How Does a Two Way Radio Work? (Asked by Neil from Reading)

Hi Neil,

Did you get a two way radio set from Santa by any chance? Lol.

Anyway, onto your question…

A two way radio basically is a radio that can send and receive signals. If a radio can both transmit and receive, it is known as a transceiver (see what they did there?) Two or more users can use a transceiver in order to communicate on a shared channel.

Essentially, a two way radio works by receiving radio waves through the air and broadcasting a return signal. The antenna on the radio houses a series of electrons, which dictate the channel being picked up by the user (different groups of electrons will respond to different channels). These electrons translate the radio waves into electrical impulses, which are then fed to a small processor. The processor then converts the impulses into a signal and the radio’s speakers then play that signal. The whole process, amazingly, is pretty much instant.

Two way radios convert sound into radio waves and also convert radio waves into sound. Ergo, I can speak to you, like so:

Chris: “Hi Neil. Can you hear me? Over”

Once I push the PTT (push to talk) button and speak, the vibrations of my voice shake a small membrane inside my radio’s microphone (not a million miles removed from the one that exists in the human ear). My radio’s processor then converts those vibrations into a simple electrical signal. The radio pushes the signal to the antenna, which then pushes it out on the audio channel selected.

The electrons in your antenna become excited (steady on there, fella!) and translate the waves into electrical impulses, which are then ‘decoded’ by the processor and played out via your speakers.

So, you hear this on your radio and you reply.

Neil: “Hey 2wayradionline. Yeah, I can hear you just fine. Thanks for the answer. Over”

Whereupon the entire process takes place all over again.

And so on…

I hope that answers your question. Have fun, 2wayradionline.co.uk!