Do I need a license to operate a 2 Way Radio?

Probably not, but it depends on how powerful you need the radio to be.

 

Most countries have a regulatory body that governs the use of radio frequencies. They do this so that different groups can use radio signals without interfering with each other (especially in the case of the emergency services). Here in the UK, radio transmission is regulated by Ofcom (Office of Communications), which is, in turn, regulated by the UK government.

However, if you are only planning on using a small device, Ofcom do allow some ‘licence free’ walkie-talkies. Here’s a description, taken from walkie-talkie-radio.co.uk,

“The UK government allows small, low-powered handheld radios that use a set of eight frequencies in the UHF band (around 446Mhz) to be sold and used without the need for any licensing. They may be used for both business and personal / leisure purposes. Radios that meet this standard (usually called “PMR446” radios) can only have a power output of 0.5 watts, which means that their range is less than the more powerful licensable business walkie-talkies, that have power outputs of 4 to 5 watts”.

One of the benefits of the European Union is that the standard for license-free radios is exactly the same, right across the EU. This means that if your radio is license-free in the UK, it will also be license free anywhere else in the EU).

If you wanted to use a more powerful radio (say anything over 5 watts for a handheld or 25 watts for vehicle radios and base stations), then you will need a license. 2wayradionline.co.uk has more on this,

“Licensed handheld walkie-talkies can have 5 watts power output, but “licence-free” PMR446 radios can only have ½ watt power output, so the licensed radios will have a better range and better signal penetration in buildings”.

The most basic licence available to you would be the ‘UK Simple’ license,

“This licence is effectively a licence to use the more powerful radios anywhere in the United Kingdom, using a set of frequencies that are shared by all users of this licence. This licence is quick and easy to apply for, costs £75 per organization, and is valid for five years. It is ideal for most users of business radios, and is the only choice for those who need to be able to use their radios anywhere in the UK”.

It is also possible to get a ‘Technically assigned Geographic License’ – essentially, this license allows you to use a specific frequency (or set of frequencies) that are uniquely yours. The catch is that you can only use them within a specific location. These licenses aren’t especially expensive to maintain, but the cost is rising in major cities, especially London.

If you are setting yourself up as an equipment lender, or rental firm, then you’ll need a UK Simple Business Radio Supplier’s License. This license allocates you a set of frequencies that you rent out to clients, along with your own equipment. Because the frequencies are licensed to you, the hirer of the equipment need not worry about obtaining their own license.

Getting any one of these licenses is as simple as visiting the licensing section of Ofcom’s website.  

Hope that helps!

SOURCES

http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/

http://www.walkie-talkie-radio.co.uk/two-way-radio-licencing-in-the-uk.html

How Does 2 Way Radio Work? (Asked by Neil from Reading)

Hi Neil,

Did you get a two-way radio set from Santa by any chance? Lol.

Anyway, onto your question…

A two-way radio, basically, is a radio that can send and receive signals. If a radio can both transmit and receive, it is known as a transceiver (see what they did there?) Two or more users can use a transceiver in order to communicate on a shared channel.

Essentially, a two way radio works by receiving radio waves through the air and broadcasting a return signal. The antenna on the radio houses a series of electrons, which dictate the channel being picked up by the user (different groups of electrons will respond to different channels). These electrons translate the radio waves into electrical impulses, which are then fed to a small processor. The processor then converts the impulses into a signal and the radio’s speakers then play that signal. The whole process, amazingly, is pretty much instant.

Two-way radios convert sound into radio waves and also convert radio waves into sound. Ergo, I can speak to you, like so:

Chris: “Hi Neil. Can you hear me? Over”

Once I push the PTT (push to talk) button and speak, the vibrations of my voice shake a small membrane inside my radio’s microphone (not a million miles removed from the one that exists in the human ear). My radio’s processor then converts those vibrations into a simple electrical signal. The radio pushes the signal to the antenna, which then pushes it out on the audio channel selected.

The electrons in your antenna become excited (steady on there, fella!) and translate the waves into electrical impulses, which are then ‘decoded’ by the processor and played out via your speakers.

So, you hear this on your radio and you reply.

Neil: “Hey 2wayradionline. Yeah, I can hear you just fine. Thanks for the answer. Over”

Whereupon the entire process takes place all over again.

And so on…

I hope that answers your question. Have fun, 2wayradionline.co.uk!

