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UHF vs VHF – What is the difference?

Here at Radiotronics we tend to be asked this question a lot, and for good reason. Picking wrong could result in your radios not working as effectively in your business, or not even working at all. Firstly, this is what they are:

UHF – Ultra High Frequency

This is the frequency band of 440-470mHz for business-grade two way radios. This frequency band is often selected if the radios are to be used both indoors and outdoors. A UHF wavelength is smaller (about 70cm) than VHF which means it is much better at penetrating walls and obstacles. Because of this, UHF is a much more common choice than it’s VHF counterpart, for example in schools, offices, warehouses, etc. Wherever there are walls, think UHF!

VHF – Very High Frequency

This is the frequency band of 136-174mHz for two way radios. This band is often used for the outdoors only. VHF’s wavelength is much larger (around 2m) than UHF, which means it can really struggle through solid objects. However, in the outdoors, it tends to have better range than UHF in open environments, such as farming, hiking and outdoor activities.

One very important thing to know about these frequency bands are that they do not mix; UHF radios will not work with VHF radios and vice versa. These radios are manufactured so you could not add a frequency if it is not within the range.

If you have purchased licenced radios from another company in the past and are wanting to purchase more from Radiotronics, we can confirm what frequency your radios are already on before you select a band and make a purchase. You can either contact us and quote the long model number on the radio (which can be found when you remove the battery on a sticker on the radio side) or alternatively take a look at our detailed product pages which are being updated with this information.

If you have purchased radios from Radiotronics in the past, your previous invoices will confirm your frequency version.

If you are wanting to purchase a brand new fleet of radios and can’t decide which frequency band would be best for you, please give us a call and we will be more than happy to assist!

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The Best Motorola Radios For Different Work Environments

In this blog I will be comparing different radios which provide the best benefits in different working environments. Teaching, construction sites and hospitality will be some of the environments that are mentioned in this blog. If you are wanting to know which radio to use that would fit best in your work place, then this should help you in your decision making.

Schools And Colleges

In schools and colleges, the teachers are responsible to keep all the students safe as well as teaching them, meaning a reliable radio is essential to keep in touch with your colleagues for all health and safety reasons. There are many variations when it comes to two way radios so buying or renting the right one for your needs is important. Different situations can require a radio when in a school atmosphere. School trips, fire drills and lunch are all very important times to have a two-way radio to keep constant communication with your colleagues.

The first two-way radio that is useful in all these situations is the Motorola XT420. This two-way radio is licence free which means it would be more useful for small schools or colleges because they have smaller distance requirements. The XT420 is a very simple and easy to use radio with only the essential features that employees require. Channel spacing and VOX (voice activation) comes programmed with the radio which means you can include or exclude channels from the scan and you can activate the audio just by using your voice making the radio itself very easy to operate. The XT420 is affordable and licence free, so it is very cost effective if you require a large amount of the radios. Licence free radios can only reach around 800 yards which could be most useful when the students are having their lunch or break. The limited range on the licence free XT420 is one of the reasons why the price is so low compared to a licence radio where the frequency can range around a mile long.

For larger schools and colleges, a two-way radio with a longer range may be needed therefore requiring a licence. So we recommend the Motorola SL1600 compact digital radio which is more expensive but for good reason, this because it comes with Lone Worker potential whilst also having the same channel scanning and VOX that comes with the XT420. The SL1600 can reach much further in range which is around a mile long, this could be very useful when on school trips. On a school trip, teachers and the students may split up into different groups when walking around meaning constant communication is essential to keep everyone safe, the SL1600 allows that but on a much larger scale. And because the SL1600 is a compact and small radio means that practically, it is a great radio because a teacher is not going to want a huge ‘construction site’ type radio on their waist when that sort of size is not needed.

Security

Moving on to security, more requirements and features need to be met when it comes to the radio you wish to use and many of these features are available on the Motorola DP1400 which is an analogue/digital two-way radio. 16 channels are available on the DP1400 which is a reasonable amount for a security team. Being in security, a lot of situations can arise which can be dealt with quick when using some of the features on the DP1400, like the emergency button. The way in which an emergency button works is that once pressed, a signal will go to all of your colleague’s radios, this indicating that you are in need of assistance. This is not found on other radios like the ones previously spoken about on the schools and colleges section. The DP1400 has features that improve the audio quality and the connectivity like channel scanning, VOX and an accessory connector. This allows you to connect an ear piece with an integrated microphone meaning you can hear the audio directly to your ear and speak through the attached microphone minimising movement. The accessory allows your surveillance to be as discrete as possible which ultimately protects you as the security. There is not much more that goes into the DP1400 as it is a very simple two-way radio.

