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Tips For Effective Communications

When using two way radios there are generally some unwritten rules on how to make best use of your communication devices. In order to make conversation easier between yourself and the recipient, various methods can be used.When first pressing the push to talk (PTT) button take a brief moment before relaying your message, this because there is a short delay with most radios before it begins to transmit. On newer releases of radios brands have began implementing a feature called time to talk, this sounds a bleeping noise until the radio is ready to transmit meaning that none of the communications are missed. Some radios that have this feature are the Motorola DP1400 and the Hytera PD505, although almost all current digital radios have implemented this feature.

Shorter talk time is also seen as the most effective way of communicating with colleagues. Due to only one person being able to transmit at a time, making a statement then waiting for acknowledgment before continuing with your next point allows for the person you are talking to being able to either agree or ask for further information on the subject. General terms are often used in radio communications, these may be things that you have previously heard not only via your own personal radio communications but in films and TV programs alike.

Radio Check – Can You Hear Me?
Read You Loud & Clear – Response to “Radio Check” Meaning Transmission is Good
Go Ahead – Ready To Recieve Transmission
Stand-By – Acknowledging the Message, But Unable To Respond
Roger/Ten Four – Message has been recieved/understood
Negative – No
Affirmative – Yes
Say Again – Repeat Your Message
Over – Message Completed
Break (x3) – Interruption due to Emergency
Come In – Asking second party to acknowledge they can hear you
Copy – You understand what has been said
Wilco – Meaning “I Will Comply”
Repeat – Used before repeating transmission

Identification is key in two way radio conversation, this because as mentioned before only one message can be transmitted at a time. Therefore, if a channel is populated with multiple radios in use, it may be unclear to other users who the message is directed towards. Identifying both who it is sending the message, and who it is targeted towards, unless of course it is aimed at a group of people then this should be made clear.

The NATO Phonetic Alphabet is the most widely used radiotelephone spelling alphabet. Created in order to avoid confusion, the Phonetic Alphabet allows for clear communications so that nothing is missed or misspelt. Recognised in a variety of languages, this alphabet is something that Radiotronics highly endorses to any company purchasing two-way radios, as if the work force is aware of it then it can make communications much more efficient.

A – Alpha – AL-FAH
B – Bravo – BRAH-VOH
C – Charlie – CHAR-LEE
D – Delta – DELL-TAH
E – Echo – ECK-OH
F – Fox-Trot – FOKS-TROT
G – Golf – GOLF
H – Hotel – HOH-TELL
I – India – IN-DEE-AH
J – Juliet – JEW-LEE-ETT
K – Kilo – KEY-LOH
L – Lima – LEE-MAH
M – Mike – MIKE
N – November – NO-VEM-BER
O – Oscar – OSS-CAH
P – Papa – PAH-PAH
Q – Quebec – KEH-BECK
R – Romero – ROW-ME-OH
S – Sierra – SEE-AIR-RAH
T – Tango – TANG-OH
U – Uniform – YOU-NEE-FORM
V – Victor – VIK-TAH
W – Whiskey – WISS-KEY
X – X-Ray – ECKS-RAY
Y – Yankee – YANG-KEY
Z – Zulu – ZOO-LOO

 

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Tips For Improving Your Radios Battery Life

A common complaint people have of their two way radios is the battery life not being sufficient. This can often be down to simple mistakes you may be making as a user, in this blog post we will be talking about methods that can be used in order to prolong the life span of your radio communication devices.

Vital to your working process, the batteries used in your two way radios are just as important as the body and features each singular device holds. When in communications with a team or colleague, your radio may be vital if the environment is potentially dangerous.

Starting simple, the volume of your device could be drawing large power from your battery without you even realising it. Something we are all naïve of is that thinking that listening to a device on a higher volume will use the same power as if we were to listen to it on a lower one. Often professionals using radios in a quiet working environment will leave their radios on full volume, a recommendation by Hytera states that should you be working in a place where the noise levels are fairly low, then by lowering your volume this can add hours onto your batteries charge life.

