I Want to Buy a 2 Way Radio, What Should I Look Out For?

Long-range walkie-talkies (which we’ll abbreviate here to LRWT, for short) come in many different shapes and sizes. They also typically boast a wide variety of extra features, such as LCD screens, weather warnings and emergency buttons. It is up to you to decide which of these extra features are worth spending out on.

Shopping for an LRWT is essentially the same deal as shopping for any other kind of walkie-talkie or two-way radio. Of course, you should ignore any claims that the radio can communicate across distances of 30, or even 25, miles, such claims are always to be considered fallacious (as we’ve discussed elsewhere this month). In addition, it is worth investing in a radio that has a ‘privacy’ function if you are planning to use it at a crowded event, or indeed in any place that is likely to play host to a lot of signal traffic.

Remember also that VHF and UHF radios are completely incompatible. DO NOT attempt to buy a VHF radio to go with a UHF radio (or vice versa), just trust us on this.

It also pays to be aware of licensing requirements. Many radios will need to be used with a license, which you can attain relatively easily (and often surprisingly cheaply). It does, however, absolutely need to be done. Of course, an LRWT that is listed as PMR446 (or has a power output of less than 0.5 watts) requires no license.

Other questions you could ask yourself are:

What type of batteries does your prospective LRWT use? Are they litium-ion or rechargeable (we recommend the latter)?

Is the radio water/shock proof? Does it need to be?

Another consideration is ease of use. In order to be truly effective, a walkie-talkie needs to be easy to use. There is a school of thought which suggests that, the more buttons there are to press and functions there are to master, the less effective the user will be in a crisis. If you can get extra functions that do not otherwise impede the simplicity of layout and use, then you’re probably onto a winner, but otherwise, we reckon simplicity is key.

The most important thing to keep in mind, however, is what you want the radio for. Do not, under any circumstances, lose sight of the task at hand. If you are looking for a professional piece of equipment, many of these decisions must be made with your staff in mind. However, if you’re just looking to have a bit of a laugh, then you needn’t be as picky as we’ve suggested.

The History of Radio

When people tuned in to their sets for sports, weather, news, and entertainment during the first half of the 20th century, they heard what they looking for, but, ironically, did very little “looking.” This was radio-a stepping stone to what would eventually become television-and it had a history of its own.

Those who had a hand in its foundation, however, did not know at the time what they were inventing. James Maxwell, for example, was one the first to investigate electromagnetic fields and in 1888 Heinrich Hertz succeeded in sending electromagnetic signals through space.

Perhaps the most significant early milestone was achieved by Guglielmo Marconi, who conducted several important tests with radio equipment in 1901 and then managed to send a wireless signal across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Radio, in essence, was born that day.

Hardly an exact science, it took more structured form five years later when Lee De Forest organized electronic signals in a vacuum tube, facilitating voice transmissions, and interest in both the device and its potential steadily increased.

Equipped with little more than a crude set located in his garage, for instance, Doc Herald began broadcasts three years later and helped others build crystal sets with the knowledge he had so far amassed. Numerous amateurs quickly followed suit.

The first organization to exploit this innovation was the American Marconi Company. Headed by David Sarnoff, who first served as its messenger and ultimately worked his way up to its executive, it was able to broadcast within a 50-mile radius, thus bringing entertainment into the homes within this area by 1916 and replacing what had previously been little more than amateur-run “talks” given by “tinkerers” with crude sets.

The ability to reach so many with a single device, however, soon signaled potential for radio equipment manufacturers, such as Westinghouse, General Electric, and AT&T. Pooling their patents, they purchased the American Marconi Company and formed the Radio Corporation of America, or RCA.

The first division within it occurred when Westinghouse and General Electric employed their patents to manufacture broadcasting and receiving equipment, while AT&T concentrated on telephone communications. Nevertheless the most successful of the original three, the latter demonstrated the impact communication could have when it was offered $100, then a considerable sum, by a Long Island real estate firm to disseminate information about the homes they had available for sale during ten minutes of air time, and listener response proved overwhelming. Radio advertising was born.

