Where the power comes from

Two way radios are complicated pieces of technology. Just like smart phones, home phones and many other portable devices. The technology integrated into those items was ‘the stuff dreams were made of” just a few years ago. Still, the one thing that makes the items listed above work and other items such as cars, boats and airplanes is just now beginning to receive some much needed attention.

The Battery…..

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The poor lonely battery. It is the item that attaches on most items as an afterthought. On some, it is hidden from view inside the unit. Many times, it looks as if it doesn’t really belong with the rest of the pieces. However, without it nothing will work. The radio will not turn on, transmit or receive. None of the bells and whistles, lights and vibrate mechanisms will operate.

Yet … everyone seems to forget about it. They will complain about poor coverage, dropped calls, lack of talk time, poor transmit. The person on the other end will complaint that ” I can’t hear you properly…you are breaking up” when you are talking from the same spot you always call from. They will start wondering if it is the unit that is bad, the system or even begin to consider a replacement since ” things worked better when the unit was new”.

Rarely does the user ever consider how old the battery in the radio is. Like most people think, batteries are supposed to last a lifetime. At least the life of the radio!!!?? Sadly, all batteries, no matter what make or model, what capacity or chemistry, when their time comes, their time comes. They get weak and eventually die. Most batteries last between 18-24 months with some reaching 3 years.

It is easier now with Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) and Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol) batteries. The Lithium batteries are designed to charge for a set number of cycles and then they die. One day full power the next dead. This is a good thing, in a way, since a dead battery gets attention much faster. With the Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) technology, the battery would slowly and painfully fade in capacity. This slow death actually allowed users to get used to the degraded performance and until things got really bad, they would not pay attention.

The battery is responsible for the radio working. Period!! Without it the transmitter or receiver will not work.

So next time you are having two way radio problems…and by the same token, any problem with a battery operated device, look to see how old the battery is. If it is over two years old….you will be surprised when you check…..replace it!!!!!! Then, if you are still having radio problems such as poor receive or poor transmit, you can begin to address other items like the antenna, microphone or charger. Otherwise, you will spend money on a new radio you didn’t need or a repair charge that was not necessary.

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