Communications Connection

11 Savvy Ways To Spend Your Left-Over Communications Budget Money

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 @ 11:11 AM

With the end of the calendar year quickly approaching, many of you are looking at your two-way radio budget and realizing you will have money left to spend.  You want to spend it so you don't lose it, but you also want to be smart about what you purchase.  Here are 11 ideas on ways to spend that left-over budget money.

1. Preventative Maintenance - Check it before you wreck it.  Call your local radio repair shop and set up a preventative maintenance check.  If you have a backbone system, a technician can come in and complete a tune up to make sure all of your equipment is running efficiently and is not in need of being replaced.  You can also have your portables checked.  Are they tuned and aligned properly?  Are they programmed correctly?  How are your batteries, antennas and belt clips?

2. New Batteries - How old are your batteries?  The average battery life is 12-18 months, depending on usage.  Old and under performing batteries can effect the operation of your radio.  Another good idea is to have spare batteries for your radios, especially if they are being used on long and/or multiple shifts.

3. Spare Radios - In addition to having spare batteries, it is also a wise decision to have spare radios on hand.  These can be programmed and ready to go in case one needs repair or an employee misplaces their radio.  This would help to prevent communication down-time and helps to keep you efficiency to the level you are used to.

4. Multi-Unit Chargers - Do you have six plugs running into a power strip charging your radios?  Have you thought about multi-unit chargers?  These would allow you to charge up to six batteries at one times, from one device.  This will help you keep your spare batteries charged as well as create a centralized charging location.

2661016046_6eb98c67d9_z.jpg5. Antennas - The antenna on your two-way radio can take a beating.  Have you looked at them lately?  If you can see the damage it should be replaced (bent, cracked, split etc.)

6. Earpieces - Earpieces are a great way to keep your two-way radios from being intrusive to your environment.  They allow your people to have conversations without everyone else hearing them.  If you don't have any, you may want to consider some.  With the different varieties available, such as Bluetooth or "secret service style" surveillance kits, you will have your choice of what will work best for your organization.  If you already have them, make sure to check your ear buds and acoustic tubes.  These can get grotty over time and are easy to replace.

7. Cases - Your employees are carrying their radios around with them all day.  They get banged, bumped and scratched.  Investing in cases will help to keep down the physical wear and tear on the units.

8. Battery Fleet Management - Motorola Solutions has an IMPRES Battery Fleet Management system.  This works with IMPRES batteries and allows you to monitor battery usage and make an informed decision when it comes to replacing your batteries.

9. Digital Conversions - There are many benefits of converting from analog to digital.  We have covered this in previous blog posts (/bid/106819/6-Things-About-Digital-Two-Way-Radios-Your-Boss-Wants-To-Know and/bid/38413/Digital-Two-Way-Radios-The-Future-of-Professional-Radios  so why not start now?  You can do a slow conversion of your fleet or do it all at once, whatever works best for your organization.

10. Maintenance Contracts - No one lies getting repair bills they did not anticipate.  Consider purchasing a maintenance contract to help prevent this.  Having a contract will allow you to budget for your repairs and increase your peace of mind.

11. Radio Repair Bank - Having a radio repair bank is an alternative to a maintenance contract.  This works on a debit basis where you pre-pay for repairs allowing you to utilize budget money now, and as your radios need repairs or preventative maintenance checks, the amount gets deducted from that bank.


These are just a few ways to use that left-over budget money.  Your local sales rep can help you decided what works best for your company.  Don't let that budget money go to waste, contact them today.

Request a Communications Consultation


 *Photo Courtesy of Jason Rogers

Topics: motorola, service, two way radio, charging, batteries, preventative maintenance

6 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Two-Way Radio Fleet

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 @ 13:04 PM

springSpring is a time of renewal, a time for cleaning out the old and a time for fresh starts.  This is true for so many aspect of life.  We clean our closets of old clothes, we clean the dust bunnies from under our couches, and we clean the dead wood from our gardens but did you think to clean out your dead batteries?  How about your broken earpieces?  Spring is not just for cleaning our homes but also a great time to "clean" our communications.

When was the last time you took a look through your entire radio fleet?  By taking just a few minutes now you can prepare yourself and as Confucius said "success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure."  Below are our top "6 Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Radios."

