How To Look After Your Two Way Radio

Buying 2 way radio equipment is a very beneficial investment, but in order for you to get the most out of your money you should ensure that the equipment is well cared for. If you use and maintain your two way radios with proper care, they will function at their optimum capacity and you can expect them to last for many years. While no 2 way radio can last forever, there are some simple practices which can help extend the life expectancy of your two way radios and ensure they function at their very best. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the top care tips for your two way radios;

Storage

You should always store your radio(s) correctly so as to keep it in a tip top condition. The ideal environment for storing your radio involves a cool and dry (ideally at room temperature, which should be about 72 degrees Fahrenheit) with limited exposure to the extreme weather conditions like excessive cold or heat, and such other elements of water and sunlight. Excessive temperatures can easily damage the batteries; the moisture may end up corroding the batteries. Also, when storing your two way radio, you should make sure that it’s turned off and batteries are removed.

Charging Your two way Radio

First of all, you should know that two way radios are usually slightly different, so you need to familiarize yourself with the specific charging instructions of your radio. That being so, it is important to note that nearly all of the manufacturers will advise that you to turn off your radio while it’s charging. If you do not, your radio will be drawing current and also charging at the same time, and this can end up shortening the lifespan of the battery.

Overcharging your radio batteries can also cause numerous problems and will have a negative impact on its’ overall battery life, so you should make sure that when it’s charged fully you unplug its’ charger; do not leave it charging all through the night if its’ likely to remain fully charged for a long period of time while its’ still being charged. When you buy new batteries its’ the only time you can leave the radio charging overnight before you start using them for the 1st time; it’ll help you get the maximum battery capacity.

Day to Day Use

Every 2 way radios user should be very mindful of their daily use. Although there are some two way radios which are designed to be quite robust, like the explosion proof and waterproof radios, they should still be treated with great care, always. Even if you have a waterproof or explosion proof radio, do not subject it to extreme temperatures.

You should also avoid grabbing your 2 way radio by its’ antenna, as this will eventually have a negative impact on your radio’s reception and transmission quality. In addition, you should also avoid drops so as to maximize the long term functionality of your radio; consider using 2 way radio belt clips so as to reduce the chances of your radio getting dropped and subsequently getting damaged. Protecting the exterior of your radio helps protect its’ interior, thus minimizing the repairs and the replacing of the equipment.

Another important tip to note when it comes to the day to day use of two way radios, is you should never expose your radio to any solvents (unless it has been designed to be used in the harsh conditions); this includes any cleaning fluids and alcohol. Also, try and stick with the accessories which are designed specifically for your particular type of radio; this is especially important when it comes to your radio battery, charger and adapter. Using an incompatible accessory can end up shortening your radio’s lifespan and can even destroy it.

Cleaning Your 2 way Radio

You should regularly clean your radio to keep it in good working condition. The most effective and efficient way of cleaning your two way radio also happens to be one of the easiest ways as well; strong chemicals or intensive cleaning isn’t necessary. The only supplies you’ll need include some water and a microfiber cloth. The microfiber cloth will effectively wipe away the smudges and dirt without causing any damage to your radio. As for the more stubborn marks and stains, you can use a damp cloth and then wipe until the radio is clean. Remember, never immerse your two way radio in water to clean it.

Conclusion

two way radios are among the most versatile and toughest communication solutions , often lasting for many years before needing any repairs or replacement. However, in order to extend the lifespan of your 2 way radio even further, it is best to employ the above tips for two way radio care to fully secure your investment. Protecting your 2 way radio will not only increase its’ longevity, but it also ensures that you will always have reliable communications. Well, as you can see above, taking care of two way radio is relatively easy, and the amount of maintenance required is minimal. A simple cleaning now and then, proper handling, maintenance and storage is all you need in order to extend the lifespan of your two way radio and keep it in a great working condition.

Cover your ears! Amsterdam Dance Event goers invited to hearing pill tests

Anyone will tell you, we are the first to champion hearing protection and the progress to hearing health. With all the latest technological developments, we are looking at a new era of hearing health. This supplement is supposed to ‘be beneficial for reducing hearing loss due to aminoglycosides and overstimulation’ and if the test come back positive we might see further advancement in this field.

The Amsterdam Dance Event is about more than top DJs and partying, reports Senay Boztas

As 375,000 people prepare themselves for big noise at the five-day Amsterdam Dance Event, a business has asked them to listen up: Hearing Health Science is looking for recruits to trial its ‘protective’ hearing pills.

The Amsterdam-based business, co-founded by a leading inner ear neuroscientist from the University of Michigan Dr Josef Miller, has joint US patents on a dietary supplement combination including vitamins A, C, E and magnesium.

