Impres XE Remote MicSo you are probably used to seeing your local law enforcement officers wear a remote speaker mic on their shoulder. It’s identifiable, something that seems to be part of their uniform. But did you know many other industries use these devices too? Just to name a few: manufacturing, amusement, sporting and entertainment venues all take advantage of the convenience of the remote microphone. Remote mics (aka lapel or shoulder mics) can be used anywhere two-way radios are used. They move the convenience of your radio on your lapel.

You can find a remote mic for most types of commercial two-way radios. Mics vary in features with some including submersible, windporting, display screens, antennas, emergency buttons, audio jacks for earpieces, coiled or straight cords. For basic business two-way radios a remote mic may simply have a speaker, microphone, coiled cord, lapel clip, and a push to talk button.  Everything you need to have the convenience of your radio near your head, where you an both talk and listen.

Ever seem like you are constantly taking your radio off your hip to talk? Maybe a remote mic is right for you!

~cl

Mototrbo SL300 99 ch model

Mototrbo SL300 99 Channel Model features Yellow trim

Forget the old brick shaped radios. Motorola has recently introduced the SL300 portable radio. Available in either UHF or VHF band splits, your choice of 2 or 99 channel models. This is a new digital/analog radio in the Mototrbo line of radios. It is ultra-slim being less than an inch thick, 4.95″H x 2.17″W x 0.87″D.  In a modern twist this radio features a shatterproof Active View display with LEDs which shine through the housing to give the user radio information. Motorola describes it this way: “Designed for easy and intuitive use, the SL300 has a side volume control, dedicated power button, prominent push-to-talk button, and top toggle channel switch to enable quick one-hand access. Channel “fast toggle” allows users to scroll through 10 channels at a time.” We think this cleverly designed radio is destined to be widely popular amount radio users who are looking for a small, discrete, lightweight radio which can be stowed in a pocket or purse. Watch for it to be available at eradiostore.com soon.

~cl

special requests…

16 Apr, 2014

Custom BPR40Recently we had a request from a great customer in Washington. Angela had seen a red BPR40 radio we had customized for her food warehouse employer. She asked if we could do one in another color for her. The answer was “Yes”.  Our radio service center is able to take a basic black new radio and transform it to another color. What you see pictured here is Angela’s new radio. We think the BPR40 looks pretty spiffy in Blue!

Some businesses choose to do this for radios which have a specific purpose or use. It makes the radio quickly recognizable, and alleviates workers from misplacing radios intended for a special purpose. One of our clients has red radios for emergencies in their forklift battery changing area. It is quickly spotted if a radio is taken from the area. Some land surveyors have brightly colored radios to help them find the radios if dropped while surveying.  Customized colors are only available for some radio models. Call or email us if you want more information about costs and lead times.

Antenna ID Bands shown in colors available.

Antenna ID Bands shown in colors available.

Another helpful item to differentiate radio work groups are Antenna ID Bands which are available 10-packs. This is an inexpensive, quick and easy way to identify where a radio belongs. These bands are available in a variety of colors and can be easily placed on your existing radio antenna.

~cl

cellphone vs radioWe often are asked by friends, family and clients about the status of 2-way radio in a world where everyone seems to be carrying their own personal communications device, a cell phone. Here are some of our thoughts and thoughts of those in this industry concerning this subject.

Most people would admit they could not function without their smart phone, the computer attached to your hip. But in reality, as a communications device, a cell phone is still a device for making a phone call to another person. You dial a number, let it ring, wait for an answer, hope to talk to the person you are calling, possibly leaving a voice message. The process takes at least a minute of your time or more just to connect. And following this routine, you may end up having a conversation for several minutes.

When using a two-way radio you simply press the push-to-talk (PTT) button and instantly speak to your group (or one-to-one depending on your radio system). You can give a brief message or instruction, receive an immediate response and finish your task accordingly. The entire process typically takes a few seconds. It is fast and efficient, saving time and money. In the realm of public safety and businesses such as construction, it can save lives. In addition, radios are highly effective in high noise environments, built rugged for long-term use, offer an intuitive one-touch user interface, and feature a battery designed to do a full day’s work.

Nearly all business models of two-way radios are repairable and have replacement battery packs available. The life expectancy of a two-way radios is up to 10 years, with many exceeding this mark.  Computing the cost of purchasing a typical business 2-way radio (Motorola CP200) over 10 years including replacement batteries every two years and 1-2 repairs, it would calculate to under $10/month to own/operate the radio. Much less than the overall cost of cellular for the same time period.

Cellular devices are generally speaking rather fragile. The majority are too lightweight for work environments. Battery packs are often non-replaceable.  If you talk to those in the cellular industry, you will find the life expectancy of a phone is about two years. At the 2-year mark, the cell carriers are ready to make a deal with you where you can get the next model “free” or inexpensively to keep you as a client. The industry is reliant upon the monthly fees we all pay. We’ll let you do the math on what a maintaining a cell phone will cost you over the course of 10 years.

