Two-way radios can have multiple channels. In some cases like the MURS radios, there are only 5 channels available. Other radios typically have up to 10 channels available, or you can program them to only use one channel.
One thing about a two-way radio is that when you press the Talk button and speak, everyone on that channel will hear you. If you have individual departments in your business that you want to separate, then this isn’t the ideal solution.
That’s where you can use the multiple channels on the radio. If you are in a manufacturing environment for instance, you could set up Channel 2 for Shipping, Channel 3 for the Office, Channel 4 for Manufacturing, and so on.
You can use the channels sort of like an intercom system that lets call individual people or groups instead of broadcasting a message to everyone. So the Shipping people keep their radios on Channel 2, but if they need to talk to people in the office, they change to Channel 3.
Some handheld radios also have a scanning capability that also works well for this type of application. You can actually program the channels you want to scan, and the radio will only pick up conversations for the channels you have programmed.
In the example above say you add a Channel 1 as the Broadcast, Paging, or All Call channel. Now you set each radio to scan not only their department channel, but also the Paging channel as well. So if there is need to broadcast a message then anyone can change to Channel 1 and everyone hears the message. This is a great emergency notification system.
However this tactic really only works well for unlicensed radios or where you can use multiple channels. If you require an FCC license using multiple channels is prohibitive. There is a feature called privacy codes that can simulate the same capability. With privacy codes a radio will remain quiet if it does not receive a code along with a transmission. So each radio in a group could have a different privacy code and if you want to talk to that person you have to change your radio to match their privacy code. This is best done by selecting the person's name from a calling list.
Two-way radio channels enable you to implement your radios in a way to give you maximum productivity.