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It’s Official: The UK Government Recommends Two Way Radios In The Workplace To Help With Social Distancing

The UK government is officially recommending the use of two way radios as a communications tool to help with social distancing in the workplace. Using [two-way] radios means that employees do not always need to work closely together in order to communicate.

Go directly to: our range of portable two way radios.

On 23rd Mar 2020, the UK government announced that movement in the country would be restricted to help combat the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe. That effectively meant that very few workplaces could continue to stay open. Millions of UK businesses closed down as a result.

UK Government Workplace Advice

On Sunday 10th May 2020, the British government announced that the UK was to start to make plans to get back to work and has released guidance to employers that says:

Reducing movement by discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and sites, for example, restricting access to some areas, encouraging use of [two-way] radios or telephones, where permitted, and cleaning them between use.

Two way radios are ideal for short-range communications between employees and Radiotronics is delighted that the government have endorsed the use of radios in the workplace to reduce the chances of contact.

The UK government also recommends that two-way radios should be cleaned between use.

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Motorola DP4000 & XPR7000 Series Carrying Solutions – Carry Cases, Waistcoats & Belt Clips

This page is designed to be a reference guide to carrying solutions for Motorola DP4000 & Motorola XPR7000 series two-way radios.

Note: We have a separate guide for DP2000 / XPR3000 radios here.

Here’s a handy matrix table to help you find the correct carry case for the Motorola DP4000 series.

Radio Model Carry Case Material Belt Clip/Loop Size Belt Clip/Loop Type
No Display & No Keypad Carry Cases
DP4400
DP4400e
PP4401
DP4401e
XPR7350
XPR7350e
XPR7580
XPR7380e
PMLN5845A Nylon 3″ (7.62cm) Fixed
PMLN5839A Hard Leather
PMLN5846A Swivel
PMLN5843A 2.5″ (6.35cm)
Display & Keypad Carry Cases
DP4600
DP4601
DP4600e
DP4601e
or
DP4800
DP4801
DP4800e
DP4801e
XPR7550
XPR7550e
XPR7580
XPR7580e
PMLN5844A Nylon 3″ (7.62cm) Fixed
PMLN5838A Hard Leather
PMLN5840A Swivel
PMLN5842A 2.5″ (6.35cm)
Replacement Carry Case Belt Loops
All Models PMLN5610 Hard Leather 2.5″ (6.35cm) Swivel Belt Loop
PMLN5611 3″ (7.62cm)
Other Carrying Accessories
All Models HLN9985B Plastic Waterproof Bag
4200865599 Leather Tool / Radio Belt Only
NTN5243A Carry Case Strap
HLN6602A Nylon Universal Nylon Chest Pack
RLN4570A Break-A-Way Chest Pack
RLN4815A Universal Radio-Pack & Utility Belt
Spring Belt Clips
All Models PMLN4651A Plastic / ABS 2″ (5cm) Spring Clip
PMLN7008A 2.5″ (6.35cm)
PMLN7296A 2.5″ (6.35cm) Vibrating Spring Clip

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Top 10 Compact Two-Way Radios

A compact radio can be useful for a variety of different working environments. You may be in need of a two-way radio that is small and easily concealed, or even one that isn’t overly complex and easy to use for your operators. Radiotronics has a variety of these types of radios on our website, but if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for they may be hard to find. This is why we have put together this blog post counting down what we believe to be the ten best compact radios currently on the market.

There will be multiple different factors that we will take into consideration when ranking these radios including the cost, the amount of advanced features it has and the overall quality of the radio.

10. Kenwood PKT-23

Kenwood’s PKT-23 is one of the Japanese companies leading options should you be looking to purchase a compact radio. Simple to use, the PKT-23 is an ideal solution should you be looking for a two-way radio that requires little to no training. With all of its function buttons being located on the face plate of the PKT-23, this ensures that the radio is extremely simple to use.

There is one main reason this radio is so low down on this list and is both why we love and loathe this radio, and that is how basic it is. On the one hand the PKT-23’s simplicity is a blessing as it makes it the ideal solution for workplaces that only require a simple communications system, allowing for quick communications across short distances and with the PKT-23 that is exactly what you get. On the flip side due to the basic nature of the radio, this means that it is lacking many safety features that other radios on this list have, along with only having a channel capacity of 8 which limits communications.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely Compact                                                 • Reduced Range
• Simple To Use                                                           • Extremely Basic
• Little To No Training Required                             • For Smaller Work Forces
• 8 Channel Capacity

Price Ex. VAT £91.66
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band PMR446
Analogue or Digital? Analogue
Channels 8
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 85 x 46 x 21
Weight in Grams 110

9. Hytera BD305LF

Our number nine is the BD305LF from Hytera. A license free radio the BD305LF is a radio that can be a fit for many different working environments. If it wasn’t for the fact that other radios in this list have access to more features and/or are licensed radios the BD305LF would be much higher up the list.

An extremely lightweight radio, the BD305LF is the true definition of a compact radio. The BD305LF is capable of operating as both an analogue and digital radio, meaning that you are able to talk with older analogue license free radios and new digital ones such as the BD305LF using separate channels. A major advantage to using these radios is the way it’s charged, the BD305LF can simply be plugged into a wall via the use of a Micro-USB just like you would with a smart phone.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• USB Charging                                                            • Reduced Range
• Dual Mode Capable                                                  • Minimal Features
• Modern Design
• VOX Voice Activation

Price Ex. VAT £75
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band DMR446
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 16
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 101 x 49 x 26
Weight in Grams 140

8. Motorola SL1600/SL2600

The SL1600 and SL2600 from Motorola come in at 8th place on our top 10 list for compact radios. With only slight differences between the two, the SL2600 is the slightly upgraded version of the two with a full display and 256 channels in comparison to the SL1600’s LED light display and 99 channels.

Motorola released these radios with the hospitality working environment in mind, their sleek design ensures that they wouldn’t look out of place even in the high end restaurants and hotels. With these radios being licensed this means that your potential range will be much better than other members of this list, available for purchase with both UHF and VHF frequencies, the SL1600 and SL2600 can be used in highly built up areas or in wide open spaces. One feature that both of these radios both have is the Lone Worker, although this isn’t necessarily something that would be required in hospitality environments it is a good feature to have should it ever be required.

The radio featured in the image is the SL2600 model.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Crystal Clear Audio                                                • Higher Price
• Licensed Radio
• Dual Mode Operation                                             
• VOX Voice Activation
• Sleek Design

Price Ex. VAT £181.51 (SL1600) £199 (SL2600)
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 99 (SL1600) 256 (SL2600)
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 126 x 55 x 22
Weight in Grams 169

7. Hytera BD505/BD555

Although the BD505 and BD555 are both feature rich radios, the reason that they place so low down on our top ten is due to the fact that they’re relatively new and are a similar price point to the hugely popular Motorola DP1400 and Hytera PD705LT.

As mentioned both the BD505 and BD555 are some of the newest radios from Hytera having been released in 2018. With a modern look, this doesn’t detract from these radios being fit for purpose in even some of the harshest of environmental conditions. There are numerous differentiating factors between the two radios with the BD505 being a 40 channel non-display model and the BD555 a 256 channel device with a single display, on the BD555 the display is located at the top of the face plate and shows the current channel and battery life remaining.