  1. Battery Check - The average life on your two-way radio batteries is 12-18 months.  An old battery can effect the performance of your radio.  Motorola Solutions, Inc. has a quick way to check the age of your battery.  Their batteries come with a date code that tells you when the battery was manufactured.  This is a handy guide to estimating the age of it. 
  2. Inventory Check - Throughout the year your radios are moved to different departments, taken out of service and/or new radios are purchased.  Now is a great time to do a quick inventory check.  Are all of your radios accounted for?  Are they programmed to your current matrix?  Are the IDs correct?  By organizing now you will be able to prepare for the future.  Knowing exactly what you have can help to prevent surprise purchases and allow you to budget for future needed equipment.
  3. Accessory Check - Are all of your earpieces accounted for?  Have you hired new employees but neglected to replace the earbuds for them?  Are any of your belt clips broken?  Do you have the correct antennas on your radios?  Are your chargers functioning properly?  Are there a whole slew of single unit chargers floating around the office?  Perhaps it's time to invest in some 6 unit multi-unit chargers to centralize your charging locations.  It's the little things that make life and work easier.
  4. Broken Radios - Are you like many others and have a box of broken radios sitting on the floor in your office that you haven't gotten around to sending in for repair? Now is the time to do it.  Qualified repair technicians can have those radios repaired and back into your fleet in a timely manner.  Do you have some radios that have come back unrepairable, perhaps due to water or physical damage, and you are unsure of what to do with them?  Until May 1, 2015 Motorola Solutions, Inc. is offering a trade in promotion.  Turn what you thought was garbage into credit towards a new radio purchase.  Have you inquired about a maintenance contract?  This is an easy way to budget repairs for the future.
  5. Backbone Preventative Maintenance - Do you have a repeater installed at your location?  When was the last time you had a preventative maintenance service call on it?  Being proactive now helps to avoid emergencies later.  A qualified technician can check out your equipment to ensure everything is running properly and efficiently.
  6.  FCC License - Are the channels you are operating on licensed to your company?  Is your license up to date?  Have your radios been narrowbanded to fulfill the FCC requirements from January 1, 2013?

By asking yourself these questions and performing these tasks you will be well on your way to organizing your two-way radio fleet.  For more information, contact us.  Our trained and certified staff can help you optimize your two-way radio communications. 

Topics: two way radios, batteries, emergency preparedness, preventative maintenance

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.


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Topics: motorola, two way radios, charging, batteries

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

Using Communications to help "Go Green"

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 @ 14:07 PM

Throughout the ages businesses have always been looking for ways to cut costs and save money.  What makes todays world different is that they now have the added responsibility to conserve the environment.  Did you know that your communications can help you do both?  Below are five ways to use your communications to help your company "go green"

go green

1) Distributed Antenna Systems (D.A.S.)- Through high efficiency and properly designed D.A.S., the demand on equipment is lowered therefore lowering the consumption of energy required, while keeping the amount of power transmitted from radios, cell phones, blackberries and others to a minimum with relation to exposure.

2) GPS- GPS greatly reduces miles driven, excessive idling, wear and tear on vehicles and maintenance while also slowing down drivers.  This will decrease the amount of gas used through better routing and planning.

3) Two Way Radio- Radios save time and energy through efficiency of instant communications without recurring costs.  They also allow for improved routing which will cut fuel costs and energy use.  According to the EPA (, by saving just 1 gallon of gasoline the eco-savings are 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent.

4) Mobile Computing- Mobile computers allow for field workers to decrease the amount of paperwork created.  They also help in managing inventory and assets thus avoiding over purchasing and improves utilization and lifespan.  This will help in saving natural resources and trees while cutting waste and paper spend.  By saving 1 pound of paper you can claim eco-savings of 11.1 gallons of water, 2.9 pounds of carbon dioxide, 0.95 pounds of solid waste (Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environments Defense Fund Paper Calculator. For more information visit

5) Battery Maintenance Systems- These allow your batteries to be charged properly and optimized for maximum usage allowing you to save money, have longer lasting batteries leading to less waste and easier working radios.

 How do you use your communications to help you "Go Green"?

Topics: two way radio, charging, 2 way radio, batteries, go green

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