what should YOU look for in a portable two way Radio?

The trusty portable two way radio or walkie talkie has been an indispensable piece of equipment for workers in a range of industries for decades. As technology advances, so have the features available in these devices. Today, there are an abundance of options, but what do they all mean and what features should you look for in a portable two way radio?

Above all the features that are nice to have, the one thing that can not be compromised is trust that your voice calls will be sent and received instantly and clearly. Whether your situation calls for non-critical, business-critical or critical communications, there can be no hesitation or doubt about the reliability of your voice comms.

This guide aims to help you make smart decisions when selecting the portable two way radios that keep you connected and your workers safe. The key factors we’ll explore in this guide include:


MiningTelecoms is an Authorized Dealer of Tait, Kenwood, Motorola and Hytera Two Way Radios, Accessories and Professional Services. MiningTelecoms also designs, supplies and commissions Radio Communication Systems and Networks throughout Australia. Please contact us for a no obligation quote or tender request.

Tait Audio


Users of portable radios work in all sorts of environments, so what is required of radios varies – one size doesn’t fit all. However, there is one aspect that is important to all users: the ability to understand communications, so clear and intelligible audio is vital to make sure important calls are heard first-time. There are several factors that influence the audio quality of a portable radio.


Be sure to explore whether a radio has any programmable options to tailor the audio to your workers environment for best performance, or the range of accessory options. Something as simple as correctly setting the microphone sensitivity or adding the right audio accessory can make a big difference!


The term “vocoder” is a combination of voice and encoder. Vocoders digitize the human voice, enabling it to reduce many types of background noise. Additional Digital Noise Suppression software can be applied to enhance clear speech and minimize background noise even further.


If you work in high-noise environments, software-based noise suppression might not be enough – you need specialized functionality to filter out background noise. Active Noise Cancellation receives voice and background noise with two separate microphones, enabling ANC to isolate background noise and significantly reduce it, so your voice comms cut through, no matter the noise.

As ANC technology varies, it is important to check whether it fits your requirements; does it work in analog, digital, or both? Does the ANC feature still work when accessories are connected to your radio? When considering radios with ANC, check the specifications to make sure they fit your needs.


Not all portable radios are created equally. There are differences in speaker size, wattage and output, all of which influence the loudness and clarity of a radio. When choosing a portable radio, make sure you try them out to hear the difference between individual radios so you can find out what works best for you.



Few things are more frustrating than not being able to communicate when you need to, as communications have never been more important than they are today. Businesses, public safety, utilities, and other enterprises rely on communications being available all the time. With rising demands for coverage, interoperability and connectivity, the ability to connect devices to each other and multiple networks is becoming more and more important.


High RF performance provides radio users with extended range and high availability, as well as significantly increased resistance to interference. Choose devices and network equipment that have the best RF performance. Aspects such as selectivity and sensitivity can maximize coverage and minimize interference so that you can make and receive calls in more places.


There are several networks your portable radio can operate on, and each of these have their strengths and weaknesses – something to keep in mind when selecting your portable radio. Analog radios are more affordable, have more natural audio and no latency, but have very limited security and data capabilities, and low spectral efficiency. Digital radio such as P25 and DMR offer more data capabilities, higher security and spectral efficiency, and options to filter out background noise and screen interference to the edge of coverage, improving audio quality over greater distances.


Multimode radios are capable of operating on both analog radio systems and digital networks, allowing interoperability and giving you the option to have different workgroups in different modes. While most digital radios have an analog mode, not all of them can operate on multiple digital networks such as DMR Tier 2 and Tier 3, and not all P25 radios have a Phase 2 mode, so make sure you check whether a radio’s multimode is right for you.


While quality LMR voice communications remain vital, they no longer meet every communication need. These days, many users demand a choice of devices to gain immediate access to information, and combining the strengths of bearers such as WiFi and LTE with your LMR radio network greatly extends your connectivity options.
Integrating multiple bearers allows users to communicate over radio, cellular and WiFi networks, with intelligent software automatically detecting the best available bearer networks, even changing networks during a call if the original network ceased to work – ensuring you stay connected wherever you are.

Our Takeaway on Connectivity

If you need more than just an analogue two way radio, then future proofing your investment is critical. If your  in mission or business critical environments then you may require the flexibility to communicate in multi-mode with an open standard setup for cost effective and flexible operations.

Today Portable Two Way Radio switches can now select the strongest possible network to ensure you are always connected to the most cost effective network.

Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.

Firefighter Tait P25 TP9400


No matter the industry you’re in, safety is always a top concern. Workers who understand and trust their radios feel safer, and more confident. They know that should an accident, injury or emergency occur, they are not alone. Worker safety features, location data and alerts can operate across different networks and provide real time visibility, so you know instantly when and where help is needed.


