Hytera has announced the replacement of the hugely successful MD785 with the MD785 (i for improved) model.
A favourite for business users and HAM radio operators alike, the Hytera MD785 has proven a workhorse DMR two way radio. And with the release of the MD785i, the traction is definitely not set to slow down.
So what’s the difference? … I hear you ask…
One thing we can tell you is that the new MD785i comes preloaded with version 9 firmware which does have many feature updates and bug fixes. Hytera claims the new MD785i is even more powerful and versatile – presumably meaning in features – not actual RF power. But the most exciting new features are the Wireless Link and Full-Duplex Single Frequency Repeater (SFR) which was only previously possible on the PD985 portable. Of course both of these features do require a licence key installation in the radio – but nevertheless the MD785i is capable and it’s MD785 predecessor could not.
So to speculate, does this mean the rumoured Hytera PD785i will also have these features? Only time will tell.
Icom Inc. has provided further details about the upcoming release of the IC-SAT100, Satellite PTT radio. This will begin with the introduction of this new model to the Japanese market in the second quarter of 2019.
The IC-SAT100 is Icom’s first Satellite PTT handheld radio that uses the Iridium satellite communication network. Unlike satellite phones, the IC-SAT100 will provide radio service to users with a push of the transmit (PTT) button. It can be used as a communication tool in remote, isolated areas where there are no mobile phones or landline network infrastructure, such as mountainous areas, remote islands and desert areas. Even if terrestrial network infrastructure is rendered unusable by human or natural disasters, satellite communication can provide a stable backup.
The IC-SAT100 uses the Iridium satellite network which covers the whole earth including both poles and can provide wide area global communication anywhere on the planet. Using 66 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, it provides low-latency communication and broader, more reliable network coverage compared to Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellites. The IC-SAT100 will be a suitable communication tool for governments, military forces, humanitarian organisations, multinational companies, and users that need communication in remote, isolated areas or for emergency assistance.
The statement goes on to say that Icom Inc. and Iridium will be displaying the IC-SAT100 on stand #1949 at the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) in Las Vegas between March 4th and 8th, 2019.
There is also a downloadable document in PDF format which can be downloaded here.
A question that gets asked very frequently is “Do you sell base station two way radios?”. The fact is that, other than talk through radio repeaters and some HAM radios, there are no actual business type base station two way radios – certainly not on the market right now.
Question: But how come I’ve seen base station two way radios in control rooms and taxi offices? Like this one?
If you look closely, you’ll see that this is actually a mobile radio (like one you see in a taxi or lorry) sat on top of a base stand that has a built-in power supply. So when we say there are no base station two way radios, that’s not strictly true – but it does mean that you can build your own (or we can build it for you). Then you simply select a base station microphone instead of a handheld microphone.
We sometimes call this setup a “fixed mobile”, “base station mobile”, a “dispatch radio” amongst many more names. But they all mean a mobile radio with a mains power supply and microphone. Do you have some more names for base station two way radios – let us know in the comments.
So what’s needed to make a base station two way radio?
Here’s a handy list of what you need for a two way radio base station. The principles of this guide can also be applied to CB radios and Amateur (HAM) radios.
1) Mobile Vehicular Type Radio
Almost all manufacturers of two way radios make a vehicle type mobile radio, as well as portables. All mobile vehicle type two way radios operate on a 12-13.8v D.C. power supply. In order to use this with a mains supply you’ll need a power supply unit (or PSU).
2) Mains to 13.8v Regulated Power Supplies
There are three different types of power supply see below.
2.1) Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Alfatronix makes a very innovative power supply called the Alfatronix AD power supply. The AD is a two way radio stand, power supply and backup battery charger. The model in the picture below is the Alfatronix AD “universal” version. But they make a specific version for the most popular Motorola, Hytera, Kenwood and Icom radios.
The main benefit of the Alfatronix AD series power supplies is that they also have a backup battery connection where you can hook up a lead-acid battery. The battery will stay charged whilst the mains is connected. If the mains fails, the backup battery will kick in and power the radio.
The Samlex Encased style power supplies are fantastic as they position the radio around 1cm (approx. 1/2 inch) above the PSU which reduces the chance of noise from the PSU affecting the radio. You can also position a hand held microphone clip to mount a handheld microphone on the side; or you can choose a base station microphone (as shown below).
3) Selection of Microphone
You can choose one of two different types of microphone. Handheld microphones and Base station microphones. Almost all of the most popular vehicle based two way radios can be purchased without a microphone. That means you can choose the microphone you’d prefer rather than settle for the microphone you’re given.
Here at Radiotronics, we strongly recommend a Base Station type microphone. This is because base station microphones can help reduce fatigue, but also typically develop less faults over time and work out cheaper in the long run.
