Features of a radio

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Radio handsets vary in design but we are now going to look at the common features of radios. Your radio may not have all these and others may have all of them but they are basically all the same. The first part we will look at is the antenna or the aerial. You will require different antennas for different frequencies to be able to operate on a frequency in the most efficient way. Handsets that are just 3G and 4G have a very short antenna or some do not have one. UHF have a shorter antenna than VHF as they tend to transmit further. It is important to have the right antenna for the handset you are using. On the antenna, you can add a coloured loop to easily identify different handsets. The channel selector knob is usually a rotary switch and it clicks between channels and the new channel will be displayed on the screen or it will be read out by the radio.

Other simpler radios just have numbers and white lines so you can see the channel that you are on. Radios have an emergency or a panic button and these are usually recessed so there is less chance of accidentally pushing it and you usually hold it down for three seconds. Different systems use these in different ways and you can program the radio. It is common for all radios in the group to be activated and you can program some to send a text message to mobiles with your call sign and location. The Push To Talk button or PTT button is common on most radios. Some app-based systems, you have to touch the screen or you can choose to touch the screen or the PTT button from the settings. They are commonly coloured in some ways so they are easy to see. As you push and release them, you can program them to beep and one thing that new users forget is that you must keep the button pressed while you are talking. The beep helps you to remind people to keep pushing the button while they are talking.

There are often other buttons on the side that are pre-programmable. These could be set in the Settings Menu and you can set them to do what you want to, like Volume, Run Apps, or other radio features. The battery is typically on the back and can be easily replaced. Charging it is via a table-top stand or a lead that plugs into the back. Depending on the type of batteries, these can last for several hours or days. Different brands have different sizes of screen and some do not have a screen at all. The screen is one part that can get easily scratched, so it is a good idea to have a screen protector on the front. Most screens are colour and they give a lot of information and this is how you see the settings. The buttons that have the white lines on the top of the keypad are pre-programmable or they are function buttons to adjust the settings or they are just Okay and Back buttons. The red and green buttons allow you to use the handset as a normal phone unless they can be programmed to do other things. The keypad allows you to text and enter alphanumeric data to the handset effectively.

In the back of the SIM card slots, some have one, others two, the SIM card is inserted and clipped into place so it does not move. There may also be another slot and this is for an SD card to increase the capacity of the handset. Some handsets allow you to record the conversation and this is stored on the SD card. Others use the SD card to expand the memory for apps, data, or photos. Handsets also have features like GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to allow more ways to connect to accessories and data. Cameras, whether front, rear or both-facing allow you to take pictures and video to be taken and they can also be used to hold video calls. This allows control to see what you are looking at to gain a better understanding of what the situation is. This is a summary of the basic features of a radio. Different handsets have different features and even identical handsets may be programmed to do different things, so always make sure you know how to use the radio that you are using and check that its configuration is correct before using it.