How Exactly Do Walkie-Talkies Work?

DISCLAIMER – Usually, we’re a pretty mild-mannered bunch, but every so often, we get a question that we’ve answered so many times that we just don’t know what to say in response to it anymore. For my part, I’m tempted to say ‘magic fairy warriors’, ‘pixie dust’ or just ‘spit and happy thoughts’ – but no, I’m not going to do that. In any instance, this is the last time I will be answering this question. So, after this, you guys will have to look into the archives for answers (still, you might be able to find some good stuff back there).

All joking aside, the science behind the walkie-talkie is fairly simple to grasp (which is good, because otherwise I’d be out of a job!). I’ll render it here as a series of steps.

STEP ONE – Having tuned the walkie-talkie to the appropriate frequency (and charged the battery), you push the PTT (Push To Talk) button and speak your message.

STEP TWO – The vibrations of your voice shake a small membrane inside the walkie-talkie’s microphone.

STEP THREE – The radio’s processor then converts those vibrations into an electrical signal, which it pushes upward towards your walkie-talkie’s antenna.

STEP FOUR – The electron particles housed inside the antenna become excited (they will only respond to the set frequency) and this, in turn, ‘pushes out’ the message in the form of a radio signal.

STEP FIVE – The radio signal is then intercepted by your partner’s walkie-talkie antenna, where the incoming signal excites their electrons (which are attuned to the same frequency, of course). These electrons then in turn translate the signal into an electrical impulse, which is subsequently decoded by the processor and played out via your partner’s speakers. It is exactly the same process as you just experienced except that it has been reversed.

The fact that walkie-talkies do this practically in real time is actually nothing short of amazing, when you think about it.

Part of the reason that walkie-talkie technology has been so very successful since its initial inception is that it works very well and is very easy to use. In fact, you’d be hard pushed to find a simpler, more useful and more user-friendly technology this side of the wheel!

Thanks for your question (and I’m sorry about the rant earlier, Claudia!), hope my answer helps. If not, then I’d go with the magic fairy warriors.

Guide Health: Reducing your risk of hearing loss

Even though this study was based in canada, we can see the same happening within the UK, great advice like Don’t try to “dig out” anything from your ear can be applied to any country or scenario.

The number of times you say “Pardon me” may be the only sign you have that your hearing has gradually lessened. It happens with age, but even so, it’s important to recognize there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and to maximize your hearing.

About 10 per cent of all Canadians have hearing loss, but as you would expect, the numbers do jump as age increases. At 45 years of age, only about 20 per cent are affected, but by age 65 it’s about 60 per cent of people. Men are more often affected than women, which may be related to noise exposure at work.

It is also thought these numbers should actually be higher because hearing loss is so gradual that it is not noticed, or because it is denied.

There are two components to hearing. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds are prevented from getting to the middle or inner ear, for example because of impacted earwax, a foreign body, water, or even an ear infection. Removal of the obstacle will solve this type of hearing loss.

By contrast, sensorineural hearing loss involves the inner ear and the nervous system. Unfortunately, this kind of hearing loss is usually permanent.

Your ear has three parts: the outer ear which is the part that you see, the middle ear where hearing is sensed, and the inner ear which is responsible for sending sound messages to the brain for interpretation. Incidently, the inner ear is all important in maintaining your balance, which often means that damage to the inner ear will affect both your balance and hearing.

Earaches can affect any part of your ear and reduce your hearing. Infections, a foreign body, trauma such as a blow to the ear, or even something like swimmer’s ear can be the cause, but once the earache clears your hearing returns to normal.

Earwax or cerumen can be a problem if it accumulates and plugs the ear canal. Earwax is a mixture of secretions from both sweat and earwax glands. If you are older, have narrow or misshapen ear canals, wear a hearing aid, or even have lots of hair in your ears, earwax can readily accumulate and become impacted. There are various earwax removal products available, but you need to read and follow the instructions carefully. And, if you are unsuccessful, don’t just try another product, have your ears checked first.

If you notice that your hearing has changed and you have begun taking a new medication, ask if hearing loss may be an adverse effect.

Some drugs can affect your hearing. Drugs with the potential to reduce hearing by affecting the nerves that sense sound include antibiotics like gentamicin, tetracycline, and erythromycin; the leg cramp remedy quinine; some cancer drugs; and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid. This effect typically occurs over time and, usually, stopping the drug halts the loss, although hearing may not return completely.

