What Is The Alternative To The Motorola GP340?

In this blog post I will be talking about one of the two way radios that has been leading the market for nearly a decade… the Motorola GP340. If you would prefer, scroll to the bottom of the Blog post for a video summary made by Radiotronics!

What Is The Alternative To The Motorola GP340?

When looking at the dimensions and physical attributes to the GP340 we know that it stands at 137mm tall with a width of 57.5mm. The GP340 has been designed for a comfortable feel in your hand to minimize stretching or discomfort when reaching for the side buttons. Next, on the top of the radio is the antenna, the GP340 can have many different types of antennas but on the video, it showcases the whip and the stubby antenna. A cool fact about the GP340 and the DP1400 is that they have interchangeable antennas, something that isn’t seen on any other Motorola radio pairings. People are likely to use a certain type of antenna for practical reasons, or in a vain way to improve the aesthetics of the radio. The only benefit that can be seen is the whip antenna can offer a slight increase in range, other than this, there is no major difference between the whip and stubby antenna choice.

 

The GP340 has the possibility of 16 programmable channels, the Switch itself is marked very clearly with bright white numbers and marks which can be useful and easily seen in the dark. Next to this is the power switch which again has the white line across the switch to show clearly the volume level for your radio, when the switch is turned all the way left it is off, but when moved clockwise, you’ll hear a little click which means the radio is on. In order to select volume level, you just rotate the switch up and then back down to your preferred sound output. Another thing that featured on the top of the radio is the emergency button which can be programmed with other features, but this is most likely used for emergency situations as its easily accessible, also because it is red. 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. Further, if one of the radio’s in the fleet has a display, like the Motorola GP680, it can be programmed to display the name of the radio in distress.

Moving on to the right side of the GP340 there is an accessory connector, This can be used with compatible headsets or earpieces. Having an earpiece with an integrated microphone connected means you won’t have to keep touching the radio itself to say something, or if you have to listen closely when there is a lot of background noise being made. If at any time there is not an accessory connected the radio, then a cover is attached protecting it from dirt, dust and water.

On the left side there are 4 buttons. To start off you will be able to see from the photo that there is a large button, this is known as the Push to Talk paddle or PTT for short, this is likely to be the most used button on the radio. The three other smaller buttons are programmable buttons which allow you to add features that best suit your needs. The GP340 was available with a choice of batteries ranging from a basic Li-Ion battery which would last around 8 hours, to larger batteries that can last up to 24 hours.

The next part of this blog post will be comparing analogue to digital two way radios, with our next choice being the Motorola DP4400e. This is the digital replacement for the GP340, similar in style but the only difference being the DP4400e possessing far more modern features to its older counterpart.

 

There are similar qualities between both radios like the emergency button. Again, this can be programmed with different features. On the DP4400e the switches are a little taller and thinner and they have deeper grooves around the edge which creates easier grip when holding them. The GP340 can be programmed with 16 channels whereas the DP4400e can programme 32 channels which will be accessed through two separate zones. So already, an improvement has been made with the DP4400e when compared to the GP340. Both radios feature 5 tone signalling. This allows you to either talk to the whole fleet or to personally talk one on one with a colleague. This feature is found on most two way radios but if you were going to switch to digital then you have reassurance that you’re not losing important features from the GP340. The GP340 and the DP4400e both have channel scanning, the same channel spacing and VOX (Voice Activation Capability). Both radios have a voice compressor which makes huge differences in the audio quality. The compression creates the whisper feature for the GP340 and the DP4400e, this means you are able to whisper through your microphone quietly but the audio is projected loud on the other side. This is an incredibly useful tool when working in covert and sensitive environments.

Lone Worker is a feature available on both radios. The lone worker feature requires you interact with the radio at intervals; and if you don’t – a call will be sent out to all radios within your fleet to notify colleagues that you may be in danger or even away from your radio at a dangerous or important time. This can be handy when on construction sites or when working as security. Moving on to the left side of both radio’s there are three small programmable buttons which means that they both have the same amount of potential when it comes to the features. The DP4400e has a remote monitor, a transmit interrupt feature and an optional extra, the Man Down feature – however most of these additional features are only available in digital mode – so once you’ve upgraded all of your GP340s to DP4400e’s – these additional features can be activated by simply reprogramming the radio. This shows how much more potential a digital radio has.

If you are using most or even all the features available for the GP340 and you wish to upgrade to digital then we would definitely recommend the DP4400e. Although, if you’re reading this and you’re realising that you don’t use half of the features or even any but still wish to switch to digital then we would recommend the cheaper and much more simple Motorola DP1400. This is from the same DP family as the 4400e, but it is much more simple. The DP1400 is pretty much a talk and receive radio, not a lot more goes into it, which is why it’s cheaper. There are less features that come with the DP1400 and this is why people see it as a cost effective version of the DP4400e.

 

To conclude, if you are wanting to switch from the analogue GP340 to digital then the DP4400e is the radio for you. But if you’re looking for a more simple digital radio because you don’t need the features then definitely go for the DP1400. It all just depends on your needs and your budget.

Below you can find my comprehensive video on the Motorola GP340, DP4400e and DP1400.