Placing it on the path to unprecedented growth, AT&T itself became independent and formed its own station, WEAF, connecting it with Boston radio station WNAC in 1923. It was only the beginning of its network of affiliations and reach.

Still comprising the other half of RCA, Westinghouse and General Electric, aware of its partner’s growth, followed suit, forming their own station, WJZ. Since they did not receive advertising support for the venture, however, it barely limped along for two years until AT&T sold them its own WEAF station in 1926, enabling the combined Westinghouse and General Electric concern to develop into the National Broadcasting Company, or NBC, which owned half the stock, while the original RCA held the other half.

Reflecting their US broadcast areas, a chart with either red or blue lines indicated the cities to which, respectively, WEAF and WJZ transmitted.

With success came monopoly-and federal government intervention. Deeming the arrangement anti-competitive, the government itself forced NBC to sell its blue transmission network, shedding itself of its WJZ station, which subsequently became the American Broadcasting Company, or ABC.

A third, independent network, soon controlled by William S. Paley, was formed the following year, CBS.

What began as a hobby for amateurs had evolved into a multiple-corporation business with incredible reach. But, because of the extensive use of the airwaves, demand soon exceeded their capacity and the system’s overburdened use often resulted in unclear transmissions, with one station overlapping others.

Although Congress had anticipated this dilemma when it had created the Radio Act of 1912, its solution of requiring station licenses for all transmitters did little to ameliorate the system’s overtaxed usage, since the license was easy to acquire and offered no operational restriction.

While conditions were improved when a separate license category for commercial broadcasting companies was created, President Hoover went a step further by determining which radio stations would be granted air access and which ones would not.

The act, needless to say, sparked controversy and was deemed unconstitutional. Eugene F. McDonald, for example, who owned station WJAZ in Chicago, claimed that the president had exceeded his authority by making such determinations and this prompted the subsequent Radio Act of 1927, which advocated that broadcasting services could only be provided by private enterprises and that the public itself would determine the types of programs they wished to hear.

Although it ameliorated most of the early obstacles, the definitive Communications Act of 1934 was ultimately established.

“Control” during these nascent times, however, was often subtler. Sponsors and advertisement agencies, for example, needed to reach as many listeners as possible in order to insure the maximum sales of their products, but felt this exposure hinged upon the quality of the shows with which they were associated. If they paid stations for advertising time and they coincidentally ran poor quality programs, they felt that the number of people reached would decline as they turned the dial in search of better features and that the shows themselves were reflective of their goods and services. Resultantly, they were able to exercise a certain amount of control over a program’s production and arrangement.

During the 1930s, radio and the advertising it attracted prospered. Three large stations provided news, information, and entertainment to millions across the country who only needed to turn a dial to access it.

The foundation of many later-popular television mysteries, comedies, adventures, juveniles, and even soap operas, including “When a Girl Marries,” “Mary Noble, Backstage Wife, “I Love a Mystery,” “Gangbusters,” and “The Shadow,” was laid during this time, while these venues enabled many early actors and actresses to gain their initial exposure.

Radio became the mainstay of American entertainment for some two decades, until another emerging technology, television, appeared in the 1950s, offering both audio and visual aspects. Nevertheless, it was both the beginning and the future, since it continues to serve the purpose for which it was created-provide the information and entertainment listeners wish to hear.

Don’t Make These Radio Programming Mistakes

I have heard all five of these myths cited by self-proclaimed radio programming “experts” — including consultants, program directors and managers.

Not only are they false; they’re harmful to a radio station’s ability to attract and maintain loyal listeners and healthy ratings.

1. “People don’t remember DJs’ names. Therefore, there’s no point in radio air talent training.”

Some programming consultant actually said that in a trade publication interview.

If your hosts don’t make enough of a connection to your audience to be memorable, then “air talent training” should be at the top of your priorities.