Although the Motorola DP2400e is more expensive it has many more features compared to the DP1400 which are available to be programmed into the radio. In analogue mode the DP2400e has 5 tone signalling which allows you to talk to the whole fleet or to one personal members, this can be essential if confidential information needs to be passed to another colleague. The DP2400e has an accessory connector that can be used the same way as the DP1400 which is great for discretion, but the DP2400e has a compact design which means it is smaller and even more discrete compared to the DP1400. Depending on the environment you may be working in, means you need to choose the type of band your radio operates on. If working in an open environment a VHF (very high frequency) radio is suffice, whereas if you may be working in a city or a built up area then a UHF (ultra high frequency) radio is what you need to breach the structures for a good audio connection. Both the DP1400 and the DP2400e is available with both of these frequency types.

Building And Construction

On a construction site a robust and reliable two-way radio is needed in case of any accidents when working at heights or dangerous environments and the Motorola DP4400e is the radio we recommend. The DP4400e comes with 32 channels which is accessible through two zones but along with that, comes many features that are useful when working on construction sites. This includes, Bluetooth, VHF or UHF, lone worker, 5 tone signalling, emergency button, transmit interrupt and much more that are listed on our Motorola DP4400e page. Some of these features are very helpful for your personal safety when working alone or at heights or if you have an accident like the previously mentioned emergency button which becomes useful to notify your fleet quickly. The radio itself is very strong and durable and has a great grip which prevents yourself dropping the radio.

If you are wanting a smaller compact two-way radio then we recommend the Motorola VX-261. Because of its size the VX-261 can be easier to hold and practically easier to use but it comes with a lot less features compared to the DP4400e. The connection and audio quality is very similar as both radios have channel scanning and VOX but if you’re not needing all the features available on the DP4400e then choose the more affordable and simple VX-261. Probably one of the most important features available on two way radios is the lone worker and this is available on the VX-261. The lone worker feature is able to send a pre-determined signal, for example a distress call or alarm, to other radios in range, and it requires some type of interaction from the radio user after a period of radio inactivity. This is useful when working and you need to know your colleagues are with their radio. Finally, both the DP4400e and the VX-261 are only acceptable to use with a licence.

Hospitality

When it comes to working in a hotel, restaurant or private events you may need less features like the emergency button and more features that require quick and simple connectivity. The Motorola SL4000e brings a great amount to the table when we talk about easy communication. As you can see on the picture that it has a keyboard and a large screen which allows you to send text messages from radio to radio. This can be very useful when you are part taking in any covert, sensitive environments because it means you won’t have to talk during a convention or a workshop when a guest is appearing and presenting to a large crowd. This ultimately allows your customers or guests to have the best service without any interruptions. As well as this the SL4000e has a lot of other features that come in handy when working. Integrated Bluetooth 4.0 LE for wireless and data, up to 1000 channels, UHF, covert mode, man down and enhanced privacy are just a few of the features that are available for the sleek and slim designed SL4000e.

Although the Motorola SL1600 has already been spoken about in the ‘Teaching and Colleges’ section, it does need to be mentioned now as it is a great cost effective alternative to the SL4000e. As it is so compact and small it can come in very handy when working in a hotel or restaurant because it wont get in the way when you are working. It has a few similar qualities to the SL4000e but it doesn’t have a screen. It has channel scanning and VOX which is available on most two way radios and it does have very clear audio. As we already know it is available with the Lone worker feature that could be useful when checking everyone in your fleet is with their radio and available to talk which is good for organisation. The SL1600 is much more affordable compared to the SL4000e but again, you will be loosing the screen and keypad feature.

 

If you are wanting any more information about the two way radios that have been mentioned, then see the links below to each of the radios specific page. To see pages specifically on each of these environments then go to our information page and click sectors.

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