The last, and most arguably most important, piece of the puzzle is the Antenna. When using a base station radio, you have two options for antenna.
Short range: If you want only short range; for example, you’re operating via a repeater or you’re operating without a repeater but your other radios are within a few hundred yards, you could consider a short rubber type antenna (shown on the base station unit above). We offer some great “right-angle” type rubber duck stubby and whip antennas from as little as £10+VAT. It’s worth noting that you’re unlikely to get much of a signal and these type of antennas only really work up to a few hundred yards at the most. But they’re ideal for repeater-based radio systems.
Medium to Long Range: If you need long range, then the only real option is a large high-gain outdoor antenna. The cost purely depends on the height and quality of antenna. We can advise further if you provide us a few details when contacting us.
In the workplace it can often be hard to pinpoint exact locations or pass out additional information for an ongoing job. A smart system allows for location tracking of workers, dispatcher intercom to offer instruction whilst also voice recording of conversation for times when an issue may arise or instruction to workers needs to be replayed. You may be thinking that a smart system may be surplus to requirements due to a small site or smaller workforce, but no matter the size, whether it is a single site operation or cross-country organization something such as the SmartXPT can help to improve both safety and efficiency in workers.
The Hytera SmartXPT allows for organisations to professionally manage DMR conventional and XPT radio networks. Developed in-line with digital ETSI radio standard DMR, this application is designed for efficient communication and support tool to help manage all DMR Conventional Tier II and XPT radio subscribers.
Unlike some deployment applications available on the market, Hytera’s SmartXPT is not a single module, but a group of components that can be built up to a system, this based on various factors such as subscriber size, topology and coverage requirements. There are many benefits to implementing Hytera’s SmartXPT, listed below are some that we at Radiotronics believe to be vitally important in helping your business expand via improved efficiency.
All Types of Voice Call
When using an XPT system this allows for a multitude of different calling capabilities. Private calls allow for individual calls to be made to specific radios, meaning that a sensitive message can be shared without other workers being interrupted. Group calls allow for factions to have their own talk groups, meaning that in a larger organization communications do not cross, allowing for factory workers and administrative staff to have their own communications without the talk ways becoming busy due to irrelevant conversations.
Voice Recording & Playback
Any calls that take place whilst using the Hytera SmartXPT are recorded and able to be played back if required. Including all types of DMR voice and PSTN interconnected calls, this helps to ensure that any important conversations are not missed. When searching through previous conversations Hytera have implemented a smart search system, allowing for conversations to be found easily via the use of caller ID’s and the time a call took place.
When the microphone of a radio is un-muted the Hytera SmartXPT system allows for the base to monitor voice activities remotely even when the PTT button hasn’t been pressed. Ideal in a variety of situations, this can be used in order to remain updated on an ongoing work activity, or also in an emergency situation where someone may be in trouble or a malfunction of equipment.
Dispatchers are able to send and receive text messages to DMR radios. Not limited to singular radios, a group message can be sent to multiple radios identified by a group ID. Using a chat-based GUI to send and receive the text messages, all incoming and outgoing messages are stored in a database to ensure that they can retrieved at a later date if required.
Real time tracking allows for the dispatcher to locate every radio at any given time dependent on the GPS settings. The radios GPS can be set to refresh after certain time periods updating the base station on its current location, this can be a variety of times from as low as every few seconds to once every 30 minutes. This allows for improved efficiency in the work being carried out, allowing for the company to take into account any delays that may occur.
Location History & Route Playback
When GPS monitoring is used with the Hytera SmartXPT any locational information will be kept within the system database. This allows for any radios location to be recalled, showing the path it had taken over a specific time period to help improve efficiency and help to solve issues should they arise.
Regions & Geofencing
Regions can be defined by the users on the maps as working or restricted for a predefined set of radios. Should a radio exit a region that it should be operating within then a geofencing alarm will be activated in the control centre, also having the option of a message to be sent to the unit to alert the user that they have left their zone. A feature such as this would be ideal for a large security team whereby individual workers have set patrol routes, allowing them to be notified should they wander out of their set zone.
Each radio within a network has the ability to activate an emergency alarm. Should an operative find themselves in a potentially dangerous situation, the pressing of a designated button will signal to both the base station and other radios within the vicinity of the ongoing situation. Paired with Hytera’s SmartXPT this allows for the precise location of the radio to be found, helping to quickly source the person who is in a potentially threatening situation.
Alongside the features mentioned here there are many additional functions that the SmartXPT software offers to help improve your working environment. Other functions that the SmartXPT can perform include keyword enquiry, enable/disable unknown radios, reporting and statistics, radio stun/activation, GPS positioning and many more.
