<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=177704282845749&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Chicomm Blog

A Wiser Outlook On Wireless Networks

Posted by Jill McNamara on Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wireless Local Area Networks, Explained

 Most of us probably have a wireless router in our house right now. 802.11a/b/g were the old standards, 802.11n is the current standard and 802.11ac is coming in the near future. You don’t know how it works, but you plugged in your wireless router when you picked it up from Best Buy (or your cable/internet provider), fumbled your way through it and low and behold-- you’re a wireless networking specialist! Congratulations. You’re not sure exactly what's happening on the back end, but your laptop at home works as well as your smartphone connecting to your WLAN to surf the web.

Tags: Chicago Communications, Wireless Communication, Tech Talk

Read More

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

Read More

How Technology Has Impacted 9-1-1 Dispatch Centers     

     Over the last thirty years, I have actually counted over 200 radio dispatch consoles that Chicago Communications has installed. A dispatch console is actually an interface for a dispatcher to talk to various radio systems. Similar to a 9-1-1 telephone system, the radio dispatch console acts as an audio switch to connect various people to various radios or telephones.

Tags: Public Safety Communications, Tech Talk, Safety Solutions, Maintenance/Installation/Service

Read More

Tom's Tech Talk #16: What's New with MOTOTRBO

     I have to say, in my 32 years of being in radio, the MOTOTRBO product line is one of the best ideas I have seen come out from Motorola Solutions in a long time. Back in 2007 I remember seeing it for the first time. When I heard 2-for-1 channel usage, it immediately made me think of reducing our customers capital outlay for radio systems. In addition with many users still using Micor vintage equipment, the time was right for this product.

     MOTOTRBO’s ability to cross both the analog and digital platforms really gave the customer a choice. It allowed the end user to migrate from a legacy platform of equipment operating on analog to a digital platform that allowed 2 simultaneous voice conversations over one radio frequency. DOUBLE CAPACITY with one system!! Purchasing an upgraded infrastructure backbone can allow a customer to operate analog until the customer gets enough mobile and portable radios; and with a simple programming to digital, the customer effectively has two repeaters in one system.

     Motorola Solutions went one step further by allowing Application Developers to write software code to the radios to allow it to act as a modem or input/output device. By creating this digital platform, these binary ones and zeros carry more information than just voice.

Tags: Tech Talk, MOTOTRBO, Digital Two-Way Radios

Read More

Avoid Storm Season Damages & Repairs

Posted by Jill McNamara on Friday, May 4, 2012

Tom's Tech Talk #15: Proper Measures Save Money in Service Repairs

     Storm season: A radio shops favorite time of year. (Just Kidding!) Actually it has gotten progressively better. Years ago before Motorola’s Site Installation and Grounding Practices (R56 Standard), it was common place to have most of your yearly calls in the spring and summer due to storms. After countless builds using the R56 Grounding methods, we actually have minimized and eliminated costly repairs or insurance claims.

Tags: Tech Talk, Safety Solutions, Maintenance/Installation/Service

Read More

 Tom's Tech Talk (#12): A Trend for Businesses in 2012

     Employers are realizing that the concept of purchasing cell phones for employees is quite an expensive option. Although it provides connectivity to employees over a wide geographic area, it also has lead to personal calls, texting and additional charges that have to be monitored continually. With potential legislation in congress to eliminate cell phone use in cars and especially commercial vehicles, you need options to communicate with your people in the field.

Tags: Radio System, Tech Talk

Read More

Accurate Antenna Systems Mean Maximized Results

Posted by Jill McNamara on Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tom's Tech Talk (#11): Antenna Systems

 I can’t tell you how many times we run across systems improperly designed based on their licensing requirements. Each FCC licensee is required to meet both height and power requirements for all of their fixed base station equipment that is indicated on their license.

      Many times people take the approach that to reach their people in the field they need to increase the gain of their antenna’s and the power on their base stations. What they don’t realize is that they may become an interferer with an adjacent co-channel user and  are therefore  subjected to a fine by the FCC for exceeding their licensed effective radiated power. We had one instance where the combined antenna gain and power from their equipment was enough to reach Madison Wisconsin from the Western Suburbs of Chicago.

Tags: Radio System, Tech Talk, Antenna System, FCC

Read More

Networking as a Digital Mobile Radio Strategy

Posted by Jill McNamara on Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tom's Tech Talk (#10): Digital Mobile Radio System Implementation

      In today’s Digital Mobile Radio systems, networking is playing a key role in implementation of these radio systems. Years past connectivity was through an in house set of wires or over the local telephone companies telephone line. With the evolution of radio, not only has product changed, but the way we need to get the information between sites has changed.

      In the early years, radio equipment was controlled by Direct Current (DC) traveling down the telephone lines between dispatch and the radio at a tower. The voice and DC current would travel the line to the equipment. The equipment in turn would interpret the DC current as one of the following:

 1)      Transmit on F1

 2)      Transmit on F2

 3)      Monitor the Channel

Tags: Radio System, Tech Talk, Digital Two-Way Radios

Read More

Tom's Tech Talk (#8): "Sync" Your two-way Radios & Accessories

     As most people believe that hooking up a radio is a couple of wires, consider this. Typical radio antenna connections are 50 ohms of impedance. Antenna cable comes in many varieties. For instance your Cable TV Cable is 75 ohms impedance. Twin lead for an outdoor antenna is 300 ohms. Standard 2 Way Radio cable is 50 ohms. In layman’s terms, ohms equates to the resistance of a part or device. When mixing different varieties of cables, you actually get a mismatch. This mismatch usually results in degraded performance or even failure.

    For two way radio, the typical impedance is 50 ohms. This means that the radio should match the antenna cable and the antenna cable should match the antenna. When done properly you obtain maximum transfer of power to the antenna. When done improperly the mismatch can actually cause reflected power back into the radio either shortening the life of the amplifier or causing degraded performance in the operation of the radio.

Tags: Two Way Radios, Tech Talk, Two Way Radio Accessories

Read More
Tom's Tech Talk (#7): Ready for the Next Emergency?!

With the recent weather-related incidents happening around the US and the world for that matter, now is a good time to assess your backup plan for communications. When developing a backup communications plan, you have to consider what type of an emergency you are planning for. It's usually:

1) Your radio system is impaired and you need an alternate method of
2) You have to evacuate your facility leaving the equipment intact and
3) You have an incident which has completely taken out your building,
equipment or tower and you have to relocate.

Tags: Tech Talk, Back-Up Plan, Safety Solutions

Read More