Should You Use Off Brand Batteries in Two-Way Radios?


The short answer is no, you shouldn’t use off brand batteries in two-way radios. Motorola and Kenwood batteries are specially designed to work with two-way radios, offering the best results.

Two-way radios are widely used across many different industries of work. Since you need to replace two-way batteries from time to time, many people are curious whether or not off-brand batteries are suitable for the job.

Below, we will cover this topic in full detail and also help you understand when your two-way radio batteries need to be replaced.

Should You Use Off Brand Batteries?

No. As a general rule of thumb, using off-brand batteries in two-way radios is not recommended. The manufacturers of two-way radios have a particular battery in mind when they design each two-way radio. If you stray away from manufacturer standard settings, you are much more likely to encounter hiccups and errors with the device. This is the main reason we highly recommend using the proper brand of batteries as opposed to an off brand.

When you rent two-way radios from Highland Wireless, you don’t have to worry about batteries or accessories. We provide everything you need.

3 Signs that You Need a New Battery for Your Two-Way Radio


Although two-way radio batteries are rechargeable, it’s important to realize that they will still need to be replaced from time to time. Below, we will break down three of the most common signs that your two-way radio’s rechargeable battery needs to be replaced.

Power Lasting Shorter Periods of Time

A brand-new battery will last the entire set time determined by the two-way radio manufacturer. Often, this is somewhere between 12 to 24 hours long. A two-way radio will often spend most of its time idle, making it last a longer period of time. If the power starts lasting shorter periods of time, this is a sign that battery health is decaying and it’s time to consider getting a replacement.

Very Fast Charging Time

One of the most surefire ways to instantly receive feedback as to whether or not your battery needs to be replaced is to monitor the charging time. Think back to when you first got the two-way radio and try to recall how long it took to charge the device from low to high.

Typically, a defective battery will be able to charge in a very short period of time – that’s because it’s not really fully charging. As rechargeable batteries start to age, their overall charging capacity decreases. Therefore, if the battery charges to full capacity much faster than normal it might be time to think of getting a replacement.

The Radio Overheats During Use

When you use a two-way radio with a low battery, one of the common things you might experience is overheating. This is especially concerning if the radio has never overheated in the past. As a general rule of thumb, overheating is never a good sign.

In addition to potentially having a defective battery, you might also be experiencing mechanical issues with the device itself. Therefore, if you encounter overheating with your two-way radio it is generally a good rule of thumb to start by replacing the battery. If the overheating continues, then consider the possibility of further issues.

How Often Do Two-Way Radio Batteries Need to be Replaced?

In order to receive a definitive answer as to how often two-way radio batteries need to be replaced, first consider what type of two-way radio that you have. If you have a rechargeable battery system on your device, it will typically last anywhere between 12 to 24 months. If you make it past this point, you are probably already starting to experience signs like what we described above


How Ham Radio Works

A teen in Florida makes friends over the airwaves with a ham in Germany. An aircraft engineer in Washington participates in an annual contest and exchanges call signs with hams in 100 countries during a single weekend. In North Carolina, volunteers pass health and welfare messages in the aftermath of a hurricane.

This mix of fun, public service, friendship and convenience is the main feature of amateur radio. The true origin of the term “ham” seems to have been lost, but there are several theories. It may simply be a shortcut way of saying the first syllable of amateur radio, or it may have originally been used as an insult. Hams start out in amateur radio for many reasons, but they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology, regulations and operating principles.

Why would I get into ham radio?

Ham radio is for anyone who likes to communicate with others via wireless technology. It is also for anyone who enjoys experimentation. Licensed amateur radio operators communicate with each other in nearby places, across the country, around the world or even with astronauts in outer space!

Amateur radio is a worldwide group of people who communicate with each other over a wide frequency spectrum using many different types of wireless transmitting modes.

Often, younger hams get a chance to meet other hams of various ages and professions. For example, Kid’s Day is an annual event that encourages young people to get on the air, perhaps with a family member or a neighbor who is a licensed amateur radio operator. The frequent networking often helps teens when they are making career or education choices and wish to get some advice (from professionals in many technical fields) that maybe mom, dad or the guidance counselor may not be able to give.