Studies have shown some evidence that this ACEMg supplement ‘can be beneficial for reducing hearing loss due to aminoglycosides and overstimulation,’ according to a report in Nature magazine in February, co-authored by Miller. Hearing Health Science hopes to begin producing pills next year and is taking pre-orders at the festival, at a cost of €30 for a four-week supply.

Pilots

It is also looking for volunteers to take part in pilot tests, signing up recruits at the Amsterdam Dance Event, which this year is putting on 2,200 acts in 140 venues and expecting a peak of numbers.

Barry Seifer, co-founder and chief executive of the company explained: ‘The pill we are bringing to market is safe, and you cannot test in the lab by giving someone a problem and then offering to cure it. If you are going to do epidemiological research on something like this – noise – you have to do it in the real world, where the problem happens. This is a great place to do that research.’

The company is planning pilot tests with volunteers from the ADE – although Seifer said they won’t be handing out pills at the door – and hopes to invite some of these to a modified crossover study. This should take place when the ‘festival’ season begins from March next year, and subjects will be followed for a period, taking the drug and a placebo at different times, and measuring their hearing through a special app developed at the University of Michigan.

Tinnitus

‘We’ve done it once with a tinnitus trial and now we want to do real-world studies in the music industry,’ says Seifer. ‘Our initial idea was to recruit 20 or 30 people but we have such intense interest that I think we’ll have 500 who sign up. We would love to be able to give this to people now because millions need help, but we’re not quite there yet. We’re not going to stand at the doors and hand out pills.’

A spokesman for ADE said the festival has worked with Hearing Health Science in the past and invited it to speak at an event on Thursday. ‘We believe you need to protect your hearing and welcome initiatives in this field,’ he said. ‘HHS has been working on this hearing protection for a long time and at ADE we are always looking out for innovations in the field of (electronic) music…we also actively offer earbuds to visitors.’

Highlights of the event this year include Afrojack, Hardwell and Martin Garrix, and the festival expects 3% more clubbers, with a steadily pattern of growth over its 10 years. House music and techno are currently the most popular genres.

Seifer adds: ‘We would never tell you to turn the music down. Entertainment goers are trying to keep the music to lower volumes and encourage people to use filters and party plugs – these are good. The problem is that this is supposed to be fun!’

Read more at DutchNews.nl: Cover your ears! Amsterdam Dance Event goers invited to hearing pill tests http://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2016/10/cover-your-ears-amsterdam-dance-event-goers-invited-to-hearing-pill-tests/

AXUM: THE FUTURE OF WIRELESS AUDIO

This article is the transcript of an interview with Igal Golva, CEO of Axum earphones, wireless earphones with secure fittings, designed for people doing exercise. A really interesting article about why these earphones are different to others on the market and what their plans are for the future of the company.

Mobile audio has always been a difficult balancing act. The need for great audio on the go has never been more prevalent. With smartphones now a staple for most people’s daily commute, exercise and fitness, the need for an audio solution that can be portable while still sounding good is the holy grail.

Apple, with the iPhone 7 has also forced people’s hands. The headphones they used to use are no longer as easy to pull out and plug in without the use of a dongle. This is where Bluetooth audio options come into play, and where the Axum wireless headphones are planning to make a splash. Currently on Indiegogo, the Axum are aiming to give people great audio, while ensuring they maintain that mobile, ultraportable feel. Currently at 528% funded, the Axum is proving to be a product many people want to get their hands on. We had a chance to talk to Igal Golvan, CEO at Axum, about what the headphones can do for audio and fitness and how they hope to change the way people view Bluetooth audio.

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 1

CGMagazine: Could you tell us a little about what Axum does and how these new headphones stand above the competition?

Igal Golvan: First of all, we not only offer four hours playtime (while others offer 1.5-2 hours) you can also get an additional four with the portable charging case. We achieved it by eliminating any unnecessary features. We are aiming to reach fitness junkies like us that need three things: fit, sound and battery life.

Our designers made a unique design that will fit you during the most extreme sport activities. In the last months all we did was test the earphones in every sport activity you can imagine .This included cycling, running, CrossFit , snowboarding and even sky diving .

The issue with True Wireless Earbuds is that all our competitors see this product as the latest technology in the headphones industry and as such they’ve aimed the technology at early adopters. Unlike them we understand the real potential of the product to become the mainstream earbuds of athletes, as the lack of cables is something so comfortable no one can even imagine, only when doing sport activities and listening to Axum earphones will you really understand the definition of freedom!

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 2

CGM: Could you go over what M-voiD® sound technology brings to the table?

IG: Sure. M-voiD stands for Multidisciplinary virtually optimized industrial Design. It’s a technology for the realistic simulation of audio systems using CAD data. It is a sophisticated technology that paves the way to reproduce outstanding sound performance to let consumers discover that earphones deliver the emotions and excitement comparable with a concert.

