talkgroup.

Next time that you go to use your two-way radio, think about all of the behind the scenes, technical elements that allow you to communicate across the system. While these radios are built to be easy for anyone to use, it is fascinating to understand all of the technology that goes into them. 

To learn more about two way radios, contact Chicago Communications today!


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