Five of the Most Common Two-Way Radio Problems and How to Solve Them


We at Wall to Wall Communications have worked with a vast range of clients and with a vast range of two-way radios. We over the years have had conversations with clients who seem to encounter the same problems with two-way radios.

Never fear, we at Wall to Wall Communications like to believe that for every problem, there is a solution. Therefore the purpose of this article is to address with full disclosure what we believe are five of the most common two-way radio issues and our recommended solutions.

Hopefully, this will help support some of you who are also encountering similar problems.


1. Losing Coverage


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The problem

Losing coverage refers to instances where you are mid-transmission with someone and all of a sudden the conversation is cut short, or you find that you can only hear the other person very faintly as if they are whispering. This is down to the problem of poor coverage.

The solution

Poor coverage, we find is commonly a result of incorrect charging procedures and our clients getting a bit sentimental with the batteries and not replacing their two-way radio batteries after the recommended time of 18 months.

By using batteries that aren’t charged up correctly or are too old to function anymore, then the power rapidly decreases, which results in poor coverage.

If the issue isn’t the batteries and they are brand new and out of the box and have been charged correctly, then it could be that you may need a coverage booster to make sure that the two-way radios can transmit across the entire surface area of your site. These can take the forms of repeaters and leaky feeders.


2. Interference with radios


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The problem

You are hearing additional noises on the two-way radios or other conversations. As much this could be interesting to overhear conversations, bear in mind if you can here others they could hear you – it takes two to tango! This becomes a nuisance if you are trying to transmit an emergency or an important message.

The solution

If you have an unlicensed two-way radio, then transmission interference is the drawback of this. Unlicensed radios share their frequencies with others. If your site is situated in a built-up busy area then this could be a problem if you do not want others listening into transmissions or you hearing any interferences. If interference is an issue for you on your unlicenced radios then you should seek to purchase a licence from Ofcom.

The Office of Communications(OFCOM) is responsible for the enforcement, protection and management of the radio spectrum.

Licensed two-way radios are radios which use their own private network and should not have any interference. If they do encounter interference then this is ultimately an issue that needs to be resolved with Ofcom.

They should be able to sort this issue out for you, so wave goodbye to nosey eaves-droppers!


3. Lost signal in basements, lifts and sites with multiple floors


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The problem

You have a large site with basements, lifts and so have dead spots. You know the situation…

“Hello, sorry you are about to cut off I’m about to go in the lift!” It is frustrating and annoying and reduces staff efficiency. Not also forgetting the all important health and safety. If there are staff working in the basement level of a store or warehouse then if there is an emergency, no one will hear about it.

The solution

The solution to this is to install leaky feeders at the site. A leaky feeder is a coaxial cable that has small sections of its copper shielding stripped away to allow radio frequency signals to escape. They act as extended antennas and boosts coverage to areas that need it such as lifts, basements etc.


4. Discrete communication

The problem

Walkie talkies haven’t got the reputation for being the most discrete communication devices. Normally when someone transmits a message everyone can hear it. This is an issue if someone wants to transmit a message that needs to be only heard by the person receiving the message and no one else. For instance, any security issues that need to be within the security staff and not shoppers on the shop floor.

The solution

There are many quick and simple solutions to make your transmissions more discrete including purchasing some in-ear pieces, setting up text messaging on your walkie talkie or having a private call setting on your two-way radio.


5. Can’t hear the radio transmission as there is too much background noise

The problem

Okay, this isn’t so much a problem with the two-way radio as such, more of an issue with the background noise. However, in most cases this can’t be helped. Then you end up screaming down the radio, much like the guy in Trigger Happy TV (!)

The solution

There are a wide range of noise cancelling two way radios so you and the receiver can hear clearly transmissions to each other.

The range of radios that we supply that we would recommend to you in this instance is Hytera. They have a huge range of digital two-way radios that have noise cancelling abilities. A lot of other digital two-way radios also have this feature.

We hope that we have cleared up some of the problems you have been having, or can prepare you for when you encounter them. If you feel that this has helped you feel free to share this article with others via e-mail or social media.

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