The radio featured in the image is the BD555 model.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Licensed Radio                                                          • Lacks In Safety Features
• Modern Design
• Dual Mode Capable
• Display & Non Display Available
• User Friendly

Price Ex. VAT £124.99 (BD505) £149.99 (BD555)
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 40 (BD505) 256 (BD555)
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 108 x 54 x 29
Weight in Grams 220

6. Motorola XT420/XT460

Our number six isn’t actually a single radio, it is the XT400 models from Motorola. The XT420 and XT460 are some of Motorola’s leading license free radios, and because of this are trusted in a variety of industries as a go to radio. The slight difference between these two radios are that the XT420 is a standard black box styled radio, where the XT460 has both an 8 character display with 3 action buttons below.

These radios are the best of both worlds offering outstanding professional grade quality at an affordable price, and although the Motorola stalwarts are license free this doesn’t hold them back when it comes to features. Both the XT420 and XT460 have a total of 16 channels programmed to PMR446 analogue frequencies, these channels are capable of being cycled through via the use of a channel scanning feature meaning that a transmission will never be missed. These radios are also compatible with the previous Motorola XTNi radio.

The radio featured in the image is the XT460 model.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Low Price                                                                   • Analogue Only
• User Friendly Design                                               • Reduced Range
• VOX Voice Activation
• With and Without Display
• Backwards Compatible

Price Ex. VAT £75 (XT420) £99.99* (XT460)
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band PMR446
Analogue or Digital? Analogue
Channels 16
Ingres Protection Rating IP55
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 105 x 55 x 35
Weight in Grams 180

*Radiotronics Sale Price

5. Kenwood TK-3601D

The next radio in our top 10 is the TK-3601D from Kenwood. Although this is license free, it stands apart from other radios alike due to a number of factors. The TK-3601D has 32 channels programmed to DMR446 frequencies, this meaning that not only is there more channels to transmit on, but due to being a digital radio this means that the transmissions both sent and received will be crystal clear.

As all radios in this list the TK-3601D is a compact device but there is something special about the design of the TK-3601D. Simple to use with minimal buttons and a small display showing the user their current channel and remaining battery life, the TK-3701D would be ideal for use in a variety of smaller working environments whether they be customer facing or not. Due to the radios size and the accessories that are available, the TK-3701D can be easily concealed allowing for a smart appearance from your staff.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely User Friendly                                         • Reduced Range
• Easily Concealed
• Dual Mode Capable
• IP67 Ingres Protection

Price Ex. VAT £205
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band DMR446
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 32
Ingres Protection Rating IP67
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 97 x 54 x 27
Weight in Grams 160

4. Icom IC-F52D/IC-F62D

In fourth place we have a pair of two-way radios, although this sounds amiss, the IC-F52D and IC-F62D are the same radio but at the same time they’re not. Icom, the producer of these radios, tend to keep each frequency band to a specific product name. In this case the the IC-F52D is a VHF radio and the IC-F62D is UHF.

Although the Icom radio is small in size, its IP67 Ingres protection rating ensures that it will continue to operate even after being submersed in water whilst also being safe from dust intrusion. The IC-F52D/62D are capable of performing mixed mode operation meaning that should you have existing analogue radios they can still be used alongside your newer models. The 512 possible channels means that these radios are an ideal solution should you have a larger workforce, these channels can be split across groups meaning that individual areas of your business can have their own private channels.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Feature Rich                                                              • Expensive in Comparison
• IP67 Ingres Protection
• Extremely Compact
• Dual Mode Capable
• Crystal Clear Audio

Price Ex. VAT £399
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 512
Ingres Protection Rating IP67
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 92 x 56 x 29
Weight in Grams 215

3. Hytera PD365/PD365LF

The PD365 from Hytera is one of the most feature rich compact radios available to purchase. It’s sleek design means that it stands apart from the crowd in a market that is fiercely competitive. Available as both a licensed and license free model, having the choice between the two means that both short and long range communications can be achieved. Ideal for use in environments where appearance is key, the PD365 wouldn’t look out of place in high end establishments such as hotels and restaurants.

Something that makes both the PD365 and PD365LF an exceptional product is it’s ability to wireless charge. When purchased with a compatible battery and charger, simply place your radio into the holder and your radio will charge allowing for easy access from the unit should the radio be needed quickly.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Available As Both Licensed and License Free    • Lacks In Safety Features
• User Friendly Interface
• Wireless Charging
• 3-Line Monochrome Display
• VOX Voice Activation

Price Ex. VAT £137.5 (L) £122.15 (LF)
License or LF? Licensed & License Free
Frequency Band UHF/VHF & DMR446
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 256 (L) & 16 (LF)
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 106 x 54 x 23
Weight in Grams 180

2. Motorola CLP446

The radio that we have chosen as our number two is the CLP446 from Motorola. Although the radio has been available to purchase in the UK for many years, it’s popularity hasn’t ever reached the heights that it has on the opposite side of the Atlantic. A huge success in America, the CLP446 is a license free, compact two-way radio that is easily one of the smallest available on the market from a major manufacturer. Ideal for use in a variety of working environments, due to its small stature the CLP446 is easily concealed making it an ideal solution for customer facing positions where appearance is everything.

The CLP446 is available as both a standard wired version and a Bluetooth capable model, when purchasing the Bluetooth CLP446 this will allow for the use of wireless accessories such as microphones and earpieces.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely Compact                                                  • Reduced Range
• Ideal Beginner Radio                                               • Small Number Of Channels
• Extremely Easy Use                                                 • Reduced Functions
• Wired or Bluetooth Versions Available
• Voice Assisted Operation

Price Ex. VAT £149.99
License or LF? License Free
Frequency Band PMR446
Analogue or Digital? Analog
Channels 8
Ingres Protection Rating IP54
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 88 x 50 x 19
Weight in Grams 68

 

1. Motorola EVX-S24

The EVX-S24 from Motorola is a product name that you may have heard before in association with the brand Vertex Standard. In 2019 Motorola absorbed the company into their own, transferring across some of the companies most popular radios such as the EVX-S24 and branding them Motorola.

One of the smallest radios within this top 10, the EVX-S24 is the true definition of compact. Although it is small in stature, what the EVX-S24 has as features more than makes up for what it lacks in size. VOX Voice Activation can be used with compatible accessories, this allowing for the hands free use of the radio within the workplace should it be needed. Safety features such as Lone Worker and an emergency button ensure that the users of the EVX-S24 can send out a quick alarm should they find themselves in danger.

Pros                                                                           Cons
• Extremely Compact
• User Friendly
• Crystal Clear Audio
• Lone Worker Capable
• IP67 Waterproof

Price Ex. VAT £165
License or LF? Licensed
Frequency Band UHF/VHF
Analogue or Digital? Digital
Channels 128
Ingres Protection Rating IP67
Dimensions in Millimeters (H x W x D) 91 x 55 x 31
Weight in Grams 215

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Figuring Out What Two-Way Radio You Need

When working no matter the environment the first concern for an employee and employer will be the safety of not only themselves but also other members of staff. There are many standard safety procedures and regulations that help to keep you safe such as safe passageways, adequate lighting, ventilation and easy access to fire escapes, but something that isn’t required by law such as two-way radios can be almost a necessity in cases of emergency.

No matter the size of the workplace you are operating in should a safety issue arise, contacting other people within the building to let them know of an ongoing situation is the first port of call. A technology that has rapidly grown over the past couple of decades is mobile telephones, although a great device for making contact with friends, in emergency situations wouldn’t be so ideal. When making a call from mobile to mobile the message being delivered depends entirely on the person at the other end of the line answering their device, and even when they answer their phone there is still the possibility of call latency of up to 1 second, which although doesn’t sound like much, could be massive in emergency situations.

