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Infographic: Digital vs. Analog Radios

If you are learning about radios, it is vital to grasp the important thing differences between digital and analog radios. It would take an extended technical article to elucidate all the main points of the digital versus analog radio debate, and that will be overwhelming for beginners, so we’ll give a simplified Flashcards version as a substitute.

Most consumer-grade two-way radios and walkie-talkies are analog, meaning they send information (i.e. your voice) in a way Continuous wave. Digital radios process information into binary data packets (ones and zeros), that are transmitted by radio and converted back to sound by the receiver. Instead of a continuous wave, the digital signal is intermittent.

In practice, which means the standard of analog transmissions progressively decreases with increasing distance. If you might be near the boundaries of analog radio range, voices could also be distorted or drowned out by white noise. Digital two-way radios, then again, keep the sound loud and clear until the tip of the coverage area, at which point it signals completely cut out.

Pros and cons of digital radio

For the sake of brevity, we’ll leave you with among the general pros and cons of digital radio:


  • Clearer sound quality
  • Longer usable range
  • Up to 50 percent longer battery life due to low standby power consumption
  • Capable of transmitting voice or data (text messages, GPS coordinates, caller ID, etc.)
  • The ability to “split” channels to permit multiple users to speak privately at the identical time
  • Wide range of encryption and privacy features


  • Much costlier than analog
  • Programming has a steep learning curve and infrequently requires special (expensive) hardware and/or software
  • Most systems are designed for corporate use with dozens of radios, making features unfriendly for private or family use

Digital and analog radio infographic

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