Improve Your Activism and Community Groups with Two-Way Radios

Robust two-way radios for activism and community groups will engage and inform your members for more effective campaigns. In today’s super-connected world, people are more powerful when they come together for a common cause, whether it’s to protest an unpopular court decision or engage in grassroots community policing for a safer neighborhood. Cell phones and the internet can take communications just so far. At times when cell phone towers may be overloaded with activity, a particular location has spotty coverage or if you need to get an urgent message out to your entire team, nothing beats community walkie-talkies!

Activism and Two-Way Radios

While you can do advance planning online, the situation while marching through city streets can quickly change. When people are spread across a wide area of many blocks, how can you quickly reorganize at a moment’s notice? Two-way radios make it easy to broadcast a directive to protest leaders so they can effectively organize large groups. They also come in handy if there’s suddenly a blockade or police activity. Does it appear that someone might get arrested or is someone being harassed on a company picket line? Broadcast that information to the team and have someone get a camera crew out.

There are different options for high-quality two-way radios, and at Tech Wholesale, we have radios for every budget and to fit any requirements. If you’re looking for something especially affordable so you can outfit several members of your activist team, consider the Motorola Talkabout Series. They’re designed for personal and family use and are made tough to withstand rugged use. They also broadcast on the Family Radio Service (FRS) band, which does not require an FCC license to operate. They also have built-in NOAA weather channels, so you can stay ahead of the weather and know if there’s a storm approaching.

Community Watchdog Groups and Walkie-Talkies

Many citizens living in the inner cities are becoming more active in working with law enforcement to patrol their streets to keep their community and their children safe. These community watchdog groups need to keep in close contact with each other for the monitoring to be at its most effective. For this activity also, two-way radios make perfect sense. If someone sees an individual behaving in a suspicious way or witnesses criminal activity, they can call for reinforcements or radio for someone to call the police. In addition to the Motorola Talkabout radios, the Motorola digital radios, operating on the 900 MHz frequency band, also do not require an FCC license. There are digital radio features that analog radios don’t have, such as the ability to talk to a single person privately, in addition to broadcasting to your group. They’re also extremely lightweight, built to military specifications and have a very long battery life of up to 14 hours.

Walkie-talkies keep community members and protestors in constant contact to keep everyone well informed and safe. Superior to cell phones in that they don’t require cell phone towers, these two-way radios will keep you talking even when coverage is spotty or when the towers are overloaded on a busy day. They’ll help give your community or your cause new energy, vitality and solidarity.

Add comment August 26th, 2016

Be Prepared with Emergency Disaster Essential Kits

With a household emergency disaster kit that includes family walkie-talkies for added safety, you and your loved ones will be able to comfortably weather a bad storm or just about any other kind of disaster. It’s a very smart practice to have everything you need before you need it, safely stored in a particular location in your home. This way, you won’t be scrambling around during the emergency to try to find the essentials, when store supplies may be low or impossible to get to. The Red Cross, experts in preparing for emergencies and dealing with their aftermath, publishes a list of emergency supplies that should be included in your emergency preparedness kit. Make sure you have a large carrying case (or a few, for multiple family members), in the event you need to evacuate to a safer facility. In that case, you will need to bring your supplies with you.

A little preparation can go a long way in the event of an emergency, in keeping you and your family safe and comfortable. And for the best quality family two-way radios, check out Tech Wholesale’s Motorola Talkabout Series radios. They’re designed for personal and family use.

Basic Supplies for an Emergency

  • Water – Per person: 1 gallon per day (evacuation: 3-day supply; at-home use: 2-week supply)
  • Food – Easy to prepare, non-perishable food items (evacuation: 3-day supply; at-home use: 2-week supply)
  • Flashlight
  • Hand-crank or battery-powered radio (NOAA Weather Radio is ideal – certain two-way radios, such as the Motorola Talkabout T460, include NOAA weather stations)
  • Extra batteries for electronic devices
  • First aid kit
  • Medical items and medications (7-day supply)
  • Multi-purpose tool (such as a Swiss Army knife)
  • Personal hygiene and sanitation products
  • Copies of personal documents (medical information and medication list, proof of address, deed to home or lease, birth certificates, passports, home and personal insurance policies)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Emergency contact information; family contact information
  • Cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Maps of your general area

Emergency Supplies for Families with Children and/or Pets

  • Two-way radios – to keep family members connected over a large home, in transit or in an evacuation shelter. During emergency situations, cell phone towers may become overloaded, and coverage may not be ideal in other locations away from home.
  • Personal medical supplies such as contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids with batteries, blood sugar testing equipment, syringes
  • Babies supplies (baby food, formula, bottles, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (food, carrier, bowl, collar, leash, identification)
  • Extra sets of house keys and car keys
  • Activities and games for kids
  • Manual can opener

Additional Emergency Gear Based on Common Local Disasters

Make these items part of your survival kit or home emergency kit, depending upon the most common disasters in your location. For example, in low-lying areas prone to flooding, you should have heavy duty rain gear and waterproof clothing.

