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Two Way Radio Anywhere

Push to talk over cellular is a technology that has been readily available for a number of years. Communicating using 3G and 4G networks allows for seamless interactions between the workforce, extending the reach potential over a considerable distance helping to improve the efficiency of a team.

A technology that has been available for years, PoC has become more prominent in 2018 due to the new hardware releases from major companies within the radio communications industry such as Motorola, Hytera and Icom. Businesses within traditional industries are starting to open up towards the possibilities of using cellular over the conventional systems, this due to the compatible radios functionalities alongside the often great value for money radios available.

If you check out the application store on your mobile device and search “push to talk” an amass of apps will appear, these all claiming that they offer a push to talk service between users. How they really work is by sending voice messages similar to that available on WhatsApp, meaning that the conversations aren’t consistent and free-flowing, yes allowing for a vocal communication over large distances, but not without breaks.

If you are looking to implement a push to talk cellular system within your workplace then there is a variety of radios for you to choose from. The Telo TE580 is the post popular of those we currently have in stock at Radiotronics tunning on an Android OS, this due to its compact size yet reliable connectivity. Supporting GSM, 3G and 4G/LTE capabilities the TE580 has a 2.4″ touch screen with partial keypad allowing for easy operation of the radio. The TE580 comes as standard with a 3600mAh Li-Ion battery giving it an extremely long usage period, the radio having been used in such industries as Transport, Leisure and Haulage. A price of just £275 ex. VAT* means that the radio is extremely affordable.

*Price Valid of 16/05/18

If you are looking for a high spec PoC radio then the Hytera PDC760 is your answer, but should you be looking for a simpler black box design these are also available. Inrico and Telo offer their own radios respectively that look like any normal radio that transmits over UHF and VHF frequencies, this allowing for simple operation with extended coverage at a low price.

Samsung has recently released a mobile phone that features a mappable button, this allowing for what appears to be a mobile phone to operate with a push to talk function. The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4 is compatible with the Radiotronics two way radio anywhere system, meaning that in any location where you have a mobile connection the push to talk function is able to be used.

We at Radiotronics have helped many companies across a wide range of industries install their very own PoC system, from transportation to cross site construction projects there is no end of businesses that won’t benefit from such a system. For transportation or taxi companies who will often travel considerable distances, a push to talk over cellular system will allow for the driver to remain in consistent communication with a base station. Ideal for such situations as delays due to traffic, allowing for the company to be in contact with the recipient of the service to inform them of such delays, meaning that drivers of vehicles do not need to risk being caught using a mobile telephone device whilst driving.

Should you be looking at purchasing a radio communications system that uses LTE technologies you can find a wide range of radios on our website. We are able to supply and help you to understand the implementation of such a system, with our very own sim cards being available to purchase in quarter 3 of 2018. Should you wish to purchase radios, all devices shown on our website will work alongside the use of a sim card from leading mobile communications companies such as 3, EE and o2.

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Things To Keep In Mind When Purchasing Two Way Radios

When purchasing two way radios it is always ideal to enter the discussion with an idea already in mind about what system you would like to purchase. Trained staff at Radiotronics are able to help lead you in the right direction on what would be best for you, but in this blog post we will discuss specific aspects that are vital decisions that need to be made in order to get the most out of your system.

Ofcom License

When purchasing business grade two way radios an Ofcom license is required under all circumstances. Not to worry though as this license isn’t a financial nightmare, starting from just £75 for 5 years this will allow for your company to use your two way radios completely legally without risk of fine or in much more serious instances a jail term. Should you decide to purchase your radios from us we can do all the hard work for you, our team will fill out the entire application form for you without any additional costs on top of the charge for the license, allowing you not to worry about the legal implications in filling out the license forms and getting on with using your new communications system.

License Free

Many people can often be intimidated by the thought of having a radio license, therefore opting for the much cheaper alternatives in license free radios. Although in the moment a license free radio may be the best option due to its affordability, many a time due to the broadcasting power of the radio the coverage that these radios supply often isn’t sufficient for the business intending to use them.

Great for families looking for an instant communication method whilst on a leisure trip, a license free radio doesn’t offer the same privacy benefits as its licensed big brother. When broadcasting on licensed frequencies any communications are often encrypted and secured, meaning that there is little to no chance of eavesdropping, this not being the case for license free radios as anybody with a license free radio within the local facility is capable of hearing your conversations. Broadcasting at just 0.5w a license free radio has a considerably lower distance coverage, whilst also struggling to penetrate buildings meaning that transmissions can often be missed or largely unclear due to their lack of power output.