Although not always a possibility for various reasons, our second tip for prolonging battery life involves having a second spare battery on your person whilst working. Should you be away from base and recharging your battery isn’t an option, a second battery will allow for you to continue working without need for interruption. Obviously, this comes with monetary constraints, but this is the method which will allow for the longest use out of your two way radio.

Using accessories with your radios can also help to improve the battery life of your radio, although this is an added cost, a dramatic improvement can be seen when using a headset or microphone. Reducing battery drainage, earpieces are designed in order to improve both operating comfort and also efficiency.

Over charging your battery can lead to it deteriorating in power fairly quickly, as we often see with modern day smartphones whereby people leave them on charge whilst in use or for extended periods of time. Often with people blaming the manufacturers, the same can be said about two way radios. A common complaint that we have about batteries is there reduced power over the first year of use, but this can easily be rectified by numerous actions you can take. Ensuring radios are turned off whilst charging will not only allow them to charge quicker but will also help to prolong the lifespan, this alongside the fairly obvious resolution of just not leaving the radio in charge for longer than it needs to be. In modern times companies like Hytera and Motorola both offer smart batteries to go with their radios, this sufficiently improving the life span due to the technology involved, information on these can be found here.

The final tip is a fairly simple one in regards to the storage of your radios and batteries when not in use. It is advised by almost all manufacturers that your battery is kept in a cool and dry environment, this to ensure optimum energy storage.

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Motorola DP1400 Vs. Hytera PD405

Motorola Solutions have long been market leaders in the radio communications market. Producing devices such as the GP340, which has been described as the most trusted radio device for the past 2 decades. Moving into more modern times, Hytera is hot on the trail of the communications giant. With popular models such as the PD705, and a technological first in the radio communications market with the PDC760, a radio which can act as both a two-way communications device and a smart phone.

In this blog post we will be comparing two devices from Motorola and Hytera, the DP1400 and the PD405 respectively. Starting with price, there isn’t much between the two with the PD405 coming in marginally cheaper at £119.99* and the DP1400 being £125*. Not only similar in price, a lot of the features are identical. With both radios working to both analogue and digital modes, broadcasting over UHF and VHF frequencies, and the two having a capacity of 16 channels.

*Price accurate of the date 22/01/2018

The DP1400 and the PD405 signalling types are similar also, with the two devices making use of CTCSS, DCS and DMR. Voice activation capabilities are present on both devices, meaning that should hands free contact need to be made by the user this is a possibility with the two radios. Alongside the radio body, a battery and antenna are included when purchasing each radio, with a charger being the only additional cost incurred when purchasing these devices. Although upgrades can be purchased for each radio, with a larger battery being an additional cost available should you need it.

Further safety features include lone worker. When purchasing the PD405 from Hytera, this is something which is built into the radio, but is classed as an optional extra with Motorolas DP1400. An important feature of every radio to be used for a working purpose is its safety rating, Motorolas device has a protection rating of IP54, this means that it has a limited ingress of dust and is also protected against splashes of water. The PD405 on the other hand is IP55, yet again being protective of dust but can also be protected against low pressure water jets.

Although not produced by Motorola, available from Radiotronics for the DP1400 are a variety of coloured shells for these radios. These can help to identify different divisions within your operation, or even if just a plane black radio isn’t quite what you’re after when purchasing a new fleet for your company.

All in all, both devices are market leaders at this price range, and are great options should you be looking to fit out your company with its first radio communications equipment. With both pricing and the features included on the device being extremely similar, it would be hard to pick a favourite from the two. All depending on what purchase you decide to make, these devices are definitely on option worth looking at for a variety of different working environments

Hytera PD405 Dimensions                               Motorola DP1400 Dimensions
Weight: 270g                                                     Weight: 240g
Height: 112mm                                                  Height: 128mm
Width: 54mm                                                     Width: 61.5mm
Depth: 28mm                                                     Depth: 42mm

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Two Way Radio Range


One of the questions we get asked most frequently is:

What’s the range of your two way radios?

