Archive for July, 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.

1 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.

1 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