Private Pilots Shouldn’t Take Off Without a Backup Radio

So i discovered this post on the web and i understand that just posting it as the whole article isn’t an excellent thing, I got permission from the original author and read up the way to curate posts, so that is it…….i thought this was fascinating because it highlights some of the highs and lows that I encountered when i was working within the industry.

Those of you who follow my adventures know that I can fly to wherever there’s a communications emergency. Regular folks need a plane, and what do private pilots need? They need two-way radios, of course!

A recent story on TodaysWirelessWorld.com explained how many private pilots wouldn’t consider taking to the air without a backup radio. “Imagine what happens if an airplane’s primary radio fails in flight,” the story says. “You’re thousands of feet in the air at the controls of an expensive aircraft with no ability to monitor weather and emergency channels or communicate with control towers, ground crews, and other pilots. Getting down safely suddenly becomes more theoretical than a sure thing.”

The story goes on to review some key considerations for a pilot using a handheld aircraft radio as a backup:

Mind your power supply. “While rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries usually have the longest battery life, you really want a rechargeable battery that will hold a charge for a very long time. Standard rechargeable batteries lose their charge quickly, but ‘low-discharge’ batteries can hold up to 70% of their charge for years on end.”

Get yourself trained. “On the ground, walk through all the steps for getting your backup radio up and running, including finding proper frequencies for nearby control towers. Also be sure to practice using your handheld in flight. Having the whole radio in your hand while working the plane’s controls is a bit more complicated than talking into a mic.”

Save your most-used frequencies. “Every radio manufacturer has its own way of saving most-used frequencies. Sometimes you’ll have to break out your user manual to figure out how to program and recall saved channels. Be sure to add the process for recalling saved channels to your drilling and training.”

That’s good advice for pilots and everyone else who needs to keep a two-radio handy in case of an emergency. A radio is a useful and versatile tool, but it’s up to us to make sure it’s ready to help us when we need it.

– See more at: http://blog.bearcom.com/2014/01/private-pilots-shouldnt-take-off-without-a-backup-radio-2/#sthash.3x2Oy4NG.dpuf

The IC-4088SR: A PMR 445 Licence Free Radio

What’s your favorite feature of the Walkie talkie? Personally, I much like the design job – Its cooler than an Inuit’s underpants!

PMR446 Handheld Transceiver

Designed to meet the demands of the licence free PMR 446 service, the IC-4088SR builds on its predecessor’s functionality, features and operating performance.

Featuring a high level of flexibility, the IC-4088SR allows instant communication between members of a group in and around buildings and over short distances. This makes it the perfect tool for keeping in touch with friends, family and work colleagues whilst in close proximity to them. The applications for the PMR446 service are almost limitless and the IC-4088SR would be suitable for camping, golf, catering, use in sports centres, on building sites, catering, events management, neighbourhood watch, factories, farms etc. What’s more it is water-resistant making it ideal for rambling, trekking, or for use on inland waterways etc.

An optional external charger socket or cigarette lighter lead allows you to charge and operate the IC-4088SR allowing you to use the IC-4088SR when and whenever you like. 

The IC-4088SR has all the hallmarks of a quality product. It is well designed, easy to use and very robust. Its strong body makes it ideal for outdoor activity enthusiasts, for example. In fact the IC-4088SR is ergonomically designed and there are an absolute minimum number of switches making operation quick and intuitive. The large, easy to read LCD shows operating information at a glance with clear status icons such as ‘low battery’ and ‘timer’ that are easily recognisable. 

In addition to its ease of use and aesthetic design the IC-4088SR is packed full of communication features that provides the user with a high level of usability and convenience. Among these useful functions are a simple voice scrambler that will provide secure private communication and a handy ‘Automatic Transponder’ function which automatically warns you if the other radios are out of range. 

Other useful operating functions include a call ring function, which allows you to send a ring tone when calling another party – similar to using a mobile phone. Ten different ring types can be selected from. To ensure clear communications with other radios, you can select from 8 different radio channels and 38 different group codes, giving more than 300 different combinations to choose from. A Smart Ring function is also included which lets you know whether your call has got all the way through.

The IC-4088SR transceiver is available with charger and four rechargeable batteries. Two commercial multi-packs are also available.

