Frequently Asked Questions by Two-Way Radio, Orange County, CAEagle Communications is Here to Help!

Understanding Common Questions:

UHF vs. VHF? What the difference? And how do I know which one to choose?

Respectively the terms UHF and VHF, stand for Ultra High Frequency and Very High Frequency.  They are broad terms used to describe specific frequencies that radios operate on.  VHF frequencies range from 146.000MHz  to 174.000MHz, while UHF frequencies range from 450.000MHz to 490.000MHz.  Customers who are purchasing radio equipment, that doesn't need to talk to any other existing equipment are free to choose either UHF or VHF.   But which is better?  Simply put, we recommend VHF for outdoor use and UHF for Indoor use.  VHF goes further so it works better outdoors, while UHF is better for indoors because it's better at penetrating buildings made of wood, concrete and/or steel. If your company already uses a particular frequency of radio, whether is UHF or VHF, then this question of which one to choose is easy to answer.  If you wan them to talk to the old radios, then just make sure the new radios will talk on the same frequencies you're already using.  Be careful about the  band splits  too.  Just because you have a VHF radio doesn't mean it can talk on all VHF frequencies.  You have to order the right VHF band split .  For example, the Vertex VX-350, in VHF, comes in 2  band splits .  150.000MHz to 162.000MHz and 162.000 to 174.000MHz.  So, again, make sure you order the right frequency radio that will work with your existing radios.  If you're still unsure about compatibility of the new radios you are considering, then please give us a call, 1-800-600-EAGLE, and we'll happily answer your questions right away.  We're here to help!

Battery chemistries, NiCAD, NiMH or Li-Ion, which is best?

When weighing the cost differences between batteries, their relative values can be assessed based on two categories: the energy capacity, measured in Milliamp Hours (mAh) and the different properties of the chemistry inside.  Capacity is measured in Milliamp Hours (mAh).  mAh is commonly used to describe the total amount of energy a battery can store at one time. So, the more mAh the longer your battery will last, before needing to be recharged.   As far as battery chemistry technology available today, there are 3 types:  nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and Lithium-Ion (Li-ion).   Lithium-Ion is by far the best since they have one of the best energy-to-weight ratios, no memory effect , and a slow loss of charge when not in use.  The Memory Effect is an effect observed in nickel cadmium rechargeable batteries that causes them to hold less charge.  NiCd batteries gradually lose their maximum energy capacity if they are repeatedly recharged after being only partially discharged. The battery appears to remember the smaller capacity. A NiMH battery can have two to three times the capacity of an equivalent size Nickel-cadmium battery and usually only cost a little more.  Like the lithium-ion battery the NiMH battery has no memory effect but it's self-discharge rate is higher. NiCd Batteries cost the least but they have the lowest capacity and they suffer from the  memory effect , and as such, typically need to be replaced after 2-3 years. With careful consideration about what battery capacity and chemistry would work best for your business, we believe you get the most out of your radios.

Business radios or Consumer radios, What' the difference?

The difference between Consumer radios and Business radios is defined by the frequencies they use.  Most consumer radios, often referred to as bubble pack radios,  are limited to use only a specific list of frequencies, as set aside by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  This makes them much more congested than private channels available on business radios that we sell. Consumer radios are also limited by the amount of power that they can transmit.  Usually 1 watt or 1/2 watt, depending on the frequency.   Even under ideal conditions you could only expect about a half mile or less.  Business radios have more power to meet the needs of large industries.   For example, we offer the VX-350, a 5-watt business radio that has plenty of power when you need it.  If you expect to use your radios all day, then battery capacity as well as chemistry has to be a consideration.   Capacity is measured in Milliamp Hours (mAh).  The more mAh the longer your battery will last before needing to be recharged.   As far as battery chemistry technology available today, there are 3 types:  NiCAD, NiMH, and Lithium-Ion.   Lithium-Ion is by far the best since it doesn't build up a  memory effect  like NiCAD and NiMH durability and a way better warranty are other differences. As you can see, there are a many reasons why we don't offer any consumer radios, but mainly it's because customer satisfaction is our highest priority, which is why we stand behind all the equipment we represent.

Which radio is most popular and why?

Hands down, our most popular radio is the Vertex VX-350 series radio.  This radio is smaller than most radios and is extremely light even though it comes packed with a high capacity Lithium-Ion battery.  This is a 5 watt radio, meaning it has 1 more watt of power than most other high power radios, which typically have 4 watts.  The VX-354 model includes an 8 character display for the channel names, which makes managing multi-channel operations easier.  The display also shows the battery life meter, so you can see if your battery is charged or not. Also, Vertex Standard offers an industry leading 3 year warranty!  One year more than the competition.  So, if anything happens, you'll be covered. The size of this radio and the fact that it costs less than the competition, coupled with the fact that is has more power and a better warranty, leads us to believe that our most popular radio will remain that way for years to come. Stop by our showroom anytime for a free demo. See for yourself.  You'll be glad you did!

What is the potential enforcement for failing to narrowband by January 1, 2013?

As of January 1, 2013, the Commission’s rules will prohibit Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands from operating with wideband channels (unless their equipment meets the narrowband efficiency standard), even if the license still lists a wideband emission designator. Licensees operating in wideband mode after January 1, 2013 that have not received a waiver from the Commission extending the deadline will be in violation of these rules. Operation in violation of the Commission’s rules may subject licensees to appropriate enforcement action, including admonishments, license revocation, and/or monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.

What is Narrowbanding?

It is the FCC’s mandate for end users to go to narrow band as opposed to wide band channels before January 1, 2013.  Going to narrowband channels will make more room, so there will be more usable channels available in the future.  On January 1, 2013, wide band capable radios will no longer be available from manufacturers in the US.  Please see our narrowbanding page for more info.

Do I need a FCC license to operate my radios?
Yes, the FCC requires users to be licensed and to specify the number of radios in use, their location and power output, etc for each radio. Please see our licensing page for more info.
How much is the average repair?

Repairs average about $114 to $125 per radio depending on what needs to be replaced.  That cost does not include a new battery if needed.   By turning in a radio for repair, you are pre-authorizing the repair cost up to $150.  If the estimate will exceeds $150, we’d call you to see if you want to move forward with the repair or just replace the radio.  Please see our repair page for more info.

Contact Us Now!


  • 34 Waterworks Way
    Irvine, CA 92618
  • Toll Free 1 (800) 600-EAGLE
  • Local (949) 837-8788 (Orange County)
  • Fax (949) 837-2511  

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