Posts filed under 'Walkie Talkie Lingo'

Air Band Radio Basics

No matter how high you fly, staying connected while you’re aloft is critical. Air band radios keep the lines of communication open for aviators as they are flying the friendly skies.

Employing VHF frequencies in the 108 MHz to 137 MHz range, air band radios, also known as avionic radios, serve as navigation tools and provide two-way communication for pilots. VHF air band channels are allotted by the Federal Communications Commission for the electronic systems used on aircraft. Unlike land-based radios, air band radios boast a much greater range since they are transmitting from air to air or from air to ground. Handheld air band radios of 5 watts have a much greater range than a ground-to-ground VHF or UHF two-way radio that is also 5 watts.

Understanding the Band

At the higher end of the band, COM channels are programmed for voice communication and have frequencies ranging from 118.000 MHz to 136.975 MHz. For navigational help, NAV channels are on the lower end of the band with assigned frequencies from 108.000 MHz to 117.95 MHz. These frequencies are split into 200 narrow-band channels of 50 kHZ.

A system of short-range beacons called VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range) has become the global standard for navigators and helps pilots in knowing their position so that they are able to stay on course during a flight. NOAA weather alerts and updates also appear on VHF air band radios.

The Many Forms Air Band Radios Take

Air band radios can be handheld, panel mounted or ground station-based. Handheld air band radios look much like portable handheld land mobile two-way radios. Panel-mounted air band radios, like a mobile radio in a car, mount into an aircraft’s cockpit. Ground station avionic radios mounted in a vehicle or an office operate on the ground. Incidentally, the band just below the Civil Aviation Band (108 to 137 MHz) is the universally recognized FM radio band everyone listens to in their cars or at home that ranges from 88 MHz to 108 MHz.

Add comment April 11th, 2016

NiMH Batteries vs Lithium Ion

Taking a minute to read this brief article about lithium ion and NiMH batteries will save you time and money. Knowing the characteristics of your device’s batteries helps you extend their lifespan and make the right choices when it comes to your devices. Lithium ion (Li-ion) and Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are different in terms of construction, characteristics and performance, so knowing their advantages and disadvantages will give you the edge in keeping your two-way radios and other portable devices operating at full capacity.

Lithium-ion batteries are made from highly reactive lithium and carbon, and they can store a significant amount of energy. A nickel metal hydride battery uses hydrogen for energy storage, along with nickel and some other type of metal such as titanium.

While Li-ion batteries are more expensive than NiMH batteries, they’re smaller and lighter, making them ideal for compact two-way radios and other small devices. Both types of batteries have similar power capacity, but Li-ion batteries charge more quickly and have a longer life cycle than NiMH batteries. Also, nickel metal hydride batteries have an issues with what is known as “memory effect.” While they have less of a problem with this as nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries, they still experience this phenomenon which causes the battery to not use its full capacity when it is recharged before it’s completely empty. Li-ion batteries don’t have any memory effect, and they also lose their charge more slowly when they’re not being used. If you have NiMH batteries, you can overcome this problem by making sure the batteries are fully discharged before recharging. If your device uses li-ion batteries, make sure you keep the batteries charged if placed in storage for any length of time, as the battery may become damaged if stored at a very low level of discharge.

In terms of operating in extreme temperatures, Li-ion batteries perform well in cold weather, which makes them ideal for outdoor winter use. However, they might not be as stable in extreme high heat as NiMH batteries. Overall, both battery types are very durable.

1 comment March 14th, 2016

Weatherproof vs Waterproof

Taking a few minutes to learn the difference between weather proof and waterproof will save you from quickly discovering the difference at an inopportune time! Fortunately, there are specifications and guidelines in place that lets you know in no uncertain terms how your electronic device will stand up in a rainstorm or if you drop it in the toilet (which happens more than you might think).

