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

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

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


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:

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
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

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.


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!

We offer a variety of assistance to ensure that deserving applicants are successful:

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

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: If you already have a DUNS number, skip to #2.
  2. Once you have a DUNS number, register here:
    For more information on grantee registration in the CCR system, download the AFG Get Ready Guide or visit their website:

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.

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"

Thank you.




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


Topics: two way radios, fire depatments, grants

July 13, 2011 F.C.C. Public Notice on Narrowbanding

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 @ 15:07 PM

On July 13, 2011 the F.C.C issued a public notice providing a reminder of the Narrowbanding mandate for VHF/UHF and covering guidelines for submitting waiver requests.  This notice reinforces their committment to the January 1, 2013 deadline.  To read the notice, click here

 If you would like more information on how to handle the narrowbanding requirements for your organization contact Telecom by clicking on the image below.

Narrowband Information

Topics: two way radios, FCC, narrowband

Motorola MotoTRBO reaches 1 million strong

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 @ 15:07 PM

Motorola has announced that they have reached 1,000,000 (1 million!) MotoTRBO subscribers.  That shows the versatility and popularity of these two-way radios.  Between the digital capability, text messaging and various apps available there is a fit for virtually everyone. 

Stay tuned because over the course of the next few weeks we will be posting some videos Motorola has created to show how MotoTRBO radios work and how they can be used in different industries such as retail and transportation just to name a few.

Have you tried the Motorola MotoTRBO radios yet?  What are your thoughts on them?  How have you implemented them into your organization?  Let us know in the comments below.

Topics: motorola, MotoTRBO, two way radios, video

5 FAQ's about FCC Narrowbanding Mandate

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 @ 11:02 AM

With the FCC's mandate of 12.5 kHz by January 1, 2013, there have been many questions.  I wanted to take a minute to address 5 of the most common.

narrowband cta button resized 600

1 - What is Narrowbanding?

In an effort to promotoe more efficient use of spectrum, the FCC mandated all VHF and UHF Public Safety and Industrial/Business licensees using 25 kHz land mobile radio (LMR) systems migrate to narrowband 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013.

FCC Narrowband Mandate FAQ

2- What will happen if I fail to comply with the FCC Naroowbanding Mandate?  Can I continue to operate at 25 kHz efficiency on a secondary status after January 1, 2013?

No.  The FCC will prohibit licensees from operating 25 kHz efficiency equipment on a secondary basis.  Non-compliance will be considered a violation subject to FCC Enforcement Bureau action, which may include admonishment, monetary fines and loss of license.

3- Does Narrowbanding require me to change frequencies or obtain new channels?

No.  Narrowbanding does not require moving to another frequency band or different channels.  Licensees stay on the same channel center(s), but reduce the bandwidth of the channel(s) currently used, from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz and change the emission designator on the license.  Alternatively, licensees stay on the same 25 kHz channel but implement a 12.5 kHz equivalent technology on that channel.

4- If I currently have a license for a 25 kHz channel, will I automatically be entitled to license two 12.5 kHz channels?

No. Your 12.5 kHz channel will remain on the same 26 kHz channel center.  Your current 25 kHz channel will not be split into two 12.5 kHz channels.  You will need to justify and apply for any additional 12.5 kHz channels to the FCC through a certified frequency coordinator.

5- Will migration to 12.5 kHz change my system coverage?

Maybe.  Condust tests during the conversion to ensure your system continyes to provide similiar coverage.

FCC Narrowband Assistance

For a more complete listing of FCC Narrowbanding FAQ's visit 

Topics: motorola, two way radios, 2 way radio, narrowband

Two-Way Radio Selection Guide

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 @ 12:08 PM

Selecting the right two-way radio for your business is important.  The features available can help ease your job and streamline your business.  Before you can choose the correct radio to suit your needs, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

1- How many users and channels do you need?motorola two way radios

The number of users that will be operating on the radio system will help determine the number of channels necessary for your organization.  For instance, if you have 5 people in maintenance and 12 in security you may want to have a maintenance channel and a security channel. If two of those users in security need to be able to speak privately then you can add a third channel as well.

2- What frequency band should you operate on?

There are three different frequency bands that are commonly used for communications.  VHF which stands for "Very High Frequency" 136-174 MHz is better suited for outdoor applications without much interference.  These frequencies will communicate a further distance.  UHF ("Ultra High Frequency") 403-512 MHz work better with indoor applications in which there may be some obstructions.  The 800/900 MHz band is generally used for trunking two-way radio system.

3- What features are necessary for your organization?

This can vary from safety features like intrinsically safe to telephone interconnect of even integrated data applications. 

Motorola has designed a spectacular radio selection guide to help you see what is available and what different terms mean.  You can download this guide here.  Also, don't be afraid to ask your local radio rep.  They are able to assist you in the selection of the proper radios for your operation.  They will help you evaluate your needs and decide which frequency band, how many channels and what features are necessary for you to operate at peak performance.

Topics: motorola, two way radios, two way radio, 2 way radio

Five Ways to Use Radio Communications to Increase Hospitality

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, Aug 9, 2010 @ 14:08 PM

Being able to differentiate your hospitality services from the next guy is half the battle in securing leisure and business travel dollars.  Using exceptional service is a big way to do this.  Below is a list of five ways to use your communications to increase your hospitality efficiency.Two Way Radio with Earpiece

1- Communications without disturbing guests

There are many areas of your facility in which radio chatter can disturb your guests.  They don't want to hear that Room 2102 has a clogged toilet while they are relaxing at the pool or having a snack in your lounge.  There are many discreet communication alternatives that will not only decrease the chatter but also increase response time.  Various earpieces, headsets and surveillance kits can achieve this.  Each worker can have the accessory that best suits their job.  Some two-way radios now come equipped with text messaging capabilities and also enable data applications such as work ticket management that would operate right on the radio.  The Motorola MotoTRBO radio is perfect for this.

2- Enhanced Battery Life

By using batteries equipped with advanced TDMA digital technology you can operate up to 40% longer between recharges than the typical analog radio.  This will give you the confidence that your radios will last through lengthy work shifts.

3- Location Software

Using location software to enhance security and speed operations.  Integrates GPS within two-way radios will help monitor your staff.  Knowing where the closest worker is will allow you to handle emergencies quickly and efficiently.  This will save repair time and being able to dispatch security quickly will maximize both guest and personnel safety.

Radio Communication Hands Free Operation4- Hands Free Operation

Two -way radios have a plethora of accessories available today.  By combining a nylon case with swivel belt clip with a lightweight headset, you allow your employee to concentrate on their task at hand and not their radio.  This will also decrease the chance of an employee losing their radio.  We all know how easy it is to put something down, get involved, forget about it and walk away never remembering where you left it.

5- Expanded System Capacity

The digital technology of the MotoTRBO system allows you to double the capacity available compared to analog radios.  This gives you the ability to send and receive large amounts of voice and data communications or connect to a large staff.

By using the above tips with regards to your radio communications system, you will increase your customer service, improve your efficiency and save money.

For an example of how one resort uses Motorola's MotoTRBO system to optimize their guest's experience, download this case study.  How do you increase your guest's experience  through your communications system?  We want to know.  Post a comment and fill us in.

Topics: MotoTRBO, two way radios, 2 way radio, hospitality