Communications Connection

Two-Way Radio Solutions for Education

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 @ 14:08 PM

 

The end of summer is rapidly approaching.  For children this mean no more beach days or running for hours in the neighborhood, for parents this means daytime quiet and order restored to the house but for school administrators this means a whole new school year with a whole new set of efficiency and budget issues.

With the economy being what it is and budgets being slashed year after year, it becomes a task of how to do more with less for less.  Investing in the proper equipment can help with this.  I'm sure by now you have heard about the mandatory F.C.C. Narrowbanding (if you haven't, read more about it here).  One way to accomplish the conversion and streamline your operations in one felt swoop is to upgrade your equipment. 

Wouldn't it be a dream to be able to communicate throughout your district, connect to your school buses and keep your students safer in the classroom while reducing operational costs?  Well it isn't a dream.  You can make it a reality.  The Motorola MotoTRBO portfolio can help you and your organization achieve this dream.  To learn more about MotoTRBO and it's impact on Education, check out this education application brief "MotoTRBO: Score High Marks for Schoolwide Safety". (to download the brief click here)

You will learn:

  • How to locate your staff, students and buses instantly
  • Prioritize communication immediately
  • Manage employee attendance and payroll automatically
  • Respond remotely with tracking applications
  • Connect your campus completely
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Communicate without disturbing others

Many districts have already deployed the MotoTRBO solution.  To read about how one district did this click here.

Topics: education, motorola, MotoTRBO, two way radio

Motorola's New SL Series: The Making of a Radio

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 @ 11:03 AM

Motorola Solutions, Inc. has recently announced their newest addition to the MotoTRBO family, the SL Series.  This radio was designed to be the intersection between function and style.  It is designed to get the work done without getting in the way.  Here at Telecom we just received a few of these newest radios and I have to say, I have never seen anything like it.  It is sleek, compact and elegant looking without losing the functionality of a MotoTRBO radio.

I was looking for some information to share with our readers on it and came across the video below.  It will show you how the engineers designed the radio, how customer driven the design was, and you can hear some customer testimonials.  Take a minute to watch the video and let us know what you think. 

To learn more about the Motorola SL radio including some additional videos click here.

If you would like to see the SL series live contact us to set an appointment

Topics: MotoTRBO, SL series, 2 way radio

It's a Boy, no wait it's a Girl...no it's a TRBO!

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 @ 14:01 PM

Motorola has recently announced their newest aXPR6100ddition to the MotoTRBO family, the XPR6100.  This is an entry level MotoTRBO digital radio with crystal clear audio, digital performance and efficiency and a great price.  It is voice centric and backwards compatibile with your traditional analog radios. This 32 channel portable radio is available in UHF anf VHF frequency bands and comes standard with an IMPRES Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery. 

For more information on the Motorola XPR6100 click here

To learn more about the MotoTRBO product family visit http://www.telecomny.com/mototrbo/why_digital.htm

 

 

Topics: motorola, MotoTRBO, two way radio, new product

3 Key Factors for Effective Interoperability

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 @ 17:01 PM

Mutualink

Mutualink, a company specializing in creating interoperable communities that are, at an instant, capable of sharing voice, text, radio, video, data and telephone communications in a secure environment, has published a knowledge brief discussing three key factors for effective interoperability.  All of those involved in an incident, whether thay are field first responders, dispatch personnel, or crisis managers, must be ready at a moment's notice to respond: not just react.  Effective communications allowing real-time collaboration is the most fundamental element in emergency situations.  According to Mutualink, a successful system must be simple, flexible and familiar.

1. Simple - Any system must be very easy to use and intuitive.

2. Flexible - Every incident is different and requires different responses.

3. Familiar - In time-critical situations, all users must be able to communicate and then collaborate with methods that are second-nature to them.

To read their complete knowledge brief and hear about a real world working example click here

For more information on Mutualink click here

 

Topics: education, mutualink, fire depatments, emergency preparedness, interoperability, police departments, public safety

Free Webinar for School Transporters to make sense of Narrowbanding

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 @ 12:01 PM

Motorola, in conjunction with School Transportation News is offering a free* webinar to help student transporters make sense of the FCC narrowbanding requirement that is set to go into effect January 1, 2013.

Cost: Free

Date: January 26, 2012

Time: Noon (Eastern)

Where: Online Webcast

*Toll charges may apply.  Webinar can be viewed online with audio enabled at no additional charge. 

