For over a century, Two-Way Radios have been used in multiple sectors. We find it quite impressive to think that, in a world where tech devices are replaced so quickly, the walkie-talkie is still relevant today.
Over the years, two-way radio devices have definitely evolved to adapt to our ever-changing needs and requirements, but can they really outperform phones in the workplace?
Let’s first have a look at some of the mainstream modes of communication available:
As the name suggests, landline telephones require fixed locations and an infrastructure relying heavily on extensive cable networks. In South Africa, these are usually installed and supported by Telkom.Fixed lines may be perfect for people working in office desk jobs, but they are much less practical for the factory floor, construction site, school grounds, university campus, or any other work site that requires workers to be mobile while talking to each other.
Fixed lines may be perfect for people working in office desk jobs, but they are much less practical for the factory floor, construction site, school grounds, university campus, or any other work site that requires workers to be mobile while talking to each other.
Mobile phones and smartphones offer excellent mobile communication as long as their batteries are charged and they have adequate signal strength. However, mobile coverage is notoriously inadequate in some and totally unavailable in other areas, for example, remote areas and indoor spots like elevators, stairwells and underground tunnels. Furthermore, cellphone service (GSM networks) are easily overloaded in an emergency, rendering it useless when needed most.
Sending texts or emails are great options for people who are (more) comfortable with instant silent communication, but some people are just more comfortable when having an actual voice conversation – and some information simply must be conveyed by voice. Such scenarios render text and email useless.
Digital two-way radios with keypads and displays can be ideal for texting along with all of the other benefits they provide.
Now let’s contrast them with some advantages of two-way radios:
Mobile & Durable
Two-way radios are more durable in rugged environments and often meet waterproof and dustproof military specifications so they can be used effectively just about anywhere.
Unlike cellphones, obstructions are not a major challenge. Your two-way radios might just require added power or the addition of repeaters to increase signal range. In larger facilities and across vast campuses, distributed antennas and bi-directional amplifiers can even boost signals further in even the most challenging environments. This is why two-way radios are so essential in jobs like warehousing, security or property management where users have to roam over wide areas.
On two-way radios, users push just one button to talk to each other, saving the trouble of scrolling through a contacts list and workgroups can be programmed to give users the choice between communicating with a whole team, or with other users one-to-one.
This flexibility makes workers much more efficient and it’s invaluable in emergencies or other situations where critical communications are vital.
With a cellphone or landline telephone, you have no choice but to wait for the call to 1) connect and start ringing, and 2) be answered. On a two-way radio, one-button functionality enables instant voice communication as soon as you start talking.
Instant communications are not only vital in any emergency when delays can cost lives, but also to speed maintenance technicians to the site of production line breakdowns or to help sales staff check with the warehouse to see if more products are available.
On a two-way radio network, a single user can call an entire group of people with the push of one button. Ever tried to set up a conference call or find different workgroups using a cell phone in a hurry?
Digital technology makes radios even cooler:
Digital radios convert voice signals into packets of data that can be transmitted over traditional networks, both wired and wireless. This makes your two-way radio a computing device that can send texts, receive text (including emails) and transmit voice signals around the world via the internet.
Digital radios also improve sound quality in noisy areas, and they use less battery power than analog radios, which means you can keep them on the job for longer periods of time.
They can even generate user data that can help track people’s locations and identify inefficiencies to help make businesses more profitable.
“Now, aren’t you glad we’re still here?”
– Two Way Radios everywhere
We came across an old blog post by Michael Martens, which contains an excellent explanation of what it means when people talk about Antenna Gain / Dbi.
Since it also clarifies the reason for antennas in the two way radio world, we HAD TO share.
“I’m gonna take a confusing subject and hopefully demystify it. Antenna Gain is a popular subject amongst hams. We talk about gain all the time, we’ll compare antenna systems and apply values to as how impressive they are by their gain figures. But what exactly is antenna gain, and what do those numbers mean to…”
Source: Antenna Gain Explained
“A schoolgirl from Hertfordshire took her place in the history books by making the UK’s first amateur radio call up to the International Space Station.”
You can view the Live Video on First Amateur Radio Call To British Astronaut Tim Peake
In 1993, Bob Allphin and a team of 11 other men took a boat to remote Howland Island, an uninhabited slip of coral that is officially part of a group called United States Minor Outlying Islands located in the Pacific Ocean.
It’s not a place where tourists tend to gather, save a very specific breed. “If that rings a bell,” says Allphin, “It’s because that’s the island Amelia Earhart was looking for when she ran out of gas and disappeared.”
The trip was going according to plan, but as the week progressed, the waves offshore grew larger and larger.
Powerless, the small gathering could only watch as the whitecapped water separated them from their main vessel. With ample supplies visible off shore, they ran out of water.
“And there’s no worse feeling because you’re on an island where the temperature is 120 and you’re thirsty as hell,” says Allphin.
The dozen tourists combed the beach for upturned seashells filled with rainwater and strained that through a t-shirt into a bucket, adding iodine pills. This was the stew they planned to subsist on when they had a breakthrough—the crew was able to get water ashore. Still, they wound up stranded on the island an extra seven days.
Perhaps the most shocking thing is that this group risked their lives for a passion that is esoteric even by esoteric tourism standards—they weren’t out at the remote island for Amelia Earhart. They were there to make contact with as many amateur radio operators from all over the world as possible.
According to the American Radio Relay League, which is the national membership association for amateur radio operators in the U.S., there are around 3 million operators worldwide. Amateur radio (which is also known as ham radio, and its users as hams) is, simply put, non-commercial use of radio frequencies to communicate…
Read More Straight From The Source Here: The Amateur Radio Obsessives Who Send Messages from the Ends of the Earth | Atlas Obscura