FAQ and Basic Tech Support

GENERAL

Rugged Radios Location

Rugged Radios is located on the sunny Central Coast of California, just minutes from the Pismo Dunes, in Arroyo Grande, CA.

Shipping Address:

Rugged Radios
951 E Grand Ave
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

For warranty, returns, exchanges, and programming please fill out our Return Form.

Hours of Operation

Monday through Friday (Except Holidays)
8am to 5pm PST

Saturday (Phone Sales & Support Only)
8am to 5pm PST

Sunday (Phone Sales & Support Only)
10am to 3pm PST

Showroom is open to the public Monday through Friday

Does Rugged Radios have a showroom?

  • We do have a showroom! Come visit us during normal business hours or catch us at a event, race, or trail ride.

Do you repair products?

  • Our in-house technicians will happily repair your Rugged Radios equipment. Please complete the Return Form for service requests.

When will my order ship?

  • Outside peak holidays and sale events, we generally ship orders received before 12pm PST the same day. Expedited orders (Next-Day, 2-Day, etc.) must be received by 1pm to meet pickup times. Although we make every effort, we cannot guarantee same day shipping. Upon shipment you will receive a tracking number via email. Delivery signature is required on ALL orders over $750 (including shipping charges). Rugged Radios is not responsible for any customs or VAT fees on international orders. Rugged Radios will not modify any invoice or declared value from the original price paid.

What is your return policy?

What sets Rugged radios apart from the competition?

  • Our customer service is second to none! We offer the best products for the best prices possible. We stand behind our products with a 3 year warranty!

What is your Warranty Policy?

We guarantee our Radios, Intercoms & Headsets to be free from manufacturing defects in material and workmanship under normal use for a period of three (3) years from the date of purchase. All other Rugged Radios branded products carry a one year warranty. Standard warranty does not apply to clearance and demo items.

In the event that an item is found to be covered under the defective parts or workmanship warranty, Rugged Radios, at its discretion, will either repair or replace the product; such action on the part of Rugged Radios shall be the full extent of Rugged Radios' liability and the Customer’s sole and exclusive reparation.

Rugged Radios shall not be responsible for any damage resulting from water intrusion, mishandling, abuse, misuse, improper storage, or improper operation of the device, including use in conjunction with equipment that is electronically or mechanically incompatible with, or of inferior quality to, the product, as well as failure to maintain the environmental conditions specified by the manufacturer.

Warranty Registration is required for warranty to be valid. All warranty claims must be returned direct to Rugged Radios along with a complete return form and copy of original purchase invoice. No warranty exchanges will be performed by dealers, at trade shows, or at events unless prior authorization has been arranged by Rugged Radios.

How do I become a dealer?

Can you ship internationally?

How do I return or exchange something?

RADIOS

Why do I hear noise, feedback, buzzing, or humming in my headsets or helmet kit?

  • Most noise or feedback issues are related to improperly routed cables.

    First, make sure your communication equipment is wired directly to the battery of the vehicle.

    Next, make sure your antenna's coaxial cable is routed properly; not coiled, and not routed alongside headset or power cables.

    Finally, make sure the antenna is not placed directly above the radio or battery.

    Please give us a call if your problem persists: 1-888-541-7223

Why am I experiencing a buzzing or humming noise in the intercom on my 2021 Canam X3?

  • The 2021 Canam X3 features a more powerful stator that causes increased electrical noise in the center tunnels and lower end of the vehicle. To resolve, the antenna coaxial cable should be routed up the A-pillar and along the roll cage to the antenna. Also consider moving the headset cable along the sides or along the roll cage to further reduce this noise.

Do radios require an FCC license?

Rugged Two-way radios operate on radio frequencies that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A license is required to transmit on these frequencies.

