Here you find out what RF Communication is

Radio frequency (often abbreviated as, RF), can be described as any frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum with radio wave propagation that lie in the range extending from about 3 kHz to 300 GHz; this includes the frequencies that are used for communications or the radar signals. That said, you should know that RF generally refers to electrical rather than the mechanical oscillations.

RF communication utilizes radio waves rather than wires to exchange signals, and this is where the term “wireless communication,” comes from. RF modules generally use frequencies to distinguish the different radio signals, therefore, in order for the RF modules to communicate, they have to be operating on the same exact frequency. That said, you should know that radio frequency is normally measured in units known as hertz (abbreviated as Hz), which represent number of cycles/second when the radio wave(s) is transmitted. 1 hertz (Hz) equals 1 cycle/second, and 1 megahertz (abbreviated as, MHz) equals 1 million cycles/second.

A radio frequency (RF) signal basically refers to the wireless electromagnetic signal that’s utilized as a form of communication, when talking about wireless electronics. As mentioned earlier, radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation which have identified radio frequencies which usually range from about 3Hz to 300 GHz. Not every radio wave is the same; they can be small or big, or they can be far apart or close together. On the radio stations we normally listen to, every station uses waves which are on a slightly different frequency from the other stations. Whenever you happen to switch from one radio station to another, your radio picks up and then plays waves of that particular frequency.

Frequency normally refers to the oscillation rate of the radio waves. It can also refer to how close together or far apart the waves are. When the radio waves are too far apart, that is known as low frequency, and when the radio waves are close together, that is known as high frequency. That said, you should know that radio frequency propagation happens at speed of light, and doesn’t need any medium (such as air) in order for it to travel. Radio frequency waves occur naturally from lightning, the sun flares, and even from stars which radiate radio frequency waves as the get older. However, people usually communicate with man made radio waves which oscillate at various select frequencies.

The man made radio frequency waves are produced by oscillating current for a certain number of times, and radiating it off the conductor (which is referred to as the antenna), into an empty space (this is the space that’s occupied by air and not the outer space), as electromagnetic radio waves. The RF signals are received and sent using conductors via the phenomenon that’s called the skin effect, where radio frequency current latches itself and then flows through the conductors’ surface; this effect is actually the basis and the core of radio technology.

The best thing about RF communication, is that it’s omnipresent (that is to mean it’s all around us). It plays a crucial role in many of the communications systems which we depend on a daily basis, such as fire and police radio systems, TV and radio broadcasts, and satellite communications. Cordless phones, cellphones, Wireless internet (Wi Fi), and Bluetooth also operate in the radio frequency spectrum. In addition to that, there are other appliances outside of the communications field that use RF. They include; microwave ovens, garage door openers, among others. Some wireless devices such as TV remote controls, cordless computer mice, computer keyboards, and even 2 way radios also operate using RF frequency .

Two way radios are based on the RF frequency and they perform group communication using minimum radio frequency channel resources. This is to mean that if all the users are in the same location or area (most of the time), you will only need a single channel resource in order to talk to them. By using RF, two way radios have the capability of facilitating “one to many” group communication (which is also known as a group call), very efficiently. By efficient, I mean that 1 user can communicate/talk to 1, 5, 10, 100 or even 1000’s of users at a go. The two way radio user doesn’t need to keep on repeating the same message if he/she needs to convey to many users.

Yankees Joe Girardi believes earpieces would help speed up pace of play

Here is the UK we commonly see coaches and physios on the football (soccer) bench wearing earpieces to communicate with each other, But this Baseball Coach wants to give the players an earpiece to improve player-to-coach communications. His argument is good, but will he be allowed?

Earlier in the week, Major League Baseball elected to remove the four-pitch sequence of the intentional walk from the game in order to speed up the pace of play. On Thursday, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi threw his two cents into the ring regarding the current pace of play.

