Guide to Adding an External Antenna for a Two-Way Radio

If you add an external antenna for a two-way radio, can you increase the range of the radio? Yes! But not all walkie-talkie models have removable antennas or the ability to be used with a repeater. For those radios with removable antennas, a particular model is only compatible with a certain type of antenna. Another option is to buy a radio that is "repeater capable." A repeater receives a signal and retransmits it at a higher wattage or a higher level and in doing that, broadcasts the signal over a longer distance, increasing the range of your two-way radios. Base stations can be connected to an external antenna, which will provide more power and a greater signal range. Note that radio base stations are not portable, so they're meant for those that will be using the radio from a fixed location. They can, however, communicate with portable radios and with repeaters.

Two-Way Radios with Removable Antennas

Certain Motorola radio models come with a removable antenna-for example, the Motorola RDV5100 VHF radio and the Motorola DTR700 digital radio. It all has to do with the compatibility of the connector. If it doesn't specifically say which radio the antenna is designed for, look at your radio's antenna connector. Is it an SMA female, SMA male or J female? Note that Motorola/Vertex has their own standard of SMA connector. Using a long whip antenna will give you increased range when outdoors and if your radio features a removable antenna, you can change to a stubby antenna for more convenient and compact indoor use. However, you must make sure you use the correct antenna for your radio.

Adding a Two-Way Radio Repeater to Boost Signal Range

One effective way of adding an external antenna to a two-way radio is to use the radio with a repeater. This will significantly increase the range of your portable radios. The repeater, usually placed in a high location, receives the signals from the handheld radios and then repeats those signals at a much greater wattage and on a different frequency. It also receives signals and sends them back to the radios. Only certain walkie-talkies can use a repeater. Some of these radios include the Motorola RDV5100 VHF model, the Motorola RDU4160D, the RDU4100 model and Motorola CLPe Series radios. 

Two-Way Radio Base Stations and External Antennas

A base station is a two-way radio that stays in a fixed location. It connects to an external antenna to provide far greater power and signal range than the average portable radio. They can connect to mobile handheld devices as well as repeaters to extend the range even more. An external antenna must be matched (or tuned) to the same frequency that your radio is broadcasting on.