5th Oct 2017
Released On 5th Oct 2023
The Best Two-Way Radios For Agriculture and Farming
(UPDATED 5TH OCTOBER 2023)
RadioTrader supplies a vast range of two-way radio equipment into the UK agricultural industry. We'll show you the most popular solutions available on the market today and the most frequently asked questions we're asked by farm-workers and contractors.
Why is radio communication so beneficial in farm work?
- Use radios to coordinate co-workers, vehicles and machinery during busy planting amd harvesting time
- Monitoring livestock around the farm, co-ordinating the safe movement of livestock between grazing areas or farm buildings
- Radio communication can be an essential tool aid for lone workers in remote farm locations. Keep in regular contact, and if an emergency situation arises, safety features on some radios quickly trigger an alert (Lone Worker and Man Down functions, designated emergency button, etc).
Do I require a licence?
The most frequently asked question that farmers ask us about two-way radios is if they require a licence. The simple answer is yes, two-way radios require a licence, unless you are using licence-free (PMR446) walkie talkie units, which we would not recommend for effective use on a site as large as a farm. A basic radio licence will cost around £75.00 for five years use, but RadioTrader can apply for this on your behalf to save you any worry. More detail about radio licensing here.
Do I need a repeater / base station?
No, most agricultural sites won't need a base station or repeater to get the coverage they need, they can be used on a radio-to-radio basis. Repeater base stations are introduced when customers require coverage on a greater scale, typically around 15 miles.
What range can I expect?
Range is dependent on the terrain you are using the radios in, but a quick chat with us can point you to a radio solution that is best suited to the terrain of your particular farm. A basic "back-to-back" radio set-up will provide between five to eight miles of coverage. For most farms this ought to be perfectly adequate, but if needed, the range can be increased by installing a repeater system, or looking at an alternative wide-area system.
Are two-way radios easy to set up and maintain?
Yes. Most radios need minimal programming, and RadioTrader can do this for you if required. Just chat with us when you order your radios if you need help with this aspect. Our recommended radios below need very little maintenance, and are chosen for their ruggedness and ease of use. Aside from charging your radio at the right time, there's very little else to do.
Sometimes I need to speak to other contractors. Is this possible?
Yes, of course. RadioTrader has supplied a large number of two-way radios to users needing to speak to different contractors around the farm and beyond. Our most popular radio solution for agricultural sites is a simple 8-channel set-up: this allows you to have your own site communications from channels 1 to 4, and a further 4 channels to speak with contractors or even to keep in touch with other local farms. We simply require frequency information if they have existing radios.
Analogue Two Way Radios
An analogue two-way radio system is seen as the ideal cost-effective starting point if you are new to radios, or looking to upgrade from older CB units. Incidentally, if you're still wondering if you shouldn't just stick with your CB radio, or use your mobile this article gives a lot of information about the benefits of switching over.
Tractor Solution - Tait TM8110
For use in tractors and other agricultural vehicles, we find that the Tait TM8110 two way is a clear favourite in this category and decided to create the ultimate Agri Two Way Radio Kit. Our Tait TM8110 Agri Kit has been created to offer a one-kit solution, by using the TM8110 and partnering this with an impressive earth independent antenna and wing mirror mount.
For further information regarding the Tait TM8110 Agri Kit please click here.
Handheld Two-Way Radio Solution - Hytera BD505 DMR
Our recommended handheld radio that can switch easily between analogue and digital modes is the Hytera BD505 DMR. The BD505 is a small, compact and extremely cost-effective two-way radio with good communications range, excellent reception sensitivity and noise-cancelling technology for high audio quality, even in noisy environments.
The radio can be switched quickly and easily between analogue and digital modes, making it ideal for those users upgrading their older analogue networks to digital, whilst maintaining a similar price class with superior digital transmissions.
Digital Two Way Radios
Over 95% of radios manufactured these days are now digital. Digital radios offer clearer voice transmissions and increased coverage (around 20% better than standard analogue radios). Another benefit of digital radios is their ability to work in Analogue mode. This means that current analogue radio systems can slowly upgrade by purchasing digital radios in analogue mode, making the cost easier to manage.
Vehicle Solution- Hytera MD615
Our most popular digital vehicle solution is the Hytera MD615 digital mobile. This mobile combines a robust external design that is IP54 rated and has a compact housing providing a sleek and professional look. Feature-rich, the Hytera MD615 also has the ability to provide GPS positioning (optional upgrade) and Bluetooth capability (optional upgrade).
Handheld Two-Way Radio Solution - Hytera HP705
The Hytera HP705 provides more efficient, clear and reliable communication, in a thin and lightweight design (29.5mm thick and 290g in weight).
- Loud and clear audio
- Excellent connectivity and coverage in areas that were not previously possible
- Powerful battery
- Rugged - waterproof to a depth of 2 metres for up to 4 hours.
There's also a more advanced version which benefits from GPS (GPS, GLONASS, GPS+GLONASS) and integrated Bluetooth 5.0 BLE+EDR. View the Hytera HP705G.
Push To Talk Over Cellular (PoC)
PTT over cellular has been on the market a long time, however since the commercial 4G LTE rollout and faster data speeds, this is now a wide-area solution that should be seriously considered. PoC radios use cellular data networks to offer wide area communication between devices, and they offer reliable performance in the UK and Europe. Unlike two-way radios, you do not require a licence to use them.
Icom has recently released a PoC device called IP501H and out of all the devices we have tested, this is the market leader.
Icom IP501H Key Features
- IP67 Submersible
- Compact ( 59 x 95 x 32mm)
- Lightweight ( 240g)
- Full-Duplex Communication
- Multiple User Communication
- Priority Interrupt Calling
- High Quality Clear Audio Using G.726 Vocoder
- Individual, Group, Talkgroup, Multiplex Talkgroup and All Call
- Emergency Button, Lone Worker, Man Down
- Vibrate Alert Function
- Text Messaging
- 500 Memory Address Book
- Voice Message Recording
- Built-in Bluetooth and GPS
- App Monitoring - Monitor The GPS Positioning Of Your Fleet
For further information on Push to Talk Over Cellular please see our LTE / POC Network Radio Page.
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