June 2012

How to Install Wired Intercoms

IntercomsIt is hard when we have new home projects to do with very limited funds to get them done with. This is why it is wise, when possible and safe, to perform tasks oneself without having to call in an expert. While many people find it practical to hire someone to perform any modifications to their home, there are some that cannot afford that luxury.  Even if nobody in the household is a bona fide professional, there are many projects that can be done without hassle.

One project that should be considered is converting the intercom system inside the home. How to install wired intercoms? The answer is not very difficult at all. Even though it may seem like it is necessary to possess some advanced electrical knowledge, the reality is that the voltage used for this is not very high. This means that anyone can safely install an intercom as long as they have the proper equipment. While many homes now have wireless systems, wired intercoms should be considered because they will not have any interference problems. Sometimes when a wireless intercom is in use, it can malfunction due to interference and stop working well.

Even though it was stated earlier that it is not very dangerous or difficult to install a wired intercom, the level of difficulty does change depending on the status of the home it is being added to. If there is a new home that is being constructed, this will be much simpler than installing one in a home that has been around for quite a while. Usually when an intercom installation is being done on an older home, it is necessary to connect it with the doorbell wiring. After that is done, all of the visible wiring can be placed inside the wall, since it can bring down the appeal of the space.

When the question “How to install wired intercoms?” arises it should not invoke any fear in the heart! Take a trip to the local hardware store and buy a drill, a wood drill bit, a utility knife and a fish tape. If the whole thought of this is still too much to handle, it may be a good idea to call in someone that knows what they are doing. This project is simple and fairly safe, but should only be attempted by those that have at least a little electrical knowledge, and a good idea of the layout of your home.

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Should I Choose UHF or VHF Two-Way Radios?

uhf vs. vhfUHF Ultra High Frequency (300 MHZ and 3000 MHZ) and VHF Very High Frequency (30 MHZ and 300 MHZ) are widely used two different frequencies on same spectrum. Both the frequencies can be used for short distance, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let us discuss about how to choose the best frequency. The points to consider before choosing this are coverage, cost, clarity and availability.

UHF at full power and line of sight can range up to 4+ miles, the signals bounce and good for using in a downtown environment, that is the coverage and performance is good in thickly populated areas. Basically short waves are produced and there by this doesn’t require external antenna. They are suitable for operating GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc., it requires license which is expensive, the device cost and setting up cost is high. Since it can be accessible for 30 floors vertically, it is recommended for both indoor use and outdoor use. Obviously when used in wireless radio, it consumes more power and reduces battery life.

VHF at full power and line of sight can range between 270000 sq ft and 300000 sq ft, and is suitable for operating FM radio, two-way radios, walkies, cordless, house hold gadgets etc. It is not restricted by any types of license to operate for personal use, but for business operation it requires license. This frequency hates obstacles but bends to Earth’s curvature so will not be suitable for indoor use, but good for outdoor use. Setting up an external antenna will boost performance and quality. Radios using this frequency consume less power thereby increasing battery life, the setup cost is low and device cost is also comparatively low.

In brief, UHF is expensive but good, VHF is cheap but it lacks few features of UHF. This is a simple formula to decide by – Higher Frequency = Better Quality, Less Range, and Lower Frequency = Lower Quality, More Range. Based on these descriptions the user can choose whatever is suitable for them.

If you are a new user thinking “should I choose UHF or VHF two-way radios?”, and who doesn’t have much awareness of frequencies, it is recommended to use radios that come bundled with both the frequencies, so that you can choose as per your liking. Always look for trial pack operation and try to use both the frequencies thoroughly before you decide and purchase.

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Intercoms for Building Safety Administrators are a Great Tool

The safety of the people who work in large buildings is the responsibility of the company that owns and operates the building. In larger buildings there will often be a building safety administrator who handles this. There are many different ways that this person has to be aware of to keep everyone in the building safe and it requires a lot of planning and some special equipment.

