More than Radios

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Cellphones Didn’t Kill the Two-Way Radio Business

With everyone looking down at their cellphones these days, it can feel like they killed the two-way radio business. In fact, some people may be wondering if there is a better way to communicate than a cellphone. We’re here to tell you that two-way radios are still a reliable solution for those that require clear communication.

A LOT of industries benefit from two-way radios

Event planners, construction workers, universities, first responders, property managers and more still use two-way radios to communicate because the clarity and security are more efficient than a cellphone. They are easier to carry and more durable, and in many cases, they have longer battery life and high capacity battery options. Plus, with advancements in technology, they actually have a lot of the capabilities that a cellphone has like location tracking and notifications, bluetooth, as well as accessories.

Two-way radios can achieve what cellphones can’t

There are a lot of features that two-way radios have that cellphones just don’t. The cost is affordable, and over a lifespan, you’ll save money when you invest in these products. They also make it easy to communicate in groups, and you can use multiple channels when you have people that need to speak with each other or select groups, but not with everyone else that has a radio.

The two-way radio business is alive and thriving

Watch the videos below from Tait Communications, Harris Corporation, and Hytera to find out where the industry is heading. These three companies are already developing products combining the best features and capabilities of the two-way radio and smartphone technologies to offer the best solutions for critical and day to day communication.

Tait UnifyVehicle

Harris BeOn P25

Hytera Multi-Mode Advanced Radio

If you want to learn more about two-way radio products and services, then give the specialized team at Metrotalk a call for guidance and information. Call 1-800-268-4098 or contact us now and see for yourself the ease of use, clarity, and functionality they provide.

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Selecting the Best Two-Way Radio for Your Job

metrotalk-blogimage-v1 September 2016

Before you purchase any two-way radio, DO NOT TRUST THE ADVERTISING, but rely on an on-site test. Years of experience has shown that when a manufacturer claims 10,000 square feet of coverage or a 32-mile range, the very small fine print must be read or frustration will set in.

In the two-way radio industry, coverage area and ranges are based on some very special criteria. The 10,000 square feet claim is nothing but a 100 feet x 100 feet structure and it is, most likely, empty. A 0.5 watt, AA battery powered radio might work, but if the structure is full or has divisions, or it is a high rise building or factory, there is doubt that the radios will work further than a couple hundred yards. The same goes for a 32-mile range claim. Sure, if you are on top of a 3,000 feet mountain and the other user is on a roof top or in a dessert valley below, the radio might work.

There are reasons why two-way radio manufacturers offer many varieties of two way radios. Here are some pointers for selecting the best-way radio for your job:

1. Determine what area you want covered.

The power rating of the two-way radio will determine how far its signal will reach. There are radios with 0.5W to 5W of rated power. The higher the power, the bigger the coverage area.

2. Decide how rugged you need the two-way radio to be.

Two-way radios come in many shapes and sizes. They are also built with an all plastic design, plastic outside and aluminum inside or aluminum outside and inside. Each design style will provide different shock and impact protection to the components inside. The two-way radio build quality will reflect on how long the radio will last and perform at peak efficiency.

3. Decide if you want a two-way radio with a display or not.

A display provides important information on how the channel is programmed. It allows the user to assess the channel’s power rating (High or Low), Mode (Direct or Repeater), ID (which group is assigned to the channel), Battery level, and how well or not it is receiving a signal from other radios (signal strength meter). Non Display radios offer none of those benefits.

4. Determine which battery to use.

Today’s two-way radios are offered with a basic battery and a higher capacity battery. Consider how long the two-way radio will operate with each type of battery before selecting one or the other. If you need the radio to work for a full 8-hour shift and the basic battery offers 6 hours of talk time, you will need to use the higher power battery or you will be forced to purchase a second battery in order to cover the shift.

5. Consider the IP (Ingress Protection) rating.

The higher the number, the more protection the two-way radio is designed to offer its internal components against the outside elements. If you are going to use your two-way radio outdoors and in all weather conditions, don’t purchase a two-way radio that will not allow for water splashes. Believe it or not, most Police and Fire Department two-way radios are not IP67 rated. There is a chart that explains what each rating means as it relates to the two-way radio protection. It can be found at: http://www.mpl.ch/info/IPratings.html

6. Select between the standard two-way radio antenna and the short version known as Stubby.

The two-way radio antenna is used by the two-way radio to allow the power to go out to other two-way radios and the signal from other two-way radios to come in. Determining to use the long or short version depends on two variables:

a) How well the two-way radios cover your work area.
b) How much comfort does the user want when wearing the two-way radio.

