FAQ

Q. 

There are two major formats for two-way radios. They are Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio and Very High Frequency (VHF) radio. Neither frequency band is inherently better than the other. Both formats are effective ways to communicate with another person so the right radio depends on the application.

The wavelength of a UHF and VHF signal plays a big role in which radio technology to use. UHF has a shorter wavelength which makes it easier for the signal to find its way through rugged terrain or the inside of a building. The longer wavelength of VHF means it can transmit further under ideal conditions. For most applications, lower radio frequencies are better for longer range.

If an application requires working mostly outdoors, a VHF radio is probably the best choice, especially if a base station radio indoors is used and an external antenna is added. The higher the antenna is placed, the further the radio can transmit and receive. One exception to using a VHF radio outdoors is if it is used it in a heavily wooded or rugged area. Under these conditions a UHF radio may be able to transmit better though the terrain (unless the VHF antenna is raised above the terrain).

If the radios are used mainly inside buildings, then UHF is likely the best solution since its shorter wavelength travels through the building better. There are also repeaters that can be installed that relay a UHF signal to increase the communication distance.


Q. 

Portable, or handheld radios, are designed to be held or worn in a holster on the hip. They are ideal for when the wearer needs to move around on foot and communicate, and can be used with a variety of accessories such as earpieces, microphones or headsets.

Mobile radios are used either fixed on a desk as a base station, or in a vehicle as truly mobile communications. Accessories can be added to the mobile radio such as a desk microphone to a base station or a hands-free kit to an in-vehicle radio. Mobile radios are ideal for service vehicles and other fleet communications.


Q. 

The two most common ways that two way radios communicate are:-

In SIMPLEX: - This means that you talk radio to radio. The radio signal travels out of the antenna of the transmitting two way radio into the air, and if another two way radio is in proximity and on the same channel that the transmitting two way radio is on, then it will receive the incoming transmission.

OR

Via a REPEATER: - This means that the radio signal travels out of the antenna of the transmitting two way radio into the air, which is picked up by a signal booster (the repeater) which re-transmits the original signal to the receiving radios. Repeaters are used to boost the strength of a radio signal either inside a building where the signal needs to penetrate many layers or outside to extend the range of the two way radio


Q. 

Commercial two-way radios, such as Motorola and Icom, are made of the highest quality components and are stringently tested to Military standards. They are designed to stand up to rigorous use in commercial situations. Whilst this quality costs more than a cheaper radio the user will be rewarded with longer radio life and more reliable communications.

Radios sold through the major electronics stores usually have a much shorter life, fewer features and are unlikely to stand continued use in a commercial environment. Their range is vastly inferior to a commercial Radio


Q. 

Many factors affect how far a radio will transmit including power of the radio and the environment in which it’s used (e.g. are there many buildings around? Is the area mountainous or have lots of trees?).

Whilst many radio manufacturers will give an estimated maximum range under ideal conditions, it is impossible to guess a true distance. To ensure you get an appropriate radio solution for your needs, we suggest an on-site test to verify the coverage.


Q. 

Lazer is an accredited Icom, Motorola and Kenwood repairer so we offer extensive after-sales support.


Q. 

A repeater, simply put, is a base station radio that re-transmits what it receives.

By using the power and situation of the repeater, the range of communications is increased. The repeater will maximize the range potential of lower wattage units such as mobiles and portables. For example, two mobiles may be able to communicate via line of sight at a range of 2 to 10 kilometers. By using a repeater, these same two units may communicate 20 – 50 kms. This is accomplished by the repeater re-transmitting what it receives. Therefore, if you can transmit to the repeater site, the repeater will re-transmit using its output power, antenna gain and antenna height to increase the range of communications. As an example, one of our clients is able to talk on a hand held portable radio from the Southern Suburbs, including Fish Hoek to the head office, which is situated in Bellville.


Q. 

Yes. Lazer can assist customers with radio frequency licensing applications.


Q. 

We can tailor a purchasing option to suit your budget and business. It might be ongoing rental from our large fleet of modern radios, rental – leasing or outright purchase.


Q. 

Renting is a good option when you need radios only occasionally, or for set periods. It can also assist when you have an unexpected busy period or need to temporarily increase staffing levels.