As mentioned mobile phones may seem that they are capable of providing instantaneous communications, but it is almost certain that they can’t due to the previously mentioned factors. This is where two-way radios come in to play. A simple explanation would be that when pressed, the PTT (Push to Talk) button on the side of your two-way radio will allow you to talk to other radios within a tenth of a second, meaning that a radio is ten times quicker than a mobile without taking into account the time taken to call the contact in the first place.

The previous paragraph features a basic explanation, but this can be expanded on ten-fold. Each radio can be programmed to have multiple channels; these can be designated to different areas of your business to ensure that the office based team aren’t crossing communications with the warehouse staff for example. The ability to divide your departments to their own zones or channels means that should a specific area of your business have an issue, then they aren’t having to fight with other people in order to send their transmission due to the channel being locked.

Site wide channels can be added for less urgent communications, but a listen only channel can be programmed to ensure that should a situation of high risk or priority arise then everyone within the work environment can be notified instantly. Similarly, a feature that almost all two-way radios have is the option to add an emergency button. When activated an alert will be sent to all radios within your network, this notifying them that a member of staff may have a security or safety issue that needs to be resolved quickly.

Pricing

The price of a good communications system is nothing compared to the safety of staff, but if price is a sticking point then there are many different options available to help you get the most out of your system. This section of the blog post will separate different radios over 3 price points, ranging from an affordable entry level device all the way through to advanced GPS capable models.

For all price levels in this piece of the blog, the usual radios of choice are split between the three major brands; Motorola, Hytera and Kenwood.

£ – Entry Level

From Motorola there is the DP1400 which is a rugged, reliable and simple to use radio that can be found in a variety of working environments but most commonly is seen on construction sites or within warehouses. This device is the successor to the most popular two-way radio every produced, the Motorola GP340. The DP1400 has followed in the footsteps of its predecessor and taken up the mantle as the most frequently purchased Motorola radio. You would be forgiven for thinking that the DP1400 and the GP340 are in fact the same radio, but with the optional upgrade of digital signalling this allows for additional transmitting options such as individual, private and group calling.

The PD705LT is a sleek device available from Hytera, this radio is one of the Chinese manufacturers most popular products whilst also being the top selling radio by Radiotronics in 2019. Unlike the previously mentioned DP1400, the PD705LT comes with digital signalling as standard, this ensuring that crystal clear communications are a guarantee when using the Hytera radio. A major draw to the PD705LT is its Bluetooth capabilities. An external adapter accessory can be purchased to connect wireless accessories, this an ideal solution where your radio and an earpiece is needed to be used in a formal environment.

Finally, from Kenwood is the NX-1300, this is the UHF equivalent of the NX-1200 VHF radio. These two radios have only recently been released, put in to production in order to replace the soon to be discontinued TK-D340 and TK-D240. Both identical radios, the NX-1300/NX-1200 have a sleek design whilst being packed with features such as Lone Worker, Channel Scanning and an Emergency Call Function. These radio have an extremely modest price for the device that you are getting, making it ideal for companies with a lower budget.

££ – Middle Of The Road

Starting out with Motorola again for our middle of the road radios. The DP4400e is a tough, battle ready radio that can be used in even the harshest of environmental conditions. With an IP68 protection rating this means that the DP4400e can be fully submersed in water, ensuring that should it be dropped into a body of water or left out in the rain it will still be operational once it has been retrieved. Coming as standard with digital signalling, unlike the entry level DP1400, this ensures that communications are consistent whilst also crystal clear.

From Hytera the option that we would recommend if you’re looking at a middle ground two-way radio is the PD705. This is the bigger brother of the PD705LT, the more compact version of this radio. But you may be asking, what extra features do I receive if I choose this model over the LT? The PD705 has an IP67 protection rating meaning that similarly to the DP4400e it is fully submersible in water. Alongside this the normal 705 also has the option to add various license keys for things such as digital encryption and trunking for both MPT1327 and DMR Tier III whilst also being capable of Man Down functionality.

Our final middle range radio is the Kenwood NX3300E3, to keep things fair we’ve used the E3 model as this is a black box design, just like the DP4400e from Motorola and PD705 from Hytera. Yet another radio with an IP67 protection rating, the NX3300E3 also benefits from an amass of features that come both pre-programmed and additional extras. Bluetooth allows for wireless accessories to be used with this radio, whilst GPS capabilities mean that the NX3300E3 can be tracked to its exact location when used in collaboration with dispatch software. Lone Worker comes as standard with the radio monitoring the activity levels of the radio, where Man Down is an additional extra.

£££ – Top Of The Class

The final Motorola radio that I will be talking about is the Motorola DP4801e. This radio has every feature and additional extras that you could possibly need from a communications device, although this is reflected in the price. The first model on this list that has both a full keypad and display, the DP4801e is an ideal radio for managers who may need access to private calls with workers using the same or different radios. A high IP rating of IP68, Bluetooth, GPS, Voice Activation and many more additional features makes the DP4801e one of the most advanced models on the market.

The 1024 channel PD785 from Hytera is their entry into the top level of radios. With the optional paid upgrade to a GPS and Man Down version of the radio, the PD785 comes in at a similar price point to the DP4801e from Motorola. A device that wouldn’t look out of place even in customer facing workplaces, the PD785 also has a full key pad and full colour display making it easy to access menus and options, whilst also having the ability to send both pre-programmed and custom text messages to other radios. Although the radio looks sleek and stylish this doesn’t take away from its durability, with an IP68 protection rating and being built to military standards, this ensures its continuous operation in even the harshest of conditions.

In the middle class we mentioned Kenwoods NX3300E3, but one thing we didn’t say was the fact that there was two additional versions of the radio. The E2 features a partial keypad and full display, whilst the radio that we will be focusing on is the NX3300E that has a full keypad alongside a full display. The display on the NX3300E is an LCD in comparison to the full colour of the PD785, although this is the only part that really differs between the two radios. A more regimented black box styling, this radio not only looks tough but is built tough too with an IP67 Ingres Protection rating.

*Pricing levels accurate as of 31/01/2020

Although it might seem like the best option is always the most expensive due to the amount of features they have, the most important thing to ask yourself is… do I really need to that? A common conversation that the sales staff at Radiotronics have with customers is them requesting features fit for dangerous working environments, in environments that aren’t actually that dangerous.

As an example, more often than not a customer will inquire about having Man Down added to their radios. Man Down is a feature that monitors the orientation of the radio, should the radio in question be laid on its side for a pre-set period of time, 30 seconds let’s say, then an alert will sound on the radio. If this alert is not answered, then an alarm of highest priority will be sent to other radios in the network or a base station. If dispatch software is used within your system and your radios have GPS capabilities, the location of the downed man will be shown on the map allowing for fast response to the workers’ location.

Although this does seem like a handy thing to have programmed into your radio it is only a necessity where there is a risk of death in the workplace. So we would definitely recommend this feature for use on construction sites or power stations and such, but businesses located on small sites or within schools we would advise to save the additional money you would spend on this upgrade and put it to use elsewhere.

As previously mentioned Radiotronics would always recommend only buying what you definitely require for your environment. Should within your workplace you require GPS capable radios, it may not be necessary for everyone to have the fancy models with a screen and full keypad. The solution for this that Radiotronics have implemented many times involves radios that have been mentioned in both the “Middle of The Road” and “Top of The Class” sections of this blog.

The working environment that I will use as an example for this is a warehouse facility.

Within a warehouse there will be many different levels of staff, from floor workers to supervisors and office staff. A communications system for a large operation could consist of anywhere from 15 to 150 radios, and with the heavy machinery and high racking there is also the risk of injury or in severe cases death should something go wrong. Although a Motorola DP1400 for example would suffice in such an environment, we would always recommend radios that have GPS capabilities in a large building such as a warehouse.

