Aug 30, 2021


by: Paul Benson


Categories: Radio

Two-Way Radio Maintenance Checklist – How To Look After Your System

Two-way radios, or walkie talkies as they are also called, are very useful pieces of equipment. They can be used for both business and recreational communication applications. Because two-way radios are so important, even a minor malfunction with one of the radio units, or with the radio system itself, can cause major problems. The last thing you want is to have to call an expert repair person to look at your two-way radio system every time there is a minor issue because this can be expensive and is usually unnecessary. As long as you know how to look after your two-way radios correctly and how to perform basic checks and repairs, you should be able to deal with all but the biggest malfunctions.

To help keep your two-way radio system in good working order, here is our expert maintenance and troubleshooting guide.

Having problems with your two-way radios? Ask our experts – 

Call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.

Using two-way radioWhy is Looking After Your Two-Way Radios So Important?

If you own a two-way radio system, your equipment won’t last very long if it isn’t looked after properly. Even the best radios will wear out over time and your battery life could be shortened because of neglectful care. In order to keep your system running at its maximum performance for as long as possible, you will need to do regular preventative maintenance along with ensuring that each component is cleaned, stored, and handled correctly. This will enable you to save money when compared to having to repair or replace parts prematurely due to lack of upkeep, or breakdowns caused by avoidable issues like dirt or dust building up inside the radios.

Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure your two ways radios stay in good shape:

Correct Two-Way Radio Storage

  • Always store your two-way radios at moderate temperatures away from moisture, heat or direct sunlight. For the best protection, store your radios in their original cases.
  • Store your radios with their batteries removed whenever possible as this will reduce power demands on the unit which can help it last longer before requiring a recharge.
  • As with the two-way radios themselves, batteries should always be stored in a cool dry place. Never leave them exposed to sun or humid conditions for extended periods of time as doing so could cause leakage and permanent damage.
  • Most manufacturers also recommend that you avoid storing spare batteries in sealed bags – instead keep each one wrapped loosely inside its original packaging. This reduces pressure building up within individual cells which helps to prevent leaks and damage.
  • As a final note, always store two-way radios out of the reach of children and pets – even if they are turned off as this makes them less likely to break or get damaged.

Correct Two-Way Radio Charging

Correct two-way radio charging is extremely important to prevent damage and prolong the life of your device.

  • Ensure that you are charging your two-way radios only with the correct charger for that specific brand. For example, Motorola batteries should not be plugged into an Icom radio and vice versa. Doing so will result in damage to both devices – even if they appear similar at first glance.
  • Never attempt to charge a device when it is wet or moist as this can cause short circuits which may lead to permanent damage of your battery and/or radio system. In addition, moisture within any electrical apparatus could also pose an electrocution hazard – something definitely worth avoiding!
  • Never leave a two-way radio plugged in after it is fully charged as this also shortens the life of your device and can lead to overheating issues. The same goes for leaving devices under direct sunlight or other heat sources – discontinue use until the unit has cooled down before recharging.
  • As with all batteries, be sure not to overcharge them – doing so will decrease their lifespan by causing damage which may reduce performance as well as preventing full charging cycles from being completed (which further reduces battery power). In general however, most radios come with an auto shut off feature that stops charging once the battery reaches 100%. This means you shouldn’t have to worry too much about overcharging.

Handle your Two-Way Radio Properly

  • Always handle your two-way radio with care. It is a delicate piece of equipment, and dropping it can cause damage that will affect its performance.
  • Never pick the radio up by the antenna as it could damage your antenna which will then affect the transmission or receiver.
  • Avoid touching the microphone while transmitting as this could cause static and interference.
  • How to clean your two-way radio properly

Clean your Two-Way Radio

Although a little dirt won’t hurt it, you will need to regularly wipe down any surfaces of your walkie talkie that are exposed to dust or moisture. This includes all of its external buttons (the front panel and keypad), battery compartment area, belt clip if applicable, antenna connection points – basically anywhere there is the potential for dust to build up. It is also best practice not to allow water to get inside the device so be sure avoid getting it wet when cleaning. For example, if are using alcohol wipes to remove smudges from the screen, ensure it has fully dried before placing the walkie talkie back in its case.

You should also clean your two-way radios’ battery contacts every now and then to ensure that they continue to provide power properly, especially if you noticed a decrease in their performance recently or after frequent use. Use standard metal polish wipes (like Brasso) gently rubbed on the surface of each cell until it is shiny again. Make sure not to scrape the cell too much, but you can leave some minor scratches as these will help with electrical contact once cleaned up. As such, take care when using any abrasive materials for cleaning purposes because over time even those light marks could lead to decreased voltage levels which can cause serious problems going forward.

