FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How far will I be able to communicate?
The simple answer is that a pair of digital high-power portable radios may reliably communicate over 2 or 3 miles in open countryside, with the range reducing to perhaps a few hundred metres in a heavily built up area without the additional help of a repeater.
We engineer systems to communicate over distances from a few hundred metres to much larger wide area schemes sometimes covering multiple counties.
Don’t be fooled by the claims of the PMR446 sellers of a range of ‘up to’ 10 miles. The radios may do that in absolutely ideal conditions with nothing in between to block the signal but in the real world you’re often going to be lucky to achieve 5% of that figure.
Do I need a licence?
Typically, the answer to this is yes you will require an OFCOM licence to operate your radio equipment. But don’t worry; we arrange this on behalf of our clients as part of the supply contract. Licences are usually available anything from the same day to approximately 4 weeks for larger more complex systems.
Licence exempt radio equipment is available, however we don’t usually supply this due to it’s typically lower quality with little or no parts support. They provide very short range and often suffer from interference because of sharing the channels with many other users. We don’t consider this a professional solution for business users as it’s really more of a ‘disposable leisure use’ option. This type of equipment is generically known as PMR446.
How much will it cost?
Professional radio equipment comes at a cost and prices range from sub £200 for an analogue portable radio up to perhaps £1000+ for an ATEX intrinsically safe model for use in specialist environments such as oil rigs or effluent treatment works. Typically, equipment that we supply for most common applications cost between £200 & £300 for a digital model.
How quickly can I be on the air?
Most new radio systems can be supplied within 5 days, subject to OFCOM licence issue. However, this can be longer for the more complex wide area type systems.
For existing systems, we are often able to supply additional equipment the same day.
There is also a ‘parking frequency’ facility to get you up and running quickly while waiting for OFCOM to issue your licence.
Analogue or Digital?
This is a question that we are often asked. Digital technology (known as DMR) has been available for over a decade and it now dominates the market. However, there are many legacy analogue systems in operation and we continue to support these with new equipment, subject to availability. 90% of completely new schemes that we supply are now digital.
We’re often asked what the difference is. Well, there are many advantages with digital, from seamless group and individual calling, to being able to interface multiple base stations together over a network to increase the range. However, the biggest advantage that users have noticed when upgrading from analogue is that the signal remains totally clear right up to the very edge of coverage with no crackles and pops. We’re often told that ‘it feels like it goes much further than our old analogue radios’.
Do you have a web shop?
You will notice that we don’t have a web shop. We believe in personal service and that the technical nature of the product doesn’t lend itself to ‘click & collect’. For example, the difference in the propagation characteristics between VHF and UHF radios.
We like to discuss the client’s specific requirements and then advise a solution that best meets their needs. One of the most common calls that we receive is a potential client who has purchased radios on the internet (typically PMR446) and while it has proven that they definitely require a communications solution, it is not meeting their needs.
Drop us a line using the contact us form or you can chat to us on 01223 277274; we like to talk to our customers!