However, the veteran skipper did not comment on the recent rule change surrounding the intentional walk but rather the potential for hitters to wear an earpiece similar to that of NFL quarterbacks.

“As far as the pace of the game I am a big proponent of trying to introduce some type of communication through headphones like they do in the NFL, Girardi said on Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “I think you can speed the game up that way.

In the NFL, quarterbacks are notorious for having a speaker inside their helmet while players on the defensive side of the football now have such technology in their helmets as well.

“You put earpieces in certain people,” he added. “Realistically you could put it in your hitters helmets and you could say what you wanted. Then its not a sign from me to the third base coach and a sign to the player. Instead of catchers always going out to change signs they could do it through communication. I think you could speed the game up a lot that way. The thing about signs is that signs take time and it slows it down.

However, many have argued that the removal of the four-pitch intentional walk was also parting ways with the potential for human error. Wouldnt the same be true for the lack of signs if Girardis earpiece system were implemented?

A player can very easily misinterpret a sign along the way, which could cause a difference in the game due to human error. Although many fans and people outside of the game would probably have less of an opinion regarding the managers new approach, it is nearly impossible to make everyone happy these days.

Maplewood-based 3M launches ‘smart’-hearing protection for hunters, civilian shooters

We all understand the difference between active headset and passive headsets? Active is able to block external sound when it reaches a certain decibel level. This is great in most situations, but for hunters and people that work around guns this sometimes isn’t as protective as it could be, But now 3M have launched a new ‘smart hearing’ Headset

Determined to expand its consumer safety offerings, 3M Co. has introduced a “smart” hearing-protection headset for hunters and shooters that automatically measures and cancels out specific gun noises while simultaneously amplifying voices and phone conversations.

3M’s device, the Peltor Sport Electronic Hearing Protector, was introduced last week with positive reaction at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

The technology is designed to offer superior hearing protection to hunters, firing-range hobbyists and other civilian sports shooters.

While 3M is well known for making ear plugs and other hearing protectors for factories, farms and the military, the new Peltor product is expected to greatly expand its reach into the civilian shooting market.

It is also 3M’s first foray into the adjustable or “smart” hearing-technology arena, officials said.

For the first time, 3M’s new devices can measure the energy coming from each specific gunshot in the area and automatically adjust to suppress each noise for the right amount of time.

Such automatic adjustments protect the hearing, no matter if shooters who are nearby are firing small .22-caliber firearms or automatic rifles, said Lindsay Adams, 3M’s marketing manager for the Peltor Sport line.

The new Peltor Sport headsets also filter out sound from fans, wind and other background noises while amplifying voices.

Shooters don’t need to remove headsets to talk on a cellphone or to hear the people around them. Instead, the technology attempts to make ear protection seamless and constant even if the shooter’s environment changes from inside to outside.

“Hunters need to be able to hear their surroundings,” Adams said.

It took 3M more than a year and eight electronic and mechanical engineers and marketers to produce the new products.

If successful, the Peltor Sport headsets will double and triple 3M’s current protection sales from the hunting and shooting consumer market.

3M has a solid footing in hearing protection in the construction market via channels such as Home Depot and Lowes.

Now, 3M hopes for similar success as it launches the new smart Peltor Sport line in Gander Mountain and Bass Pro Shops and on Walmart.com and Amazon.com.

3M launched two versions of its new Peltor headset at the SHOT show. Attendees were able to borrow 3M’s headsets and test them during the preshow firing range event and gave rave reviews.

Unlike previous models, the Peltor Tactical 500 model is Bluetooth capable and offers a noise-reduction rating of 26. The Tactical 300 model is compatible with other mobile devices and offers a noise-reduction rating of 24.

Noise reduction ratings generally range from 0 to 34. The higher the number, the better the noise cancellation.

The new products are expected to sell for roughly $149.99 and $199.99.

“We really feel like these, along with the products we developed in the last two years, round out our portfolio and put us in a competitive position to gain market share,” Adams said.

