Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

♦  Digital vs Analogue
Digital two-way radio is the new standard in radio communications. Equipment is available in both licensed and licence free form.
The benefits over and above traditional analogue radio communications include:

  - Greater number of simultaneous talking paths possible
  - Information such as unit ID, status buttons, or text messages can be embedded into a single digital radio channel
  - Consistent and good voice quality, stronger range
  - Features available GPS tracking, Lone Worker, Man Down, Vibrate, Text Messaging and Telephone Interconnect
  - Secure privacy through improved encryption voice quality
  - Integrated Voice and Data Services
  - Improved Spectrum Efficiency
  - Longer Battery Life

The audio is clearer on digital radios as analogue radios are limited by noise. The further the distance between two people, the noisier the audio becomes. Digital helps to make conversation easier with better clarity.

Digital radios often have more features available that assist with improving your operations such as the ability to send messages and GPS or locate information. Coupled with a good software solution, a digital radio can help your organization to improve efficiency and reduce on the need for voice commands. Furthermore, digital radio has the benefit of improved workflow. Productivity can be gained with significant overall savings for organisations.

Although possibly a slightly higher capital outlay this can easily be offset by savings, due to work efficiencies and improved customer service.
♦  What is the difference between licenced and unlicenced (PMR446) radios ?
A licensed radio (radio for business and commercial use) is a radio that would not operate unless programmed to work on a specific frequency. The radio channels / frequencies used for licensed radios are examined by Ofcom, prior to assignment, to assess the potential for harmful interference from adjacent users. (NB: exclusive-use assigned channels are not likely to suffer harmful interference whereas shared-use assigned channels may be subject to minimal harmful interference.
Licence Exempt / Licence Free / Unlicensed radios are non-specialised radios (often referred to as walkie talkies). They are used on channels that are shared on a UK-wide basis and are therefore more likely to suffer harmful interference due to their high usage (not recommended for business use).
Licensed Simple Site and Simple UK channels are also shared on a UK-wide basis but the licence fee results in reduced usage, but can still suffer interference issues in dense urban areas.
♦  What is the average battery life of a radio ?
Depending on the usage (actively transmitting or in "stand by" mode), a radio battery lasts about 8 - 12 hours on average. If the battery is of Li-Ion type, it may last longer, especially with the latest covert models (featuring lower power consumption - 2W only).
We also recommend that you scrap your old radio battery and replace it with a new one every 18 - 24 months.
♦  Can I try a radio before I buy (hire) it ?
Wall to Wall Radio Communications offers short-term radio hire as well as radio sales. Hiring equipment may be useful if you are not sure which system you need or want to expand your radio system on a temporary basis. It is also cost effective if radios are used occasionally. We allow our customers to try our equipment (for extra peace of mind) before they buy or hire it. Our radios can be trialed for a week.
♦  What radio should I buy - digital or analogue ?
The way forward in the radio comms world is digital. However, in some instances, analogue radios still remain the preferred solution. Therefore the pros and cons of the two options have to be weighed carefully. Wall to Wall Radio Communications is always happy to discuss your radio system requirements and offer the most appropriate analogue / digital solution. To find out what the benefits of digital equipment are click here.
♦  What is OFCOM ?
Ofcom is the communications regulator in UK. Its responsibilities include the regulation of the TV and radio sectors, fixed line telecoms and mobile phones, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices (like two-way radios) operate. Ofcom operates under the Communications Act 2003.
Wall to Wall Radio Communications can help you apply for a radio licence. Contact Us.
♦  Do I need a radio operator's licence (type of licences) ?
The Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 requires that, unless subject to licence exempt use (read this article to self-qualify or refer to the next question for a quick overview), all radio transmitting equipment requires a licence issued by the Office of Communications (Ofcom).
Wall to Wall Radio Communications can take you through the whole process. We offer consultation (free of charge) and could apply for the relevant licence and pay for it on your behalf. Just get in touch.
♦  How to reduce your Ofcom two-way radio PMR licence fee ?
OFCOM uses four basic licence fee structures for private mobile radio (PMR) equipment operation in the UK:
** technically assigned licences
** area defined licences
** simple / light licences
** licence exempt equipment
For more information on this topic, please refer to our blog...
♦  Can a two-way radio be a better choice over a mobile phone ?
The way that the radios work is very simple. You take two (or more) radios, set them to the same channel and then you can communicate with each other by pressing the transmit (or Push To Talk - PTT) button when you want to speak, and releasing it when you want to listen. There's no fees or line rental to pay.
The radios are not like mobile phones because:
(a) they do not depend on any outside network to operate. When you press transmit, you send a signal that is picked up directly by other radios on the same channel within range. With mobile phones the signal is transmitted indirectly, via a network of mboile phone masts and the landline telephone network. You have to pay to make calls.
(b) you cannot talk and listen at the same time. You have to remember to press the Push-To-Talk button to transmit, and let go of it when you want to listen to the person talking to you.
For more information on this topic, please refer to our blog...
♦  What is a repeater ?
A radio repeater is typically an un-manned base station. Its common use is to extend the range of handheld and / or mobile radios within a radio system. For on-site systems with repeaters, e.g. shopping centres, the antenna may be located above roof height so as to get good over all coverage. There may be additional antennas located within the building to get coverage in, otherwise, dead spots are possible. Wall to Wall Radio Communications can help you establish whether using a repeater is the best option for your radio system.
♦  How many radios can talk to one another ?
The minimum number is two and there is no maximum limit, providing the radios are within range of one another and all radios are using the same channel.
♦  What is the typical range of a two way radio ?
The maximum range is around 2 miles (3 kilometres). All PMR446 radios are legally limited to 500mW transmission power, which means that all brands will have around the same range. The range is reduced drastically when the radio signal passes through solid objects. Within buildings the range may be as little as 1/4 mile. It all depends on the thickness and density of the materials making up the obstruction between the transmitting and receiving radio. It is not possible to give a definitive answer to the question "will these radios work within such-and-such a building or site?" without actually trying them out on-site.
Business radios transmit well over 2 miles and when repeaters and antennas are used, range significantly improves. It is possible to have multiple radios talking to one another via IP connection, which allows different sites in different locations to be linked in a radio network.
♦  What is the difference between Lone Worker and Man Down ?
The lone worker function sends a response request to a user (example: security guard) at pre-defined durations. The user is required to respond within a short period of a request otherwise an alarm is activated.
The man down function comprises of a tilt mechanism on the handheld that is activated if the handheld is tilted beyond a selected angle for a pre-defined duration, e.g. when the user is lying on the ground.
Wall to Wall Radio Communications can help you establish whether using the lone worker and / or man down functions are the best option for your radio system.

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