Month: August 2019

Pick Of The Bunch: Motorola Solutions

Not quite sure what you’re looking for in a two way radio system? In this series of blog posts we’ve decided to break down your best choices from a variety of brands, even including a few case studies too to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting with each radio.

The two way radio industry has been dominated by Motorola for quite a few decades, this the reason why they are the focus of today’s blog, but as time progresses more and more competitors are entering the market. Hytera have been hot on the heels of the American corporation but companies such as Kenwood, Entel and Icom are commonly known names in many industries across the United Kingdom. A technology that has snowballed into consideration over the past few years is Push to Talk Over Cellular, although big companies are now throwing their hat into the ring, a company that Radiotronics highly recommend for PoC is Telo who we will be talking about at a later date.

Motorola was initially founded in 1928 as Galvin Manufacturing Company, at this time the company was producing battery eliminators, but in 1930 the company sold its first car radio under the product name of Motorola. Moving on to more recent times, Motorola has been hugely dominant in the two way radio industry taking up a large portion of the marketplace sales for multiple decades.

Motorola GP340

The GP340 is the first two way radio that we will be talking about, although many radios were released before this model, the GP340 is an Icon within the industry as it is still the best selling two way radio ever. Ideal for a variety of different environments, the GP340 was affordable yet feature rich meaning that you got more than your money’s worth when purchasing.

Although now a discontinued radio, Radiotronics has existing stock of this product so should you be looking to purchase the old faithful then we are the only company in the country that still supplies them. Available for both UHF and VHF frequencies, the GP340 is analogue meaning that it can only be used in an analogue system, but it is capable of operating with digital models should they have analogue channels programmed into them. For it’s time the GP340 has exceptional sound quality, X-Pand™ Voice Compression ensured that any communications are crisp and clear even in the noisiest of working environments, low level expansion also allows further improvements by reducing noises that can often be heard in pauses of conversation.

Emergency features were aplenty on the GP340 with emergency signalling a possibility, this allows for a pre-defined alert to be sent to a specific person or group of people should the user be in trouble, this done by simply pressing the programmable emergency button on the radios body. Lone Worker is a feature that is present on almost all new radios but was something that really made the GP340 stand out, this feature monitors the radios activity levels, should the radio not be used for a pre-programmed amount of time then an alert will sound on the users radio, if the operator is unresponsive an alarm will be sent to other radios within the network making them aware that a member of staff is potentially unsafe.

Some of the basic need-to-know facts about the Motorola GP340 is that it is an average sized “black box” two way radio. The GP340 stands at 137mm in height, 57.5mm in width and 37.5mm in depth with the standard battery attached, the battery that comes as standard with the radio is 1400mAh Li-Ion and when connected brings the radios total weight to 420g. The supplied battery allows for up to 11 hours usage based on a 05 05 90 duty cycle.

The Motorola GP340 has 16 channels ensuring that it is more than sufficient for small to medium sized businesses, the radio is available on both UHF and VHF frequencies meaning that it is ideal for use in both built up areas and wide open spaces. Channel scanning allows for the user to quickly skip through channels in search of an ongoing broadcast, whilst standard encryption ensures that any communications sent and received are safe from eavesdropping.

Motorola DP1400

Although not the direct replacement for the Motorola GP340, the DP1400 almost certainly took the prize of most popular current two way radio that is available on the market. Yet another “black box” design from the market leaders, but what it lacks in aesthetics the two-way radio makes up for in features. The DP1400 is simple and affordable, a common theme with Motorola radios, but its ability to perform on both analogue and digital frequencies makes it perfect should you be looking at a system migration.

Starting with the basics of the radio, the DP1400 stands at 127.7 in height and 61.5 in width, depending on the battery that is attached to the radio the depth and weight will change. Should the 1400NiMH battery be attached then the radio has a depth of 42mm and a weight of 406g, the 1600mAh Li-Ion slim battery is slightly smaller in depth being 39mm and much lighter weighing in at 341g, finally the high capacity 2200mAh Li-Ion battery is 44mm in depth but only 346g in weight.