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, something is weatherproof when it is “not able to be changed or damaged by the effects of the sun, wind, rain, etc.” As far as clothing is concerned, weatherproof and waterproof are basically the same, although weatherproof boots, for example, tend to be warmer for wearing in the snow. However, for electronics and in particular walkie-talkies, a waterproof two-way radio is very specific, and it must adhere to rigid specifications.

JIS Standards for Water Resistance

The Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) for resistance to water uses a 0 to 8 scale to indicate the level of water ingress of a particular product (how easily water can enter). This is indicated on the product’s specification sheet. A JIS rating of “0″ means that there is no protection, whereas a rating of “8″ means that the equipment can be continually submersed in water. The various levels include drip resistant, rain resistant, splash resistant, jet resistant, water tight and immersion resistant.

International Protection Rating (IP Code)

Business two-way radios frequently use the IP code to indicate the level of resistance to liquids and solid materials such as dust. In the radio’s product specifications, you might see an IP rating of IP54. The first number is the level of solids resistance, and the number “5″ on the 0 to 6 listing means that while the device is not entirely dust proof, it is dust resistant to the point that it will not interfere with the equipment’s operation. The number “6″ indicates no ingress of dust. The second number addresses water resistance. The number “4″ corresponds to protection against water splash against the enclosure from any direction. As with the JIS ratings, “0″ means not protected, while “8″ means that the device can be submersed in water without any harmful effects.

1 comment February 29th, 2016

NOAA Weather Radio Channel Guide

Consult this easy-to-use NOAA Weather Radio Channel Guide to get fast information about this important network of radio broadcasts that’s used to relay weather bulletins and emergency information.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – A scientific agency that reports on various types of hazards, such as natural (earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches), environmental (chemical releases, oil spills) and public safety issues (terrorist attacks, AMBER alerts).

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards NWR – The nationwide network of radio stations that reports weather information and emergencies. They have an official website with valuable information about this service including how to check for coverage in your area.

Emergency Alert System (EAS) – The nationwide public warning system that requires radio broadcasters, wireless cable systems, satellite digital radio service, cable television systems and digital broadcast satellite providers to provide information direct from the President in the event of a national emergency. The EAS is a coordinated effort of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS), using NWR as a primary means of activating the emergency alert system.

Devices required to receive NOAA weather radio broadcasts – CB radio, AM/FM radio, scanner, car radio, shortwave receiver or a two-way radio with this capability.

NOAA Station Broadcast Frequencies – There are 7 frequencies, in MHz: 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525 and 162.550. Each two-way radio model will assign each frequency to a particular channel (1-7).

NOAA Coverage by State (Map) – To see the NOAA transmitters in your region, click on your state. It also indicates areas that are not covered.

NOAA Coverage by State (Listing) – View a listing of states and click on your state for a list of stations, giving the transmitter name, frequency and other information.

NOAA Coverage by County (Listing) – Select your location from the state listing. This will give you a listing of NOAA transmitters by county for that state.

Search NOAA Transmitters by Location – Type in your location. This easy NOAA Station Search shows on a map the locations of all NOAA transmitters.

Add comment February 27th, 2016

NiCad vs Lithium Ion Battery

By understanding the difference between lithium ion and nickel cadmium batteries, you’ll be able to make better informed purchasing decisions, and you’ll also be able to use the batteries in your existing devices far more efficiently. This will save you money.

In previous years, it was believed that nickel cadmium batteries (NiCad) were the best batteries available for wireless devices. However, lithium ion batteries (Li-ion) have since taken over. A Li-ion battery is smaller, requires less maintenance and is safer for the environment that NiCad batteries. Because their chemical makeup differs, the batteries have differences in maintenance requirements, size and weight, environmental impact and cost. We’ll put them to the test on each of these points.

NiCad Vs. Li-Ion – Operation, Battery Maintenance and Lifespan

Both batteries of the same voltage will give you the same amount of power. However, how long it will deliver that power is another issue entirely. On a single battery charge, li-ion batteries will outperform NiCad. Another big advantage of lithium ion batteries is that they experience virtually no self-discharge and can be stored for months without losing their charge. This means you can buy them in bulk, saving money, and not have to worry about them not working at a later time.