The Full size antenna will receive a weak signal better than the stubby one. The stubby antenna will offer more comfort when worn on the belt. Once you know how the two-way radio will cover your work area, you will then be able to decide which antenna you will wish to use on a daily basis.

7. Channel capacity.

Two-way radios are sold with varying channel capacities. From the very basic 1 channel radio to the more sophisticated 2000 channel radio. Two-way radio channels are used to group people or groups of people into simple to identify locations. Determine how many groups your company will need to have before choosing a two-way radio. If you have 4 groups but only purchase a 2 channel radio, a decision is going to have to be made as to who uses which channel. If you decide that management will use channel 1, the three remaining groups will have to listen to each other all day long. This will generate resentment, confusion and reduce productivity.

8. Choose the right size.

Two-way radios come in all sizes. You can choose pocket size to almost 9 inches long in a full size radio. The size of the two-way radio is not a reflection of the abilities of such. Many manufacturers will offer a full size and a small size of the same radio. This means that the only thing you are giving up is the weight on the belt and the physical size in your hand. Others will offer multiple sized radios. Each will have a different IP rating or feature set. Ask about each model and its capabilities. Purchase the one that meets your needs.

Still Can’t decide? Let Metrotalk help. We start by listening to your present and future needs. We will recommend the most appropriate radio, that will have the features and future capabilities that you request. Then, we’ll deliver the same radio for you to test in your environment. If you like the way it feels, and covers your work area, we will provide the sales and FCC licensing support to guarantee your decision will work now and in the future.

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Rent radios to go on vacation

Most people consider going on vacation as a time to relax and enjoy the free time. Many use radios at work and may not think of using them while on vacation. You use them at work because it the most efficient way of reaching a co worker when you know he/she is on the premises. You know that radios can cover vast distances and do not need towers or other infrastructure to work. They do have limitations of range when used by themselves but knowing the limitations helps you to decide how far you can go.

Most people think that cell phone coverage is available everywhere. Unfortunately, they find out the truth when they are traveling on a back road, or reach a secluded destination. The cell phones companies have to spend over One million dollars per cell phone tower in order to provide coverage in that geographical area. They determine where to place the towers by how many potential/existing customers they have in the area. The tower space has to be available as well. In the heartland or on secluded locations the land owners many not or do not want a tower sticking into the air ruining the view so that customers can talk on their cell phones. They believe that customers can use the free phone service in the rooms or the reason they are there is to relax and leave call behind.

That’s why renting two way radios is a good idea. It allows you to keep in touch while following family members in other cars. It allows you to be able to communicate inside the resort. It allows you to be able to keep tabs on your family members as they are out and about enjoying the facilities. All without having to worry about cell phone coverage. Since calls go out to all users you do not have to make multiple cell phone calls when trying to let everyone know dinner is ready or that you are not going to be available for a while, as you take a long restful NAP.

Contact us to find out about our vacation rates.

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Batteries and accessories

In today’s world, there are many two way radio manufacturers. Some are well known. The Motorola, Vertex Standard, Icom, Kenwood, Bendix King brand names have been around for many years. Some well over 80 years. Some have come into being a few years ago. Hytera was founded in 1993 (Hytera.us). Some have been around since 1895 (Harris.com) yet not very well known. This constant growth and consolidation requires the end user to sometimes look for vendors that support their product.

In the past, if you wanted a battery or accessory for your radio, you had a few choices: The vendor that sold your brand of radio or the competing dealer that sold the same brand. In other words, very little choice. Luckily for everyone, today things are different. There are many AFTER MARKET companies supplying batteries, chargers, antennas and every conceivable accessory for every radio sold. Many offer products that the radio manufacturers wished they offered. Many times it’s the after market companies that are first in offering new and exciting products. They do so, not with one radio vendor in mind but with all radio vendors in mind. Today, a few, very high end radios offer Bluetooth connectivity. Yet, after market companies have offered not one but three choices of either Bluetooth devices or devices that work like the Bluetooth, but use a different technique. Either way, customers are able to get what they want when they want it.

This growth, in both selection and price, is exemplified in the battery and charger offerings. Today you can purchase a battery with the same or better fit and finish than the manufacturer’s battery. You can also purchase a battery that offers 3-4 times the capacity of the original battery. Chargers are available today that can charge up to 12 radios/batteries in one unit, while allowing for the mixing and matching of different makes and models of radio, and battery chemistry. They offer easily replaceable pockets to match your radio. This makes it easy for you to save money by deleting the factory charger and just purchase a low cost pocket to fit your new radio.

Contact us and see what accessories and battery options are available for your radio.

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