As previously mentioned the DP1400 can operate using both analogue and digital, although digital is a paid upgrade, having a radio with both analogue and digital frequencies will allow for the DP1400 to be used as a transitional radio should you be moving from an analogue only system to a digital one. The Motorola DP1400 can be programmed with 8 analogue channels to match the old radios and 8 digital channels, this meaning should you not have the funds to buy a full set of radios for your business you can continue to use the old ones alongside your new radios until you have a full set, at this point you will be able to program your transition radios to be all digital channels. Alongside being both analogue and digital capable the DP1400 can operate using both UHF and VHF frequencies, this meaning that it would be ideal for use in both built-up and open areas of land.

There are many features that the Motorola DP1400 holds. One of the most basic and seen on almost all two way radios is the emergency button, when pressed this will send out a distress signal to all other radios within the network alerting them that you may be in trouble, this can be pre-programmed when purchasing a new set of radios. Channel scanning allows for the radio to quickly run through channels to check for any ongoing transmissions, whilst a channel monitor function allows for a single channel to be listened to even when sending messages on a second channel, this is often used as a channel to alert workers of any issues or safety concerns quickly. The last safety feature that I will mention is Lone Worker, this exactly the same as the one found on the Motorola GP340, whereby should a radio be inactive for a pre-set period of time an alert will be sent to other radios within the system.

The Motorola DP1400 also has accessibility features that help improve the user experience with the radio. An Integrated voice allows for channel number announcements when the channel is changed by using the knob on top of the radio, this ideal should you be working in lowly lit environments where you may not be able to see the markings around the knob. Busy channel lockout ensures that only one person can transmit at a time, this helps as it allows for you to broadcast without being interrupted, the radios would be effectively useless should every time you go to transmit your message is merged in with another operator’s transmission.

A final note on the DP1400 is its ruggedness. Built to IP54 rating this ensures that the radio has Ingres protection from dust intrusion whilst also being safeguarded against splashes of water, this ideal should you be wanting to use it in an outdoor environment where there is a risk of rain or a construction environment where dust presence is common.

Motorola DP4401e

The Motorola DP4401e is one of the DP1400’s big brothers. Although not identical to the latter, take away the Motorola logo and you would still be able to tell that the DP4401e is a Motorola radio. A durable look and feel, the DP4401e was designed for use in harsher work environments where the radio equipment used may be subject to accidental drops or coming into contact with excess dust or splashes of water.

Built to IP57 Ingres Protection this means that the DP4401e has the same dust intrusion protection as the DP1400, but the main difference being that the DP4401e is capable of being submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Military specification (MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G) ensures that the radio can be used in a variety of environmental conditions whether this be storms or high humidity, the DP4401e can continue to operate in temperatures as low as -30°C through to 50°C.

Due to the DP4401e being designed towards environments where worker safety is crucial, the radio has a variety of different features that can both assist in safety and efficiency of the workplace. Alongside the previously mentioned “Lone Worker” there is also a man down function, acting in a similar manner, should the radio be laid on its side for a pre-set period of time then an alert will be sent to the said radio, if unresponsive then an alarm will be sent to a base station or other radios within the network to alert them of a potential issue. Man down and lone worker can both be used in collaboration with GPS location tracking, this would allow for the user in need of help to be found quickly to minimise the risk of serious injury or damage. GPS is an optional extra purchase and would also require the use of a dispatch solution for tracking of radio and user location.

Motorola claim that the DP4401e has best-in-class audio and having used one I can confirm that the sound quality is crystal clear. A loud front-facing speaker and intelligent audio automatically adjusts the volume of the radio to ensure that no transmissions are missed, should you be working in a loud environment then the DP4401e would be perfect. Should you also not be in a situation where you are able to talk to a co-worker, pre-programmed text messages can be sent to notify others of your status, some examples that have previously been used by customers of Radiotronics include “Arrived at Location” or “Job Complete”.

Unlike the 2 previously mentioned radios in the blog the DP4401e also has Bluetooth capabilities. When activated this will allow for the user to make use of the many Bluetooth accessories that Motorola make for this radio, although not something that everyone will want or require, this feature is handy as it allows for the user’s movement to not be limited by wires that may get in the way.

