Creative Uses for Motorola Two-Way Radios

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If you’ve ever seen a security guard, hospital worker, or even a store clerk in action, you’ve probably seen a two-way radio in use. Two-way radios are essential when closed communication is needed between employees; their use in service industries is widespread, but have you ever thought of why you might need a two-way radio?

Motorola has definitely cornered the two-way radio market. They offer several lines of TWRs, and each has its own strengths and ideal uses. But in each category, there may be hidden uses that might suit you. Let’s take a look at their most popular models.

The CLP and CLS Series

Comfortable, lightweight and portable, the CLP series is the most innocuous of the Motorola two-way radios. It does not look like a traditional radio—it looks more like a small palm-sized speaker. It’s simple, too—a single push-to-talk button, volume control rocker, and power button adorn the unit. It has an LED indicator for power, and Smart Status color indicators that alert you about radio transmission, scan, and battery status.

It also has a voice-assisted-operation feature that lets you scan the menu of options, which is great for when you don’t want to remove the radio to manually seek out a single option. The model is versatile in its wearability as well. You can clip it on, wear it on a lanyard around your neck, or attach it via a magnetic clip system to your lapel, belt, or shirt pocket. An ear piece has to be purchased separately in order to make this unit a true two-way device, but fortunately, it is Bluetooth enabled so you can eliminate embarrassing cord clutter when wearing it.

These smaller two-ways are used primarily in retail stores (to check stock in the back when one employee is manning the register), small restaurants, and hotels. The CLS series is more business oriented, with 56 business-exclusive frequencies and an indoor range of 200,000 square feet. It looks more like a traditional handheld radio and it doesn’t need a separate headset. This two-way can also be used in grocery stores, retail outlets, and hotels, but a couple of its hidden uses can be for...

Surprise Birthday Parties

Have you ever had a surprise birthday party ruined because the guest of honor arrived too early or too late? You’re trying to call the guest’s handler (usually a daughter or son, mother or dad) only to be blocked by a weak phone signal or someone not answering their phone. Meanwhile, another party planner is trying to round up and find wandering guests. Why not use a CLP two way radio? The handler can buzz you when the guest is close or if there is an unexpected delay (talk in code so the guest doesn’t suspect anything).

Retirement Dinners

I experienced the nightmare of planning a retirement dinner once. We lost the caterer. A good use for these CLP two-ways is to make sure everyone involved in the big night is connected via radio. This way, you can find out where the florist went, what the caterer is up to, and what’s taking the cake so long to arrive. These are easy enough to operate so that almost everyone can use them. If event planning is your gig, you should definitely invest in at least one pair of two-way radios.

With no contracts, no monthly fees, no per-call charges, and no existing infrastructure required, the CLP and CLS series are great entry-level radios.

The RDX Series

Moving up a notch in durability and effectiveness is the Motorola RDX series. These are primarily used in security, property management, larger-scale restaurant and retail chains, and construction, to name a few. They work well in those areas, because they reduce the cost of personnel (ten security guards may be great, but five with radios cover a lot more ground), help reduce the confusion during shift changes, and afford you instant communication with your base.

The RDX series is built with durability in mind. It also meets military specifications for protection against dust, wind, shock, vibration, and other conditions. It features push-to-talk operation and voice commands with an optional installation package. It travels across 89 business-class secure UHF frequencies for added clarity and interference-free communication. It can be customized through Motorola software, and more importantly, can be cloned instantly so that you do not have to program each set separately. Need twenty radios for a sporting event? One radio, and cloning, will make sure everyone is on the right track. But how could you make use of the RDX series? Well, consider this...

Large-Scale Family Reunions

Getting to a family reunion is a hassle in itself, but for those whose family trees have spawned innumerable branches, a large family reunion could be a nightmare. Two-way handhelds could make the difference between seeing your relatives or just reviewing pictures of them on a website. Even better, many families have their reunions in large-scale amusement parks, like Disneyworld. Instead of meeting every morning and then losing the extended family for the day, you could stay in constant communication with them and meet for meals or stand in line for rides together. It definitely enhances the experience, and keeps costly roaming voice and text charges on your phone to a minimum.

Nannies

If you want a worry-free experience with your child’s caretaker, consider a two-way radio. You can work in your home office, send your child to the park with the nanny, but still stay in constant, instant communication with them. Forget the worry of dropped phone calls or dead zones. The nannies can also stay in touch with security personnel or any other person who is in your communication queue.

Chaperoning Class Trips

I recently chaperoned a school outing to New York City, taking 40 'tweens to a Broadway show, museum stop, and dinner. Working together with other parents, we looked like maniacal shepherds, corralling the kids into small groups, and then doing a head count at every corner. Not only is New York a city that never sleeps, they don’t slow down for gawkers, either. The adults who were chaperoning the group could have greatly benefited from two-way radios. It would have helped with head counts, destination grouping (we had to make sure once we reached the theater that the adults in the back of the line had their tickets, and did I mention it was raining?), and seating when we went to the restaurant; another hidden use for two-way technology.

The DTR Series

At the higher end of the Motorola spectrum is the Motorola DTR series of two-way radios. They feature a host of perks that the other two do not, including digital communication and a rugged compact polycarbonate housing with rubber casing for comfort. It is designed with US Military 810 C, D, and E standards, which means it can withstand steady rainfall and wind on every surface for 30 minutes, 48 hours of salt fog exposure (as you might find at sea), nine hours of vibration for durability on long transports, and temperature exposure as low as -67°F and as high as 160°F. It also has a 4-line backlit LCD screen that can receive SMS (short messaging service) texts.

This line is also set apart by the multi-functional management options. It can perform “one-to-many” calling functions, allowing one radio to call out to a group of radios at once, along with Call Forwarding, Caller ID, and Call Alert options. You can check your last 20 transmissions through the LCD for easy access to call history, and the radio operates on its own 900 MHz ISM license-free frequency band for limited interference and crystal-clear transmissions.

These are already widely used in the hospitality, retail, construction, and manufacturing industries, but there are two uses that make these even more useful.

Camping

How many times have you gone camping and let your kids run off, only to regret it ten minutes later when you realize that the forest in which you’re encamped is filled with wild animals? Cell phones may or may not help you out here, but depending on your style of remote wilderness enjoyment, you may travel outside of your phone provider’s range. If you camp a great deal, consider investing in a two-way radio with ruggedness and protection against adverse conditions built in; they will hold up to abuse and come in very handy when you're coordinating meals and calling in the family when they've been off hiking. 

Sporting Events

Sporting events are another case where the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Imagine screaming over a thunderstorm during a second quarter time out for the team doctor to get out on the field, or trying to find out where your athletes have wandered during a break. I know a few coaches who could have saved themselves from an attack of dysphonia if they'd had a good radio to speak into (although they probably still would have screamed). This two-way is also good during practice for a coach who has multiple assistants. He can contact just one, or the group, and make his intentions known without having to have the message relayed so many times that it loses its meaning.

These are just a few ways you can use two-way instant communication, which go above and beyond their stated purpose. We hope you find this helpful, and if you know of any other ways they might be used, please let us know through the Comments section below.

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Which of these would you recommend for use by a photographer and his assistant at a wedding? We used some a number of years ago, but gave up because of cords and the need to have them be hands free most of the time.