2. “You can’t get people to listen for more than 30 minutes, so don’t waste your time trying.”

If you believe that, then I trust you believe it’s impossible to fix a broken carburetor.

After all, I can’t fix a carburetor.

Reminds me of a radio convention panel session I was on years ago.

Someone in the audience asked, “Is it possible to teach somebody to be a radio personality?”

One of the other guys on the panel replied, “No, it can’t be done. I know, because I’ve tried.”

He can’t teach someone to be a personality. But there are others who can.

I can’t fix a carburetor. But there are others who can.

Many programmers can’t get people to listen for more than 30 minutes. But there are others who can.

I’ve seen their ratings.

3. “Giving your name frequently is self-aggrandizing.”

On a music station, hosts should give their names frequently.

As in, “Each break.”

Making sure listeners know who you are is humble, not boastful.

It’s also good for your ratings (in markets that use self-report measurements and depend upon listener recall).

4. “The audience doesn’t care about you.”

Practically every DJ in the world (including me) has, at one time, worked for a program director or manager who said that.

Of course they care about you!

If you make a human, personal connection to them.

If you’re a personality, not just an “announcer.”

(The difference is… An announcer never says anything worth listening to.)

5. “Never say ‘I.’ ”

This one is big among self-styled consultants and certain station managers who never were successful radio personalities.

You know the stereotype of the person who couldn’t make it radio and so instead became a consultant?

I was shown an air talent critique written by one of those “can’t-get-a-job-in-America-so-she-became-a-consultant-overseas” types. She instructed the talent, “Use the word YOU instead of the word ‘I’ to deepen the engage.”

(Yes, she did say “to deepen the engage.” Scary, isn’t it?)

According to her, when you use the world “you,” then boring material magically becomes… um, engageful.

Now, I’ve used the word “I” in this article eight times so far.

Do you find this article to be impersonal?

Should I have said, “YOU can’t fix a carburetor”?

In your daily conversations with friends and colleagues, do you ever say “I”?

Well, guess what: A good radio show is nothing more than a conversation between the host and the audience.

But you still think it’s wrong to say “I”?

Okay. Test it yourself:

Listen to the 20 highest rated air personalities in America. They all say “I” and “me” and “my.” As well as “you” and “your” and “yours.”

I guarantee it. I mean,You guarantee it.”

How can radio personalities protect themselves against such ignorant authority figures? Nod your head, smile… and then go into the studio and talk to your listeners just as you would to “real people.”

2-Way Radio QUICKGUIDE

Confidently, painlessly and quickly sift through all technical specifications, facts and figures to get the core information you need to make an informed purchase of two-way radios. Clear up “data confusion” and glean the most relevant information from manufacturer tech sheets.

FACTOR 1: RF Power

RF Power is a good indicator of the distance a 2-way radio can transmit, as well as a more important factor: the strength of a 2-way radio’s signal under optimal transmission conditions. In general, customers don’t use their 2-way radios at the upper limits of the transmission range. Most customers transmit from a relatively close proximity between 2-way radios, roughly the size of your “average” construction site – one-half to one mile. Transmitting a distance of that average construction jobsite requires much less than 1 watt of output power.

When do you need 5 watts of RF output power? You need it to overcome interference in the real world. In the real world, 2-way radio users aren’t dealing with an optimal situation – a clear line of sight with nothing in between the user and the persons they are communicating with. Buildings, terrain and everything else between you and the receiving parties will create interference and degrade your transmitted signal.

When taking into account real world factors, 1 watt may not be strong enough to overcome interference; any signal that reaches the intended receivers will be very weak and difficult to understand. Models that feature low/high power options allow you to choose when to save power and when to crank it up.

FACTOR 2: Battery (type / capacity / voltage):

Everything begins with the battery when it comes to portable (handheld) 2-way radios. If battery isn’t good enough, then nothing else within the 2-way radio can be work well enough. You want a rechargeable battery technology that does not hold memory and can be recharged many times, which is why a high-capacity Li-ion is better than NiMH. Battery capacity, measured in milliamps per hour (mAh), indicates how long the 2-way radio can operate between charges. The higher the number, the longer the run time.