 

  • Rugged construction and high performance antenna
  • External DC power jack
  • Built-in voice scrambler
  • Simple to use for everyone
  • Economical three alkaline cells
  • Splash resistant construction
  • Built-in CTCSS encoder and decoder
  • Automatic transponder system
  • Smart-ring function
  • Call-ring function
  • Power save function
  • Low battery indicator
  • Automatic power-off timer (0.5–2 hours)
  • Scan function
  • PTT hold function
  • Variable time-out-timer (1–30 minutes)

Riedel to Provide Radio Communications Network and Equipment for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

This was originally posted on this site and we thought we’d share it here, Riedel are one of the worlds biggest radio companies and have run the communications for the london olympics, euros 2012 and many other big events, so thsi story comes as no surprise.

Riedel Communications, provider of pioneering real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks, will supply all radio communications equipment and services for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, running from July 23 to Aug. 3 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

“The ability to communicate effectively at Games venues and throughout Glasgow and other parts of Scotland is an essential element to delivering a successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Brian Nourse, chief information officer, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. “We have benefited from Riedel’s extensive experience of being involved in many previous major sporting events to ensure a robust communications solution is delivered for our event,” 

 Riedel Communications has designed a radio communications solution for use across Glasgow and at the 14 venues hosting 17 different sporting competitions. The company is providing all radio handsets and radio communication accessories — including more than 6,000 radios — used in the lead-up to and during the Games, along with a terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) digital network and a Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radio repeater system. Both the TETRA and MOTOTRBO systems are dedicated, fully monitored, and serviced solutions. 
TETRA combines the advantages of analog trunked radio with those of digital mobile radio to provide optimal frequency usage, high transmission quality for speech and data, maximum security against eavesdropping, as well as flexible networking and connection management. Beyond that, the digital trunked radio system supports full duplex communication, GPS-positioning, and connection to the public telephone network. The system offers the option of operating different virtual channels, and it can leverage IP connectivity to support wide-area operation.
With this communications infrastructure, Riedel will ensure outdoor street-level coverage at all official venues, throughout the city of Glasgow, and along the official cycling road race and marathon routes, as well as indoor coverage at Glasgow 2014 competition venues. Riedel is also supplying the radio communications solution for the Scottish leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, ensuring radio communications run smoothly as the baton makes its way through Scotland to Glasgow for the Games.
“We are delighted to be the Official Radio Communications Partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Christian Bockskopf, head of marketing for Riedel Communications. “We’ve worked closely with the organizers to develop a radio communications solution that satisfies both the technical and operational requirements of all the key players during this world-class event.”

 

Shopping Centre Communications, Why You Need To Get It Right?

The truth is that shopping centres (or ‘malls’ if we’re being American about it), can seriously improve an area’s local economy. It is basic economics really, if the supply is less than the demand, then there is profit to be made. I expect a percentage, Deepak!

OK, I’ve thought a bit about this one and, I reckon your best bet would be an affordable, yet high performance unit like a Motorola DP3400 or similar. I suggested the DP3400 because it a) it won’t bankrupt the (hypothetical) project, b) it is very versatile and c) it is exceptionally easy to use (user training takes, on average, about 20 minutes).

A DP3400 offers use of 32 channels, functions as both analogue and digital and is available in UHF or VHF versions. In short, this radio is perfect for security, health and safety or even customer service.

I’ve recently found the ‘Case Studies’ sections on the Motorola website (you can probably tell by my other pieces this month), but the DP3400 has a case that’s exactly like yours. For what its worth, here’s what they said about it.

“Digital two-way radio was chosen to provide a secure, discreet communicationsystem with no risk of transmissions being compromised by eavesdroppers. The Centre’s local Motorola Authorised Dealer demonstrated how  MOTOTRBO digital radios could provide greater coverage and improved audio clarity than analogue and enable users to make both one-to-one and group calls. The increased battery power would extend battery life by up to 40%, enabling the radios to be used throughout the entire 11-hour trading day without recharging”.

That sounds pretty good to me. In any instance, you keep dreaming and don’t let anyone discourage you. Find out what it takes to be an…um, ‘shopping centre design person’ and just go for it! 

Difference Between a Walkie Talkie and a Two Way Radio

Although the terms ‘walkie-talkie’ and ‘two-way radio’ can be used interchangeably, some minor differences between the two technologies do actually exist. In a professional context, it is best to know which device you are referring to before you refer to it (but this is substantially less important on a day-to-day level).