The problem with this question is that there are simply so many factors which can cause issues with radio communications signals. These include atmospheric conditions, obstructions such as buildings, condition of the two way radio battery and many other things.

Radio to Radio (Back to Back) – A Simple Answer

A simple answer is that portable radios are to be used for close range communications only. Some manufacturer’s state 5km, 10km etc. The reality is that would only be possible in ideal conditions with no obstacles and is unrealistic in the real world. So the best answer is when using two way radios in back to back (radio to radio) mode, you should expect no more than a mile or so in open land and no more than a couple of hundred meters in built up areas when outside; and no more than probably 100m when indoors.

Caveat with Licence Free radios: Licence Free two way radios (in the EU) transmit on 0.5w. Therefore regardless of line of sight, they may not produce enough power to give the radio signal enough energy to travel very far. Licensed two way radios, on the other hand, typically transmit between 4w and 5w. This is plenty of power to produce enough energy for the transmitted signal to be able to reach it’s maximum potential distance.

A More Detailed Answer – Line-Of-Sight

The fact is, there is a way to technically answer this question. But this is a technical answer and might be a little baffling for those who are not technically minded. Technical answers such as this rely on constants such as absolutely perfect and ideal circumstances and atmospheric conditions – which just do not exist in the real world.

Nevertheless, we can calculate the maximum theoretical range of a radio signal using a line-of-sight calculation which considers the curvature of the earth and presuming the earth to be a perfect sphere – which of course it is not. And this also assumes your radio signal is transmitted with sufficient power that is maintains enough energy to travel the distance.

The equation is:

  • horizon (km) = 3.57 x √ height (m)
  • horizon (mi) = 1.23 x √ height (feet)

The typically the height of an adult holding a portable radio when in use is 1.5 – 1.7m high. Let’s assume a typical height of 1.5m to be conservative.

  • √1.5m = 1.22474487139 x 3.57 = 4.37 km
  • √ 4.92126ft = 2.21837778568 x 1.23 = 2.72 miles

Using this theory, at 1.5m high, the point of the horizon is 2.72 miles (approx) which is the point where radio signals will unlikely be able to reach.

However, assuming that two users are both 2.71 miles (approx) either side of the horizon, in theory, given they are transmitting the signal with enough energy (watts), the very maximum distance you can achieve from a portable two way radio used back to back is 2.71 miles x 2 which is 5.42 miles. However, this is quite unrealistic. As mentioned above, atmospheric conditions, ionospheric absorption, and potential obstructions, will prevent this from likely ever being achievable.

For those even more technical, I agree that there could be a case to argue about diffraction and skip propagation etc. But for the purposes of this article, those points are not covered here.

Source Used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line-of-sight_propagation#Radio_horizon

Point to Point Line of Sight

This article has not covered things such as Near Line of Sight, or the Fresnel Zone. Here’s a digram from L-com and an explanation.

 

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TALKABOUT T82: Replacement For The TLKR T80

The release of the TALKABOUT T82 from Motorola Solutions has signalled the discontinuation of the ever popular T80 models, license free radios that have been market leading devices from the manufacturer. The last order date should you want to purchase this radio is the 27th April 2018, with delivery available to be scheduled up until the 31st October later in the year. There is the potential for more T80 models to be available after these dates, but this is only up until depletion of stock.

The T82 was released in July 2017, an upgrade on the still available T80 boasting many more features not previously seen on a license free device. VOX voice activation allows for hands free use of the radio, automatically transmitting should the user begin to speak, ideal when working in a manual environment, or when partaking in leisure activities such as cycling. Further adding to this is the device being IPx2 Rated, this means that the T82 is splash proof. An emergency alert button is also present on this radio, further adding to the safety features not previously seen on the T80 model, alongside its 16-channel capacity, a further 8 more than seen on the previous model.

