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August 2011 Archives

August 22, 2011

Are You Prepared for a Hurricane?

We are now in the middle of the 2011 hurricane season. Hurricane Irene recently stormed across the Atlantic, hitting the Bahamas and the Eastern seaboard of the US. Another storm is currently forming off the coast of Africa and has a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression within the next 48 hours. If you live or work in areas prone to hurricane activity, there is only one question to ask. Are you ready?

Do you have a Hurricane Preparedness Kit? If not, FEMA has a checklist of Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit so you can build your own.

The first two items on FEMA's list are obviously the most critical: water and food, in that order. The third item on the list? A Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.

Radios that meet the requirements suggested in FEMA's list include the following:

Two Way Radios
Midland GXT1000VP4 Radios With Headsets and Charger - The GXT1000VP4 is a powerful 5 watt radio designed for use in all types of weather. It is durable, water resistant, supports NOAA weather channels, NOAA weather alerts and includes a 3 year manufacturer warranty.

Motorola TALKABOUT MS350R Two Way Radios - The MS350R is a brand new high performance radio from Motorola. The MS350R is designed specifically for use in extreme weather conditions. It also features 11 weather channels and a built-in flashlight. The MS350R operates on rechargeable and disposable batteries, is submersible and also floats. The package even includes an Emergency Preparedness Checklist Sheet.

Motorola TALKABOUT T9680R-SAME Two Way Radios - The Motorola T9680R is one of Motorola's most powerful consumer two way radios. It is built as a Hazard Alert radio and features Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, adopted by the National Weather Service to alert the public to emergency events in their specific area. SAME monitors the NOAA weather stations for you pro-actively and alerts you to emergency weather and hazard conditions. Like the MS350R, The T9680R operates on both rechargeable and alkaline batteries.

Midland XT511 Base Camp Two Way/Emergency Crank Radio - The Midland XT511 is a powerful, all-in-one two way radio that is the perfect choice for any emergency kit. It is, for all intents and purposes, the "Swiss army knife" of radios. It features an FRS/GMRS radio, flashlight, an AM/FM clock radio with an alarm, and NOAA weather alerts. The Midland XT511 offers five power options, including an AC wall power adapter, DC vehicle adapter, rechargeable battery pack, alkaline batteries and can be powered and charged using the Dynamo hand crank. The XT511 also includes a USB connector so you to charge your USB enabled devices (including many cell phones) in case of a power outage.

NOAA Weather Radios (receive only)
Midland WR-120 Weather Radio - The WR-120 is a basic All Hazards Alert weather radio and supports the Public Alert system and SAME technology. When a weather or civil emergency alert is issued in your specific area , an alarm goes off and a text alert is displayed. The WR-120 also features an alarm clock with snooze, a blue backlit display, battery backup, color coded alert light, and external antenna jack. The WR-120 is also tri-lingual and supports English, Spanish or French languages.

Midland WR-300 Weather Radio - The WR-300 offers many of the same features as the WR-120. In addition the WR-300 allows you to choose between an alarm alert, an LED alert, or both.

Midland HH54VP2 SAME Handheld Weather Radio - The Midland HH54VP2 is a small, portable handheld radio ideal for use when travelling. The HH54VP2 supports all NWS hazard alerts utilizing S.A.M.E. technology. The HH-54VP2 also provides other emergency alerts such as Amber Alerts, biological hazard warnings, civil emergency messages, nuclear power plant warnings, fire warnings and landslide warnings. The HH-54VP2 also features an alarm clock with snooze, a large, backlit display with continuous backlighting option, user selectable alerts, color coded alert indicators, and battery backup.

Midland HH-50 Pocket Weather Alert Radio - The Midland HH-50 is an extremely compact weather radio that easily fits in your pocket and auto scans for emergency and weather alerts from the moment you turn it on. The HH-50 supports all hazard alerts issued by the National Weather Service as well as other types of emergency alerts, messages and warnings. Its extremely low cost, light weight and small footprint make it a good choice for a small emergency kit in the car or on the go.