Both new electronic hearing protectors also feature foldable vented headbands that can release heat and increase comfort.

They sport low-profile cups with rubber bumpers and durable recessed microphones to reduce wind noise.

3M officials declined to reveal the cost to bring the new product to market.

The company does, however, expect the investment to pay off.

Industry analysts agreed, noting that the Maplewood based maker of Scotch tape, respirators, ear plugs, goggles and harnesses has its sight set on a growing market.

Global Industry Analysts Inc. predicts that U.S. hearing-protection sales will grow on average 6 percent a year and reach $714 million by 2020.

Some of that growth will be fueled by regulations and changing hearing-protection needs in workplaces such as factories, oil fields and farms.

If correct, that bodes well for 3M and Honeywell Inc., the two largest players in the nation, followed by SensGard, Westone, Moldex Metrics and David Clark Co. Inc.

The arrival of 5G, cognitive radio and the future of connectivity

We are very excited about 5G, we have already reported on how the UK emergency services are moving over to a LTE network, and inevitably 5G is the next step for better, faster and more capable communications.  Not planned to be deployed until the next decade, we believe that 5G will allow us to communicate better with our Walkie talkies. The original article can be found here.

With faster and more reliable connections, we look at what the next generation of communications could mean for business

From smart cities to the internet of things (IoT), virtually every aspect of the modern world is becoming closely connected.

The extent to which we rely on our devices and the exchange of information means new systems are needed that not only handle far greater bandwidth, but that are capable of being deployed to cover areas that were previously unreachable.

The potential benefits for business are huge, with faster and more reliable connectivity not only enhancing how firms interact with customers and each other, but also lending itself to greater flexible working among staff.

The arrival of 5G

One development that many industry observers believe could be revolutionary is 5G. Following on from 4G, the fifth-generation mobile network is in its early stages of development and is expected to be rolled out between 2020–25.

Any tech that contributes towards the next phase of mobile connectivity is covered by the term 5G. And although there are still no set standards or specifications, the GSMA – a trade body that represents global mobile operators – has outlined eight key criteria, stipulating minimum requirements for speed, capacity and energy in order for something to be considered 5G.

According to Ofcom, once operational 5G could provide between 10–50 Gbps (gigabit per seconds) in download speeds (as compared to the 5–12 Gbps of 4G), and although most experts expect it to be at the lower end of the range, that would still mean you could download an HD movie in seconds.

But rather than simply being faster than the current 4G, it will also allow more devices to access the web – an essential requirement if the IoT is to take off – meaning it could be transformative for business.

Raj Sivalingam, executive director of telecoms for techUK, the trade association for the tech sector, says: “The potential of the IoT, particularly in the enterprise environment, has been hugely debated but its impact is almost certainly still undervalued.

“Mass deployment across sectors will boost efficiency and safety with pre-emptive fault correction; enable automatic reporting of accidents and allow real-time asset tracking, reducing crime and increasing productivity, to name just a few benefits.”

One potential bottleneck for 5G is spectrum availability – or lack of it. Radio frequencies for both 3G and 4G are already overcrowded. The provision of a new bandwidth will require widespread cooperation between operators, manufacturers and governments.

Infrastructure is also an issue, says Sivalingam. “Making the leap to 5G mobile services and getting more fibre into the fixed telecommunications networks will require substantial amounts of investment.

“We need the government and industry stakeholders to work to shift the UK from good levels of connectivity to great levels so that we continue to attract investors and startups, and to foster innovation from within the UK.”

Cognitive radio

One possible solution is cognitive radio. An adaptive radio and network technology, it can sense and respond to its operating environment and automatically tune itself to the best available frequencies, this makes it more reliable in extreme locations where signals are weak, potentially providing dependable, robust connections that are not hampered by interference or geography.