One of the key features of the TALKABOUT T82 is having a dual power battery function. This allows for the use of both AA standard alkaline batteries or the NiMH batteries which are included in the box when purchasing this device. These devices are 800mAh and offer up to 18 hours battery life when charged fully, should this not be enough though, it is possible to purchase a 1300mAh NiMH which will extend the life of your device to 26 hours of use when fully charged. Charging your device is done by a micro USB, a single power point with a double headed USB connector allows for your radios to be charged from the same point. Should you want a more efficient method of charging, a drop-in charging deck is available to purchase separately.

If you already have a fleet of T80s but don’t need to purchase any more devices before the cut-off date, there’s no need to rush into a purchase as the T82 is compatible with its predecessor. Therefore when/if you need any further devices adding to your fleet, the T82 will work fine with your current models and there is no need to purchase an entirely new batch of radios.

In The Box
Twin Pack of Motorola T82 Radios
2x Belt Clips
2x Mains Adaptor Plug & Charger Plug
2x 800mAh Rechargeable Battery
16 Personalization Stickers
Instruction Manual

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Hytera PD705/705LT: The Everyday Radio

The Hytera PD705 radios are ideal for use in the construction industry, these are built to military standard (MIL-STD-810F) so are durable and able to withstand anything thrown its way. Being IP67 resistant this means that the radio is waterproof, allowing it to continue working should it be used when raining or if it were to be dropped into a body of water up to 1 meter deep. The Ingress protection rating also means that the device is dustproof, therefore working in an environment such as a building site is no issue for the PD705 range.

Both devices have a 48-channel capacity, meaning that there are enough channels to cope with anything from a small business right up to a large-scale operation. Available for both UHF and VHF frequencies, these devices can be programmed to suit the needs of the user, whether you need to enable your radios to work in an outdoor working environment or within a factory or leisure facility. Another option which the user gets is whether they would like their device to be analogue or digital. Pre-programmable text messages back to the base station are an option, whilst a channel announcement is also a feature on both devices due to the radio not having a display.

The PD705LT is just as robust as the standard version but has had unnecessary features removed. Both devices have the lone worker features as standard, but should you be looking for the option to have Man Down then this comes as an additional extra with the PD705. When purchasing the PD705 from the Radiotronics website, there is the option to add both GPS (device tracking) and Man Down to the device(s) that you are purchasing. Man down is a feature which detects whether a radio has been laid on its side for a certain period of time, a warning is then sent from the device and if not responded to then an alert will be sent from the radio to the control centre, an important feature should you be in a dangerous working environment. A priority transmission can be sent to all devices within the fleet, should an important message need to be sent to all teams or a safety warning of sorts, these transmissions will interrupt any other calls which are taking place at the time

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Hyteras ATEX Radios – PD795/715Ex

The Hytera PD7Ex range of radios are market leaders when it comes to a reliable ATEX devices. Built to military standard (MIL-STD-810G), they will continue to work throughout the harshest of environments, IP67 resistance means that both the 795Ex and 715Ex are water and dustproof.

The PD795Ex has a full display and keypad, the radio allows for the user to not only communicate via talking but to also send text messages between devices. The PD715Ex doesn’t have a display or keypad, but you are still able to send text messages, texts can be pre-programmed into the device to be sent on command, these may include specific instructions between teams or a call for help. For verbal communications between radios the device has a channel capacity of 1024, but with mixed mode scanning being a feature on these radios you can hold and scan through both analogue and digital channels.

ATEX radios such as the PD7Ex range are made for working in dangerous environments, these specific radios are fit for purpose within Gas, Mining and Dusty industries (Specifications below). Regular radios can accumulate static which may cause electric arc, this arc could produce a spark via numerous methods such as the battery becoming disengaged, or other maloperation such as being dropped. Such an occurrence could lead to disastrous consequences, which is why an ATEX radio is highly recommended when working in dangerous conditions.