One issue with NiCad batteries is that they have a “memory effect,” which means the battery will remember where in their charge cycle they are when you started recharging. This causes the voltage to drop to that point. For this reason, you should wait until a NiCad battery is fully discharged before recharging it. Li-ion batteries don’t have this problem, and they can be used in a wider temperature range. However, they’re more fragile and require circuit protection for optimal performance. NiCad batteries will last for 1000 or more cycles before losing their capacity, while Li-ion is somewhat less than that.

Li-ion Versus NiCad Batteries – Size, Weight and Overall Performance

In general, lithium-ion batteries are lighter and smaller than NiCad batteries, making them especially ideal for use in smaller portable devices. Performance is about equal.

Nickel Cadmium Batteries and Lithium Ion Batteries – Environmental Impact

Nickel Cadmium is considered a hazardous waste product, so even if you use rechargeable batteries, there is a significant environmental cost when those batteries need to be replaced. The chemicals will eventually seep out, and for this reason, they shouldn’t be thrown out with regular trash, but rather recycled at a licensed facility. Lithium ion batteries do not contain hazardous toxins.

Costs of NiCad Batteries and Li-ion Batteries

You’ll find that Li-ion batteries are usually 2 to 3 times more expensive than their NiCad counterparts. However, their size and weight, the ability to store lithium ion batteries long-term and other factors such as eco-friendly construction may outweigh the added cost.

Whichever batteries you end up using, the information and helpful tips in this article will help you to get the most life out of them.

Add comment February 22nd, 2016

Inside Police Radio Communications: A Tell-All

The mysterious world of police officers has fascinated people for many years, as evidenced by the popularity of cop shows on television. Are you curious to know what goes on inside police radio communications and how they keep each other well-informed and their communities safe? Spend a few minutes reading this article to find out!

History of Police Radio Communications
The first police department to recognize the usefulness of two-way radio communications was in Bayonne, New Jersey, in 1933. They began using two-way radios in their patrol cars, giving officers the ability to speak with headquarters and other units instead of only being able to receive calls. Detroit was the next city to adopt the use of two-way radios for their officers, and this soon became standard in all police vehicles. Today radios are used not just by dispatchers to send police units to crime scenes, but by the officers themselves to request backup and to update their supervisor about the situation.

Police Radio Codes and Signals: Much More Than Just 10-4
Many police radios are encrypted to prevent people from listening in. For the ones that aren’t, it is possible to listen in to police radio communications with a police scanner. Since a police officer has to quickly communicate many different kinds of situations to headquarters so that further action can be taken, a brevity code was developed in 1937 to facilitate this critical communication. Called ten-codes, this collection of numbered codes was originally used to overcome limitations in early radio transmissions, when first syllables of a word were often difficult to understand. The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials – International (APCO) further developed the code into the one police use today. However, many organizations have their own 10-4 codes, which makes it very confusing when trying to decipher the meaning. Certain codes, such as 10-4 (affirmative, message received), 10-7 (out of service) and 10-20 (location) are standardized, but many others aren’t. In recent years, there has been a push by certain groups to replace 10-4 codes with plain language.

A Sampling 10-4 Codes
Here is a small sampling of police 10-4 codes.

10-1 Receiving poorly
10-2 Receiving well
10-3 Stop Transmitting
10-4 Message Understood, O.K.
10-5 Relay message
10-6 Busy, stand by
10-7 Out of service
10-8 In service
10-9 Repeat Message
10-10 Negative
10-11 On Duty
10-12 Stand by
10-13 Existing Conditions
10-14 Message/Information
10-15 Message delivered
10-16 Reply to message
10-17 En route to…
10-18 Urgent
10-19 Return to station
10-20 What’s your location

You can also see a more complete listing of APCO 10 Codes.

