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The Ultimate Glossary of Two-way Radio Accessories (Part 1)

the ultimate glossary of two way radio accessories

Each industry has its own lingo that labels things based upon their functions and features. Hence we have collated some two-way radio lingo that users often search on the net. The guide below consists of common terms you may encounter when browsing two-way radio accessory catalogues. We have also curated a list of recommended products associated with each term below. All the terms are listed in alphabetical order to ease your article navigation. 

Air Acoustic Tube 

Air acoustic tube refers to the transparent coil attached to the transducer (a small speaker on your earpiece) that moves a small amount of air in the tube. Tightly sealed to a transducer-to-tube adaptor on one end and an earbud on the other end, the acoustic tube serves to allow sounds to transfer from the radio smoothly while blocking ambient noise at the same time, allowing messages to be conveyed in a clear manner.

1.  RLN6242– Suitable for low-noise environments, this quick-disconnect adapter contains a translucent acoustic tube that can easily be removed or alternated with a different adapter. The acoustic tube’s detachability is especially handy for those in multiple shift operations. 

2.   PMLN7560– This listen-only earpiece features a short, 7-inch coiled cable and is designed to be plugged into the head of the microphone when placed near or at your shoulder. In terms of features, there is an over-the-ear design speaker with microphone and push-to-talk. Ideal for noisy environments, it is compatible with any remote speaker-mic with a 3.5mm jack on the microphone head.

3. RLN4941 – Designed for all-day comfort with its soft rubber eartip, the RLN4941’s in-ear acoustic tube earpiece that attaches to the RSM allows users to receive incoming radio communications discreetly in a moderately noisy environment. It also features a 3.5mm connector for connection with remote speaker microphones. 

Covert Kit / Surveillance Kit 

A covert or surveillance kit refers to earpieces, especially 2-wire earpieces given how they tend to be more unobtrusive — and in some cases, virtually invisible — than 1-wire earpieces with PTT or other audio accessories such as microphones and over-ear headsets. Most surveillance kits come with a soft rubber ear plug with a transparent coiled tube, allowing discreet communication to be done without drawing attention from others. 

1 – Wire Surveillance Earpiece

Since we’ve briefly mentioned what a surveillance kit is, now we take a deep dive into three types of surveillance earpieces. A PTT (push-to-talk) 1-wire surveillance earpiece comes with a single cable that travels from the radio connector to the PTT unit and then up to the earpiece. Considering that the push-to-talk 1-wire surveillance earpiece has fewer cables than its 2-wire and 3-wire counterparts, users will be required to wear the PTT and mic on their collar or lapel.

There’s also another variant of 1-wire surveillance earpiece (Listen Only) that is void of a microphone and is used solely for monitoring audio or listening to radio communication. This listen-only earpiece does not possess PTT and its cable travels straight from the radio connector all the way up to the earpiece, hence it’s also more cost-effective than the variant with PTT. 

1-wire surveillance earpieces are commonly used by professional staff in the hotel and hospitality industry, personnel from school or academic environments, security teams,  property and building management as well as crews working at events and large functions. These earpieces are suitable for those wearing short-sleeved uniforms or outfits at work. 

1. PMLN6125This black Listen-Only surveillance earpiece features a quick-disconnect, durable and comfortable translucent tube, rugged cables that can power through tough working conditions, as well as a streamlined design, allowing you to have hands-free communication without leaving obscuring the user’s face. The earpiece is also in compliance with the TIA4950 standard hence it’s intrinsically safe. 

2. PMLN6126 – As a beige variant of the PMLN6125, this Listen-Only surveillance earpiece features everything that its black counterpart has, except its colour may blend well with the user’s skin tone, which plays a part in drawing less attention to it from others.  

2 – Wire Surveillance Earpiece 

A 2-wire surveillance earpiece has two separate cables that connect to the PTT/mic unit and earpiece respectively. The first cable travels from the radio connector up to the earpiece, while the secondary cable goes from the radio connector to a PTT or microphone. This design allows wearers to place their PTT/microphone on their lapel/shirt collar or run it down their sleeve and hold the surveillance kit in their palm.   

2-wire surveillance earpieces are great covert accessories to have especially for those working in a setting with discreet communication involved on a regular basis. Given that they can be easily tucked away, most 2-wire surveillance earpieces are utilised by police, high-end security personnel in large hospitality entities like casinos and hotels, crews at racing games or sporting events, as well as employees in noisy environments like factories, construction sites and heavy industries. 

1. PMLN6530Combining a microphone and push-to-talk on a separate wire, this two-wire surveillance earpiece comes with a comfortable rubber eartip connected to a quick-disconnect translucent tube. The translucency as well as the separate wire allow for parts of the wire to be hidden underneath a shirt in order to carry out discreet communication.  

2.  PMLN6129 – Ideal for overt communication, this 2-wire surveillance kit features one wire with an earpiece for receiving transmissions and a separate wire with a combined microphone and push-to-talk. It can either be fastened to the user’s shirt or held directly in front of their mouth. The earpiece is also in compliance with the TIA4950 standard hence it’s intrinsically safe. 

3. PMLN7269 This 2-wire surveillance kit has an in-line push-to-talk switch and microphone    combined on a single wire to make communication more covert for those working in security. Similar to most 2-wire surveillance kits, this one also comes with a clear, comfortable transparent tube with coiled cord and rubber earbud that altogether offer greater comfort for extended use.

3 – Wire Surveillance Earpiece

As with 1-wire and 2-wire surveillance earpieces, the term 3-wire has to do with the cable configuration of a surveillance earpiece. A 3-wire surveillance earpiece features three cables, all of which come from the radio connector. These cables are routed under the user’s clothing.

