How to use a Two-Way Radio

How to use a Two-Way Radio

Two-way radio communication systems provide a reliable framework for business and organisations to stay in touch. Two way radio offers a vast range of benefits above and beyond the essential communication that they offer including improving decision making, teamwork and providing essential health and safety. Sometimes even the most effective radio system can be let down if the right procedures and training aren’t in place and the user is not able to handle a radio confidently.

Here we provide some tips and advice about the procedures to think about when using two-way radios, whether PMR446 walkie talkies, analogue two way radio, digital two way radio, LTE/PoC radio or Satellite PTT radio. Hopefuly they are useful to you and your team.

Getting Started

Make sure that your battery is charged….you won't get very far if this does not happen. Then switch on the radio…this is often done with the volume control. Check to see that the radio is on the correct channel otherwise no one will hear you and vice versa. Then listen for transmission and adjust the volume to a comfortable audible level.

Being Heard
If you want to make a call, wait for the channel to become clear to avoid interference. Push and hold the PTT button. Speak into the microphone (10 to 15 centimetres from your mouth) clearly and at a normal voice level. Then release the PTT to return to receive.

When you press the PTT to speak, no one else in your group can speak or be heard; this is how most radios work. Therefore, it is important to think about what you are going to say. Also, remember that if you keep pressing the button you are preventing anyone else from joining the conversation and you might be blocking someone on your frequency with an emergency message to transmit! Remember not to panic and you will soon get used to using the radio.

Be Clear

As two-way radios only allow one person to speak at a time, it’s best to keep your transmissions short and to the point. This enables other users to have the opportunity to acknowledge your message or request further clarification before you carry on to your next point. Be patient and give the other person some time to think before they reply.

Pause before speaking

When you first press the push to talk (PTT) button there can be a short delay before your radio transmits. This could result in the start of your sentence being cut off so wait for a second or two before speaking to be sure your listeners receive your whole message.

Learn the Lingo

It helps two-way radio communications when everyone understands and uses similar language and etiquette especially when there are more than two people using the channel. You will notice that some of your colleagues may say ‘Over’ when they have finished speaking or ‘Out’ when the conversation is finished and the channel is clear for other users. It is useful to pick up on these phrases as they will improve not only your confidence but the efficiency of the radio scheme.

If you follow these basic tips, your communication and your radio communication system will become more effective.

To watch a video showing you how to operate a two-way radio, visit: Using a Two Way Radio - The Basics of Communicating on our YouTube channel.

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