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SOLVED / SOLUTION – Prolific USB to Serial Issue – This Device Cannot Start (Code 10)

Over the last few years, mainly since the launch of MS Windows 8.1 and then MS Windows 10, some people have been having an issue with their Prolific USB to Serial programming cables. We’ve thoroughly investigated this issue and found that the solution on this page is the best solution that works in almost all circumstances when dealing with the This Device Cannot Start (Code 10) issue. By The way, there’s a video at the bottom of this page…

How To Identify The “This Device Cannot Start (Code 10)” Issue?

As seen in this screenshot, to identify your issue with your Prolific cable is the “This Device Cannot Start (Code 10)” Issue, you simply need to open device manager, look in the Ports (COM & LPT) category and look for the orange or yellow triangle next to your Prolific device. See the screenshot below.

SOLVED: Prolific USB to Serial - This Device Cannot Start (Code 10) Issue Solution

What Causes The Prolific Code 10 Issue?

The Prolific USB to Serial cable Code 10 (This Device Cannot Start) Issue is caused when the wrong driver is installed automatically by Microsoft Windows. As you can see in our video (see below), when we first plugged in our Prolific cable, Windows installed the latest driver version. However, the cable hardware pre-dates the latest driver. That means you have to backdate the driver to a previous version.

How Do I Backdate The Driver?

We have created a YouTube video showing exactly how to backdate your driver and solve the Code 10 (This Device Cannot Start) Issue. Take a look at the Youtube video.

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Kenwood TKR-D710 VHF & TKR-D810 Basic Repeater Programming Guide

The Kenwood TKR-D series repeaters are Kenwood’s DMR range of two way radio repeaters. Introduced in around 2015, the TKR-D range have become one of the radio communications industry’s leading repeaters. There are several versions available. However, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to concentrate on the “E” european versions, but the details in this article are also relevant to the “K” and “K2” versions of the Kenwood TKR-D repeaters.

Kenwood TKR-D710 TKR-D810 Repeater

Kenwood TKR-D Repeater Models

Models

Tip: On our website, you can download a full and complete installation and functions guide for the TKR-D series repeaters free of charge.

Power & Spacing Options

All Kenwood KR-D repeater models work from a minimum of 5W to a maximum of 50W output power. Spacing is 12.5kHz (Narrow) or 25kHz (Wide 5k).

What You Need To Program The TKR-D710 VHF or TKR-D810 UHF Repeater

Here’s a list of everything you will need in order to program the TKR-D710 VHF or TKR-D810 UHF repeater.

1. Windows PC or Laptop

Kenwood software only works with Windows. Therefore you will need a PC or laptop running Windows 7 or above. We recommend at an Intel i3 with 4GB of RAM as a minimum to reduce the chances of buffer underrun.

Radiotronics recommends Lenovo Thinkpad T series laptops as our staff have been using them for over a decade. The Lenovo Thinkpad T series is robust, works and lasts. And the best part is that they’re relatively cheap 2nd hand. However, if you would like an even more robust laptop, we recommend the Panasonic Toughbook CF-53.

Tip for Mac Users: You can do this using a mac running VMware Fusion with a guest version of Windows 7 or above. But you must use only a USB cable (see below) and have USB passthrough switched on. This enables the USB cable to be passed directly to VMWare Fusion and through to windows bypassing your Mac altogether. Kenwood software does not work via Wine or any other emulation software.

2. Kenwood KPG-174D Programming Software

Quick Link: Kenwood KPG-174D

Kenwood KPG-174D

The correct programming software for the TKR-D710 VHF or TKR-D810 UHF repeaters is Kenwood KPG-174D. Kenwood KPG-174D is available from our website.

3. Programming Cable Options

There are two (or more) options for which programming cable you can use. It all depends on whether your PC or laptop has a RS-232 serial COM port. If you don’t know what a COM port is, then the chances are you don’t have one. In this case, skip to option 2 (USB).

Whatever cable you choose, they all do the same thing which is transferring data between your PC and your repeater.

3.1 Serial RS-232 COM Port Option

Quick Link: Kenwood KPG-46A serial cable and Startech USB To RS232 DB9 FTDI serial adapter cable

The most cost effective option of programming cable is the Kenwood KPG-46A serial cable. However, you will need a physical 9-pin D-sub port on your PC or laptop. The alternative, if you do want to use a serial cable and do not have a 9-pin D-sub serial port is to buy a Serial to USB cable. Kenwood used to make one called the Kenwood PCT-53U. However, Kenwood has since confirmed that it’s to discontinue this cable. So we sourced the Startech USB To RS232 DB9 FTDI serial adapter cable as an alternative. If all this seems too complicated – and it is – see the USB option below.

3.2 USB Option

Quick Link: Kenwood KPG-46U or Radiotronics KPG-46U-RT

As an alternative, Kenwood make an all-in-one USB cable. See the Kenwood KPG-46U on our website. This cable is supplied with a driver CD. However, if you already have a KPG-46U, you can download the driver free of charge here.

Tip: We also make a cheaper alternative to the Kenwood KPG-46U. You can see the Radiotronics KPG-46U-RT on our website.

Installing The KPG-174D Software

Important: We recommend you switch on file extensions as shown in this helpful article.

Extracting the Zip File: The Kenwood KPG-174D is supplied as a zip file. For those unfamiliar with ZIP files, a ZIP file is a file that contains a number of other files and or folders. For this, you can use the built-in “Extract All…” utility built into Windows 7, 8 and 10 – follow this guide here for instructions on how to do this.

