Please school me!

Hello all, this is my first post here, I’m not new to forums though, so ill try to keep this short and sweet.
I’m a field supervisor in the oilfield, I’m in charge of moving drilling rigs, it’s an absolutely amazing job, I love it! Anyway, with that being said, I’m constantly in radio communication with, trucks, cranes, ground personnel and various other pieces of equipment via a handheld uhf radio, provided by my employer. The radio I’m currently using is a Kenwood tk3400, I’m not overly impressed with it. Short battery life, poor range and not great clarity, in my opinion. I’d like to go ahead and purchase my own, personal radio. My question is this, what’s a great radio to purchase, that will fit my needs, and what’s all involved with getting the radio programed to my companies frequency? is this something I can do myself? I only need a radio the operates on 5 channels or so. I apologize for my ignorance, uhf radios certainly aren’t my field of expertise, id love to learn more about this field though. I appreciate anyone’s input and advice, thanks in advance!

If you have access to the company radio specific - which will be the operating frequencies of the 5 channels, plus the system used to prevent you hearing other people’s conversations. Nothing special, but usually a tone buried in the signal that the radio the other end looks for. If it matches, and is present - then the radio lets you hear the call. If it’s a local business on the same frequency, but using a different frequency, you won’t get bothered with their chat. You will interfere with each other, of course, but it’s often quite workable.

The frequencies will be either simplex - where everyone is on the same channel, or they will be duplex, and you only hear the base station, not the other users. Sometimes, these systems get put onto walkthrough mode, where everyone’s broadcasts are re-broadcast by the base station, with higher power and higher and better aerial systems. This increases the useful range and is more reliable.

If you buy a programmable radio, then this can be typed in on the keypad, or on many, done via a connection to a computer. If all your channels are simplex, then take a radio home, and you can find the channel, and then find the CTCSS or other tone, and replicate it. It’s a bit tricky first time, but quite doable.

However - the Kenwood is certainly NOT a poor radio. Audio quality isn’t bad, and range usually fine. The question is, does it perform the same as every one of them the company has, or are you allocated a poor one you can’t change? Range in simplex mode can be surprisingly low, and this isn’t a fault - just a combination of topography, obstacles and aerial efficiency. If you can improve any of these thongs, performance improves.

If your system is duplex, then range should not be an issue. Personally, if you have a Kenwood - then Icom and Yaesu are quite similar in performance. Motorola are of course worth a look. Cheaper radios tend to have tinnier speakers, less strength when you drop them and perhaps a little more complication when programming. Most can have bigger battery packs fitted for longer life.