In emergency situations, making a call is not always an option. In these sorts of situations it is vital to have instant access to support, at the push of a button. A radio with an Emergency Key can instantly request assistance, allowing you to respond quickly and increase the safety of your workforce.


When this mode is on, workers will be prompted to ‘check in’ through their portable radios at intervals programmed by your team. If a worker does not respond within the predetermined time frame, an alarm is triggered at dispatch that they may be in danger and require assistance.


Man Down is a popular safety feature that uses a tilt sensor and timer to recognize abnormal movements or angles of a worker’s radio that could indicate a fall or injury. This enables Man Down to automatically send dispatch a notification of a possible incident so they can check in and act accordingly.


In some industries, it is important that workers know their location or altitude, while knowing the location of people and assets is important to virtually all industries to keep staff safe. In these cases, radios with GPS functionality are essential; certain radios with GPS functionality can tell workers in the field their location via their screen, and software location solutions can show you exactly where your workers are, enhancing worker safety, and reducing incident response time.


Satellite-based navigation such as GPS allows radio networks to use automated location controlled behavior through GeoFencing, reducing the complexity of every-day tasks. Geofencing can be integrated with your radio network as a software solution to give you insight on where the radios of your workers are and alert you when they enter dangerous zones or leave zones.
Portable radios with this feature can also be programmed to independently and automatically use their own location data to trigger pre-configured actions. After you define and programme your various geographic zones and the actions associated with those, the radios will operate independently – connection to a network or location software application is not required.


For workers in hazardous environments, the key to getting the job done and remaining safe lies in the right communication tools. Intrinsically Safe (IS) portable radios are rigorously assessed to ensure they won’t ignite explosive atmospheres in hazardous locations, even under improbable fault conditions.
There are varying levels of IS protection to match particular work environments (different types of gasses or particles, different temperatures, different densities), and various certifications for IS equipment. IECEx is the widely adopted international standard, but local regulations are also still in use.
When looking for an IS radio, check that the protection it offers is suitable for your working environment, and it carries the certification you require.

Our Takeaway on Worker Safety Features

Every company is different as we are sure yours is. For that reason MiningTelecoms works closely with Tait and all manufacturers to bring you the latest in safety enhancing features, programming emergency keys, GPS location services and co-ordinating these with our customers emergency policies and procedures.

Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.

User Experience

Is this device easy to use?

A portable radio can have the most amazing features, but these all become useless when users can’t or don’t know how to use them, or simply don’t need them. A radio should be suited to your needs, which can range from a simple, no-frills radio without a screen or buttons to feature-rich radios with intuitive and accessible controls, bright screens and full keypads.


A portable radio should not be hard to operate – finding the right controls is the last thing you want to worry about when on the job. Choose a radio designed to maximize user comfort, with user-friendly controls that can be easily operated, even when visibility is low or you’re wearing heavy gloves.


Different work environments call for different radios. Some users in small teams might require a simple radio just for voice communications, in which case a no-screen, 0 key option would be perfect. Workers in demanding industries require alerts and messages to be visible no matter the environment, and the ability to send messages as well. In cases like this, a large, high-contrast screen with display options for bright or dark environments, easily recognizable alerts and a keypad are more suitable. Whatever industry you’re in, make sure your radio interface matches your requirements, so you can work safely and efficiently.


Useful functions on a radio are useless if you can’t access them easily. Assigning specific functionality to certain keys on your portable radios can significantly improve usability – important features can be made instantly accessible so they are used more often, allowing you to work more efficiently.


When you need to keep your eyes up and focused on the task at hand while changing channels or features, a radio with voice annunciation capabilities could be just what you need. This feature will give a loud and clear voice indication when you change channels or activate functions, so you can be confident your radio is set up and functioning correctly.


The correct accessories can complement and greatly enhance the usability and functionality of your radios, and, depending on your situation, could be anything from a carry clip to a remote speaker mic or noise-cancelling headset. For more information on accessories see the accessories section of this guide.

Our Takeaway on User Experience

In order for us to best assess how your radios should be programmed we will (free of charge) come on site to make a Radio Communications Site Assessment of your operations. We document each site, warehouse, asset, process, procedure and make suggestions / recommendations. We also complete a test of the radio coverage of the site to ensure the solution is fit for purpose before you purchase.

Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.

Tait Tough Portable Two Way Radios

How long can you expect your radio to last?

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all radio, and different jobs and environments require different levels of ruggedness. Users that work in an office don’t need a rugged or military grade radio, but police, fire, emergency services, utility workers, miners, and oil riggers face challenging conditions every day, making communications equipment that can take a beating and keep on working a necessity.


