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Why Should Taxis Use Radios, Not phones?

There are many pros to using two way radios as a taxi driver, although quite a few have transitioned to mobile phones, they could still be missing out on the advanced features available with radios. In this blog is all the main reasons and features as to why two way radios may be the best suit for a taxi driver.

Most people seem to believe that it is illegal to use a radio while driving just like it is to use a phone, but that is untrue. A taxi man/woman can use a two way radio while driving legally but if a police officer believes it is affecting their driving then they can be pulled over, all the police simply recommend is to not play with the settings or buttons while driving and only use the radio when necessary to reply to incoming transmissions. There are many larger companies that use a software named “Autocab” which manages booking information, dispatch and pick up times. Yes this software can be very useful in dispatch and delivery services but for taxi’s we definitely recommend a two way radio as it can be used to do all of the above things but with added communication with your colleagues.

There are many two way radios still on the market which are affordable with many features. All the radios I’ll be showcasing are designed specifically for taxis, delivery drivers or any vehicle transportation service.

ICOM IC-F110S

If you are reading this and are looking for a starter, entry level two way radio then the ICOM IC-F110S is the one for you. The production of this radio is beginning to be wound down by ICOM but can still be purchased online for a very affordable price. Many taxi drivers will say that they do not want to have a radio as they are “too big” or “they take up too much room”, well the IC-F110S is the smallest radio out of their range of vehicular radios and takes minimal room to install. It transmits VHF (Very High Frequencies) which is great for wide open areas with minimal obstructions. This would be a great addition to a taxi company that works mainly in country side areas or small towns and villages. It only weighs 400g and stands at 150mm wide, 40mm height and 117.5mm in depth meaning it has a small, compact design. There are 8 available channels that can be used to communicate with the fleet with channel scanning to allow the user to hear any incoming transmissions through the 4 Watt front mounted speaker. The volume can be adjusted with the volume switch so suit the users ear. A full LED display is at the front of the radio which indicates the channel in use which can be easily seen in the dark without a distracting glare while driving. Once installed the user can communicate with no calling or waiting and have easy access to talk to other drivers or their company base. The IC-F110S has a polycarbonate front panel and is made with a die cast chassis making it much more robust and reliable compared to a personal mobile phone. When making transmissions, security can be very important for sensitive information and the IC-F110S provides the necessary security for this with a password feature. The transceiver must accept a password before any transmissions can be heard to prevent anyone unauthorised talking with other drivers or the base. For anyone looking for a starter radio the ICOM IC-F110S is a perfect tool to boost communication, organisation and professionalism. If a user is wanting a UHF version then the ICOM IC-F210S is available on our website.

ICOM IC-F110S two way radio

Motorola DM4401e

The next recommended radio is the Motorola DM4401e, this radio is at a higher price point but for good reason, as it has a whole lot more features than the average radio in this class. It comes with 32 channels and channel scanning, it is digital and can transmit either UHF or VHF. It can be used in all environments if that be wide open spaces or built up areas like cities or large towns. The DM4401e only weighs 300g which is very light meaning it installs very easily without any struggle. One of the most dangerous parts of a taxi drivers job is the driving and if a collision does happen then the base will need to know where the accident happened. GPS is built in to the DM4401e which will allow the base to see exactly where each driver is at any given time as long as they have TRBOnet software. TRBOnet allows the user to track radios using GPS, record transmissions and perform complex call routing, this increases safety dramatically for the drivers as they have the reassurance that they are always watched and are always safe. The GPS is also incredibly good use for if/when a taxi is stolen as the base will be able to know exactly where it is and can give that information to the police to retrieve the vehicle back. Yes a mobile phone does have GPS but can not be used in the same way with all the other features available with the radio. In addition the GPS on a phone can be turned off whereas on the radio itself it would need to be programmed to disable it. 4 programmable buttons come with the Motorola DM4401e making features easily accessible when they are needed. Each button can hold a different feature and the user can pick the features they wish to have programmed into their radio. One feature that can be useful while working is the Emergency Button feature which would send a signal to the users base and fleet once pressed notifying them that the user is in danger or has had an accident. The voice announcement feature is available to be programmed to the users radio which allows them to hear pre recorded voice announcements whenever an operation like changing channels has occurred, meaning the driver has no need to take their eyes off the road and can listen to any changes made. Integrated already into the DM4401e is an X-Pand compressor which allows the user to talk quietly while the transceiver can still hear the transmission loud and clear. The compressor basically boosts your voice louder when it appears quiet resulting in the user not having to shout or talk loud for their colleague to hear them talk. When using a mobile phone while working you will have to have it connected to hands free Bluetooth as it is illegal to use a phone while driving. When a phone is on Bluetooth the phone will pick up a lot of background noise like the car or people talking and the audio is not very clear. The DM4401e gives clear, precise and easy to hear audio with no background noise and clear voice transmissions.

