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FAQ and Basic Tech Support

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I transmit on channels 16 through 22?

Rugged Radios has gone to great lengths to license a variety of frequencies for its customers. Channels 16-22, however, have been previously licensed by other businesses, organizations, or government entities. Rugged Radios has provided these as Listen-Only channels for recreational use. This eliminates the possibility of our customers transmitting on those frequencies and causing radio traffic problems for those entities when they need communication the most.

How do I set voice activation (VOX)?

Rotate the VOX and VOLUME all the way clockwise, putting the mic in an open state. Listen for the ambient sound picked up. Slowly rotate the VOX counter-clockwise one click at a time until the ambient noise is silenced. Now set VOLUME at about 50%, position the mic AGAINST THE LIPS, and begin speaking. You should hear your own voice (Side-Tone). Adjust volume for comfort. If your voice does not open the mic, increase VOX slightly. If the mic opens too easily, decrease VOX slightly. Remember: clockwise increases VOX sensitivity.

How should I conduct myself over the airwaves?

Please see our Radio Etiquette Guide

Why are my transmissions quiet/silent?

If you’re not on a Listen-Only channel (see above), there are three likely causes of this: Improper mic placement/orientation, swapped PTTs, and hand mic incompatibility. If you are ‘keying’ your radio (indicated by the illumination of the TX light) without transmitting audio, check these:

  • Mic placement and orientation are extremely important with headsets/helmet kits. On the stock dynamic (red) mic, the raised portion labelled "FRONT" must be pressed against the lips; an eighth inch distance can absolutely make you unintelligible or even silent to the receiving party. The joke in the shop is that "you should be brushing your teeth with the mic." Remember, though: you can't be soft spoken here, either. You're still going to have to project your voice into the mic.
  • If your PTTs are swapped, you would be pressing one PTT while opening the mic of the other position within the vehicle. Without changing anything, try reaching over and pressing the other PTT to transmit. If you’re loud and clear, your Driver PTT is plugged into the Co-Driver’s port and vice-versa. Crew positions do not have PTT/radio access, and can only communicate within the vehicle.
  • It's important to note that you will not be able to transmit from an intercom if the hand mic is installed. We recommend the hand mic remain in the vehicle in case of emergency, but again, it will hinder the transmission through the intercom. This is because the pigtail going from the radio to the intercom is actually tapping into the hand mic circuit, so when you press the PTT to open, let's say the driver's side mic, you're also opening the hand mic at the same time.

Why is my music quiet?

The volume is controlled by the streaming device. If it’s set to max, VOX is likely opening your mic and attenuating the music. Please see the instructions above to set your VOX.


The short answer is that VHF will perform better for longer distances with less obstructions, while UHF is better for passing between obstructions at shorter range. Remember: line of sight is a requirement for both of these bands.

Does my antenna need to be tuned?

Our antennas are tuned from the factory for the middle of the range of our radios. It's important to note that tuning is far less critical for the relatively short wavelength of VHF/UHF than it is for CB or HF frequencies. Therefore, we recommend keeping our antenna length as-is.

When we do need to tune antennas, we use an SWR meter and a generic online wavelength calculator to get a general idea to start from. This isn't a 'measure twice, cut once' sort of operation, rather a 'get close and narrow it down in small increments' kind of thing.