When it comes to business two way radios, function, range and durability often trump bells and whistles. As a general rule, unless you are going the digital route, the feature sets on typical analog radios made for business and commercial applications are fairly standard and there isn't a whole lot of real innovation going on. Sure, the added features are nice to have, but for general use, a good business radio needs to do two basic things, and do them well. They need to be able to transmit and receive reliably and on demand.
Considering the limited need for flashy features in most industrial communications, one would think the manufacturers have run out of ideas for new walkie talkie makeovers. Well, hold the phone. Motorola recently found a way to add one more feature to their new RM Series business radios that, while not exactly innovative, is somewhat new and different for the Motorola business radio market. It is a practical feature that makes obvious sense.
All Motorola RM Series radios that have a channel selector knob support NOAA weather channels and weather alerts.
The addition of a weather channel on a business radio is not a bad idea at all, especially when such a radio is used in an industry that primarily operates outdoors. Construction workers, maintenance crews, surveyors and others who work in outdoor and open environments can directly benefit from up-to-date announcements and warnings of ever-changing weather conditions, forecasts and other hazards while working in the field, potentially even saving lives in cases of severe weather emergencies. Access to an instant weather channel is a great feature to have on any radio. A weather alert feature is even better, and its a wonder more radios don't already have one.
These features are currently available on three models in the Motorola RM Series, the RMU2080, RMU2080d and the RMV2080. The NOAA Weather Radio feature is pre-programmed on channel 8 on all three models. According to Motorola, the feature can also be configured through the Customer Programming Software or in Advanced Configuration Mode to operate on any of the other channel positions available on these radios. Up to 7 national NOAA weather frequencies are available and the channel can be customized with NOAA weather frequencies specific to the user's geographic location. When the NOAA weather channel is selected by the user, the radio gives a voice announcement with the channel and weather frequency number. Pressing SB2 on the radio will change the weather frequency while in the Weather Channel.
The radio can also monitor a particular weather frequency for National Weather Service Alerts. When enabled, the weather alert feature can "mute" the weather radio, allowing the user to change to a regular business radio frequency for normal communication while it listens for a warning alarm tone issued by the National Weather Service. If the warning alarm is activated, the radio will go to the NOAA weather frequency so the weather announcement can be heard.
The addition of NOAA weather channels with alerts has become standard on Motorola consumer walkie talkies, but is a new concept for their 2 watt business radios. This functionality was not available on the Motorola RDX series and its addition as a standard on the RM Series takes Motorola business radios to another level. Is this the beginning of a trend for other two way radio manufacturers such as Icom, Kenwood, Olympia and Vertex Standard? Only time will tell. We'll just have to wait and see. Such a feature does offer real added value and, on any radio, it just makes good sense.