Festival Volunteers Handle Nature’s Fury Professionally With 2 Way Radios

Entrusting security of a large bluegrass music festival to volunteers is an act of faith; handing us 2 way radio equipment gave us the power and connection to do the job right. For the price of a few day shifts and at least one overnight watch until sunrise, we security volunteers got to enjoy some of the finest concerts and classes in a beautiful mountain setting. When disaster struck — twice — we didn’t need extensive training to be effective, just a fully charged battery.

First Challenge: Nice Guys Slide Off Dirt Roads

The first disaster was minor but challenging. A courteous pickup truck driver had moved over for oncoming traffic on a hillside dirt access road and slid off the edge just enough to get stuck. Calling for a tow was a perfect use of our radios that otherwise would have required sending a runner back down to the main tent. As the tow truck positioned itself to lift the truck back onto the road, we found a second radio use: solving problems by committee remotely!

Since no one outranked another, we wound up addressing the problem from several angles: “the road is blocked,” said one, “halt the cars coming up.” “I don’t have authority to control traffic,” said another. “There’s no turning around, so they’ll all be stuck if you don’t,” said the first. In the end, with quick radio communication instead of breathless runners doing a relay, a dead-end country traffic jam was avoided and the truck was rescued.

Second Challenge: Set Them Up and Blow Them Down

As if that wasn’t excitement enough, on another festival day a mountain thunderstorm descended with hurricane-force winds. By the time the blow was over, camping and performance tents were scattered and destroyed, the entire area was drenched, and nearly every portable restroom was knocked over. The practical people running the event organized crews, called the restroom vendor, and went about setting everything right.

The festival proceeded with minimal interruption from the storm: the radios not only made recovery possible, but made getting back on track effective and timely. It’s a good thing we had plenty of radios and volunteers to coordinate the activities. We got updated information to performers and attendees, and responded to issues requiring executive decisions or medical assistance as quickly as possible.

In addition to keeping the festival going, ensuring everyone’s health and safety, and streamlining decision processes, using radio gave the festival a professional appearance with a large contingent of lightly trained volunteers. Event attendees could enjoy their week of mountain music and head home feeling that the organizers had great acts on stage and a team they could trust behind the scenes. Our teamwork contributed to a solid event reputation and growing attendance numbers year to year.

In a remote area where cell phone users had to find a good spot to get a connection, 2 way radios were the perfect solution for making festival volunteers efficient and effective. Bad luck and bad weather was no match for a dedicated crew that could work together over the airwaves. For the lonely overnight watchman role, the radio was a reassurance that he wasn’t alone watching over the festival fans under the starry mountain sky.

Understanding The Essentials of Two Way Radio Antenna

An antenna is essentially the most crucial element of a two way radio and other transmitting application such as cell phones, television, radar, or satellite communication. It is responsible for performing the most important task – converting electric power to transmittable radio waves and the other way round.

How an Antenna Works

To transmit a signal, the transmitter provides an electric charge that oscillates at a specific radio frequency to the terminals of the antenna. Consequently, the antenna sends out corresponding electromagnetic waves. During reception, the antenna takes some of the power of the transmitted electromagnetic waves to generate an extremely small voltage for the terminals, which is then redirected to a receiver that amplifies the signals. This is basically how an antenna works.

Extensive Applications

The applications supported by an antenna go beyond communication. The same concept powers today’s high tech wireless applications that run computer networks; Bluetooth enabled systems, garage door openers, and baby monitors. It’s important to know that a perfectly functioning antenna is not only critical to the functioning of your two way radio ; it also helps maintain the life or longevity of your equipment.

The Bigger, The Better

The first and most important rule of thumb about an antenna to keep in mind is that the taller it is, the higher your db gain. A high volume of db gain is critical to achieving a stronger reach and better performance of your two way radio equipment. This basically translates to, “the bigger, the better.” However, in order to achieve results in practical situations, the antenna can have only so much height. In essence you have to sacrifice convenience for performance or vice versa. You can’t walk around or even install a gigantic antenna for all your needs, say for example your car radio.

Positioning of Antenna

The second rule of thumb pertains to the positioning of your antenna. The most optimal position for then antenna would be the centre of your metal car roof. In situations where this is not possible, you would need a “no ground plane” antenna. A no ground plane is basically just a metal surface that goes around the base of your antenna so that you have something for the radiating signal to react with. The next aspect you need to consider for your antenna is the frequencies at which you would be transmitting on. A VHF radio transmits and receives in a range from 136 to 174 MHz.