Motorola DM4401 two way radio

Accessories

For both of the radios I have spoken about, there are plenty of different accessories available. Different antennas can be attached to your vehicle allowing further transmissions or shorter (depending on the users needs). Some antennas are designed specifically for urban areas such as towns and cities and some are designed for wide open areas. Programming cables are available meaning the user can programme their radios themselves as long as they have the software.

Motorola DM401 programming cable

Other spare parts like remote speaker microphones are available to be purchased online and they all have different features available. Some have a volume control switch, some have a programmable button but they can all be used to make your job easier resulting in the user having to use the radio itself less and the RSM more which could be attached to your shoulder for easier access.

Motorola DM4401 remote speaker microphone

A DIN mount can be added to your vehicle allowing the radio to be installed to where the radio would usually be, meaning it can be kept out the way while still being easily used while driving. The alternative could be a dash mount which allows the user to install their radio to the dashboard which could be a little closer than where the radio would be.

Diagram of DIN mount

 

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Motorola DR3000 UHF2 – Forthcoming Discontinuation

Motorola Solutions have announced that the Motorola DR3000 repeater will soon be discontinued, with the final order date for this product being the 17th June 2019 (Whilst stocks last).

“The Motorola DR3000 repeater is a continuous-duty unit that supports two simultaneous voice or data paths in digital TDMA mode. DR3000 easily mounts in wall or rack systems. This Motorola DR3000 repeater is part of the MOTOTRBO series, delivering increased capacity and spectrum efficiency, integrated data communications and enhanced voice communications through a complete solution.”

The replacement for this repeater is an already existing product that is available to purchase from the Radiotronics web store. The SLR5500 is a digital repeater from Motorola. Operating with both UHF and VHF frequencies, the SLR5500 is capable of mixed mode operation between both analogue and digital. A channel capacity of 64 allows for sufficient communications for a larger business, expanding the range of radios across substantially sized facilities.

If you’d like to find out more about the remaining available stock of the Motorola DR3000, please call and speak to a member of our sales team on 01425 533 533. For more information regarding the replacement SLR5500 then please click here.

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The Hytera HYT TC610 And TC620

Hytera TC-610 & TC-620 Overview

Physical Attributes

The Hytera HYT TC610 and the TC620 are two of the most affordable radios on the market yet they still come with the features most users need. During the manufacturing stage many tests where performed for the both the TC610 and TC620, including a temperature test. It was put into conditions like -30oC and 60oC to find out how they cope in them extreme conditions. Both the TC610 and the TC620 are analogue radios which have 16 programmable channels which is great to say how low the price is for both of these radios. They both come with a standard Lithium battery with up to 8 hours charge in one go which is enough for the average 8 hour working day or you can purchase a larger battery which lasts up to 14 hours. As you can see here the TC610 and TC620 have an elegant design standing at 117mm tall, 54mm wide and 31mm in depth so they have a reasonably compact design. The design itself makes it perfect for any working environment. On the left side of both radios are where the programmable buttons and the PTT buttons are located. Switching over to the right side of the TC610 and the TC620 you can see the accessory connector which is also the connector to programme the radio itself but you will need a programming cable. The TC610 and TC620 also comes with a well designed belt clip… on most radios the clips just slot on to the radio and if they break by the roller you will not be able to connect a new one and you would have to buy a brand new battery. Whereas with the TC610 and TC620 the belt clip actually screws on making it stronger and better held on with the screws. This means that it is very easy to replace a belt clip even if it does break.