All cables work in tandem to deliver optimal performance, improved audio gain capability, and more room for customisation, ensuring superb-quality message transmission. Here’s the breakdown of where these 3 cables connect to:

  1. Cable 1: Connects to the earpiece for receiving communication
  2. Cable 2: Connects to the microphone which the user generally clips or pins on their shirt collar or lapel 
  3. Cable 3: Carries a handheld PTT switch that runs down the user’s sleeve 

3-wire surveillance earpieces are commonly used for covert missions involving bodyguards or police officers who are conducting surveillance activities. For those working in office buildings, food & beverage industry, neighbourhood watch teams (eg. RELA), light security, and hospitality entities, 1-wire or 2-wire surveillance kits should suffice on all occasions. 

 1.   PMLN6754 – This 3-wire surveillance kit includes in-line push-to-talk switch microphone and programmable button to enable discreet communication among security personnel. Equipped with IMPRES technology, the earpiece delivers superb audio quality through a clear transparent tube with coiled cord and a snug earbud. 

2. PMLN6755 As a beige variant of the PMLN6754, this 3-wire surveillance kit features everything that its black counterpart has. It combines push-to-talk and microphone, and has a programmable button on the third cable. 

3. PMLN6123 – Compliant with the intrinsic safety standard – TIA4950, the 3-wire surveillance kit has a streamlined design and durable, rugged cables that can withstand extreme working conditions. Its quick-disconnect and comfortable translucent tube enables easy sharing of this kit between shifts.

Earbuds / Mushroom Tips

Resembling the shape of a mushroom, earbuds are also known as mushroom tips. Designed to fit your ears snugly, they are the removable protective parts of an earpiece. Typically made of medical grade silica gel, earbuds or mushroom tips can mould to your ears for a perfect fit, hence they are available in various sizes, shapes and colours. 

Before buying an earpiece, always be sure to check the material of the earbuds. Some low-quality earbuds are made of latex or low-grade silicone which can cause allergies and itches after long periods of use. 

Earbuds will need some maintenance and care from time to time as they tend to have earwax build-up after a long period of use. They can be cleaned with mild and warm soapy water and left to air-dry or wiped dry with a clean rag. 

1.   PMLN6069 – The PMLN6069 is a Mag One earbud with an in-line push-to-talk button and microphone on a single wire. 

2.   PMLN7156 – As a cost-effective solution for light duty radio users, this Mag One earbud is small, comfortable and enables users to send and receive messages discreetly, thanks to its in-line microphone and push-to-talk button.

3.  PMLN5733 – Comfortable to wear at all times, this Mag One earbud features a combined microphone and push-to-talk on a single wire. Capable of operating via VOX Voice Activation, this means that the PMLN5733 can be used without pressing the PTT button which enables hands-free communication. 

Lapel Microphone

As suggested by the term, a lapel microphone (also known as a lav, lapel mic, clip mic, body mic, collar mic, neck mic or personal mic) is usually seen on an earpiece and can be clipped to a person’s collar, lapel, tie, or chest pocket, allowing for convenient hands-free operation. Lapel microphones are generally attached to a 1-wire earpiece with PTT (push-to-talk switch). 

Refer to 1-wire surveillance earpiece above for more information. 

1.  NNTN8459This single-wire surveillance kit has an inline microphone and Push-to-Talk (PTT), allowing the user to carry out discreet communication. Inclusive of a clear acoustic tube for greater comfort, this 1-wire surveillance kit is ideal for private security, rental, retail and hospitality applications.

2.  PMLN7158 – Designed with an in-line microphone and push-to-talk for users who prefer fewer wires, this 1-wire surveillance kit comes with a clear acoustic tube and rubber eartip that provide comfort for extended wear. The user can also conceal the cord under a shirt or uniform whenever necessary.

3.  PMLN7156 – As a reliable and cost-effective solution for light duty radio users, this Mag One earpiece is small and comfortable, featuring an in-line mic and push-to-talk button. Tested and certified by Motorola, it enables users to send and receive messages discreetly.  

Listen-Only Earpiece 

There are two types of earpieces with this Listen Only feature. A user can either “listen only” to the radio or “listen only” to a speaker microphone. While both earpieces function in a similar way, what sets both apart from each other is their cable length. 

  1. Listen only to the radio earpiece: Since radios are commonly worn on the user’s belt, this type of earpiece has a longer cable that measures around 64cm to 89cm, and may include a coil for better flexibility, depending on the brand. 
  2. Listen only to the speaker mic earpiece: As this earpiece is usually worn on the user’s shoulder or shirt collar, its cables are much shorter. A Listen-Only Earpiece for Speaker Mic enables users to have private radio communication at all times.  

1. AARLN4885 – This listen-only earbud comes with an earphone jack that connects to the radio speaker microphone, allowing users to receive incoming communication discreetly with clear, reliable audio. 

2. PMLN7560 – Featuring a short, 7-inch coiled cable, this listen-only earpiece is designed to be plugged into the head of a remote speaker microphone when placed at or near your shoulder. Ideal for noisy environments, it comes with an over-the-ear design speaker with microphone as well as push-to-talk. 

3.   RLN4941 Designed for all-day comfort with its soft rubber eartip, the RLN4941’s in-ear acoustic tube earpiece that attaches to the RSM allows users to receive incoming radio communications discreetly in a moderately noisy environment. It also features a 3.5mm transparent tube for connection with remote speaker microphones. 

For any inquiry regarding the aforementioned components or accessories, don’t hesitate to contact us.