Falcon Direct Blog

DTR650 Digital Radio by MotorolaPersonal 2-way radios.......                                                                                                                                                                have been around in various forms since the 1940's when Motorola developed the original Walkie Talkie for the U.S. Military during World War II.  These battlefield radios allowed troop commanders to communicate orders quickly without the necessity for message runners or wiring field phones.  These units were big, bulky, and very hard on batteries.

 For over half a century, the industry did little more than reduce size, extend battery life, and improve reliability.  Channel capacity was expanded and features were added, but essentially the conventional 2-way radio of today is little changed in functionality from it's ancestor.  The reason for this is that conventional 2-way radios have historically been designed based on an analog format.  Regrettably, there is just so much that can be done because of the inherent limitations of analog technology.  Then, in the mid 90's Motorola advanced the technology by developing a digital radio.  This new technology was (and is) called iDEN™ (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network).

iDEN is the technical standard used by Nextel (now owned by Sprint) and SouthernLINC.  This new generation of walkie talkies became instantly popular for one simple reason.  They allowed us to talk when we wanted to talk without waiting, without dialing, and without going to voice mail jail!

The #1 Problem reported by 2-way users

The biggest problem reported by the majority of existing conventional 2-way radios was what we call the tin can communications syndrome.  When we were kids (at least some of us), we made homemade  communications units by putting a hole in the bottom of a tin can, running a string into the hole, and then tying a knot so it wouldn't pull out.  At the other end of the string, we did the same thing.  When we pulled the string tight, we could talk can-to-can!  There was a problem however.  If there were three kids, only two could talk at the same time.  The third kid had to wait until a can was free.  That's kind of the same problem we have with conventional 2-way radios!

In a typical on-site environment such as a motel, manufacturing plant, warehouse, etc. it is common to equip mobile people (those who don't sit at a desk) with 2-way radios.  Generally, all of these radios are assigned to a specific channel (wireless line if you prefer).  If Bill calls Bob, everyone with a radio hears the call. If Bob hears the call, and chooses to respond to the call, he answers.  The problem is that no one else can talk while Bill and Bob are talking.  They have to wait unit the channel is clear.  This is not good.  First, productivity is reduced.  Worse yet - some workers may turn their volume down when another call is in progress, then miss the call that was for them!

Historically, there have been two solutions for this problem.  The first was to separate user groups with each group assigned a different channel (i.e. administration, maintenance, and security might all have their own channel assignment).  The problem is that these groups lose the ability to communicate with each other when required (unless they go through a process of channel switching which creates another set of problems).  The second, and very expensive, solution is called trunking whereby all the channels and user connections are controlled by an electronic switch.  This is essentially what happens when you use a Nextel or SouthernLINC.  

The solution to the problem

Many users gave up their private 2-way radios systems in favor of using Nextel or SouthernLINC.  That took care of one problem, but created another.  The operating cost of conventional 2-way radios basically consisted of the purchase cost and maintenance.  With Nextel and SouthernLINC, a third element was added - MONTHLY AIRTIME!  The average Nextel subscriber spends approximately $70 per month for airtime charge and the number is going UP!  Equipping ten people with Nextel's could add $700 per month to overhead expense.  In some cases, this may be justified if the person wants to combine walkie talkie capability with a wireless phone, and if that person works outside the confines of a specific building such as a motel, hospital, or manufacturing plant.

What was needed was a device that allowed the same features as a Nextel or SouthernLINC without a monthly airtime charge for on-site use, and comparable in cost to a conventional 2-way radio.  Such a device is now available.  It is called the DTR digital communicator by Motorola.  The DTR utilizes the same digital technology (iDEN) as Nextel and SouthernLINC, but without the switch that connects units over a wide area, and without monthly airtime charges.

An introduction to the Motorola DTR

Unlike conventional 2-way radios, the DTR does not use a single channel for communicating.  If uses multiple channels that can be used simultaneously in full privacy with the ability to selectively talk to a single individual, a user group (such as security for example), as well as the ability to talk to everyone operating on the system (we call this All Call)Conventional 2-way radios require a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license.  The DTR requires no license.  Conventional radios allow only one conversation per channel.  DTR allows MULTIPLE conversations on the same channel, all in complete privacy!  With DTR, we don't have to wait when we want to call someone else on our network.  We simply press a button.  When we hear a return "chirp", we are connected instantly!

Speaking of the "chirp" - this provides a solution for  the second biggest complaint with conventional 2-way radios - Bob won't answer!  With conventional radios, Bill calls Bob by depressing the push-to-talk button and saying something like Bill to Bob, then waiting for Bob to respond.  The problem is that Bob may not hear the call, be able to respond at the moment, or simply does not want to answer.  Now Bill has a problem.  He can't contact Bob.  He doesn't know if Bob heard the call, and he has not way to let Bob know he has called.  Not so with a DTR!

If Bill had a DTR, he doesn't have to say anything.  He just pushes a button.  When he hears the "chirp", he KNOWS that Bob received the call.  If Bob doesn't answer the call, Bill just pushes a button to alert Bob.  Once activated, Bob's radio will go into a constant chirping mode that will not stop until he responds to Bill's call.  This is faster and much more effective that voice mail.  It is one of the major benefits of iDEN technology and it is included with the DTR!

We could go on an on explaining the benefits of the DTR, but we suspect you are getting the idea.  At the same time, you may be saying yeah, so what's the catch - it must cost twice as much as a conventional 2-way radio, right?  Wrong!  The DTR is in the same general price range as the more popular Motorola conventional radios.

Want to know more about the DTR?  Click here for a product brochure.  Better yet, give us a call.  We'll be glad to provide a demonstration at your convenience!  If you are ready to buy now, check out our B-Stock specials at http://bestpriceradios.tech.officelive.com/specials.aspx.

Don't see what you need? Got a question?   Call us at 1-800-489-2611 or email sales@falcondirect.com Want to keep up with all that's new in communications?  Check out our Blog page at http://falconinfo.blogspot.com. Thanks for visiting with us!

The Falcon Team
At your Service!

Copyright 2009 - Falcon Direct, Inc.
This page was last updated on 04/05/2009