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Long Range Two-Way Radio Solutions

Posted by Two Way Direct on 30th Jan 2019

If the range of your two-way radios isn’t long enough, there are plenty of solutions available. Many industries from emergency response teams to golf courses require communications systems that reach beyond 5 miles. Long distance two-way radios with a range greater than that will need advanced equipment.

Two-Way Repeaters

The most commonly-used method for boosting your signal over long distances is a two-way repeater. A two-way repeater takes poorly performing radio signals and retransmits them with more power so you can drastically improve the effective distance they can communicate. One repeater can work with your existing set of handheld radio units to turn them into a longer ranged two-way radio system.

Whether you need to boost your range or strengthen the signal to clarify the audio, a two-way repeater can really enhance your signal without requiring all new equipment. Two-way repeaters are ideal if you need to expand your signal to cover varied terrain such as water or mountains. If necessary, you can even use multiple repeaters in sequence to carry the signal further.

How you set up your repeaters depends on whether you’re using a digital or analog signal. Digital signals tend to disintegrate quicker, so you’ll usually need amplifiers spread in intervals of 3,000 to 6,000 meters. In contrast, analog signal amplifiers are usually placed approximately 18,000 meters apart from each other.

Enhanced Push-to-Talk

Many organizations can enhance the long range capabilities of their two-way radios more significantly with solutions like Enhanced Push-to-Talk by AT&T. Rather than enhancing your two-way radios’ long distance range, Enhanced Push-to-Talk gives walkie-talkie functionality to smartphones and tablets. We also have other LMR to LTE interoperability kits that provide a similar function.

There are quite a few benefits associated with this approach. The big one is that Enhanced Push-to-Talk has an effectively unlimited range. You can communicate instantly with the push of a button so long as both devices are in range of an LTE cell tower.

Say you’re a firefighter, and you need to let your entire team know about changing wind patterns during a spreading wildfire. Naturally, calling each team member individually would take too much time, and you may not be able to reach everyone with traditional two-way radios’ long range abilities. Enhanced Push-to-Talk lets you deliver the information to everyone simultaneously, no matter where they are.

Call Boxes

If your team typically works in the same set of locations, call boxes can be a great option for communicating. Call boxes are stations that contain phone or radio-based communications systems that you place in strategic locations so they’re always there when needed.

For example, say you manage a golf course. Your guests or staff may need to contact you or emergency personnel while they’re on the course, far away from your office personnel. You could set up call boxes throughout the course so guests and staff always have a way to reach someone.

Extending your two-way radios’ long range capabilities isn’t just for emergency situations. Many large retailers place call boxes throughout their stores so customers can request service or so employees can get in touch with managers. If your handheld two-way radios can’t cover long distance, you may want to look into setting up a network of call boxes.

UHF vs. VHF

If your current radio system isn’t giving you enough coverage, you may simply need to switch to either UHF (ultra high frequency) or VHF (very high frequency) radios. Here’s the difference:

  • UHF radios are most commonly used indoors because the signal is able to penetrate obstacles more effectively.
  • VHF radios are ideal for outdoor areas where the signal is generally unobstructed.

So, if your two-way radios’ long range abilities are suffering, you may not be using the ideal frequency.

For example, if your retail store’s VHF radios are often losing their signal, you may want to switch to UHF for better obstacle penetration. Even though VHF radios have a longer range in the open air, you may find that your store’s infrastructure is the reason for the problem.

On the other hand, if the UHF radios you use on a golf course, for instance, are having issues, you may want to switch to VHF radios. Because there are few to no obstructions, you can take advantage of the 1 to 3 mile range of VHF signals.

Antennas

If you just need to improve your two-way radios’ long range capabilities, the easiest and most affordable may be simply installing new antennas to improve the clarity of your signal. Antennas are a great choice when a two-way repeater is unnecessary and you simply need to boost your two-way radios’ long distance range and overall signal quality.

FirstNet

FirstNet is the nationwide public safety broadband network, services, and solutions that are reserved specifically for first responders. If your long range two-way radios are being inhibited by high traffic on your frequency, it’s time to look into using FirstNet. The FirstNet system offers better rural coverage, as well as a myriad of other benefits.

Contact Us for Custom Solutions

Our expert team has the experience and technical knowledge to help you determine the best solution for your organization. In addition to recommending the right products for your situation, we can create a custom communications system catered to your needs.

Call us now at 888-742-5893, or fill out our convenient request form online. Boost your two-way radios’ long range with quality communications products available for less at Two Way Direct.

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