Two-Way Radio Signal Coverage & Range: The Need to Know Guide
How far is the signal range? — the most common question regarding two-way radios.
Sadly, there's no straightforward answer—there are many factors at play that will impact your two-way radio's signal range:
- Surrounding terrain
- transmit power
- antenna efficiency
- user height above terrain features
- environment type (rural or urban).
Generally speaking, if you're communicating from one two-way radio to another (without a repeater) you should expect to get a range of about 1-2 KM.
This is when you're using standard 4 Watt UHF or 5 Watt VHF commercial/business grade two-way radios, which is all that we sell.
But some Two-Way Radios Advertise a 30 Mile Range...
Unfortunately yes, the retail-grade, recreational "GMRS" or "FRS" type walkie talkies from brands like Uniden, Cobra, and Motorola Talkabout often advertise ranges of nearly 30 miles.
Such claims are for ideal "line-of-sight" conditions only—such as from a mountaintop to another mountaintop with no physical obstacles in between and with perfect atmospheric conditions. In reality, you'll never be able to recreate those circumstances, so beware of any two-way radio or walkie-talkie that boasts incredibly high range.
It's also worth noting that those recreational walkie talkies have a limited transmit power of 1 to 2 Watts.
The commercial-grade two-way radios that we sell have a transmit power of 4 to 5 Watts.
Under standard usage conditions like a construction site, warehouse, hotel, manufacturing facility or high-rise you can expect our portable two-way radios to give a range of roughly 1 kilometre.
I Need to Extend That Range—How?
There are two options for this:
- Consider LTE radios, which rely on local cellular networks for coverage and signal. However, these have limitations...especially in locations where cellular coverage is poor
- Purchase a repeater system, which will provide much longer range (around 5 to 25 kilometres). Repeater systems create a wide-area communications network for your portable and mobile (vehicle-mounted) two-way radios. It consists of a high performance antenna (usually mounted in a high location like a roof, mast or mountaintop) and a powerful radio repeater device. The repeater receives transmissions from portable radios and rebroadcasts them over the network for the others to "hear". Typically a repeater system will require some engineering and system design to ensure it works properly once installed—this is not an off-the-shelf solution.
Are two-way radios right for me?
If the majority of the business communications at your warehouse, farm, manufacturing plant, school, etc happen within a 1 kilometre radius then business two-way radios will keep you talking.
Feel free to connect with us to discuss you needs and specific usage requirements.