  • Matches, lighters
  • Portable lights, candles
  • Rain gear; waterproof clothes
  • Extra clothing, sturdy shoes, hat
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and scissors
  • Towels
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Work gloves
  • Liquid bleach
  • Supplies and tools for securing your home
  • Blankets, sleeping bags
  • Entertainment items, games

Keep your most important emergency supplies ready to go at a moment’s notice in an easy-to-carry shoulder bag or backpack. Stay safe and prepared!

Add comment August 23rd, 2016

How to Get Two Different Walkie-Talkies to Communicate With Each Other

If you have one type of walkie-talkie and your friend has another, you may wonder how to get them to communicate with one another. While many people think that two different walkie-talkie brands won’t work together, these simple steps will show you how to get them to “talk.”

  • Set your walkie-talkies to the same channel. If they won’t communicate with one another, then move on to the next step.
  • If your walkie-talkies won’t communicate on the same channel, check for CCTCSS (or Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) blocking. If you have CCTCSS activated, it sends a tone along with your voice when you speak. This isn’t detectable by a person, but it is detected by the receiving radio. If the tone that is detected isn’t the tone that the accepting walkie-talkie is “told” to accept, however, it won’t let the message through; this is why some messages won’t come through from other brands of devices. To fix this, simply switch off the CCTCSS functions on your walkie-talkies.
  • Another type of signaling is DCS, or Digital Coded Squelch. This is similar to CCTCSS, but instead of sending a tone, it sends a digital code. If your radios still won’t communicate with one another, they may have DCS codes that aren’t compatible. Simply turn the DCS feature off and they may start to work together.
  • Depending on if your radio works with FRS or GMRS frequencies, the channel numbers may be different. You may think that your radios are on the same channel, when actually channel 1 on one radio is channel 8 on the other. If this is the case, you’ll want to look up the channels and their corresponding channel numbers on the other type of frequency.

Add comment July 18th, 2016

Why Police Officers and Firefighters Don’t Use Cell Phones

Have you ever wondered why police officers, firefighters and other essential emergency personnel don’t use their cell phones to communicate with one another on the job? With so many technological advancements to cell phones in recent years it may seem like these devices are the most reliable forms of communication, but in reality, it’s the classic two-way radio that gets the job done in times of crisis. Here are just a few reasons why police and fire departments rely on two-way radios.

  • Two-way radios don’t operate on phone lines. Because two-way radios don’t require phone lines, they always work, even when the lines are congested. In large-scale emergencies when dozens of people are trying to use their cell phones in one specific area, the phone lines often become so congested that calls are dropped or don’t go through at all. Two-way radio signals, however, don’t use this same type of phone line, which makes them much more reliable even when the phone lines aren’t.
  • They’re much faster than cell phones. When you use a cell phone, you first have to dial the person’s phone number and then wait for them to answer the phone. With a two-way radio, however, you can be in almost instant communication with the other party simply by pressing a button.
  • You can communicate with a whole network of people all at once. When everyone at a police department or fire department uses the same signal on their two-way radios, it’s easy to send an instant message or announcement to all parties at one time. This is especially important in cases of fires, robberies or shootings when emergency departments need all hands on deck.
  • Cell phones are too fragile. In terms of practicality on the job, cell phones are also just too fragile. Most two-way radios used by emergency personnel are waterproof, resistant to heat from fires and even durable enough to survive a fall or crush, which makes them much more practical than delicate cell phones. 

Add comment July 14th, 2016

How Does a Repeater Work?

While a two-way radio is a very simple device to use, many people don’t fully understand how it works. This is especially true for the two-way radio repeater, which is an essential part of any reliable radio setup.

A two-way radio repeater is a device that acts like a link between two radio operators so that they can cover a larger area than usual. While many two-way radios only offer line-of-sight coverage, by incorporating a repeater into your setup, you can contact friends, family members or coworkers from much farther away.

Repeaters work by receiving the frequency from your two-way radio and re-transmitting it at a different frequency in real time. When the repeater re-transmits the frequency it does so at a higher wattage than usual in portable radios, which allows your two-way radios to broadcast audio to a much wider range of reception.

Not only can a repeater receive a frequency, it can also transmit a frequency at the very same time. Because of this, repeaters are often also called “transceivers.”

The components of a repeater are the receiver, which accepts the incoming signal, and the transmitter, which boosts audio signals and transmits them to travel farther. A high-gain antenna is also an essential component to a repeater, as it transmits and receives signals. Aluminum cable feed lines are used to connect the antennae to the source, while a controller activates the repeater’s transmitter, identifies the repeater’s station ID, sends out pre-recorded messages and does a number of other tasks.