Chubby and Long Antennas

There are different kinds of two radio antennas available depending on how you want to use it. The large stock antenna is powerful and can be replaced or upgraded as you require. The shorter or stubby antenna provides a great deal of convenience. You can add a longer whip antenna to enhance your range. When it comes to two way radios, you stand to gain a great deal of advantages by having a business radio that comes with a removable antenna. The one problem is that removable antennas may not necessarily be compatible with all kinds of radios.

Lenovo to phase out the Motorola brand name

The Motorola brand, which has been a fixture in the technology world for 85 years, is about to be phased out by its parent company Lenovo.

The US-born company was bought from Google by the Chinese giant in 2014, with the company continuing the lineage of Motorola handsets.

However, the days of the Motorola name appearing on phones and in marketing materials will come to an end this year.

Motorola Chief Operating Officer Rick Osterloh told CNET: “We’ll slowly phase out Motorola and focus on Moto.”

The company plans to simply use ‘Moto’ and the familiar batwing logo for high end devices, while all other handsets will feature the Lenovo Vibe branding. Even the top devices like the Moto X will feature the blue Lenovo logo rather than the Motorola name.

The rather complex blending of the two brands will involve Moto devices being introduced to Lenovo stronghold territories and marketed it as premium devices.

The budget Vibe devices will also be introduced to western markets to complement the high-end Motorola devices according to the report.

If this wasn’t confusing enough, the Motorola company is being retained from an organisational perspective and that division will now oversee all of Lenovo’s smartphones activity.

Motorola is credited with inventing the first mobile phone with the DynaTAC released in 1984. Likewise, the company’s importance to the development of consumer technology in other sectors cannot be overstated.

In 1930 it released one of the first commercially successful car radios and in the 50s had a major role in the foundation of cable television systems. In 1969 a Motorola radio transmitted the first words from the Moon to Earth and in 1990 it launched the world’s first digital HD television.

Adios, Motorola.

Whilst the Motorola Brand name is strong in the mobile phone and two way radio industry it is an important institute in the communications field that should be preserved, as this article says it was there at the start of telecommunications and has been around for longer than most of us can remember, it would be a shame if it was pulled apart by Lonovo.

SwiftKey launches symbol-based communication app for people who are non-verbal

Any technology that can improve peoples lives is always a technology that will be championed by us here, and if it is helping people with learning or speech difficulties then that is more incentive for us to bring it to our readers. This is current available on the google store for android devices and we are stating now that this should be on apple devices as soon as possible, the original article can be found on the verge website.

SwiftKey, the predictive smartphone keyboard company, wants to help people who are non-verbal communicate with others. The company launched an experimental symbol-based assistive app today called SwiftKey Symbol, which it says can be used to build sentences using images. SwiftKey staff who have family members with autism spectrum disorder came up with the idea for the tool, according to the company’s blog.

The app, which is free and available on Android, makes use of SwiftKey’s predictive technology to suggest symbols that might be used to finish a sentence. Outside factors like the time of day or the day of the week will influence these predictions, the company says. Users can also add their own images and use audio playback to read out to sentence to others.

Symbol-based communication apps like this aren’t new. Apps like Proloqui2Go and TouchChat also rely on pictograms to build sentences. But these tools can be expensive, and SwitKey says that its own take on the assistive app will be able to form sentences faster than the competition. “A lot of the current communication tools on the market are often too slow to select a particular image a child might choose,” the company wrote on its blog. “We realized that SwiftKey’s core prediction and personalization technology — which learns from each individual as they use it — would be a natural fit for people on the autistic spectrum who respond particularly well to routine-based activity.”

In the US, about two in 100 children have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. People with autism have varied needs, so it’s possible that this app could enhance communication for some people. We haven’t tried the app yet — but we’re eager to see what it can do.

Radio spectrum allocated for global flight tracking

This very simple, very easily executable solution to a problem that is growing. The Frequencies are already allocated to the airline industry and a simple piece of equipment (non expensive) can be installed. You can find the full article here.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has allocated radio spectrum for global flight tracking for passenger aircraft using satellite-based systems.