The most important part of safety in a building is communication. The safety administrator has to inform all of the people in the building what they are supposed to do in the event of an emergency. Much of this information will be provided before it is actually needed, but there are no guarantees that everyone listens to the plans and that they will really know what they are supposed to do when it is time to do so. Intercoms for building safety administrators are one of the best tools to help people understand what they have to do in the event of an emergency.

Intercoms allow one individual to make announcements throughout the entire building. This means they will be able to communicate with everyone during an emergency. That ability to communicate can help keep everyone in the building safe. It is important that this system is in place in large and small buildings and it needs to be properly maintained at all times. If the system does not work when it is needed, it is not worth having.

Intercoms for building safety administrators should be tested on a regular basis. They not only need to be tested to make sure they are working properly, they also need to be tested to make sure they are able to be heard in all of the places that they are needed. The intercoms that are being installed today have the ability to operate from remote locations. The safety administrator does not have to be in a dangerous building to operate them. They can also be programmed to provide pre-recorded messages during the times when they are in use.

If you own an office building, you have a duty to make sure that the people in that office building will be safe. This is something that the law will often make you do, but it is also the right thing to do. Getting the most up-to-date and complete systems that includes an intercom for the building is something that should be done without thinking about the cost.

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What is an IP Rating for a Two-Way Radio?

Two way radioIntercoms, two-way radios, truck stop intercoms, walkie-talkies and other such communication devices are expected to work under some pretty difficult conditions. Users take these devices into the wild, into harsh weather, into cold frosts, dust storms, underwater, and into blistering heat. Some intercoms are expected to brave the rain and the snow without fail, and others are expected to be rugged enough to be accidentally dropped off a small cliff and still work without flaw.

However, it is certainly true that not all two-way radios are created alike. A cheap two-way radio from a bargain store will break under the first real test of heat, water, or clumsiness. On the other side of the scale, commercial sturdy two-way radios will withstand some incredible punishment. How do we know which model of two-way radio will be able to stand the test? The IP Rating.

What is an IP Rating for a two-way radio? Communication equipment’s enclosures are rated by their ability to withstand solid objects, and also liquid objects. These two numbers make up the two-way radio’s IP rating.

For the first number, it goes from 1 to 6, 6 being the strongest. This is essentially how physically strong the casing is, and more precisely how tight it is. A level 2 will withstand fingers entering the casing, a level 4 will withstand small tools, etc. A level 6 will withstand small dust particles from entering the casing.

The second number is how waterproof the two-way radio is. A level 1 says drips of water will not have a harmful effect, and a level 3 will withstand rain. A level 5 would normally be able to be used at sea, and a level 8 would see the equipment being able to be submerged in water indefinitely without adverse affect.

Now you know exactly what is an IP rating for a two-way radio you can make a quick and informed decision between a number of commercial two-way radios. You can see which one is stronger, and which one will be best for your particular situation. It’s a great way to quickly evaluate how well the two-way radio will withstand physical abuse, and how it can hold up against things such as dust storms, or being soaked through. A large number of two-way radios have been designed to tackle some of the most difficult conditions on the planet, and their high IP scores are testament to this.

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MURS Radio for Citizen VHF Radio

MURSMURS radio stands for an unlicensed two-way radio service known as Multi-Use Radio Service. It is intended for local communications in a short range, and uses spectrum in the range of 151 to 154 MHz. A MURS radio is intended for general use by public for business, private or other purposes. This use can be in the form of voice communication or data communication.

In the US, no license is required for using MURS, given that MURS system operates in accordance with related sections of FCC and CFR. MURS is the only Citizen VHF Band in the US. However, it is required that users should cooperate in the selection of channels and their usage in a manner to minimize or reduce interference to other users. A MURS radio can have a maximum Transmitter Power Output of 2 Watts, without any limits on the gain of the antenna. Antenna of a MURS system, if present above a mounting structure, must not have more than 20 feet height; or if present above ground, must not have more than 60 feet height. The MURS system is not allowed to be connected to a public switched telephone network, and should not be used in an aircraft during flight.

