Two-way radios are relatively easy to use but these 11 common mistakes that are easy to overlook could be affecting the way you communicate. Time after time we’ve heard these mistakes happen to even the most skilled of two-way radio users. Avoiding these mistakes will not only help you communicate more efficiently but make you more professional.

Here are the 11 common two-way radio mistakes you should avoid,

  1. Interrupting
  2. Not talking clearly
  3. Speaking too quiet
  4. Releasing the button too quickly
  5. Not on the right channel
  6. Not caring for your radio properly
  7. Not finding the right radio for your team
  8. Not having a licensed radio
  9. Assuming all conversation is private
  10. Not having the proper training
  11. Not storing properly


Two-way radios are half-duplex meaning that conversation cannot happen at the same time. If someone is in the middle of speaking, wait until the transmitting end is finished with their conversation before you start yours. Talking over radio transmissions causes miscommunication.

Try using the radio code “over” when finished talking.


Not Talking Clearly

Another thing that can cause miscommunication is not talking clearly. Enunciate your words clearly and slowly so your conversations are heard right. Don’t talk too quickly.


Too Quiet

Whether you’re speaking into your two-way radio or an audio accessory, hold the microphone or handheld a few inches away from your mouth and talk loudly to avoid a muffled conversation. This makes sure your voice is picked up, so it’s heard loud and clear on the other end.


Releasing the PTT Button Too Early

When releasing the push-to-talk button too early or talking before you press the button, part of your conversation gets cut off. Wait to talk until after you hear the push-to-talk tone and continue holding the button a few seconds after you’re done talking.


Not on the Right Channel

Imagine everyone on your team trying to talk to everyone at once. Things can get a little overcrowded. Typically, radios will be programmed so different individuals can be found on a dedicated channel.

For example, in a hotel, channel 1 can be all calls, where everyone can be reached at once, channel 2 can be for housekeeping, channel 3 can be for bellhops, and so on.

Remember who is on what channel so you can reach the right person quickly and more efficiently.


Not Caring for Your Radio

Caring properly for your two-way radio ensures the longest life and best performance. We recommend weekly maintenance and cleaning of your system to keep it running smoothly.

A few things to do regularly on your radio are,

  1. Check battery compartments
  2. Never hold the radio by the antenna
  3. Clean and disinfect your radio regularly
  4. Inspect your radio for any damage


Not Having a Licensed Radio

Licensing your radio helps not to interfere with other unlicensed radio users and gives you a dedicated bandwidth to communicate on. With unlicensed radios, anyone within range can hear radio conversations and even talk back.

It's good to keep in mind, that if you are operating a two-way radio without the proper license, you can be subject to hefty fines by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) if you are interfering with someone else’s conversations on their dedicated frequency.

We highly recommend obtaining a license for your radio with the FCC. It’s easy to apply, inexpensive, and lasts for 10 years.


Not the Right Radio for Your Team

When searching for two-way radios, you’ll want one that can cover all the needs your team is looking for. One radio might work better for your team than another. Maybe renting is right for you? Whatever your purpose may be, take the time to research the best option for your team. It can help you in the long run.


Thinking Your Conversations Are Private

Unless your radio is completely encrypted, it’s easy for people to listen in on conversations that happen on two-way radios. Encryption is used mainly by law enforcement to encode messages being transmitted on the radio, ultimately, making it impossible for eavesdropping.

Never disclose personal, sensitive, or classified information over a two-way radio.


Using without the Proper Training

Two-way radios are relatively easy to operate and don’t take that long to learn how to use. Taking a few hours to train and learn about your two-way radio will help everyone stay on the same page and operate smoothly.


Not Storing Properly

Store your two-way radios in a cool dry place when not in use. If your environment is too hot, cool, or moist, this can affect your two-way radio performance. We don’t recommend storing your two-way radio in a hot car or in direct sunlight. We do recommend storing it in a locker or one designated area, so it does not get lost.


First Source Wireless is a public safety communications leader. Interested in two-way radios for your team? We’ll be happy to work with you to figure out your communication needs and find the right solution for you. Contact us today at 800-991-4569 or

How to Decide if Buying or Renting a Radio is Right for you

TAYLOR THOMAS is a Marketing Manager at First Source Wireless. With her experience in critical communications, she helped public safety professionals enhance their communication through the help of two-way radios and headsets.

Two-way radio

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