A final mention on the DP4401e is its ability to perform over multiple sites and with thousands of devices without the need to add extra frequencies. Using IP Site Connect and Capacity Plus the internet is used to extend voice and data capabilities via MOTOTRBO. Linking up to 15 different working sites this can spread across multiple geographical locations it is almost definitely too complicated for me to explain in a simple paragraph, if you would like to learn more about this then you can check out our dedicated page on our main website by clicking here.

Motorola SL1600

The SL1600 is a relatively new device from Motorola having only been released in the past couple of years*. This radio has a sleek design, quite different from the previously mentioned models in this blog and is ideal for use within hospitality environments. Small in stature the SL1600 is easily concealed weighing 169g and standing at just 126mm in height, 55mm in width and 22mm in depth, this meaning it easily fits in the palm of the average hand.

Available for both UHF and VHF frequencies means that whether being used inside a building or covering estate grounds the SL1600 can be modified to suit your surroundings. With the radio being digital this provides exceptional voice and audio quality, ensuring that transmissions sent and received are heard clearly first time round so that no miscommunications are made.

The SL1600 has an active view display using hidden LED lighting to show current channel, radio and volume information. This screen is easily visible in both light and dark conditions, ensuring that user knows exactly what channel they are transmitting over. Should looking at the screen whilst working not be an option, a voice announcement can be programmed into the radio to notify the user by ear when channel has been changed.

Unlike most two way radios the SL1600 doesn’t require a pod in order to charge, MicroUSB connectivity allows for the radio to be both charged and programmed simply by plugging a cable directly into the radio. Finally the Motorola SL1600 is famous for its simple operation with a standalone power button, channel toggle switch on top of the radio, volume control buttons and push to talk button on the left hand side, these adding together to make the operation fairly easy and allowing for one handed radio operation.

*Accurate as of 2019

Motorola XT420

The final radio that we will be talking about in this blog is the licence free XT420. Ideal should you be looking for an affordable radio to operate over short distances, the XT420 uses PMR446 frequencies and 219 selectable privacy codes to help ensure a clear signal. A powerful 1500mE speaker also helps to ensure high quality audio, this minimalizing distracting feedback when operating in noisier environments.

With two programmable buttons this allows for commonly used features to be easily accessed. The XT420 is also VOX capable, this is a feature that is required to be programmed into the radio, once activated VOX voice activation allows you to communicate without having to press the push to talk button located on the side of the radio. The Motorola XT420 also has a Tri-Coloured LED which updates the user on radio features and current status, allowing the user to check at a glance for any incoming messages or alerts.

The Motorola XT420 isn’t recommended should you be working over large distances or with heavy building coverage. The radio has an Ingres Protection rating of IP54 meaning that although it has a limited Ingres against dust and protection against splashes of water, using the XT420 in environments where it may be subject to adverse weather conditions isn’t recommended.

If you’d like to know more about any of the radios that have been mentioned in this Blog post then you can check them out on our website by clicking here. Alternatively, if you’d like to chat to one of our Sales Executives then call this number: 01425 533 533

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One Of The Most Popular Radios On The Market

Motorola GP340

One of the most popular radios of all time was the Motorola GP340 but after such a successful radio what could Motorola do next? Well they released a new radio, which has changed the market since, and that is the Motorola DP1400.

Physical Attributes

Motorola CP040

The Motorola DP1400 was made to replace the CP040 but also replaced the famous GP340 in popularity. It is an analogue/digital hybrid two-way radio, although as standard comes simply as analogue with digital being a paid upgrade, the DP1400 available for both VHF or UHF frequencies. Standing at 127mm tall, 61mm wide and 42mm in depth and weighing 240g the DP1400 is robust and reliable and is built to be long lasting in any type of environment. One of the main reasons people love this radio so much is because of its affordability while still having all the features needed in a standard radio. Motorola are great at doing this with a lot of their radios being at a great price point and the DP1400 is an example of this.

