Two-way radios are excellent communication tools for many organizations. However, it is important to choose whether the conventional or trunked format is best suited for your application. You may ask, “What’s the difference?”
Conventional Two-Way Radios
Conventional radio systems operate on fixed RF channels and are best suited for organizations with a smaller user group. In these radio networks, the system has dedicated channels for specific groups/users, and the user manually selects the channels they want. In multi-channel systems channels are used for separate purposes. For instance, Channel 1 can be allocated to service personnel to talk to the dispatch office and Channel 2 can be assigned to talk to construction crews. Generally, these systems have the capabilities to support roughly 70 users per channel.
No control channels are needed, so users are free to use any of the channels available to them, assuming no one else is currently using the channel. This means that a user would need to finish their call on channel 2 before another user could place a call on channel 2. Therefore, the amount of users who can successfully use this network is directly related to the amount of channels available.
Trunked Two-Way Radios
Trunked radio networks utilize sophisticated repeater technology. This is a complex type of computer-controlled two-way radio system that allows sharing of relatively few radio frequency channels among a large group of users. Instead of assigning, for example, a radio channel to one particular organization at a time, users are instead assigned to a logical grouping, or “talk group”. When any user in that group wishes to converse with another user in the talk group, a vacant radio channel is found automatically by the system and the conversation takes place on that channel. Many unrelated conversations can occur on a channel, making use of the otherwise idle time between conversations. Each radio transceiver contains a microcomputer to control it. A control channel coordinates all the activity of the radios in the system.
This can save users a lot of time and frustration as they don’t need to worry about turning a knob to find an open channel, or having to wait to communicate over a specific channel. Rather, they can simply use the push-to-talk button and be quickly connected over the first available channel.
Be sure to have a conversation with a qualified two-way radio professional to get all your questions answered in order to make the best decision to meet you specific needs.
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