Battery voltage is also directly related to the 2-way radio’s RF output power. If a 2-way radio has 5 watts of output power (efficiently) it needs to be backed by at least a 7 volt DC battery pack. TIP: If a two-way radio technical specs sheet claims 5 watts of output power, but only has a 3 volt DC battery pack, it’s either a typographical error or an outright lie.

FACTOR 3: Dimensions and Weight:

This one’s pretty obvious, and it’s the same reason we wear watches instead of carry clocks. Toting around a large, heavy two-way radio all day long creates unnecessary fatigue. A compact, lightweight radio that is rugged and durability is ideal.

There’s a pretty wide range between competing models. I have seen differences of ten ounces or more in weight between comparable models. Remember to take the battery and antenna into consideration if the spec sheets don’t specify the total weight of the radio.

FACTOR 4: Channels:

If channels aren’t programmable, they don’t do you a lot of good. Most 2-way radios on the market today feature programmable channels. The more channels your 2-way radio has, the more frequencies you can program, and thus the more options you have to avoid interference from other groups of people using the same frequency. That may be important in congested areas. I recommend a minimum of a dozen programmable channels for real-life convenience.

For example, if you are using a 2-way radio with only 1 or 2 channels and there are other people using those frequencies you may not be able to “get away” from the busy channels, making your 2-way radios fairly useless. Having more channels gives you more frequency options so you can easily and quickly switch to open channels. Again, the number of channels and the number of programmable channels varies depending on the make and model of the radio.

FACTOR 5: Frequency Range:

Frequency range details which frequencies the 2-way radio will transmit and receive. This feature is very much controlled by the FCC within the US. The FCC details which frequency ranges are for which type of activity and radio type, along with which frequencies require an active license to use.

FACTOR 6: Channel Spacing (Bandwidth):

This is related to frequency range. A radio frequency signal occupies more than just the frequency it transmitting on. The signal takes up space on the frequency above and below its transmit frequency. How much of the frequencies above and below are affected is what we call “bandwidth” or “channel spacing”.

In an effort to make more efficient use of available frequencies, the FCC recently created a narrowbanding rule requiring all radios to have channel spacing of 12.5 kHz or less. To repeat: to be narrowband compliant with FCC regulations, a two-way radio MUST have a channel spacing of 12.5 kHz or less.

FACTOR 7: Audio Output:

Audio output (typically measured in mW) measures your 2-way radio’s audio amplifier output power (the loudness of your two-way radio’s volume). Construction and industrial environments are loud in and of themselves, so professional users need their 2-way radio volume (audio output) to be loud enough to hear the received signal over the ambient noise.

A 500mW rating is good. Generally speaking, the higher the mW audio output is above 500mW, the more likely your two-way radio’s volume will be measurably louder and clearer. Extreme military radios have an audio output of around 1000mW.

Taking these six factors into consideration should result in a the purchase of a 2-way radio that will function well for professional purposes. Other features you many see on spec sheets will be optional “convenience” factors such as programmable squelch, programmable buttons, headset accessory jacks, universal compatibility, VOX (voice activated transmit), busy channel lockout, channel scan, and privacy settings (though privacy even among the most expensive models is questionable).

Among these options, my Must-Have features are “Emergency Call Out” and “Group Call” features that allow immediate critical communication that saves time, and sometimes lives.

The Invention Story of Radio

The invention of radio happened after the discoveries of telegraph and telephone. This trio of technologies is related to each other. Radio began as a cordless telegraphy. As a matter of fact, it all started with the great discovery of radio waves. These waves can transmit music, speech and pictures through air. Moreover, lots of devices, such as wireless phones, radio and microwave TV work via the electromagnetic waves.

In 1860, s Scottish physicist named James Maxwell forecast the radio waves. In 1886, another expert Heinrich Hertz demonstrated the projection of variation of electric current in the form of powerful radio waves.