Radio communication is instantaneous with the simple use of a PTT button. The person needing information  receives it quickly. Requests for assistance are heard by everyone monitoring the frequency. This is essential in many industries and especially in public safety. Radios designed for public safety can also have other features such as an emergency button or a mandown feature where the radio will notify dispatch of an officer who is no longer vertical. In construction when giving instructions to a crane operator PTT radio technology is the quickest form of communication.  Think about restaurant hostesses or retail clerks communicating with others on their team. This type of communication is done more efficiently using a radio versus a cell phone. It would be hard to imagine the public safety or business world without 2-way radios.

Cellphone & CP200 side-by-sideAnd up to now we haven’t mentioned the downside of using a cellular device instead of a radio, things such as surfing the web, playing games, making personal calls, just aren’t a problem when businesses use two-way radios for their onsite communications. So when choosing between using your smart phone and 2-way radios, you can see where the two devices differ both in features and overall long term cost. Both have their place where they can work to the best advantage. It’s up to you as a business person to choose your communications device wisely. ~cl

CP200d_frontThe newest radio to come along is the Motorola CP200d. It is part of the widely touted MOTOTRBO digital/analog line of radios. Trbo radios are a great transitional radio into the digital world. You can add them into your fleet as an analog radio to match your existing radios, and then one day when you are ready they can be upgraded or reprogrammed to be digital. Or even be digital or analog on a per channel basis. Much like the existing CP200 radio, the “d” model is available in either VHF or UHF and has 16 channels.

The CP200d is available from Motorola Channel Partners (a fancy way of saying authorized dealers) in two versions:
1. Analog only model, upgradeable later to digital (upgrade MSRP $83).
2. Digital/Analog model. Straight out of the box the radio has both features.

The advantages of digital are much like you would have experience when changing to a digital cellphone a few years ago, 40% longer battery life, clearer transmissions, and a small to moderate increase in range. Good news is the radio uses the same batteries and chargers as the standard CP200. Some audio accessories will be backwards compatible such as the PMMN4013 remote speaker mic. Many other audio accessories are available for the digital models. Watch for the digital symbol to be on the accessory to insure good functionality with the digital radio.

The analog model is priced pretty much the same as the standard longstanding CP200 radio. The digital version of the CP200d is $50 higher. Also new on the scene are the CM200d, CM300d, and XPR2500d mobiles.

At this time the standard CP200 you have known for several years is still available, and we continue to repair this model in our Radio Repair Center for a flat rate repair of $85.

Have a great 2014!
cl

CDM1250 radio in for repair

CDM1250 radio in for repair

While we enjoy helping people and repairing radios, we also know how frustrating it can be to have your radio fail and need to come into the repair center.  We’ve compiled a list of ways to help you keep your radio out of the radio repair center.

  • Keep radios dry and free from dust and debris.
  • If your radio gets wet, do not transmit, take the battery out, dry it as much as possible and get it to the repair facility pronto.
  • Utilize dust covers provided to cover audio jacks and openings, do not remove them.
  • Refrain from operating the radio at full volume continuously.
  • Replace bad or weather checked antennas.
  • Use only the antenna, charger, and accessories designed for a particular radio model.
  • Always have the radio turned off when charging.
  • Never transmit when a radio is on a charger.
  • Charge overnight, not an extended amount of days (a weekend is okay).
  • Clean your battery contacts using a pencil eraser, never a sharp object or solvent.
  • Replace the battery every 2-3 years, or sooner if needed.
  • Safeguard your radio from crush damage, avoid back pockets and places people sit.

Please remember we are here if you need us, happy to help repair your Motorola radios, so you can put them back to work.

~cl

intrinsically safe …

25 Jul, 2013

HT750_whiteThis Motorola HT750 we’ll call “Old Paint” came in today for repair. It and 2 others from a manufacturing plant have been customized. These three intrinsically safe radios are on their way to Motorola for factory service. While most radio models are repaired inhouse at the Radio Repair Facility, we also offer forwarding of specialty radios directly to Motorola for factory repair. “Old Paint” and friends are on their way today to Motorola.

Radios manufactured to be intrinsically safe are labeled with “FM approved”  stickers and/or embossing. This will typically be a diamond shaped logo with green letter. Users of these FM approved radios must also use FM approved batteries. All audio accessories used must also be intrinsically safe. Depending on the industry the radios are being used in, there are different types of intrinsically safe ratings.

Note: Intrinsically safe (IS) is a protection technique for safe operation of electrical equipment in hazardous areas by limiting the energy available for ignition.  Areas with dangerous concentrations of flammable gases or dust are found in applications such as petrochemical refineries and mines.

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