The Basics of Operating Motorola Radios

This blog is ideal for you if:

  • You are a first time or infrequent two-way radio user
  • You are renting a two-way radio system for the first time
  • You have just joined a team that uses two-way radios

If you’re new to using Motorola radios in New Jersey, we can help. With a few helpful hints, you can be utilizing all of the great features two-way radios have to offer in no time. One of the great benefits of using New Jersey Motorola radios is their simplicity and intuitive use. 

Some industries have a consistent flow of new or infrequent radio users who may not be as familiar with how Motorola radios work. Event or festival staff, holiday retail staff, new or substitute teachers or construction crews using temporary workers are a few examples of this.

Industries that are already using Motorola two-way radios may require additional radios temporarily for special projects or during peak seasons. In these situations, it doesn’t make sense to invest in extra equipment that you will just have to store for months out of the year when not in use. Instead, you can opt to rent additional equipment.

Use our free Radio Selector Tool if you aren’t sure which radios are right for your needs. 

How to Use Your Motorola Radios

Set the Channel

To operate your portable or mobile radio ensure that you are on the same channel as the user you want to communicate with by adjusting the dial at the top of the unit beside the on/off/volume knob.

Turn Unit On/Off

Turn on the unit by turning the on/off/volume knob clockwise until it clicks. To turn off turn counterclockwise until it clicks.

Adjust the Volume

Adjust the volume by continuing to turn the on/off/volume knob clockwise about halfway to make sure you can hear incoming communications. To turn it down adjust knob counterclockwise.


To talk you will push the large push-to-talk (PTT) button on the side of the unit. It’s important to remember that you can either talk or listen, but you cannot do both at the same time.

You must keep the button pressed the entire time that you are speaking, and then let it go to hear incoming transmissions.

Once you’ve pressed the button, wait about one second before you begin speaking to ensure that your first few syllables aren’t cut off.


It’s a good idea, although not a requirement, to get into the habit of saying, “over” when you have finished speaking to indicate to other users that they can proceed with their reply. 

Two-Way Radio User Tips

Slow Down, Speak Clearly and Simply

Unlike a phone, someone is waiting for you to say what you have to say, and they can’t tell you they didn’t understand you until you finish speaking. To avoid that and have your message heard use your normal speaking voice. Speak slowly and clearly about 3 inches away from the microphone and choose words that are easy to understand.

Identify Yourself to Your Intended Recipient

Since a group of users may share the same radio channel, identify yourself and your intended recipient(s) and then wait for confirmation that they have heard you and are available to communicate.

Keep it Brief

You want to get straight to the point and keep your messages short. If you are going to relay a longer message, it’s nice to give a warning at the start of the message.

Keep Confidential

Communications Off the Air
As mentioned, a group of users may share the same radio channel. Therefore, unless you know for certain that a channel is properly secured and encrypted do not communicate confidential, sensitive, or private information.

Wait Your Turn

Since only one person can talk at a time, when another user is communicating you must wait your turn. And repeatedly pressing the PTT button will get you nowhere. Unless of course, it’s an Emergency.

Use Apps to Increase Safety Features

Apps like Lone Worker, Man Down, and indoor/outdoor GPS tracking can improve safety in case of emergencies.

Check Batteries

Always make sure the batteries are charged for the next user. This is highly important in industries that operate 24/7 and rely on radio communications, such as first responders and healthcare.

Still have questions about how your two-way radio works? Our team of New Jersey Motorola Radio Experts can help get you and your radio up and running in no time.


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