Realistic and predictive simulations by means of a fully coupled multiphysical electrical-mechanical-acoustical simulation model are the heart and driving backbone of M-voiD® technology. The major advantage of M-voiD® is that acoustic problems can be identified and resolved in the virtual domain before any prototype is being built.

Sound characteristics are virtually measurable and assessable and can be optimized on the virtual model. It is not just limited to the graphical reproduction. M-voiD® listens to the virtual sound of the earphone already on the computer by means of a special reproduction technique (called auralization), enabling improved sound. Bottom line, while even the largest companies out there can test 100 or maybe 10,000 prototypes to check and improve the sound quality before releasing the final product, we had the ability to test sound quality from over 10 million prototypes.

Besides that, Konzept-X also helped us with the driver design itself to maximize the results after we’ve changed the internal design.

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 3

CGM: With your Indigogo doing so well, do you foresee this will delay the final release?

IG: Exactly the opposite. We planned to wait until the funding period is over to head into mass production, but now that we understand the demand we’ll start doing it ASAP.

CGM: Why the choice to go with Indigogo over an option such as Kickstarter?

IG: We thought about KS, however the Indiegogo team was much more supportive and offered lots of relevant information on how to succeed with crowdfunding . We are product people and don’t understand crowdfunding, so a supportive team was something very important for us.

CGM: Do you plan to offer a retail version of these headphones?

IG: Of course, but first we’ll ship everything to our backers and then we’ll think about retail.

CGM: For the gamer on the go, will these offer anything beyond what is already in the wild?

IG: The perfect fit of Axum earbuds is something like you’ve never experienced before, you can see the bulky design of other brands such as Samsung and Motorola The last thing you want to do is wear those gigantic things all day long.

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 4

CGM: How do you think these headphones will do with the fitness crowd beyond just the music listener?

IG: We believe that beside the sound quality, the fit and comfort is something they’ll be addicted to. We noticed the reaction of the people while testing them out in the gym and we guarantee that once you try Axum earbuds you’ll never be able to use wires again!

CGM: Are there any obstacles you will need to overcome to bring these to market?

IG: Yes, there are many obstacles of unawareness from the customers. Many people are not familiar with this concept and think of it as a regular mono Bluetooth ear piece, so we are heading to a long journey of explaining our product and turning it into mainstream.

Axum: The Future of Wireless Audio 5

CGM: How do you feel these headphones will do with a crowded market? What sets Axum apart?

IG: We have full confidence in our product. First of all we know 100% that no matter how good your BT earbuds are, if they are not True Wireless they can’t compete with us. As for other True Wireless companies out there, based on their design they’ve never thought about athletes as their potential customers and it’s a shame as this concept is perfect for fitness and exercising. So we already have a huge advantage on them.

Intel Made A VR Headset And It’s Totally Cord-Free

Intel just announced its own virtual reality headset called Project Alloy, a VR competitor to the Oculus Rift,HTC Vive and the forthcoming PlayStation VR headsets. But what separates the Alloy from the pack is that it’s completely wireless (the wire above is for capturing video for the demo) and it should give you complete spatial awareness without all the dongles the Rift and Vive currently require.

It does this using two of Intel’s RealSense cameras to continuously map your environment. It can even map your hands.

Intel calls the idea “Merged Reality”, essentially combining inputs from cameras around your environment into a virtual world. And Intel was able to pack everything — the processor, sensors and controllers — into one cord-free headset.

During Intel’s demo, however, the RealSense camera didn’t seem quite as fluid as you’d hope, especially if it’s your primary means of reacting to the digital world around you. Intel says that its hardware will be open source in the second half of 2017 (ugh), so the headset won’t be available anytime soon. Intel is also working with Microsoft so Alloy can run Windows Holographic, the software which powers Hololens, according to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson. Microsoft says that Windows Holographic will also be released in an update for all Windows 10 PCs next year.

Source – http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/08/intel-made-a-vr-headset-and-its-totally-cord-free/

Why 2 Way Radio is wonderful for Your Company

Effective communication is crucial to the success of any business. Poor communication can easily lead to the collapse of any business regardless of size. If you’re running a huge business where keeping in touch with your staff is important, then you must put in place a very efficient communication system. A system that is not only efficient but also cost effective. These two factors are the reason 2 way radios are popular with modern businesses . A 2 way radio is a communication device that can both transmit and receive signal. It allows users using the same frequency to have a conversation at minimal or zero cost.

Why you should consider using a 2 way radio for your business

There are numerous benefits that a business will enjoy by making a 2 way radio its choice of communication. First, the radio provides a platform where you can conveniently keep in touch with your staff anytime you want. If you are the manager and the firm has several departments where you cannot physically access the staff, then this is the perfect device for you. Second, it’s easy to manage, unlike mobile phones that rely on the service providers. With radio system, you manage it from your premises.