After the invention of telephone, experts found that music can be transmitted through telephone lines. An expert named Guglielmo Marconi discovered how to use radio signals. He was an Italian discoverer who showed the feasibility of radio communication. Actually, he was fascinated by the discovery of radio waves by Hertz. He realized that the radio waves could send and receive telegraph messages. He referred to it as powerful wireless telegraphs.

In 1896, his coded signals were transmitted to just a mile away. Then Marconi recognized the potential of it and made an offer to the Government of Italy, but was rejected. After moving to England, he realized a patent and made an experiment. In 1898, Marconi flashed the Kingstown Regatta results to the office of Dublin Newspaper. It was the first public broadcast of this great sports event. Soon, he started his radio factory and established a link between Britain and France. In 1901, he established a link with America as well. He also got Noble Prize in Physics for his invention in 1909.

The problem was that the wireless telegraph transmitted signals only. Transmission of voice through this technology was started in 1921. In 1922, Marconi gave us the news of short wave transmissions. However, he was not the only inventor of the radio. Actually, Nikola Tesla, another great personality, who moved to the USA in 1884, introduced the theoretical model of radio before Marconi.

Another claimant to the throne of this technology is J.C Bose. In 1896, he demonstrated radio transmission to the British Governor General at Calcutta. Interestingly enough, the transmission happened for a distance of about 6 kilometers. As a matter of fact, his instrument was connected to the telephone detector.

Actually, Bose took care of the problem of the penetration via water, walls or mountains. Actually, the Cohere of Marconi is considered the same thing as the Coherer of Bose. In the start, Bose was a bit hesitant to apply for patent since he believed in the freedom of inventions in science. However, he applied for one when some of his friends persuaded him to do so in 1901. He got the patent in 1904.

At last, radio transmitters got a lot better. Global radiotelegraph services got developed since early transmitters made it possible to discharge the electricity between the electrodes and in the circuit that caused too much interference. These problems were fixed by De Forest and Alexanderson.

They

Long story short, research has been on to improve the radio transmission. As a matter of fact, Radio has become a great medium of entertainment. The fact of the matter is that technological advancements of today have resulted in internet radio. In this field, satellite radio is another great development. Nowadays, you can listen to any international radio station without any problem.

Fun Facts About Radio

Are you interested in radio? If so, you may find it interesting to read the following facts about radio. Read on.

In the late 1800, A German inventor called Heinrich Hertz discovered the wireless radio. He did it when he proved that it is possible to send energy point-to-point without the use of wires.

An Italian businessman and inventor known as Guglielmo Marconi is considered the great Father of Radio since he transformed that discovery into the wireless radio. He also got the patent and kicked off his own business.

Another expert David Sarnoff introduced the broadcasting concept when he offered his services for the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of the USA. He suggested that the company might want to try wireless technology in order to send music to others’ homes.

As far as “Disc Jockey” is concerned, Lee Deforest is known as the first one on the list for playing music from the great Eiffel Tower.

In Pittsburgh, KDKA was the very first radio station that was licensed in the USA. Actually, Frank Conrad started KDKA and went under the ownership of Westinghouse. The company made radio kits and got them sold for 10 dollars at the popular Horne’s Department Store. Moreover, Conrad advertised those kits on KDKA. Interestingly enough, it was the first type of radio advertising; however, it was not the true advertising.

In New York City, WEAF played the very first real commercials in the USA.

Actually, the first news reports on the official level was played on a radio station in the USA and was about the results of the Harding vs Cox election, according to KDKA.

The Golden Age of Radio was between 1920 and 1940. At that time, radio got really popular. This was the same time when radio was the greatest medium in the USA. During this time, the radio had good block programming that was like that of TV today. The programs were telecast in blocks of time. Normally, the duration of these programs was up to one hour. The popular shows included soap operas, sitcoms, detective shows, action shows, news shows, dramas and a lot of other shows.