The range of a MURS radio system can vary from a half mile to over ten miles depending on terrain and the congestion of the channel. Typical MURS units currently cost from $50 to $500. There are many variations of MURS systems through which a user can talk to callboxes, handhelds or any other MURS device. MURS radio systems can be used in offices, industries, outdoors, homes, vehicles, camping, golf-courses, emergencies, and for a number of other uses.

Intercomsonline.com, with its main office located in Nashville, Tennessee, is the leading provider of MURS systems for US and Canada. Housing all classes and types of MURS systems, it seems suit every need and every pocket. It also provides a free book named “Two-way radio Success: How to choose wireless communication devices for your business”.

All products listed come with buy-safe guarantee of inspected and monitored products and online orders can be placed 24×7. A phone number as well as a FAX number is provided in case of any query. Also, there is a return policy of a full refund, applicable for 45 days after product delivery, if a buyer is not satisfied with the MURS system purchased.

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UHF vs. VHF for Two-Way Radios

When deciding whether to purchase UHF or VHF, it’s important that you do your research on which type of radio is best suited to your needs.

UHF, which stands for ‘Ultra High Frequency’ is a wavelength that operates best in an indoor or urban environment. UHF transmits a relatively shorter wavelength and is able to penetrate walls, concrete and other thick materials much more effectively than VHF; for this reason, it is largely recommended that offices and some construction sites utilize UHF.

VHF, which stands for ‘Very High Frequency’ operates a much larger wavelength and is in turn best suited to an outdoor environment such as a field or sporting event. As a general rule, it is considered that most VHF two-way radios will operate with a distance of two miles and should mostly be used if you can see the recipient of your radio call.

Where do you stand when it comes to pricing for UHF vs. VHF for two-way radios? UHF will typically cost the customer a slightly higher upfront amount than VHF, simply due to its superior ability to perform in the most common work and social situations that may call for a two way radio. For a named and trusted brand, customers in the market should expect to pay something in the region of $200 to $300 (and upwards for more elaborate models).

One example of a trusted but affordable brand is Motorola, their 4-channel UHF customer service model is a staple of the professional world and is often considered a favorite for teachers. If you are in the market for a VHF model (that would be if you require distance over ability to penetrate surfaces) then there are many trusted brands and models available for considerably discounted prices. The MURS multi-mile two-way often retails for under $100 and is used frequently by field trip enthusiasts and
school trip organizers.

One vital consideration that must be made and is not always considered is how much battery life your radios will consume. It’s typical for UHF to consume far more power than VHF, and as such, it may be worth the time of the customer to investigate whether the more power efficient option (VHF) is available to them, as this will save money in the long-term.

Whether you choose UHF or VHF, it is always important to take the time to research which type of wavelength would best suit your needs in the work or social environment that you operate. In fact, it is such a vital decision that any respectable reseller would be more than willing to consult with you over which type of two-way radio is most appropriate for you.

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Church Door Intercom Systems

The church is often considered to be one of the safest and most welcoming areas of any community. However, in recent times it has become clear that churches are in fact a haven for potential robbers and criminals to steal collection money, or simply terrorize the property. There have been numerous examples of robbers utilizing on many churches open-door policy to gain immediate access and exploit the privilege. In 2006 a gunman held a choir hostage at gunpoint and demanded all of the money and credit cards belonging to all of the church goers that Sunday morning.

In light of these disturbing invasions of trust, many churches are now opting to employ some degree of security that protects their valuable (often priceless) assets, as well as church staff and the faithful church goers. While many churches simply cannot afford the same protection employed by high-profit establishments such as night clubs, nor do they want the church to appear overly protected and closed off to the majority of the public that may feel repelled by the extreme measures.

So a compromise has been drawn whereby the best solution for many is considered to be an intercom system on the door of the church. Church door intercom systems are already a significant limb of the security/intercom industry with many manufacturers catering specifically to the needs of the church and its security. There are various forms of intercom available and various alternating price brackets, but the most cost efficient option is typically the wireless intercom (such as the MURS Multi-Mile Base Wireless Intercom) as these can retail for as little as $50 and offer a strong signal that (if operating on VHF wavelength) will extend throughout the open space of the church allowing the receiver of the intercom to be placed wherever convenient.