The fact that a 2 way radio can only receive and send information at a set frequency improves your business’ safety. You can keep the frequency a secret such that only certified individuals can access crucial information. The radio also allows you to create several channels for specific groups. This option allows you to call individual groups whenever the need arises. For example, if the information is meant for security department, it will not be necessary to have it broadcasted to other groups.

Its broad geographical coverage is another reason you should have this communication gadget. If your business Covers a vast geographic area such as a farm or a construction site, this is the perfect mode of communication to employ. It can also be an effective security monitoring system if it’s well managed and utilized. Combining this system with GPS and the CCTV can significantly improve matters of security for your business.

But who can use the 2 way radio system?

A 2 way radio is one of the most user friend and flexible communication gadgets. Any firm can use it regardless of size. The radio is indeed the perfect model for a business that is struggling with geographical coverage challenges. It is ideal for shift workers, security staff, production line inspectors, farm workers, construction sites, shop watch and the list is endless. Anyone can use it. It only requires a little bit training on how to receive or to send a signal, and the user will be good to go.

Advantages of 2 way radios

One thing that stands out from this system is the reduced cost of communication- the cost is almost zero-rated compared to the other systems such as mobile phones. A 2 way radio is also very simple to use since you simply press the button to start talking. This speed can be crucial in cases of emergency compared to mobile phones where you will be needed to dial several buttons to make a call.

With this radio system, you can talk to multiple users at once- this is not possible with mobile phones. The gadget is built to military specs -the radio can be used in wet conditions and can withstand even a drop on the concrete surface. 2 way radio is one of the devices that can work in all areas of your business where mobile phones don’t work. The last but not the list of the advantage is that the radio stays on site, and thus different shifts can conveniently share it.

Key questions before installing a 2 way radio system

There are several questions that you must get clear answers to before you install a 2 way radio system. First, the area that the radio system is going to be used must be known. This will determine the power of the transmitter needed to cover that area. The number of people projected to use the radios should be the next question. The answer gives the number of radios required. The last question should be your budget. You must purchase what you can afford without compromising on the quality. With these questions answered, then you can have the most efficient 2 way radio communication system for your business.

How Does GPS Tracking Work

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a network of 24 satellites placed in orbit for navigation purposes. It was invented in 1960 and positioned by the US Department of Defense for military work but later released to the public as well. GPS navigation system works 24 hours a day anywhere in the world, and is free to use. The system sends signals to navigation devices to calculate the exact location, time and speed of a vehicle, person, aircraft or water equipment. Today it’s used widely by drivers, trucking companies, and shipping firms to track their cargo and know the best route to use.

How GPS Tracking Works

There are at least four satellites available anywhere one stands on earth. All the satellites circle the earth two times a day and send signals to various areas. Any GPS receiver including mobile phones takes this signal information and calculates the user’s location.

How this method works involves calculating the difference between when the signal was sent and when it was received. This difference tells the receiver how far the satellite is, and the distance comparison of several satellites within the same area confirms the location on the electronic map.

The more satellites found within a receiver’s location, the easier it is to calculate speed, distance, and destination. At least three satellites are needed to calculate position, but a fourth satellite makes it possible to tell the speed, direction and estimated time when you are on the move.

Personal Tracking

Mobile GPS technology has made it possible to track people wherever they are. Today any phone can be tracked by the police or mobile service providers. Other mobile devices that help with tracking include jewellery such as watches, bracelets and even chips embedded in the skin.

Smartphones are also equipped with built-in GPS system that can provide the user with direction and navigation instructions. Most of these phones can tell you exactly where you are, including streets and attraction figures. They can alert you if you are going the wrong direction and give you the correct navigation.

Asset Tracking

It is so easy to track your cargo when it’s on the go. A tracking device or chip can be placed on the assets to know exactly where they are, the direction they are heading and when movement stops. Animal tracking devices are also commonly used to locate where cattle and wildlife are all the time.

Aircraft Trackers

GPS aircraft tracking is essential for both private and commercial planes. Though the primary agenda is safety and convenience, GPS works differently on the aircraft as compared to how it’s used in cars. Aircraft tracking enables traffic controllers to know the position of the plane and keep it safe when flying.

GPS also help the supervisors know when the plane will arrive and find it in the case of an accident. However, the greatest use of GPS tracker in aircraft is to ensure the pilot follows a particular path predetermined by the aircraft controller.

Vehicle Tracking

A GPS-enabled tracking device is placed on a vehicle to transmit data through cellular or satellite networks. This device will send the data to a chosen application such as NetTrack for the user to read. The tracking updates and information such as location, speed, direction and stop come in real-time.

GPS tracking system for vehicles enables people to track their cars when they are stolen, keep a tab on your business tracks and know where your child is with the car. It’s an easy and convenient way to keep track of vehicles, be it trucks, small vehicles or fleet of buses.

