Let's Break It Down: An Overview of the Essentials
Certain two way radio accessories are a must have when you regularly rely on these radios for communication. At one time, the devices were used mainly by the military and law enforcement personnel, but with advances in technology and their cost efficiency, they have become a favorite with the businesses in all industries today.
Two way radios are relatively inexpensive, simple to use, and provide crystal clear communication, even from an extended distance. They are efficient, lightweight, and easy to carry, which makes them popular with groups, individuals, and professionals alike. For a first time user or even for experienced users, the list of accessories can be steep and overwhelming. Here we try to break down that list into a few of the most essential two way radio accessories:
Batteries and Chargers
If you are using your two way radios frequently, two of the top radio accessories you will always need are batteries and chargers. Batteries need to be chosen for proven lasting durability since they can determine and affect a radio’s performance. Be sure to pick up spare batteries, plus a charger that works both at home and in your vehicle. For the two-way portable radio user with cell type batteries, the most useful chargers are the ones that offer a charging timer that will automatically interrupt electrical power to the charging batteries when they are fully charged. The buyer of these chargers should also look for one with electrical circuits that will monitor charger temperature, electrical current resistance and drop in voltage. These characteristics will prevent damage to the chargers and batteries.
Headsets & Adapters
For the best communication, proper headsets are absolutely essential and can be a key accessory for a first time radio user. In situations where there is a high ambient noise level, the headset allows the user to more effectively hear incoming audio from another radio. Headsets range from ultra-light to heavy-duty, in-the-ear or behind-the-head models, to fit your needs. The characteristics to consider of a headset are the weight, the boom microphone flexibility and speaker clarity.
Adapters are another integrating piece to consider for your portable in order to optimize use of different accessories. Though not always considered, they are a necessity for operating your device to its full capability. Adapters can allow the use of wireless earpieces such as Bluetooths, and are required to use the more heavy-duty headsets.
Portable radio antennas are the most obviously overlooked accessory. But since they are so commonly twisted off, sat on, slammed in the door, etc., they need to be considered just as much as any other accessory. The type selected depends on requirements including the radio model, frequency range, budget, size constraints and performance desired. There are three types of Two-Way Portable Radio Antennas. The first one is a Helical Antenna which is rounded and fairly stiff. The second one is a Heliflex Antenna which is stiffer towards the bottom of the antenna and more flexible at the top. The third one is a stubby antenna which is usually about 3 inches tall and ideal for when the radio is worn on the belt. The stubby does not project as much signal, but it allows users more flexibility in movement as they carry their radio on their body.
Since you have already made the initial investment, it is wise to protect a two way radio with a proper carrying case. Carrying cases are available in sizes designed to fit your radio and battery, and permit audio to be heard clearly. You should consider these especially necessary in situations where a great deal of activity and movement take place. From here it's up to the user to decide their preference of material, whether nylon or leather, and if they would like a belt loop or swivel type latch system for their accessibility needs.
Remember, this is just an overview. Each person’s assessment of which accessories work best will vary accordingly to the demands of the job. What may be essential to one police officer could be different to an officer in a different department. Just the same, what may be essential to emergency personnel in an ambulance could be the opposite of what’s important to a member of the U.S. Homeland Security Department. The good news is there’s enough variety out there to meet every user’s needs.