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General Questions

Yes, with important stipulations.  No items can be returned more than 30 days from the original invoice date. 

If you purchase a product from our web site and decide that you no longer want it, we can offer you a refund if all the following criteria are met:

- The product must be unopened, and in resalable condition.

- The exterior of the package must be free from damage or marking of any kind.

- We must receive the returned item within 30 days of the original purchase date.

Returned items must be mailed to the below address:

Radio Depot

61 Industrial Park Drive

Hendersonville, TN 37075

Attn: Your Provided RMA #

Yes!  All items that we sell are factory fresh with full manufacturer’s warranties.  We are an authorized dealer for all items that we sell.

Being a top level dealer for our main brands, we get maximum discounts from the manufacturers and we pass these savings on to you.

Absolutely not!  We can handle your warranty claim no matter where you reside in the USA.  All you need to do to initiate a warranty order is contact us with your information and information on the defective product and we will email or fax you paperwork and instructions on how to begin the warranty process.  It’s that easy!

Yes, in most cases. A single out of warranty repair can cost over $200.  In the days before circuit miniaturization, a radio repair technician at a typical radio shop could use a soldering iron and replace components on a radio board.  Modern radios now have surface mount components that are smaller than a grain of rice and which require hot air-based repair equipment and special fixtures that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This makes the repair of these radios unfeasible for anyone but the manufacturers.  The minimum cost for a manufacturer repair is in the area of $200 with many radio repairs now approaching $400.  Purchasing the manufacturer’s extended warranty at time of purchase is always the most economical option.

This differs depending on the manufacturer but most cover failure of the radio due to normal use.  Dropping the radio from more than 10 feet, running over it with a truck or forklift, dropping it in a mud puddle or spilling a chemical on it, in most cases, would not be covered under the manufacturer’s standard warranty.  However, there are warranties available on some models that would cover failures due to these causes.  Most accessories and batteries are warranted for 12 months while most low end radios have a 12-24 month warranty.  Motorola XPR series radios now come standard with a 60 month warranty (18 months on IMPRES batteries).

Radio Questions

These designators refer to the frequency bands that the radios operate in.  In general, VHF radios operate in the 138-174 MHz band, UHF radios operate in the 400-512 MHz band and 800/900 radios operate in the 800-900 MHz band.  VHF radios are recommended for outside only applications in rural areas.  UHF radios are recommended for indoor and outdoor applications in urban areas.  800-900 radios are recommended for applications in population dense, city applications with many reinforced concrete buildings.

In most cases, the answer is no. VHF radios only work with other VHF radios, UHF with UHF, etc.  Motorola offers some extremely high end radios that will talk across all bands but these radios often cost in the many thousands of dollars.  Beware of recently introduced Chinese products that claim to support both VHF and UHF bands.  Practical use has shown these products to offer inferior performance in both bands.  The old adage “You get what you pay for!” applies to communication products also.

Range is not specified by any manufacturer because so many factors can influence it.  Range is obtained from a combination of transmit power and antenna height and is affected by any potential interference between radios.  This interference can be any combination of terrain and structures.  No radio will talk through a mountain from one side to the other without a repeater located on top of the mountain which has a direct path to each radio user.  Likewise, talking in a city environment where many reinforced concrete buildings are between users will greatly affect range.  Each environment where radios are used is unique and will produce a unique coverage area.  Typically, you can expect a 1-2 mile useful range with most full power radios.

No.  To reach the 20 mile range claim on those radios, conditions would have to be perfect and the users would probably each have to be located on the top of a mountain with a direct line of sight to each other.  While it is certainly possible for a portable radio to talk to another radio 20 miles away, most radios only can communicate within a few miles of each other.  VHF radios tend to talk the furthest with the limitation that they don’t penetrate structures well.  UHF radios tend to penetrate structures better than VHF but they don’t go as far as VHF.  800/900 give maximum penetration in buildings but their range is typically much less than UHF.  As a rule, the lower the frequency the greater the range but lower the penetration into structures and the higher the frequency the shorter the range but higher the penetration into structures.

The main advantage of digital vs analog is usable range.  Digital radios typically offer a 20-25% increase in range over analog radios.  Also, unlike analog radios, there will never be static with a digital radio.  Digital radios can be programmed to work with both digital and analog frequencies whereas analog radios can only be used with other analog radios.  Finally, battery life is greater on a digital radio when used on a digital frequency.

Some users require many channels.  For example, a construction foreman may move between several job sites during the course of a day.  There may be 16 channels being used for different tasks at multiple sites with each site programmed differently from the others to avoid interference.  A radio with multiple 16 channel “zones” would allow the foreman to easily switch his radio to the specific zone upon arrival at that specific site.  Likewise, many public safety agencies support surrounding communities for mutual aid in the event of a catastrophe.  Dozens of agencies may need to communicate with each other in the event of an emergency so their radio frequencies can be pre-loaded into the radio before they are actually needed. 

The IP Rating System defines how well equipment performs under harsh environments.  If the equipment has an IP rating specified, then the manufacturer has tested the item to the test specifications for that rating.

For a complete overview of the IP Rating System and examples of what the ratings mean, please view the document listed here.

Battery Questions

NiCd is an old technology that produced heavy batteries with relatively low capacity and which were very susceptible to memory effect – a condition where the charger thinks that the battery is fully charged but it isn’t.  They also have been labeled an environmental hazard.  Due to these factors, NiCd batteries are no longer shipped with radios.  NiMH is a newer technology that produces higher capacity batteries and is less susceptible to memory effect. However, NiMH still produces batteries that tend to be heavy.  Li-ion is the latest technology which produces lightweight, high capacity batteries that do not suffer from memory effect.  Most newer radios use Li-ion batteries.  The negatives of Li-ion batteries is that they are more expensive than the other technologies and that they do not work well at extremely cold temperatures.  With this being said, Li-ion is the recommended choice for most applications.

