Should I Upgrade to a Digital Two-Way Radio System?

First off, let me say that this post could cost me money and I must be crazy for writing it.

Why? Because I could just insist that everyone upgrade their existing radios to digital two-way radio systems right now and rake in the cash. But I would rather be honest, and tell you that not everyone needs to upgrade to digital. First let me explain a little about the technology so you understand where I am coming from.

Digital radios transmit and receive signals differently than analog. Just as in digital music formats such as mp3s, digital two-way radios break your voice down into a series of numbers that are interpreted into an analog signal the person at the other end can hear. Because of the power of the algorithms, digital can “fix” imperfections in the signal, allowing for better clarity.

There are other benefits to digital:

Greater Coverage

The farther you are from your base station or repeater, the worse the signal on your handheld unit is going to be. However, you can effectively go farther away than a comparable analog unit and still understand the communication. Analog breaks up quicker, as you can see in this test we did a while back:

Better battery life

Analog radios tend to eat up batteries quicker than digital ones. Some digital radios are rated to last up to 40 percent longer on a charge than comparable analog ones.

Text messaging

Since digital radios transmit data in “0s and 1s,” you can transmit a lot more than just sound. Some of the newer digital radios allow you to send and receive text messages, which is useful if you are in loud surroundings which make it hard to hear.


Adding GPS technology to a digital radio allows employers to monitor where their employees are at all times, adding to safety, productivity and accountability.


When you scramble analog radio signals for privacy concerns, the signal loses some range and clarity. Digital walkie-talkies are easier to scramble and sound better when compared with analog scrambled signals.

Disadvantages of Digital


The main disadvantage of digital two-way radios is the extra cost. While it might not be a big deal if you are purchasing one or two radios, when outfitting a new plant or a fleet with dozens or hundreds of units, the extra expense can be substantial.

Needless features

The phrase “Keep it simple, stupid” applies to the two-way radio needs of most businesses. Why complicate things if all you need is PUSH TO TALK, LET GO TO LISTEN?

Listen, when my customers do well, so do I. So the point I am making in this blog post is not to discourage you from buying a digital system if that is what is going to be the best for your business. The point I AM making, is to give me a call before making a decision.

I could help preserve your bottom line by providing a more affordable analog solution – or even repairing what you have now.

If after we talk, a new digital system is the way to go – then I will help you get the absolute best deal I can on your purchase to save you money. In fact, I can outfit you with brand-new digital radios which you can use in analog mode until you are ready to upgrade to digital – sparing you the huge expense of converting your entire system at once.

You can reach us at 800-895-5122

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