mobile workforce communication, task management & compliance solutions
Mobile workforce solutions

When cheap just chirps, and quality counts!

  Posted on 2 January 2016

Apples and a pear in a lineHave you heard the proverb that ‘you can’t compare apples with pears’?  Well, it is something of acute interest to us in radio systems.  Why? Because we are often faced with customers who ask for the cheapest 2-way radios (and let’s be honest, there are a lot), without any thought for what the radios are going to be used for.  We also get asked by customers to help sort out problems with their 2-way radios’, because they are puzzled that they either do not work, or do not work very well.  (Read more about 2-way radio services)

The answer is – not all radios are the same!

We understand the temptation to buy cheap 2-way radios – they can be well-packaged, appear easy to use, are cheap in price, and often available in a single transaction over the internet.  They can seem to be the perfect solution.     If there is one small nugget of advice we could give – it is to think of the environment in which you will be using your radios before you purchase – it makes all the difference.

Over what distance will my radio work?

Cheap radios often make claims to impressive maximum ranges, over which the 2-way radios will be effective.   But, you have to be wary of these claims.   It will, almost certainly, not mean that you will be able to use your radios over this distance.  It will also not mean you being able to use this range in built-up environments. The provision of a ‘maximum’ range should not be interpreted as a guarantee of its possibility. 

The range for a 2-way radio system depends a lot on the environment in which it is to be used.  The more built-up, the more complex, the more crowded the airwaves, the more you need to invest in better quality 2-way radios and systems, to get reception in the areas you need covered. (See the wide range of 2-way radios available).

Avoid the crackle and hum!

There are reasons why we keep emphasising environment when it comes to selecting 2-way radios and radio systems.  It might help to explain. Let’s take for example a client who wants communications for a large multi-storey building.By just placing an antenna and repeater on the top of the building, it would certainly provide very good coverage for many miles around, but, there would probably be no coverage in the basement of the building itself.

For dependable 2-way communications, you have to marry the equipment with the need.

Help is at hand!

Purcell can conduct a survey of the building(s) and area over which a system is needed.  Then, plan additional infrastructure (for example, aerials) that would be required to give good radio frequency performance throughout the building, including basement levels. To see a sample system plan, just click the link ‘Take a Look’ on our Consultancy web-page.  

Our survey would indicate where to place additional internal antennas, leaky feeder cable and repeater equipment, and provide genuine recommendations on what you will get, for what investment.  (Read more about Radio Consultancy).

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