Hytera TC-610 TC-620 Comparison

Features

Now onto the features, there are many features that can be programmed into the HYT TC610 and TC620. These include the time out feature, Channel scanning and VOX. The VOX feature enables you to activate the audio using your voice which creates a hands free mode and is great when you are needing to use your hands in the workplace. This can be used a lot in the security industry along with earpieces and integrated microphones, this creates a more discrete way to use your radio. The channel scanning feature allows you to receive or block more than one channel and the time out feature which comes with most radios is very important, the time out feature basically means that if you hold your PTT button for too long it will electrically time out and prevent you from communicating with your fleet for a period of time. Both the TC610 and the TC620 also comes with CTCSS and DCS which stops transmissions and digital transmissions to reach your radio. This can be useful on construction sites especially, as you wont be wanting interrupting signals blocking your channels when you’re talking about important information when on a hazardous site.

Accessories

There are many accessories available with the TC610 and the TC620 and they all have their uses, furthermore all of the accessories that will be featured in this blog are compatible with both radios. Remote speakers can be very useful in a workplace environment, they prevent you from having to constantly reach down to your radio to talk which may be clipped on to your waist. The SM26M1 is a great remote speaker that is very reliable, its twisted cord is designed to prevent any wire damages that could occur with a normal straight cord. It connects straight into your accessory connector on the right side of the radio and it would then be screwed in which means it wont be easy to detach. The SM26M1 has an audio out 3.5mm jack which means you can connect a separate, compatible earpiece to it resulting in the audio transmissions you receive wont be projected through the speaker but straight into you ear. This is the only extra feature that the SM26M1 has along with the PTT button.

SM26M1

The second remote speaker that is pictured below, the SM13M1 (IP55) has a few more added features compared to most remote speakers. Along with the PTT button this remote speaker holds an extra button which can be programmed to hold an additional feature as well as the two that are already on the radio itself. The SM13M1 also has an audio volume control switch which can be used to either turn the volume up or turned down depending on your needs but this again means you wont have to reach down to your radio on your waist just to turn the audio volume up or down. As well as these few features it does come with a 3.5mm jack socket just like the previously spoke about SM26M1 which can connect a compatible earpiece to it. One compatible earpiece is the ES-02 (pictured below) which is a high quality and comfortable earpiece. It is a very discrete piece of equipment and it is very useful for any form of security, nightclub door supervisors and private security. This specific earpiece has a 3.5mm jack and although it can connect to the 3.5mm socket on the radio itself, it is mainly used to connect to a remote speaker.

 

Hytera SM13M1 IP55

Earpieces can also come with a connector which can be plugged straight into the radio with a 3.5mm and 2.5mm jack plug. The D-shape earpiece connects straight to the radio as it has an integrated microphone already part of the design. The earpiece itself is designed to attach all the way around the back of your ear meaning the chances of it falling off is slim to none. Further down the cord you will see on the photo that there is the PTT button but as well as that is a switch what controls the way your audio transmissions are sent out. It can switch from either VOX or the PTT button, this can be easily accessible just below your chin where the cord will clip onto your collar.

Hytera D-Shape Earpiece

With the TC610 and the TC620 comes many different ways to actually charge your radio, the Six Unit Hytera charger, Hytera Spider charger and the Radiotronics rack charger. The Rack harger allows you to attach and detach your own singular chargers which means you know that all of your pod chargers go in the same place with only one plug. This is essential if you struggle to find places to charge your radios or if you have them scattered around the office at different electrical plug sockets. It can also be cost effective… if you bought 4 radios and 4 singular chargers and two years later you wish to buy two more radios and chargers you don’t want to buy the 6 Unit Charger as you would be wasting the money you originally spent on buying your 4 singular chargers, but if you buy a Radiotronics rack charger you can attach all of them pods into one place without spending the money on a new Hytera 6 Unit Charger. If you are buying a new fleet of up to 6 TC610 or TC620’s and you know you’re not going to be purchasing any more in the future then the Hytera 6 Unit Charger is great to keep all of your radios in one place without having to buy any singular pod chargers. The 6 Unit Charger can be mounted on a wall which results in your desk, shelf or wherever you would keep your radios to become more spacious.