Finland-based KNL Networks has developed a system using the technology that uses short wave radio to transmit internet access to sites in remote locations ranging from oil rigs to polar research stations. KNL Networks CEO Toni Linden says: “We can provide similar connectivity to those from satellites but with a terrestrial radio system. Our radios receive the whole spectrum all the time, so rather than scanning, real-time broadband receiving is going on. Thus we can see and measure everything that’s going on in the spectrum and we can maintain the network connectivity that way.”

The tech opens up the possibility of providing seamless connectivity anywhere, giving business reliable online access to markets in parts of the world that have otherwise been unreachable. It could also enable media and other companies to broadcast without the need for expensive satellites.

Quantum key distribution

It’s not just data transmission, speeds and connectivity that pose challenges in the future, but the safety of that data too. Cybercrime is ranked alongside terrorism as among the most serious threats to the UK [pdf], and with data now the lifeblood of modern business, securing that data is of paramount concern. One technology that could provide the answer is quantum communications.

Conventional encryption relies on sending a decryption key alongside your secret data. The receiver then uses that key to decode your secret information. But problems arise because hackers can also copy this key and steal your data.

Quantum key distribution (QKD) is different because it encodes this key on light particles called photons, and an underlying principle of quantum mechanics means that a hacker trying to read or copy such a key would automatically alter its state, effectively leaving a hacker fingerprint so the sender and receiver know their information security had been breached.

China recently launched a quantum satellite to further research into this technology, with the hope of developing an uncrackable communications network.

In the UK, the Quantum Communications Hub is part of a national network of four hubs led by the universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Oxford and York. Director Tim Spiller says: “We are developing quantum communications technologies along a number of different directions, notably short-range free space QKD, where the transmitter could be in future mobile phones, and chip-to-chip QKD through optical fibre, where the chips could be in future computers and other devices.”

With two thirds of British business falling victim to cybercrime in the past year the need for better encryption is clear.

Several companies currently offer commercial quantum key distribution systems include ID Quantique, MagiQ Technologies, QuintessenceLabs, SeQureNet and Toshiba, although its high cost and limited range means mainly banks and governments are its main users, with mainstream adoption still some way off.

Spiller added: “Certainly it would be desirable to improve the size, weight, power and cost points of current technologies and our work in the hub and elsewhere is addressing all these factors.”

Paul Lee, head of technology, media, and telecommunications research at Deloitte, highlighted a number of improvements which he expected to see coming down the line, including improved mobile antennae and base stations, as well as improvements to fixed networks such as G.fast that would enable copper cable to operate at much higher speeds.

“As they get steadily faster, new services emerge to exploit these greater speeds, which then requires the deployment of even faster networks. This tail chasing has been going on for decades and won’t stop in 2017.”

How To Select The Right Radio Earpiece

When choosing a radio earpiece, there are several factors that should be considered. A radio earpiece should not only aid in communication it should also protect the user’s ear against cumulative ear damage that may eventually result in ear loss. Below are the factors that you should consider when buying a radio earpiece;

1) Clarity of communication

The most important reason as to why you have a radio is for clear communication and this is what your radio earpiece should enhance. Although there are several radio earpieces out there, many of them use bone conduction when transmitting the user’s speech meaning that they heavily rely on vibrations of one’s skull as they talk. This does not help much in ensuring that the communications are clear especially when one is on the move.

You should therefore go for a system whose in-ear microphone does not use bone conduction and this will enhance the sound clarity. Such a system can even transmit speeches when one is whispering and this comes in handy especially when in an environment where secrecy is very crucial.

2) Comfort

It is very important to select a system that you feel comfortable with most importantly when you are to wear it on your head. Note that, you will probably be wearing the gear for long hours and that is why it should be of lightweight and should not in any way interfere with your eye wear or helmet.

Avoid heavy, sweaty and coiled tube earpieces that are very uncomfortable and will cause ear fatigue. Instead, go for a radio earpiece whose microphone is built into the earbud itself. Such earpieces come in various shapes and sizes and can even be customized to fit the specific needs of a user. Note that, military-grade materials are specifically designed to be of lightweight.