What Current Radios Do You Have

If you already have an existing fleet of two way radios then it is important to ensure that your existing radios will work alongside the new ones. Multiple factors can come into play when taking this into consideration this including both analogue/digital signalling, frequency type and the manufacturer.

Many companies are currently in the process of migrating their existing systems from analogue to digital, similarly to how it worked with TV’s in the late 00’s. Many radios are currently in the market such as the Motorola DP1400 that will allow for your company to make the transition as smooth as possible, mixed mode analogue/digital allows for the radios to continue operating with an existing fleet, but at a later date when the older radios are ready to be replaced allowing for the newer radios to be switched to operate solely on digital, supplying a clearer and more superior sound quality.

Although fairly obvious it is important to remember that brands and models of radios will only work with those of the same type. If you currently have a system in place using Motorola GP340’s but are looking for an analogue/digital radio in order to begin a migration process, a radio such as the Hytera PD505 although able to complete to operate in both analogue and digital modes would not be compatible with the Motorola GP340 therefore an entirely new system would be required.

UHF and VHF in the easiest possible explanation is the difference between owning a vehicle that runs using petrol and one that runs using diesel. Both having advantages, a VHF radio is ideal for farm work and other outdoor communication needs whereby UHF is recommended for environments in built up areas, this where communications are needed to penetrate buildings such as hotels or inner city high rise buildings. Also, in keeping with the comparison to vehicles, a VHF radio will not work alongside a UHF radio due to the difference in frequency range, therefore it is important to ensure the right frequency type is purchased to ensure all radios operate together.

How Many Groups of People Will Use The Radios

Dependent on the size of the operation using the radios can have an impact on the number of channels that need to be designated. For a smaller company it may be possible that your business only needs a single channel to communicate, but if you are within a business that has multiple sectors then a number of channels may be programmed to ensure both private conversations, and other workers in different departments are not over run with irrelevant broadcasts. Should multiple channels be programmed into your radio communications system, and dual monitor feature present on most new radios will allow for a priority channel to be monitored at all times, this ensuring that people across all departments do not miss an important message should it be broadcast.

Additional Features

A radio with additional features is obviously going to increase the price of the radios that you purchase, but depending on the environment you are working, the price often doesn’t compare to the additional safety benefits. In environments where heavy machinery is used it may be of benefit to provide a radio to your workforce that has a Lone Worker or Man Down feature, both operating in similar ways these features monitor the activity levels and orientation of the radio respectively. Should the radio be inactive or laid on its side for a pre-set period of time a bleep will sound, if still not responded to an alert will be sent to a base station or other radios within the network alerting them of the situation.

GPS is an option that can be used in co-operation with the previously mentioned Lone Worker and Man Down. GPS tracks the location of radios within a network, allowing for a base station to monitor the moves of employees whilst also helping to improve both safety and efficiency due to the instant location updates provided. Selected radios also have Bluetooth capabilities, this allowing for the use of wireless accessories meaning that operatives movements aren’t bound by cables, or also allowing for discretion in environments where needed such as retail or hospitality.

Budget

Many companies often have a limit on the amount they are prepared to spend on communications equipment which as a business ourselves this is something that we understand. Stretching your budget slightly will allow for clearer communications between workers, improving both efficiency and safety within the workplace. The difference in price between license free and licensed radios is only marginal but the radios will last for a longer period of time, this due to the build quality being assured for harsher working environments where the radios may be dropped from a considerable height or submerged in water.

Although at the time the purchase of business grade radios may seem like a large investment, these radios are made to the highest possible safety standards ensuring that they are built to last. The license fee is often something that puts off potential purchasers of business grade radios, but as previously mentioned this works out at just £15 per year, with a single payment of £75 providing you with a license for 5 years.

If you would like any additional information on the different options that are available to your business you can check out our website, or give us a call on 01425 533 533 to have a discussion with one of our highly trained sales team.