To ensure our customers are operating in compliance of FCC Rules and Regulations, Rugged Radios has licensed:

  • 10 nation-wide commercial band frequencies (35 Watt)
  • 60 area-specific commercial band frequencies (60-Watt)
  •  

These frequencies/channels are available to transmit for business, recreational, or race use. For a list of channels and areas licensed, please click here.

Under this FCC license, Rugged Radios' customers are authorized to transmit on Rugged brand mobile and handheld radios only, on the pre-programmed channels, in the locations designated by its license.

Rugged is continually furthering this license. If you’d like to see a new area licensed, call us at (888) 541-7223.

Can I program my own radios?

  • Yes! For radio programming software, cabling, and information contact RT Systems. To apply for your own frequency / channel, contact Forest Industries.

Where should I mount my Antenna?

  • Mounting your antenna properly determines the range of your two-way radio. A metal roof with an antenna mounted in the center with no obstructions (roof rack, light bar) 18" in every direction provides the farthest range.

    Roof Racks - Mount the antenna at the highest point of the rack. Use a no ground plane antenna.

    No Roof - Pick a spot in the middle of the car. The intersection of two tubes can also act as a ground plane. Mounting the antenna to a corner triangle tab and using a no ground plane antenna will work best.

    Do not run radio coax and intercom helmet cables in the same wire loom. RF can bleed over when transmitting, putting noise into the system. Never run coax or power cables near MSD or igniton equipment. They create noise and if the coax is too close to the MSD, transmitting can even power the vehicle off!

    When tie wrapping the coax to the frame, do not crush the coax. If your coax looks flattened, kinked, frayed, or worn, replace it!

    For more information, please read our Installation Tech Guide.

Does my Antenna/Coax need to be "grounded?"

The power is grounded through the radio but when the coax is touching metal (aluminum, steel or even carbon fiber) it also helps to create a ground plane from the metallic surface/roof - increasing your radio range.

If mounting to a plastic or fiberglass roof and there are no intersecting metal bars, using tin tape in a 36” cross will help push the antenna signal up and out instead of down and into the car, causing interference and reduced radio range.

How can I maximize my range?

  • Read our blog post about maximizing the range of your two-way radio.

Why can't I transmit on certain channels?

  • Rugged Radios has gone to great lengths to license a variety of frequencies for its customers. Some channels, 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. Click here to view a list of Rugged Radios FCC Licensed Channels.

How should I conduct myself over the airwaves?

Why can't I transmit, or 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.

VHF or UHF?

  • 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. Learn more on our blog.

Does my antenna need to be tuned?

Click here for instructions about antenna installation and tuning.

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.

What is the transmission range of your radios?

  • Transmission range varies per model. Please see product descriptions for details.

Will my Rugged handheld radio talk to the mobile radio in my car?

  • Our V3 and RDH handhelds (UHF & VHF) will communicate with our new RDM digital mobile radio, as well as the discontinued RM-60.

How long does the battery last on a handheld radio?

    • On a full charge, you will experience a full day of normal use from your Rugged handheld.

INTERCOMS

Why do I hear noise, feedback, buzzing, or humming in my headsets or helmet kit?

  • Most noise or feedback issues are related to improperly routed cables.

    First, make sure your communication equipment is wired directly to the battery of the vehicle.

    Next, make sure your antenna's coaxial cable is routed properly; not coiled, and not routed alongside headset or power cables.

    Finally, make sure the antenna is not placed directly above the radio or battery.

    For more information, please read our Installation Tech Guide.

    Please give us a call if your problem persists: 1-888-541-7223

Why am I experiencing a buzzing or humming noise in the intercom on my 2021 Canam X3?

  • The 2021 Canam X3 features a more powerful stator that causes increased electrical noise in the center tunnels and lower end of the vehicle. To resolve, the antenna coaxial cable should be routed up the A-pillar and along the roll cage to the antenna. Also consider moving the headset cable along the sides or along the roll cage to further reduce this noise.

How do I connect my Rugged intercom to a Bluetooth enabled device?

  • Click here for information on Bluetooth pairing.

