Two Way Radio Terms and Acronyms
Customers that are new to the use of Motorola two way radios may have been confronted with a number of abbreviations or acronyms that they don’t understand – or have never had to. We here at Nova Communications know that, while we understand a number of these terms, you may not, so we’re breaking down a few for you and giving you a basic run at two way radio knowledge.
UHF – This is a type of radio frequency, which stands for ‘Ultra High Frequency’. It’s a great frequency for audio quality, and has success in industries such as manufacturing, warehousing, healthcare, construction, security and government, because of its ability to penetrate wood, steel and concrete – giving you, the user, better performance and range in urban environments.
As an added bonus, these frequencies are used for television broadcasting, satellite communications including GPS, and personal radio services including WiFi, Bluetooth and then of course, cell phones.
VHF – Another type of radio frequency, as you might have guessed, which stands for ‘Very High Frequency’. This is a wonderful frequency for rural settings, because of its range in outdoor settings – making it ideal for rural construction, agriculture, transportation, forestry and, in some cases, oil and gas development. The ideal situation with using VHF frequency is an area free of large obstructions.
NiMH – This is a type of rechargeable battery that is often used in two way radios. It stands for nickel-metal hydride, and can also be referred to as Ni-MH. At one point, these were the most common batteries used in two way radios, but there has been a large shift to lithium ion batteries (see below). NiMH batteries have an advantage to working well in extreme temperature environments – a vital for working in some Canadian industries and seasons.
Lithium Ion – Another type of battery with huge benefits for storing for extended periods of time. The Li-on, as it’s also called, has limited memory effects – which occurs with other batteries when its recharged before its fully empty. If you’re looking for a battery with quick charge abilities, this is a great option.
IMPRES – While a little more expensive than other battery types, IMPRES batteries are known for longer battery life and extended talk time – a distinct advantage for those working long days with two way radios. Known as a smart battery technology – providing the ability to safely leave your batteries on an IMPRES charger without causing damage, while also keeping a full charge. A number of portable radios have made the switch to this technology, and for good reason!
Reconditioning/conditioning batteries – This is a process that enables you, the two way radio user, to regain any lost performance in a battery – including not holding power like it used to. To recondition the battery, you need to fully discharge it (or drain it) and then re-charge it. You may need to complete this process as many as three to four times to get your former capacity back.
Still not working? If you’ve conditioned your batteries and the batteries are still draining quicker than you’re used to, it may be time to replace them. The usual timeframe for battery replacement is 18 to 24 months.
IP Rating – Like a number of electronics, two way radios fall into a category where its parts can be sensitive and reactive to dust and moisture – if they’re not rated to withstand those conditions. That’s where the IP Rating comes into play. IP stands for ‘ingress protection’ – and it’s a two-digit number system that determines how well the electronics keep out environmental factors that can damage its inside.
The first digit in the rating is the protection against solids (low for large objects and high for small particles), the second against moisture (lowest is the ability to keep out small amounts of moisture, while higher is the ability to remain submerged).
Analog – Analog radios were the two way radio of choice just 10 years ago, but there has been a move to digital in recent years. A perfect radio for small shops and big business that were designed to meet all communications needs.
While these products are discontinued for sales with the move to digital, there is the potential for these radios to still exist in a number of industries. There’s no shortage of accessories available for these two way radios, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re looking for those.
Digital – A large number of these radios are conditioned for both analog and digital capabilities, which makes your potential transition to digital two way radios easier for you. There are many benefits to a digital two way radio, including better clarity, noise cancelling capabilities and, in some cases with radios, applications that better allow the user to be more efficient in the work place.
Noise Reduction Rating – Also known as NRR, this is a method for describing the sound level reduction across frequencies, and is based on lab tests. It ensures the effectiveness of noise reduction in hearing protection devices, and the ability for decreasing sound exposure in what can be noisy work environments.
The higher the number associated with the hearing protection, the greater the reduction.
Stubby or flex antenna – Stubby antennas are ideal for two way radios worn on the belt throughout the day – preventing antennas from getting stuck in clothing and other tools on your work belt.
Flex, or whip antennas, are built with durability in mind, providing a great value for reception quality as well.
CSA Rating (FM – full CSA) or UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) – This designation confirms that a portable radio, with an attached (and certified) battery, is safe for use in potentially hazardous or critical work environments. The two way radios are rated and approved based on the conditions they’ve been designed to be included in, including flammable gas, flammable and combustible vapours and combustible dust.
You often find these two way radios in industries such as oil & gas, mining and manufacturing.
This is just a quick review of some of the terms you may come across when using your two way radio. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us, and we’d be happy to help out! Interested in finding out what two way radio might work for you? Try the FREE Portable Radio Selection Guide below.