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Icom Entry To The Cellular Market With The IP501H

With many cellular devices being introduced to the market, Icom are the latest to throw their hat into the ring with the soon to be released IP501H. Communicating via LTE (4G) and 3G networks provides a number of benefits for the would be two way radio, allowing communications to be extended over considerable distances compared to that of a normal digital radio.

Many features are present with the IP501H both to increase safety and efficiency within the workforce, this alongside its GPS location tracking and Bluetooth connectivity for specific accessories and functions.

GPS has been named as a key feature companies look for when hoping to increase the efficiency of their workforce, this because it can come in handy when used alongside some of the safety functions that are present with the IP501H. Lone Worker monitors the activity levels of the radio over a pre-set period of time, should the radio not be used within this time-frame a beep will sound from the radio, if still no response then an alert will be sent to a base station or other radios within the network notifying them of the potentially serious situation, this paired with GPS allows for the quick location of said incident.

Standing at just 95mm in height, 59mm in width and 32mm in depth the IP501H has a fairly compact design, but this doesn’t mean that the radio is any less robust than some of the toughest on the market. An IP67 rating means that the IP501H has a full Ingress against dust intrusion, whilst also being safeguarded against submersion in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Alongside the given protection rating it is also built to military standards (MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G), this ensuring its operating in a variety of different environmental conditions, continuing to work seamlessly from as low as -30°C through to 60°C.

High quality audio is provided by a G.726 Vocoder, this beside the use of LTE technologies means that communications using the IP501H are crystal clear. A 500 memory address book allows a wealth of contacts meaning that the IP501H is great for an expanding business with individual, group, talkgroup and telephone lists available. An amass of different communication styles means that differing areas of the business can be split into groups, whilst individual calls can also be made for private conversations.

Enabling the use of full-duplex communications, the IP501H allows users to both talk and receive at the same time, providing a telephone like conversation where communications flow without the need to keep stop/starting speaking.

When purchased the IP501H is supplied with an Antenna and BP-272 1880mAh Li-Ion battery pack, this will supply up to 17 hours of use for the operative, making the radio more than sufficient for working long shifts. Multiple carrying solutions are also supplied with the radio, a MB-135 belt-clip allows for the radio to be kept on the body at all times and ready for use, or if needed a hand strap is also supplied allowing for the operative to keep the radio in their hand at all time. Additional accessories such as earphones, microphones, chargers and higher capacity batteries can be purchased as an additional extra.

Although the IP501H is not supplied with a charger, one that is available as an additional purchase makes use of the radios Bluetooth function. The BC-218 charger cradle and HM-215 speaker-microphone can be used in collaboration, with calls being able to be made with the microphone whilst the radio is charging. Connected to the charging port the microphone is connected via a cable, with this then being able to be connected via Bluetooth to the IP501H, meaning that even when the radio isn’t placed into the cradle the microphone can still be used.

Icom have stated that they believe the radio to be fit for almost any working environment. Highlighting such industries as transportation, event management, railways and security where extended distances are needed to be covered in communications. Although the discreet and compact nature of the IP501H makes it ideal for security, hospitality and retail environments.

The full feature list of the IP501H is available to be seen on our website by clicking HERE. Should you wish to view other posts about cellular devices we have previously written about the Motorola LEX L10i and the Hytera PDC760.

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Hytera’s Solution for Security Patrol and Dispatch

Beacon technology has transformed the way location-based tracking and monitoring operate. Many technologies are already available within the marketplace, with common technologies such as Wi-Fi, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy), RFID and Zigbee providing tracking/monitoring solutions.

Almost a necessity in the security industry, beacon technology allows for staff members to be tracked to their exact location. This useful when needing to demonstrate the whereabouts of a specific member of staff during a pre-determined period of time, also being handy when reviewing a breach of security or other serious instances.

Although other forms of tracking are available they could mean that the user of each individual radio would have to carry an extra scanner, wand, badge or tag, in some cases it may also involve the employer having to pay a monthly subscription fee for this luxury.

Saving both time and money, tagging and radio systems can be merged into one single device via the use of the Hytera Patrol Solution. Designed to be simple, user-friendly and cost efficient, when using Hytera’s Patrol solution it is not necessary to take out another monthly subscription cutting costs associated with similar systems.

A great solution for a variety of working environments, Hytera’s Patrol Solution is currently in operation in shopping centres, campus facilities, leisure destinations and many other campuses across the globe, those that require the patrol of both security personnel and the ordinary workforce.

