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Monthly Archives: February 2008

  • Battery Type Differences: NiCd vs. NiMH vs. Li-Ion

    A vast majority of the two way radios that we sell come standard with rechargeable batteries. These rechargeable batteries fall into three categories (NiCd, NiMH, Lithium), and we are often asked to explain the difference.

    I recently found some information on Motorola's web site that does a great job of explaining the difference. This page also provides links to material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for Motorola batteries, and battery recycling and safety information.

    Here's an excerpt that discusses the differences:

    Motorola makes many different models of batteries, with the majority of them falling into three major types: Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH), and Lithium Ion (Li-Ion).

    Motorola Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries are currently one of the most cost effective chemistries on the market. NiCd batteries give you more watt-hours of operation per shift than other battery chemistries. They are ideal for a user who needs a high-performance battery and who communicates under extreme conditions of cold and heat (-30C to +50C) Historically, a NiCd battery's major drawback has been its susceptibility to memory effect, or its propensity to "forget" and not utilize its full capacity. Today, this remains to be a serious tradeoff, but can be minimized with proper charging/reconditioning practices.

    Motorola Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries can offer superior operation life between charges. This battery chemistry provides 30-40% longer operation time than NiCd, but does not operate as efficiently in extreme temperatures. In addition, NiMH is less susceptible to "memory effect" compared to NiCd batteries.

    One of the major advantages of Motorola Lithium Ion (Li Ion) batteries is their power to weight ratio, which easily exceeds that of NiMH for a lighter, smaller power supply. These batteries tend to be the industry's most expensive chemistry, and they offer a major advantage of not experiencing "memory effect".

  • Introducing the Motorola RDX Series

    Motorola has recently released their latest series of business radios: the RDX series. The RDX series will eventually replace the highly popular XTN and AX series's, and they provide a number of improvements.

    The biggest improvement is in voice clarity and loudness. The RDX models are 30% louder, and the sound clarity that Motorola has achieved is simply astounding. The one watt/one channel models have been eliminated and now all of the "low powered" models are a full two watts and have either two or eight channels. Models without a display are available for those wanting simple-as-possible operation. High powered, fully programmable 4/5 watt models will be available soon.

    The following is a breakdown of the new RDX models, along with their primary differences.

    Model Frequencies Power Channels Display
    RDV2020 27 VHF 2 Watts 2 No
    RDU2020 89 UHF 2 Watts 2 No
    RDV2080d 27 VHF 2 Watts 8 Yes
    RDU2080d 89 UHF 2 Watts 8 Yes
    RDV5100 27 VHF 5 Watts 10 No
    RDU4100 89 UHF 4 Watts 10 No
    RDU4160 89 UHF -
    Repeater Capable
    4 Watts 16 Yes

    The following features are new, or have been improved with the RDX series.

    Transmission Clarity - Motorola radios have always been exceptional in terms of noise reduction and transmission clarity, but with the RDX series they have outdone themselves. There is considerable improvement in clarity even over the AX and XTN series radios.

    Loudness - 30% increase over AX and XTN series models.

    Battery - All RDX radios come equipped with a lithium battery. Lithium batteries provide more life and are more lightweight than the NiMH batteries used by previous series's. The 2 watt RDX radios come standard with a 12 hour battery, and the 4/5 watt models include a 18.5 hour battery. Upgraded battery options are also available.

    Configurability - All RDX series radios can be configured via a PC using an optional programming cable and Motorola's Customer Programming Software (CPS). The CPS is a free download from Motorola's web site.

    Ease of Setup - The Customer Programming Software is one way to setup a personality for your radios once, and easily copy the configuration to other handsets. Cloning is another. Using an optional cloning cable, you can easily copy settings from one radio to another.

    Ease of Use - By offering several models without a display and front panel buttons, Motorola now has options for customers looking for a straightforward, easy to use radio.

    Durability - The RDX series radios have an aluminum chassis and are even more durable that their predecessors.

    Voice Scrambling - All RDX models support scramble codes.

    All Motorola RDX radios are compatible with AX and XTN series audio accessories. Other accessories such as a multi-unit chargers, extra batteries, PC and cloning cables will be available soon.

  • TriSquare Review From Popular Communications

    Popular Communications, an industry publication, has just published a review of the TriSquare eXRS radios! The author of this review, Bernard Bates, does a fantastic job - producing the most in-depth review of the TSX-300 thus far.

    The following excerpt details the features that Mr. Bates liked best about the TriSquare TSX300.

    There's a lot to like in the TSX300 (see Figure 2), and its many features make it an exceptional price/performance value. It's clear that much thought went into the design of this radio and its accessories. Following are some features I particularly liked:

    • Exceptional communications privacy
    • No interference from other users
    • Advanced technology made easy
    • All accessories included
    • Geek/coolness appeal
    • Good ergonomics
    • No license required
    • Non-volatile memory
    • NiMH or alkaline batteries

    Click here to read the full review.

    I would like to thank Popular Communications for publishing this detailed review. I would encourage any radio enthusiast out there to subscribe to this fantastic publication.

    Update: Popular Communications ceased publication in 2013 and is now called CQ Magazine.

  • Kenwood Promo: $30 Rebate On Select Models

    A fantastic new Kenwood promotion began today on their two channel business radios, the TK2200V2P and TK3200U2P. If you purchase six or more of these radios you qualify for a $30 rebate per radio, up to a maximum of $1080!

    This offer is good on radios purchases between February 5, 2008 and April 30, 2008. This is a mail-in offer, direct from Kenwood, that we have been authorized to offer. Click here for full details and rebate form.

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