The move follows developments spurred by the so far unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March last year, which prompted the aviation community to look into possibilities of constant monitoring of passenger planes in flight.

The frequency band of 1087.7-1092.3MHz has been allocated, which is already being used for data transmissions between planes and terrestrial stations that are within the line of sight.

Extending the system to cover also communications between planes and satellites and satellites and terrestrial stations will enable creating a complex system capable of tracking passenger planes throughout the flight even over oceans and remote areas.

The ITU agreed on the allocation at its 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference following a call by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Performance criteria for satellite reception of the signals will be established by ICAO.

“In reaching this agreement at WRC-15, ITU has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU will continue to make every effort to improve flight tracking for civil aviation.”

ITU has been working on standards to facilitate the transmission of flight data in real time since early after the MH370 disaster.

Already in April 2014, less than a month after the aircraft’s disappearance, Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia called upon ITU to address the issue.

“The allocation of frequencies for reception of ADS-B signals from aircraft by space stations will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “We will continue to work with ICAO and other international organizations to enhance safety in the skies.”

In October 2014, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.

 

How 2 Way Radios Helped A Group Of Festival Volunteers Against Natures Fury

Entrusting security of a large bluegrass music festival to volunteers is an act of faith; handing us 2 way radio equipment gave us the power and connection to do the job right. For the price of a few day shifts and at least one overnight watch until sunrise, we security volunteers got to enjoy some of the finest concerts and classes in a beautiful mountain setting. When disaster struck — twice — we didn’t need extensive training to be effective, just a fully charged battery.

First Challenge: Nice Guys Slide Off Dirt Roads

The first disaster was minor but challenging. A courteous pickup truck driver had moved over for oncoming traffic on a hillside dirt access road and slid off the edge just enough to get stuck. Calling for a tow was a perfect use of our radios that otherwise would have required sending a runner back down to the main tent. As the tow truck positioned itself to lift the truck back onto the road, we found a second radio use: solving problems by committee remotely!

Since no one outranked another, we wound up addressing the problem from several angles: “the road is blocked,” said one, “halt the cars coming up.” “I don’t have authority to control traffic,” said another. “There’s no turning around, so they’ll all be stuck if you don’t,” said the first. In the end, with quick radio communication instead of breathless runners doing a relay, a dead-end country traffic jam was avoided and the truck was rescued.

Second Challenge: Set Them Up and Blow Them Down

As if that wasn’t excitement enough, on another festival day a mountain thunderstorm descended with hurricane-force winds. By the time the blow was over, camping and performance tents were scattered and destroyed, the entire area was drenched, and nearly every portable restroom was knocked over. The practical people running the event organized crews, called the restroom vendor, and went about setting everything right.

The festival proceeded with minimal interruption from the storm: the radios not only made recovery possible, but made getting back on track effective and timely. It’s a good thing we had plenty of radios and volunteers to coordinate the activities. We got updated information to performers and attendees, and responded to issues requiring executive decisions or medical assistance as quickly as possible.

In addition to keeping the festival going, ensuring everyone’s health and safety, and streamlining decision processes, using radio gave the festival a professional appearance with a large contingent of lightly trained volunteers. Event attendees could enjoy their week of mountain music and head home feeling that the organizers had great acts on stage and a team they could trust behind the scenes. Our teamwork contributed to a solid event reputation and growing attendance numbers year to year.

In a remote area where cell phone users had to find a good spot to get a connection, 2 way radios were the perfect solution for making festival volunteers efficient and effective. Bad luck and bad weather was no match for a dedicated crew that could work together over the airwaves. For the lonely overnight watchman role, the radio was a reassurance that he wasn’t alone watching over the festival fans under the starry mountain sky.

WTF Is On Its Way To Earth As Unidentified Space Debris

WTF (to be precise WT1190F) is an appropriate name for the unidentified object that is currently hurtling towards our planet at alarming speed. No, my friends, I haven’t taken up a job writing for the Weekly World News. What sounds like science fiction (or at least an episode of Futurama) is actually science fact.

The object is set to crash into us in less than a month. Despite its relatively close proximity to our atmosphere, nobody is quite sure just what WTF actually is. All anyone knows is its size (roughly two metres in length) and the fact that it is hollow, strongly hinting at the possibility that the object is man made.

