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What Is a Tri-Band Radio?

Helen Akers
Helen Akers

A tri-band radio is a communication device that has the ability to transmit and receive on multiple frequencies. Some of the potential frequencies include short-wave, VHF, UHF and BC band. Most tri-band radios are mobile devices and can switch back and forth between at least three frequencies. They are often used by licensed professionals who need the ability to communicate on dedicated or underused radio channels.

The appearance of a tri-band radio is somewhat similar to the early mobile phone models or the radio devices used by retail store personnel. Most radio transmitters and receivers will have an external antenna, along with a dial button that gives users the option to switch frequencies and channels. Each channel allows a certain amount of communication at one time, which is why the tri-band option can be a useful advantage.

Woman holding a disc
Woman holding a disc

Licensed radio broadcasters typically get permission from the government to use a certain amount of channels at a predefined frequency. Different types of frequencies tend to have various technological capabilities, such as the way sound waves are transmitted, how many conversations can occur simultaneously and the distance the transmissions can travel. For example, short-wave bands tend to allow larger distances between transmission and receiving points or stations. Tri-band radio opens up the possibility of being able to communicate with a wider audience.

Mobile tri-band radio devices may have number pads that resemble a touch-tone telephone. These can be used to pick up or tune into a specific frequency band and most of the devices will also have a digital display that indicates what band the radio is currently tuned into. Mobile radio devices can be useful for those who need to communicate with each other over certain distances. Several professions and industries use these types of devices to encourage and facilitate communication between workers.

One of the industries that makes use of tri-band radio devices is retail. Since a retail location may have several managers who depend on each other to coordinate activities, these devices can help break down temporary communication barriers. For example, managers may be located in different parts of the store and may need to get instant assistance or advice from each other. Rather than taking the time to find each other in the store and take the potential risk of losing the customer's business, mobile radio devices substitute for face-to-face interaction.

Some cellular phones come with a built-in dual-band or tri-band radio capability. This service usually only works between subscribers of the same carrier and the phones typically feature a radio push button. Subscribers may be charged for the airtime under separate rates.

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