Whether at home or away, on land or water, a radio is an indispensable item for any emergency preparedness kit. When a weather emergency hits your area, alerts and updates on ever changing weather conditions can be vital to your safety or survival. Two way radio communications can also be critical in such emergencies, especially if you lose your landline, cell phone service or power. For more information on emergency weather radios, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Episode 13 - Emergency and Weather Radios.

Don't be caught off guard during the next weather alert. Assemble your Hurricane Preparedness Kit now.

UPDATE: We now carry a complete line of emergency preparedness and survival kits, including the Emergency Zone Severe Weather Emergency Kit. Add your choice of two way radio and be ready for an emergency or weather disaster now!

August 16, 2011

TWRS-19 - Cruising With Radios

In this episode we discuss the importance of taking two way radios with you on a cruise. We also review the new Motorola MS350R waterproof radio.

Intro :00
Billboard 1:15

Topic Discussion 1:29
We talk about using two way radios on a cruise. We'll discuss the advantages of using radios over cell phones on a cruise ship, tips for choosing radios for such a trip on a ship and some radios we recommend for taking a cruise, such as the Midland GXT1050VP4, the Motorola Talkabout MR350R and the Cobra microTALK CXR925 .

Commercial Break 20:21
buytwowayradios.com 1:00

Product Review 21:19
Today we review the NEW Motorola Talkabout MS350R.

Questions and Answers 29:31
Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum. The Two Way Radio Show is now on Stitcher! Listen to us on your iPhone, Android Phone, BlackBerry and WebOS phones. Find it in your app store or at stitcher.com.


Wrap up and Close 35:31
Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show(at)buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

© 2011 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

[ Download MP3 ]

August 11, 2011

What is an Intrinsically Safe Radio?


If you spend a lot of time shopping around for two way radios, at some point you may have come across the term "intrinsically safe". If you're somewhat new to the world of walkie-talkies, you probably have a few questions. What is an intrinsically safe radio? What does it do? What makes an "intrinsically safe" radio different from any other radio? Why would I want one? Why would I need one? Why would I even care?

The word intrinsic refers to the essential or real nature or value of something. In electronics it refers to the very nature of an electronic device as being electrical; an item that operates using electricity. Any electronic device, by its very nature, carries and electrical current or charge, therefore the chance of an electrical spark or heat eminating from the device is inherently present or a possibility at all times.

Intrinsically Safe means the device is safe to use in hazardous environments where the presence of a potential spark, heat or flame could potentially create a safety hazard. In the case of two way radios, this is especially important. Since radios are electrical, they do have the potential to generate sparks and heat, and there are many situations in which a radio may need to be used in potentially hazardous or explosive environments.

Such environments include oil rigs and refineries, gas mains, coal mines, engine rooms of seafaring vessels, chemical plants, factories, emergency scenes involving First Responders, and other environments where there are potentially explosive or hazardous materials.

Hazardous environments fall into different divisions and classifications. The details are outside the scope of this discussion, but essentially they fall into three basic classifications:


  • Class 1: flammable vapors and gases

  • Class 2: flammable dust

  • Class 3: flammable fibers


In such environments, two way radio communication can be very important and even critical to operations, yet standard two way radios should not be used because they can make a potentially hazardous situation even more dangerous.

These situations require the use of Intrinsically Safe radios.

In order to be designated Intrinsically Safe, radios must be designed and housed in such a way as to prevent or eliminate the possibility of generating even the tiniest little spark. They must also limit the amount of heat produced by the radio. The batteries used in the radios must also be specially designed to prevent sparks and eliminate short circuiting. Even the radio housing itself must be designed and constructed of materials to prevent or eliminate friction, which can create static electricity and generate sparks.

In addition to the radios, any accessories used, such as microphones and headsets, need to be intrinsically safe.

