The designers at Icom have obviously been watching Love Island, as just like many viewers they felt a pinch of body confidence issues with their IC-F1000 & IC-F2000 range. Icom has decided to give the manufacturers most popular batch of radios a facelift, implementing a more clean and sleek looking design to rival competitor models.
As an already well established set of radios, Icom has done little to change the functionality of the IC-F1000 and IC-F2000 radios, choosing to instead improve the appearance and feel of the transceivers. There are 3 different models for each VHF and UHF radios with the most basic simply being a black box design, the S version having an LCD display and 4 programmable buttons on the front, and the T version having both an LCD display and 4 programmable buttons alongside a full alphanumeric keypad.
Although a change in appearance has been implemented, each model remains as rugged and reliable as its predecessor, meeting military standards and having an Ingress protection rating of IP67. MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G ensures the radios continuous operation in a variety of different environmental conditions, working through humidity, sand and dust storms, vibration, shock and other severe weather conditions. An IP67 rating ensures the radios durability when exposed to both physical objects and liquid submersion, the 67 rating implies that the radio is entirely protected against dust intrusion whilst also being submersible in water for extended periods of time.
Supplied with a 1570mAh BP-279 Li-Ion battery will allow for up to 14 hours of operation with the radio, ensuring that it is fit to last full shift cycles in whilst in a working or leisure environment. Icom has produced a radio that is not only fit for purpose on a busy construction site but also able to be used discretely in hospitality environments due to its small stature. Standing at just 12cm in height, 5cm in width and 2.5cm in depth the radio is easily placed out of site using the included belt clip or an optional extra carry case, allowing for discretion should the radio user require.
When a customer inquires with us about a new two-way radio system often the first questions asked is about its safety features. The IC-F1000 and IC-F000 range certainly aren’t lacking in this area with such features as an emergency key, emergency call, lone worker and man down functions all being present as standard with the radio. Lone Worker and Man Down work in similar ways, monitoring the activity levels and orientation of the radio respectively, should the radio be inactive or laid on its side for a pre-set period of time then an alarm will sound to other radios or a base station that is connected via the same network.
This batch of radios benefits from improved sound quality, with 1500mW large volume audio from an Icom custom speaker for much-improved sound clarity. A channel announcement function lets the user know what channel they are switching to whilst using the rotary knob, meaning that the operative can keep an eye on what they are doing without having to look down at the radio to ensure they are on the right channel. When needing to communicate hands free the F1000 and F2000 have VOX functionality on all radios, this allows for the radio to recognize should the operative begin speaking and then broadcast the message, this feature being ideal should the user(s) be in a position where it may not be possible to free a hand in order to relay instructions.
Programming radios can be a minefield. So we’ve put together this useful guide to Hytera programming cable and software guide.
Hytera’s DMR digital radios are split into two types, entry tier and mid to high tier. The entry tier is made up of the PD3xx and PD4xx series. The mid to high tier consists of PD500, PD600, PD700, PD900 portable radios, DM615/625 and DM785 series mobile radios and finally RD625 and RD985 repeaters.
The Icom IC-F1000 (VHF) and it’s brother the Icom IC-F2000 (UHF) have undoubtably become one of the best selling radios on the market right now. Not only down to their very small size and lightweight design, but also value having an average retail price of around £150 each *.
* Average price. Current prices are on our website.
But here’s the good news – IC-F1000 and IC-F2000 are getting a facelift. Their physical appearance will look just like the image above. The top half remains largely the same. But the bottom part of the front panel appears to have an inner embossed design which will lively be ideal for dealer branding labels.
Here’s even better news – IC-F1000 and IC-F2000 are also getting a speaker upgrade. The current model has an 800mW speaker. Whereas the facelift model has a massive 1500mW speaker. That means louder and clearer audio.
Radiotronics has developed this amazing multi-radio analogue programming cable for almost all analogue Motorola two way radios that removes the need for a Radio Interface Box (RIB) and hence is considered a “RIB-Less Cable”.
Analogue radios have been used for business purposes from as far back as the 1930’s, although variations were first used by US soldiers back in World War 1. Many companies today may be still using analogue radios as there is no legal requirement to change over to digital, but the additional benefits of a digital two way radio may be enough to sway you towards an upgrade or migration.
In comparison, a digital system can offer a variety of incentives that will help to improve efficiency and safety of your workforce. A wider coverage area allows for radios to be used freely over larger working environments, whilst also having clearer communications at these distances due to the digital voice. Multiple conversations can be had at once using these radios, this allowing for a second channel to be monitored by an entire team for important announcements or instructions.