There are many radios that work alongside the Hytera SmartXPT software, ranging from a compact PD355 through to the more advanced ATEX PD795Ex for use in dangerous working environments such as the gas and coal industry.
Many people think that the TK-3501 is the replacement for the TK-3301 and TK-3201. This is simply not true. The TK-3501 was released before the TK-3401D was released. And both were released before the TK-3301 was cancelled. And we presume this may have been the source of the confusion. The fact is that the Kenwood TK-3501 is a very slimmed down radio in both features and build quality. This means that TK-3501 is a cheaper radio, and it is by no means anywhere near as rugged as the TK-3301. In contrast the TK-3401D is built to the same MIL standard and is improved in quality.
Why Is The TK-3401D The Replacement
Kenwood says so. But not just that. The Kenwood TK-3401D shares the same battery, charger, belt clip and accessories with the TK-3201 and TK-3301 – making it an obvious replacement.
Kenwood TK-3401D Features
Replaces the highly successful TK-3301E model
Operates on the PMR446 License-Free Service in both Digital and Analogue FM modes. dPMR mode complies with the ETSI TS 102 490 Standard
8 Analogue PMR446 Frequencies and 16 dPMR446 Digital Frequencies
Switch between analogue and digital mode easily
AMBE+2 Vocoder for Natural Sounding Digital Voice
Works with all other licence free radios (programming maybe required)
Built-In Voice Scrambler
“Industrial Strength” Construction, to US MIL-STD Specification 810G and IP54/55
Supplied with Li-Ion Battery, Belt Clip and optional charger
License free radios are an ideal solution should you be looking to cover a small distance for communications, often simple to use a PMR446 radio takes all the hassle away from complicated licensed alternatives but this does come at a cost of reduced range. Often found in smaller institutes such as educational environments or activity centres, a license free radio is cheap and cheerful but will often get the job done providing it is used in the right environment.
All major manufacturers produce their own models of license free radios, Motorola, Kenwood and Hytera all leading the way similar to the market for business grade radios. Kenwood have the highly popular TK-3401D which is the license free equivalent to their TK-D340 one of the most popular radios of 2018. Providing the working environment only requires short communications the TK-3401D would be ideal for use in tougher working conditions, this due to its IP55 protection rating and being built to military specification.
Motorola is the manufacturer of the most popular license free radio range, with many people opting to use the TXX models due to both its cheap price and easy to use interface. Radiotronics’ bestselling license free radio is the T82, available in a quad pack these radios are most commonly used by families when on activity holidays or camping trips, allowing for easy communications between parents and children due to the simple design and operability.
A UHF radio is a licensed option for your communication needs, with UHF being ideal for work where transmissions need to penetrate buildings or areas with obstructions between workers. Warehousing and construction companies are common place for UHF radios, this due to the heavy steel and aluminium walls separating the building.
VHF radios are also a licensed option most commonly used in farming environments. Many farmers will often have VHF mobile radios installed in their tractors or machinery, this to allow workers to communicate between themselves when transporting livestock/harvest or completing a job on a separate piece of land. VHF radios are not suitable when trying to communicate through buildings, therefore they are ideal for farmers and other outdoor working environments where extended range is required.
Companies will often separate radios by bands using separate product numbers, an example of this being Kenwood with their TK-D240 for VHF and TK-D340 for UHF models, the usual change being between odd and even first numbers. Often the common choice and most recommended, UHF is ideal for almost every communication need. A UHF radio is what Radiotronics will always recommend even if buildings are only a small part of your site due to the consistent communications that the UHF band provides.
PoC Push to talk over cellular technologies has come to the forefront of radio communications in 2018, this due to it unlimited range allowing for communications to continue no matter where around the world operatives are located. Abbreviated as PoC, these radios are available in a variety of designs ranging from a simple black box with the Inrico T199 through to the Hytera PDC760, a radio that can operate as both a two way radio and an android mobile phone.
Commonly placed in transportation businesses, PoC radios allow for drivers of lorrys, taxis, buses and trains to remain in contact with a head office to make them aware of any ongoing issues. Due to cellular technology this means that PoC devices are able to be tracked at all times, giving a control room the exact location of a person or vehicle should an issue arise, helping to improve both efficiency and safety of workers.
The most popular PoC radio that we at Radiotronics offer is the Telo PTT TE580, available for both rental and purchase the radios are a customer favourite due to their compact size yet robust operation. Running on an android operating system the TE580 is the ideal choice should you be looking into purchasing a PoC communications system, this due to its affordable price and advanced capabilities when using dispatch software alongside.
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.
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.
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.