Seven critical display functions every PMR radio needs

Published: 19 Feb 2016
Author: Bruno Milard
Topics: PMR radios
Reading time: 4 min

You’re used to hearing your radio – as well as receiving the voices of your colleagues, it may well make various beeps and clicks and even talk to tell you what it’s doing.

But what about its visual aspects?

Modern radios have a variety of visual tricks up their sleeves to make using them a lot easier and quicker to use.

1. Easy to see, easy to read

The best, most modern radios will feature a large QVGA full-colour display. Bright and clear, this will give the user the best possible view of the information on the screen, whatever the light conditions. The display may even be automatically switched on or off by smart holder accessories to save battery life when you don’t need to see it.

2. Choose options from the menu

It’s impractical to have to scroll through dozens of menu items to find the ones you want – it’s far better to have a personalised menu list, so you can select only those you really need. The radio will most likely allow your maintenance staff to simplify or minimize the number of menus. It may also be possible to hide all the main menus or show them all.

As well as being quick and convenient, choosing what you see means you can give more attention to your real operational task – and that makes you safer.

3. See your radio mode at a glance?

Is your radio in Network Mode or Direct Mode? Some radios will make it obvious by using different colors – just a quick look and you know what mode you’re in.

Radio mode can be clearly visible on the display

4. Know wherever everyone is at the touch of a button

Imagine seeing on your radio display the distance and direction to your team members each time they press the PTT button, telling you if additional resources are nearby, or how far away your nearest colleague is.

This is what today’s sophisticated radios can give you – you can also share your position with your colleagues by pressing your own PTT. And you can save the position of your colleague as a waypoint, all with a single press of one of the number keys.

5. Pointing your way

If you need to see your position and coordinates on the screen, be sure to choose a radio with integrated GPS or GNSS. It will let you save position data as a waypoint and share it as a text message. Your radio may even guide you to a waypoint, displaying the direction and distance to the location.


6. Night eyes

Working at night or in darkness means you need to preserve your night vision – you don’t want a suspect to get away just because you have been dazzled by an overly bright screen.

So you need to choose a radio that can change the display to darker and less aggressive colours. You also need a radio that can dip the brightness of the display to make it more comfortable to look at.

7. Messaging in a flash

For quick text messaging, some radios let you send and receive Flash messages as they appear directly on the display. Start reading the message without pressing any key - you can even send a Flash message to a talk group to reach many users instantly. 

This infographic sums up the 7 display functions that every PMR radio needs:

7 critical display functions for every PMR radio

(And the following two radios deliver all the 7 critical display functions:)



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