How do I set voice activation (VOX)

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

Note: Remember clockwise increases VOX sensitivity.

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.

I am having an intercom/radio problem, can you guys fix it?

    • Give us a call - we're here to help. Our experienced technicians are only a phone call away: 1-888-541-7223.

HELMETS

What is the difference between a DOT, M, and SA Rated Helmet?

  • DOT standard are set by the US Federal Government for on road use. SNELL standards are much higher and are normally required by racing sanctioning bodies. Most Off-Road Sanctioning Bodies require SA Rated helmets. SA is the Automotive Rating, while M is the Motorcycle Rating. The SA Helmet requires a flammability test, has a narrower field of vision and includes a rollbar multi impact test while the M helmet does not.

How long is my helmet good for?

  • We recommend replacing your helmet every 5 years. If your helmet has been involved in a serious impact, we also recommend replacing it. Most Off-Road sanctioning bodies allow the current SNELL year and the previous making SA 2010 and SA 2015 legal. An SA 2015 Helmet should be "legal" until the 2021 Rule books come out.

What is the difference between DOT and SNELL rated Helmets?

  • DOT is the Department of Transportation. The SNELL Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that sets tougher testing guidelines for helmets. For more information and Impact Test Comparison Tables, visit the SNELL website.

How to properly Fit and Size a helmet?

  • Never buy a used helmet or borrow someone else’s helmet. Over time the protective foam in helmets will adjust to the contours of a user’s head. A used or borrowed helmet may not offer as much protection as a new helmet. Please remember: Helmets will "break in" with use. It is important that the helmet fits as tight as one can comfortably withstand to wear. Wearing the wrong size helmet can increase your risk of serious injury or death in an accident. A helmet that is too large for your head may be dislodged or knocked off in an accident.

TECH

Do you have installation instructions?

  • Click here to browse our online instruction and tech guide library.

What is a Ground Strap, and do I need one?

  • Grounding your intercom system is critical for system performance. Poor grounding can result in RF interference, engine noise, poor performance, and decreased range. Our GS-KIT offers a ground strap for both the intercom/radio system, as well as the antenna. The ground strap should be used when mounting the antenna on non-metal surfaces. Our Active Filter actively suppresses noise generated through the charging system, power supply, or RF interference.

What is a radio jumper?

Microphone Placement

  • Always have the microphone centered left to right and top to bottom directly in front of your mouth and project your voice directly at the microphone. This is even more important for soft spoken people and children. DON'T YELL! You should never have to yell into your microphone, in fact yelling or excitement often makes you even harder to understand. Try to remain calm (which can be tough in a race environment), relax, take a deep breath, know what you want to say before you begin speaking, and clearly talk out, directly into the microphone.

Having issues with low transmission audio with car harness system?

  • Mic Orientation: Make sure the raised side of the mic is towards your lips. Mic is labelled "Front" and "Back", position the "Front" side towards your lips.

    Mic Placement: There should be no gap between your lips and the mic. These are noise cancelling mics for extreme environments, so mic sensitivity is low. The mic should be close enough that it’s touching your lips.

    Mic Covering Thickness: Your mic muff may be too thick causing the mic to be too far from the mouth. We recommend switching from a foam covering to a cloth cover which will close the gap between the mic and your lips.

    Radio Gains Are Set: Our radios have the gains adjusted to accommodate this setup with dynamic mics. However, other brands of radios may have their gains set too low to work with a harness in which case switching to an electret mic (if compatible, consult your radio manufacturers about mic compatibility) or switching to an intercom system may resolve this issue.

Why should I connect my radio/intercom to the battery?

  • The battery acts as a natural audio filter and helps filter electric noise.

How do I mount the antenna?

  • Click here to learn how to properly mount your antenna.

Digital or Analog?

  • Read our blog to learn about the differences between digital and analog radios.

Radio and Intercom Installation Tips

  • Learn radio and intercom installation tips on our blog.

