Communications Connection

3 Tips For Proper Two-Way Radio Battery Usage

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 @ 10:06 AM

Many of the questions we get asked on a regular basis involve batteries for two-way radios.  What battery is better for my radio?  How do I know when to replace my battery?  What is the proper way to charge a battery?  Today we are going to dissect different battery terminology and questions for you.  In a previous blog post we covered the proper way to charge and care for your battery so we won't cover that today but check the link to read all about it.

1 - How do I know when my battery needs to be replaced?

On average, two-way radio batteries will have a life of 18-24 months.  This will vary based upon usage, charging habits etc.  On Motorola batteries, there is a date code that will tell you when the battery was manufactured.  The first digit represents the last digit of the year of manufacture and the next two digits represent the week number of that year.  For example, 952 would mean that the battery was manufactured the last week of December in 2009.

Another way to tell that you two-way radio battery needs to be replaced is when you turn your radio on and you hear a series of short beeps or you hear short beeps when you try to transmit.  A third way to tell that your battery needs to be replaced is when it no longer holds a charge.  For example, your fully charged battery that previously lasted 6-8 hours is now only lasting 1-2 hours (these numbers are just for example purposes).

2 - What is the difference between the three main battery types available for two-way radios?

NiCd, NiMH and Li-Ion are the three main types of batteries available for two-way radios that are regularly used.  According to Motorola, "Nickel cadium (NiCd) batteries are the most cost-effective option because they provide a longer cycle life.  They're ideal for radio users who work in extreme conditions of cold and heat (-30C to +50C).  However, NiCd batteries can experience "memory effect" and may not return to full capacity if they're recharged before being fully discharged.  Motorola goes on to say "Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries, compared to NiCd batteries of similar size, usually operate 40-50% longer between charges.  However, they do not operate as efficiently in extreme temperatures.  Also, NiMH batteries are more environmentally friendly because they contain fewer toxic chemicals.  Lastly, Motorola describes Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries as "offering the best of both worlds by providing a higher energy-to-weight ration than NiMH batteries and they offer a major advantage by not experiencing "memory effect".

So, bottom line, when choosing the type of batteries to purchase your first step is to evaluate yoMotorola batteriesur company's needs.  Feel free to ask any of our expert engineers or certified sales reps for assistance in choosing.

3 - How do I dispose of my batteries when they are no longer useful?

These types of batteries should not be disposed of in your regular garbage.  There are many places that will recycle them for you.  Telecom is a battery recycling center so send them to us in our Long Island office (234 Newtown Rd. Plainview, NY  11803) or stop by and drop them off and we will happily recycle them for you.

Your two-way radios will only work as good as your batteries so make sure to choose the appropriate type as well as charging and storing them correctly.  If you would like to learn more about how Motorola batteries compare to others download the Motorola Proven Tough white paper

Topics: 2 way radio, batteries, wireless definition

Property Management: MotoTRBO Digital Radios and Increased Efficiency

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 @ 12:06 PM
GPS MOTOTRBO Maintenance Stadium Text[1] low res resized 600

The advent of digital radios has opened the world of property management to new ways to increase operational efficiency and decrease operational costs which leads to greater profitability.  You may be wondering how a two-way radio can do all that.  Isn't it just voice communications?  The answer is a resounding NO.  While digital radios do have voice communications, there are a whole myriad of other features available.

Digital radios, such as Motorola's MotoTRBO, can increase the efficiency of your work teams.  Think of it like this.  You have an engineering staff of three people.  Your MotoTRBO radios have been set up to work with an automated work order application.  Bob is in the basement inventorying supplies, Doug is out to lunch and Joe Super is in apartment 3B working with Mr. Tenant on a plumbing issue.  He realizes he needs a washer that he doesn't have on him to complete the job.  Rather than Joe Super having to leave the apartment, go to the basement, dig out the washer and head back to the apartment, all the while trying not to run into another tenant who may have an issue, he can send a text message down to Bob in the basement.  Bob can run the part up to 3B and Joe Super never needs to stop working on the issue.  While this is going on, Mrs. Smith in 12C is having a problem with her broken air conditioning unit.  The work order can automatically be sent to Joe Super which would allow him to get the message while still working in 3B.  This creates a better response time to 12C as he doesn't have to wait to finish the current job, complete the paperwork and head back to the office all before ever even knowing of the call.  This system also allows Joe Super to respond and update the status of the job with the click of a button.

Following the same scenario, management would also have the ability to track the service calls that come in, whether it is billable etc. This will decrease wasted time by employees and can help with tenant complaints of response time.  Remember Mrs. Smith in 12C?  Well when she calls to complain that it took 3 hours for someone to respond, the application on the MotoTRBO radio can show that a technician received the work order and responded within 30 minutes.

