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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.