Radiotronics Rack Charger

Hytera 6 Unit Charger

If you wish to keep all of your singular chargers in one place in a more affordable way then the Spider charger is a great alternative although it isn’t as robust and reliable as the Rack charger. The spider charger does the same job as a rack charger although the pods are attached to wires rather than a metal rack.

Hytera Spider Charger

Repeaters

Repeaters that can come with the Hytera HYT TC610 or TC620 can come in many shapes and sizes and they all hold different qualities which you will need to know to pick the right one for you. Repeaters can be used in many workplaces like construction sites, oil rigs, on boats and in farming, its really any workplace that has a huge span and if you need to get in touch with someone who may be further than your own radios range. A repeater transmits signals further or over an obstruction that may affect your signal although the repeater would have to be on top of that obstruction for e.g. a mountain. Analogue repeaters can only amplify a signal whereas a digital repeater can reconstruct your signal to sound as clear as its original quality. Repeaters like the Hytera RD625 are available for UHF and VHF and digital and analogue radios which makes it available for everyone and it has an added mixed mode and this allows the repeater to automatically scan for analogue and digital signals. The RD625 has the ability to be mounted to a wall which can be used to protect it from damages when laid down on a desk or a shelf or if you wish to make to make your desk or table a little more spacious. It can also programme 16 channels which is perfect if you are using the HYT TC610 or TC620 as they too have 16 programmable channels.

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Hytera MD785 to MD785i Transition Announcement

Hytera has announced the replacement of the hugely successful MD785 with the MD785 (i for improved) model.

Hytera MD785i

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.

> You can download a PDF brochure for the Hytera MD785i here.

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Icom Announces IC-SAT100 Satellite PTT Over Satellite Two Way Radio

Icom has announced the forthcoming launch of a Satellite two way radio in partnership with the worldwide pioneer of Satellite phones, Iridium.

Icom IC-SAT100 Satellite Radio

In a press release on their website, Icom announced that the new satellite two way radio would be launching in Q2, 2019.

Icom Says:

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.

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Base Station Two Way Radios, Power Supplies, Base Microphones & Antenna Solutions

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?

Base Station Two Way Radio

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

Motorola Vehicle Type Mobile 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.

Alfatronix AD Universal Power Supply

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.

2.2) Alternative – Encased Type PSU

There are many encased type power supplies. But the most notable are made by Samlex – see here on our website.

Samlex Two Way Radio PSU

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.

Base Station Two Way Radio Base Microphone

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.

4) Antenna

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.

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Hytera SmartXPT – Real Time Tracking and Communications Management

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.

Remote Monitoring
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.

Text Messaging
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
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.

Emergency Alarm
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.

All Compatible Radios Include:

Hytera MD655   • Hytera MD785   • Hytera PD355   • Hytera PD365
Hytera PD375   • Hytera PD405   • Hytera PD415   • Hytera PD485
Hytera PD505   • Hytera PD565   • Hytera PD605   • Hytera PD665
Hytera PD685   • Hytera PD705   • Hytera PD715Ex   • Hytera PD755
Hytera PD785   • Hytera PD795Ex   • Hytera PD985   • Hytera RD625
• Hytera RD965   • Hytera RD985S   • Hytera X1E   • Hytera X1P

For additional information or to purchase the Hytera SmartXPT software, you can email our sales team via sales@radiotronics.co.uk or call our head office between the hours of 9 – 5 on 01425 533 533.

 

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Looking for Kenwood TK-3201 or Kenwood TK-3301 Radios? They’ve Been Replaced. But By What?

Kenwood Licence Free Radio Lineup

Do you have a Kenwood TK-3201 or Kenwood TK-3301? Did you know it’s been replaced? Indeed it has – by the Kenwood TK-3401D. Read more below.

What Replaced These Awesome Radios?

The official replacement for the Kenwood TK-3201 and Kenwood TK-3301 is the Kenwood TK-3401D. The TK-3401D is an improved version of the TK-3201 and TK-3301, works on the same channels, but also adds in digital mode for ultra-clear audio – so a massive improvement. See below for more TK-3401D improvements and features.

The Kenwood TK-3501 Myth

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

You can buy the Kenwood TK-3401D on our website here.

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What Radio To Buy & Where It’s Most Effective

License Free
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.

UHF/VHF
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.

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Icom Remains Loyal To Features Despite Facelift

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.

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