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Chicomm Blog

And 15 Reasons Why They Should!

Let's start with the reasons why users aren't buying into the digital world of radio. Here are the 4 excuses heard the most:

1. Adversity to Change: People will say "Analog radios will always be around" or "I’ve always used XYZ radio and I will keep purchasing that brand"-because it's what they're used to and what they know. 

2. It's Not Within Reach: This is probably the most common reason. Until recently, proposed systems have been outside of their budget or the cost difference can't be justified even though the radios have great features.

3. "We Don’t Need Digital": Still others out there think, "Analog gets the job done. I like the quality and benefits of digital, but it's not necessary."

Tags: Two Way Radios, Digital Two-Way Radios

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Plus the Top 10 Losing Warehouse Strategies And How To Avoid Them    

 There are many types of manufacturing sectors out there, from transportation (airplanes, cars, trains, etc.) to raw materials (steel mills, rubber, etc.), but the two leading factors driving ALL manufacturing companies and warehouses is Productivity and Efficiency. From the warehouse floor to product delivery, workers need access to information in real time to help automate operations and ultimately create a seamless, error-proof work environment.

Because the production line CAN'T stop...reliable communication is critical. Here are a few scenarios where two way radios prove they're valuable place in the warehouse. (Followed by the guide for 'How to Avoid the Top 10 Losing Warehouse Strategies', as promised.)

Scenario #1:

Tags: Motorola Solutions, MOTOTRBO, Manufacturing

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Chicago Communications gets involved with Ronald McDonald House's: 'Meals From the Heart'     

Last June, I got the opportunity to tag along on an important visit to the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago. You see, the charity was nearing its Grand Opening (to become the world’s largest) and we were making a special delivery. Motorola Solutions was kindly donating some new two way radios (walkie-talkies) for the staff to use at the Ronald McDonald House and Chicago Communications had programmed them. The Motorola Digital SL7550 portable two-way radios they received were to become the key communication tool at the facility. Having instant communication assists the RMHC team within the house and also allows the hospital to communicate back and forth in times of need, when family members aren't able to be reached on their cell phones.

Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Motorola Solutions

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Spotlight on the Technicians: The Experience Behind ChiComm

     Ernie’s career has taken him around the world a time or two before finally landing him at Chicago Communications. He may have only joined ChiComm's service team two and a half years ago, but combined with his other previous work he has 30 years of expertise in the communications & technology field.

     Ernie's training started when he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1983, right after he graduated from high school. Beyond several weeks of Basic Training he also attended many different technical training programs while in the military that were specific for the assignments he worked on (electronic development, air traffic controls, and ground launch cruise missiles are some examples of subjects he studied). Ernie's official role was as a ground radio maintenance technician in the Air Force and he served this position for 10 years. This is where most of his 'globetrotting' comes in. As part of different military assignments he spent years living in foreign countries like Korea and Turkey, while spending other extended periods of time in Japan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, England and several states across the United States. Most of his work in the Air Force involved tactical mobile communications which translates to being “the radio guy” in simple terms--and that's how he was known to the others he served with. As a technician in ground radio maintenance he worked on: satellite communications, LMR (two way land mobile radio communications similar to the equipment used at ChiComm), long range and high frequency communications and the encryption that makes all of those communications secure. 

Tags: Chicago Communications, Meet our Technicians, Safety Solutions, Maintenance/Installation/Service

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     In today’s Healthcare market, more and more hospitals are being absorbed by larger corporations. Since this trend has been picking up speed, radio systems which have typically been used for a multitude of uses (Security, Maintenance, IT and Janitorial services) are now creating disparate communications between facilities.

     At Chicago Communications, we had a similar situation with a customer that had 3 sites of hospitals spread across a 3 town radius.  The main site had five multi-story buildings with two parking garages and two problems: (1) They wanted to tie the sites together and (2) they needed to improve coverage. The hospitals were using analog radios and had several areas across campus that had poor to zero coverage.