GPS and Two-Way Radio Integration

Two way radios are great devices used by campers, police force, and emergency dispatch for safety, tracking, and communication. However, they have shortcomings such as lack of real-time transmission, slow updates and being unreliable. Two way radio with GPS makers such as Garmin has integrated their systems with GPS capabilities. The GPS will help to know where someone is at all times even when the device is off, update locations in real time and store data for future use. It’s also handy in case of emergencies to get help and aid search activities.

UK Law

In the United States and most of the other developed countries, the use of GPS tracker by government authorities is limited. They must have a search warrant. Otherwise, any data found will not be admissible in court.

However, UK Law has no specific legislation on GPS trackers. The United Kingdom does recognize that some information is personal data, but it allows government surveillance without permission.

Far offshore windfarms present communications challenges

This is an interesting article debating the different types of communication that can be used over a long distance, and as they distance moves further and further, the different types of communication drop off or become part of an infrastructure. As engineers battle with this problem, knowledge of how radio frequencies and applications becomes paramount.

As offshore windfarms are built further and further from land, alternatives to conventional VHF communications are going to be required

A cornerstone of any major project is clear communication between all parties. As we move windfarm construction further offshore, maintaining efficient voice and data communications becomes essential. With many projects now being constructed beyond the range of VHF radio and cellular telephone, such as a Gemini or Dudgeon offshore windfarms, crew transfer vessel (CTV) operators and their clients are experiencing challenges achieving practical and affordable offshore communications. My experience on two far offshore projects in the last 15 months has shown that creative thinking can work together with existing equipment such as TETRA radio to reduce the risks and stress that poor communications can generate.

Communication solutions on offshore windfarms depend on the phase that the operation is in, the size of the project and the distance from shore. Many smaller, older windfarms rely on VHF radios to communicate between shore and vessel and shore/vessel and work team on the turbines. However, VHF is limited in range being a line-of-sight system, and the signal has trouble penetrating structures such as wind turbines due to the Faraday cage effect. Conventional cellular telephone coverage is also possible on nearshore sites, with some windfarms installing a cellular mast within the windfarm. Vessels at anchor off the Dutch port of IJmuiden can thank the windfarm industry for good connection when waiting for a pilot if they have contracts with the provider KPN.

When moving further offshore, luxuries such as a cellular mast will not be installed during the construction phase, and it is most likely that VHF radios will not be sufficient. It is common for the developer to install a TETRA radio network – similar to those used by national emergency response services such as police and fire departments.

TETRA, or terrestrial trunked radio as it is properly termed, is a secure network allowing one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many communications. This means that the marine controller can speak directly and privately to one party or to the entire offshore spread depending on what is needed. It transmits on a lower frequency than VHF so covers a greater range. This still is not enough to cover the distances experienced on far offshore windfarms. If multiple base stations are used, each base station can then automatically rebroadcast a message thus expanding the network coverage. On a recent construction project, it was found that there were communications blackspots in the area of the sea passage from the base port to the site. This was later eliminated by fitting full base station units rather than just handheld transceivers on the CTVs. The CTVs then became vital links in the communications network and ensured the blackspots were reduced or eliminated altogether.

TETRA has many other advantages, including the ability to penetrate the tower of a wind turbine, and calls are not dropped when moving between base station carriers due to the network configuration. This is especially important if vessel-carried base stations are relaying far offshore. The network is also secure, which ensures that commercially sensitive information cannot be intercepted. With the one-to-one mode, it also means that managers can have detailed conversations on sensitive subjects.

However, anecdotal information received from vessel crews in the field appear to indicate that TETRA, although a good system, is not foolproof. One vessel master reported that, after 15 months on site, they still had blackspots with TETRA and sometimes have to use the cell phone application WhatsApp to request that turbines be started or stopped so that he can land a team.

TETRA does not solve the operational problems experienced by vessel-operating companies who require frequent voice and data communication with the CTVs to ensure a smooth delivery of service. As most sites far offshore are outside of cell phone coverage and clients demand that daily reports are issued on time, creativity is needed. There is a simple solution that could solve all of the communication problems far offshore – installing VSAT satellite communications on each CTV, which allows instant telephone and data transfer.

However, the practicalities of chartering in today’s windfarm industry eliminates this option, as the client will not want to pay for installation and operation, and a vessel owner cannot afford such a luxury. Charterers therefore need to make a decision: either they assume responsibility and the costs for practical workable satellite communications on their vessels or look for practical alternative solutions to deliver what is needed far offshore.

One practical solution to maintain communications between the marine co-ordination centre and vessels is to step back a generation and use medium frequency/high frequency single side band radios, which are common equipment on larger CTVs and is standard on service operation vessels (SOVs) or installation vessels.