Should you already have existing radios that are fully operational and not in need of being replaced, there are many radios that are both analogue and digital compatible allowing for a slow migration. With your new digital radios being programmed to have half analogue and half digital channels, this will allow for your old radios to continue in operation with the new ones up until the point where they are replaced, then allowing for the analogue channels to be replaced by further digital.
Here are a few radios and repeaters that may be used in order to help complete a digital migration, although your options may be limited based on the existing system that you have in place.
Kenwood TK-D240/340 The TK-D240/340 are the UHF and VHF versions of Kenwood’s leading two way radio. Available to be used with both analogue and digital signalling types, this radio is unique in the fact that it is capable of recieving both types to the same channel, something that is not a possibility with many other radios. DMR TDMA is a technology that allows several users to share the same frequency channel by dividing the signal into different time slots. The Kenwood TK-D240/340 has a 32 channel capacity, but also has a selectable 16 channels using the channel stopper feature. Built to MIL-STD-810 (C/D/E/F/G) this also aids to the radios reliability, noting that it has been tested in harsher working environments whilst maintaining the same level of operation.
The DP1400 is one of Motorola’s most popular radios, a direct replacement for the CP040, the DP1400 is a mainstay in many workplaces due to its reliability and ruggedness. IP54 Ingres Protection means that the DP1400 is protected not only against dust intrusion but splashes of water, meaning that the radio is suitable for a variety of working conditions. 2 Programmable buttons allow for the radio to be personalised to the users’ needs, allowing for quick access to features that may be important within the workplace. 16 Programmable channels allow for sufficient communications between teams, allowing for a split between analogue and digital channels means that the radio is ideal for a migration system. The Motorola SLR5500 is a repeater that can be used to help complete n analogue to digital migration process.
The PD405 is a radio allowing for analogue to digital migration from Hytera. A robust and reliable radio, the PD405 is a simple communication solution that is easy to operate whilst being ideal for a variety of industries. Ideal for an analogue to digital migration, the PD405 is packed full of features to help improve both efficiency and safety of the workforce, features include an emergency mode and pre-programmed quick text messages. IP55 rating means that the radio has a limited Ingres protection against dust whilst also being safeguarded against splashes of water, this allows for the radio to be used in outside environments or conditions where the radios may be subjected to damp. A 32 channel capacity allows for the radio to be parted into analogue and digital channels, giving the PD405 to be used as part of a migration process from analogue to digital. The Hytera RD625 is a repeater that can be used to help complete an analogue to digital migration process.
For more information about Radiotronics installed radio communications solutions, please contact our sales team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us on 0345 0 955 955. Currently our installation solutions are only available in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Wheelabrator initially required a basic conventional two-way radio system that would give 4 individual talk channels and a small number of radios for Wheelabrator’s staff and colleagues to have instant communications whilst the facility is being built. Once the facility is built, the system is to be moved to the main building and expanded to a large number of radios with multiple talk channels, lone worker and many other features. This undoubtably means Hytera XPT is the ideal solution. Since Wheelabrator didn’t need the Hytera XPT features until the facility is fully built and the system is moved to the main building, it made sense to start with the basics, but keep expansion and upgrade in mind.
This meant that we two options. Option one was for Wheelabrator take a conventional system on a rental basis until the facility was built. Option two was to initially invest in XPT-compatible repeaters but leave the XPT licence investment until it was actually needed. Wheelabrator opted for the latter and decided to make the investment in the start of their system.
Since multiple voice channels would be needed in the final solution, we also recommended a Procom 2-channel antenna combiner which solved the issue of needing multiple antennas.
The amount of equipment required was starting to mount up, it was all housed in a nice and neat wall-mountable rack mount cabinet with a lockable door. One key is given to the client to ensure they have access to the cabinet for emergencies. The other key stays with us at Radiotronics H.Q. so that we will always have the spare if needed.
Here’s what the wall mount cabinet looks like:
Here’s the list of what’s in the cabinet. All of these items are available from stock, except the combiner which takes 3-6 weeks as it’s made to order.
The Hytera RD985S repeater, which is the XPT-ready version (RD985-non-S is not XPT possible) does not not have an internal power supply. Therefore an external power supply is required. We opted for the Samlex SEC-2125G Power Supply as it supplies a constant regulated 20-25A of current. But in order to rack mount the PSU, the Single Unit 19″ Rackmount Kit was also required.
