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

FCC Narrowbanding Mandate for Two-way: Who, what, where, when and why

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Mon, May 3, 2010 @ 11:05 AM

If you have been on the internet, read the newspaper lately or even just through word of mouth you have most likely heard about the FCC Narrowbanding Mandates.  To understand the changes first you need to understand how two-way radios operate.

When two-way radios are operated, they do so in licensed bands called UHF and VHF.  Inside those bands are radio channels that the FCC regulates.  This is where radio licensing comes in.  In the past, each channel for commercial two way users used 25 kHz of spectrum per channel.  Throughout the years the number of radio users has increased and since there is a limited amount of radio spectrum available, the availability for new users has decreased.  Enter the FCC and Narrowbanding.


The FCC has mandated all business and public safety users operating on channels between 150 and 174 mHz and 421 and 512 mHz in the United States to transition from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz.  What this will do is increase the amount of channels available to two-way radio operators.

So the next question becomes why should I - the FCC would never know.  In short, Yes they would.  By not converting to Narrowband, not only will you experience increased interference but you also risk loss of radio communications, substantial FCC fines and/or the revocation of your FCC license.

Okay, okay you know you need to do it but when does this all happen?  You've been hearing about this for years.  Well the time for conversion has finally arrived.  Key dates for the transitions:

January 1, 2011: The FCC will not grant applications for new voice operations or applications to expand the authorized contour of existing stations that use 25 kHz channels.  Only narrowband authorization will be granted

The FCC will prohibit manufacture or importation of new equipment that operates on 25 kHz channels.  This will reduce the availability of new equipment for legacy radio systems and will affect how agencies maintain and upgrade older systems.

January 1, 2013: All existing licenses must operate on channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or less

So now you have the who, what, where, when and why but what about the how?  To prepare for the migration, users should begin by assessing their current radio system.  This will allow them to see what can be reprogrammed to meet the requirements and what needs to be replaced.  Because radio manufacturers have been aware of the mandates since 1997, most equipment purchased in the past 5 years should be able to just be reprogrammed.  Once the assesment is complete, radio operators need to obtain new or modified FCC licenses.  The final step is to set a date to begin your narrowband operations and make sure all your radios are tuned to the new bandwidth prior to that date. 

FCC Narrowband Mandate

If you would like more information of the FCC Narrowbanding Mandates you can check out the sites below:

National Institute of Justice Communications Technologies

Federal Communications Commission

Telecom Communications, Inc.



Topics: two way radios, two way radio, FCC, 2 way radio, wireless definition, narrowband

Wireless Mesh Technology - What is it?

Posted by Amy Cavaliere on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 @ 11:04 AM

There has been a lot of talk lately about wireless mesh technologies.  Because of this, there is a tremendous amount of information available for it, enough to confuse even the best of us.   I have been reading up about it (I figured as the marketing person I should since we sell it and I wanted to learn about it without having to ask my tech support and sales guys) and finally have it broken down to what I consider to be understandable terms (coming from a non technical perspective that's asking a lot). 

According to "a mesh network is a local area network (LAN) that employs one of two connection arrangements, full mesh topology or partial mesh topology. In the full mesh topology, each node (workstation or other device) is connected directly to each of the others. In the partial mesh topology, some nodes are connected to all the others, but some of the nodes are connected only to those other nodes with which they exchange the most data. " 

Ok so now I had the definition but what exactly does it do?  So I kept digging and I came across this great article that really breaks mesh down and explains it in laymans terms so I thought I would share. explains that "Wireless mesh networks can easily, effectively and wirelessly connect entire cities using inexpensive, existing technology. Traditional networks rely on a small number of wired access points or wireless hotspots to connect users. In a wireless mesh network, the network connection is spread out among dozens or even hundreds of wireless mesh nodes that "talk" to each other to share the network connection across a large area."  The article has plenty more information so check it out and drop a comment to let me know what you think about mesh.



Topics: nodes, wireless mesh technology, wireless definition