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  • 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.

  • Getting Started with Marine Radios

    One of the most important things to have with you when you are out on the water (besides something to keep you afloat) is a means of two way communication, such as a radio. If you are a boater, you probably already know how important it is to have a radio on board.

    Marine VHF radios are commonly used on seafaring vessels both large and small to communicate ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore for everything from routine contact with ports and marinas to emergency distress calls. These radios operate using VHF frequencies from 156 to 174 MHz.

    Marine radios operate very much like your typical land-based two way radio, but with some differences in channels, wattage, range and features. VHF marine channels are different than those used for land based radios and are specifically for use in marine environments. They are allowed to operate between 1 and 25 watts. Because transmissions primarily occur over open water, their range will generally be much greater than land-based radios.

    Marine radios also offer many additional features not found on most land-based radios, such as emergency weather alerts and weather-proofing. It is not uncommon for marine radios, particularly handheld units, to be submersible in water and even float.

    One important feature often found in a VHF marine radio is Digital Selective Calling, or DSC. DSC is part of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS). A Class-D (DSC) Digital Selective Calling-capable VHF radio has a second receiver to monitor Channel 70 (DSC channel) activity at all times while receiving another channel. DSC allows the user to send a distress signal at the push of a button without using a microphone to exchange position information with other boats or stations. As of March 25, 2011 marine radios are now required by the FCC to be Class-D DSC complaint.

    The FCC has set specific requirements for users of marine radios operating within US jurisdiction. The FCC states: Depending on the size, purpose, or destination of a ship, its radio station must meet certain requirements established by law or treaty.

    On October 25, 1996, the FCC released a Report and Order in WT Docket No. 96-82, 11 FCC Rcd 14849, FCC 96-421 (pdf), eliminating the individual licensing requirement for voluntary ships operating domestically which are not required by law to carry a radio. Voluntary ships are those that are not required to have a radio. WIth a few exceptions, most recreational vessels are considered voluntary.

    According to the FCC, domestic vessels are those that do not travel to foreign ports. If your vessel travels to ports in other countries, you will need to have a license. The FCC rules require certain vessels to be equipped with radio equipment for safety purposes. These rules are set in accordance with international agreements.

    Marine radios typically have 88 channels, however not all of those channels are allowed to be used by everyone. Certain channels are reserved for specific types of communications or for specific groups, such as commercial ships and the Coast Guard. For instance, Simplex channels, 3, 21, 23, 61, 64, 81, 82 and 83 CANNOT be legally used in U.S. waters by the general public. Channel 16 and Channel 9 are emergency channels and are reserved specifically for emergency communications. Channel 16 (for voice) and channel 70 (for digital DSC) being monitored 24 hours a day by the US Coast Guard.

    In addition to the other requirements, there is one other very important rule to note: Marine radios are specifically intended for marine use. It is illegal to operate a marine radio on land.

    There are two basic types of VHS Marine Radios, fixed mount and handheld. Fixed mount radios are installed or mounted in your vessel. Handheld radios are carried with you like any other handheld two way radio or walkie-talkie.

    Examples of fixed mount VHF marine radios are the Icom IC-M412 (available in black or white) and the Cobra Marine MR-F80B-D Class-D Fixed Mount Submersible VHF Radio. Examples of handheld marine radios are the Midland Nautico 3VP, and the Icom IC-M36 VHF Marine Radio. Cobra, Icom, Midland and Uniden are all popular brands of marine radios.

    When shopping for a marine radio, it is important to note that while antennas are typically included with handheld radios, an antenna is not included with fixed mount marine radios and are purchased separately. This is because the antenna will be mounted somewhere externally on the vessel itself. Marine radio antennas vary in size, length and type and your choice of an antenna may vary depending on where and how it will be mounted on your vessel.

    For more information about the basics of choosing and using a marine radio, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Episode 16 - An Introduction to Marine Radios.

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