When used in conjunction with the digital selective calling (DSC) function of the GMDSS standard, voice communications can be maintained at long distance without operating cost. Unfortunately, current guidance for the marine co-ordination in windfarms as found in the G9 Good practice guideline: The safe management of small service vessels used in the offshore wind industry does not yet consider marine co-ordination and communications in far offshore windfarms.

Another practical solution to improve data communication is to install powerful WiFi antennas on the decks of SOVs and other major offshore assets to allow CTVs to have internet access when they are in close proximity. CTVs can then download passenger manifests and weather reports and upload the daily progress report and synchronise planned maintenance and email systems.

CTVs spend considerable time in close proximity to the SOV during passenger transfer, bunkering or waiting for the next assignment, and it is relatively easy to set up the computers to connect and synchronise without operator input, thus reducing the risk of distraction. SOVs should be designed with space for CTV crews to use as a secure office so that laptops can be left connected to the network. In this way, crews can have two computers and prepare work when on shift, transfer via a data stick and upload when they go off shift.

One of the most effective tools that we have identified is WhatsApp, which seems to require very low signal strength to connect and transfer brief messages. On recent projects, we have found that most vessel/office communication occurs in this medium, including fault finding and incident reporting and investigation. Crews have found it quicker to video a CCTV system playback and send via WhatsApp than download the CCTV video and send it via a file transfer service. As synchronising an electronic planned maintenance system offshore is very time consuming, our superintendents have taken to sending the worklists via WhatsApp to the vessels who then confirm back with text or images when a job is complete. The superintendent then does the PMS administration from their office with the advantage of high speed network connections. Experience with WhatsApp has led me to believe that agile, low data applications will form part of the future of offshore communication.

Far offshore projects have moved from planning and dreaming to reality. However, effective and cost-efficient communication solutions have not moved with them. Like most challenges with far offshore windfarms, there is no single solution, but experience has shown that, with creativity and flexibility, projects can communicate with their teams and operators can manage their vessels.

Better equipment earlier on in the construction phase, such as MF/HF radios in the MCC and on the vessels, TERA base stations on the vessels and open deck WiFi on construction assets will all assist in improving safety and reducing stress while ensuring that unnecessary costs are not incurred.

Ham radio: A last resort when phone lines fail

We at this blog believe in radio communications and will never let it die, understanding the importance that it still plays, and during the worst catastrophes, will be the best form of communication. This story about 9-11 adds proof to this statement.

If disaster strikes, there is a form of communication that can still get through: a ham radio.

When 9/11 hit New York City in 2001, for instance, ham radio operators provided a connection to the outside world.

One of those people was amateur radio enthusiast Bob Kyvig, formerly of White Bear Lake, who now lives in Centerville.

“The only communication out there on 9/11 was amateur radio,” Kyvig recalled. “The telephone lines were jammed and no one was going in or out.”

On the days following that horrific attack, Kyvig assumed the role of messenger, relaying messages from Manhattan to loved ones in the area by calling or knocking on their door. His house calls would go like this: “I am Bob; I am a ham operator. I just communicated with your loved one; they are fine and doing well and they will talk to you soon.”

When White Bear Lake sailor Gerry Spiess landed in Samoa on his historic solo voyage across the Pacific Ocean in 1981, he contacted Kyvig, who connected Spiess with his wife Sally.

When Hugo’s tornado struck in 2008, he and wife Jill remained on the radio as long as they could but had to abandon the “ham shack” as the storm approached. The tornado did $30,000 damage to their home, including Kyvig’s outside antennas.

A ham since 1968, long before Facetime, email or Skype, Kyvig was 20 when he took up the hobby while serving in the Navy. He was stationed in Hawaii and had childhood buddies serving in Germany and aboard the USS Milwaukee. The three met on the radio at least once a week without fail for more than 40 years, until the death of one of the men in 2015.

That connection to people is what Kyvig most enjoys. He chats on the radio to people he’s never met around the world.

“It’s a worldwide network of people enjoying fellowship with other hams,” Kyvig said.

The radio operator answers calls for help in areas of “health and welfare,” and was on Centerville’s first CERT (citizen emergency response team), which is now inactive. He serves as a severe weather spotter too, and gains “insights” as to what is happening around the world by chatting to foreigners.

“We talk about everything from fishing, to weather and local problems,” he said. “It’s very interesting because you find out so much about people across the world. And it’s not just the personal part but handling messages for help in disasters.”

He’s listened to astronauts aboard the space station and scientists at the South Pole. He has talked to people in Russia, New Zealand and most of Europe. For a long time, he kept a conversation going with a man in Norway who lived close to some of his relatives. Wife Jill also has her ham license and enjoys talking to other women, known as YLs or young ladies, across the world. “Lord knows what they’re talking about,” Bob said. “I leave the room.”

