Licence Free Communications

Licence free radios (walkie talkies), DMR standard Tier I products that operate in the 446MHz band, do not require a licence making them ideal for consumer or small commercial operations.

10 things to consider before buying walkie-talkies (unlicensed two-way radios)


  1. Unlicensed or licensed?
  2. Reliability
  3. Build quality
  4. Coverage
  5. Size
  6. Durability
  7. Compliance
  8. Compatibility
  9. Battery life
  10. Support


1. Do you need unlicensed or licensed?

Unless you need a two-way radio system that can be operated by multiple users over great distance, you do not need to buy a licensed two-way radio. If you think you may require licensed two-way radios please call us and we can advise you. Chatterbox sells licensed two-way radios and also offers short and long term rental.

FYI: 446 just refers to the fact that the radio is for use on unlicensed frequencies.

2. Reliability

As we’ve said you get what you pay for so if reliability is very important then invest in professional quality radios. All our Hytera radios come with a two-year guarantee. In the unlikely event of something going wrong with them in that time it’s good to know you’re covered, and if you have any queries about using them then you can call us for support.

3. Are the radios going to be used in testing conditions?

In this instance, look out for ‘IP’ within the specification list of the handsets. Ingress Protection classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of dust, water and even fingers. The two digit numerical code after the IP will tell you just how effective the handset is.

If you are looking for a radio that will be robust and resilient, we suggest the Hytera Pro Rugged (Hytera POWER446) , which has achieved Dust/Water Protection Class IP66, this means it’s dust tight and that “Water from heavy seas or water projected in powerful jets shall not enter the enclosure in harmful quantities”. Good to know!

4. What distance will you be using the radios over?

No radios however expensive will work where a physical obstacle obstructs the signal and it is important to be mindful of this, particularly for some applications e.g. skiing. Manufacturers can indicate a range but this will probably be the range that can be achieved under optimum conditions, i.e. over open flat ground, and as range is significantly reduced by obstacles in the path of transmission, achieving this maximum range will depend on your environment, i.e. in a high-density city environment or if a hill or large metal object is in the way, range may be dramatically reduced. Licence free radios are ideal for small-site, same-building and line of sight outdoor activities. If you need advice just call us.

5. Are size and looks important?

If, for example, you are using the radio front of house in a hotel, restaurant or shop it might be important to have a discreet smaller radio. The Hytera Pro-entry (Hytera TC-320 446) is ideal if you’re after a light, more compact two-way radio.

6. Are the people who will be using the radio not too gentle?

If you need a hardy light-weight two-way radio, the Pro-Standard Radio (Hytera TC446S) is ideal. Offering excellent battery life and enhanced voice quality, it is ideal for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution.

7. Are you using the radios abroad?

All our Hytera radios, like all 446 unlicensed radios, can be used anywhere in the UK and mainland Europe. If you are travelling outside this area you will need to investigate which radios are suitable.

8. Are you intending to use your Hytera radio with others you already own?

Our Hytera radios can be programmed to either analogue or digital so will work with most other two-way radios

9. How long do you need the radios to work between charges?

If you need your two-way radios to last more than an average working day the Hytera Light Weight Pro Standard (Hytera TC446S) and the Hytera Pro Rugged (Hytera POWER446) both offer longer battery life power enabling you to transmit and receive, on a 5-5-90 basis, i.e. transmit (talk) 5% of the time, receive (listen) for 5% of the time and be on standby for 90% of the time, for around 24 hours. You can also buy additional batteries.

10. Can you get support and advice if you need it from your retailer?

Your choice of radios and how much you spend depends entirely on what you are intending to use them for. If they are for your children to play with you’ll be fine with something from a toyshop but if you’re buying them for your business you need to invest in the right radios for the job. Basically, you get what you pay for. The two-way radios we supply are Hytera professional quality products, backed by a two-year guarantee.



Good to know: The main benefits of two-way radios


If your workforce currently communicates using mobile phones, you have no doubt experienced the pitfalls of a method reliant on a system that can crash for multiple reasons, ranging from bad weather to a fault with the actual network. Whatever the cause, there is usually not a thing you can do about it so you or your employees are left incommunicado. With a two-way radio system, the only loss of communication will be through (very occasional) battery failure and that can be rectified and addressed immediately. Airwaves never crash.


Two-way radios are an immediate, fuss free way to communicate with individuals or multiple groups of people. There is no dialling, waiting for an answer or getting an engaged tone. The recipient can immediately tell who is communicating with them, they learn the nature of the interaction and can respond instantly. And, because two-way systems are closed systems, your colleagues do not need to field unwanted calls from unauthorised contacts. Two-way radios are the communication industry’s answer to an invite only party.

Multiple channels

With a two-way radio you can choose a multi-channel system with one channel for each department within your company. That way if you wish to speak to a single staff member about a matter that only concerns their department, you will not disturb your entire workforce with matters that don’t concern them. As your organisation grows so too can the number of channels and handsets.

Group calling

You may be able to conference call using your mobile phones but this relies on everyone having their lines free at a specific time. With a two-way radio you can communicate with an entire group at the push of a button.


Because your workforce can be contacted instantly and everyone can hear what everyone else is doing, there is a level of intrinsic safety that comes from this. Leaving you, the employer satisfied that you are looking after the welfare of your staff and your workforce feeling confident that their well-being is of the utmost importance.

Cost effectiveness

No call charges, licence fee or training expenses, minimal running costs, and no facility for making personal calls.