Communications Connection

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

Where were you when the power went out?

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 @ 11:08 AM

Ten years ago today this area was hit with a blackout like no other blackout we had seen before

Flashback: August 14, 2003:

Power outages spread throughout eight states in the Northeast and Canada.  Millions of people were without power, cell phone systems were overloaded and many phone systems failed yet two-way radio systems were functional and Wireless Public Address Systems automatically went to their own battery backup power.


Thinking about this blackout, along with the upcoming hurricane season, you should be asking yourself some questions.

1- Is my business prepared?

2- Would my facility be secure?

3- Is my battery backup prepared to handle an outage?

4- How would we communicate if the power went out?

Taking a few minutes to ask yourself these questions today can save you worry, time and money in the future.  It pays to be prepared.


power outage

Topics: two way radios, battery backup, emergency preparedness

Are your Business Communications Prepared for an Emergency?

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

It's officially hurricane season.  Everywhere you turn you see articles and newscasts discussing how to prepare your home in case of an emergency, what to pack in a disaster kit, what to know about shelters and so on and so forth.  But have you thought about your business?  I'm not talking about taping your windows, I'm talking about your communications.  Your business communications are extremely important to the safety of your employees.  It could be a blackout, a hurricane or another natural disaster or anything that will require your business to use their emergency plans.  Did you include your communications when you were formulating these plans?  Relying on cell phones is not the way to go.  Circuits become overcrowded and calls can't always get through.emergency communications

Okay I got your attention, now what do you need to do to have your communications prepared?  Here are some questions you should ask yourself before an emergency situation arrives.

  1. Do you have a battery backup for your repeater? Your repeater runs on electrical power.  If you have a power failure you will lose your repeater.  Even if you have a battery backup, some repeaters go into a fail-safe mode when a surge is detected.  Do you know how to reset your repeater properly?
  2. How long is your auxiliary power for?  You have a battery backup - great.  Now the question is, how long is it good for?  Make sure you plan what you will do after that time expires.
  3. Are your radio communications on generator power?  If you don't know the answer to this, they probably aren't.  Consider getting a generator to extend your power in the event of an emergency.
  4. Do you have simplex channels programmed in your radios?  A simplex channel communicates directly from radio to radio without using a repeater.  This can also be called a "talk-around" channel.  Your normal communications may require a repeater to function how you need them to.  In the case of a repeater failure, having the simplex channel will allow you to still communicate although there will be limited coverage compared to how your normally communicate using your repeater.  Some communications are better then no communications.
  5. Do you have spare batteries?  This may seem like a silly question but having spare batteries that are fully charged will give you extra time to communicate if you lose power.
  6. Is your infrastructure equipment on the floor?  If at all possible, move your equipment off the floor in case of flooding.
  7. Are you tower and/or antenna structures secure?  Checking the security of your antenna and/or tower structures is something you want to do prior to an emergency.  Through time and weather conditions these structures can weaken.  We recommend having this checked at least once a year.tower resized 600

The above questions are just a few that you should be asking yourself on a regular basis to limit the issues caused to your communications by an emergency.  Being from the New York area, we have all lived through enough of these emergencies to know that communications can make a difference.  If you would like help in evaluating or have questions regarding your communications plan, contact Telecom Communications.  Our staff is trained to know what you need.

Request a Communications Consultation

P.S. While this post focused mainly on business, public safety needs to take precautions as well.  Many of these tips are the same across both however, for more information for public safety read this blog post

Topics: two way radios, two way radio, 2 way radio, emergency preparedness

3 Key Factors for Effective Interoperability

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


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

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