I Bought a Two-Way Radio With a Range of 25 Miles…Why Won’t It Work?

Sorry, but you’ve been had. Although many manufacturers boast that their radios can reach amazing distances, this is, in almost every instance we’ve encountered, a fallacy.

How is this legal, you may ask?

Essentially, your radio quite probably could work over a range of 25 miles, but that is a theoretical estimate, working on the assumption that the myriad variables that affect two-way radio signal (such as atmospheric conditions, topography, objects in the way and etc) are simply not in effect.

All of them. At the exact same time.

So, assuming that you used your two-way radio in a vacuum, where weather didn’t exist and no obstacles, man-made or otherwise, were present, you would be able to communicate with someone else who was further away in that impossible vacuum, maybe even 25 miles away, but otherwise? Forget it.

The fact is that the average two-way radio has a range of between one and two miles and not much more (maybe three, but we’re not making any promises). CB radio fares significantly better, largely because it makes use of large aerials. Now, Signal-boosting equipment can be used to improve your two-way’s performance (for example, repeaters), but such equipment is expensive and hard to obtain for legal reasons.

There are, however, a few factors that can have an affect on your radio’s range. The frequency being used, the power output, the size of the antenna, the complexity of the signal being sent, signal interference, background noise and (as we wrote earlier) objects in the way are all factors that can improve (or hamper) your efforts to get your signal to reach as far as possible.

So, talking on your radio whilst in the car will have a deleterious affect on your signal, as will deliberately walking through wooded areas or places with a lot of rocks/mountains if you can take an easier path.

However, a larger antenna (if you’re tech orientated, the antenna can be replaced with a better one – although this should only be attempted if you are

  1. a) Sure about licensing laws

And

  1. b) Tech savvy enough to void the warranty and not regret it later, can really add a few hundred meters to a radio’s range, as can a switch in frequencies.

Also, your choice of VHF or UHF radio will have an affect as well, a UHF signal, for example, generally penetrates buildings and objects better than a VHF signal, whereas VHF is better for outdoor use where there is a lot of open space to transmit across.

Having said/written that, even in optimum conditions, you are extremely unlikely to transmit over a distance of 25 miles. Sorry.

As an aside, mobile phones don’t suffer from this lack of coverage, largely because cell towers are in place that bounce the signal from one to the other and thus carry it across a far larger area, your mobile is still your best bet to break that 25 mile mark, we’re afraid.

If you really must use radio communications over long distances, we recommend going to the Website 2 way radio online

Hope that helps.