Users that work in demanding environments need portable radios that are reliable, resilient, and downright tough, from start to finish. To ensure this level of ruggedness, certain portable radios undergo drop and immersion tests. For the highest level of protection and build quality, look for IP ratings that suit your work situation, shock absorbing corners to protect the radio from impact, and when you work outdoors or on the water, make sure the design of the radio is water-shedding, to maintain audio quality.


IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are a defined international standard. They indicate the level of protection your electrical device has against dust and water getting inside. The numbers that follow IP have specific meanings. The first number indicates the degree of protection against moving parts and dust getting in, and the second number defines how protected the device is from moisture.

Common examples for portable radios include: 

  • IP54 is designed to be dust and water resistant
  • IP65 is designed to be dust-proof and protected against water jets, 12.5L per min, 30kPa from three meters (10ft) distance for at least three minutes
  • IP67 is designed to be dust-proof and can be immersed in water at a depth of one meter for thirty minutes
  • IP68 is designed to be dust-proof and can be immersed in water at a depth of two meters for thirty minutes or a depth of one meter for two hours

When considering a radio, check that its IP rating matches your work environment.


Some radios are advertised as ‘tested to meet Military Standards’. These tests were originally designed for military devices, but are now commonly used for commercial products, and are promoted as MIL-STD or MIL-SPEC.

However, a range of varying test methods can be used to achieve Military Standards – low and high pressure, rain, humidity, salt fog, dust, high temperature and temperature shock, vibrations and shocks – but not all MIL-SPEC equipment has been subjected to all test methods.

If you’re looking for a rugged radio, be sure to look at which tests have been applied to the products you’re considering.

Our Takeaway on User Experience

Based on our experience the minimum IP rating for each industry: 

  • Construction / Traffic Control / Crane Operators – IP54
  • Retail / Schools / Warehouses / Security – IP54
  • Leisure Centers / Surf Life Saving / Rural – IP67 / IP68
  • Mining – IP68
  • Fire / Ambulance / Police – IP68

Another key consideration when purchasing radios, can the radios be repaired locally and at what cost? What can you expect to pay for servicing and replacement parts?

All our Radios are repaired by certified, highly qualified radio technicians in Australia and New Zealand. Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.

Accessories Portables Hand Held Radios

the right accessories add up to less downtime, more productivity and safety 

Accessories can play just as important a role in effective communications as radios do. Using a high-quality radio is pointless if the microphone, speaker, battery or carry option is not suited to your role or environment. The correct accessories can complement and greatly enhance the usability and functionality of your radios, which can be vital in high-risk environments.


Even the best radios in the world are rendered useless without a battery that lasts through a shift, or suitable charging options to keep users connected over long shifts. it is important to remember that higher capacity is not always better; it can make the radio bulkier and heavier than necessary. When choosing a radio make sure it is energy efficient, the shift life of a battery matches your needs, and you have adequate means of recharging batteries while on the go.


In stressful or challenging environments, radio attachment is not something you want to think about. Avoiding interference with day-to-day tasks is critical for active staff. For optimal comfort and accessibility, choose a carry accessory that makes the radio easy to wear, easy to access and release, and protects your radio so it stays in good working order.


When you need to clearly hear an incoming call, one option is to just turn up the volume on your radio – but this is not always practical. Different situations and environments call for different accessories: } Noise-cancelling accessories such as mics or headsets can help you hear and be heard better in noisy environments, if your radio does not have this feature built in. } Remote Speaker Mics are light-weight and can be worn in a more accessible spot, giving you greater freedom of movement. } Earpieces can keep calls more discreet if you need more privacy. } Covert accessories such as finger-worn Push-To-Talk buttons allow you to keep your communications hidden.


In certain situations, holding a portable radio to communicate just doesn’t make sense. If your line of work calls for hands-free, wireless communication options, look for a radio that has Bluetooth® connectivity. Bluetooth® accessories can then be wirelessly connected to radios, so you can communicate with your team whilst keeping your hands free and eyes on the job at hand.


If non-IS accessories are used with IS radios, the radio system is not Intrinsically Safe, so only approved IS accessories can be used with IS portable radios. IS ratings must be ‘matched’, and the lowest approval level determines the overall IS radio system approval. Make sure you review the IS ratings of any accessories and match them to your IS radio to ensure your IS radio system has the appropriate level of protection.

Our Takeaway on Accessories

Here are a couple of recommendations when purchasing radios and the accompanying accessories based on operating conditions…

  • Working in a noisy environment? Trial remote mic’s or earpieces with your radios. This ensures optimal productivity and safety at all times. Also in some radios the db can be increased, ask your MiningTelecoms agent about this audio feature
  • Operating over 8 hours per day, purchase spare batteries and always have them charged
  • In a remote location with no power look at purchasing vehicle charges
  • In adverse, tough working conditions look at purchasing leather two way radio carry cases. These will protect your radios, saving you time and money
  • Consider investing in multi-bay recharges for teams of 6 or greater. Radios are kept in one place, and charged overnight. One less thing to think about the next day…a flat radio battery!