3) Durability

Durability is a very important factor that should be considered when choosing a radio earpiece. You obviously don’t want to be wasting your time and money going back to look for another earpiece just because the one you chose did not last. This is why it is very important to select a system that is durable and has been tested for rugged use of a soldier or a SWAT officer. Go for one whose manufacturer is experienced in manufacturing earpieces that can withstand water, dirt, shock and even extreme temperatures.

4) Ease of use

Your radio earpiece should be easy to use because you can’t afford to mess up with the push-to-talk or the on & off buttons especially when on the move. Your gear should immediately fit into your actions with minimum effort. Look at the operational and the ergonomic features of the various radio earpieces and make sure that all its features are both of the right sizes and in the right places.

5) Hearing protection

Claims related to hearing loss and its related disabilities is on the rise among police & military veterans and this has led to the need for hearing protection for officers. Note that, hearing loss occurs cumulatively over time and it is irreversible. This is in addition to the fact that it has been associated with cognitive decline and that is why even the minor hearing loss can have a huge impact in the course of time. Select a radio earpiece that not only ensures effective communication, but also the hearing safety of the user.

6) Situational awareness

An earpiece is basically meant to keep you focused and keep your hands free. You should be aware of what is happening in their surrounding and that is why a radio earpiece should allow one to hear sounds that are outside, to stay alert with their surroundings.

In order to have full communications (just like one would have without anything in their ears), it is wise to choose a radio earpiece that has an external microphone . There are systems that even enable you to adjust volume of the external microphone and this ensures that you are aware of the happenings in your surroundings.

7) Modularity & Compatibility

There are several systems that are available out there and you should look for one that fits your requirements. As mentioned above, some of them can be customized to fit an individual user’s specific needs so you can never run out of options.

A radio earpiece that has a modular connector is good as you can change it to match even a different radio without having to replace the entire system. Some systems can even go with both earbuds and over-the-ear earpieces so depending on your needs, select the appropriate system.

8) Affordability

Many years ago radio earpieces cost £100 and upwards, these days you can get a D-ring earpiece for less than £15 and an acoustic tube for about £25. Bone conductor earpieces that were previously and expensive piece of technology, can be yours for about £40.

£4 billion emergency radio system ‘not yet proven’

We have been very vocal against the new ESN network, Tetra is proven and works very well, the benefits to moving over to a 4G network are attractive, but will it stand-up to a major incident? Will the network be robust enough when there are thousands of communications in a located area? These concerns have now been picked up by a commons committee, read more below….

An inquiry has revealed deep concerns about the coverage and contracting of a new £4 billion national emergency radio system.

A Commons’ Public Accounts Committee report released this month criticised the Home Office for its handling of the proposed the Emergency Services Network, or ESN.

Plans to deploy the “not yet proven” emergency radio system by December 2019 “would not be met”, the committee said. The committee also criticised the Home Office for mishandling contracts talks for ESN and failing to plan for delays, that could cost nearly £500 million alone.

“Good communications can make the difference between life and death for both emergency services personnel and the public but the technology ESN will rely on is not yet proven.”

Across the UK, 105 ambulance, fire and police services are expected to switch from their existing Airwave Solutions radio system to ESN by December 2019.

Unlike the ageing Airwave network, ESN will operate on an existing retail 4G network rather than a dedicated emergency radio network.

However, the committee said forcing emergency services to share a network with the public had not been attempted at scale.

The approach relied on much improved network coverage across the UK, including on the London Underground, and new technology to prioritise emergency services over other network users.

“Bringing together all the different elements to form an end-to-end system and scaling up these solutions and testing them adequately will be very challenging.”

The government is expected to spend £1.2 billion developing ESN, £1.4 billion running down Airwave, and further £2.6 billion operating ESN until 2032.