For distribution of radios a member of floor staff wouldn’t necessarily require a radio that has the full screen and keypad, this because in general they will not be required to make individual calls or need to send text messages to other members of staff. The middle of the road radios allows for the user to receive crystal clear communications through standard channels whilst being rugged and reliable, ensuring that should they accidentally be dropped then little to no damage will be sustained. With the warehouse workers making up the majority of the staff, using these radios would help to keep costs down where they don’t necessarily need to be using the high end radios.

For members of staff who may need to relay new instructions or contact other members of staff directly it would be recommended that they use radios from our “Top of The Class” picks. With these radios only being given to a select few members of staff, this would help keep the costs lower on your system. A supervisor for example would be able to contact members of their team either as a group or as an individual. With the normal programmed channels being split into zones, these may be used by all members of floor staff rather than one specific team. With group calling this will allow for a supervisor or manager to navigate the menus of their radio to find the group with just their team members included, this meaning that instructions aren’t being listened in to by everyone and just the people that need to hear it. Similarly, individual calls can be made should you need to speak to someone privately without having to disturb other members of staff.

Within this blog I have spoken about a lot of different aspects that you need to take into account when purchasing two-way radios. Should you want to learn anything more about two-way radios before making a purchase Radiotronics have produced a large amount of literature whether it be here on our blog or on the informational pages of our website. If you think you’ve made a decision on a radio or would like some extra advice then you could always make a call to our sales team, our trained staff will be able to talk through with you what the best option for you would be on the number below.

01425 533 533

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Kenwood NX-1300: The TK-D340 Replacement

Kenwood have announced that the NX-1200 and NX-1300 will be the successors to the hugely popular TK-D240 and TK-D340. With the former being VHF and the latter UHF, there are multiple different options available to you including models with partial keypad. A range of 4 radios means that no matter the environment that you are working in you are sure to find the ideal solution for your workplace from these devices.

Having found a winning formula with the TK-D340 it wouldn’t have been a smart business move to cancel a popular product without replacing it.

Throughout this blogpost I will be referring to the TK-D240/TK-D340 as the TK-D340, whilst the NX-1200/NX-1300 will be referred to as the NX-1300. The simple black-box model is the main focus point of this piece, although the additional models with partial keypad being touched on later in this blog.

Starting out with the aesthetics of the NX-1300 it is a slightly bigger and heavier radio compared to its predecessor. With the supplied as standard KNB-45L 2000mAh Li-Ion battery attached the NX-1300 stands at 123mm in height, 54mm in width and 33.5mm in depth whilst weighing 295g*. Although it is a slightly chunkier device compared to the TK-D340 the radio is still comfortable to carry for the operator, when carried via the use of either a hand strap, belt clip or carry case little to no strain will be felt by the user ensuring that it doesn’t become an irritation whilst working.

*Dimensions and weight may vary depending on the chosen battery.

A fairly basic design as previously mentioned the NX-1300 (DE3) has a sleek yet modern design that would be a fit for environments ranging from hospitality through to the construction industry. The faceplate of the NX-1300 is the home for both a speaker and microphone, whilst also having an LED status indicator that can flash 7 different colours. These colours can be programmed to alert the user of various status’ including selective power on, selective call alert and a low battery level indication. On the top of the radio is a port for the antenna, a channel selection knob and a volume knob that is also used as the power switch for turning the radio on and off. Finally, on the left hand side of the radio has a 2-pin accessory connector whilst the right is home to both the push to talk button and two programmable buttons.

As standard the NX-1300 has a total of 64 possible programmable channels, making it more than sufficient for use in large workforces. These channels can be split into 4 zones, each with 16 channels, this an ideal solution should you want each department of your business to have their own designated channels. Although this radio allows for sectors of your business to have their own private channels, there is also the possibility of programming channels that allow for cross communications between departments when needed, thus meaning that should a site wide message need to be relayed then this is still a possibility.

With 64 channels to play with these can be programmed using both digital and analogue signalling. Due to the NX-1300 being dual-mode capable this allows for the radio to be used as a transitional device, should you have existing analogue radios then the current frequencies you have can be programmed into your new radios so that existing working analogue radios don’t go to waste. Commonly on the newer digital devices the channels are usually split with 1 through 8 being analogue and 9 through 16 being digital, this can then be changed to a full digital device once the older analogue radios have been taken out of circulation.

There are many features that help with operability for the user. From scanning to safety functions, we have picked out some of the features that we recommend you make use of with your NX-1300s. All features that are listed below may not be required in your working environment, but it’s probably a good idea to be familiar with everything your new NX-1300 can offer.

VOX Voice Activation

VOX Voice Activation is a feature that can be found on almost all new two-way radios. In order to use this feature with the NX-1300 an optional earpiece or microphone must be used, although once connected this will allow for the operator to simply speak without pressing the PTT and their message will be transmitted onto their selected channel.

Emergency Function

As previously mentioned there are two programmable buttons on the right hand side of the radio. One of these buttons can be configured to be an emergency button to be used in occasions where safety or security is breached. When pressed this button will alert all other radios within the network that a fellow member of staff may be in trouble, this allowing for fast action to be taken when required.

Voice Announcement

Should you be working in environments with low lighting conditions then you may not be able to see the channel that you are switching to. If you choose to program this feature into your radio, when switching channels, the radio will announce the channel number that they have switched to in order to make sure that they are currently listening and transmitting on the correct channel.

Channel Scanning

The last thing that you want to happen is for an important transmissions to be missed, especially when you’re investing significant amounts of money into a communications system. Channel scanning allows for one of the channels to be programmed as a scan channel and when selected will cycle through all programmed channels. Once a transmission has been found the scan will stop and the radio will listen in, once the transmission has finished the scan will continue its cycle.

Individual/Group Calling

Due to the NX-1300 being a digital radio you have the option for both group and individual calling. This means that should a group transmission need to be made to relay new instructions or check up on the progress of a team then this can be done, whilst also having the option of an individual call so that a private conversation can be had.

Although we have only mentioned 5 features in this blog post there are for what it seems a never ending list that help with usability for the operator. If you’d like to see all of the features that the NX-1300 is capable of then you can check out the specification sheet by clicking here.

The final aspect of the non-display NX-1300 that we will be talking about is its capabilities when faced with the elements. Built to IP54 protection rating this ensures that the radio has a limited protection against dust intrusion whilst also being capable of surviving splashes of water from all angles, this means that it can be used outside even when raining without the worry of the radio breaking or malfunctioning. The NX-1300’s durability is further reiterated due to the NX-1300 being built to MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G, this ensuring that the radio can continuously operate in differing environmental conditions including blizzards, snow storms and other extreme weather conditions.

As we previously mentioned the NX-1300 has multiple variants. Our main focus of this blog post has been the DE3 model which is without both a screen and keypad. Should you be looking for a radio with these features there is differing options to choose from. The DE2 features both an 8-character alphanumeric display whilst also having a partial keypad, the keys on the keypad can be used for a variety of purposes including programming quick access to features and switching between zones whilst the screen displays such information as battery life and various call signs. The DE2 model also has the added bonus of additional channels, rather than having just the 64 like the DE3 model it has 260 that can be split over 128 zones.

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Motorola Two Way Radio Power Supply Guide

Motorola, and the rate it discontinues/replaces power supplies is a minefield. So we’ve put together this guide to help give the matter some perspective.

