Keep Your Communication Equipment Working like a Well Oiled Machine

Posted by Kendra Newlon

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Well 2013 is finally over. For some of you it was a good year, for the radio business it was a slow year. Coming off of the FCC’s Narrowbanding Mandate and all the radios sold in 2012 made us really look at our business and determine to focus on Service! Many of the police and fire departments are in limbo this year as Grants and Funding have not been as plentiful in the past years. In addition, with the FCC putting a freeze on the 470Mhz band, many police departments are sitting on their hands waiting for a direction from the FCC; that means slow radio sales.

The good news for some of you is that you are keeping your radios an extra year or two (maybe three). Your budgets are being spent on maintaining your existing equipment, whether a service contract for a 24 hour response or just routine maintenance. It is prolonging the inevitable. Technology is changing, but service teams, like Chicago Communications, are equipped with the latest in technology to meet whatever challenge is thrown towards us. From basic analog radio systems to the most advanced P25 Public Safety systems we can monitor and respond to service outages in any required timeframe you need. We can consult on your equipment with our contracts department to see whether it makes sense to put your equipment on a contract or actively seek replacement because of age or parts issues.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Public Safety Communications, Wireless Communication, Radio System, Tech Talk, Safety Solutions, FCC, Maintenance/Installation/Service

We're Making a List, Better Check It Twice!

Posted by Kendra Newlon

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It’s crazy to think that in about 2 weeks we will be kissing 2013 goodbye and welcoming in 2014 with open arms. One great thing about the end of the year is all of the sales and specials … even for your two way communication needs!

With so many different deals in place, it’s hard to keep track what will be ending when the clock strikes midnight on the 31st.

Here’s a checklist from Chicago Communications to make sure you get the most out of your communication purchases through 2013!

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Public Safety Communications, Motorola Solutions, Wireless Communication, Radio System, MOTOTRBO, Vertex, Maintenance/Installation/Service

Radio Tech and IT Manager in Wireless Communication: a Blurred Line

Posted by Kendra Newlon

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"So you are the IT Manager and you were just put in charge of the radio communications..."

Sound familiar?

I recently glanced through an article in the new (November 2013) Public Safety Communications Magazine from APCO. The title of the article “Communications Manager or IT Manager?” made me think of our own business. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a radio technician or IT technician…electronics is electronics, right? I wish I could say it was that easy.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Wireless Communication, Radio System, Tech Talk, Technology, IT

The Simple, One Step Narrowbanding Plan!

Posted by Jill McNamara

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Simple Plan for Narrowbanding in 2012

      Plain and simple,most businesses don't realize the severity of what's on the way. The amount of companies or agencies that have not attempted to narrowband or even understand what it is are a huge concern of ours. Our daily searches on the FCC’s website lead to thousands of users  who have little knowledge of narrowbanding. With the deadline less than ten months away, our concerns will be not only that people don't narrowband, but that those typical radio users may become an interferer (with regards to their frequency). On top of which leads to hefty monetary fines.

     Think of it this way, a good radio user today operating their same radio system next year may actually interfere with an adjacent carrier unbeknownst to them. One call from the adjacent user and the FCC discovers your channel is the interferer, a fine may be levied in an amount that was greater than what it took to narrowband. The approach of “Well, I didn’t know” will not cut it. This is the Federal Government sending out an employee to investigate something you may have not completed.

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Tags: Radio System, Narrowbanding, FCC

Wireless Communications Alternative to Monthly Cell Phone Fees

Posted by Jill McNamara

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

 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.

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Tags: Radio System, Tech Talk

Accurate Antenna Systems Mean Maximized Results

Posted by Jill McNamara

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.

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

Netoworking as a Digital Mobile Radio Strategy

Posted by Jill McNamara

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

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

Document Your Radio System, Otherwise You'll Lose Money

Posted by Jill McNamara

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tom's Tech Talk (#6): Two Way Radios, Magic or Money?


     For most radio users they know two things, I push the transmit button and talk and I release the transmit button and listen. Other than that it is magic as to how my radio system works.

     Through the years, we have come across radio systems that have one designated person from their corporation or department who had intimate details as to how the system worked, all the way to having a large radio system with multiple sites and no one having a clue as to how the system was configured.  The reason I bring this up is money. Not knowing what or how your radio system is designed and operated can lead to added cost through research or consultants to spending hours unsure where a problem lies and unsuccessfully trying to resolve it.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Radio System, Tech Talk