Essentially, a walkie-talkie is the same as a two-way radio; there is no overt difference between the two. However, because there are so many different radios on the market, a distinction has arisen. The term ‘walkie-talkie’ tends to imply a ‘hobby’ model, or an otherwise cheap radio. Conversely, the term ‘two-way radio’ tends to be more readily accepted in a business, as well as any equipment specific, context. 

Walkie-talkies were invented around the time of the Second World War and were principally used by the military. Although they came in different forms, the most common version featured a large handset, which had a long antenna protruding from it. Modern walkie-talkies, on the other hand, feature a smaller design, typically with a rugged outer casing and a short aerial. They usually operate via a PTT (Push To Talk) button and available models vary in range from cheap children’s toys to professional, military grade equipment.

Generally, walkie-talkies are limited to only a few watts of power and a relatively short signal range. To this end, radio services often use a repeater (a device that increases range and boosts signal by squashing unused frequencies) in order to improve the walkie-talkie’s operation.

For their part, two-way radios, although they are also portable hand-held transceivers (a device that can both TRANSmit and reCEIVE messages) and they also use the PTT system, are slightly different.

A two-way radio is likely to have a stronger range and a harder outer casing. This is because the term ‘two-way radio’ denotes a better class of product (usually). 

Some two-way radios are also capable of sending and receiving messages at the same time; this is called ‘full duplex’. An example would be a mobile phone, which employs two different radio frequencies at the same time. However, although a mobile phone is technically a two-way radio, the device is very different from what we understand as either a walkie-talkie or a two-way.

The most important distinction is that ‘two-way radio’ almost always refers to professional, licensed equipment, whereas ‘walkie-talkie’ more often describes unlicensed, consumer-grade radios. 

how does a walkie talkie work

A walkie-talkie or 2 way radio is a battery-powered transceiver (meaning that it can both transmit and receive radio signals). Walkie-talkies receive radio waves via an antenna and can also broadcast return signals (on the same frequency) via the same device.

A walkie-talkie essentially converts incoming signal into sound and outgoing sound into signal.

The antenna on a walkie-talkie is home to various groups of electrons. These electrons respond to specific, pre-set channels (different groups respond to different channels). When the walkie-talkie antenna intercepts radio waves, the electrons translate those radio waves into electrical impulses, which then pass through the device and into a small processor, housed within the walkie-talkie itself.

How do Walkie Talkies work

The processor, in turn, converts the impulses into a signal, which is then played back by the speakers.  This is not at all unlike the process of hearing as undertaken by the Human ear. The speakers vibrate to the same pattern as they did when the sender of the signal spoke into their own device, replicating exactly what was broadcast from their end.

For an outgoing signal, the vibrations that make up a Human voice rattle a small membrane inside the microphone. The walkie-talkie’s processor then converts those vibrations into an electrical impulse. The impulse is pushed outwards, towards the antenna, where it is transmitted over the desired audio channel. From there, the process takes place in the opposite order. It is, however, the same process every time.

Interestingly, mobile phone technology is basically the same as walkie-talkie/two-way radio technology. The major difference, however, is that whereas walkie-talkies are only have a half duplex channel (meaning that only one signal can be sent or received at any given time), mobile phones are full duplex, meaning that two signals can be sent and received simultaneously.

Another major difference is that mobiles rely on nearby cellular towers in order to get a signal, whereas walkie-talkies utilise a point-to-point system, communicating between individual handsets and also devices called ‘repeaters’, which boost overall signal strength by blocking out specific channels.

Of course, because there is only one channel featured on a walkie-talkie, only one person can speak at any given time, whereas mobile phones can broadcast conversations that are identical to those between two face-to-face people.

The success of walkie-talkies likely lies with their innate simplicity. The process by which a transceiver works is as clear and uncluttered a process as one could wish for. 

New Analog-to-Digital Migration Guide Helps Users Take Advantage of the Latest Technologies

Boy. The newest walkie talkie is awesome. I mean it’s just so stunning so highly developed. I pity individuals who grew up without the two way radio.

All around us, the wireless world is going digital. But organizations have questions about this breakthrough technology. To provide them with answers, BearCom and Motorola Solutions teamed up to create our Analog-to-Digital Migration Guide: “Five Reasons to Migrate to Digital Two-Way Radios.”