Note: You can open a ZIP file like a folder in Windows 7 and above. If you’ve not Extracted the files, you’ve done it wrong and the installation will fail. Go back to the Extracting the Zip File section above and follow the procedure carefully.

Once you’ve extracted the files, a new window will open with the newly extracted files. Click into the folder structure until you see a file called setup.exe. Simply click on the setup.exe file to start the installation. Follow the steps until you get to the screen which asks you for Username, Company Name and Serial Number (could be different depending on language).

Enter your name in the Username field, your company name in the Company Name field (or your name again). Then in the serial number field you’ll have to enter the serial number you have. If you’re wondering where the serial number is, it’s usually in the unzipped folders in a file usually called Serial.txt (or Password.txt). Pop back to the file system and you’ll find it. Once you’ve entered this information, the installation will continue and complete. If your computer asks to restart, please do so.

Installing The USB Cable Driver

Have a serial cable? If you have the KPG-46A serial cable skip this step.

Assuming you have a Kenwood KPG-46U cable, you should now install the driver you downloaded from our website. Don’t have it? Download the KPG-46U driver here. Same as above – it’s a ZIP file. Extract All… and install the driver.

Have a Non-Kenwood Cable? Please follow the instructions that cable manufacturer gave you.

Be sure to install the driver before plugging the cable in, unless your cable manufacturer tells you to do otherwise.

Connecting The Cable

Tip: Please ensure you’ve installed the appropriate driver for your cable before plugging the cable in, unless your cable manufacturer tells you to do otherwise.

This diagram assumes you have a USB cable. But the same principle applies to the serial cable.Unlike Motorola repeaters, Kenwood does not allow a rear connection for programming. Connect the USB port to the computer and the RJ connector to the repeater’s microphone port.

Programming Cable Connection

Using the Kenwood PKG-174D Programming Software

Once PKG-174D is installed as mentioned above and the cable is connected as shown in the diagram above you’re ready to launch the Kenwood KPG-174D. To get started click the start menu and expand the Kenwood Fpu category and click on KPG-174D icon. The software will launch and will look something like this:

Kenwood KPG-174D

If you have experience with Kenwood radios, this may look familiar as most Kenwood programming software looks almost the same. But whilst all Kenwood software looks the same, they’re not the same. And specifically, these repeaters are both analogue and DMR repeaters so at the very least we need to consider whether we’re programming in digital DMR or analogue mode.

Step 1 – Setting the COM Port

Below are instruction for both serial cable and USB cable that enable you to find your COM port number.

Serial RS-232 9-Pin D-Sub Cable (KPG-46A) Instructions

If your PC or laptop has a RS232 9-pin D-sub serial port you might have chosen to use a KPG-46A serial cable. In this instance, you will simply need to find the COM port number that Windows has assigned to it. You can find the COM port number by opening device manager – here’s a great article on how to open the device manager in all versions of windows. Once device manager is open look for the Ports (COM & LPT) category. Expand this and look for a COM port device – it will look something like this:

COM1

99% of the time, the built-in COM port is COM1, that’s communications port number 1. But it could be anything depending on how your PC manufacturer configured your PC or laptop.

Can’t See It? If you’re 100% sure you have a built-in COM port and it’s not shown here. The chances are is it’s switched off in the BIOS. You’ll have to do a web search for instructions on how to access your computer’s BIOS and switch it on. Then come back to this guide, repeat this step and it should be shown as COM (some number).

USB Cable (KPG-46U) Instructions

Confusingly, even if you’re using a USB cable, this cable is a COM port emulator. So thet software requires you so set the COM port number. You can find the COM port number by opening device managerhere’s a great article on how to open the device manager in all versions of windows. Once device manager is open look for the Ports (COM & LPT) category. Expand this and look for a COM port device – it will look something like this:

Kenwood USB Cable COM Port

As you can see under the Ports (COM & LPT) category, is a device called Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge (COM3). This may have a slightly different device description for different cables. But the bit we care about the most is the COM3 as this shows us the COM port number – number 3. If you have multiple COM device numbers, you can 100% verify this is your Kenwood cable by simply unplugging it – and the correct device will disappear and re-connect and it will re-appear.

Note: If you are using a USB cable and do not see your USB cable device in the device manager, you might have forgotten to install the driver. Stop here, download the driver free of charge here and come back to this guide once your cable is shown as correctly installed and shows a COM number.

Set The COM Port Number in KPG-174D Software

Once you’ve verified that you have a valid COM port in the device manager as shown above you’re now ready to tell Kenwood KPG-174D software which COM number you’ll be using. You do this by clicking Setup on the top menu, the selecting Communications Port Number (usually the first option). That will open a dialogue that looks like this:

Kenwood KPG-174D COM Port Select

Select your COM port number and click OK (depends on language).

Step 2 – Reading The Repeater

Whilst you can just select the model of your repeater by selecting Model on the top menu, this is not the best option as there’s always the possibility of getting it wrong – and then you won’t be able to write to your repeater which, believe me, is so frustrating. By far, best practice is to actually read the repeater to ensure we have the correct model open in our software.

To read the repeater, ensure your cable is connected and in the software click Program > Read Data from the Repeater from the top menu. Before the KPG-174D software reads the repeater, the following dialogue box will appear.