How it Works

RFID tags are used as part of the Hytera Patrol Solution. RFID tags are made up of both an identification card (POA72) and a checkpoint (POA71), with the checkpoints being installed in the location that needs safeguarding within the premises alongside the intended patrol route of operatives. Using both RFID tags and the Hytera PD415 DMR radio, this with a pre-installed integrated RFID reader, this allows for personnel and assets to be monitored at all times.

Helping to increase safety and security whilst also boosting the efficiency of workers monitoring the intended route, at the start of shifts the user will register their radio with a patrol identification card, this by tapping it against the front of the radio, logging them into the patrol system. Whenever the user passes a checkpoint whilst patrolling their route, the radio is the be held against the checkpoint which scans the location using the RFID technology previously mentioned. Once scanned, the data that is acquired by the reader is then transmitted from the radio to the patrol software supplied by Hytera, a programme that can also be used in the initial mapping and route planning stage.

Any time an ID card is scanned it is recorded and stored, this means that should an incident occur then the location of operatives at the time can be analysed. A repeater or mobile radio is able to be used as the receiving station for this software, whilst the patrol system can also be connected via IP allowing for the monitoring team to be located on a separate site to the system in place, also allowing for the data to be transferred at a later time should coverage not be sufficient.

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Communication Solutions: Kenwood TK-D240 & TK-D340

Radiotronics are currently offering Kenwood’s TK-D240 and TK-D340 for £150*. This includes everything needed for a starter system for a business, with radio body, battery, antenna and charger all included. The TK-D240 is the VHF version of this radio, whilst the TK-D340 is the UHF equivalent.

The TK-D240/340 are an innovative set of radios from Kenwood. Benefitting from an amass of features, the one that truly makes these radios from Kenwood stand out is its ability to operate with dual-mode on a singular channel, making use of both DMR and analogue to have two conversations at once. A high grade professional radio, Kenwoods TK-D240/340 is suitable for a variety of working environments. 32 Channels allow for sufficient communications between a small to medium sized business, with these being split across two zones allowing for allocations across multiple business sectors.

IP55 rating means that these radios are protected partially against dust intrusion, whilst also being safeguarded against splashes of water from all angles. Both the Kenwood models have been tested to military standards (MIL-STD-810 C/D/E/F/G), ensuring its reliability in a variety of weather conditions such as high and low temperatures, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog and varying levels of humidity.

Offering easy operating use, features such as voice annunciation make switching between channels easy, notifying the user what channel they are now broadcasting over without having to look down at the radio. Designed to be slim with an ergonomically stylish design, the TK-D240/340 stands at 121.4mm high, 54mm wide and 33.8mm in depth. This design allows for the radio to be easy to grip and operate, whilst also remaining both robust and reliable.

Radiotronics have previously sold these radios to a variety of differing industries, due to its flexibility this allows for the TK-D240/340 to be useful in many situations. A common radio found at live events, security teams who we have supplied with their communications equipment often find these radios in use at sporting events or live music events across the country. Due to its compact design, another common use is within the retail and hospitality sectors, the radios sleek design allows for the discreet use especially when paired with one of the many accessories available.

Should your business be looking to invest into a new communications system the Kenwood TK-D240/340 is an ideal solution, now at the low price of £150* this allows you as the operator to get even more out of your business communications at a lower price.

*Prices accurate as of 03/04/18

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Ensuring Radios Are Used Efficiently In The Workplace

Two way radios make communications within the workplace much easier allowing for increased productivity of workers. Although an efficient method of communicating many mistakes can be made if users are not trained properly to use them, the same training that would be applied should a new piece of machinery be brought onto site.

Although it may seem fairly condescending, because how hard is it to use a walkie talkie? Well many people often struggle with some of the basic functionality meaning that messages can be missed, ending up in a result where often it would be quicker to walk to the other operatives to explain your message.

Talking to quietly is a common occurrence this being because people often don’t realise quite how quietly they are talking resulting in impacted communications. A fairly simply mistake to rectify, ensuring that when using a two way radio you speak loud and clearly, making sure that the other members of your team will hear your message and understand all incoming communications.

Similarly talking to quickly can affect communications. This can be an issue for a number of reasons because not only will the message be difficult to interpret, but also the receiver of the message will often struggle to break down what you are saying meaning that things will be missed. In stressful situations the user may be panicked and speak quickly, but it is always important when in dangerous or stressful environments to remain calm and quicker action will be taken.