Grounding Your System

  • Proper grounding of your communications system will improve overall performance and reduce excess RF noise from charging systems, HID lights, power steering, electrical accessories, alternator, poor wiring, or other random electrical sources. Learn more about proper grounding on our blog.

How to get the most out of your handheld radio?

  • 1. Charge your batteries.
    2. Get to higher ground.
    3. Avoid obstructions.
    4. Don’t hold your radio upside down.
    5. Upgrade your antenna.

    Read our blog for more details.

How to use an SWR meter

  • With a basic understanding of SWR meters, you can test your radio setup to ensure the best performance. Click here to learn.

GPS

What GPS is right for me?

  • Lowrance is great for racing and Garmin is perfect for overlanding and recreation. Click here to shop GPS.

Lowrance Product Manuals

When I insert a mapping card, my GPS freaks out, freezes or restarts.

  • Some Lowrance Software versions do not work with popular .lcm mapping files. If your GPS doesn't read a mapping card, inserting a card slows the GPS, freezes it or constantly restarts it - check your software version.

    For compatibility with all mapping cards, we recommend the following versions of software:

    Globalmap: Any
    Trophy: 1.0
    Elite 5m Baja: Any
    Elite 7 TI: 18.2 or 5.0
    Elite 5 TI: 18.2 or 5.0
    HDS Gen 2: 2.5
    HDS Gen 1: Any
    HDS Gen 3: 18.2 or 7.0
    HDS Carbon: 18.2 or 4.0
    Elite 7 HD: 4.0

How do I edit GPS waypoints on my computer?

Error Parsing Waypoint when trying to import a file

  • We've run across a few GPS units with the "Error Parsing Waypoint" message when trying to import a .usr file. By updating to the latest software version, you can eliminate this problem. If a software download isn't possible in the field, a quick option is to convert the file to a GPX file instead of .USR. Keep in mind converting to GPX may remove some features like icon selections.

    To solve many GPS issues, we recommend the following versions of software:
  •  
  • Elite 7 TI: 18.2 or 5.0
    Elite 5 TI: 18.2 or 5.0
    HDS Gen 2: 2.5
    HDS Gen 1: Any
  • HDS Gen 3: 18.2 or 7.0
    HDS Carbon: 18.2 or 4.0

    After downloading the file, copy the unzipped files onto a blank SD card (not the card with the mapping). Power off the GPS, place the card into the GPS unit and turn the GPS on. Call us if you need additional help.

Create a trail using Google Earth

We have found the best way to create a trail on the computer is to use Google Earth.

1) Download and install Google Earth
2) Right Click on My Places and create a new folder
3) Click on the "New Path" Icon on the menu bar.
4) Start at the beginning of your trail and keep clicking to create points along the path. The more clicks, the higher the resolution. The fewer clicks, the straighter the line in between each point.
5) Change the name of your path and click ok.
6) Find the new path you created in My Places (hopefully in that new folder you created)
7) Right click on the entire folder if multiple paths or just the one path if that's all you want to export and left click on Save Place As.
8) Name your file, select a location to save and change file type to .Kml
9) Go to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/gpsbabel/
10) Type of GPS Data you want to convert: Tracks
11) Input file Format: Google Earth (Keyhole) Markup Language
12) Output file format: Lowrance USR if using an older GPS, GPX XML if using a newer touch screen GPS
13) Upload your file and click on convert the file.
14) Click on your file to download.
15) Save to a chip and load/import into your GPS!
16) Cool tip: Check out the section under Create Graphics with GPS Visualizer. If you click on one of those links it will show your trail in Google Maps, Earth or as a .jpg image.

SPONSORSHIP

How do I become part of Rugged Radios Racer Program?

  • Are you an offroad racer? Click here to fill out our sponsorship form.

Will Rugged Radios sponsor my vehicle?

Will Rugged Radios sponsor my event?

Your cart

×