Motorola Micro-USB Power Supplies

Region Model Replacement Related Products Comments
USA SPN5334 PMPN4027 EP900w Bluetooth Earpiece
Bluetooth Module Charger
PMMN4125 Microphone
PMLN6383 RM/XT Charger PodSL1600 / SL300
SL2600 / SL3500e
SL4000 / SL7550
SL4000e / SL7550e
Included with PMLN6394 RM Charger Kit

Used to be included with PMLN7109 kit. PMLN7109 now contains 25009298001.

We do not sell PS000132A01, but we do still stock the older PMPN4027 model.

PMPN4027 PS000132A01
PS000132A01 Current Model
UK PMPN4006 Used to be included with PMLN6393 XT Charger Kit, PMLN6393 now has multi UK/EU Charger

Included with PMLN7163 SL1/2 Charger Kit

PMPN4006 PS000042A13
PS000042A13 Current Model
EU PMPN4006 Included with PMLN7110 SL1/2 Charger Kit
PMPN4006 PS000142A12
PS000142A12 Current Model
USA PMPN4009 PS000042A11 Motorola EVX-S24
CD-65 EVX-S24 Pod
CD-66 EVX-S24 Pod
Also known as PA-57B
AAL92X002 PS000042A11
PS000042A11 Current Model
UK AAL92X004 Also known as PA-57U
AAL92X004 PS000042A13
PS000042A13 Current Model
USA PS000228A01 PS000227A11 PMPN4469 DTR6/7 charger pod 3W only. This was originally supplied with the PMPN4469 DTR6/7 charger kit. Occasionally supplied with PMLN6394 RM charger kit.
USA PS000227A11 Current Model PMPN4469 DTR6/7 charger pod 5W. This is now supplied with the PMPN4469 DTR6/7 charger kits.
USA 25009298001 Current Model SL300 SL300 used to be supplied with a PMPN4006. PMPN4006, PS000132A01 and PS000227A11 are all interchangable.

Motorola 16v Power Supplies

Region Model Replacement Related Products Comments
UK 2571586S06 EPNN9287 MDHTN3002* This was a large block-type plug-in power supply.
EPNN9287* PS000037A02 PMLN5191A
PMLN5195A^
This was a brick in the middle type power supply with fig.8 cable.
PS000037A02 Current Model PMLN5195B^ This is a small switch-mode PSU.
* EPNN9287A included 2571886T01 brick, EPNN9287B included 25012006001 brick. ^ PMLN5195B has included both EPNN9287B and PS000037A02. Oddly, MSi did not increment the number when changing the included PSU (reference).
EU 2571586S07 EPNN9286 MDHTN3001 This was a large block-type plug-in power supply.
EPNN9286* PS000037A01 PMLN5192A
PMLN5196A^
This was a brick in the middle type power supply with fig.8 cable.
PS000037A01 Current Model PMLN5196B^ This is a small switch-mode PSU.
* EPNN9286A included 2571886T01 brick, EPNN9286B included 25012006001 brick. ^ PMLN5196B has included both EPNN9287B and PS000037A01. Oddly, MSi did not increment the number when changing the included PSU (reference).
USA 2571586S13 EPNN9288 MDHTN3000 This was a large block-type plug-in power supply. 2571586S13 was also used for the later GP300 chargers.
EPNN9288* 25009297001 PMLN5193A
PMLN5197A^
This was a brick in the middle type power supply with fig.8 cable. This model also replaced EPNN7994_
25009297001 Current Model PMLN5197B^ This is a small switch-mode PSU.
* EPNN9288A included 2571886T01 brick, EPNN9288B included 25012006001 brick. ^ PMLN5197B has included both EPNN9287B and 25009297001. Oddly, MSi did not increment the number when changing the included PSU (reference).

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Build A Bundle: Motorola

The DP1400 from Motorola is currently one of the most popular two-way radios in the world. An ideal solution should you be looking for an advanced yet easy-to-use radio, the DP1400 can be used in a transitional period should you be looking to migrate from an existing analogue to a new digital system. Aesthetically the DP1400 has a user-friendly black box design. Should you be looking at the radio and thinking that it’s appearance doesn’t look very “advanced”, this is why you should never judge a book by its cover, or in the case a radio by its shell.

The DP1400 stands at 128mm in height, 62mm in width and 39mm in depth whilst weighing just 406g when the standard 1400mAh NiMH battery is attached. The low weight that the DP1400 has ensures that minimal strain is felt by the operator when it is being carried via the use of a belt clip or wrist strap, as standard we will supply a belt clip alongside your battery. Radiotronics would always recommend that a carrying solution is used with your radio, this to ensure that the risk of dropping your device is minimal as it is securely attached to your person rather than loosely in your pocket.

Despite its relatively small stature the DP1400 has been built to IP54 compliance. This Ingres protection rating ensures that not only does the radio have limited protection against dust intrusion but is also safeguarded against splashes of water from all angles meaning that it can be used outside even when raining. Another certification that the DP1400 holds is military specification MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G. After being put through various tests this allows for the radio to continuously operate even in the harshest of environmental conditions. No matter whether there is sand storms, heavy snow or mist and fog the DP1400 will continuously operate to a high standard from temperatures as low as -30°C through to 60°C.

As previously stated the DP1400 is a relatively advanced radio for its price. Starting with simple features that have a great impact, both a time out timer and busy channel lockout can be programmed into the radio. BCL ensures that should someone already be transmitting onto a channel then another radio will not be allowed to transmit until the first radio has finished, this ensuring that communications do not become crossed and are ultimately missed helping to improve efficiency of your communications. Alongside this a time out timer ensures that a radio operative can’t transmit onto a channel for extended periods of time. When programming your DP1400 a maximum length of transmission can be set at a time frame of your choice, if this is set at 30 seconds this will cut out the transmission at this point, helping to ensure that channels do not get locked due to over-use or because of accidental operation.

Alongside these operational features the DP1400 also has various safety ones. An emergency button can be programmed to one of the programmable buttons on the DP1400 so that an alert can be sent to other radios within the fleet in seconds should an operator have a safety or security issue. Lone Worker and Man Down are also options that can be programmed into the radio, although the latter is a licensable upgrade meaning that it doesn’t come as standard when purchasing the DP1400. Both operating in similar ways although monitoring different aspects, these features are a must have when working in dangerous working environments. Lone Worker monitors the activity levels of the radio and should the radio be inactive for a pre-set period of time then an alert will sound, if not responded to then an alarm will be sent of highest priority to other radios or a base station should there be one implemented within your system. Man Down works in a similar way although rather than monitoring the activity levels will monitor the orientation of your radio, whereby should it be laid on its side for a pre-set period of time then the same process as Lone Worker will be followed.

Now we have spoken about some of the features and attributes that make the DP1400 such great value, there are also accessories that we can pair your radio with to help with both safety and efficiency. There are a large array of items to choose from, therefore this decision may be difficult should you be purchasing a set of two-way radios for the first time.

Starting with batteries this decision relies heavily on the period of time of which your radios are required to be used for in a working day. When purchasing from Radiotronics as previously mentioned the DP1400 is supplied as standard with the PMNN4251 1400mAh NiMH battery, this will allow for up to 8 hours of usage by the operator whilst being capable of around 400 charge cycles on average. This battery is also built to be slim line, this making the radio sleeker allowing for your DP1400 to fit comfortably into the palm of the operator’s hand. The second battery that we will be talking about is one that can be used over extended periods of time. The PMNN4258AR is a high capacity 2900mAh Li-Ion battery, this will allow for between 12 to 14 hours of usage whilst being used at a 5-5-90 duty cycle. Although this battery is an optional paid upgrade it is highly recommended should you need your communications for longer periods of time, this ensuring that you are not caught short with your battery dying mid-way through a working shift.