Here is the link to learn more about it or to register

 Click me

You may also be interested in some previous blog posts we have written about Narrowbanding highlighting some important dates and information

narrowband20cta20button-resized-600

Topics: education, free event, student transporters, two way radio, narrowband

Optimizing Two-Way Radio Battery Usage to Save Money and Time

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 @ 14:10 PM

This post is written in conjunction with Sean Sweeney, Public Safety Communication Specialist for Telecom Communications, Inc.

October is Fire Prevention Month, and a time of year when fire departments visit schools to talk about fire safety, smoke detectors and what to do in the event of a fire in the home.  One item that is addressed is changing the batteries in your smoke detector.  However, what about the batteries firefighters, EMS and Law Enforcement use?  We need to change those from time to time, but we often forget.  Batteries go bad, get abused, bounced around and when we think they have been recharged for the last time, we discard and purchase new ones.  This doesn't have to be the case.  You have options.  Depending on the type of battery being used (impres vs. non-impres) you can either opt for a Battery Fleet Management System or a Battery Maintenance System (BMS).  To learn more about impres technology click here.

IMPRES Battery Fleet ManagementBattery Fleet Management

The IMPRES Battery Fleet Management system is transparent and allows your organization to manage hundreds or thousands of radio batteries and chargers wherever they may be located.  It automatically and remotely retrives key battery data from any compatible IMPRES charger each time an IMPRES battery is inserted into the IMPRES charger.  The information is collected and you choose whether you want to view predefined or user-customized reports.  This will allow you to see a database of active batteries, purchase reports for batteries, lost battery report and more to keep communications reliable and productive.  For more information on the IMPRES Fleet Management system, download this application brief.

Battery Maintenance System (BMS)

The Motorola Battery Maintenance System will analyze your battery (up to 6 at a time) and recondition them.  Using interchangeable battery adapters (sold separately), the BMS Plus is capable of charging and discharging, analyzing, conditioning and cycle test on batteries.  At the end, you will be able to see whether you need a new battery or if you can get more use out of them.  This helps prevent you from discarding a battery that might last you for a few more months or even a year. 

Batteries are not cheap, and wouldn't it be nice to have a little extra cushion in your budget when funds are not always available?  By using one of the above systems and optimizing your batteries, you not only save money on replacing batteries that didn't need to be replaced, you also can budget for the replacement when they finally do give out.

 

fall battery special title for web resized 600

Topics: motorola, two way radios, charging, batteries

3 Common Issues and Fixes for Two-Way Radios

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 @ 11:10 AM

I was recently talking to Richie Ciabattari, one of Telecom's top notch service technicians, and he was telling me how we get quite a few calls for service for simple fixes/checks that the customer can do themselves.  So, I thought to myself, let's blog!  Without further ado, here is Richie's advice for 3 things you can check before calling for service.

You hit the push-to-talk button on your two-way radio and something just isn't right.  Your transmit and receive had been working just fine up until now.  Hmmm, what do you do now?  Before you call your local radio repair shop there are a few things you can/should check first.

1- Your radio doesn't turn onRadio Repair AP resized 600

Your radio is completely dead and will not power on at all.  If it's a portable two-way radio check and make sure your battery is properly connected and charged.  Try the battery in a radio you know is functioning.  If it works then you will know it's a problem with the radio and you should contact radio repair.  If it doesn't then you know it's a battery issue and most likely the battery needs to be replaced.  Batteries normally have a usage life of 12-18 months, depending on the level of usage etc.  (For more information about proper battery usage check out my previous blog about them.  http://blog.telecomny.com/bid/60299/3-Tips-For-Proper-Two-Way-Radio-Battery-Usage)  If it is your mobile two-way radio that won't power up at all, check to see if the fuses are working.  If they are, call your local radio service shop.

2- There is static when you transmit or receive

Your radio is experiencing static, now what do you do?  Well, if it's a mobile you're experienceing the issues with, check the microphone for a bad cord and/or connection.  Also check to see if the antenna is missing or loose and don't forget to check the antenna connector on the radio to make sure it isn't loose.  If it's your portable radio that is staticky, check to see if the antenna is loose and to see if the battery contacts are dirty.  You can use a pencil eraser to  clean the contacts.  If none of those work, call your local radio repair.