Kenwood KPG174D Read Dialogue Box

Leave everything exactly as you see it and click Read. You might get a message that says something like “would you like to save your existing file…” You have no need to save it, just click No. The software will proceed to read your repeater and open a new file in the KPG-174D software.

Assuming the repeater is brand new, the repeater will have opened a blank file to enable you to start programming your repeater.

Step 3 – Checking The Model

It’s best practice to check the model of your repeater before going any further forward. Assuming you’ve followed the steps of this guide and got to the stage where your repeater has been read and you have an open file in your software you can check the model by clicking Model from the top menu, then selecting the Product Information. This will pop open a box like the one shown below. As you can see, the model we’re using is the “E” european TKR-D810 440-470MHz model.

Kenwood KPG-174D Model Select

Step 4 – Program A Channel

There should be a dialogue open called Channel Information. If this is not open, select Edit from the top menu and select the Channel Information which is the first option. That will open the Channel Information dialogue box as shown:

Kenwood KPG174D Channel Information

If this not blank, simply click in the RX frequency box and hit the DEL key. This will clear each line. Next, click the Channel Edit button which will bring up a new dialogue.

Kenwood KPG174D Channel Edit

The first thing you’ll notice is that this is blank and totally grayed out except for the Channel Number and the Receive Frequency (MHz) box.

Type your Receive Frequency (RX) into the Receive Frequency (MHz) box and press the TAB keyboard key. This will move your cursor to the Transmit Frequency (MHz) box. Then simply type in your Transmit Frequency (TX). The frequency pair we’re using for this article are RX 450.0MHz and TX 445.0MHz to make it simple but you will be using whatever Ofcom has allocated to you.

Kenwood KPG174D Channel Edit (Completed 1)

Programming A Digital Channel

For a DMR channel, leave the setting exactly like this. The beauty of this repeater is that in DMR mode it will simply repeat whatever DMR “ID” it’s given as long as the colour code matches. So simply ensure the colour code matches on your radio and the DMR group ID set on your radio is the DMR group ID the repeater will broadcast. This repeater is now set to work in DMR digital mode. If this is all you needed, check the colour code is correct and jump to writing the repeater.

Programming An Analogue Channel

The first thing you’ll notice is the next box, Channel Type, already has DMR selected as the channel type. If you’re programming an analogue channel change this to Analogue and you’ll notice the QT/DQT boxes will light up. You can then select your CTCSS or DCS tones which have either been allocated to you (see your licence) or simply choose two that match. We have chosen CTCSS as 250.3 for this part of the article.

Kenwood KPG174D Channel Edit (Completed Analogue)

One thing that’s important to note here is that this repeater automatically checks the QT Reverse Burt option. We would usually disable  (uncheck) this unless it’s also checked on your radios – check your radios and be sure they match.

Tip: Remember that your radios need to exactly match this programming including the QT/DQT (CTCSS/DCS) values and the QT Reverse Burst and Channel Spacing, just with the TX and RX frequencies reversed.

A Note on Mixed Mode

This repeater is mixed-mode capable. That means it’s capable of listening out for both digital and analogue incoming signals. However, you have to tell it specifically whether to rebroadcast as analogue or digital DMR. Unless you really know what you’re doing it’s probably best to stick to analogue or DMR digital avoiding mixed mode.

Step 5 – Writing To The Repeater

Now that we’ve programmed the channel we needed – whether it was analogue or digital, we can now proceed to writing the settings to the repeater.

To write the data to the repeater, select Program from the top menu and select Write Data to the Repeater which will bring up the write dialogue box.

Kenwood KPG174D Write Dialogue Box

Simply click the Write button. The blue progress bar will start moving with the Block display counting from 0/261 to 261/261 when complete. It’s immensely important that you do not unplug the programming cable or switch off the repeater power during the programming write process.

No Antenna Warning

You must never ever allow a repeater to transmit without an antenna (or substitute such as a dummy load) plugged in as this could cause irreparable damage to the output stage of the transmitter part of the repeater.

That’s All Folks

We’ve come to the end of our article. There are some things we didn’t mention, such as this repeater’s ability to only listen on certain DMR groups and some other features. Although it’s quite long, this article is designed to be a basic step by step guide to getting your repeater up and running and not designed to be a comprehensive programming and function guide. If you would like a more in-depth guide, please download our comprehensive in-depth TKR-D710 / TKR-D810 installation and function guide.

Web Links

Credits

Author: Radiotronics Technical Team
Email: tech@radiotronics.co.uk
Tel: 0871 288 2816

Disclaimer

This article is designed to be a guide only. You modify and program your equipment at your own risk. Radiotronics Limited takes no responsibility for the accuracy of this article.

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An (Almost) Complete Guide to Motorola Two Way Radios

Motorola Solutions is the world leader in radio communications – by a very long way. There is an emerging competitor – Hytera. But as of February 2019, Motorola still holds the worldwide top spot for two way radio systems. Motorola Solutions, hereon in referred to as just Motorola, has an extensive lineup of two way radios and this guide is designed to be the ultimate guide to which is which and what does what, so to speak.

Motorola Digital Two Way Radios

Motorola Only Makes Digital Two Way Radios

Motorola has two different types of two way radios – analogue and digital. However, it’s important to note at this stage that all Motorola analogue two way radios are discontinued, with the exception of licence-free XT and TLKR series two way radios. As of 2019, there are no longer any professional grade analogue Motorola two way radios available (except new-old stock*).