This is just one example of how Motorola MotoTRBO radios can assist property management companies.  They can also decrease operating costs.  Since there are no monthly charges or per call fees like your current cell phones or PDA's this can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.  Also, these radios are equipped with integrated voice and data capabilities which allow users to talk, text and manage work orders all from a single unit.  And their batteries operate 40% longer between charges that the typical analog radio.

Happy tenants = happy owners.  These digital radios will help you work towards that utopia.  Have you tried these radios?  How have they helped your building?

For more information on property management and MotoTRBO, 

Click me

Topics: MotoTRBO, property management, 2 way radio

Interoperability and Narrowbanding for First Responders

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 @ 12:06 PM

Fire Interoperability SceneThis is a guest post by Sean Sweeney.  Sean is the Public Safety Communications Specialist for Telecom Communications and will be writing periodically about issues pertaining to the Public Safety market, in particular the Fire Market.

Hello, my name is Sean Sweeney and I just started with Telecom Communications, Inc.  Previously, I have worked for the City of New York working on Citywide Interoperability projects and coordinated with many agencies.  I have also worked on local projects in my home fire department in Central Islip, Long Island. 

A lot of first responders I talk to think that communications in the city are very different than out here on Long Island.  They think that systems and processes are too complex to be used in Nassau and Suffolk.  To an extent they are right.  But what is communications and how does it impact the field of public safety?

Communication is the process of transferring information from the source to the recipient.  That never changes.  But it's how we communicate with each other that define our roles in emergency response.  It is likely you have heard the terms interoperability and narrowbanding thrown around.  Some first responders fear these concepts simply because they don't understand them.

Interoperability is just a fancy way of saying "I can talk to you, and you can talk to me."  You don't realize it, but think about it.  You already have interoperability in your agency.  You have a radio; your dispatcher has a radio.  You can communicate.  We all know this is crucial in our daily lives as we respond to fires and EMS calls.  But we need to take this concept to the next level.

That next level is stepping back and evaluating your response area.  Do you have coverage in every inch of your district?  If so, you are in a great position.  Now take another step back.  Look at the separation between EMS and Fire.  Many areas on Long Island run separate agencies.  Those departments that surround you and give you mutual aid: can you communicate with them?  Can they communicate with you?  This is where first responders should start thinking about interoperability.

The explosion of UHF or "high-band" repeater systems in the area has given rise to a sense of isolationism.  Departments moved off of crowded, shared low band frequencies and put up their own systems.  This was not a bad move but, how do you talk between these bands?  I will use the EMS/Fire example.  EMS around me uses VHF, but many of the fire departments are on UHF.  This is turn causes a communications gap.  Technology has given us the tools as first responders to bridge that gap.  New multi-band radios (such as the APX7500) allow the first responder to operate on either band with the turn of a knob.  A Fire Chief can help direct incoming EMS units at a heavy rescue call.  EMT's can notify the fire dispatcher of their status.

Interoperability plays a big role in larger incidents as well.  The Federal government has established national interoperability channels for all public safety entities.  No additional license is needed, and is available on VHF, UHF, 7/8/900 MHz and more on the way.  It is the true path enhancing our abilities as emergency personnel.

Now for narrowbanding.  This is actually a result of the UHF explosion.  There are only so many frequencies in the public safety pool.  The F.C.C. saw this and acted.  Previously, frequencies were spaced at 25 kHz.  Many departments are still operating with this spacing.  As of January 1, 2011, no new licenses or requests for renewals will be accepted by the F.C.C. if you are still operating in wideband mode.  Pretty soon (January 1, 2013) it will be illegal to operate equipment not capable of narrowband, or 12.5 kHz operation.  Motorola has actually stopped making the older wideband only radios.  Here are some important issues from the F.C.C. on Narrowbanding:

  • F.C.C. establishes January 1, 2013 deadline for migration to 12.5 kHz technology

  • The order affects systems on VHF and UHF (high-band) channels between 150 and 512 MHz

  • Applications for wideband operations (25 KHz) will NOT be accepted after January 1, 2011

  • Application modification of operations that expand the authorized contour of an existing station using 25 KHz channels will NOT be accepted after January 1, 2011 (Also applies to "new" systems submitted for licensing)

If you are not sure if your equipment is compliant, give us a call at Telecom.  We can evaluate your communications needs and assist you in this transition.  Do not wait until the last minute, or you will find yourself without the ability to communicate.Narrowband assistance






Topics: fire depatments, 2 way radio, narrowband, interoperability