3 - There is a beeping coming from your radio

You think you're losing your mind.  You keep hearing this beeping noise and then it hits you.  It's your radio.  Make it stop, make it stop you scream but that doesn't help.  So, if it's your mobile two-way that is sounding like it's on life support, there are four things to check.  Make sure the mic isn't stuck in transmit mode, that the radio isn't powered off, that the channel selector has been programmed and finally that the programming information hasn't been lost.  If you are dealing with a portable two-way that is beeping, check to see if the battery power is low, if there is a stuck button or if the programming information has been lost.  If none of the above tips help clear up your issues then (let's say it together) "contact your local radio repair shop".

 If you want to save money on your service requests, follow the link below and submit your request via our website.  All website service requests will receive 10% off until December 31, 2011! (Make sure to put "blog" in the comments section of your request)

Click me

Topics: service, two way radio, 2 way radio

Are Your Communications Prepared For An Emergency: 6 Questions to Ask

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 @ 10:08 AM

This post is written by Sean Sweeney, Public Safety Communication Specialist for Telecom Communications, Inc.

First an earthquake and now a major hurricane in the Atlantic?  Are your communications prepared?  Redundant communications are a key component of emergency preparedness and without it you could find yourself using smoke signals to communicate.  This is important not only for public safety entities but also any organization dependent on communications for the safety and functionality of their employees.  However for purposes of this blog, we will be concentrating on Public Safety in this discussion.emergency storm response

Here is a list of the "Top 6 Questions" you should ask yourself so that you are prepared if the lights go out.

1- Do you have redundant communications?

Do you have radios that do not rely on repeater systems?  If so, great.  They may only work in smaller areas, but it's better than nothing. Operating in direct mode, or Simplex, is an easy way to maintain communications during a power outage without a repeater.

2- Is your radio room on generator power?

If you aren't sure, it probably isn't.  Your main base station needs to be on redundant power to maintain continuity of communications

3- Are your repeaters on battery back-up?

If you lose power, you lose your repeater system.  If it isn't on an auxiliary power system, it should be.  Even if the system is on power back-up, most repeaters go into "fail-safe" mode when a surge is detected.  Do you know how to properly reset your repeater?

4 - Do you know how long your back-up will last if the power is out for days?

Auxiliary power systems are only designed to last a few hours, 18 hours in most cases.  What is your plan if the power is out longer than this?

5- Do you have lightning protection for your antenna systems?

Most people forget about their antennas when planning on protecting their communications.  A lightning strike to the antenna system can wipe out your communications.  To  minimize the risk and damage, you should have the proper protection, such as lightning arrestors and grounding, in place for this.

6 - Does your Mutual Aid have the ability to activate you and vice versa?

If you go down, who will activate your pagers and handle radio transmissions?  Having a mutual aid agreement in place with surrounding departments and your county control points is an excellent way to ensure your communications continue.

These are not questions you should be asking yourself right now with the storm brewing, but if you haven't been thinking of these things, Telecom can help.  We have a staff of qualified engineers who can evaluate your system and get you these answers.  Arm yourself with Uninterrupted Power Supplies and redundant power supplies that transition seamlessly into your current system. 

Be prepared because the public safety is our number one priority.

To set up an appointment to analyze your communication system preparedness click here Click me

*Telecom Communications is a full-line Motorola dealer and most of the equipment mentioned above is available via the state or county contract

Photos used under creative commons from taigasylvan

Topics: motorola, two way radio, fire depatments, emergency preparedness

Assistance to Firefighters Grant: Application Period Now Open

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 @ 15:08 PM

The annual application period for the Assistance To Firefighters Grant is now open.  This runs from August 15, 2011 until September 9, 2011.  FEMA has released their "Top 5 Tips" for this grant.  See below to read their advice.  Have any of you won a grant in previous years and have advice for others?  Comment below and let us know.  Good luck and Happy "granting".

 


Assistance to Firefighters Grant

LEARN HOW YOU CAN PREPARE A SUCCESSFUL AFG APPLICATION


With nearly 20,000 applications each year, and limited funds available, the level of competition for AFG awards is high. Help to ensure that your application stands out from the crowd and scores well during the evaluation process by following these tips:

#1 – KNOW THE FUNDING PRIORITIES
This year, FEMA has designated High, Medium, and Low funding priorities for every eligible activity and/or item. This makes make it easier for applicants to understand the programs FEMA is able to support. Use the priority system to increase your chances of winning an award. The more consistent your funding request is with the highest priority items, as described in the FY11 AFG Program Guidance, the greater your chances of winning an award.