The final point in communications is to not talk over other communications, wait until the other person has ended their transmission before beginning your response. Ensuring these clear communications will allow the workforce to run more smoothly, helping to improve efficiency and the overall workload of staff. In some two way radios, a feature is present that will block communications until the person currently transmitting finishes speaking, meaning that this is not a major issue.

On to privacy, you should never assume that all of your conversations whilst using a two way radio are private, unless of course advanced encryption software is being used on your devices. As a user you should never reveal sensitive or personal information about yourself across the airwaves, minimalizing the risk of a data breach or leaked information because of human error.

Two way radios are built to high safety standards, with the Ingres protection rating of a radio ensuring its capabilities in differing working environments, something you can read more on here. It is vital that regular checks of radios are carried out, ensuring that all pieces of the radio are fully working when going out into the field. It is also important to ensure that the charge of the battery is sufficient for the shift it will be working, also monitoring the deterioration of the battery allowing for a replacement to be ordered prior to it no longer functioning as required.

Alongside ensuring that radios are checked regularly the storage is a key aspect on the lifespan of the devices. Storing your two way radios in places that are in direct sunlight or where warmer temperatures are present, this can also cause for the depletion of the radios. The same can be said for storing them in a cold or damp area this will lead to a similar outcome. Ensuring that your radios are in a cool, dry place will ensure that they continue to operate correctly through their expected lifespan.

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Motorola Solutions Cellular LEX L10i: The Future Of Handheld Communcations?

After the release of the Hytera PDC760 in late 2017 we took a look into some of its capabilities in a blogpost you can find here. Motorola have chosen to raise on Hytera’s card and moving forward into 2018 have announced the release of their LTE device the LEX L10i, capable of communications using a 3G/4G network connection.

Designed with first responders in mind the LEX L10i allows the operatives to work safer, smarter and faster. Addressing unique requirements of public safety, this by delivering functions such as a dedicated emergency button that is not available on consumer grade smartphones. Dual SIM slots allow for dual network access providing optimal coverage and performance, this both in public and private broadband networks.

The Motorola LEX L10i is built with a sleek design whilst also remaining extremely durable to survive some of the harsher environments it may endure. Standing at 143mm in height, 72.6mm in width and 13.9mm in depth, the LEX L10i weighs just 195 grams when connected to the standard battery. Rubberized top and bottom surfaces help the device to absorb impact should the radio be dropped, whilst a Gorilla Glass 3 screen provides resistance to scratches, drops and increase pressure.

Comparing this to current day smartphones the cellular device in question has roughly the same dimensions as many of the current market leading smartphones. But the key difference lies with both its safety features and durability, with the LEX L10i having an Ingres Protection rating of IP67. This not only ensures that the radio is completely protected against dust intrusion, but also safeguards the radio against submersion in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Rated to MIL-STD-810 G also ensures the robustness of the LEX-L10i, having been tested to withstand a 4ft drop onto concrete.

The LEX L10i has a USB 2.0 high-speed (micro-A interface) charging port, this allows for much more efficient charging with the device able to be charged from 0 to 80% in just 60 minutes. 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage capabilities ensure the LTE device continues to operate smoothly, whilst also being capable of memory expansion of up to 64GB via the use of a MicroSD card.

Running on a Security Enhanced Android operating system the LEX L10i is secured with FIPS 140-2 Level 3 hardware encryption, whilst also having secure boot in order to detect any potential cyber threats. With the ability to operate in covert mode, the LEX L10i can be paired with Mission Critical Bluetooth in order to remotely control the radios zones, channel, volume whilst also being able to activate an emergency. The cellular device can also be paired with Bluetooth mission critical Bluetooth accessories, this for easy push-to-talk capability.

An intelligent user interface helps to ensure the ease of use for the LEX L10i. Multiple sensors automatically detect ambient light, location orientation, proximity, vibration and drops in order to enhance the users context awareness. PSX Activity Builder allows for agents to create a custom user interface for operatives, this to improve workflow and operating procedures, alongside the PSX User Interface that allows for customizable and context-aware for differing environments or tasks improving productivity and situational awareness.

