Two-way radio communication has been around for decades. It has numerous applications in the modern world and is relied upon in many different industries.

However, two-way radio communication wasn’t always what it is today. The use of two-way radios has a rich history behind it that’s made it what it is today. 

To learn more about these unique devices and how they work in the modern world, it pays to know a little bit of the backstory. Let’s travel back in time and learn about the history of two-way radios.

The Origins of the Two Way Radio

There’s quite a bit of debate as to when the first two-way radio came into existence. This is partly because two-way communication was used as early as 1907 when it was used in commercial and military settings. Radio communication was used across the Atlantic ocean and was made available not only to private military groups but to public businesses as well. 

However, in terms of the two-way radio, this device didn’t appear until 1923. In 1923, a member of the Victorian Police in Australia developed the original two-way radio. Frederick William Downie, the man who came up with the two-way radio invention, wanted to develop a way for policemen to communicate while in their cars. 

The radio was a roaring success. It allowed police offers to quickly communicate with one another, even when they were in opposite parts of the city. This stopped tedious check-ins that the police force was required to do every half-hour so that the team knew where they were and what they were doing. 

On top of that, this two-way radio system meant that policemen could now notify others on the force of issues as they were taking place. The response time for policemen suddenly went way down, making crime less prolific around the city and helping to put a stop to a number of crimes. 


It wasn’t long before word of Downie’s new system spread around the country and across the globe. Pretty soon, the two-way radio was being used in other businesses to help improve response time across other applications, too.

Advances in Two-Way Radio Technology

When two-way radios were first invented and placed in police cars, they were enormous. In fact, they took up the entire back seat, making them fairly inconvenient when it came to transporting suspects or criminals. As such, inventors began doing their best to see how they could modify two-way radios to save space. 

As we know, the modern two-way radio is significantly smaller. It can fit in the palm of your hand rather than taking up the back seat or trunk of a vehicle. 

With the evolution of the two-way radio came new applications, too. Because inventors were able to find a way to reduce the size of the two-way radio, it suddenly became far easier to transport the radio and ensure that signal didn’t get lost while out and about. 

In fact, two-way radios were quickly installed in ships. Captains were able to use two-way radios to communicate with lighthouses and bases onshore to navigate rough seas and alert each other of emergencies. 

Plus, military personal were able to use the radios to communicate with one another in the trenches. They could suddenly use the radios while moving on land and on the sea, rather than simply from hefty, land-based locations that were packed with chunky pieces of equipment. 

Two-way radio systems also began to be used in other public safety situations, such as fire fighting or EMT teams. Both these applications allowed society to become a safer place, thanks to the improvements made to Downie’s original invention!

What to Know About Modern Two-Way Radios

Two-way radios have come a long way since they first entered the scene back in the 1900s. In fact, today, two-way radios can be used for just about any application under the sun. 

For instance, systems that used to be used exclusively for institutional use can now be purchased as toys. Kids can pay a few dollars for a simplified two-way radio system, known as a walkie-talkie, to use in make-believe games. 

On top of that, emergency vehicles and first responders have been able to use two-way radio systems to tackle public emergencies with better speed and accuracy. Thanks to two-way radios, they’re able to transmit important information to one another in an emergency and can cut down on response time to public safety issues.

Probably the most common modern-day use of two-way radio systems is in firefighting teams. When one firefighter enters a burning building, they use a two-way radio to communicate with their coworkers who are still outside the building. This helps them communicate whether or not it’s safe for more people to enter the building and tackle the fire inside. 

Outside of emergency situations, two-way radios are seeing increasing use in private businesses. Construction crews, telecommunications teams, and more use two-way radio systems to communicate with one another on the job.

Use a Two-Way Radio in Your Business

Now that you know about the two-way radio’s evolution, you can see why these devices gained popularity. And, you can understand why they’re such a great tool to have in any industry in the modern world, too. 

Are you ready to implement the use of two-way radio communication in your business? Get a quote from the team at BK Fire Radios and start using these incredible devices in your own business.