Depending on your work place there may also be a need for an earpiece to be used to ensure that no transmissions are missed even in loud environments. When attaching these earpieces to the DP1400 a remote speaker microphone is required due to each earpiece only having a 3.5mm single-pin jack. The PMNN4013 is our recommended microphone with this being compatible with both earpieces we will be talking about in the PMLN7396 and PMLN7560.

The PML7396 is a D-shape earpiece that fits comfortably around the ear. Recommended for use in environments such as retail or hospitality where noise levels do not reach deafening heights, the D-Shape earpiece is one of our bestselling accessories when customers have previously purchase the DP1400 from us. The PMLN7560 is almost the exact opposite of the D-Shape, this earpiece is covert meaning that rather than being placed on the ear it is place into the ear canal. The reason that you place the PMLN7560 inside of the ear is because it is designed for environments where loud noise levels are expected, you will often find these earpieces being used by security staff or workers within the nightlife industry.

There are many variants of antenna that can be chosen when purchasing your DP1400 radios therefore it will differ depending on various factors. Your DP1400 radios will either be VHF or UHF a decision you make when purchasing, UHF is best used in built up areas where you will need to communicate through concrete or metal walls of a building whereby VHF is ideally used in wide open spaces. The next step is to choose between a stubby and whip antenna, this is entirely down to the customer on which suites them with the clues of their appearance being in their names. Radiotronics would always recommend that a stubby antenna is used, this due to a common complaint with our customers being that their whip antennas have broken, often due to staff members swinging their handset around whilst holding the end of the whip antenna and damaging the internal wiring.

We previously mentioned that when purchasing a DP1400 Radiotronics will always supply a belt clip as standard. Because of them being supplied alongside the radio a lot of people don’t tend to look for alternative carrying methods although there are plenty. In terms of carry cases you can purchase with the option of either nylon (HLN9701B) or leather (RLN5383A), these cases can be attached via the use of a belt loop to the operator allowing for quick access at the side when needed. There is also the option to purchase a RLN5384 or RLN5385B carry case, differentiated by having a 2.5” or 3” belt loop respectively these cases are quick release meaning that they can be pulled from the operator’s side quickly when needed. After mentioning the more conventional carrying solutions there is also the simplest, should you be looking for an easy and affordable carrying solution then there is the option of purchasing a NTN5243 shoulder strap. This is as simple as it sounds, the ends are connected to the radio which in turn is carried over the shoulder. This solution allows for quick access when required whilst also keeping out of the operators way to ensure that movement isn’t obstructed.

We will finally be discussing the charging options that are available starting out with the PMLN5191 single charger. An optional purchase, the single charger is an ideal choice should your radios be spread out across a large site allowing for each radio user to have their own charging station. Alternatively, should you be looking for a multi-charger then there are multiple options available from Radiotronics. Our very own MOTRACK allows for the creation of a rack charger via the use of your existing PMLN5191 pods, not all pods need to be connected straight away meaning that this is an ideal solution should you be purchasing 2 radios with the intention of expanding to 6+ in the future. The PMLN6600 is a genuine Motorola 6-way charger allowing for a centralised location for charging radios, unlike the MOTRACK this comes full stocked and ready to charge 6 DP1400 radios. Our final option is the MOT1 that allows for the charging of 12 radios at once, due to the cost of this device it is only recommended in environments where there are many radios in the workplace or charging of all radios is required to be in one place.

Now that we’ve ran through almost all of your options for purchasing a new set of DP1400 radios we thought we would break it down a little further for you. Below you can find a table outlining our recommended purchases for specific industries.

*Items Marked with an asterix are not a required purchase.

Industry Battery Charger Multi-Charger Earpiece Microphone Carrying Solution
Security PMNN4258 PMLN5191 MOTRACK* PMLN7560 PMNN4013A RLN5384B
Hospitality PMNN4251AR PMLN5191 MOTRACK* PMLN7396 PMNN4013A RLN5644
Construction PMNN4251AR PMLN5191 MOTRACK* PMLN7560 PMNN4013A RLN5644

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DMR Radio Comparison- Hytera, Motorola & Kenwood

Kenwood, Hytera and Motorola are some of the largest companies to provide us with two-way radios and each of them have their own popular DMR radio. Kenwood’s most popular DMR radio is the TK-D240/340. Hytera has the PD405 and Motorola has the famous DP1400.

First lets start with the Kenwood TK-D240/340. They are both exactly the same in every way except the 240 is VHF and the 340 is UHF. All the features and physical attributes are identical. Both radios stand at 122mm tall, 54mm wide and 34mm in depth meaning it is designed to fit in the user’s hand comfortably. It is thinner than most radios which makes reaching around the radio to other buttons much easier. The TK-D’s only weigh 285g which is pretty light for a taller radio. Looking at features the user has many to choose from. 32 channels comes as standard with both radios through two zones and channel scanning can be used to scan through all the channels in use to hear the next incoming transmission. Rating IP55, the TK-D’s can withstand dust and has limited protection against water. Lone worker is also available to be programmed which allows the user to work safely when working alone. Should the user’s radio be inactive for a pre-set period of time an alarm will sound. If  the user does not respond to the alarm in a set time then an alert will go out to their fleet, notifying them that they are potentially injured or unsafe while working alone. This can work great for many different work environments like a warehouse or as security. Transmit interrupt is available which allows the user to interrupt any on going transmissions in an emergency to notify the fleet. This works well when the channels are busy and there is an emergency. This feature is usually programmed into the supervisors radio as only one or two users may need this feature. CTCSS and DCS prevents unwanted transmissions and digital transmissions from reaching your TK-D340, this can be useful on a construction site where you may have to listen closely to instructions for safety. As well as this, busy channel lock out will also block some transmissions out when the frequency appears or is in use. The user’s receiver could could be receiving another signal but it is muted due to squelch settings. The TK-D240/340 has the time out feature which will electronically prevent the PTT button from being used if it is held down for a long period of time. This stops any damages to the user’s radio and it means that all commands and transmissions should be short and simple.` If the user wishes to talk to someone personally then direct mode is available. This will allow someone to talk directly to a member of their fleet personally to discuss anything private or sensitive. There are many other features available and a great digital feature is the fact that the TK-D’s enables the user to have to separate conversations on the same channel frequency. As we can see the TK-D340 and TK-D240 have many great features available and it is incredibly clever. It is cost effective and can be used in many different ways.

The next radio we will be looking at is one of Hytera’s most favoured radios, the PD405. This radio is much more cost effective than most entry level DMR radios but does it match and keep up with it’s competitors in productivity? The Hytera PD405 stands at 112mm tall, 54mm wide and 28mm so it is a similar in size to the Kenwood TK-D240/340. Weighing 240g the PD405 is lighter than the famous Kenwood radio making it even more comfortable in hand. UHF and VHF is available with this radio meaning it can be used in any work place in any environment. There are many features available with the PD405 that can be used to create more efficient work, better communication and greater safety in the workplace. This radio comes with 16 channels that can be used as analogue, digital or a mix of the two (hybrid). DMR signalling is present which betters the quality of the audio and the connectivity between radios. VOX is available which allows the user to activate transmissions without the need to press the PTT button. Once the user begins to talk the radio will automatically begin to send a transmission. This works amazingly well with compatible earpieces and remote speaker microphones. Lone worker is available meaning this radio can be used for user’s working alone. An emergency button can be programmed into one of the programmable buttons. Once this is pressed an alarm will be sent to the whole fleet which will notify them all of an emergency. This feature can be used as an alarm to evacuate the premises or to keep employees away from a certain area or situation. Roaming is available which allows the user to switch between sites on multi-site conventional systems giving flexible communication between the fleet. There are not many other features available for this radio. The important features are included but it is not quite as accessible as the TK-D240/340 but the PD405 is  much more affordable.

