More than Radios

Soap Kills Corona

Properly Sanitize Your Two-Way Radios During COVID-19

With the COVID-19 Pandemic all around us, hospitals and essential personnel have been over-loaded with patients and concerned citizens. The fact of the matter is that individual efforts can influence the spread of the virus. Washing your hands, keeping a six-foot space between people, social distancing; everything helps.  Even your communication methods can make a difference.

Below are some tips on how to disinfect your two-way radio. They were provided by L3Harris, but Simoco, and Motorola have also issued their own recommendations. It is not recommended to dunk the radios in just water to sanitize them, rather take simple measures using a clean cloth and wiping the radio down.

L3Harris recommends following the steps below for rigorous cleaning:

“Do not use chemical cleaners, sprays, denatured alcohol (ethanol), or petroleum-based products, they may damage the radio housing.

For all L3Harris mobile radios and control heads, portables radios, and mobile/portable accessories we recommend using one of the following disinfectants:

  • Calla 1452 (or equivalent)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Diluted Bleach (1:10 Bleach: Water)

In addition to Calla 1452, Isopropyl Alcohol, Diluted Bleach, the XL Portable family has been tested with these additional disinfectants that will not degrade the radio with normal usage.

  • Enviro-Tru-1453
  • T36 Disinfex (Viralex)

1. Apply the cleaning solution to a clean damp cloth and clean the radio Do not spray cleaning solution directly on radio or control head or accessory. To clean the portable radio in the speaker and microphone areas or mobile accessories, carefully wipe these areas but prevent the cleaning solution from entering the speaker or microphone openings.

2. Wipe off the radio with clean damp cloth using mild warm soapy water.

3. Follow up by wiping off the radio with clean damp cloth using warm water only.

4. Wipe dry with clean cloth

NOTE:

There are many sanitizing wipes on the market, the main ingredient in them may also be in the products we have tested. Because the other active ingredients in the wipes are untested, we can’t confirm they are safe for use on L3Harris radios.”

In addition to the tips above for sanitizing your two-way radios, we also recommend the following tips for your accessories:

a) Avoid sharing audio accessories until the Pandemic is over.

b) Do not use water or cleaning sprays on accessories, they could be damaged.

c) Use wipes with Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or apply it to a microfiber cloth and gently wipe down the accessory.

d) Always wear protective gear (i.e. goggles and gloves) while disinfecting all two-way radio equipment and discharge them once you are done.

If you have any questions about the proper sanitation procedures for two-way radios, please give us a call at 800.268.4098. Stay safe, everyone.

Written by Katie Madigan

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COVID-19 Update

To Our Valued Customers:

With the COVID-19 outbreak all around us, we understand that may companies are striving to find a new normal during this tumultuous time.  Metrotalk is committed to the needs of our customers and as of now we will remain open. We are following the CDC Guidelines very closely and will continue to do so in the event of a mandatory shut down. We are committed to the safety of our employees and customers and have reinforced our sanitation procedures in ordinance of CDC Guidelines to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

We recognize this is a hard time for many businesses and we would like to extend an offer to help in any way we can. If your company has a need for temporary communication due to unexpected circumstances like equipment failure or increased demand; please know that Metrotalk is here. We understand that additional purchases may be a challenge right now which is why we would like to extend an offer to consider rentals for short term needs. For further information, please give us a call at 800-268-4098.

Additionally, if you have placed an order or are planning on placing an order for radios in the near future, please understand that delivery of the products may include delays up to three weeks.  Should that situation arise, we will provide loaners from our rental department until we are able to deliver your new equipment. We appreciate your understanding as we are having to adjust like any other company until COVID-19 passes.

In the meantime, we recommend that everyone continue to take extra precaution to keep healthy. Stay home from work if you are sick, avoid large crowds and public transportation. And above all, stay healthy.

Your Metrotalk Family

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LTE and LMR converge

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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