Experts are suggesting various possibilities as to the identity of the mysterious object, the most tantalising being that WTF is actually a piece of leftover technology from the moon missions (possibly even the fabled Saturn V that took Neil Armstrong and co to the moon). Of course, it could just be here to talk to the whales (Star Trek joke, in case anyone reading this is scratching their heads).

The problem of space junk is becoming more serious by the day. In addition to approximately 3,700 satellites currently orbiting the earth (of which around 2,600 are totally inactive, effectively making them space junk), there are literally tens of thousands of objects larger than a tennis ball floating above our heads at any given time. In addition to that, there are an estimated hundred million objects in the 1mm or less category. Put simply, space is a mess.

In 1997, there were 2,271 man-made satellites orbiting the earth, a number that has increased by around 1,500 since then. Instead of slowing down, however, the recent rise in private satellite launches will likely see these figures (if you’ll pardon the pun) skyrocketing over the next decade or so.

In fact, last year alone, the International Space Station (ISS) had to move its position three times in order to avoid collision with objects large enough to cause serious damage. These collisions were potentially fatal to the astronauts aboard the space station. The ISS actually spends an alarming amount of time ducking and dodging flying chunks of space junk, some of which is detected too late for the ISS to manoeuvre away from it, causing the astronauts to simply shelter-in-space and hope for the best. In 2007, a chunk of debris actually damaged the space shuttle Endeavour.

Despite laws that state that most satellites must be launched to an altitude that will encourage them to fall to earth and burn up within 25 years of their original launch, launching anything into space is a messy business indeed. This has led to fears that the population of space junk in earth’s higher obits could actually become self-sustaining, i.e. new junk could be created in the frequent collisions between existing junk. This is often referred to as The Kessler Syndrome after Nasa scientist Don Kessler, who first warned us about this process as far back as 1978.

The Kessler Syndrome is a very real concern. In 2009, for example, two small satellites collided over Siberia, creating something like 2000 new junk items, many of which are still in orbit today and posing a very real threat to existing satellites. Keep in mind that these items can travel at speeds exceeding 17,000 mph; at that sort of speed, even a grain of sand could kill.

The good news is that WTF is expected to burn up harmlessly in our atmosphere, meaning that, although we’ll probably never know its true identity, at least it won’t harm anybody. If it fails to burn away completely, WTF is expected to land on the Indian Ocean, somewhere off the coast of Sri Lanka around the 13th of November. So, unless you have a fishing holiday planned in the region, you ought to be safe.

2 Way Radio, What Does It Really Mean?

Basically, the name two-way radio means that the radio in question can both transmit and receive signals. The two-way part of the name refers to the sending and receiving of said messages.

Some radios, such as the AM or FM radio you might listen to in your car, can only receive incoming signals, whilst other radios can only transmit signals. A two-way radio, however, can both intercept incoming messages and relay outgoing messages, because of this; two-way radios are a type of transceiver.

At its most basic, a two-way radio is a device that receives radio waves through the air and transmits a return signal.

How it does this is actually rather ingenious. Let’s say a user receives a message on her radio. The antenna on the top of the radio houses a group of electrons, these electrons will respond to messages received on specific channels (different groups of electrons respond to different channels). The electrons will then translate the radio waves into electrical impulses, which are then fed to a small processor. The processor, in turn, converts the electrical impulses into a signal, which the radio’s speakers can then play aloud.

The process is reversed if our hypothetical user is replying to her message, in this instance, the vibrations that constitute her voice will rattle a small membrane inside the microphone. These vibrations are fed into the processor, which converts them into an electrical signal. The electrical signal is pushed out to the electrons in the antenna and the signal is broadcast to our other user.

So you see, the process is clearly working on a two-way basis, hence the name. Two radios, when set to the same channel, should never have any problem connecting with one another (even if they are manufactured by different brands). The communication is pretty much instant, which is a big reason why radios play such an integral part in many areas of our lives, such as travel, security, commerce, public safety and trade.

It is important to note, however, that a radio set to receive VHF (Very High Frequency) signals will be unable to communicate with a radio set to UHF (Ultra High Frequency) mode. There is virtually nothing at all that can be done about this.