#2 – COMPL
Y WITH STATE AND NATIONAL STANDARDS
The AFG Program is designed to help applicants meet state and national standards, such as those provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Requesting any item that does not result in state or national certification, or comply with recognized standards, may lower your application's evaluation score. For more information on and for access to these standards related to this year's funding priorities, visit www.nfpa.org/nfpaafg2011.

#3 – ENSURE YOUR REQUEST IS REASONABLE AND JUSTIFIABLE
The AFG Program is designed to meet firefighter essential needs, and to help your department meet national standards. Applicants should request only what they must have and only what they can justify. Requesting an excessively expensive brush truck, for example, or asking for what appears to be a "wish list" item is not in your best interest and will result in a lower application score. Applicants make a critical mistake by requesting equipment with excessive or unreasonable costs.

#4 - PREPARE A DETAILED AND CONCISE NARRATIVE

A surprisingly large number of applications contain poorly written narratives that do not adequately define the risks in the community, the proposed solution, the financial situation of the organization, or the cost-benefit of the project. Additionally, applicants should avoid borrowing language from vendors and manufacturers. Such boilerplate language tends to be general in nature and does not describe the local need.

The Narrative must contain a clear picture of your department and its finances, your community and its need(s), as well as the project and its cost-benefit. It should be detailed and concise. Allow enough time to write a complete narrative. This is your opportunity to convince a panel of your peers that your request should be funded—take advantage of it!

#5 – TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AFG RESOURCES
We offer a variety of assistance to ensure that deserving applicants are successful:

IMPORTANT DATES
Application Period
  • August 15, 2011 – September 9, 2011
  • All applications must be submitted no later than 5PM EST on September 9th

Learn more about AFG and start your application online at www.fema.gov/firegrants.


NEW THIS YEAR: GRANT RECIPIENTS MUST REGISTER IN THE CENTRAL CONTRACTOR REGISTRATION (CCR) SYSTEM
As of August 2010, prime recipients of Federal grants are required to register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) system. As a potential grantee you are not required to register, but you may wish to do so now in case you receive an award. CCR registration will be required if you are selected for an award.

How to register:
  1. Obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. If you already have a DUNS number, skip to #2.
  2. Once you have a DUNS number, register here: https://www.bpn.gov/ccr/default.aspx.
    For more information on grantee registration in the CCR system, download the AFG Get Ready Guide or visit their website: https://www.bpn.gov/ccr/grantees.aspx

TEAM UP AND SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT AFG!
Did you know that multiple organizations serving more than one local jurisdiction can team up and submit an AFG application that will benefit the entire region? It's true—AFG supports a variety of regional projects, including providing training programs and purchasing communications and personal protective equipment. So, spread the word about AFG to your colleagues and through your professional networks! A regional project may be the right route for you.

VISIT US AT:
Fire-Rescue International
August 23-27, 2011 (Exhibits: August 26 & 27)
Georgia World Congress Center
Booth 71
Workshop: Friday, 8/26/2011, 10:30-12:00pm Room B407
Session WK109 "Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program"
http://s36.a2zinc.net/clients/iafc/fri11/Public/MainHall.aspx?ID=2514

Thank you.

 

 

 

FEMA · U.S. Department of Homeland Security · Washington, DC 20472

 

Topics: two way radios, fire depatments, grants

What is MotoTRBO?

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 @ 14:07 PM

You've heard me talking about digital two-way radios and MotoTRBO and you are probably wondering what exactly they are.  The MotoTRBO two-way radio is Motorola's digital platform radio.  I have touched on digital radios and the future of two-way radios in a previous post (read the blog here). 

Motorola has created a series of 16 videos about their MotoTRBO radios explaining what they are and how they can help different vertical markets/industries and, as I promised in my previous post about MotoTRBO reaching 1 million users  I will be posting them here over the next few weeks so stay tuned, there's more to come.

The first video by John Jaderholm of the Motorola Solutions Systems Team talks about "What is MotoTRBO?" So, without further ado, here we go.

Topics: motorola, MotoTRBO, 2 way radio, digital radio, video