The radio is an interactive item added in IWBUMS 33. It allows the player to listen to radio broadcasts, including music stations, news reports, and military stations. Some radios are two-way; in addition to listening to broadcasts, they can be used for distance communication in multiplayer games, or simply to "throw your voice".
Stationary or Portable
All radios can be used either as stationary furniture, or as portable equipment in the primary or secondary slot, although ham radios may be prohibitively heavy to carry. Likewise, they can be found in containers as lootable equipment, or sitting on counters and desks as furniture. To convert a furniture radio to portable, pick it up like any other furnishing:
- Enter "Pick Up Mode".
- Highlight the tile containing the radio.
- Cycle through the tile's objects if needed (default key R).
- Click to add the radio to your inventory.
To convert a portable radio to furniture:
- Put the radio into your personal inventory, not a bag and not equipped.
- Enter "Place Mode".
- Click the radio in your inventory.
- Click the desired tile to place it.
How to Use
An example of the interactive radio interface.
All radios require batteries to function, but every radio is found with a full battery included. (This applies even to "furniture" type radios, and is in contrast to televisions which always use wall power.) To use a radio, right-click it in the inventory or the world and select "Device Options" to open a control panel window. Here you can see information about the radio's specifications and current settings, power it on or off, remove/replace the battery, adjust the volume, add earbuds for stealthy listening, mute the mic on a two-way, and select and edit preset frequencies.
Two-way radios will transmit and reproduce voices at a distance. "Voices" includes both the Shout command used to draw zombies' attention, and chat messages in multiplayer. This can be prevented on the transmitting radio by muting the mic. The reproduction will be silent to nearby players and zombies if the receiving radio is using earbuds; otherwise, it will make noise in the environment depending on the volume setting.
The obvious use of this is for communication on multiplayer servers that have disabled global chat, but it can also provide a single-player tactic: throwing your voice to draw zombies where you want them. Place a radio anywhere, power it on, and tune it to a given frequency. Make sure it has no earbuds, and pump up the volume. Then tune a portable two-way to the same frequency, go to anywhere else within the transmitter's range, and Shout. Nearby zombies should converge on the receiving radio where you can evade them, snipe them from a rooftop, or—if you feel especially daring—toss a Molotov.
Radios come in a variety of styles and qualities. The range of available frequencies varies, and two-way radios can vary in strength (i.e., transmission range).
- Consumer radios: Receive only, lightweight, commercial frequencies only.
- Walkie Talkies: Short-range two-way, lightweight, more frequencies.
- Ham radios: Long-range two-way, exceedingly heavy, most or all frequencies. Earbuds cannot be used. Ham radios are best used as stationary furniture in a safe location.
Frequencies and Broadcasts
Most radios will be found with one or more preset frequencies, usually one of these local commercial stations:
- There are also "hidden" broadcasts on non-commercial frequencies, which include civilians noting military presence, and military broadcasts. You are free to add presets for any frequency in the radio's spectrum.
- Throughout the first week of the infection, news media and music stations will report on The Knox Event, and give the player outside information on world events, including riots, curfews being put into effect, and eventually, the breaking of the quarantine.
- It has also been confirmed that both scripted and non-scripted radio broadcasts will still occur after media blackout.
- The frequency of the Automated Emergency Broadcast System varies each game. Simply find radios in the world with that station preset.
All radios can be dismantled with a screwdriver, producing a variety of components such as Amplifiers and Electric Wire, as well as a small amount of Electrical skill XP. Note that, while every radio comes with a fully-charged battery, (Depreciated, dismantled radios give the player the battery starting prior to build 38) the battery is not salvaged when a radio is dismantled. To avoid losing the battery forever, you must use the Device Options panel to manually remove it before dismantling the radio.
Recipes that use the Electrical skill to produce radios from components can be unlocked by finding the right magazines.