All accessories come with a 1 year warranty. Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.

crane tait personalization

Multiple COLORS, label options, not just black…

Reliable, resilient, functional, efficient. These are all requirements for the workplace communications tools you need. But what about personalization? Does the radio need to be visible? Need to identify talk groups or add functionality? Or perhaps you want to label individual radios? There are many reasons why organizations need flexible, personal radios.


Traditionally, portable radios are black. That may be handy if you need to be discrete, but more often than not, black radios just cause frustration and waste time when they cannot be found. So although it sounds trivial, having a choice of colors is important. High visibility radios are the safest when on a construction site or mine site for example, where you need to be able to locate your radio at all times.


Portable radios that come in a variety of colors are functional, too. Different teams within organizations often have their own unique communications requirements, and their radios may be programmed with different channels, talk groups, or functions according to their needs. Assigning a different color to each person or team helps them identify the portable with the right functions for their duties.


Radio labels are an easy, affordable, and completely customizable way to manage your fleet. Labels can contain any information that helps to identify the radio. This information makes fleet management easier if the radio is lost, or you need to know where a particular portable is, and who is using it. Labeling also makes it easier to track performance of individual units, and users can be held accountable if damage occurs.


Another reason to personalize your radios could be to match them to your organization’s branding guidelines. This way, you can make your radios recognizable and make a statement with your brand colors, or promote your organization with a logo and contact information. Some radios are even able to show your organization’s logo or emblem on the start-up screen.

Our Takeaway on Personalizaton

If you have teams operate in different zones, you are able to colour code the radio case at around $30-$60 per radio.

Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.

Future Proof Radio Systems

can your radio evolve as your business grows?

Protecting your investment is extremely important. What is sufficient today, might not meet your needs in the future. As technology keeps advancing, new features become available for portable radios. To meet the ever-changing business environment you need the flexibility to add functionality and seamless migration options to new technologies when you are ready to upgrade.


When you purchase a radio, you want it to give you options to work with other equipment and evolve when necessary. Open standards like P25 and DMR offer choice; you avoid the pitfalls of proprietary hardware and software and you can operate multi-vendor radio solutions with the mix of devices, infrastructure and applications that best meets your needs. Flexible, defined interfaces avoid the risk of stranded investments.


Suppose you want to save costs initially, and purchase radios without a screen. But what if your organization grows and adds more working sites, or decides to partner with other organizations for communications? You would need more keys and a screen to select channels and use text messaging. If this is the level of flexibility you need, choose radios that allow you to customize them and add these features without having to buy an entire new fleet of radios.


When radio settings need to be changed or updated, you don’t want operations to stop. For easy and efficient management of your radio fleet, choose a software solution that can configure and manage your radio fleet from a centralized location via Over The Air Programming (OTAP).

OTAP eliminates the need to send out a technician to program radios, or bringing radios in for reprogramming. This means you don’t have to shut down operations to allow technicians access to radios, and gives you the ability to apply updates when it suits you.

There are different bearer options for OTAP. Certain radios can use the existing LMR infrastructure for reprogramming anywhere in your coverage area, but does interrupt your network during that time. Alternatively, there is OTAP over WiFi, which won’t interrupt your LMR network, but does require radios to be within an nominated WiFi coverage area. If you are after OTAP functionality, choose the OTAP option that works best for you.

Our Takeaway on Future Proofing

The good news in the digital world, two way radios have come a long way. You are able to purchase multi-mode (analog & digital) portable radios that will help you transition as fast or as slow as you please.

The bad news is digital radios and software can be expensive. Therefore its a good idea to complete a cost benefit analysis before pressing the go button.

Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.


Portable radio users work in a range of environments, but what they all have in common is that they cannot afford any communication breakdown. Users of noncritical, business-critical or mission-critical communications, all of them need communications equipment that is totally reliable, so they can be sure their calls are heard.

  • A proven track record in delivering critical communications solutions
  • Genuine support for open standards and non-proprietary solutions to give you freedom of choice
  • The ability to tailor communications solutions to your needs, now and in the future, with solutions that are made to evolve, helping you get the most from your investment
  • Strong local partners and support structures in place to help you when you need it

To find the perfect radio solution that matches your needs and work environment, it is important to factor in all these aspects – hardware, radio standards, a reputable vendor and strong support – so you can have total confidence in the device in your hand, now and in the future.

Call MiningTelecoms to discuss the best solution for your business.