The final radio that I’m going to talk about is one of the most famous radios released and has been at the top of the market since it was released. Motorola’s DP1400. Coming with UHF or VHF this radio can be used in any environment from farming in open fields to security in a city. This radio is affordable and it comes with so many features to make work life even more easier and safe. It stands at 127mm tall, 61mm wide and 42mm in depth making it he largest out of three radios I’ve spoken about. But imagine it is just holding in so much potential! A lot goes into this radio and although it is that little bit larger, it does fit comfortably in hand. The DP1400 can also come in different colours when buying from Radiotronics for an additional cost. Rating IP54 the DP1400 can withstand dust and it has limited protection against water. 16 channels comes as standard and channel scanning can be implemented to allow the user to hear the next incoming transmission from any channel. CTCSS and DCS is present which will block out any unwanted analogue or digital transmissions from reaching the user’s radio. Lone worker can be programmed for those who work alone. VOX is available for anyone wishing to communicate easily and quickly without the need to use their hands. Transmit interrupt is available for emergency announcements to the whole fleet. So the DP1400 has the main features that the TK-D240/340 and the PD405 have but there are many other features like busy channel lock out, digital private line, talkaround, audio gain control available. This radio is more advanced than the others which is why it is so popular in many different countries around the world. It is in the middle for price with these three radios but as it has so many features it could easily have been the most expensive. The voice quality and connectivity is very clear and it does not sound robotic like at all. The connectivity is also great because of the DMR signalling. The DP1400 is easy to use in many different ways in many different work environments and can make a huge difference in any work place. Motorola know how to get the public’s appreciation with a great radio that is also affordable. Many accessories are available with this radio including remote speaker microphones, headsets, earpieces and carry cases whereas with the PD405 there are limited accessories available. The best thing about Motorola radios is that they are built to last. The DP1400 is incredibly robust and will last an incredibly long time.

To summarise we have the very technically advanced TK-D240/340 which is a very strong and reliable radio. There is the more affordable Hytera PD405 that has the important features and we have the Motorola DP1400 which is greatly reliable because of how robust it is.

If you wish to see the comprehensive video talking about this topic and actually seeing the radios in hand then click then see below.

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Pick Of The Bunch: Icom Incorporated

This blog post is a part of our recent “Pick of The Bunch” series. You may have seen these blogs on this website or via our weekly newsletter (You can sign up for this here!) and although they are extremely long and factual (Some people may call it boring), we have covered a range of radios from manufacturers such as Motorola, Kenwood and Hytera.

Icom are our chosen brand for this weeks blog, they are a Japanese company that specialises in the manufacturing of radio equipment. A brand that you may very well be aware of, Icom has been a popular choice for many industries within the UK for a number of years. No matter what type of radio you are looking for whether it be a simple black box or a more complex feature rich ATEX two-way radio there is an Icom option for you.

Similarly to Kenwood, Icom’s way of differentiating a radios frequency band is via the product name. Using the IC-F1000 and IC-F2000 as an example, the former is a VHF radio whereas the latter is a UHF radio, this wildly different from let’s say a Motorola radio. Whereby both UHF and VHF is covered under the same name, for example the Motorola DP1400. For clarity, throughout this blog post I will be talking about both radios by using the UHF (Ex. IC-F2000) product name.

Icom IC-F1000/IC-F2000

As I mentioned this radio in the previous paragraph I will begin with the Icom IC-F2000. This is by far the most popular choice that we at Radiotronics supply due to its many variations. In total there are 6 different models of this radio available to choose from including the IC-F2000 black box model, the IC-F2000S full display and 4-key keypad model and finally the most advanced IC-F2000T that has both a full display and full keypad. All radios are available with both UHF and VHF frequencies.

All models in the IC-F2000 series of radios are built tough, this being a key factor as to why they’re so popular, meaning that they can be used in almost every working environment with the exception of industries such as coal mining or nuclear power where an ATEX radio would be required. IP67 protection rating ensures that the IC-F2000 radios not only have a full Ingres against dust intrusion, but are also fully submergible in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This alongside being put through various tests to ensure it meets military standard (MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G). These military standards ensure that the IC-F2000 range can continue operating in a wide range of environmental conditions, ranging from snow and sleet at -30°C through to extreme heat in sandstorms and such at 50°C. The military protection rating also ensures that the IC-F2000 is protected against shock and vibrations.

There are many features available to be programmed into the IC-F2000 radios, each with their own way of helping to improve both safety and efficiency within the workplace. Starting simple, every IC-F2000 can be programmed to make use of a channel announcement feature. This is ideal should you be working in an environment that has minimal lighting, when the user changes channel the channel number will be announced by the radio to ensure that the user is transmitting on the correct channel at all times. These announcements are heard from, the IC-F2000 has a large forward facing 36mm speaker giving off an impressive 800mW audio power. This comes in alongside a built-in bridged-mono transformer-less BTL amplifier, delivering loud and intelligible audio even in the loudest of working environments ensuring that a transmission is never missed.

The IC-F2000 has a built in motion sensor that is used to detect its current position, state of motion or non-motion and is capable of sending an emergency signal should an operative be in danger. The motion sensor can also be used in collaboration with advanced features that are available to be programed into the radio such as Man Down and Lone Worker. These features are designed with worker safety in mind, the former monitoring the radios orientation and the latter monitoring activity levels of the radio. How both of these work is explained below.

Lone Worker: This feature monitors the activity levels of the radio. Should the radio be inactive for a pre-programmed period of time an alert will be sent to the user, if this alert is still not responded to then a high priority alarm will be sent to the base station notifying them that the radio user may be in trouble, allowing for fast action to be taken.

Man Down
: Working similarly to the previously mentioned Lone Worker, Man Down monitors orientation rather than activity levels. As suggested by the name should the radio be laid on its side for a pre-programmed period of time then an alert will be sent to the user, if unresponsive then an alarm will be sent to the base station notifying them that their colleague may be at risk.

All versions of the IC-F2000 are supplied as standard with a BP-279 1485mAh Li-Ion battery. A waterproof battery, the BP-279 will supply your IC-F2000 with up to 14 hours of operating time when the radio is used with the power save function activated.

Finally we will discuss the dimensions of all three versions of the IC-F2000 and some accessories that can be purchased to help with usability. Standing at 111.8mm in height, 52.2mm and 24.5mm the IC-F2000 range is relatively compact, and although the F2000S and F2000T have aesthetical differences such as screens and keypads they remain the same size as the black box design of the F2000. Weighing in at just 240g even when the BP-279 battery is attached makes the radio lightweight compared to many other radios that are on the market, this ensuring that it will cause minimal strain on the user should they be carrying it via a belt clip, carry case or wrist strap.

There are many accessories that can be used with the IC-F2000 including batteries, antennas, chargers, earpieces and microphones. Although the radio is supplied as standard with the BP-279 1485mAh Li-Ion battery there are many other options available when purchasing. Both genuine and aftermarket Radiotronics batteries can be purchased, ranging from the lower capacity 1180mAh Icom BP-278 battery through to the highest capacity Icom BP-280 2280mAh Li-Ion battery. The only Radiotronics battery that we offer is the 1500mAh Li-Ion BP279LI. With any radio you’re obviously going to need a charger, options available include single pod chargers (BC213) and multi chargers (BC-214, UK6WAY). The single pod chargers can be used in a vehicle when used with the MB130 charger bracket and CP23L cigar lighter power supply.