Although a cellular device the LEX L10i is a Motorola Radio Collaboration, this provides Bluetooth-based remote control and management of radios’ zones, channel, volume, signal strength, battery life, PTT and emergency. Meaning that the device has all the capabilities of a two way radio within a cell phone, making it ideal for situations or environments whereby radio communications need to be both discreet but continue working at long distances.

Although not currently released the LEX L10i promises to bring a different aspect to the cellular branch of the market, with release set for 2018 this device is something worth keeping an eye on.

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The History of Motorola Two Way Radios

1937 was a year in which George VI was coronated, but also the year a breakthrough was made in telecommunications technology. Canadian inventor Donald Hings was the man who first made a portable radio signalling system, this for his then employer CM&S who were a mining and smelting company now more commonly known as Teck Resources Limited.

The first radio to be widely known as the more common name “walkie-talkie” was developed by current market leaders Motorola. Then known as the Galvin Manufacturing Company, a contract was received in 1940 to develop a portable, battery powered voice radio receiver/transmitter from the War Department of the US Government. The size of a backpack, the SCR-300 was used by the American Army, with around 50,000 units believed to have been built over the course of World War 2. This radio being a huge success for the American Military was later adopted by the British, using the design of the SCR-300 for the “Wireless Set No. 31” in 1947.

The first truly handheld radio was the AM SCR-536 yet again made by Galvin Manufacturing, only 3 years after the SCR-300 was made in 1937. Mass produced in 1941 this radio would also play a large part in WW2 with 130,000 models being manufactured throughout the war, with this model being carried by many of the first waves to hit Omaha Beach in Normandy alongside operatives of the SCR-300.

“Walkie Talkies” have long been used for military communications since first being introduced before the second World War. Modern day TETRA units are now used in line with Militant Forces across the world, with the ability to communicate on a variety of bands and modulation schemes whilst also including encryption capabilities. The advancement of technologies for the military now allows for use of GPS in order to help locate troops and their radios.

The SCR-300 would have been a rigorous exercise for the radio carrier, even with the lighter version B battery the radio still weighing 15kg, whilst also having an antenna that was 33 inches in length, and having an optional 10-feet 8 inches whip antenna. The SCR-536 on the other hand is a much lighter radio, weighing more similarly to the modern-day communication equipment at 2.2kg although the radio was extremely large in size.

Communication technologies has come a long way since the first system development in 1937, used for a variety of working environments radios such as the SCR-300 and SCR-536 have shaped the way people communicate in a vast array of settings.

Moving forward in 1947 was when Galvin Manufacturing Company changed their name to Motorola, a brand that would become a house hold name in terms of telecommunications devices both cellular and two way radios. From this point Motorola would go on to release the HT200 radio, a portable device that was classed as small and lightweight at the time weighing in at just 0.9Kg but nicknamed the “brick” due to its shape and durability.

Following on from the success of the HT200 the MX300 was released in 1975, these radios would operate on the 900MHz band. Including such features as status, identification and emergency alert features would set Motorola’s latest radio apart from the rest of the competition, this alongside its ability to work alongside computer-aided radio dispatch systems.

Motorola began their TETRA development in 1996, apha testing on the Island of Jersey in the March of the year. Also being awarded a contract to provide a TETRA radio system for the new airport in Oslo Norway, the airport that would go on to become the main International airport for both the capital city and the country as a whole.

In the most recent decades Motorola have continued to lead the way in terms of radio communications equiptment, with the GP340 being branded as the most popular radio ever made. Although discontinued in 2015 the radio is constantly requested by business buyers as it is still renowned for its quality, although not currently in production there are many newer Motorola models that share traits with the GP340. The Motorola DP1400 is currently one of the market leaders more popular radios, this alongside others such a the DP2400e and the DP4400e.

Although Motorola have long been the dominant force within a small space for communications equptment, companies such as Hytera and Icom are hot on their tails moving into the 21st century with more big things to come from all participants in the market.

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Features For A Safer Workplace

Aswell as being a great form of communication for teams in the workplace, two way radios also house many safety features that could be the difference in saving a workers life. Here we have highlighted a few of those features, whilst some also have instructional videos showing you how they work.