The contract with Airwaves, which was bought by Motorola last year, expires in December 2019. The committee said extending this contract, which will almost certainly be necessary given expected delays, will cost an additional £475 million a year.

In 2015, Motorola and EE won the user services and networks contracts respectively for ESN.

The committee also criticised the Home Office for not maintaining “competitive pressure” while awarding the contracts and leaving the winning bidders in a “very strong position” when the contract comes up for renewal in 2023.

The committee recommended the Home Officer test the new network coverage rigorously, improve its tendering, budget and plan for an Airwave contract extension and reassess its timeline for switching to the new system.

“It must take responsibility for convincing services to switch to ESN but also be clear at what point it will mandate the switchover.”

The Home Office was told to report back to the committee by September this year.

Sepura Contributes to Success of World’s First Cross-border TETRA System

We take it for granted that when we move around the country our mobile phones connect to the nearest mast, or we go abroad and our phones automatically connect to the network, with tetra, this is not as easy, but this article is about a test that Sepura completed connecting two TETRA networks in Norway and Sweden, interesting stuff.

Sepura radios have successfully participated in interoperability trials for the world’s first cross-border TETRA communication system, linking RAKEL and Nødnett, Sweden and Norway’s public safety networks.

More than 350 first responders were involved in the trials, which took place in Meråker, close to the Swedish border, in a crisis response exercise involving public safety users from both countries.

The cross-border system utilises TETRA Inter-System Interface (ISI) functionality to connect networks together, effectively allowing users to roam to another network. This allows first responders to use their radios in both countries – vital for smooth collaboration in emergency situations.

The initiative to strengthen co-operation between national emergency services started in 2013 with the EU-funded Inter-System Interoperability project, designed to improve the ability to respond to natural disasters and security threats. The RAKEL and Nødnett networks are scheduled to be ready for bi-national operational use in early 2017.

Sepura’s STP9000 hand-portable radios and SRG3900 mobile radios were used by both Swedish and Norwegian emergency services during the exercise, although all Sepura radios – including the new flagship SC20 range – meet the technical requirements of the ISI system.

“This is one of the most advanced multinational radio communication projects in Europe,” said Tariq Haque, Product Manager for Sepura.

“After two years’ development, bi-national interoperability has become a reality, bringing cross-border mission critical communications to Sweden and Norway.

“We are extremely pleased to have played a part in this ground-breaking event.”

Source – http://www.tetra-applications.com/33643/news/sepura-contributes-to-success-of-world-s-first-cross-border-tetra-system

Motorola Solutions’ digital two-way radio technology enhances mission-critical communications at Munich airport

Motorola solutions are a company well known for their robust two way radios and for building world class communication structures. Improving on the current TETRA system with an IP dispatch console and piloting the WAVE system, that allows a phone app to connect to the radio system, for communicating of site. You can read more about what Motorola are doing for Munich below and you can find the original article here.

Motorola Solutions has received an order to implement a comprehensive update and extension of its existing TETRA digital two-way radio system at Munich Airport.

The newly modernized communications infrastructure ensures greater connectivity, interoperability and collaboration between various business and operational functions at Germany’s second largest airport. Motorola Solutions will also provide services for ensuring smooth operations.

Within the framework of the TETRA radio network refresh, Motorola Solutions is equipping the airport with a new MCC 7500 IP Dispatch Console. The comprehensive, scalable solution enhances the IP architecture to ensure optimum call set up and availability. It will also allow Munich Airport to expand its communications infrastructure in the future without interrupting existing services. As well as this, Motorola Solutions will implement two TETRA base stations for improved TETRA radio coverage in the terminal buildings.