Ham buffs do have opportunity to meet at events called “eyeball picnics.” The Kyvigs traveled to a picnic in Branson, Missouri earlier this summer to socialize with other hams and match voices with faces.

Without getting too technical, Kyvig explained that radio signals are bounced up through the ionosphere. The signal goes up and down several times before it hits the final destination and you don’t control where it hits. People who want to contact Kyvig can tune into his call number: WA0ROH, assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates interstate and international communications. The agency requires operators to keep a log of who they talk to on an electronic spreadsheet.

“We could be talking to people the FCC thinks is a bad guy,” he said. “Because we can transmit all over the world without a phone line, some use it to their own means.”

Other countries have comparable agencies.

Each country has its own beginning call letters. The United States uses W, K and N.

“The concept is simple,” he added. “We use what Mother Nature has provided: airwaves. We plug a number in for a country and anyone can answer.”

A true party line, Kyvig said 30,000 people could be listening in on a conversation.

Jill proudly pointed out that Bob earned a master’s degree from The 3905 Century Club. It’s not the typical academic degree, but a difficult achievement nonetheless. “The degree was a challenge,” he said, which explains why only 68 radio operators have received the degree since 1967.

Bob inspired her to get her license, Jill said, and together they do public service events using ham radio.

Invented in the early ’20s, ham equipment is evolving, but affordable. Newbies can do it for about $300, he said. There are antennas on his roof, but mostly they are horizontal wires stretched between a tree and the house. Generator backup is used if there’s a power outage. He also keeps a mobile 12 volt transmitter that he can use in his truck to chat while he’s driving.

At one time, working knowledge of Morse code was a requirement to get an FCC ham license, but that was dropped, so more people are getting into it, he said.

When he’s not on the radio, Kyvig enjoys making furniture and fixing TVs. He retired from a career in computer operations about five years ago.

Source – http://www.presspubs.com/citizen/news/article_c147ab30-7c25-11e6-9028-679823bb75af.html

What 2 way Radio Channel Should I Use

You may get confused about various types of walkie talkies on sale in the UK, or not be certain what type of walkie talkies you require , and what you’re legally allowed to use in some other countries that you plan to visit, or in your part of the world. Firstly, it is important to have in mind that any type of walkie talkie will function in any part of the world.

A walkie talkie is used on a channel that has a frequency associated with the walkie talkie. In other words, if a channel has a frequency different from that of a walkie talkie, then the two will not work together.

License Free Walkie Talkies

There are 446 license-free frequencies that can be used for leisure radios such as, Motorola talkabout, Binatone and Cobra radios. However, there are eight PMR466 frequencies or PMR466 channels that can be used.

The spacing between each of these frequencies is 12.5 kHz. As the system name suggests, PMR446 frequencies are located around 446MHz and are in the UHF segment of the radio range.

Even though they are not necessarily authorized, PMR446 frequencies are harmonized for use across European countries.

High level use of PMR446 frequencies may result in some annoying problems. However, these can be reduced or rectified by changing the frequency of the PMR446. Other systems such as DCS codes and CTCSS tone can as well help in alleviating the problems.

In view of the possible high use of the frequencies and the PMR446’s unlicensed nature, the scheme is not appropriate for individuals who need to gain access to frequencies at specific times and locations or for life use.

These are simple, short-range walkie talkies that conform to the European Union-wide PMR446 standard and can be used by any person in the United Kingdom or European Union without a license. These types of radios are commonly sold in High-Street shops as well as in most radio outlets.

Commonly known as “PMR446s” radios that meet these standards usually have a power output of 0.5watts, meaning that their range is lower compared to the powerful business walkie talkies that are a licensed and which feature power outputs of 4-5 watts. All of them make use of the same eight channels and this causes problems sometimes if a given area has a lot of radio users using these channels.

Licensed Walkie Talkies

Two Way Radio for Business

Licensed handheld walkie talkies can have a power output of 5 watts, but “license free” PMR446 walkie talkies can only have 0.5watt power output. Therefore, the licensed walkie talkies usually have a better signal penetration and better range in buildings.

A majority of businesses prefer using a licensed 2-way walkie talkie system because, in spite of the benefits of license free walkie talkies (PMR 446), they have some downsides (like lower power, a short range and interference) which make them less effective than licensed business radio systems.

Taxi as well as other transport companies, and large sites like factories or hospitals, and businesses situated in a number of different locations are excellent examples of circumstances where a licensed radio system may be a favored option.

These situations require more powerful radios as opposed to hand-held portable walkie talkies with low frequencies. If the system of your radio relies on vehicle-mounted radios or a base station, a licensed radio system is necessary.

Ofcom

If you want start using a radio system in your business, then you will have to get a license from Ofcom. In other words, Ofcom is a company that controls who can transmit on what frequency and where, to ensure that different users don’t interfere with each other.