* New-old stock is stock which is brand new and typically offered with warranty that’s no longer made by the manufacturer.

But What About Analogue Two Way Radios

For 6-7 decades, Motorola has made analogue radios. And Motorola sells two way radios in every country on earth. No it’s not surprising that there are millions of two way radios. And since digital two way radios have only been around for about 10 years, there are a lot more analogue two way radios out there. Motorola is aware of this. And Motorola supports old radio fleets better than any other manufacturer.

To that end, almost all of Motorola’s digital two way radios have analogue-only mode to enable the backward compatibility, to be used with older analogue-only two way radios. Most Motorola digital two way radios cannot be used in digital and analogue mode on the same channel. But you could have channel 1 as analogue and channel 2 as digital, for example. They would not be able to speak across the channels, but this facilitates a path to migration to digital.

Note: Whilst digital two way radios almost always work in analogue mode for backwards compatibility. There are a few exceptions, notably the Motorola SL4000/e and SL4010/e which only work in DMR mode.

Analogue Motorola Two Way Radios

For fairness, let’s talk about the old analogue radios before we start to talk about the digital models. There are four major analogue models that have been sold over the last 25 years and, if you take a look on eBay, these are the models you’re most likely to see for sale.

Motorola Radius GP300 “The Brick”

Discontinued: 1998

Motorola Radius GP300

The Motorola Radius GP300 was, by a long way, the best selling Motorola radio of the 90s. It had a big brother, the GP900 which was used for larger systems – and is relatively unknown when compared to the GP300. The Radius GP300 is considered a predecessor to the GP340 and they’re often confused as the same radio – they are not the same radio. The Radius GP300 was, and still is, fondly referred to as “The Brick” due to it’s 1/2 Kg weight and 140 height, 59mm width and massive 42mm depth, which is unheard of since the turn of the millennium when surface mount technology (SMT) became normal in Motorola’s two way radio manufacturing process.

The Motorola Radius GP300 came in a number of versions. The most popular was the 8-channel no-display no-keypad version. There was also a 16-channel version. And even versions of the 8 and 16 channel models with a display and keypad for private calling and other more advanced radio use. On the whole, a very good radio for it’s day.

Want One? Probably a Bad Idea. Why? Unfortunately, the Motorola Radius GP300 was discontinued in the late 90s with the last new ones being sold in the early 2000s. Whilst you can still pick them up on eBay almost all genuine accessories have been cancelled by Motorola worldwide. This radio is not a good investment, even 2nd hand. However, if you do have one and need some accessories, you can buy accessories for the Motorola Radius GP300 on our main website.

What came next? Enter the GP-Professional Series: GP340 & It’s Siblings…

Motorola GP340 (Part of the GP-Professional Series)

Discontinued: 2014 – Read More

Motorola GP340

The Motorola GP340 was the leader of the GP-Professional series. A little known fact, outside the two way radio industry, is that the Motorola GP340 was one of 5 models in the range. The entire range consisted of GP320 1 channel version, GP330 4-channel non-display version, GP340 16-channel non-display, GP360 255 channel, full display, limited-keypad version and the flagship GP380 with display, a full DTMF keypad and 255 channels. The whole lineup is called the GP-Professional Series.

So why did the GP340 become the leader of the GP-Professional Series? No one actually knows why. In theory, the GP320 with 1 channel or the GP330 with 4 channels should have been the most popular as they were in theory cheaper models with the same audio quality and build standards. The most likely reason is that dealers opted to stock the GP340 as it had every feature needed from a two way radio at the time. The GP340 covered all bases. Literally, anything a customer could need from a two way radio – the GP340 could deliver. Except of course a contact list – but this is what the GP360 and GP380 delivered.

What about the GP640? At this stage it would probably be sensible to mention the cousin of the Motorola GP340, the Motorola GP640. The Motorola GP640 looked identical to the GP340 and is often very much confused as being mistakenly dubbed the GP340’s big brother. That’s absolutely not the case. The GP640 is a radio specifically designed for trunked radio systems – specifically to the MPT1327 standard. GP640 was never designed to be used back to back (radio to radio) and, whilst it’s possible, it’s a nightmare to program in “conventional mode”. They’re not the same radio and the GP640 should be avoided unless used for a trunked system.

The direct replacement for the Motorola Gp340 is the Motorola DP4400/e – see below. However if you’re only using your radio back to back (radio to radio) and not using any of the lone worker or sell-call features, you could just use a Motorola DP1400. Read on…

Motorola CP040

Also know as: CP200 (CP140 is also a similar radio in many ways)
Discontinued: 2014 – Read More

Motorola CP040

Motorola CP040 is a slimed down radio with very basic functions. However, CP040 still maintains 4W (5W in VHF models) output power, extremely clear audio and an 8-hour “working day” battery life from the basic battery supplied with the radio.

The most observant of you would ask why Motorola would introduce this radio when they already had GP320, GP330 and GP340? Well, whether Motorola would admit this or not, historical evidence shows that the Motorola CP040 was first introduced as a counter measure to the emergence of cheaper two way radio models coming from Chinese manufacturers. The cheapest model GP Professional radio, the GP320, had a price tag of well over £200 GBP (exclusive of VAT). And there were some cheaper radios on the market for around £100 GBP each. This would, no doubt, have been affecting Motorola’s entry-level radio sales.