ATEX: II 2G Ex ib IIC T4 (Gas); II 2D Ex ib IIIC T120°C IP5X (Dust); I M2 Ex ib (Mining)

The Hytera PD7Ex series has various safety features readily installed on the device. A function that ties in with this is the GPS tracking, such a feature allows for the whereabouts of the radio to be tracked to a small radius of the actual location of the device. This is extremely important when working in such environments as the ATEX radios are designed for, because at times users of the device could be in high risk working environments. “Man Down” is something which works hand in hand with this. Should a worker be knocked unconscious or trapped with no means of escape, the radio if laid on its side, will send out a distress signal to all other radios connected to its network, with GPS this allows the user to be found quickly and at less risk of serious injury. Other safety features which these devices come readily installed with are Lone Worker, Remote Monitor, Radio Enable/Disable and also a Call Alert.

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Hytera PD985: The Portable Repeater?

Hytera PD985
The Portable Repeater?

Hytera recently released the PDC760, a ground breaking two-way radio which doubled as a smart phone. Running on an android operating system, this device boasts a 4” Gorilla Glass 3 touch screen, whilst also withstanding a 1.2 meter drop test and being IP67 resistant. You can see our PD760 preview here.
But Hytera have another new radio to the market that is dissimilar to anything else currently available, but not in a bad way. The PD985 is an Analogue/Digital dual mode two-way radio, but what makes this device different is its ability to act as a repeater for other devices. The feature is known as “Single Frequency Repeater Mode”, the way this works is fairly simple. Based on an interference cancellation technique, the PD985 can use one frequency slot to receive a signal and another to transmit it in the same frequency using DMO (Direct Mode Operation) mode to extend the communication distance.

To add to the Single Frequency repeater mode, the device is packed with other features which make it perfect for the majority of working environments. IP68 resistance means that no matter the condition, the DP985 will continue to work seamlessly whether it’s in the middle of the ocean or in a dusty factory. This radio also has many other safety features, this including Man Down and Lone worker, the full catalogue is listed below.

Standard Safety Features                              Optional Safety Features

• Emergency Alarm                                         • Multiple Key Encryption
• Dedicated Emergency Button                       • GPS SMS
• Alert Call                                                       • GPS Location Check
• Man Down
• Lone Worker
• Basic Encryption
• Enhanced Encryption (40Bit)
• Priority Interrupt
• Remote Monitor
• Radio Enable/Disable
• Radio Check
• IP68 Dust/Water Resistant
• Vibrate Alert

The physical features of this two-way radio are impressive to say the least, with an alphanumeric keypad, and a full colour 1.8” high definition display the visual appearance of this device is one of the best available. A 360 Degree Stepless Channel Knob is a new control implemented by Hytera, the design of this was brought about to improve on previous devices, to allow the user to change channels and zones easily and comfortably. With all the features of this device you would expect the battery performance to be affected, but from adopting a new battery saving technology, this has guaranteed longer communication time for the user, an improvement of 33% on the PD785. A Final advantage of the hardware used for this device is the enhanced audio quality, with a maximum 3W output speaker and new noise cancelling technology ensures clear and loud voice communications.

 

For full pricing on this product, find it on our website here.

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Hytera's Free Charger Offer – Ending 14/12/2017

Hytera is a manufacturer of radio transceivers and radio systems from China, founded in 1993 they have quickly risen to being one of the leading manufacturers of radio equipment across the globe.
Something which you may have missed recently is an end of year promotion from Hytera. The Chinese company is offering free chargers with every radio purchased from them, and if you were to purchase 6 then you receive a free MCA08 six-way charger, worth a massive £150.