Of course, as with any technology product, a customer can expect a higher quality product if they wish to pay a higher premium. Luckily, this principle is applied modestly when opting to purchase wireless intercom technology as the price increases slowly to cater to the various levels of security required from the church itself.

While many would undoubtedly consider it a shame that in this modern world even the church must protect itself against criminals, it is a reality that must be dealt with – and luckily – it is a dilemma that is affordably and conveniently resolvable. Church door intercom systems are not just a good idea – they’re an essential idea.

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A Short MURS Technology Guide

MURS IntercomWhen you have a business you may want to have certain internal conveniences depending on how large the building your business is in. Sometimes even residential buildings and homes need something to make communication convenient. One of these conveniences is the use of a two way radio in the building, however most two way radios require a FCC license.

There is a way around this with MURS radio. This multi use radio technology is a private two way radio
communication open to the public for private use. Multi use radio service has only been in use for a
little over ten years now. The FFC had changed their rules about the use of certain frequencies. The way this two way communication works is through the use of small hand held devices which are like walkie-talkies or even cell phones. Below you will find a short list which can function as a MURS technology guide for your benefit of understanding the importance of this two way communication.

Two way communications allows for you to be able to reach people across short distances that may be either in the same building or on the same grounds. It’s a lot easier than a public announcement system or even loud speakers which never sound clear to begin with. If you are in Canada you have a much wider selection of radio frequencies you can use. However they say that in a few situations, the
receivers can cause interference.

You can operate your MURS device in a place where the FCC is in control of frequency regulation. The
rules state you can only transmit on a frequency which has been approved and regulated by the FCC. One of the benefits is you do not need to use a call sign designation to identify your radio frequency. However your handheld device must be approved by the FCC ad there is no exception to this at all.

Another thing to remember is that one of the MURS channels are set for exclusive use of any system. This means you need to cooperate within the use of the channels in order to use your own channel and
share it with others. This will then reduce the chances of possible interference.

MURS stations are forbidden to operate as a signal booster, so there is also no store and forward packet operation to be involved when you use your own MURS frequency.

Of course this isn’t everything involved with the use of MURS signals and frequencies but consider this a small MURS technology guide.

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ADA Compliance for Intercom Height

IntercomThe Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990, is a wide-ranging act that attempts in most situations to minimize or eliminate discrimination based on disability. It is, in some ways, an important extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination based on sex, religion or race.  Affording those with disabilities the same rights makes the bill a rather complex one, as the definition of disability is wide, and encompasses a large range of different physical and mental disabilities.

The bill is split into five parts: employment, public entities, public accommodation, telecommunications, and miscellaneous.  These parts define rules that the government, business community and citizens must conform to, to ensure that those with disabilities of one form or another can live as full a life as possible.  Some example provisions include communication companies must make strides to ensure those with disabilities will also be able to use the majority of their services, or that hotels must allow those with physical disabilities access to the same facilities that others are afforded.

When it comes to intercoms, there is also ADA compliance for intercom height.  This is because an intercom is also a communication device, and therefore is covered under the ADA.   What this means for the average company is that their intercom system must be placed at a height which is accessible to all, including those who are in a wheelchair.

An intercom should therefore not be placed higher than 48 inches above the floor, if it requires access from the front.  If the intercom can be accessed from the side, then this restriction goes up to 50 inches above the floor.

An additional ADA compliance for intercom is that objects such as intercoms should not protrude more than 4 inches into areas which are clearly corridors, walkways, or aisles.  This is a safety issue, and also a matter of accessibility for those in a wide wheelchair.

Therefore the ADA does touch upon the installation of physical intercom systems, and if you are planning on installing a fixed-location intercom system it is required that you follow the above rules.  These rules should be easy to follow, but it pays to know them beforehand and install your system correctly in the first place.  Conforming to the ADA guidelines means you are building a world accessible to all, and should be seen as a basic human thought rather than a nuisance to your business.

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