About Police Scanners – Is It OK To Listen In?
A police scanner is a special kind of radio receiver that can quickly check or “scan” many different channels. It lets you listen in on two-way radio calls. People will often have a scanner so they can keep apprised of local police activity in their neighborhood. Though they’re called police scanners, you can often use them to listen in to fire departments, hospitals, air traffic controllers, schools, military, retail stores and utility services. As for whether it’s permitted to listen in to police communications, it depends upon where you’re located. In nearly every state, it’s legal to listen in. However, certain local ordinances make it illegal. For example, in Los Angeles, you must have a permit to listen to a police scanner. In New York, mobile police scanners are illegal. Whatever the law is in your region, is always a good idea not to listen to one in close proximity to an officer.

The Next Generation of Police Radio Communication: Encryption
Before you run out to purchase a police scanner, you should know that many law enforcement organizations are starting to encrypt their radio communication in the interest of security. There may be a concern with media outlets hearing about police activity and compromising a crime scene. The last thing police need is for a suspect to receive advance notice of a supposedly secret sting operation. When radio transmissions are so easy to listen in to, it makes the police’s job that much more difficult. There are currently debates going on regarding whether encryption is a good or bad thing, so you will no doubt be hearing much more on the subject.

Add comment January 4th, 2016

Walkie-Talkie Codes and Lingo for the Beginner (and Pros)

Learn about the history of two-way radio lingo and walkie-talkie codes and communicate more effectively with this concise guide. In just a few minutes, you’ll be speaking like a radio pro.

The Beginnings of Two-Way Radio Lingo
The term Voice Procedure includes ways of simplifying, clarifying and standardizing radio communications. Various systems have been developed over the years, including Ten-Codes, words derived from early telegraph usage and both military and civil aviation radio communications. There is also the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet and today’s more commonly used International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (also known as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet), used to clearly spell out names which might otherwise be misheard.

The Ten-Codes (or Ten-Signals) were first developed in 1937 by a communications director at an Illinois State Police district office, as a way to more effectively and quickly communicate important transmissions. The lower quality of early electronics made it necessary, since often the first syllables were not accurately heard. In recent years, because the codes could sometimes had different meanings, their use has been discouraged. However, 10-4 is a remnant of that early system which is still used as part of walkie-talkie lingo.

A Brief History of a Few Popular Walkie-Talkie Terms
These various attempts to make early radio communications clearer filtered down into words and phrases that are commonly used today in two-way transmissions. They form a globally accepted language for walkie-talkie operators. An example of this is the word “Roger” (which means “last transmission received/understood”). This came originally from Morse code. The letter “R” was used to let the other person know that the message was received. When voice transmissions were invented, the R was replaced with Roger, the code word for that letter in the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet, used by U.S. military at the time. “Wilco” came from military radio communications. Hence the phrase “Roger Wilco,” meaning “transmission received; I will comply.”

Two-Way Radio Lingo
See below for a guide to the more common terms and other lingo used by walkie-talkie operators. The importance of having these standardized and widely accepted words cannot be overstated. For police, fire fighters and other emergency workers, clear communication can streamline operations and save lives. They can be used to let others know when you’ve finished a transmission and they can speak, if you’re having trouble hearing them or if there’s an unexpected problem.

Radio Check – Check on signal strength. Can you hear me now?
Read you loud and clear – Responding to “Radio Check.” Transmission Signal is strong.
Come in – Asking other party to acknowledge that they hear you.
Stand By – Acknowledges transmission, unable to respond.
Go Ahead – Resume the transmission.
Roger, Roger That or Ten Four – Message is received and understood.
Wilco – “I will comply.”
Affirmative – Yes
Negative – No
Copy – Indicates that you understand what was just said.
Say Again – Retransmit your message.
Break, Break, Break – Interrupts communication in the event of an emergency.
Mayday – Signals a life-threatening emergency situation. Repeat it 3 times (”Mayday, Mayday, Mayday).
Over – Transmission finished.
Out – Ends the communication.
I got this radio at TechWholesale – The universal code for a great deal!