Of course, the other name used for handheld transceivers in walkie-talkie, but we reckon that one’s pretty self-explanatory…

How to Hide a Radio Earpiece

A 2 way radio earpiece is an accessory which can receive and transmit unlike the broadcast receivers which only receive content. 2 way radio earpieces allow the user to engage in conversations with other such radio earpieces that are operating on a similar radio frequency. 2 way radios are readily available in hand held, mobile and stationary base configurations. The hand held radios are usually known as walkie talkies or handie-talkies.

2 way radio systems normally operate in 1/2 duplex mode; this basically means that the user can listen or talk, but cannot do both at a go. A PTT (also known as press to transmit) button usually activates the radio’s transmitter. When the button is released, its’ receiver becomes active. For 2 way radio earpieces, a push to talk button is included on a wire that runs up the arm of the user, with an acoustic tube up to the ear.

There are 2 wires which run independently from the 2 way radio; one ends at the PTT and mic, while the other ends at the radio’s earpiece. The 2 wire kits are worn under the clothing, running one cable from the 2 way radio, up to your ear. The other cable runs from the 2 way radio, up your back and down your sleeve to the cuffs of your long sleeved shirt or clipped by a lapel on the front of your shirt. 3 wire kits separate the Mic and PTT with one cable running down the arm, connected to the PTT, another connected to the mic, with normally includes a microphone which is clipped to the jacket or shirt and the third has the acoustic tube to go into the ear.

How to Hide a Radio Earpiece

You can run the wires underneath the shirt; hiding the wires from the 2 way radio to the earpiece underneath your clothing, offering more discreetness. If you aren’t too concerned with discreetness, you can leave the wires outside of your clothing. The radio will work either way. Here are the steps on how to hide a radio earpiece;

Take the wires of the radio earpiece and run them inside your shirt. Now take the wires out from your shirt’s top; this way the wires will be well hidden. Take your earpiece and then put it in one ear. Ensure, the earpiece fits tightly and wont fall when walking, you can put the earpiece in either ear.

Once you’re comfortable with your earpiece, it is now time to fit the wires that go into the radio. Take the wire that connects the earpiece and the radio, and fit it inside the shirt. Take this wire out from your shirt’s bottom. Put it in your radio, and then clip the radio properly on your belt. Once all the wires are properly fitted inside your shirt, you can now tuck in the shirt to hide them completely.

Once everything is properly fitted, switch on your 2 way radio and test it. Now, you can use your 2 way radio earpiece covertly

The real benefit of using a hidden radio earpiece, is that other people will not notice when you’re talking on your earpiece, remember to never share radio earpieces; this is for health and sanitary purposes. You can also buy radio earpieces , along with your own personal ear tips and clear coils.

Alonso unfazed by rule changes

Fernando Alonso doesn’t believe the changes to the start procedures that will come into effect at Spa will make much of a difference.

As of this weekend’s Belgium Grand Prix, the FIA will clamp down on radio communication between drivers and the pitwall and only critical information will be relayed. Teams will also be prevented from changing the clutch bite point once the cars leave the garage ahead of the race.

However, two-time World Champion Alonso isn’t expecting any disruption to his usual pre-race strategy.

“It will not be a significant change. I know that there is some talk about this but maybe for next year or the following years will be more different,” the Spaniard said.

“What we will have here is just some restrictions in communications with the drivers and the team etc but I think… at least in our team we were not doing any specific communication or strategy during the formation laps etc so it will not change much.”

There will be more changes next year as the FIA has issued a technical directive that states engineers will not be able to coach the drivers over the radio on things like tyre degradation and fuel saving.

Although the McLaren driver admits drivers will have to “pay a little more attention”, he doesn’t think it be a train smash.

“Well, I don’t think it will make a huge change because… yeah, we are receiving some information now on the radio about tyres, about fuel or other things on the car but we are perfectly aware of what is happening in the car and what is the best solution for the specific issues that we are facing during the race so if that information is not coming, it will come anyway by instinct and by the reactions of the car,” he said.

“So yeah, we will have to pay a little bit more attention to a few things that now we rely a little bit on the radio but it’s not a big change and probably it’s welcome, all those changes, to have a little bit more to do in the car and feeling a little bit more important.”

It’s difficult to see why F1 are strangling the communications between drivers and teams, One team does not gain anything over any other by relaying information over the radio, but as Alonso has said in this article on planetf1.com it’s not an issue.