Jack’s radio

If your radio could talk………

My user, Jack takes me off the shelf in the garage and gently plugs the charger into my charge jack. I can feel the juice surging into my power source and I begin to perk-up a bit. As I gain some strength I take a look around the garage, I see familiar items. A tent and sleeping bags lay on the floor, as well as a cooler and a dark green duffle bag. Looks like we’re going HUNTING!

Jack & I love to go hunting – being out in the wild with our buddies, just doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t wait!

As I sit patiently on the shelf I begin to feel that my battery is not taking the charge like it did when we were younger. I really need a fresh battery pack every 18 to 24 months to work my best and keep Jack in contact with our buddies. I sure hope he has a new, fully charged battery to take along on our trip, for I fear this one is “not going to do the job” and Jack will be disappointed in me. I really don’t like it when he shakes me and pounds me into the palm of his hand. I like being crisp and clear for Jack, but I can’t do it with a tired old battery pack. What if Jack doesn’t have a new battery for me – what will I do?

Please, Jack, call the girls at Delmmar Communications and order me a new battery, they will ship it out to us PDQ and we’ll have a wonderful hunting trip. Just doesn’t get any better than that!

2-way radio range

Handheld radios, such as the Motorola CP200, will generally transmit radio-to-radio, line-of-sight up to 2 miles. Once you start putting obstacles between the radios you will shorten your range. Even the body fluid of the person wearing the radio on their hip will absorb some of the range. Higher wattage radios will have a slight increase in range and a significant increase in clarity of transmission on the outer fringes of your range.

Mobile radios, such as the Motorola CM200, will generally transmit radio-to-radio up to 8-10 miles depending upon the obstacles and the terrain.

Base stations will generally transmit approx. 8-12 miles.

What can you do to improve range? Contrary to popular belief wattage does not determine distance. Antenna height and placement determines distance.  Hold your portable radio perpendicular to the ground, not slanted like you would hold a phone. This problem alone could decrease your range by up to 2/3s. Don’t shout CB-style, shouting reduces talk-range on industrial-type radios. If you have a radio user who stays in a fixed location, think about adding a small base station into your system. Have your radios serviced every two years to maintain peak performance.  When using a mobile radio or base station: Be certain with your antenna that it is installed correctly. You can improve the range of your mobile radio by using an antenna which is cut to the appropriate length for your primary transmit frequency. Proper positioning of the antenna on the vehicle is key to good range.

Necessary Motorola verbage:
MOTOROLA and the Stylized M Logo are registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.
All other product and service names are the property of their respective owners. © Motorola, Inc.

Flying through the air…

The last thing I remember, I was flying across the room. Manny, my user, had mumbled some expletives and with no warning tossed me into the air with great force. I could feel the breeze blowing through my grill. I thought to myself, this must be how it feels to be a football. I have no recollection of the impact, nor the ride in the brown delivery truck to the repair center. The next thing I knew, I was awakened at the radio repair center. I found myself sitting upright in a bright yellow tub, in line with numerous other radios awaiting surgery. I had heard about this place, but had never been here. Manny had broken my antenna and dislocated a few components when he tossed me onto the concrete floor of the warehouse.

As I began to get my bearings and look around the room, I saw the walkie to my right was named Fred. He could not speak, but I knew his name from reading what was scrawled on his front housing by someone with a yellow parts marker. He was from an automotive recycling center, and smelled strongly of automotive fluids. His antenna was bent and weather cracked. His battery was removed and laying in the yellow bin. If he’d been a human, he would of had grey hair. He was old. His user must have still had need of him, since he was at the repair center.

I could not see the radio to my left, as he was laying down in the bin. From time to time I could hear his low battery beep, and knew someone had left him turned on for the ride to the repair center. He did not have enough power left to transmit, only the faint and dying beep of the failing battery.

I waited patiently in line and listened to the Tech whistle and say audio-audio into each of the radios which came before me. After a while, it nearly sang me to sleep. Just as I was about to doze, wahoo, he picked up my bin. I was next! He swiftly popped off my battery door, and stripped me of my broken antenna. Faster than I could think, I was hooked up and powered by his equipment. My battery was placed on the analyzer, and I was being ran through rigorous tests. (I’d tell you he put me on a treadmill and did a stress test, but you’d never believe me. Thou it felt like it.) He turned me off and on several times, plugged and unplugged items from my audio jacks, tested my antenna port. Then without any warning, he quickly stripped me of my shell. My housing was gone… I felt so exposed… totally naked. Yikes!

Here I was all exposed for the world to see. Well, I guess for the technician and the other radio soldiers lined up to see. I tend to get a little dramatic here, but you get the picture. His whistle tickled as it spun air through my uncovered speaker. The words audio-audio were now coming through me like a song being sung by the technician. After he discerned the situation, the tech skillfully and painlessly replaced several of my key components. His soldering iron was hot, but I felt no pain on my green component board. He tweeked and aligned my electronics, and I was thinking and feeling better than ever. He pressed my PTT and I was so quick to respond. “Wow” I thought to myself, “It is great to be alive”.

Just a quickly as he had disrobed me, he put a new exterior housing and antenna on me, then reunited me with my battery and I was carried to the “waiting to invoice” shelf. I was fixed. Good as new. I could hear the invoice clerk on the phone talking about me to Manny. From hearing only one side of the conversation, it sounded like Manny was happy I would be coming home. He had missed me and I had missed home too.

Soon I was whisked away to the shipping department, where they carefully placed me in a box full of soft packing peanuts for the ride home. Before I left, I did see old Fred one more time. He was on the shelf where I had waited for them to call Manny. The invoice clerk was explaining to Fred’s master that Fred had been patched up one more time, but didn’t know how many more repairs Fred had in him. Fred was getting to go home too!

Then I was homeward bound, riding in my little cardboard box, nestled in the packing, bouncing up and down in the brown truck, happy to be going home to Manny.

Many stories to be told

You may have never thought about it but your two-way radio leads an interesting life. It is with you many hours everyday. For some people it is only when you are at work, on the clock for eight hours., for others, it is 24/7. The radio hears everything you say, see everything you do. The radio saves you many steps everyday.

If your radio could talk, what would it have to say? Would it tout how wonderful a person you are, or would it tell of abuse and misuse? Or of interesting things which happen each day? This blog has been started to tell their story. The story from the radio’s perspective. And just in case you were wondering, the names will be changed to protect the innocent. If you think your radio has a story to share, send us an email. We’ll try and include your radio’s story here.