If you think that your two-way radio system could benefit from a repeater, Tech Wholesale carries a very reliable Two-Way Radio Repeater that works with a number of different two-way radios from top brands.

Add comment July 11th, 2016

Learn About the History of Two-Way Radios in the Military

While it may seem commonplace to see photos of military soldiers using two-way radios from wars throughout history, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, using two-way radios revolutionized the way branches of the military worked and greatly improved a soldier’s chance of survival when they were deep in the trenches. Here are just a few of the most important points from the history of two-way radios in the military.

  • Before true two-way radios were used in the military, two-way telegraphy transmitters and receivers were installed in military ships. This allowed for communication between far-away ships that were out of sight of land.
  • In 1923, Senior Constable Frederick William Downie of the Victorian Police in Australia invented the first true two-way radio. This made the Victorian Police the first police force in the world to use wireless communication in its cars. Before that, police officers had to make calls from public telephone boxes.
  • Next, two-way radio equipment was installed in military aircrafts. This enabled pilots and scouts to send back observations of the ground in real time without dropping messages from above.
  • The first walkie-talkie was invented in 1940. It was called the Motorola SCR-300, and it was created by an engineering team at the Galvin Manufacturing Company, which later became Motorola. While today we think of “walkie-talkies” as handheld radios, back then, the walkie-talkie referred to a device that was carried on the soldier’s back.
  • During World War II, both the Allies and the Axis forces used the first type of hand-held walkie-talkies (or radio transceivers) in their air and ground troops. It was called the AM SCR-536. While they only allowed one station to transmit messages at a time while the other station listened, they used a simple communication protocol so that others didn’t interrupt one station’s messages. These walkie-talkies didn’t transmit audio, but they could communicate through Morse code.
  • On military ships, certain officers held the position of “radio operating officer.” This meant that their sole responsibility was to handle radio messages. These positions were eliminated once voice transmission became possible.
  • After World War II, a company called Raytheon invented the AN/PRC-6. This used 13 vacuum tubes for the receiver and transmitter, plus another set of 13 vacuum tubes as spares. It also had a 24-inch antenna and an optional handset that could be connected with a 5-foot-long cable.
  • In the 1970s, the US Marines developed a squad radio to replace the AN/PRR-9 helmet mount. In 1976, Magnavox created the AN/PRC-68, which was eventually issued to the Marines and the Army in 1980. These portable “ham” radios were often abbreviated as HT, which stood for “handie talkie.”
  • Today, the military still uses modernized versions of this type of walkie-talkie. Most military organizations use options like the AN/PRC-148 Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR), which can communicate on a variety of bands and also has encryption capabilities. These are often used in marine and aviation capacities when fixed radio mounts would be very costly.

Add comment July 7th, 2016

10 Everyday Uses for Two-Way Radios

Even if you’re not particularly interested in the world of two-way radios, these long-used gadgets serve important purposes in many lives. From protecting families in case of emergency to helping groups of friends stick together in large crowds, there are many more uses for two-way radios than you might think. Here are just 10 everyday uses for two-way radios that you might have never considered before.

  • In case of a large-scale emergency, such as a bomb threat or a robbery, a two-way radio may be your only way of communicating with law enforcement. When catastrophic events happen, so many people attempt to use their cell phones that it often blocks the phone lines; in this case, two-way radios are much more effective in calling for help.
  • If you go on a family vacation to, say, a water park or amusement park, you might want to invest in two-way radios to help the family stay connected. Even if you lose cell phone signal, you’ll still be able to find each other by using your radios.
  • For those who live on a farm or another large property, you may like to use two-way radios when doing yard work or work around the farm.
  • If you and some friends or family members are carpooling on a trip, use two-way radios to stay together. Even if you get separated, you won’t have to use your cell phones to quickly find out the other car’s location.
  • If you run a small business, using two-way radios is an efficient and affordable way to keep your entire staff in communication and on the same page.
  • If you have children, two-way radios can be a very fun way to keep them occupied – and amateur radio makes a great hobby once the kids get older, too! Invest in two or three two-way radios that your little ones can use while playing hide-and-seek or other outdoor games.
  • If you’re an avid hiker or camper, carrying a two-way radio with you is a great way to stay safe out in the wilderness. Even if you’re venturing out on a hike alone, you can stay safe knowing that you’re always just a call away from safety.
  • Planning a large party? Two-way radios make it much easier to get everything organized in time for the big event. Keep in touch with the caterers, answer questions about the guest list or even stay in touch with the rest of the group in the case of a surprise party.
  • If you’re leaving your children in the care of a nanny or babysitter, you may feel anxious about staying in touch when you’re away. Instead of calling to check on them every hour, keep a walkie-talkie on hand so that you can quickly check in without too much effort.
  • In the wintertime, you may want to carry a two-way radio with you on your upcoming ski trips. If you get in a sticky situation or sustain an injury while on the mountain, you can easily call for help even when you’re out of cell phone range.