There are many notable products which are included in this offer, the PD985 is a device which has an industry first single frequency repeater mode, what this allows is for the radio to act as a repeater and increase the coverage provided. Some newer features included are recording capabilities due to having a Micro SD, Bluetooth 4.0 for audio or data and noise cancellation technology.

The PD795Ex and PD715Ex, with and without a display respectively, are ATEX digital radios which are built to MIL-STD-810G military standard. These can store up to 1024 channels, whilst also holding the ability to send text messages as a second form of communication. With GPS built in and being IP67 waterproof/dustproof these are some of the highest quality military grade two-way radios.

A mid-range radio which is eligible for a free charger upon purchase is the PD565, it is a compact and lightweight but doesn’t lack in any features which set Hytera apart from the crowd. It is IP54 Water Resistant, showcases a limited keypad whilst also having a Tri-Colour status LED.

This deal is only available for a brief amount of time and ends on the 14th December 2017 at 3PM, don’t miss out on this offer. Check out all Hytera radios included in this offer on our website.

Charger Available With
PD4 (PD485, PD405, PD415)
PD5 (PD505LF, PD505, PD565)
PD6 (PD605, PD665, PD685)
PD7 (PD705LT, PD705, PD755, PD785, PD715EX, PD795EX)
PD9 (PD985)

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Fairmont Hotel, Shanghai Chooses Hytera PD365

Fairmont Hotel, Shanghai
The Fairmont Peace Hotel, which overlooks the Huangpu River in central Shanghai, boasts a history that overshadows any other hotel in the Far East. Restored and reopened in 2010, the Peace Hotel features 270 rooms and suites, offering guests an extraordinary place with unique architecture, expressive decor, magnificent artistry, and top class service in one great location.

Fairmont Hotel, Shanghai

… and The Fairmont Hotel has chosen the Hytera PD365 as their means of staff communications.

The Fairmont Peace Hotel discovered that on a day-to-day basis, staff were often liable to miss call instructions during peak periods, and forgot to trace the call back afterwards. This meant that responses were delayed and customers were not satisfied.

For this reason, the Hotel needed to be equipped with radios that were capable of sending preprogrammed text messages, and could be interconnected with the existing office platform to ensure timely, accurate and convenient call instruction delivery. The message had to real-time, with the ability to view immediately and keep a history of messages.

Furthermore, instructions needed to be delivered quietly (to avoid disturbing hotel customers) in order to upgrade service quality & efficiency. Knowing that Hytera’s DMR series products were powerful and adapted to solve the problems above, Fairmont Peace Hotel invited Hytera to develop a system.

The requirements were as follows:

  • A professional digital communications system complying with the global trend of improving management efficiency.
  • High voice quality when communicating within hotel premises, anywhere, anytime.
  • Can choose different voice call types, including All Call, Group Call and Private Call, according to service requirements.
  • Develop a gateway for wireless interconnection between the SMS communication system and the mail system of the Hotel’s internal office platform.

Enter Hytera PD365 Compact Digital Radio

Hytera PD365

The Hytera PD365 was the perfect solution for The Fairmont Hotel as it meets each and every requirement set out. By dividing the system into several groups, the hotel staff are able to communicate in their own talk groups, but the management can speak to all staff in an ‘all call’ when needed. Furthermore, the Hytera PD365 is able to send preprogrammed text messages and receive full text messages from larger radios such as the Hytera PD785 or a dispatch control room computer.

Hytera PD365 is aesthetically pleasing and lightweight this means that not only is the radio inconspicuous to guests, but also it’s less than 200g and therefore results in far less fatigue when in use.

Finally, the PD365 has the option of a wire-free desktop charger which allows reception staff to keep the PD365 fully charged – day and night.

Hytera PD365 Wireless Charger

All in all the Hytera PD365 is the ideal solution for the The Fairmont Hotel meeting every technical, logistical and aesthetic requirement.

> For more information on the Hytera PD365 please contact us via our main website.

Story Credit: Hytera.co.uk

 

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