Repeater & Combiner
As one would expect the Hytera RD985S has both a N-type TX and RX connector on the back panel. That means that N-Type patch leads were required to connect all 4 sockets to the combiner. There’s a notable amount of loss in the combiner itself. In order to minimise further loss by insertion, we used LMR195 cable with 50 ohm tuned crimped N-Type connectors finished with heat-shrink.
Wheelabrator did not need the rack cabinet installing on the wall at it’s temporary initial location. However, wall brackets were provided as it did need wall mounting at it’s final destination once the facility was fully complete. Our rackmount cabinets come with a pair of wall brackets that can take up to 60Kg of weight inside the cabinet (provided the cabinet is fixed onto a solid brick wall using suitable anchor bolts).
Two-Way Radio Choice
Wheelabrator’s portable radio requirement was the capability of individual calls, lone worker. But most importantly, transmit interrupt, future XPT-compatibility and they must be lightweight. Only one radio fits the bill. The Hytera PD600 series is both lightweight and XPT-compatible.
There are three radios starting with the PD605 which is the non-display version. The PD605 can receive individual calls but making individual calls is challenging. So that leaves the PD665 and PD685. They’re the same radio with the PD685 having a complete telephone-style keypad. To easily make individual calls, as long as the radio has the recipient in the internal contact list, a full-keypad is not required. That means that the Hytera PD665 is the right fit.
A Note About Carry Cases
It was also important to note that, initially whilst the facility was being built, the site is a building site. In order to keep the radios in as good condition as possible, we recommended that the team at Wheelabrator used carry cases. This will ensure that the radios suffer minimal damage and will still be an a reasonably useable condition when the facility is complete.
If you use a carry case with your two way radio it can mean the difference between you radio lasting a couple of years to a decade or more.
For more information about Radiotronics installed radio communications solutions, please contact our sales team by sending an email to email@example.com or telephone us on 0345 0 955 955. Currently our installation solutions are only available in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Multi-Chargers are a highly recommended product by Radiotronics. Many variants are available, these including the readymade 6-way charger, or a rack mounted charger that allows for the user to expand their charging facilities alongside the addition of new radios. Multi-Chargers allow for all radios to be kept in a centralised location when not in use, this meaning that the potential loss of single chargers is removed whilst also minimizing the likelihood of losing a radio.
Something never before seen with a two way radio was the ability to wireless charge, this however was implemented when Hytera introduced the PD365. The new wireless charging feature will allow for the radio to be placed on charge and ejected easily, allowing for the fast access of the device should immediate contact need to be made.
There are many different carrying options with two way radios, with the choice you make being heavily dependent on your working environment. Shoulder and wrist straps allow for a radio to be carried close to hand, allowing for fast use should it be needed, these methods of carrying also mean that the risk of dropping the radio and damaging it is removed. A strap is tightened around the body part that the user is carrying it by, meaning that should the radio be accidently dropped it will not come in contact with the floor minimizing the risk of fall damage.
Belt clips are the most common carrying solution of two way radios. Almost all radios supplied with one upon purchase, a belt clip attaches directly to the battery meaning that they are easy to attach and detach when necessary. Belt clips allow for the user to connect a radio to their person so that it is in reach at all times, with a quick release function often being implemented to allow the user to quickly detach the radios when needed.
Leather cases help to protect the radio from various aspects of damage. These cases are often connected via a belt clip, dependent on the style of case purchased this will either be connected to the case or a space will allow for one connected to the actual radio to be pulled through. A leather case will help to protect the radio from both dust intrusion and damage, helping to ensure the lifespan of the radio is protected.
Radiotronics can supply shipping cases to help with the transport and storage of your two way radio equipment. With two-layers the case has space for 6 radios and a multi-charger, custom cut foam helps to protect the contents of the case meaning that radios are protected against bumps and scrapes that may occur. The shipping case is an ideal investment should you need to transport your radios between locations or for storage when not in use, a central location will mean radios aren’t lost and also don’t suffer damage.
There are many different variants available when looking to purchase a headset. The earpiece style can be dependent on the noise levels of the environment you are in, with a covert earpiece allowing for operatives in loud facilities to hear any transmissions clearly.