Icom IC-F29DR

We will now be talking about Icom’s premier licence free radio the IC-F29DR. This radio is digital DMR446 meaning that for a licence free radio the sound quality is exceptional. There is an analogue equivalent of this radio in the IC-F29SR but we will solely be focusing on the DR version in this blog.

Being a digital radio the IC-F29DR is also capable of talking with analogue licence free radios. When programming the radio it is possible to program 8 analogue and 8 digital channels, this meaning that should you have existing PMR446 radios then your new DMR446 can still communicate with them until they have been removed from circulation. Should you be communicating using any of the analogue channels obviously as the distance between radios increases the sound quality will worsen, but the sound projected when using digital channels will be crystal clear until maximum range has been reached, this in part due to the large 36mm 800mW speaker located on the front of the radio.

Usually when looking at licence free radios they commonly have low Ingres protection ratings, due mainly to them being used as toys or for leisure purposes and not in working environments. What makes the IC-F29DR stand out is the fact it has an IP67 rating. This rating not only ensures that the radio is completely protected against the intrusion of dust, but can also be submerged in water that is 1-meter-deep for up to 30 minutes. Although it wouldn’t be recommended to use a licence free radio when working due to a limited distance coverage, should you be adamant that you want one then the IC-F29DR is more than capable enough of dealing with the rigors of working a construction site.

There are many internal features with the IC-F29DR that help with usability for the operator. When using the radio with the optional HS-94LWP or HS-95LWP VOX Voice Activation allows for the radio to be used hands free should it be needed. Being able to simply speak and your message be transmitted, without having to press the PTT button, allows for users in working environments or partaking in leisure activities where both hands are required to still have adequate communications. This feature also works in louder environments, so should there be a lot of noise where you are then there is no need to worry as the microphone will only pick up on your voice and not the environment around you, this due to the technology within the headsets.

With the IC-F29DR being licence free you would presume that it would be easy to use, and you would be right. For a radio so rugged the operation is extremely simple, this because there are just three main controls… Transmit, volume and channel selection. The simplicity of this radio means that it is ideal for use in working environments where a high turnover of staff is expected or less advanced safety features are required.

Icom IP501H

On the Radiotronics blog website we have often ranted and raved about the introduction of cellular technologies to the two way radio market. Icom released their cellular radio in 2017 named the IP501H, and for a device so small in stature it certainly packs a punch.

As I mentioned it in the opening paragraph of this section let’s get right into the dimensions of the IP501H. The radio stands at just 95mm in height, 59mm in width, 32mm in depth and has a weight of just 240g* means that the IP501H is relatively tiny in size compared to some competing radios in the marketplace. Usually at this point I would say at this point that the low weight means that the radio can be carried stress free to the user via a belt clip or wrist strap, but due to the dimensions and weight mentioned that’s a fairly obvious point to make.

*When standard BP-272 battery is attached.

A running theme with the previously mentioned Icom radios and the IP501H is the IP67 Ingres protection rating. Although it has been mentioned twice before this rating not only ensures that the radio has a full resistance to dust intrusion, but it also confirms that the radio can be full submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. With this IP rating and the radios industrial look and feel, the IP501H would look like it belonged in a variety of working environments. Although commonly used in transportation companies due to the radios unlimited range, the IP501H could be used on constructions sites whether that be for a single site or to connect sites cross country.

Due to the IP501H operating using cellular signals to transmit, this also brings the added bonus of GPS capabilities. Location tracking can be activated when your system uses the Icom UK RMS-Net dispatch solution with this software also providing benefits such as IP Repeater Connection, Radio Recording and Complex Call Routing. Location tracking is a great feature to have should you be using features such as Man Down and Lone Worker with your radios, allowing for the potentially injured worker to be found quickly. If you want to see the full description of how MD and LW work then you can see this in the IC-F2000 section of this blog post.

There are many features that the user of the IP501H will benefit from. Starting with calling features the radio has the ability to perform individual, group and all calls. Fairly simple to gather from the names an individual call allows for a private call to be made from one radio to another, group allows for multiple radios to be contacted and all calls are used to contact every radio within the network. Priority interrupt is classed as an all call, this allowing for a transmission of high priority to interrupt any ongoing conversations to relay an important message, usually used in emergency situations. The IP501H can also make use of a vibrate alert function, this ideal should your work need to remain covert.

A 500 memory address book allows for you to quickly find the person or persons you are wishing to contact, the IP501H is able to store individual and groups whilst also having the ability to store telephones. Not only can you contact the user you need via PTT, you can also send and receive pre-programmed text messages with the IP501H. Common messages that Radiotronics have previously programmed include “Arrived at Location” and “Job Complete”.

Finally a note on an accessory feature, although there are many accessories available to use with the IP501H to help with usability for the operator there is one, technically two, that stand out. Should you purchase the BC-218 charger cradle and the HM-215 Remote Speaker Microphone, due to the IP501H Bluetooth abilities this allows for the radio to be used even when charging due to the RSM being wireless. As long as you are within Bluetooth connectivity distance you can still use your radio as though it was at your side, this can even be done when the radio isn’t in its charger.

Icom IC-F3202DEX/IC-F4202DEX

Because of their appearance ATEX models are usually one of the radios a first time customer will ask about, but ATEX radios are actually only needed in highly dangerous working environments. Before we get into talking about the IC-F4202DEX’s features and functions, I previously mentioned that these radios are for use in dangerous environments. In order for the radio to be used in these environments they need to pass certain specifications and certifications, the codes of which can be found bellow.

ATEX Certifications
Mining : I M2 Ex ib I Mb
Gas : II 2G Ex ib IIC T4 Gb
Dust : II 2D Ex ib IIIC T110°C Db –20°C≤Ta≤+55°C
EN 60079-0 (2012), EN 60079-11 (2012)

IEC Certifications
Mining : Ex ib I Mb
Gas : Ex ib IIC T4 Gb
Dust : Ex ib IIIC T110°C Db –20°C≤Ta≤+55°C
IEC 60079-0 (2011), IEC 60079-11 (2011)

The IC-F4202DEX is Icoms flagship ATEX radio. Commonly with other brands I would be typing now about how this ATEX radio has a much higher IP rating than the others mentioned in the blog, but due to this being Icom this radio has the already high IP67. We don’t need to go over this in too much detail as It has been mentioned 3 times previously, but what this means is that the radio has a full Ingres protection against dust whilst also being submergible in water.

Due to the fact that the IC-F4202DEX is designed for dangerous working environments there are many safety features present. The previously mentioned Man Down and Lone Worker are a possibility, this alongside an emergency button to instantly alert other members of the workforce that you could potentially be in trouble. The Icom IC-F4202DEX also has VOX capabilities, this will allow for the radio to be used hands free when used with compatible accessories. VOX stands for Voice activation allowing for the user to simply speak and their message will be transmitted, this is a feature that is most effectively used in environments where use of the hands is an absolutely necessity, and not in workplaces where the feature would be seen as a novelty as it decreases the sound quality of transmissions.

These radios are very complex and are only required in dangerous working environments. Should you want to learn more about the IC-F4202DEX then you can check out our product page for this and the VHF IC-F3202DEX.

All radios mentioned in this blog post are available to view on the Radiotronics website, should you wish to learn more about any of them you can check out the website here or give our sales team a call on the following number to discuss any queries – 01425 533 533.

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