Intrinsically safe two way radios are manufactured according to strict codes and regulations set by the National Fire Protection Association. The manufacturing facilities and processes are supervised by Factory Mutual, an insurance and loss prevention company approved by the US government to oversee enforcement of the NFPA codes.

Due to these more stringent manufacturing requirements, Intrinsically Safe radios are considerably more expensive than their standard counterparts. However, the safety considerations built into these radios are worth far more than that. After all, you can't put a price on safety.

Radios manufactured as Intrinsically Safe carry the FM (Factory Mutual) Approved certification mark. The Icom IC-F60 and the Vertex VX-427 are Intrisically safe two way radios that are FM Approved. Icom, Motorola, and Vertex are major brands with one or more models of intrinsically safe two way radios.

August 4, 2011

The Motorola MS350R - Now Available!

B2B_Product_MS350_LG.jpgEarlier this year we gave you the inside scoop on a brand new Talkabout radio due this summer from Motorola. Well, the wait is over. The Motorola MS350R is here!

The Motorola MS350R is a powerful, high performance FRS/GMRS radio packed with all the features typical of a Talkabout model - with the ruggedness and durability of a Motorola business class radio to boot.

The MS350R offers 7 FRS, 8 GMRS and 7 shared FRS/GMRS channels, plus 8 repeater channels and 121 privacy codes. The fact that the MS350R is repeater capable makes it a great choice for outdoor activities, as it allows you to extend its potential reach beyond the normal range of a typical consumer radio.

The Motorola MS350R is also a waterproof radio. It meets IP-67/JIS-7 specifications for water resistance. The MS350R is also fully submersible in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes! Not that it would stay submersed very long anyway, since this Motorola radio also floats!

Of course, a radio that can be used in poor weather conditions and can survive a dunk in the water does you no good if you can't see it. So, Motorola also designed the MS350R with a bright yellow face so you can find it if you do happen to drop it in the drink. The MS350R is also ergonomically styled for an easier grip to help prevent you from dropping it in the first place. The MS350R also sports a loop at the top of the radio for attaching a lanyard for an added layer of security should the radio slip from your hand anyway.

The MS350R can also operate on either its rechargeable NiMH battery pack or three AA Alkaline batteries, providing dual power options to further energize its overall versatility. Other handy features, such as 11 Weather Channels), iVox functionality, ten Call Tones, Motorola's VibraCall® vibrating alert, Quiet Talk filter, and a built-in LED flashlight make this radio a perfect companion for your next hiking, camping or hunting trip into the Great Outdoors.

Due to its thicker shell, the MH350R is a bit larger than other Motorola Talkabouts, so it won't quite fit in a standard Talkabout drop-in charger base. Not to worry. A dual drop-in desktop charger is included with the package.

The MS350R is available now and Buy Two Way Radios has it in stock and ready to ship per your order. The complete MS350R package includes two radios, two belt clips, two NiMH battery packs, a two pocket drop in charger, an Emergency Preparedness Checklist Sheet and owner's manual.

August 1, 2011

TWRS-18 - Intrinsically Safe Radios

In this episode we discuss the use of intrinsically safe two way radios. We also review the Icom IC-F60 UHF Radio.

Intro :00
Billboard 1:15

Topic Discussion 1:29
We talk about intrinsically safe two way radios. We learn what the term means, when and how these radios are used, and the requirements for two way radios to be designated or certified as Intrinsically Safe. For information on intrinsically safe radios visit National Fire Protection Association, review the List of NFPA codes & standards. You can also read the PDF document FM Global 2012 standards.

Commercial Break 9:18
buytwowayradios.com 1:00

Product Review 10:16
Today we review the Icom IC-F60 UHF Radio.

Questions and Answers 16:39
Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum. The Two Way Radio Show is now on Stitcher! Listen to us on your iPhone, Android Phone, BlackBerry and WebOS phones. Find it in your app store or at stitcher.com.


Wrap up and Close 25:03
Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show(at)buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

© 2011 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

[ Download MP3 ]