Add comment July 4th, 2016

Things Walkie-Talkies Do Better Than Cell Phones

While your cell phone is great for sending photos to friends and making quick, everyday phone calls, there are a number of reasons why you should also own a two-way radio. These types of radios are essential in the case of a large-scale emergency, and they also enable you to get in contact with family or medical personnel if phone lines go down. Here are just a few things that walkie-talkies do better than cell phones.

  • Walkie-talkies are much more durable than most modern cell phones. Many types of walkie-talkies are waterproof and resistant to dropping or sinking, and they even float if they fall into deep water.
  • Walkie-talkies are much more affordable than cell phones, and they don’t require monthly plans to use. This means that all it takes to operate a walkie-talkie is a one-time purchase.
  • Walkie-talkies provide instant communication by simply holding down a button. Unlike cell phones, which require you to dial a number and wait for the other party to answer their phone, these types of radios can instantly put you in contact with another person.
  • Walkie-talkies don’t require phone lines to use. This is invaluable in the case of a widespread emergency, because phone lines often become so congested that they go down completely. In the case of a natural disaster, robbery, fire or some other type of emergency, a walkie-talkie is your best bet for getting in touch with emergency services and family members.
  • Walkie-talkies are much easier to use, especially for children and the elderly. If you have family members who don’t have cell phones, make sure that they know how to use a walkie-talkie in case of an emergency. In most cases, this simply means pressing one single button and speaking into the device.

Add comment June 30th, 2016

5 Stories About How Two-Way Radios Have Saved Lives

Two-way radios aren’t just a great way to communicated with your friends and co-workers, they’re also a way to stay safe in times of danger. Two-way radios have saved lives on a number of occasions, and not just when they’re in the hands of trained medical professionals. Here are 5 inspiring stories about radios saving lives.

  • In Telluride, Colorado, the backcountry skiing community set up one specific two-way radio channel for all skiers to use on the dangerous Bear Creek trails. Because out-of-town skiers often go off the trail and get lost in this rough terrain, these radio channels help to call for help in the case of an avalanche or other disaster.
  • During the chaos at shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, so many people tried to call for help or contact loved ones that the lines were flooded and cell phones didn’t work. Even those who were able to contact emergency personnel were so frantic, 911 dispatchers couldn’t get a clear grasp on the situation. Those school officials who were trained in emergency preparedness and had two-way radios on hand, however, were able to contact emergency officials, clearly state the problem and get help.
  • After a monsoon flood in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, officials in flood-prone regions nearby decided to establish two-way radio channels and radio facilities to provide communication during other possible disasters.  
  • Every year, the American Radio Relay League hosts a national Field Day to teach amateur radio leagues how to test their equipment and practice strategies for emergency communication.
  • During the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, phone lines were so congested that people weren’t able to use their cell phones to contact family or emergency personnel. Instead, those with two-way radios could bypass the phone lines completely and quickly call for help.  

Add comment June 27th, 2016

Top 10 Industries That Utilize Two-Way Radios for Communication

While you may use cell phones for communication in your everyday life, in a business setting, two-way radios are still some of the most effective ways to communicate with your employees and keep your business running efficiently. In fact, many of the top industries in the world today use walkie-talkies and radios in their day-to-day operation. Here are 10 huge industries that utilize two-way radios for communication between employees, departments and from management to staff.

  • Construction. Whether they’re building a large-scale apartment building or even a family home, construction crews often use two-way radios to keep up-to-date about various parts of the project.
  • Golf courses. Because golf courses are so large and require so many moving parts to operate, employees and management often use two-way radios to communicate from one side of the course to another.
  • Hotels. To communicate quickly and efficiently without dialing phone numbers and extensions, hotels use two-way radios to contact their entire team in one easy step.
  • Restaurants. It’s no secret that restaurant staffs have to have good communication in order to stay on top of orders, and you won’t usually see a restaurant without two-way radios in use at all times.
  • Nursing homes and hospitals. In the medical world, two-way radios are indispensable when it comes to effective and fast communication.
  • Security. It all comes down to quick and thorough communication when there is a security breach, which is why so many security departments rely on two-way radios.
  • Retail stores. In the retail world, two-way radios are commonly used to check prices, restock items and perform a variety of other tasks.
  • Schools. Everything from elementary schools to colleges and universities use two-way radios to ask quick questions and keep things running smoothly.
  • Warehouses. Because warehouses are so large, they rely on two-way radios to communicate between departments.
  • Manufacturing. Large plants and factories use radios to ensure that their assembly lines are always working together. 

Add comment June 23rd, 2016

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