Lazer has the largest and most technologically advanced pool of radios and repeaters available for rental.

Lazer is the market leader in providing tailor made solutions for the;

  • Movie industry,
  • Advertising industry,
  • Entertainment industry,
  • Music &
  • Sporting events,

owing to our flexible approach and ability to find solutions.

Lazer is the authorised service provider for:

  • the Giro
  • the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle tour
  • The Cape Town International Jazz Festival

and has provided solutions for numerous sporting events such as The Presidents Cup, the Volvo Yacht Race and the J&B Met. Lazer can provide integrated bespoke solutions encompassing security, catering, event and disaster management.


Q. 

One example of analog radios are AM aircraft radios used to communicate with control towers and air traffic controllers. Most radios sold in South Africa are analogue. Equipment is less complex than digital.

  • Advantage: In high-quality equipment, better ability to communicate in cases where a received signal is weak or noisy.
  • Disadvantage: Only one conversation at a time can occur on each channel.

Digital Radios are relatively recent technology:

  • Advantage: More simultaneous talking paths are possible and information such as unit ID, status buttons, or text messages can be embedded into a single digital radio channel.
  • Disadvantage: Radios must be designed to the same, compatible standard, radios can become obsolete quickly, cost more to purchase, and are more complicated.

Q. 

Two-way radio batteries are made using Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium Ion (Li Ion) battery cell chemistry. Each type is rechargeable and features unique characteristics that, when properly matched to its working environment or application, will provide optimum power and a better performing two-way radio.


Nickel Cadmium (NiCd):
The NiCd battery is the oldest form of battery chemistry, when compared to the other two, and presents a number of distinct advantages. Its hardiness makes it difficult to damage so it is good to use in rugged environments. It can withstand long periods of storage without a significantly negative effect on the battery's overall performance, which makes this a good battery choice for jobs that involve cyclical or frequent periods of down time. NiCd batteries are also typically good performers in colder temperatures with the ability to operate in below freezing climates where others won't. But where there are positives, drawbacks are also present. An important factor to note with the NiCd battery is its tendency to suffer from a 'memory effect'. In other words, if a battery is charged and discharged to the same state, time and again, the battery can begin to show symptoms of 'remembering' the point in its charge cycle when re-charging began. This can affect the overall life of a battery over time and can mean shorter run times when you are on the job. More significantly and importantly however, is the fact that NiCd batteries feature a toxic chemistry make-up. NiCd's toxic make-up therefore makes this a product, albeit a cost-effective and high performer that should be considered secondary to newer, proven battery alternatives that are currently available.


Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH):
The NiMH battery, a newer technology than NiCd, is more environmentally friendly since it does not contain heavy metals, putting it higher on the list of battery choices. But it's not just its environmental benefits that make this battery more attractive. NiMH batteries offer the operational benefit of higher energy density; translated as being roughly twice the capacity of a NiCd battery, which means longer time in the field and without actually increasing the battery's weight. NiMH batteries also tolerate over-charge and over-discharge conditions, which simplifies the battery's management requirements. It boasts a wide operating temperature range as well as rapid charging – possible in just two hours. Users can expect to enjoy 500 cycles without apparent performance deterioration. Furthermore, NiMH batteries are less prone to developing 'memory effect'. Despite the extensive list of positive attributes, NiMH batteries are however steadily losing market share to the Li-Ion battery which has become the new standard for portable power.


Lithium Ion (Li-Ion):
Li-Ion batteries have three qualities that make this the battery of choice and the one which represents the best value for money:

  • 1) One of the best energy-to-weight ratios; producing the same energy as NiMH batteries, but up to a third lighter.
  • 2) Greater capacities; due to the weight benefits, Li-Ion batteries come in a much wider range of capacities. From 1000 mAh to 4150 mAh.
  • 3) No memory effect; but it does tolerate micro-cycles and can be rapid charged if necessary. Li-Ion batteries are also environmentally friendly because they don’t contain toxic materials such as Cadmium or Mercury, plus the absence of liquid electrolyte means they are immune to leaking. Like the other two however, Li-Ion batteries should also be properly matched to their operating environment to ensure this is the right choice. It is generally accepted that Li-Ion's advantages far outweigh its drawbacks. To find out more about the right battery for your team, or how to dispose of your


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