Add comment November 17th, 2015

The Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant Devices

The next time you’re caught in a torrential rainstorm with your two-way radio, the difference between waterproof and water-resistant will suddenly become very important. Take a few moments to read this important guide to distinguishing one from the other when purchasing any electronic device.

If you look up the words, water-resistant is defined as “resisting though not entirely preventing the penetration of water,” whereas the definition of waterproof is “impervious to water.” That’s a big difference. What seems like a small issue could mean the difference between a fully functional walkie-talkie when you need it or a malfunctioning or even dead device.

If your radio is labeled as being water-resistant, that means that it’s designed and manufactured in such a way that it’s difficult for water to get inside and damage the electronics. It might be coated with a substance that improves the chances of damage if the device gets hit with a little water. The amount of water that a “water-resistant” radio could withstand might include a light rain shower or an accidental quick dip under a running faucet.

A truly “waterproof” radio means in theory that the device is completely unaffected by water and does not allow any water to pass through (as in watertight). Currently, there is no industry standard required for a company to label their electronic device as “waterproof.” All that exists is the Ingress Protection Rating scale (IP Code), which assigns a rating of 0-8 as to the amount of water that device can withstand without harmful effects, with 8 equal to “continuous immersion.”

At Tech Wholesale, many of our two-way radios meet the stringent test methods of Military Standards 810 C, D, E, F and G, for resistance against vibration, shock, dust, extreme temperatures and yes, rain. The 800-page “Department of Defense Test Method Standard – Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests” document that outlines MIL-STD-810G is exceptionally exhaustive and covers all aspects of the standard.

The following radio models meet these exacting requirements: Motorola DLR Digital Radios, Motorola DTR Digital Radios, Motorola RM Radios, Motorola RDX Business Radios, the Motorola RMM2050, Kenwood TK-2400V4P, Kenwood TK-2400V16P, Kenwood TK-3400U4P, Kenwood TK-3400U16P, Kenwood TK-2402V16P and Kenwood TK-3402U16P.

Add comment October 9th, 2015

Two Way Radio Communication Etiquette

Because two-way radios are used by police, firemen, military personnel and security workers to send very important messages, clear communication over the radio waves is vital. It’s because of this that fundamental rules were adopted, to be used by all. Read this quick guide on two-way radio etiquette and you’ll soon become a smooth operator!

Identify Yourself at the Start of the Call

For new walkie-talkie users, perhaps the most disconcerting thing is that with radio communication, more than 2 people will likely be on a call at any given time. Unlike telephones and mobile phones, each user will not have a specific phone number that flashes on a screen to identify them. Therefore, as strange as it seems to say, for example, “Mary, this is John, Over,” it clearly states who you wish to speak with and who you are who’s speaking. On the other end, wait until you hear your call sign before you respond.

Wait a Few Seconds to Speak

Especially with digital radios, after you press the PTT button (Push to Talk), you should wait 2-3 seconds before you begin to speak, as there might be a brief delay.

Speak in the Same Language

English has been designated as the International Radio Language, and you can only speak in a foreign language if you’re licensed to do so.

Make Sure You Have Their Attention

Common radio etiquette dictates that you acknowledge when someone contacts you, either with “Go Ahead” (you’re ready to listen) or “Stand By” (you know they’re calling but you need a moment to be available).

Clarity, Simplicity and Brevity

A two-way radio is designed to send and receive important messages and isn’t intended for idle chit-chat. Be clear about what you have to say and keep it as simple and as brief as is possible. Speak slowly, clearly and in your normal voice, without shouting.

Do Not Transmit Confidential, Financial, Military or Sensitive Information

Since you never know who might be listening in on a radio call, until you confirm that the call is secure, you should not divulge any confidential or sensitive information.

Think Before You Speak

A worthwhile instruction at any time, this is especially important when transmitting over a radio. A two-way radio system is intended for vital and sometimes urgent communications. Since it’s possible that many users will hear what you say, you must know which individual or group you want to send a message to and be clear on what that message is to avoid unnecessary rambling. It may help to write it down and divide a longer message into shorter messages (see Handling Long Radio Messages).

