When two way radio eclipses VHF

27 Feb 2017

  Brentwood recommended the digital Motorola DP3441

Brentwood recommended the digital Motorola DP3441

According to James Miller, managing director of UK telecomms supplier Brentwood Communications, digital two way radio can be better suited than ever to the communication demands of the commercial maritime industry.

Since first being used to send and receive passenger
telegrams at the start of the 20th century, two way radio has provided a vital
long distance link between ship and shore.

More than 100 years later, despite the arrival of satellite
communications, mobile telephony and GPS, that relationship continues.

Traditionally, the benefits of two way radio were that it
could transmit voice reliably over long distances. With the arrival of digital
technology, it now offers much more than voice transmission. This has seen its
use spread from straightforward ship to shore communication to broader
applications in ports, shipping control and onboard communications for crew.

For example, when Brentwood Communications was contracted to
supply handheld radios for the construction of two new berths at the port of
Felixstowe, the company ended up providing ordinary, land assigned two way
radios alongside a specialist maritime model.

While the ICOM IC-M87E handsets supplied were programmed and
licensed to use offshore marine VHF frequencies, the client also wanted radios
which could be used in and around the port to coordinate operations between
engineers, construction contractors, transport operators and so on.

As distance wasn’t an issue, but clarity of communications
in a busy, confined area was, Brentwood supplied Motorola handsets programmed
to shorter wave UHF frequencies. UHF is much better suited to delivering crisp,
clean audio over shorter distances through the many obstacles and buildings you
find on a busy port.

Non-marine models are also finding popularity in the
maritime industry for offshore use. Another client was the operator of a
German-built superyacht built by Jon Bannenburg. In this instance, the radios
were to be used at sea, but for on-board communication between the crew rather
than with the shore.

On this occasion Brentwood recommended the digital Motorola
DP3441. Built for use in tough industrial environments, the DP3441 is a robust,
fully waterproof handset fully capable of withstanding the rigours of sea life.
Not only that, it is extremely compact, and therefore ideal for the hands-on work
of busy stewards and engineers.

But, according to Miller, what really stands out about
digital models such as the DP3441 is the range of additional features which
analogue marine VHF radios just cannot support. For example, many digital
handheld radios now support text messaging, Bluetooth for connecting to hands
free accessories, GPS tracking and even WiFi connectivity.

In addition, they come with a wide range of safety
monitoring and alert features which provide added peace of mind for difficult
work at sea or at high volume cargo ports. For example, a one touch emergency
button for raising an alarm is now standard, while features like Lone Worker
and Man Down automated alerts should an operative get into difficulty.

Reliable, secure voice transmission over distance will always
be central to the use of radio communications in the maritime industry. That
vital connection between sea and shore is why the industry has its own
dedicated VHF frequencies which are carefully licensed and controlled. But with
digital models evolving to include more and more data and security features all
the time, two way radio has a broader role to play than ever keeping personnel
connected whether they work on shore, on a vessel, or both.

Communications has more than 40 years' experience supplying two way radio
solutions to businesses and organisations from every sector of the economy.

By Jake Frith

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