There are two types of two way radios, licenced and licence-free radios. For licenced radios it is required by law to obtain an radio licence from OFCOM.
Licence-free radios are a cheaper alternative to licenced radios. They can be bought and used straight away without obtaining a licence from OFCOM. This is because they have a relatively low power output of 0.5 watts, and only have a small range. This makes them the perfect option if your business is functioning in a small building e.g. retail, construction, smaller schools or any other site where minimal coverage is required within close range. Licence-free radios are also ideal for personal use such as when skiing, hiking or at a leisure park where mobile signal is not available. Their benefits include:
Simple to use
Professional use within a small range
Licenced radios are the slightly more costly alternative as they are designed to have a higher power output of up to 5 watts, offer increased coverage and range. If your business is functioning over a wider area or on a larger site a licenced radio with the addition of an OFCOM licence is required. This will allow your site access to dedicated frequencies and additional features. The benefits of a licenced radio include:
Specific to your site
Clear audio quality
Conversation more secure
Send text messages
Dial up individual users
Wider and longer range
Types of OFCOM licence
When it comes to OFCOM licences it is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Depending on your needs, your business will require different OFCOM licences. These can range from £75 for 5 years, all the way up to £9900 per year, so it is important to find one that meets your criteria. So what OFCOM licences are they, and how do you choose the right one?
Simple UK Light- This is one of the most affordable OFCOM licences costing £75+ for 5 years. Every holder of a Simple UK Light licence will share access to a number of radio tones and frequencies. This will allow for communication across the UK without the use of a base station. This licence is ideal for companies who function throughout the country and need a wide coverage.
Simple Site UK- Also costing a relatively low £75+ for 5 years, the Simple Site UK licence will allow for radio use within a 3km radius of the base station or paging system. This is the perfect license if your business functions at a static location.
Technically Assigned (Shared and Exclusive)- This OFCOM licence can range from £75-£1480 per year and frequency. This licence will allow your company to use a designated frequency within an allotted area with the use of a repeater. The shared licence will allow for a frequency to be used up to 50% of the time, which the exclusive licence is more expensive but can be used more than 50% of the time.
Area Defined- This OFCOM licence varies from £75-£9900 depending on the size of the area covered. This licence can cover radio frequency up to 50km2 and can be tailored to your needs. This means your business pays for what it needs and only what it needs.
At Wall to Wall we provide you and your business with assistance and advice on which OFCOM licence would best suit your needs. We also offer assistance obtaining and managing your licence after purchase. Read more about how Wall to Wall Communications can help you with your OFCOM licence application on our blog ‘Wall to Wall Going the Extra Mile’.
At Wall to Wall Communications we are determined to meet your every two way radio communication needs, including ATEX radios. An ATEX radio stands for ATmosphere EXplosibles. They are radios that meet a higher standard of safety so they can be used in explosive environments without an increased risk of explosions.
For more information you can read our blog on ATEX radios here.
What industries are ATEX radios suitable for?
ATEX radios can be used in industries such as engine rooms, factories, coal mines, gas mines, airports, chemical plants, oil refineries, timber sawmills and emergency scenes attended by the ambulance, fire and police services, and any other industry that involves explosive materials.
Specialised features of an ATEX radio
To make sure our ATEX radios are safe for use around explosive materials they come with specialised safety features. These include…
Aside from these features, the ATEX radios importantly features a battery which produces a stable output of power, with a long battery life, whilst still maintaining a low temperature. This limits the risk of the radio producing a flame or a spark which could create an explosion. A key feature for ATEX radios.
ATEX radios at Wall to Wall Communications
At Wall to Wall we know that each business has individual needs. Whilst one of the main criteria of ATEX radios is an increased level of safety, they must also serve the normal functioning purposes of ordinary two way radios. Currently we stock a total of 6 ATEX radios so you can find the perfect one for you.
Complying with the world’s strictest safety standards, this Hytera ATEX radio offers key features such as built in man-down and lone-worker functions, GPS, dedicated emergency button, high audio quality, long battery life, large push to talk button and tuning knobs, highly reliable and software upgradable.
