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Chicomm Blog

What Do You Need to Know about Programming Two-Way Radios?

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

what-do-you-need-to-know-about-programming-two-way-radiosInvesting in communications technology such as two-way radios is a smart and responsible decision, whether you’re in public safety, manufacturing, education, healthcare or hospitality. Still, with the sophistication of technology, it’s common to think devices like two-way radios will work as needed for your specific industry right out of the box. But programming two-way radios is often required. Fortunately, this never has to be a show-stopper when it comes to implementing a communications technology solution.

To program or not

Based on the model, you may or may not have to program a two-way radio for it to work. Some are designed to operate on specific frequencies, and thus they are pre-programmed at the factory.

Typically, lower end models used by small businesses or retailers come pre-programmed with a preset choice of programmable options for the end user. This prevents the end user from tampering with other functions and settings.

Some industries warrant more flexibility and customization in frequencies and their parameters of use and thus a programmable two-way radio is preferred. Higher-end two-way radios can be programmed by a radio professional through the units themselves or through a computer. These radios must be programmed before they can make or receive calls.

Advantages of programming two-way radios

Programmable two-way radios can be programmed as a base or repeater, which can increase operating range. They can also be set up for communications among specified users or on customized channels.

Some programmable two-way radios also give the end user the ability to change configuration settings to turn scan functionality on or off, alert another mobile radio, turn on an outside speaker or select repeater locations.  

Programmable two-way radios are typically the types used in commercial settings, and thus offer significant benefits over cell phones: 

  • Emergency call features
  • Ability to overcome dead spots
  • Connectivity during emergencies, power outages and natural disasters when cell phone towers can become overloaded
  • Real-time access to information
  • Cost savings in monthly usage fees
  • Greater ruggedness and durability
  • Ability to track the location of people, supplies or deliveries

Two-way radios can also provide a backup system for communications in the event cell phones or landlines fail.

How to program a two-way radio

The complexity of programming a two-way radio generally depends on the brand and model of the device and the sophistication of the user. While directions vary, programming typically entails the following steps.

First, make sure the radio is fully charged. Many radios arrive from the manufacturer with a depleted battery, which needs to be charged before using. Then turn the radio on and adjust the volume as needed. Next, scroll through the menu to see and select a desired zone of channels, and select a channel within the specified zone. Test the programming by first selecting the zone and channel of the person you wish to call and then hit the push-to-talk or PTT button.

This process can involve some trial and error, but high-end radios from a quality two-way radio services provider will provide some degree of technical support and customer service to walk you through the process.

Chicago Communications is committed to helping people find solutions to their communications challenges and employing the best technology possible to improve productivity, streamline operations and save lives. We can help in procuring and programming two-way radios to best meet business goals.

To learn more, browse our blogs and download our free white paper, Why Two-Way Radios are Better Than Cell Phones.try a two-way radio