Alongside the improvements to the TETRA system, the airport has started a pilot project for the potential introduction of Motorola Solutions’ broadband push-to-talk (PTT) platform WAVE. The goal of the installation is to ensure that airport staff can communicate, no matter which device or infrastructure is being used. The powerful PTT solution WAVE™ Work Group Communications provides airport authorities with secure and reliable communications beyond TETRA radio – including broadband devices and networks – to enable greater workforce connectivity, interoperability and collaboration. WAVE connects the TETRA system used by administrative staff with service management employees who join the broadband platform via smartphones, computers, other radios or telephones, meaning that staff across the airport can communicate with one another from virtually any location.

“We have been working with Motorola Solutions’ TETRA two-way digital radio system since 2007,” said Michael Zaddach, head of the IT service division at Flughafen München GmbH. “The update of our TETRA infrastructure enables us to further improve our communications in airport operations and make our processes even more efficient.”

“We are collaborating closely with Munich Airport to provide a future-proof TETRA digital two-way radio network,” said Klaus-Dieter Drossel, sales director for key accounts, Motorola Solutions Germany GmbH. “We are also pleased that Munich Airport is testing our broadband push-to-talk platform WAVE, and we are certain that it will enable airport staff to work together more closely, no matter which device or network they use.”

Exactly what is the Best two way Radio For Very Long Range

When choosing the best two way radio, it is important to note that doesn’t matter which brand you pick. Whether you pick kenwood, Motorola, Icom, Hytera or any other brand, you should know that they all feature the same technology. Well, you might have noticed that most consumer radios tend to advertise a range that’s up to 30 miles. Truth is, the consumer FRS/GMRS radios don’t even provide anything close to the advertised maximum range; the range that a 2 way radio advertises is normally the range that a radio can get in the ideal condition. The ideal condition is clear line of sight like from the mountain top to the valley below; without any interference or obstructions.

Two way radios generally operate within VHF (that is Very High Frequency; 130 to 174MHzz) and UHF (that is, Ultra High Frequency; 420 – 470 MHz)) wave bands. Unlike the frequencies that are below 2MHz, the waves in these particularly higher frequencies travel in a straight line (also known as line of sight signal), and generally can’t travel beyond your horizon. This basically means that distance to your horizon, is the actual maximum range for your 2 way radio; that is without the use of any additional equipment to boost the signals.

VHF waves (about 5 feet wide), are generally longer than the UHF waves, and they’re most commonly used for long range/distance communication. If VHF waves and UHF waves were both transmitted in ideal conditions without any barriers, the VHF waves would travel nearly twice as far; as a general rule, the lower the wave frequency, the greater the distances it can travel.

Key to transmitting the radio waves for a long distance along the VHF waves is keeping the receiver and the transmitting radio above all possible obstructions or interfering objects. The VHF frequencies (because of the length of their waves), cannot transmit through some objects like walls, dense forests and hills. Typically, the transmissions which are sent along VHF waves are received and also sent high above earth’s surface. VHF two way radios normally work better when there is a clear line of sight between the receiver and the sender. VHF two way radios are commonly used in marine and aviation communications where signals get sent across the open water bodies or between the ground and the sky. Television and FM radios also use the VHF frequencies where the signals are sent and also received high at the top of towers which are spaced all over the towns, cities and counties. VHF band walkie talkies are also perfect for landscaping, open fields, golf courses and also for outdoors security situations where there is less obstruction.

Though VHF can travel much farther, it doesn’t mean it is the better option. Reason is because of the differences between how the VHF and the UHF signals tend to react around buildings or structures. As you will find out below, UHF signals are shorter than VHF, and this is very important when you’re in or around buildings.

UHF doesn’t travel as far as the VHF, but has higher bandwidth occupation. One major advantage of UHF over the VHF, is that the antenna can actually be much smaller when its’ used on the higher frequencies. Sometimes, a base antenna might be needed for radios using VHF frequency, but a small antenna on a radio can be comfortably used for the UHF frequency. Moreover, there are a lot more frequencies which are available when using UHF; this can be very useful in the areas which have a high population density.