Business radio system users range from factories and taxi companies, to industrial sites, hospitals, transport operators and care homes. To begin Ofcom’s licensing process there are a number of requirements that a business must first of all fulfil.

Ofcom license is especially important regarding official radio users like police, military, railways, air traffic control and emergency services, railways, etc. Radio systems that meet specific standards can be used without any license from Ofcom. For many walkie talkie users, license free radios will be okay. And if you are in need of a license, it isn’t that expensive or complicated to get one.

The UK simple license is a license issued by Ofcom and gives holders the right to use more powerful radios. It is effectively a license to use powerful radios any place in the UK, using give frequencies which are shared by anyone using this license. This license is easy and quick to apply for, costs about £75 per organization, and is valid for 5 years.

It is the only option for people who need to use their radio systems anywhere in the United Kingdom, and is ideal for most business radios users.

Geographic License

This license provides you with specific frequencies or frequency allocated just for your organization’s use within a given geographical area. The cost of the license varies from moderately cheap in most locations in the UK (about £100 annually), with the cost heightening in key cities, more so London, where the demand for radio frequencies is very high, going for up to more than £500 per year.

Radios that are designed to use dedicated frequencies such as this, should not be used outside of the licensed area, since the same frequency will possibly have been assigned to somebody else and you will therefore be causing interference to them.

UK Business Radio Suppliers License

This is a license for hire companies and radio equipment suppliers. It allows these companies to do short term radio hire via a set of frequencies allotted to radio hire companies. It also allows these companies to provide ‘demo’ radio systems to potential customers and to undertake repairs to radio systems.

When these companies hire out their radio equipment, it’s hired using this license, so that the person hiring it does need to worry about licensing issues.

Summary

The importance of walkie talkies and radios in the UK and other parts of the world cannot be overlooked. Not only are these gadgets important in everyday communication, but they continue to play a very crucial role in the development of other communication tools. A lot of useful information about radios and walkie talkies has been highlighted in this article for the benefit of radio users and the public in general.

Innovative radio technology keeps New Zealand’s Firefighters safe

We champion the advancement of communications within the emergency services, not only because it is an important part of their working day, but because they still have a long way to go before it is perfect. This news story comes from New Zealand and focuses on the fire service and is supplied by Motorola themselves.

Firefighters serving with New Zealand Fire Service will benefit from improved safety and communication while working in fire grounds through an innovative two-way radio solution.

The new solution from Motorola Solutions and Spark will enable the service’s 10,000 career and volunteer firefighters to stay connected to their colleagues in the field via reliable and robust voice communication.

Having attended around 73,000 incidents in the past year alone, New Zealand Fire Service needs the best tools for the job. The organisation will receive more than 4,500 new radios designed for use in the most severe fire ground environments.

A major feature of the solution is a cornerstone Motorola Solutions innovation, a remote speaker microphone that will be fully integrated within firefighters’ breathing apparatus. This will be combined with the radio’s convenient push-to-talk button, which enables firefighters to communicate easily and safely in the harshest conditions.

Paul Baxter, Chief Executive & National Commander of the New Zealand Fire Service, said,

“Communication is critical to safety on the incident ground, and much of that communication comes from the use of incident ground control (IGC) radio. That’s why we were so exacting in our requirements for these new radios.”

“The radios will help us to resolve radio interface issues with firefighters’ breathing apparatus while also delivering improved noise cancellation and battery life.”

By using a combination of single and multiband radios operating across both VHF and UHF bands, the solution aligns with the fire service’s vision of leading integrated fire and emergency services for a safer New Zealand.

“This radio solution enables us to move away from using a mix of models and frequencies and toward a nationally consistent standard that will make it easier to work with our emergency service partners,” Baxter said.

Murray Mitchell, Director ICT for the New Zealand Fire Service, said, “We wanted a solution that is safe, easy to use and doesn’t distract firefighters from their work during critical incidents.The design features incorporated in these new radios will help our firefighters work more safely and efficiently.”

Spark will provide in-country support including service management and a customer support desk.

Spark Digital CEO Tim Miles said: “Radios are life-saving tools for our emergency services, and great team communication can be the difference between a managed incident and a disaster. We are very proud to play a part in improving the on-ground experience for our Kiwi Fire Service heroes.”

Motorola Solutions Managing Director for New Zealand and Australia Steve Crutchfield said the solution drew on his company’s experience in providing tailored, mission-critical communications for public safety agencies all over the world.

“Firefighters depend on reliable and robust voice communications in emergency situations so they can concentrate on the job of protecting our communities and potentially saving lives,” Crutchfield said.

The radios are part of a five-year contract, giving New Zealand Fire Service operational and cost certainty throughout the life of the contract.

The contract also provides access provisions for related government agencies wanting to take advantage of the new radio technology.