Only Use the Same Brand Accessories

Two way radios use specific parts and accessories that are designed specifically for their unique frequency range, and you should always use the same brand accessories as your radio, to maintain the best possible performance and reliability. If you try to use a different brand or model of accessory with one of these sets it can reduce its ability to transmit/receive properly, cause technical issues, or permanently damage your devices.

Having problems with your two-way radios? Ask our experts – 

Call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.

Child using two-way radioEasy Troubleshooting Guide

There are various minor issues which two-way radio users often experience, but there are some simple checks you can do to work out the source of the problem.

Here is a quick checklist if you find that your walkie talkies do not seem to be receiving or transmitting:

Identify whether the problem is one radio or the entire system

First, it is important to determine whether the problem lies with a single radio or if the entire system needs repair. This will help narrow down your troubleshooting process and likely save you some time. To do this, press and hold the push to talk button on one of the two radios for five seconds until a group number appears in its screen. If only one radio flashes up a group number then that’s an indicator that there is something wrong with just that specific device, otherwise both devices should display different numbers indicating they are operational.

Check the power inputs

Power inputs are one of the easiest things to check, and they’re also often overlooked when trying to troubleshoot problems with your two-way radio system. Before you start looking at other sources of potential issues, check all power connections first to make sure there isn’t an easy fix for this problem! Look for visible damage such as corrosion or frayed wires that could be shorting out the device.

Check the microphones

If there’s a problem with your microphones it could be something simple like checking whether or not they’re turned on – which can happen if someone else used the radio after you did while still wearing their headset. Another reason why this might happen is because of interference from another device using the same frequency band such as a nearby Bluetooth device.

Make sure the microphone is turned on and that there are some voices in the background. If you don’t hear anything, check to ensure it isn’t muted or stuck in a “low battery mode”.

Check the channels

The easiest way to check your walkie talkie’s channels is with a simple on/off test, which can be done with the radio turned off or in stand-by mode. To do this, switch through all of the channels and make sure you get some kind of response from each channel at least once. It doesn’t matter whether it’s voices or noise, just that you hear something when changing between them. If there isn’t any sort of sound coming out then one or more of your channels may be faulty.

Check the circuits with a multimeter

A multimeter is a valuable tool for testing circuits. You can use it to check if the batteries are charged or if there is an issue with the power input circuit of your two-way radio system. To do this properly, you will need to open up at least one two-way radio and remove its battery. Then put the probes on each end of the circuit (the positive probe on what should be a red wire, negative probe on what should be a black wire. If nothing displays in between these ends when you test them (there is a reading of zero volts), then that is an indicator that something in the circuit has broken and needs to be repaired.

Check the batteries

Remove your battery from the radio and inspect it for any dents, tears or other deformities as this can affect the radios performance throughout a shift. If there are signs of damage to the plastic casing then you should replace both batteries with new ones immediately. There should be no corrosion, stains or leakage around the battery terminals or on the cells themselves. If you use a clip for holding spare batteries inside of your radio case, make sure that the clip is also clean.

Check the antennas

If either of your walkie talkie antennas are loose, you may experience poor performance from your system, and your radios may not work at all if one or both of the antennas have come completely disconnected.

If this is the case, make sure to tighten each antenna well so that it doesn’t wiggle and cause any issues with performance in the future. You can use a screwdriver for this since radios typically have two screws on each unit’s exterior housing to keep everything secure.

Check the volume switches

This may seem obvious but it is surprising how many people take their walkie talkies for repair, only to be shown that the volume is turned right down. When you use a two-way radio, start with the volume switch set to a default middle position and then move the switch to adjust how loudly or quietly you can hear.

Check the accessories

Your two-way radio accessories are just as important and need to be checked frequently. It is always a good idea for you to check the following: batteries, antennas, connection cables/radio chargers, belt clips, microphones and speaker microphone jacks. If there is any damage or wear on these items then they should be replaced before use. Inspect them thoroughly; make sure there aren’t any visible signs of damage and that they haven’t been mishandled in any way which could result in damages.

Having problems with your two-way radios? Ask our experts – 

Call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.

retail store two-way radioFinal Thoughts

Taking proper care of your two-way radio system will ensure that it lasts a long time and you won’t need to spend a lot of money or repairs or replacements. Make sure you follow this easy maintenance guide, and that you check each component carefully if you have any issues receiving or transmitting a signal. Just be careful whenever checking batteries or wiring and always ensure batteries and chargers are unplugged when checking circuits and connections.

Having problems with your two-way radios? Ask our experts – 

Call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.