Motorola DP1400

Features

Moving on to features the DP1400 has quite a few important features that can be used in any work environment. 16 channels are available to be programmed into the user’s radio and channel scanning will allow them to scan through all the channels in use to hear any incoming transmissions. VOX is also available which allows the user to send transmissions without the need to press the PTT button, and instead just simply talk, this is a pre-programmable feature and accessories can be bought to support this function. Compatible accessories, earpieces and headsets, allows the user to use VOX while using these accessories. It can create a hands free mode which means any work can be done without having to hold the radio in their hand. Lone worker can also be programmed into the DP1400 which works perfectly to keep anyone working alone safe. If the radio is inactive for a pre-set amount of time, then an alarm will be sent to the worker’s radio. If the alarm is answered then the supervisor and/or fleet will know that the lone worker is safe and not injured, if the alarm isn’t answered then a separate alarm will be sent to the fleet which will notify them that the worker could be injured or unconscious and action can be made to help that person. Transmit interrupt is available for the DP1400 which allows a supervisor to interrupt any ongoing transmissions to deliver important and critical information when needed. This means that if any incident occurs that could put others in risk, they can be notified straight away rather than the supervisor waiting for a conversation to end to notify the fleet. Another way to notify the fleet of an emergency or incident is by using the programmable emergency button, once pressed this will instantly notify the fleet with an alarm that signals of an emergency taking place. This can be used to evacuate the workplace or to take caution of an area and situation.

Chargers

When you purchase a Motorola DP1400 a charger is not included but the user can choose from a few different chargers. The charger will depend solely on the size of the user’s fleet. A single pod charger is available for those who only wish to purchase maybe only two DP1400’s which will charge just one radio at a time. Buying two pod chargers will allow the user to charge both of their radios.

Motorola Pod Charger

For larger fleets a larger charger will be needed. If a user wishes to buy 6 radios, then a 6-unit charger will be the better alternative to power their radios. This keeps the fleet together while charging the radios from one power supply. This is much better for organisation when storing the radios in a safe place.

Motorola 6 Unit Charger

There are many ways to charge and power a DP1400 but the final option I’m going to talk about is our very own Universal Rack Charger. This combines 6 existing pod chargers to one power supply and rack which is great to keep all of them together. Each pod charger has its own wire and charging plug but the rack charger converts them all to one. It can be easily installed in the workplace and it is robust and designed to last an incredibly long time.

Radiotronics Rack Charger

Accessories

Many accessories are available for the Motorola DP1400 and they can all be used in different work environments. First I’m going to talk about the PMMN4013A remote speaker microphone which plugs directly into a DP1400. It allows the user to send transmissions to their fleet using the microphone rather than the one on their radio. This means the radio in use can stay clipped to the user’s belt and the microphone can be clipped to their shirt or jacket creating easy access for communication. The PMMN4013A also has an additional 3.5mm jack connector which can connect compatible earpieces like the PMLN7560 to it.

Motorola Remote Speaker Microphone

Earpieces like this one is great for discretion when working in covert environments. It allows the user to hear any transmissions directly to their ear which prevents anyone around hearing the information being received. As mentioned this is great for covert, sensitive environments but it also works amazingly well for loud and noisy environments. A door supervisor at a nightclub or bar will be in the middle of all the noise but with the covert earpiece that person will be able to hear any transmissions for instructions or direction. Using the RSM and the earpiece together with VOX ultimately creates a hands free way of communication.

Motorola Covert Earpiece

Although I have already mentioned a work environment I want to quickly list and talk about the variety of work places the DP1400 can be used. This may give perspective of how popular this radio actually is. It can be used in all sectors of work except when working around gas and oil. When working in them environments an ATEX radio is needed for health and safety reasons and we would recommend the DP4401 Ex. But back to the DP1400 it can be used on farms, in schools, in warehouses, on construction sites, nightclubs/bars, in catering of all types and security. From hotels to wind farms the DP1400 can be used anywhere. If you need an affordable, easy and organised way of communication in your workplace then the DP1400 is for you. It is incredibly robust and will ensure the user great organisation, safety and work efficiency if the features and the radio is used correctly.

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