The Motorola CP040, also known as Motorola CP200 in the USA, was a very smart move by Motorola. The Motorola CP040 recaptured the entry level market space and Motorola CP040 became almost as good a seller as the GP340! In fact, whist there are by far more GP340s out there than any other radio  in history, the Motorola CP040 is a very close 2nd.

I have CP040’s – what should I buy? The CP040 was replaced by the Motorola DP1400, which we mention later in this article. In fact, the Motorola DP1400 is almost identical. So much so that all the accessories are interchangeable – you can buy a DP1400 and keep your existing earpieces, batteries, chargers etc. If you have a CP040 and want new radios – you should undoubtably be buying the DP1400.

Digital Motorola Two Way Radios

Enter… Motorola MOTOTRBO…

Motorola MOTOTRBO Logo

Here’s where the two way radio industry ceased to be mundane and has finally become interesting! Motorola, just before the turn of this decade introduced their DMR (digital mobile radio) based digital radio system called MOTOTRBO. MOTOTRBO is not a single product as such. MOTOTRBO is a range of products (mostly digital radios) and solutions (such as Capacity Plus, IP Site Connect and Capacity MAX). In fact, Motorola Solutions’ website has an entire section on their website dedicated to MOTOTRBO and it’s features – boasting MOTOTRBO as the world’s most feature rich, complete end-to-end, digital radio communications solution – which it is. Whilst there are some competitors who offer feature-rich systems such as Hytera’s XPT, Kenwood’s NEXEDGE and Icom’s IDAS system (and others), Motorola’s MOTOTRBO system when compared side by side offers more features and options than any other system.

The most notable features are multi-site (IP Site Connect), transmit interrupt, selective calling, advanced emergency features and GPS/Man down (only on “1” radio models). But what really sets MOTOTRBO apart is it’s ability to integrate with PC software such as TrboNET and Smart PTT, SIP-based VoIP telephone systems and multi-site quasi-trunking, also known as Capacity Plus.

GPS Note: The GPS feature is only any use when a system is connected to PC based dispatch software (such as TrboNET).

This might sound complex, but it’s really quite straightforward. The product lineup starts with the DP1400 which is the entry-tier radio. The DP4000 range are the professional tier radios with the DP2000 range are lightweight versions of the DP4000 and the DP3000 being stubby compact versions. Finally, there are the super compact and lightweight range being the SL1600, SL2600 and SL4000 radios.

Motorola DP1400 – Entry Tier Radio

View @ radiotronics.co.uk: Motorola DP1400

Level: Entry Tier Basic Radio Systems
Introduced: 2012-2017
Price Range: £120 – £185 GBP, Per Radio (As of Feb 2019)

Motorola DP1400

The entry-level MOTOTRBO radio is the Motorola DP1400. The Motorola DP1400 is a natural step forward from the CP040 as it’s cost effective without the compromise on quality. And, as mentioned above, it shares all the CP040 accessories.

However, the Motorola DP1400 is a complex little beast as it’s the only “digital ready” Motorola MOTOTRBO radio. What does that mean? As described in our article, What’e the difference between the analogue and analogue-digital versions of the DP1400?, the DP1400 can be purchased as a “digital-ready” analogue only radio, or a digital-activated analogue and digital radio – and there’s about £50 GBP difference in price, each. Our advice has always been. If you’re intention is to simply add to your CP040 fleet, then save yourself the approx. £50 per radio and get the analogue only radios. After all, you can always upgrade to digital later. But if your intention is to slowly migrate to digital, then but the digital-activated versions straight away.

Incompatibilities: There’s also some other considerations about the DP1400, even if you buy the digital-activated model. The Motorola DP1400 is not compatible with Motorola Capacity Plus, Linked Capacity Plus (Quasi-Trunking) or Capacity MAX (Trunking). So if you’re intention is to slowly build a Capacity Plus system, this is not the radio for you. On the up side, DP1400 is compatible with IP Site Connect (via Chargeable Licence Upgrade), so can be used with basic multi-site MOTOTRBO based systems.

Ideal for most basic use: Most people will be using their existing CP040 radios back to back (radio to radio) or via a simple conventional repeater based system. The Motorola DP1400 is absolutely the ideal radio for basic level requirements. Our advice to our clients is always – only ever spend what you need to spend.

Motorola DP4000 Series

View @ radiotronics.co.uk: DP4400e, DP4600e, DP4800e

Level: High Tier Systems
Introduced: 2012-2017 non-E Range, 2017+ E-enhanced Range
Price Range: £200 – £500 GBP Depending On Licence Features, Per Radio (As of Feb 2019)
Why buy these: Full Size Robust Two Way Radio, 5-10 Year Lifespan
Accessory Connector: DP4000 Connector

Motorola DP4000 Series

The Motorola DP4400e (previously Motorola DP4400) is Motorola’s leading radio from the MOTOTRBO range. The Motorola DP4400/e directly replaces the legendary Motorola GP340 bringing it’s GP340’s features to their new digital MOTOTRBO system. Just like the GP Professional Series, the DP4000 series is made up of multiple models – DP4400, DP4600 and DP4800.

