Emergency Two-Way Radio Gear, Info, Programming & Consulting
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Serving Preppers, Families, Business, CERT & Public Safety
Better Safe Than Sorry!

Two-Way Radio FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

General BetterSafeRadio Store & Site FAQs

BSR ReadySafeGo™ is the signature BetterSafeRadio service that guarantees that all of our radios are charged, programmed (for all pre-programming options) and tested before they ship. Just Say No to DOAs! 😉

We know what it's like to order a new radio (especially an emergency radio) and have it arrive dead or have to charge it for hours before you can use it. You can use our radios with confidence, right out of the box!
No. You do not need a license to purchase or operate these radios. However, transmitting on some bands such as GMRS, HAM & LMR (business) do require a license.

See the 2-Way Radio Info pages for more information about specific radio service/band licensing requirements.
Realistically, handheld radios are going to give you from 1/2 mile to 2 or so miles, give or take. In the city, this will be on the lower end, and in rural settings with only a few minor obstructions, you can see a communication range of 2-7 miles, possibly more.

We don’t make bogus range claims that you’re going to get 30+ miles with a 2-5 Watt radio like you see on the cheap blister-pack radios from the superstore, but we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well these pocket radios actually perform.

As well, with our hi-gain whip antenna upgrade or an external mobile-mount or roof/tree-mount antenna (for emergency or base station use), you will see a significantly improved talk range, even when communicating with another stock handheld.
Of course! Join us on Facebook and Twitter, where we periodically share special coupon codes. As well, you can check out our Two-Way Radio Promo Codes page for ongoing discounts & coupons.

TERA TR-505 TR-500 TR-590 Two-Way Radio FAQs

The TR-505 is FCC Part 95E & Part 95J Certified for use on the GMRS or MURS bands (only one band at the same time).

The TR-500 & TR-590 are FCC Part 90 Certified for use on the LMR (business) bands.
For emergency use or a real SHTF situation, many believe that all bets are off and any Part 90 radio can be used for Part 95 services (GMRS/MURS), but that's technically not true per the FCC rules and it's up to each user to comply with FCC regulations, regardless of how we program your radio for you.

These radios are also Part 97 usable on the HAM (Amateur Radio) bands by any licensed operator.

See the product pages for the FCC IDs.
Yes! They are all rated IP54 dust & water (splash) resistant. I wouldn't take them swimming, but they can handle some limited spray, rain, sand & dust, etc.
Yes! All of these radios have a detachable antenna which can be replaced by alternate third-party antennas or external antennas. They use a Male SMA connector, so antennas must have a Reverse-SMA connector (short Motorola threads work best), or you can use a Female to Male adapter or cable, which we sell.

Many users report dramatically increased range using our high-gain whip antenna, and we also sell a stealth "stubby" flexible antenna for covert use, two mobile mag-mount antennas for greatly extended use in vehicles, and Ed Fong commercial & ham role-up (and base) antennas, which deliver amazing range and portability. Generally, longer antennas will provide more operating range.
You probably accidentally enabled the Channel Lock feature from one of the side-buttons. This feature locks your radio onto the current channel so it can't be easily changed, which is great for less-experience users or when yo want to make sure you don't accidentally bump and change the channel. You can unlock the radio by holding down the appropriate side key for at least 1 second. This feature is typically assigned to the middle side-key on many of our pre-programmed radios, but you'll need to refer to your radio's programming chart to be sure.
Yes! While most of our pre-programmed radios do not have this feature turned on (only our TR-505-MURS & TR-505-GMRS so far), you can request via our custom radio programming options that this feature be assigned to one of the programmable side keys on the radio so you can toggle the VOX Mode on and off.

As well, via free programming software and a TERA PRG-50 USB Programming Cable, you can turn this feature on and configure several sensitivity variables to suit your desired operating environment.

See the other FAQ on this page about compatible accessories like our Voyager M1 Headset.
1 - Launch the free software (Win 7, 8 or 8.1 - also works in Parallels on a Mac), open a programming document (or work from the default one that comes up).
2 - Plug in the USB cable (it should automatically load drivers the first time).
3 - With the radio off, Plug the cable into the radio audio ports on the right side (you have to peel the rubber port cover down to access).
4 - Turn the radio on (just on is fine, no need to turn volume up).
5 - Do a Get or Send in the software - Click "Okay" in the software to start the transfer - the radio will flash - the app will let you know when it's done (only takes a few seconds) and the radio will stop flashing.
6 - Turn off the radio, then unplug the radio side of the cable.

Note: You can find the free TERA programming software on the PRG-50 USB Programming Cable product page.
You can download free radio programming software for the TERA TR-500, TR-505 and TR-590 below the description of the PRG-50 USB Programming Cable. You can also find it on the Powerwerx.com site.
While the AAA-50 is officially meant only for alkaline batteries and damage caused by other battery types may not be covered under the TERA warranty, we have the following official statement about using the new Li-ion AAA cells, which have been tested to actually put out about 9V total instead of the 7.5-8V that most alkaline batteries deliver when installed in the AAA-50:"While the radio will accept a slightly higher capacity battery, TERA recommends Alkaline type batteries due to their known safety of use and storage." -TERA Head EngineerUnofficially, the TERA TR-5XX-Series radios have been tested up to about 9.9V input before taking damage, so they should be save with the 9V indicated above, but we do not recommend going over 9V using the AAA-50.
While we can't guarantee compatibility 100% and damage caused by the use of 3rd-party accessories may void your warranty, the TERA 500-Series radios are typically compatible with Motorola 2-Pin "M1" format analog accessories such as speaker mics, headsets, earpieces (including some for VOX Mode), helmet audio kits, and remote PTT switches, etc. Of course, any most Reverse-SMA antennas will also work (short Motorola threads work best).
Yes! Because of some translation issues and unintentional ommissions, there are a few features that are not included (or not obvious or often overlooked) in the TERA TR-590 manual, as follows:

– While transmitting, you can rotate the channel selector knob to cycle through all 3 power levels. This temporarily changes the power for that transmission only, returning to the level set in memory after you un-key.

– While transmitting, you can press any of the buttons on the keypad to generate DTMF "touch" tones, sometimes used for repeater access and remote control applications. We haven't yet confirmed that the tones are all correct, or which specific keys are for "A, B, C and D", but we know they work.

– The 590 includes a stopwatch function. We do not have it enabled, but it can be when requested as part of a custom programming order or with the free programming software and a TERA PRG-50 USB Programming Cable. The function is accessed by assigning it to one of the side keys.

Stay tuned for more TR-590 tips as we discover them.

Many more questions & answers coming soon!

Receive News, Info & Discounts via Email QST