During the great times of radio, some corporations came into being in order to make programs that would be played on different radio stations. Actually, the stations were under the ownership of the corporations. Some of them were just affiliated. The first network was known as NBC. In the beginning, NBC consisted of two networks: the Blue Network and the Red Network. Moreover, the FCC made a rule that a corporation was not allowed to own more than one network. So, the NBC sold the Blue Network. The new owners turned the network into American Broadcasting Company.

Moreover, during the great times of Radio, the drama programs were called Soap Operas. It was soap companies that sponsored the dramas.

Also, during the WWII, the radio became the best medium for broadcasting news. Moreover, Edward R. Murrow was the most popular war correspondent.

So, these were some fun facts about radio. Hopefully, you have enjoyed them a lot.

Two Way Radios & Summer Camps – What You Need to Know

Summer Camp’s in my blood. I started working at our local Boy Scout Camp at 14 Years old and spent the next 8 summers working on Camp Staff. I worked as a Counselor, on the Ranger’s Staff, in the Dining Hall, and just about every other job except as the Camp Director. I know you, your passion for Kids and Camp, and the disdain you have when you think about buying more two way radios. I hope this article will provide a little insight about the different classes of two way radios available to you along with some pros and cons.

Two way radio manufacturers and the FCC have put two way radios into different classes, FRS, Business Commercial, and Professional. While pricing increases with each classification, the radios aren’t necessarily any better. Yes, there are more features, and perhaps more durability, but a walkie talkie is just a walkie talkie. Buying more two way radio than you need doesn’t mean you’ll have a better experience using walkie talkies. Here’s what you need to look for.

Wattage. A typical summer camp is at a minimum on a campus and often over hundreds of acres in the woods. Hand held two way radios come in watts ranging from 1 to 5 watts. The more wattage, the more range but going from 1 to watts will not double your range. Each increase in wattage typically brings 20% more range. The biggest thing you can do to increase your range is to invest in affordable digital two way radios.

UHF or VHF. I always recommend UHF because UHF does a better job of penetrating buildings and trees.

FRS, Business, Commercial, or Professional. No summer camp should use a Professional Two Way Radio unless they were given to you for free. Nor do we suggest you use FRS two way radios. You’ll find the batteries and the audio quality leave something to be desired. There are affordable business and commercial two way radios at a number of price points. They’ll give you the best value for your buck.

Waterproof or Not? The only Staffers who need waterproof two way radios are those who are jumping into the lake. So long as the radio you are looking has IP54 or above durability ratings, your walkie talkies will be durable enough to handle any rainstorm that comes your way.

Compatibility. Don’t buy something that obsoletes your existing two way radios. The more walkie talkies you have in Camp, the safer your camp. Most manufacturers make two way radios which are backwards compatible with other two way radios. It is important to note that UHF two way radios will not work with VHF two way radios.

Budget. Two way radios range in price from $20 a pair to $2,000 each. The vast majority of Camps can use a 5 Watt Radio with plenty of channels and plenty of battery life in this price range.

Two Way Radios Used and the Construction Trade

One of the largest users of two-way radios in the United States are Construction Companies on Commercial and Industrial Jobsites. These larger projects involve a lot of people, there’s inherent safety risks, and multiple tasks going on at the same time. Communication keeps the jobsite secure, workers safe, and projects on task. Selecting the right walkie talkie for these jobsites isn’t as simple as picking the most expensive walkie talkie in the catalog. We know price is important and this article won’t end suggesting you buy the most expensive two way radio sold. There are a number of questions you should ask before deciding which two way radio is right for you. Let’s dive into the questions you should ask when picking a two way radio for your jobsite.

How many Talk Groups do you need? The main purpose of using two way radios is communicating with others on the jobsite. How many different contractors are on site and how many must you communicate with? We see these typical channels in a commercial setting. Superintendent, Electrical, Safety, Tower Crane, Mechanical Contractor, and Labor. There are often many more so most Construction Companies buy at least 16 channel two way radios.