The UHF radio waves are much shorter than the VHF radio waves (measuring at about one and half feet); the short length of UHF radio waves typically decreases distances at which the signals can get transmitted. This means that the line of sight between the receiver and the sender is much shorter in length with UHF waves. That being so, you should know that transmission of the UHF waves is usually high enough such that it can penetrate through the building walls and the urban outdoor settings. This is the reason why UHF two way radios usually work best for those who intend to use them in and around buildings and urban areas. A UHF walkie talkie with adequate power and a good sized antenna can reach further into the building, and push through steel, wood, concrete and earth. If you intend to use your 2 way radios exclusively indoors, or maybe indoors and at times outdoors, the the UHF is definitely the best choice. To explain this, let us use an example; assume you’re trying to communicate with someone on the other side of the building and in between there’s a metal wall which has a 3 foot opening. Basically, radio waves can’t pass through metal. However, the UHF wavelength which is about 1 1/2 ft wide, will easily pass through the opening. In contrast, the VHF signal will bounce back since it’s wider than the opening. This shows you that UHF is much better when it comes to navigating through smaller spaces within buildings to reach its’ destination.

When it comes to power, many people tend to think that the power output increases the range, but actually the difference in the range between, say a 25W fixed VHF, and a 5W handheld, is because the fixed mounts the antenna being taller, thus can see farther. When you are trying to increase the range, increasing the height of your antenna is far more effective than increasing the power. Increased power will generally let you push through the static and such other radio traffic much better, but only within a range that’s dictated by the height of the antenna.

In regards to obstacles, there are a lot of things which affect the signal strength of the radio waves. Therefore, it’s important to consider the environment you intend to use your two way radios , and the actual range you need. Naturally, a football stadium will have much less obstructions as compared to a dense forest.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it is never about the radio you purchase, but the frequency, antenna and environment it will be used in. If your 2 way radio is going to be used mainly outdoors, where you will have a clear line of sight, then the VHF is the ideal choice, however, if the 2 way radio is going to be used in and around buildings, in urban areas, or in heavily wooded places, then the UHF is the best option.

Icom America announces new series of NXDN IDAS mobiles and portables

The new range of Icom Radios, the 3400 and 4400 range. With a new colour screen and an SD card slot. Icom really are making strides in the radio market, We just hope that they keep the same connection types, so we can use our icom earpieces.

Icom America recently showcased a new series of multi-mode UHF/VHF NXDN IDAS radios that are designed to provide users with a flexible feature set and an enhanced user interface.

“It’s firmware upgradeable and licensed for different features,” Mark Behrends, senior manager of strategic sales at Icom America, said during an interview at the company’s booth during APCO 2016 in Orlando. “So, you pay for the basic radio, and you license up for the features that you want.”

While the next-generation IDAS radios—the 3400 series for VHF portables, 4400 for UHF portables, 5400 for VHF mobiles and 6400 for UHF mobiles—continue to operate on the VHF/UHF bands with slightly more spectral range than previous models, this new series features a color screen, a “really intuitive” interface and greater software-upgrade flexibility, Behrends said.

“What it really changes is the user interface and the usability of the radio,” he said. “So, you can have conventional standard, or you can license up for Type D trunking or Type C trunking.”

Programming the radios can be accomplished via Bluetooth, a USB port and Icom’s standard connections, Behrends said. The Bluetooth functionality allows the radios to work with myriad accessories and third-party applications, he said.

Behrends noted that the new radios support secure-digital (SD) cards, which enable additional flexibility for users.

“An SD card is pretty handy—you can record on it, you can capture GPS waypoints on it, you can program ICFS files and add new firmware through the SD card,” Behrends said.

Icom America expects this series of radios to be available this fall, after the products complete FCC testing, according to Behrends. Pricing will differ based on the type of screen included, but it generally will be comparable to Icom’s “higher-end IDAS product,” he said.

http://urgentcomm.com/icom/icom-america-announces-new-series-nxdn-idas-mobiles-and-portables