Also complying with the world’s strictest safety standards, this Hytera ATEX radio has the capability to withstand some of the toughest conditions. This radio comes with the added benefits of a 1.8 inch colour LCD display and qwerty keypad, which can also help during emergency situations and at night time. Other features include GPS, up to 1024 channels, upgradeable software, digital and analogue capabilities and strong vibrations for alerts which can be useful if you are working in a loud environment.
The Motorola ATEX radio is recommended for any industries that are working with explosive materials or gases, including mines, oil rigs and petrol stations. This is an easy to use radio with up to 32 channels available. Other key features include an emergency button, integrated GPS, multisite connectivity, durable design, automatically adjusting radio volume, man down and lone worker functions.
Kenwood’s ATEX radios have been subject to years of testing in demanding and harsh operating conditions. This Kenwood ATEX radio also has a wealth of features in addition to the expected ones. These include STAFF SAFE Functions, advanced motion detection, emergency key, 5-tone signalling, priority scan and voting, programmable function keys, key lock, VOX read and an adjustable microphone amongst others.
The ICOM ATEX radio is particularly recommended for companies working around water. This radio is a waterproof transceiver that is equivalent to the marine handheld models. In addition, this model is tough, reliable and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. The Lithium-Ion battery pack also offers a 13 hour working battery life that provides stable output power. A key feature of this radio is the keypad is lit with LED’s, making it suitable for night time work or in dark conditions such as mines.
This Motorola ATEX radio comes with a wealth of features to ensure communication is swift, easy and efficient. This radio comes fully equipped with text messaging feature, GPS, day/night mod, full colour display, Intelligent Audio Feature, built-in scrambling, waterproof and IP Site Connect. This radio is particularly recommended for use around explosive gases with its low powered battery.
At Wall to Wall Communications we know that the safety of your staff and visitors is of the utmost importance to you and your business. The technology you use on site must therefore maintain and enhance these high levels of safety, particularly if you are working in a hazardous environment. Two way radios enhance communication, efficiency and therefore safety. However, if the environment is particularly hazardous and potentially explosive such as an oil rig or petrol tanker, your two way radio must meet increased safety standards. This is where ATEX radios come in…
What is an ATEX radio?
ATEX stands for Atmosphere Explosibles which were first introduced in 2003. An ATEX radio is a radio that is built to meet the world’s strictest safety standards. ATEX radios are made to withstand and keep working reliably in the toughest environments where explosives are involved, whilst still maintaining the highest level of safety.
What features make ATEX radios so safe?
ATEX radios are classed as ‘intrinsically safe’. This means that this technology is safe to use around explosive material as there is a reduced risk of the radio generating a flame or even the tiniest spark that could trigger an explosion. ATEX radios also ensure that minimal heat is produced when the device is in use for the same reason.
Waterproof– These radios can withstand submersion into water and still function after a period of time
Shockproof– These radios are encased in a tough shell with a compact body designed to last and withstand explosions
Dustproof– The shell of these radios are sealed to ensure no material can penetrate the body
Lithium-ion battery pack– This battery produces stable output power without overheating to minimise the risk of a flame or a spark being produced.
In addition to all of the safety features, these radios also come equipped with all of the functions you would expect from a regular digital radio such as man-down function, lone worker, text messaging, GPS, emergency button, built in scrambling and site connect.
What businesses are ATEX radios designed for?
Many businesses can benefit from the use of ATEX radios including chemical plants, airports, timber sawmills, oil rigs, oil refineries, emergency scenes attended by police, fire and ambulance services, engine rooms, coal mines, gas mines, factories, and engine mines.
With so many two way radios rentals options on the market it can be difficult to know which radio rental to choose with advantages and disadvantages of each. There are Digital Radios, Analogue Radios, ATEX Radios and more recently POC Radios.
At Wall to Wall Communications we have been providing two way radio rental in the UK for over 40 years. Because of this we like to think of ourselves as ‘radio experts’. If you and your business are thinking about hiring walkie talkies to enhance the levels of communication between workers, then do not hesitate to contact us to speak to one of our experts.
So, what are the benefits of each radio?
