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What is The Difference Between Licensed Radios and Unlicensed Hand Radios?

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Differences Between Unlicensed and Licensed Two way Hand Radios

As you step into the world of walkie-talkies, you might notice that you have some options, one of these being licensed or unlicensed. But what is the difference, and will it matter what you are using it for? Why is a licensed walkie-talkie more expensive than an unlicensed one? Answers to these burning questions and more are what we are about to embark on. 

If you have ever used a two-way radio, you may have noticed some static interruptions from other people using the same frequency. This is very common for very basic models, as they are often unlicensed models. While this can be a bit annoying at times, it’s just that, an annoyance. However, for some, this can pose a danger as well.
The unlicensed hand radio will allow others to listen in on your conversations, and you will also hear theirs. This isn’t something that poses a problem for, say, a family on vacation or walkie-talkies being used for recreational purposes. However, if they are being used in a hospital or school setting or something similar, this could pose a problem. In those cases, a licensed walkie-talkie is probably your best bet.

A licensed two-way radio will provide much more privacy and protection. This is due to it using its own frequency and not an open line, such as an unlicensed two-way radio does. There are different options and plans available, so it’s important that you do your research to find the right licensed walkie-talkie for your job.

Two-Way Radios and Distance

Two-way radios are great for a variety of tasks, such as hiking, amusement parks, and various working conditions. They can save you a lot of time finding your group or getting the job done. However, they do have their limits, one of these being the distance in which they will work properly. A license-free radio will work only up to about a mile from one another. This can pose a big problem for certain jobs, as the building itself is larger than 1 mile. That’s yet another reason that companies will go with a licensed model. A licensed model is far more powerful and can reach larger distances. However, this will depend on what type of licensing you go with. Some reach much further than others. In some cases, they can even go nationwide.

Licensed radios not only travel longer distances, they are less likely to be disturbed by interference, such as steel buildings, mountains, hills, and valleys. Furthermore, they can be turned so that they will tune out other interferences as well. This allows the users to have a much better conversation over the walkie-talkies than you would with a license-free radio.

Licensed two-way hand radios, as you can see, are much more powerful, offer better communication, and are more private than unlicensed. However, all that does come at a cost. It is important to note that licensed radios will not interfere with unlicensed models. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t ever hear from an unlicensed model, as they don’t have the same protection. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that if you are using an unlicensed model, you are talking about things you don’t care if others hear about.

licensed two way hand radio

Comparison Advanced Models

While we have covered unlicensed and licensed models, there are other features that you can get. Most are found on licensed models, as they are more advanced. Things such as noise-cancelling options are really helpful for those who work in road construction, for example.  These models will cancel out the background noise, such as traffic, that will make it nearly impossible to hear what the other person is saying.  They are also perfect for those in emergency agencies, as the sirens and all the background talking can make it hard for dispatch and others to hear what is being said.  However, this isn’t something that is always needed. It is more expensive too, which is why it’s only available on the advanced models.
Most people who need extreme background cancelling will also need them to be licensed, which is why many of the license-free radio options don’t have noise cancelling.

Programming of Your Licensed Radio

Another aspect of a licensed radio is that it has to be programmed to work on the proper network, similar to a cell phone, in a sense. This must be done by the two-way radio supplier, as it is illegal in many countries to do this on your own.  While it may seem simple enough, like programming a remote, there are laws in place to protect those on licensed frequency to ensure the privacy they are paying for.

From licensed two-way hand radios to a license-free radio, there are several options to choose from.  Finding the radio right for you may take some time.  The first step we would recommend is sitting down and writing out what features you’ll need in order for the radio to work best for your situation. This will give you a good starting point on your journey to purchasing two-way radios or the walkie-talkie of your dreams.

A source for further reading on this topic can be found here

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About The Arthur
Kenny Zhang
I've been running a factory that manufactures two-way radios & their accessories. We want to share some knowledge and news about Walkie-Talkie from the sight of the supplier.

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