Today, there are approximately 675,000 amateur radio operators in the United States, and more than 2.5 million around the world. To find out how to get started and who to contact in your area, call or write the non-profit organization:


Hams use a variety of frequencies for communications. Non-hams can “listen in” via their own receivers or radio scanners. Hams are able to use many frequency bands across the radio spectrum — these frequencies are allocated by the FCC for amateur use. Hams may operate from just above the AM broadcast band to the microwave region, in the gigahertz range. Many ham bands are found in the frequency range that goes from above the AM radio band (1.6 MHz) to just above the citizens band (27 MHz). During daylight, 15 to 27 MHz is a good band for long-distance communications. At night, the band from 1.6 to 15 MHz is good for long-distance communications. These bands are often referred to historically as short-wave bands (as in “short-wave radio”). Unlike frequencies used by FM radio stations and TV stations, which are line-of-sight and therefore limited to 40 or 50 miles, short-waves “bounce” off the ionosphere from the transmitter to the receiver’s antenna. The higher the frequency is, the “shorter” the wavelength is.

Some ham radio operators use the very reliable Morse code, while others use voice. Morse code signals (beeps) often get through when voice transmissions cannot. There are also very many digital modes as well, and hams use radio modems to communicate in various networks.

Ham Radio Activities

Computer-assisted radioteletype

Although a ham radio does broadcast in all directions, hams generally do not use their radios in a broadcast kind of way as a disk jockey would at a radio station. In normal AM or FM radio, one disk jockey transmits and thousands of people listen. Hams, on the other hand, conduct two-way conversations, often with another ham or with a group of hams in an informal roundtable. The roundtable of hams may be in the same town, county, state, country or continent or may consist of a mix of countries, depending on the frequency and the time of the day. Hams also participate in networks, often called nets, at predetermined times and frequencies to exchange third-party messages. In the case of disasters, hams exchange health and welfare information with other hams. Some hams use radioteletype, (RTTY) with computer screens replacing the noisy teletype machines of the past.


Many hams get their start on VHF FM, using battery-operated hand-held transceivers set to transmit on one frequency and receive on another frequency. They use FM repeaters, set up and supported by local radio clubs. These repeaters borrow antenna space from TV-station-tower owners on top of mountains and high buildings to receive and re-broadcast signals to extend the range.

When deadly floods struck central and southern Texas in mid-October 1998, amateur radio operators from four states volunteered their time. Susan Manor, NF0T, is shown helping with communications at the New Braunfels Red Cross office.

The FM repeater receives one signal at a time and simultaneously rebroadcasts it on another frequency using many more watts of power than available from a small hand-held radio. This extends the range of the hand-held radio from a few miles to tens or hundreds of miles! The whole country has these repeaters! (Listen to one with a radio scanner to learn a lot about ham radio.) When a ham is traveling, he or she can find a repeater to use (great for tips on local restaurants), and carry on a nice, static-free, FM-radio-quality conversation via a radio that fits in the shirt pocket or purse. Linked repeaters allow fun wireless communications across an entire state with a hand-held radio.

Repeaters use common transmit and receive frequency pairs. The frequency pairs in use are informally assigned by groups of hams so that any frequency pair in use is far enough from another repeater so as not to cause unwanted interference.

Amateur radio satellites are a cutting-edge use of technology in amateur radio. Radio amateurs use their hand-held radios to communicate through an amateur radio satellite when the satellite is overhead. A current British satellite has a receiver (uplink) at 145.975 MHz and simultaneously rebroadcasts (downlink) at 435.070 MHz for one station at a time, as a repeater.

Natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes disrupt normal telephone and cell phone systems. Ham radio operators pitch in to help with emergency communications, and you will often hear about them on news reports.

On Space Shuttle missions, each member of the crew usually has an amateur radio operator’s license. During breaks, astronauts hold their 1- to 5-watt VHF FM hand-held radios up to the shuttle window and chat with other hams for a few minutes, often at schools while the shuttle is in an orbit overhead! VHF transmissions have a limit to line-of-sight communications and normally do not travel over the horizon, so a conversation is limited to the time when the shuttle is overhead. The space station MIR used 145.985 MHz for similar conversations. Future ham radio efforts in space will focus on the use of amateur radio within the International Space Station (ARISS) project.


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