If you want your two-way radio to function at its best, and to stand the test of time, you need to take diligent care of it. Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines and look after your radio.
So, you have purchased a fleet of two-way radios and want to ensure that you and your team can look after them. We have put together some tips to help you protect your investment.
Storing Two-Way Radios
Radios should be stored in a clean, dry and cool place (ideally at room temperature) with limited exposure to the weather. When you store your radio, you should remove the battery as most modern radios have a soft on/off switch which will continually drain the battery. Keep your radio out of direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
Charging Two-Way Radios
All radios are slightly different, so do familiarise yourself with the specific recharging instructions of your two-way radio battery manufacturer. Nearly all manufacturers will advise you to turn your radio off while it’s charging. If you don’t, the radio is both drawing current and charging at the same time. This can shorten the life of the battery.
During day to day battery charging, make sure all the battery contacts are clean, both on the charger and the rear terminals of the battery. If the contacts are dirty the battery may not be detected by the radio charger and the battery will not be charged the correctly. Make sure that the radio batteries are charged in a compatible charger otherwise you could potentially damage both the battery and radio.
New batteries need a long overnight charge before you use them for the first time. This is known as ‘initialising’, and it will help you obtain the maximum battery capacity. Charge NiMH batteries for 14-16 hours, and Li-Ion batteries for an extra 1 to 2 hours after the charger light turns green.
Lithium-ion batteries should also be replaced (whether they have had excessive usage or not) after four years which should equate to 300 charge/discharge cycles. If the battery isn’t lasting the length of a shift like it used to, it is time to change the battery for a new one.
If you are using lithium-ion battery technology and it is going to be placed into storage the battery should be charged to approximately 50% of its capacity and after 6 months, it should be charged again to ensure that the life of the battery is maximised.
Importantly, make sure you do not overcharge your batteries as this will lead to a deterioration of the battery cells and will shorten their lifespan. Ensure that the batteries are discharged before charging.
Day to Day Two-Way Radio Use
The radios we distribute meet the highest standards of waterproofing and dust-proofing, but this is no reason to treat them carelessly. Radios can be damaged due to repetitive lack of care such as being dropped, chewed aerials (yes this really does happen) and swinging the radio by the antenna etc. Protecting the exterior of your radio will help protect the components, minimising repairs and cost of replacing the equipment.
- Avoid grabbing your radio by the antenna, as it will eventually have an impact on your radio’s signal and transmission quality.
- Only use accessories that are made specifically for your brand of radio, as incompatible accessories can cause damage and functionality problems.
- Avoid exposing your radio to solvents or extremely hot or cold conditions (unless they are designed for harsh conditions).
- Try to keep your radio dry and away from moisture.
We also recommend that you ensure that the aerials on your radios have insulation otherwise if it is exposed you could potentially get an RF burn when transmitting.
Cleaning Two-Way Radios
Although we supply two-way radios that are highly dust/waterproof, there may be a time when you need to clean them. Firstly, ensure that the radios are turned off. If you do take your radio out in dirty or dusty conditions (we do have dirt and dust proof radios available for those that work in more extreme conditions), then consider giving them a wipe down when you get in from work. Avoid using industrial cleaners as they could potentially damage the radio; use a damp microfibre cloth to remove any excess dirt.
If you follow these simple tips, you should extend the life of your radio fleet for a considerable length of time.