The first solution: MotoTRBO Digital two way radios with IP site connect capabilities.

     We addressed their coverage issue by implementing a Digital Mobile Radio system (DMR). By leveraging a DMR, Hospitals can use their current Wide Area Networks (WANs) to create larger communications systems. This system will allow applications such as a Central Dispatch for Security services, Shared Maintenance, BioMed and IT resources between facilities, while still using a common communications platform.

Tags: MOTOTRBO, Safety Solutions, Healthcare

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How Much Does A Digital Radio System Cost?

Posted by Jill McNamara on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

So, how much is this new radio system going to cost me?

On a daily basis I am asked a variety of questions, but usually “How much is this radio system going to cost me? Can you give me a ball park price?” are ones I hear a lot.

     I'm sorry to tell you that with radio systems there is no cookie cutter solution or simple answer. I can’t, I won’t, and I don’t know how to answer that with even a guess! That is my answer, without knowing more about your needs. But what I can tell you is that several factors must be considered in order to determine which direction you would like to go with your system, and THAT will get you closer to your answer. So I guess in order to find out how much a digital radio system costs, you'll have to give us some answers first.

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Coordination & Solid Communications are Crucial to Events Success

2013 marks the 26th year of the Little Angels Pledge Run, a fundraising event that has become the lifeline for the Little Angels Center for Exceptional Care. On May 19th this year the Little Angels invite you to jump on your bike and roar through 80 miles of rolling countryside in Northern Illinois. And they don’t mean ride 80 miles on your typical mountain bike, they’re talking about gliding the course on a bike with a lot more power- a motorcycle.  You’d be joining between 1,500 and 2,000 other motorcycle riders that gather at the Woodstock Harley Davidson every year to support this great cause.      

Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Rental Equipment

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The Ultimate Power Source for Wireless Is...

Batteries! Can’t live without them in today’s world. Their importance lies in connecting us to our fellow man through walkie-talkies, cellular devices, tablets, and even to grounding Boeings newest 787 Dreamliner. And battery technology has come a long way. When I first started as a technician, the NiCd (Nickel Cadmium) was the battery of choice for our two way radios. Back then charging allowed two speeds: Standard Charge and Rapid Charge. Standard charge ran a low stream of current into the battery that took about 8 hours to get the battery to full capacity. Rapid charge ran a high stream of current into the battery. This speed would typically recharge in 3 hours.

Tags: Motorola Solutions, Two Way Radio Accessories

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Communication interoperability is a well-recognized imperative for public safety, homeland security, law enforcement, or any other organization that has a need to share intelligence, coordinate plans, and mount successful joint operations with others operating on disparate systems. Nationally, emergency equipment operability is becoming a priority.

So wouldn't it be great if you could access your radio system from a Smartphone? Or what if you were able to remotely create interoperable radio communications, enable basic dispatch functionality in remote locations, remotely control radios, or connect your phone into your radio system? Federal, state and local agencies with incompatible voice systems can communicate with a MOTOBRIDGE radio over IP interoperability solution.

The MOTOBRIDGE solution, by Motorola Solutions, enables you to add these capabilities and more to your existing analog, digital, conventional or trunked radio system.

Tags: Motorola Solutions, Wireless Communication, Interoperability

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Tom's Tech Talk #17: How to Troubleshoot Mobile Radios

WARNING: This article assumes you have an intermediate understanding of RF and two way radios.

Every so often you may experience a problem with your mobile radio, regardless of its manufacturer. I've heard one of our technicians once say “a radio is a radio; it transmits and it receives. I don’t care if it is Motorola, Johnson, Kenwood or Vertex.” It doesn't matter what type of radio you have because they all need the same basic components to work properly. Because of this, we can point out a few problems that typically occur among all mobile radios.

   In order to address a mobile radio problem you first need to know which part of the radio isn't working properly. Before we get to troubleshooting, let me define the pieces that make up a mobile two way radio:

Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Motorola Solutions, Tech Talk

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