The microphone style/placement is also a variant with the option of having an in-line microphone similar to that on a set of cellular mobile headphones, or a boom mic attached. VOX Voice activation is available with selected headsets, although not always used the most common users of voice activation as a function are retail and hospitality, the hands-free use allows for staff members to remain presentable at all times.
Remote Speaker Microphones
The use of remote speaker microphones is most commonly associated with the emergency services. These can be used in a variety of different working situations, allowing for the user to use the radio without having to continuously unclip and clip the radio from their belt. Noise cancelling technology ensures that messages transmitted from the microphone are not disturbed by noisy environments, whilst these can also be paired with a separate compatible earpiece to receive incoming messages.
Push to talk over cellular is a technology that has been readily available for a number of years. Communicating using 3G and 4G networks allows for seamless interactions between the workforce, extending the reach potential over a considerable distance helping to improve the efficiency of a team.
A technology that has been available for years, PoC has become more prominent in 2018 due to the new hardware releases from major companies within the radio communications industry such as Motorola, Hytera and Icom. Businesses within traditional industries are starting to open up towards the possibilities of using cellular over the conventional systems, this due to the compatible radios functionalities alongside the often great value for money radios available.
If you check out the application store on your mobile device and search “push to talk” an amass of apps will appear, these all claiming that they offer a push to talk service between users. How they really work is by sending voice messages similar to that available on WhatsApp, meaning that the conversations aren’t consistent and free-flowing, yes allowing for a vocal communication over large distances, but not without breaks.
If you are looking to implement a push to talk cellular system within your workplace then there is a variety of radios for you to choose from. The Telo TE580 is the post popular of those we currently have in stock at Radiotronics tunning on an Android OS, this due to its compact size yet reliable connectivity. Supporting GSM, 3G and 4G/LTE capabilities the TE580 has a 2.4″ touch screen with partial keypad allowing for easy operation of the radio. The TE580 comes as standard with a 3600mAh Li-Ion battery giving it an extremely long usage period, the radio having been used in such industries as Transport, Leisure and Haulage. A price of just £275 ex. VAT* means that the radio is extremely affordable.
*Price Valid of 16/05/18
If you are looking for a high spec PoC radio then the Hytera PDC760 is your answer, but should you be looking for a simpler black box design these are also available. Inrico and Telo offer their own radios respectively that look like any normal radio that transmits over UHF and VHF frequencies, this allowing for simple operation with extended coverage at a low price.
Samsung has recently released a mobile phone that features a mappable button, this allowing for what appears to be a mobile phone to operate with a push to talk function. The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4 is compatible with the Radiotronics two way radio anywhere system, meaning that in any location where you have a mobile connection the push to talk function is able to be used.
We at Radiotronics have helped many companies across a wide range of industries install their very own PoC system, from transportation to cross site construction projects there is no end of businesses that won’t benefit from such a system. For transportation or taxi companies who will often travel considerable distances, a push to talk over cellular system will allow for the driver to remain in consistent communication with a base station. Ideal for such situations as delays due to traffic, allowing for the company to be in contact with the recipient of the service to inform them of such delays, meaning that drivers of vehicles do not need to risk being caught using a mobile telephone device whilst driving.
Should you be looking at purchasing a radio communications system that uses LTE technologies you can find a wide range of radios on our website. We are able to supply and help you to understand the implementation of such a system, with our very own sim cards being available to purchase in quarter 3 of 2018. Should you wish to purchase radios, all devices shown on our website will work alongside the use of a sim card from leading mobile communications companies such as 3, EE and o2.
When purchasing two way radios it is always ideal to enter the discussion with an idea already in mind about what system you would like to purchase. Trained staff at Radiotronics are able to help lead you in the right direction on what would be best for you, but in this blog post we will discuss specific aspects that are vital decisions that need to be made in order to get the most out of your system.
When purchasing business grade two way radios an Ofcom license is required under all circumstances. Not to worry though as this license isn’t a financial nightmare, starting from just £75 for 5 years this will allow for your company to use your two way radios completely legally without risk of fine or in much more serious instances a jail term. Should you decide to purchase your radios from us we can do all the hard work for you, our team will fill out the entire application form for you without any additional costs on top of the charge for the license, allowing you not to worry about the legal implications in filling out the license forms and getting on with using your new communications system.
Many people can often be intimidated by the thought of having a radio license, therefore opting for the much cheaper alternatives in license free radios. Although in the moment a license free radio may be the best option due to its affordability, many a time due to the broadcasting power of the radio the coverage that these radios supply often isn’t sufficient for the business intending to use them.