VOX Voice Activation
VOX Voice Activation is a feature that is present on the majority of two way radios. A simple function that allows for hands free communications whilst using your telecommunications device, VOX is ideal for a variety of differing working environments. Some radios come readily equipped with a VOX function meaning that no additional needs to be taken, but should a radio not have it readily programmed accessories can be purchased that are VOX capable, from remote speaker microphones to headsets.

GPS
Global Positioning System otherwise known as GPS is a mechanism that will use a number of satellites in order to locate the position of a radio. Sending a signal back to a base station or repeater, this feature allows for a person to effectively manage their time via the knowledge of the exact location of each member of the team. Working hand in hand with another feature that we will mention, GPS can be useful when used in cooperation with the Man Down function, allowing for the operative to be found should they be in a dangerous position within the work place.

Man Down
A feature that is vital in dangerous working environments is Man Down. Whilst remote monitoring individual workers this feature can detect the orientation of the radio, detecting whether the radio is upright or not this will assume that the radio is on its side and that there is a problem at hand. Automatically detecting the issue, an alert transmission call for help will be activated and sent out to team members. Working similarly to how a smart phone works, whereby it can detect whether you are holding your phone in landscape or portrait mode, a system capable of GPS will also work in connection with this feature allowing for the operative to be found easily.

Lone Worker
Lone Worker is a feature that works in a similar manor to Man Down. Monitoring activity levels should the radio detect that it has been inactive for a pre-set period of time, 30 minutes for example, a sound will be played on the radio. If this sound is not responded to by the operative then an alert will be sent out to the other radios within the fleet, or initially to a base station for the operator to then dispatch someone to the scene of the incident. Lone Worker is often readily installed into many radios at a middle price point, radios such as the DP1400 from Motorola or the PD405 from Hytera.

Transmit Interrupt
Should an important messaged need to be relayed to a team quickly then Transmit Interrupt should be a feature of high priority to both you and your business. Should an immediate danger become apparent, Transmit Interrupt will allow for a high priority transmission to interrupt any ongoing communications between operatives. Transmit Interrupt can also be used for instances non urgent, whereby if a new set of instructions needs to be relayed then this is a great tool to use, allowing for effective and efficient use of workers tine.

Emergency Button
An emergency button is often present on two way communications devices, this is usually an orange colour and placed on the top of the radio. This can be programmed in order to raise and alarm to a base station or other radios within a group, if the devices being used have a display then the screen will showcase the ID of the radio in danger allowing for swift action to be taken. Seen on almost all radios, this is a safety feature that is of utmost importance in almost all working environments. Schools are able to take advantage of it should a disturbance be caused in class, or on a construction site where a person may be injured or urgent assistance is required.

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The Right IP Rating For Your Business

The IP code that comes in connection with your chosen radio may be somewhat of a confusion to the average user. The official meaning behind this code is to classify the degree of protection your radio has against intrusion, covering things such as dust and water immersion for set periods of time.

The two digits following the IP both stand for protection against different substances, for example the first number is in terms of solids that your radio may come into contact with, whilst the second being in relation to water. Solids range from a rating of 1 through 6, whilst water is protected from a rating of 1 through 9K. Should a digit of 0 appear in either the solids or liquids position, then this indicates that the radio is not protected against said material.

Radios without an Ingres protection would be IP00, although this is extremely rare for a two way radio to have no Ingres protection, with the most common protection rating from manufacturers such as Motorola and Hytera being IP54. This covers the radio for a limited Ingres protection against dust, whilst also being safeguarded against splashes of water from all directions.

ATEX radios are designed to be used in some of the most dangerous working conditions in the world, environments such as mining, oil refineries and power plants are common places for these types of two way radios. Due to the high level of danger in place, the IP rating tends to be higher at IP67. This rating not only conceals the radio completely against dust, but also protects the radio from immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for around 30 minutes.

Differentiating working environments will determine the level of Ingres protection you will need for your radios, for example in an education environment purchasing radios that are IP68 rated would be completely unnecessary, where radios that are IP54 would be the more logical choice. Leisure centres can be dependent on the fact of if there is a swimming facility, should this be the case then a radio that is IP67 and protected against immersion in water would be a better fit.

Popular Choices Per Ingres Rating

IP54: Motorola DP1400Hytera PD505Hytera PD365Kenwood TK2000/3000
IP67: Hytera PD705Hytera PD605Motorola DP2400eKenwood NX-200/300
IP68: Motorola DP3441eMotorola DP4400e

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