Shop Watch – The Benefits of Good Radio Communications

The introduction of a radio communications system to aid local shopkeepers in the fight against crime has proven to be an invaluable asset in many towns and cities throughout the UK. When shopkeepers have an instant and effective means of alerting each other and the Police to convicted and potential shoplifters, suddenly crime ceases to be rewarding for those involved. Even cheque and credit card fraud become less inviting in a town where local shops can inform each other of a suspect transaction.

Leek Shopwatch was taken over by The Communications Company in December 2002. A new Motorola Eurobase was installed with a UHF 4 stack antenna. All the users were issued with Motorola professional range of Motorola GP340s.

24 shops in Leek benefit from the system, co-ordinated by WPC Sarah Wilkinson and Chris Brown on their own Shopwatch radios. Leek Shopwatch is also monitored by Leek Police Station using a Motorola GM349 local base ensuring immediate response to any urgent calls and the latest Photofit files of known convicted local offenders are distributed to all shops on the scheme.

Leek Town Centre Co-ordinator Mike Cozens has said, “At the moment there are 24 retailers engaged in the scheme and I have been encouraging the town to develop it further. It’s an important scheme to have in terms of crime and deterrent and it does work and has had many successes in aiding the arrest of shoplifters”. See blog, “Shopwatch score a major success”.

In any industry Radio Communications are vital to the efficiency of an operation. It doesn’t matter if you are running a local town event, or helping to organise and run an Olympic ceremony. When you only have seconds to communicate a decision a good communication infrastructure is vital.

What Are Mobile Communications Systems?

Mobile communication systems are revolutionising the world today. It looks like the world has shrunken into a small handheld mobile! The ease of communicating and the wide network of service providers have made this possible. The high end competition between the mobile telecommunication operators have brought in some great deals for the customers who are more benefited by this healthy competition. The mobile communication system are wireless systems based on satellite applications.

Mobile communication doesn’t just mean the cellular phones or the telecommunications network. The military and other security services industries use mobile communication systems or radio communication systems, both of which can be used while travelling or can be carried and used in remote places. This type of communication is wireless and has sleek handheld mobile devices which can be fixed in the car or carried easily by the user. The control unit and handheld devices are portable and hence can be carried to any place and used for various forms of communication like voice, message texts, fax, emails etc. the growth in the field of communication is amazing as we see right before our eyes the various communication systems with improved receivers and smaller or light weight hand held devices.

The main focus of mobile systems is to allow communication between two or more people even in remote areas. In developing countries and in countries affected by war or natural calamity these communication units are of great help. The military, air and naval forces use these systems for speedy transmission of their messages. The communication experts are constantly researching and coming up with newer ideas to enhance mobile communication. Around 80% of the global communication market depends upon the GSM (Global System of Mobile Communication) for their mobile communications. It is used by more than 3 billion people the world over and is used by more than 212 countries. Using this system the users can use their mobile phones for roaming. When they move from place to place or between countries the GSM helps in the uninterrupted communication by switching the mobile operators automatically. It also enables the SMS (short messaging service) through which the users can both enjoy voice as well text messaging. The text messages are offered at a low cost by the mobile operators and hence are very popular mode of communication among youngsters.

Wireless networks have been used for mobile communication systems and hence the system works with high speed. The wireless signals are picked up by transmitters and sent or received immediately with ease. Radio signals transmitted on air is picked up by the transmitters who then help the receiver to communicate anytime anywhere. The best part of this form of communication is that the high competition between the mobile communications systems operators has enabled a wide range of products which can be used for both official and commercial basis. The prices have become competitive and the providers also introduce new features to enhance the mobile communication to woe the customers.

Tips For Setting Up a Budget Priced 2 Bike Helmet Headset Communication System

Enjoying the open road on your motorcycle is a great experience. There may be times though, when you want to expand that experience by communicating with your passenger or riding partners. If that’s the case then you are probably considering purchasing some form of helmet headset communicator.

When you’re thinking about purchasing any helmet headset kit, keep in mind that they are usually factory packaged for one helmet and do not include the communication device such as a two-way radio. Both riders or the rider and passenger will need to have headset kits installed in their helmets. That’s a requirement for two (2) headset kits plus a pair of some type of two-way communication device. 

There are many brands and types of headset communication devices available in a wide range of prices. The higher priced systems may include Bluetooth wireless communication between the headset and a two-way radio or cell phone, FM radio, and passenger intercom. 

Since this article is about setting up a budget priced 2 headset bike to bike or driver to passenger communication for under $100.00 I will leave the high priced feature loaded systems for another article. 

Before making a purchase you must know the type of helmet in which the headset will be installed. Some headset kits are designed for full face helmets while others are designed specifically for open face helmets.    

For this communication package we’re using two (2) Midland AVPH1 or AVPH2 helmet headset kits. The AVPH1 is for open faced and the AVPH2 closed faced helmets. Midland headset uses a 2-pin connector to the radio which provides a much stronger connection point than most other brands that just use a 1-pin connector. Like the other brands, there’s only one headset kit per factory sealed package. This can be beneficial since one rider may use an open faced helmet and the other a closed face helmet. One of each kit would then be required.    

In addition to the two (2) headset kits, a two-way radio communication device is required. We’ll be using pair of Midland FRS/GMRS two radios. These two-way radios are dual-service, or “hybrid,” radios and provide access to both the FRS (Family Radios Service) and GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) bands, utilizing FRS channels (1-14) and GMRS channels (15-22). Use of the radio’s GMRS bands requires an FCC operator’s license. Dual-service radios may be used without an operator’s license, if only the FRS channels are used.

Midland has many FRS/GMRS radios in a variety of price ranges and features. While the higher priced radios will have advertised transmission ranges up to 35 miles these ranges can only be achieved under ideal conditions on terrain with no obstacles and using the higher powered GMRS channels. Don’t expect to receive any manufactures’ advertised transmission range and you won’t be disappointed. 

A pair of Midland two-way radios with an advertised range of 10 miles to 24 miles should be fine for this budget priced helmet communication system. You should receive a transmission range of up to about 1-2 miles using the FRS bands. When choosing the radios look for a Midland model that has the VOX (Voice Operated Transmission) hands free feature. Although the VOX feature is not necessary for this helmet headset system, the hands free function is a good option to have if you want to use the two-way radios in situations other than with the helmet headsets such as at Nascar races, camping, hiking, hunting or other situations where communication would be helpful.

The best place to purchase this headset system is on eBay. Selling electronic items on eBay has become extremely competitive and that’s a big bonus for the buyer as there is now very little price markup.

I speak from experience as I was an eBay Power seller with thousands of electronic item sales. I would package two (2) Midland headset kits with a pair of Midland two-radios. This combo was very popular and many of my customers left feedback commenting on how good a system this was for the price.

You probably won’t find and eBay listing for 2 of these Midland headset kits packaged with a pair of Midland two-way radios but most sellers on eBay that list Midland products will have these items available so just ask them to put a special package together.

The Midland headset kits will wholesale for approximately $27.00 each (you require two) and a pair of Midland FRS/GMRS walkie talkie radios will wholesale for $20 to $65.00 depending on the features. Two headsets with a pair of 12 to 24 mile two-way radios should cost around $100.00.  

Although this article is about putting together a budget helmet headset communication for the motorcycle rider it would also be a great setup for the ATV rider, snowmobile rider, paintball or any other activity that requires a helmet and would benefit from 2-way communication.