Great for families looking for an instant communication method whilst on a leisure trip, a license free radio doesn’t offer the same privacy benefits as its licensed big brother. When broadcasting on licensed frequencies any communications are often encrypted and secured, meaning that there is little to no chance of eavesdropping, this not being the case for license free radios as anybody with a license free radio within the local facility is capable of hearing your conversations. Broadcasting at just 0.5w a license free radio has a considerably lower distance coverage, whilst also struggling to penetrate buildings meaning that transmissions can often be missed or largely unclear due to their lack of power output.
What Current Radios Do You Have
If you already have an existing fleet of two way radios then it is important to ensure that your existing radios will work alongside the new ones. Multiple factors can come into play when taking this into consideration this including both analogue/digital signalling, frequency type and the manufacturer.
Many companies are currently in the process of migrating their existing systems from analogue to digital, similarly to how it worked with TV’s in the late 00’s. Many radios are currently in the market such as the Motorola DP1400 that will allow for your company to make the transition as smooth as possible, mixed mode analogue/digital allows for the radios to continue operating with an existing fleet, but at a later date when the older radios are ready to be replaced allowing for the newer radios to be switched to operate solely on digital, supplying a clearer and more superior sound quality.
Although fairly obvious it is important to remember that brands and models of radios will only work with those of the same type. If you currently have a system in place using Motorola GP340’s but are looking for an analogue/digital radio in order to begin a migration process, a radio such as the Hytera PD505 although able to complete to operate in both analogue and digital modes would not be compatible with the Motorola GP340 therefore an entirely new system would be required.
UHF and VHF in the easiest possible explanation is the difference between owning a vehicle that runs using petrol and one that runs using diesel. Both having advantages, a VHF radio is ideal for farm work and other outdoor communication needs whereby UHF is recommended for environments in built up areas, this where communications are needed to penetrate buildings such as hotels or inner city high rise buildings. Also, in keeping with the comparison to vehicles, a VHF radio will not work alongside a UHF radio due to the difference in frequency range, therefore it is important to ensure the right frequency type is purchased to ensure all radios operate together.
How Many Groups of People Will Use The Radios
Dependent on the size of the operation using the radios can have an impact on the number of channels that need to be designated. For a smaller company it may be possible that your business only needs a single channel to communicate, but if you are within a business that has multiple sectors then a number of channels may be programmed to ensure both private conversations, and other workers in different departments are not over run with irrelevant broadcasts. Should multiple channels be programmed into your radio communications system, and dual monitor feature present on most new radios will allow for a priority channel to be monitored at all times, this ensuring that people across all departments do not miss an important message should it be broadcast.
A radio with additional features is obviously going to increase the price of the radios that you purchase, but depending on the environment you are working, the price often doesn’t compare to the additional safety benefits. In environments where heavy machinery is used it may be of benefit to provide a radio to your workforce that has a Lone Worker or Man Down feature, both operating in similar ways these features monitor the activity levels and orientation of the radio respectively. Should the radio be inactive or laid on its side for a pre-set period of time a bleep will sound, if still not responded to an alert will be sent to a base station or other radios within the network alerting them of the situation.
GPS is an option that can be used in co-operation with the previously mentioned Lone Worker and Man Down. GPS tracks the location of radios within a network, allowing for a base station to monitor the moves of employees whilst also helping to improve both safety and efficiency due to the instant location updates provided. Selected radios also have Bluetooth capabilities, this allowing for the use of wireless accessories meaning that operatives movements aren’t bound by cables, or also allowing for discretion in environments where needed such as retail or hospitality.
Many companies often have a limit on the amount they are prepared to spend on communications equipment which as a business ourselves this is something that we understand. Stretching your budget slightly will allow for clearer communications between workers, improving both efficiency and safety within the workplace. The difference in price between license free and licensed radios is only marginal but the radios will last for a longer period of time, this due to the build quality being assured for harsher working environments where the radios may be dropped from a considerable height or submerged in water.
Although at the time the purchase of business grade radios may seem like a large investment, these radios are made to the highest possible safety standards ensuring that they are built to last. The license fee is often something that puts off potential purchasers of business grade radios, but as previously mentioned this works out at just £15 per year, with a single payment of £75 providing you with a license for 5 years.
If you would like any additional information on the different options that are available to your business you can check out our website, or give us a call on 01425 533 533 to have a discussion with one of our highly trained sales team.