How big is the project? The size of the facility you are constructing determines the power needs of your two way radio. If your project is larger than a Super Walmart, you need 4 Watt Two Way Radios. Handheld two way radios come in 1, 2, 4 and 5 Watts with UHF an VHF models available. A Construction Company should never use VHF two way radios as UHF will always work better once concrete and rebar are in place.

Should you go Digital? There are a number of digital two way radios available. It is important to select a digital two way radio that will work in both analog and digital modes because while you might be progressive, other Contractors on the Jobsite might not be. Digital gives you the benefit of talking to your Team Members individually, offers better clarity, and better battery life. Be careful to ask how easily you can switch between analog and digital modes. Not all digital two way radios are created equally and digital two way radios might not be compatible with another manufacturer’s digital two way radios.

Why you shouldn’t buy recreational two way radios. Besides the fact that you’re buying a toy, recreational walkie talkies aren’t built to last so you’ll end up spending more in the long run. Batteries, charging trays, and audio accessories for these models are all designed to be used occasionally, not every day as you’ll need them. We aren’t saying they won’t work, we are saying they won’t work as well.

Do you need intrinsically safe two way radios? You should only purchase intrinsically safe two way radios if your insurance company or OSHA mandates it. Using these two way models implies you have a concern about an explosion. You’re creating liability for your company if you buy intrinsically safe two way radios and you don’t need them.

Do you need an FCC License? This depends on the frequencies you’re using so an FCC license may be required. There are a number of businesses who can assist with getting an FCC license and most secure a 5-10 year license for under $1,000.00. We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you there are thousands of two way radios in use without the appropriate FCC licensing.

Why not cellular phones? Two way radios provide almost instant communication and they work where you’re working without the need cellular coverage. Cellular phones also don’t allow for group communication which is key during concrete pours, when the crane is in use, or when the Safety Manager’s doing his thing.

Should we get a Two Way Radio Repeater? Repeaters complicate things and repeaters guarantee you’ll need an FCC license. Repeaters need to be use when a skyscraper is being built, on airport jobsites, and large industrial facilities. Repeaters are also helpful when there’s distance between the jobsite and the job trailers. If you’re consistently getting bad call coverage with your 4 Watt commercial two way radios, a Repeater is a likely solution.

Two way radios are essential on most jobsite and should be used. Safety, coordination, and saving footsteps are all immediate benefits gained by using walkie talkies. Don’t spend too much and don’t spend too little and you’ll be very pleased with the performance of your two way radios.

How Healthcare Providers Use Walkie Talkies

As noted in our introduction, the healthcare industry is under attack financially from many different fronts. Providers are pressed to lessen the quality of care because of reduced reimbursements. How do you keep Patient Care at an all time high while being forced to see more patients? How do you see more patients without working more hours? The simple answer is efficiency.

Two way radios are a proven tool to improve efficiency. In restaurants, we help Proprietors turn more tables. In schools, we help Administrators multi-task and manage issues on different parts of the campus at the same time. For Churches, we help keep the production on time and safe. For Healthcare Providers, we can help you find five to seven minutes per hour to spend with your Patients. Here’s How.

Reduce Wait Time. Two Way Radios allow Physicians to move efficiently between patients by coordinating with Nurses. The patient in exam room 3 may be next on the list to be seen but has additional needs being met by nursing whereas the patient in exam room 1 is ready to go. Getting the Physician to the next reduces wasted time, creating happier patients and providing the Doctor needed extra minutes.

Coordinating Care. The Doctor needs a cast set or an additional blood test run. Minutes are saved simply by making the request in the room versus having to go speak to the Nurse. Some facilities even use walkie talkies to dictate notes. Use caution when doing this to not violate HIPPA Laws.

Turning Rooms. Getting the room cleaned up and ready for the next patient wastes valuable minutes. Save time by coordinating with House Keeping immediately to get a room cleaned and prepped for the next patient. If you can save 3 minutes per hour, you can see one more patient a day.