“A ‘smart’ revolution is transforming two-way radios,” the guide begins. “Digital technology is opening the door to a host of useful web-based applications for two-way radios, even as it enhances capacity, coverage, audio quality, and battery life.”

Available as a free download from BearCom.com, the guide details how digital two-way radios offer additional functionality, greater efficiency, enhanced coverage, improved audio quality, and extended battery life compared to analog radios. It explores the capabilities and benefits of the latest radios, the differences between analog and digital technologies, and the process for making a smooth transition to digital.

“There are plenty of exciting new digital two-way radio products available,” reads the cover letter from BearCom President & CEO Jerry Denham. “This new Analog-to-Digital Migration Guide is the latest tool we’ve developed to assist organizations around the country as they harness the power of digital performance to improve their communications capabilities.”

The guide includes details on the MOTOTRBO line of digital two-way radios from Motorola Solutions and the new Motorola CP200d, which was made available through BearCom last summer. In developing the CP200d, Motorola Solutions was able to retain the simplicity and durability that have helped make the Motorola CP200 analog model popular across a wide range of industries.

The guide also answers frequently asked questions, such as:
Why should we go digital?
How are apps useful in two-way radios?
Will analog radios become extinct?
Are my analog two-way radio accessories compatible with digital models?
How can I get the best value when selecting digital two-way radios?

– See more at: http://blog.bearcom.com/2014/01/new-analog-to-digital-migration-guide-helps-users-take-advantage-of-the-latest-technologies/#sthash.hoMbIaZV.dpuf

MOTOTRBO™ REMASTER YOUR WORKFORCE WITH THE RIGHT SOLUTION

The Mototrbo radio has many different uses, but it works best at communicating 2 or more persons between one another, be it leisure or business, long distance communication can be vital in a number of environments. This promotional information was firstly a PDF on the motorola Internet site.

HELP TEAMS WORK BETTER AND FASTER, TOGETHER

Your people are on the factory floor, at the front desk, moving across campus or around the country. Hauling freight or handling emergency repairs, MOTOTRBO connects them instantly and efficiently, everywhere they go.

Whether they need ultra-thin portables or extra-tough mobiles, integrated Bluetooth® or industry-leading data applications, we have the right solution to fit your workforce now, and evolve as your enterprise grows.

More than a progressive portfolio, MOTOTRBO is a complete and expertly integrated solution of portable radios, mobile radios, repeaters, data applications, accessories, software and services. MOTOTRBO puts the right solution into the hands of the right user – to make decisions easier, efficiency better, safety greater and productivity higher. And that can transform your enterprise.

BE IN-TOUCH AND UP-TO-THE MINUTE WITH MOTOTRBO APPLICATIONS

Take your business beyond voice and ensure all your people stay connected with the speed and efficiency of data. Whether sending a text message to crews doing road repairs or using the integrated GPS module to manage your taxi fleet, MOTOTRBO makes response time more immediate, customer service more effective and your operation more productive.

With the industry’s largest Application Developer Program, MOTOTRBO supports a wide range of data applications to expand communication beyond voice. Plus, you can work directly with third-party developers or your IT staff to create customised applications for your unique needs.

ENHANCE SAFETY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

GPS location tracking allows efficient tracking of workers, vehicles, and business assets to enhance safety and productivity.

ACCELERATE RESPONSE TIME

Work order ticket management solutions help expedite resolution of customer issues, enhance the efficiency of personnel responding to issues, and generate reports to create efficient work flows.

STAY IN control

Conveniently monitor machine or facility alarms, and remotely control doors with advanced telemetry solutions.

MOBILISE YOUR TEAMS

Effectively manage fleet operations and extend access to radio functions via an IP connection from remote locations.

STAY CONNECTED

Send and receive text messages and emails directly from your MOTOTRBO radio. Enhance worker safety and productivity by integrating with phone systems to make phone calls in places where mobile phone coverage is not available.

CONNECT WITH OTHER DEVICES

Interoperate seamlessly with technologies such as other radio systems, telephony systems and mobile computing devices.

LIFE-SAVING SOLUTIONS

Enhance worker safety with lone worker and man-down emergency alarms. These solutions integrate with location tracking solutions and can emit tones from the radio to allow the radio to call for help when a worker can’t.

Source – http://www.motorolasolutions.com/web/Business/Product%20Lines/MOTOTrbo/_Documents/_Static%20Files/MOTOTRBO_System_Brochure.pdf