Which are the GPS/Bluetooth/Man Down Version Models? There are also GPS/Bluetooth/Man Down models of this radio. They’re denominated by a 1 in the model. For example, DP4401 is a GPS/Bluetooth/Man Down enabled version of the DP4400. It’s important to note thatGPS/Bluetooth/Man Down features cannot be retro-fitted. If you will need GPS, Bluetooth or Man Down you must purchase an “1” version radio in the first place.

GPS Note: The GPS feature is only any use when a system is connected to PC based dispatch software (such as TrboNET).

What’s the difference between DP4400 and DP4400e, I hear you ask? DP4400e is the replacement for the DP4400, which is now cancelled by Motorola. Similarly, any DP4000, DP3000 or DP2000 series radio is now cancelled and replaced by DP4000e, DP3000e and DP2000e radios. When you’re looking to buy new radios – you should be supplied “E” models. The “E” models have some significant improvements over battery life, signal range and RFiD features. More information on the improvements on the E-range check out the “what’s new” section in this PDF document.

Motorola DP3400 & DP3600

View @ radiotronics.co.uk: Motorola DP3400, Motorola DP3600

Status: Permanently Cancelled By Motorola
Important Note: Not DP3000 Series

Motorola DP3600

At this point it’s worth talking about the cancelled DP3400 and DP3600 radios. For many dealers, the DP3400 and it’s full keypad sibling DP3600 are seen as Motorola’s stop-gap radio. When Motorola first introduced the MOTOTRBO system, these were the first digital MOTOTRBO digital radios available. Whilst they feature many of the same features of as the DP4000 series; the DP4000 series is the official replacement for the DP3400 and DP3600, and the DP4000 series has all the features from the DP3400/DP3600 and many many more. We would always suggest a DP4000-series radio over a DP3400/DP3600 radio where possible.

DP3000 Series Note: The DP3400 and DP3600 is no longer referred to as the DP3000 series. This is because the DP3441/e and DP3661e not have inherited that title. Read more about the DP3000 series below.

Motorola DP2400/e & DP2600/e

View @ radiotronics.co.uk: DP2400e, DP2600e

Level: Mid-High Tier Systems
Introduced: 2012-2017 non-E Range, 2017+ E-enhanced Range
Price Range: £195 – £350 GBP Depending On Licence Features, Per Radio (As of Feb 2019)
Why buy these: Smaller, Lightweight Robust Two Way Radio, 5-10 Year Lifespan
Accessory Connector: DP2000 & New DP3000 Connector

Motorola DP2000

So what are these? In a nutshell they’re almost identical to the DP4000e series above, just 1cm smaller in height. They’re the same width (ish) and exactly the same depth as they take the same batteries as the DP4000/e series. However, there is no GPS/Bluetooth/Man Down versions. They are MOTOTRBO compatible however, in order to use Capacity Plus an additional licence key (which has a price) is required. Nevertheless, use as a lightweight back to back radio, or use on a conventional repeater based system – these are ideal – and slightly cheaper than their DP4000 series big brothers.

New Motorola DP3000/e Series

View @ radiotronics.co.uk: DP3441e, DP3661e

Level: Mid to High Tier Systems
Introduced: 2014-2017 non-E Range, 2017+ E-enhanced Range
Price Range: £275 – £395 GBP Depending On Radio & Licence Features, Per Radio (As of Feb 2019)
Why buy these: Stubby, Lightweight, Robust Two Way Radio, 5-10 Year Lifespan
Accessory Connector: DP2000 & New DP3000 Connector

Motorola DP3000e

The new Motorola DP3000 series is called “new” because there was once before a DP3000 series – the DP3400 & DP3600 we mentioned above. However, they’re now completely cancelled and these are now what’s referred to as the DP3000 series. DP3000/e series is made up of two radios. DP3441e (previously DP3441, not related to the DP3400 in any way) and the DP3661e – which is the most recent addition.

The new DP3000 series is a very special set of radios in that has almost everything built-in. There are some things that need a licence key to switch on such as Man Down, OTP (over the air programming) etc. But it’s a “1” radio – so GPS & Bluetooth are enabled by default.

The DP3441e is the non-display version of the DP3661e. Other than that they’re identical. They take the same accessory connector as theDP2400/e and DP2600/e – which means if you have DP3X01/e models and DP2X00/e models – you can share accessories between them.

New DP3000E Series Charger Notice: The new Motorola DP3000/e series does not share the DP2000 and DP4000 charger. It actually uses a charger from an older radio – the Motorola GP340 (or more specifically GP344). But the good news is that if you have a DP2000/DP4000 series charger, you can get an adapter for the new DP3000e series – which you can find on our website here or you can see the entire range of DP3XX1E chargers here.

Motorola SL1600 & SL2600 Lightweight Radios

View @ radiotronics.co.uk: SL1600 & SL2600

Level: Mid Tier Systems
Introduced: 2014-2017 non-E Range, 2017+ E-enhanced Range
Price Range: £195 – £345 GBP Depending On Radio & Licence Features, Per Radio (As of Feb 2019)
Why buy these: Stubby, Lightweight, Robust Two Way Radio, 5-10 Year Lifespan
Accessory Connector: DP2000 & New DP3000 Connector

Motorola SL1600

These two are technically display radios. The SL1600 has an “active view display” which is a basic LED pixel based screen on the front of the radio. The SL2600 takes this a step further with a complete display and a limited set of function buttons. These are the lightest radios in the entire MOTOTRBO line up.