Finding Help. Patients often need extra assistance, and this typically requires the Physician or Nurse to leave the treatment room to summon the extra assistance. Using two way radios, you simply press the button and ask for assistance without leaving the room. You’ll save valuable minutes.

Two way radios aren’t going to increase your efficiency by 10% but walkie talkies will increase your entire team’s efficiency. The goal is to find 20 minutes of efficiency per practicing Physician. That 20 minutes can be used to see another patient, complete chart work, or do research.

Two way radios are easy and affordable to implement. We suggest using Business two way radios to ensure you’re not getting interference from consumer radios. Consumer radios are branded FRS or GMRS and are designed for kids and outdoorsmen. Headsets must be worn in a healthcare setting and HIPPA regulations should always be considered when using walkie talkies.

Using Broadband Technology for Mission Critical Train Radio Communications

If you live in or around a big city like Sydney or Melbourne, you will have traveled by train at some point in time. Most people would understand the basic concepts, like the signal is at green, the train arrives turning the signal red for a short period of time until the first train has moved a safe distance away, allowing the signal to turn green again. There are signals located in every sector, where trains travel through and they are very reliable; should the signalling system fail, then all the trains stop and you have a right side failure. When the signalling system is no longer operating correctly or if it has received conflicting data from track circuits, all the signals display a red signal and the driver needs to be authorized by the signaller to pass.

The driver after waiting for a short period of time, contacts the signaller using a train radio for permission to pass a signal at red. The train radio is used for mission critical communications, because passing a signal at red can cause an accident, such as one train crashing into the back of another or head on collision if at a siding entering a main line.

The origins of modern train radio go back 40 years to 1977 when a paper written by Clive Kessell on “The Development of Radio Communications between the Signal man and the Driver” was presented at an Institute of Railways Signalling Engineers meeting to promote interest in developing radio communication between train and the signal box. Radio communications was the best way to stop a train or move one that had stopped; it is safer to keep the driver in the train rather than walking the track looking for a signal post phone to contact the signaller.

A communication standard was developed at the time called UIC751-3 created a 4 channel UHF analogue train radio network that was deployed around London’s Kings Cross and St Pancreas station; it was also rolled out in parts of Europe, especially in West German where much of the initial development occurred.

The analogue train radio Metronet was rolled out in Sydney in 1994 at the same time a very similar radio system called “Cab Secure Radio” was deployed in the UK and other parts of the world. In early 2000 a newer radio network was developed based in Europe on the popular GSM standard, moving away from an analogues network to digital voice improved the voice quality, reducing the unwanted static that analogue communication was famous for. This digital train radio system (DTRS) was commissioned in 2017 in Sydney to replace the analogue Metronet and improve rail communications.

However the pace of change by mobile phone utilities occurred quickly, GSM (a second generation technology) which DTRS is based on is now almost obsolete; we have all come to love the benefits of advanced 4th generation mobile phone technology. In the railway sector, there is considerable interest in what technology will be used to replace DTRS, how it will be developed and when it will be implemented.

My research looks at these issues to identify how a modem broadband 4th generation mobile technology can be developed to provide all the mission critical communication needed to operate trains along with the benefits that high speed broadband data can deliver like real time CCTV. The risk adverse nature of railways consider any change as an increase in risk, so they have become change adverse in the process. However by keeping old technology, risk increases because the safety benefits associated with newer ways to communicate are not realized; there is also the technical challenges in keeping equipment that is not supported operational when replacement hardware components cannot be found.

Running a modern railways such as the one in Sydney, where you have a million passenger journeys a day really requires a modern communication system so safety is not compromised. The signalling system is reported to have a wrong side failure once in thousands of years but yet they happen for reasons no one every considered.

The train radio allows corrective action to happen immediately by the driver and signaller to prevent an accident from occurring; saving many people from serious injury or death if you have a train crash. Fourth generation mobile communication are now a proven technology that can provide the mission critical communication allowing GSM-R to be retired sooner rather than later.