Analogue radios are the original form of radios, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century and is arguably the most common form of radio system. However, with advancements in digital radio this is declining, but they still very much have their uses. Analogue radios offer the basic and simplest form of wireless communication, typically just having a push-to-talk button, limited encryption options, scanning and one-to-one or group conversations. One of the main benefits of analogue radio rental is that they are simple to use and affordable to rent. This makes analogue radios ideal for smaller businesses.
Digital radios represent the advancements in two way radio communication, with most digital radio rentals offering the same features as analogue, just with added optional features. If your business requires signal across a wider range, digital radios offer a more reliable and consistent form of communication. In addition to this digital radios have the ability to distinguish between voices and background noise which makes communicating messages much clearer, perfect if you are working in a noisy environment. Other benefits include multiple channels, text messaging, reduced bandwidth consumption, compatible with new software applications and the ability to utilise digital and analogue simultaneously.
An ATEX radio is a two way communication solution your business has been looking for if there is a risk of explosions on the premises. An ATEX radio rental is specially designed to safeguard employees around high risk substances such as gas, oils, chemicals or mines. Our ATEX radio rentals are produced to an extremely high standard that eliminates the risk of the radio producing any heat or spark that could ignite an explosion. ATEX radios are also waterproof, dust proof and function at a very low power output which keeps their temperature low. So even if your business is functioning in a high risk environment you can still optimise your communication to increase efficiency, security and safety with two way radios from Wall to Wall Communications.
POC stands for Push To Talk Over Cellular. This effectively means that these radios use mobile signals to send and receive voice messages instead of the traditional radio waves. While this technology has been around for many years, in the past it was relying on the much slower 2G and 3G network which wasn’t very reliable and didn’t offer complete coverage. However, with the advancements of the mobile network to 4G and 5G, POC radios are rising in popularity.
So why choose POC radios over ‘traditional’ radios? One of the main advantages of POC radio rentals is that they do not need an OFCOM licence. This makes POC radio popular amongst companies located in densely populated areas where an OFCOM licence is hard to obtain. The other main advantage is that POC radio rentals have an unlimited range, as long as there is mobile signal or wifi. This makes POC radios particularly popular with businesses that travel throughout the UK such as couriers, taxis and delivery companies.
At Wall to Wall we have over 40 years experience, but we are always seeking to be on the front-line of cutting edge communication technology. With the rise in popularity of body-worn cameras (BWC), we are launching a collection of body cameras (BC) for you this 2020!
For many years body cameras were mainly used by blue light workers such as the police, ambulance workers and firefighters to enforce the law and for safety. However, in recent years body-worn cameras are beginning to be used by other industries such as retail. The increase of theft in retail has led to retail business owners turning to body-worn cameras as a means of increasing surveillance, security and collection of admissible evidence. Through the reduction of theft, retail business owners can save money through the prevention of product loss. BWC’s are an investment in your business that can save money in the long run.
A body-worn camera is a relatively small audio and video recording device that is typically attached to the hat or chest of the wearer. However, they can also be attached to the lapel of a uniform or glasses. Body cameras can either be left running or include a ‘push to record’ button to begin recording when an incident is suspected of taking place. This makes them super versatile and extremely applicable to retail business owners.
In retail, with the frequency of theft increasing it is common for retail businesses owners to install CCTV surveillance. CCTV is a stationary video recording device that is typically installed high up in the corners of the premises. However, the drawbacks of CCTV is that cameras are stationary which includes blind spots which means not all incidences will be recorded. In addition to this, CCTV doesn’t record audio, simply body language. For this reason BC’s can be combined with CCTV surveillance to provide increased security, surveillance and evidence.
Benefits of body-worn cameras in retail
BC’s vary in cost and features so you can find the perfect one to fit your business.
BC’s capture audio as well as video which captures a more thorough account of events.
Recordings can provide admissible evidence of suspects/victims/interactions which is more reliable and shortens court proceedings.
The footage recorded can be stored, re-watched and shared.
Their presence alone acts as a deterrence to theft and retail violence in stores.
The recordings made can be reviewed for monitoring and training purposes.
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