The SL1600 and SL2600 do have some differences, however. The SL1600 cannot be used with a Capacity Plus system, but can be used with an IP Site Connect system with a paid software upgrade. Whereas the SL2600 has IP Site Connect function built in and can connect to a Capacity Plus system with a paid software  upgrade.

Nevertheless, when used back to back (radio to radio) or on a basic repeater based system they work identically. Due to their lightweight build design, they only transmit at 3W. But their lightweight design mean they’re ideal for hospitality where a discreet communications solution is required.

Motorola SL4000/e Ultra Portable Fully Featured Radio

View @ radiotronics.co.uk: SL4000e

Level: High Tier Systems
Introduced: 2014-2017 non-E Range, 2017+ E-enhanced Range
Price Range: £250 – £425 GBP Depending On Licence Features, Per Radio (As of Feb 2019)
Why buy these: Lightweight Fully Featured Two Way Radio, 5-10 Year Lifespan
Accessory Connector: SL4000e

Motorola SL4000e

The Motorola SL4000e (previously SL4000) is Motorola’s flagship fully featured lightweight two way radio. It supports all MOTOTRBO system features including IP Site Connect, Capacity Plus and Capacity MAX.

NOTE – UHF Digital Only: The SL4000e (and SL4000) is only available in UHF frequency and only works in DMR digital mode – the SL4000e does not work in analogue mode at all. That, to some, may be considered a drawback. However, if you’re using a UHF digital system anyway, this is not a problem. But it’s something to keep in mind when designing a system.

SL4000e is one of the lightest radios in the range and looks just like a small mobile phone. Ideal for hospitality and catering where a discreet communications radio system is essential.

Programming Motorola DP Series MOTOTRBO Digital Radios

A question we get asked all the time, literally every day, is How can I program/reprogram MOTOTRBO radios?

Motorola MOTOTRBO Software

You don’t need to if you buy new radios from Radiotronics. Here at Radiotronics, we program your new radios FREE of charge. When you buy radios from Radiotronics, we ensure they’re delivered ready to use right out the box.

However, we’re a big believer in customer choice. So if you don want to program them yourself, you’re very welcome to do that. You’ll need a specific programming cable for your radio and a piece of software, aptly called MOTOTRBO Customer Programming Software (CPS). MOTOTRBO CPS is currently at version 16.x. Everything you need to program your radios is available from Radiotronics. And whilst we can’t help you program your radios, we can pre-program them for you so that there’s only minimal things to change.

On our website you can purchase and instantly download MOTOTRBO software and a DP4000 programming cable (for DP4000/e radios) or a DP2000 series programming cable (for DP2400/e and DP3000e radios). You might also need the USB driver for your MOTOTRBO radio.

Note: MOTOTRBO v16 requires Microsoft Windows 7 or above operating system. It’s also worth noting that MOTOTRBO programming software does not work on networked computers operating in the 10.x.x.x IP range.

 

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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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Hytera BD305LF – The Best Compact Digital Licence Free Two Way Radio?

Hytera has launched what’s possibly the most compact licence free digital DMR (yes, DMR, not dPMR) business-grade two way radio. Take a look the Hytera BD305LF in the image below.

Great Looking Compact Two Way Radio

Hytera BD305LF

Hytera BD305LF is supplied pre-programmed on 16 DMR446 channels  – that’s DMR446 tier-I, not dPMR like other digital two way radios. That basically means that the BD305LF is ready to be used right out of the box with no configuration needed.

Hytera BD305LF Features

Hytera BD305LF Features

Modelled on some of Hytera’s higher-tier two way radios, the Hytera BD305LF is well designed with all the features you would expect from a professional-grade two way radio. It even has a dealer-programmable button below the PTT on the left side. Front facing speaker and microphone, as you’d expect and a robust channel selector. Check out the feature image above.

Good Range of Accessories

There is a great selection of Hytera BD305LF accessories. From spare batteries to earpieces and an amazing optional extra drop-in charger* – is seems Hytera has thought of everything.

* You get a USB charger with the Hytera BD305LF – the drop-in charger is an optional extra.

Drop In Charger Option

Hytera BD305LF Drop In Charger

When buying the Hytera BD305LF you usually get a USB plug-in type charger included free in the box. However, that’s not always the best solution. A much better solution is the optional extra Hytera BD305LF drop-in charger. This works by plugging the included USB charger into the back. You can then simply slot the radio into the drop-in charger.

And that’s not all! The drop in charger also has an additional battery slot at the back – that means you can charge not only your Hytera BD305LF radio with the battery inside but also charge a Hytera BD305LF spare battery.

Innovative BD305LF Earpiece System

The Hytera BD305LF has an innovative earpiece system is made up from several parts. This is exceptionally handy as you can choose whatever earpiece you want. You start with the Hytera ACS-01 PTT module which plugs into the radio. Then you just choose any of the Hytera ES-02 covert tube earpiece, Hytera EH-01 C-Style Earpiece, Hytera ES-01 Earbud Earpiece or the Hytera EH-01 Swivel-Type Earpiece.

However, if you just want a no-frills basic earpieces, you can go for the cost-effective Hytera EHS-16 earpiece.

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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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