This will depend on the amount of time that your radio is transmitting, receiving or doing neither.  Transmitting uses the greatest amount of battery power followed by receiving. You may see a manufacturer claim a typical 12 hour battery life for a particular radio/battery configuration. All manufacturers use a 5/5/90 calculation (5% transmitting / 5% receiving / 90% idle) when specifying typical battery life.  In a nutshell, the more you transmit, the less time you will have between charges.

In most cases, no.  Most chargers do not operate correctly when the radio is on while being charged.  Also, using the charger as a stand to hold the radio between conversations is not recommended when optimal battery life is desired.

Possibly.  Most chargers will rapid charge the battery and then will maintain a trickle charge after the rapid charge period completes.  When a trickle charge continues for extended periods, the battery heats up and outgasses its electrolytes creating a “dry cell” which will lead to unsatisfactory performance.  It is recommended that you place your battery in the charger when you leave for the day and remove it completely from the charger during use.  If you will not be using the radio for weeks, it is recommended that you do not leave the radio in the charger during this time.  There is an optional charging system for some radio models which can support batteries being left on a charger for extended periods of time. Motorola offers the IMPRES battery and charger system which does allow batteries to be left on the charger for extended periods as both the battery and charger contain microprocessors which communicate with each other and prevent overcharging.

Most batteries, if properly maintained, will last between 300-400 charge cycles which typically equates to 12-18 months.  Motorola IMPRES batteries typically last 18-24 months with the warranty being 18 months.

All Motorola batteries sold in the last 5 years have a four digit date code stamped on the label which shows the approximate date of manufacture. 

This date code is of the format "YYWW" where "YY" is the last two digits of the year and "WW" is the week of the year. 

For example, "1850" would be the 50th week of 2018 or the week of 12/10/2018.

Keep in mind that Motorola usually marks this date code to be 3-6 weeks after the actual manufacture date to allow for time in inventory before being sold.  Always keep your sales receipt to assist you with any warranty claim.

Motorola's warranty on most batteries is 12 months (18 months on IMPRES batteries) and this warranty policy will replace a battery that will not hold at least 80% charge during the warranty period.

ICOM batteries have a date code stamped on the battery label with the format being dependent on the battery model.

The document here will provide additional information.

Most ICOM batteries have a 12 month warranty.

Accessory Questions

Yes, the use of stubby antennas will typically reduce range.  The lower frequencies (i.e. VHF) are more likely to be affected than UHF and 800/900.  Therefore, stubby antennas for VHF, while available, are not recommended where range may be an issue.

No. While most accessories will work, there are some accessories that will not work with certain radios, even though the accessory plugs into the radio properly.  For any questions concerning compatibility, please contact our sales staff for assistance.

VOX is not supported on all radios.  Also, VOX, while an attractive sounding solution for hands-free operation, in practicality only works well in quiet environments.  VOX configurations cannot tell the difference between voice and other noises which can lead to the radio transmitting at unwanted times.  Therefore, we do not recommend the use of accessories in VOX mode.

Programming Questions

If you are purchasing radios that need to work with any existing radios that you have, we need to know (1) the receive (RX) and transmit (TX) frequency for each channel, (2) the PL or DPL tone for each analog channel, (3) the digital ID (Motorola) or RAN code (ICOM) for each digital channel and (4) the channel name (if defined).  Also, if you want option buttons programmed on the radio to perform a specific task, we need to know this info.  Note that it is always best to provide a master radio from your fleet for the first order from us so we can ensure all current options are programmed in your new radios.

In most cases, no.  With a few exceptions, most radios require a computer running special software hooked to the radio via a special cable in order to program it.  Most software has to be licensed for legal use via the manufacturer.

Scanning allows you to listen to multiple frequencies. This is desirable if a user wants to hear all traffic on multiple channels.  This feature is usually enabled and disabled via a programmable button.

Normal scanning proceeds sequentially thru each channel in the scan list.  If the scan list is long, it may take a while to return to your primarily used channel resulting in missed transmissions.  Priority scan alters the scan process by starting on the priority channel, moving to the next channel on the list and always returning to the priority channel before continuing to the next channel on the list.  This minimizes missing a call on your main channel.

Absolutely!  We never password protect a radio's programming info unless specifically asked to do so by the customer (and the password would be provided).

FCC Licensing Questions

In most instances, yes.  The exceptions are certain Motorola Radios (DTR series), WiFi only radios, LTE radios, and VHF radios set up for low power transmissions on Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) frequencies.

The choice is yours but the FCC can issue fines of up to $10,000 a day per occurrence. For additional information on FCC licensing, go to www.fcc.gov.

"NarrowBanding" is a mandate implemented by the FCC and which was fully implemented on 01/01/2013.  This mandate requires all radios used in the VHF and UHF bands transmit with a 12.5 kHz "narrow" bandwidth. 

All radios set up for 25.0 kHz "wide band" use must be reprogrammed to 12.5 kHz narrow band operation. Older radios which are incapable of narrow band transmission must no longer be used.  This entire process was put in place in order to create more frequencies in the radio spectrum (the range of frequencies available for use in each frequency band).

The fines from the FCC for continuing to transmit wide band after 01/01/2013 can be substantial.  

For additional information on this subject, reference the document below:

FCC NarrowBanding Document

Absolutely not. While it is expected that the FCC will eventually force digital only radio use sometime in the future (due to digital's more efficient use of available spectrum), this has not been implemented at this time. 

Be wary of any scare tactics that some salespeople may use to try and force you to upgrade your analog radios to digital.  Analog radios are still legal for use at this time as long as they are capable of, and are programmed for, narrow band operation.