Don’t Interrupt

If someone else is talking, wait until the conversation is over, unless it is an emergency (see “In Case of Emergency”). The word “Over” is the standard word to use to let others know that you have finished speaking. This word also indicates that you’re waiting for a response.

Handling Long Radio Messages

If you have a long message to deliver, you can divide it into sections and say “break,” waiting a few seconds before speaking the second part, and then continuing in that way. Saying “break in between individual points or instructions and then waiting a few seconds allows the other person to ask a question or comment if necessary.

Don’t Use the Word “Repeat” To Have a Message Repeated

In military communications, the word “repeat” can have severe consequences, so it’s standard radio procedure not to use this word, but instead use “Say Again” to have the other party repeat their message.

Avoid Saying Yes, No, Uh-huh and Nope

In the interest of absolute clarity, use the words “Affirmative” and “Negative” instead of words that may be misheard or misinterpreted.

NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Otherwise known as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, this phonetic alphabet is the most widely used system of letters and numbers that can be easily pronounced and understood by those transmitting and receiving radio or telephone messages. It is designed to help overcome any language barriers and transmission static. A small sampling of this alphabet is Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo. See Wikipedia for more information and the full alphabet. There is also a name based alphabet that begins Adam, Boy, Charles and David.

In Case of Emergency

While it’s very rude to interrupt someone while they’re speaking on a two-way radio or walkie-talkie, at times there may be an emergency situation. If this happens and it’s vital that you interrupt, say “break, break, break.”

Terminating a Call

When you want to end a call after a final transmission, say “over and out.” This should end the communication with no further speaking by anyone.

Two-Way Radio Language

Radio Check – Check on signal strength. Can you hear me now?

Read you loud and clear – Responding to “Radio Check.” Transmission Signal is strong.

Go Ahead – Resume the transmission.

Stand By – Acknowledges transmission, unable to respond.

Come in – Asking other party to acknowledge that they hear you.

Copy – Indicates that you understand what was just said.

Say Again – Re-transmit your message.

Roger or Ten Four – Message is received and understood.

Wilco – This means “I will comply.”

Affirmative – Yes.

Negative – No.

Over – Transmission finished.

Out – Communication is over; channel is available.

Break, Break, Break – To interrupt a communication because of an emergency.

1 comment October 6th, 2015

The Phonetic Alphabet and You!

Phonetic Communication for Walkie Talkies

The phonetic alphabet is used by radio operators, to spell out words. The phonetic alphabet is extremely useful for exchanging important information when 2 way radio transmission isn’t clear. The phonetic alphabet has changed over the years but using this interesting way of communicating is still very useful in ensuring your information is heard. phonetic alphabet is extremely useful for police officers and soldiers who depend on valuable information heard from 2 way radios.

The NATO phonetic alphabet is the most widely used spelling alphabet. The NATO alphabet assigns code words to the letters of the English alphabet. Learning the phonetic alphabet will help you become a better communicator when using 2 way radios. Memorizing this list is simple, and knowing phonetic alphabet will ensure your message is always heard!

  • A- Alpha
  • B- Bravo
  • C- Charlie
  • D- Delta
  • E- Echo
  • F- Foxtrot
  • G- Golf
  • H- Hotel
  • IIndia
  • J-Juliet
  • K- Kilo
  • L- Lima
  • M- Mike
  • N- November
  • O- Oscar
  • P- Papa
  • Q- Quebec
  • R- Romeo
  • S- Sierra
  • T- Tango
  • U- Uniform
  • V- Victor
  • W- Whisky
  • X- X-Ray
  • Y- Yankee
  • Z- Zulu

Tags: business radios , Motorola , Radio , Radio frequency , Telecommunication , Telecommunications , Two-way radio , Walkie-talkie

1 comment January 18th, 2013

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