Communications Connection

Two Way Radio Battery Charging

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Wed, May 5, 2010 @ 09:05 AM

Does it really matter how you charge the batteries for your two-way radios?  To answer that, yes it does.  Thanks to Motorola for the proper battery charging instructions below.Batteries

These battery tips will help you obtain optimized performance and a longer life cycle from your Motorola rechargeable battery.

1. Charge your new battery overnight before using it. This is referred to as INITIALIZING and will enable you to obtain maximum battery capacity. a. Nickel Cadmium or Nickel Metal Hydride: 14-16 hours. b. Lithium Ion/Polymer: 1 to 2 additional hours after the charger light turns green.

2. New Motorola impres batteries, when inserted into a Motorola impres charger, will indicate a calibration cycle by displaying a steady Yellow indication on the charge status indicator. Allow this calibration process to complete by not removing the battery from the charger until it has completely charged and displays a steady green indication.

3. In order to minimize capacity loss and cycle life reduction, new, NON INITIALIZED batteries must be stored in well ventilated, cool and dry locations. Batteries stored in these conditions may be stored:

a. Nickel Cadmium up to 2 years.
b. Nickel Metal Hydride up to 18 months.
c. Lithium Ion/Polymer up to 18 months.

4. If used batteries are to be removed from service for extended periods (greater than 30 days) they should be discharged to about 50% of their capacity before storage in a cool, dry location.

5. Batteries which have been in storage for more than two months should be fully discharged and recharged.

a. Nickel Cadmium or Nickel Metal Hydride: 14-16 hours.
b. Lithium Ion/Polymer: 1 to 2 additional hours after the charger light turns green.

6. When using a Motorola rapid charger, leave the battery in the charger for an additional 1 to 2 hours after the steady green light appears. (Applies to non-impres batteries only.)

7. Do not leave your radio and fully-charged battery in the charger when not charging. Continuous charging will shorten battery life. (Do not use charger as a radio stand.)

8. Only charge a battery when it needs it. If it is not fully discharged, do not recharge it. We suggest that you carry a spare. This is the most cost effective solution for users requiring longer operating time.

9. Do not return fully charged non-impres batteries to the charger for an "extra boost." This action will significantly reduce cycle life. Repeated short cycle charging of non-impres batteries will shorten battery life. (Do not use charger as a radio stand for non-impres batteries.)

10. Stabilize batteries to room temperature (72ºF) before charging. Charging below 40ºF and above 104ºF will decrease cycle life.

Topics: two way radios, two way radio, charging, 2 way radio, batteries

FCC Narrowbanding Mandate for Two-way: Who, what, where, when and why

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, May 3, 2010 @ 11:05 AM

If you have been on the internet, read the newspaper lately or even just through word of mouth you have most likely heard about the FCC Narrowbanding Mandates.  To understand the changes first you need to understand how two-way radios operate.

When two-way radios are operated, they do so in licensed bands called UHF and VHF.  Inside those bands are radio channels that the FCC regulates.  This is where radio licensing comes in.  In the past, each channel for commercial two way users used 25 kHz of spectrum per channel.  Throughout the years the number of radio users has increased and since there is a limited amount of radio spectrum available, the availability for new users has decreased.  Enter the FCC and Narrowbanding.


The FCC has mandated all business and public safety users operating on channels between 150 and 174 mHz and 421 and 512 mHz in the United States to transition from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz.  What this will do is increase the amount of channels available to two-way radio operators.

So the next question becomes why should I - the FCC would never know.  In short, Yes they would.  By not converting to Narrowband, not only will you experience increased interference but you also risk loss of radio communications, substantial FCC fines and/or the revocation of your FCC license.

Okay, okay you know you need to do it but when does this all happen?  You've been hearing about this for years.  Well the time for conversion has finally arrived.  Key dates for the transitions:

January 1, 2011: The FCC will not grant applications for new voice operations or applications to expand the authorized contour of existing stations that use 25 kHz channels.  Only narrowband authorization will be granted

The FCC will prohibit manufacture or importation of new equipment that operates on 25 kHz channels.  This will reduce the availability of new equipment for legacy radio systems and will affect how agencies maintain and upgrade older systems.

January 1, 2013: All existing licenses must operate on channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or less

So now you have the who, what, where, when and why but what about the how?  To prepare for the migration, users should begin by assessing their current radio system.  This will allow them to see what can be reprogrammed to meet the requirements and what needs to be replaced.  Because radio manufacturers have been aware of the mandates since 1997, most equipment purchased in the past 5 years should be able to just be reprogrammed.  Once the assesment is complete, radio operators need to obtain new or modified FCC licenses.  The final step is to set a date to begin your narrowband operations and make sure all your radios are tuned to the new bandwidth prior to that date. 

FCC Narrowband Mandate

If you would like more information of the FCC Narrowbanding Mandates you can check out the sites below:

National Institute of Justice Communications Technologies

Federal Communications Commission

Telecom Communications, Inc.



Topics: two way radios, two way radio, FCC, 2 way radio, wireless definition, narrowband