Acetylsalicylic acid in higher doses can also cause tinnitus or ringing in your ears. The ringing may not develop into hearing loss, but it certainly interferes with hearing. Again, stopping the drug will alleviate the effect, but even reducing the dose may do the trick.

Your ears are considered to be self cleaning and you shouldn’t need to do anything else other than wash your external ear, for example when you are shampooing your hair. Don’t try to “dig out” anything from your ear, earwax included! You may push whatever you are trying to remove further into your ear. Ideally, you want to put nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear, if that’s even possible!

Take care of your hearing by wearing ear protection when you are exposed to loud noises, such as machinery or rock music. And, if you wear a hearing aid, always remember to make sure it has fresh batteries and that it fits properly. Getting older is no reason why you shouldn’t have good hearing.

LOOK! Eureka’s Tribute to the Bluetooth Earpiece That Could Soon Grace the City’s South Entrance

The people of Humboldt can be proud of their new city entrance, it is in the shape of a bluetooth earpiece, The monument appears to be in the shape of an earpiece sat up-wards, it’s a long leap to see it from the road (see image) but it definitely resembles a bluetooth earpiece.

Last week, the South Entry Project study group unveiled its latest plans for improving user experience for travelers entering our fair city. One of the most visually notable components of the facelift proposed by Redding-based engineering group Green Dot Transportation Solutions is a spiral concrete sculpture thingamabob to be constructed just south of the Herrick Avenue overpass (see below).

What does that thing look like? LoCO asked itself. Then it hit us. It looks like a Bluetooth earpiece, of course! Amirite? Maybe we’re promoting safe driving, here? LoCO no know.

Anyway, the sculpture, as well as other less earpiece-ish aspects of the South Entry Project — trees, medians, etc. — are the result of months of meetings wherein community feedback was sought. Since LoCO knows our readers prefer things to be on the interwebs, we will direct your discerning eyeballs to the “Preferred Alternative” page of the Eureka South Entry website where you can scope out some visuals of planned enhancements.

According to the North Coast Journal, Green Dot still needs to submit the plan to Caltrans for approval. After that, the Eureka City Council can choose to vote this glorious tribute to safe, hands-free devices into reality.

Addendum: Many LoCO commenters have expressed indignation that the city should be spending money on this type of project when more serious issues exist. This is an entirely understandable sentiment, though it should be noted that, so far, the city has only paid for a study, the majority of which ($45,000 of the $75,000 price tag) was funded by a grant from the California Transportation Commission.

City Engineer Charles Roecklein said the city will pursue more grant funding to finance the construction of the project itself, assuming it gets that far. And he’s optimistic about finding those funds. “It’s like the mayor said, somebody’sgonna get those grant funds,” Roecklein said. “There’s grant money for this kind of project.”

Source - http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/apr/27/look-eurekas-tribute-bluetooth-earpiece-could-soon/

Identify the features of two way communication

Here we Identify the features of two way communication using two way radio, A two way radio is basically a radio that can transmit and receive. Two way radios are simple, convenient and affordable way to stay in close contact with your colleagues, family and friends. Most companies use two way communication systems as a primary source of communication between their workers due to the ease, promptness and convenience offered by this communication system. The following are some of the key features of a two way radio system and their benefits;

900 MHz frequencies

It is essential to point out that radios that operate within this frequency are capable of effectively communicating both indoors and outdoors. This means that they can be used in factories and other workplaces as well as outside when camping or hiking. Most cordless phones also use this frequency. However, the best thing about two way radios that use the 90 MHz frequencies can be used by both individuals and businesses without a problem.

Adjustable gain

Most two way radios come with an adjustable gain feature. This feature allows the user to adjust the sensitivity of the radio’s microphone. This feature is also useful along with the hands free operation feature because it reduces the possibility of unintended noises triggering transmission. It also enhances the ability of the radio to pick up quite voices.

Auto channel change

This feature enables all radios within your group to change to a new channel. This helps in preventing interference from other devices. For you to use this feature, everyone in your group must have two radios that support this feature. In case one channel is not so clear you can simply change and use the channel with little or no interference.

Backlit display

Most two-way communication devices including radios have a digital LCD display feature that displays useful information for instance your current channel. This feature enables you to turn on a lighted display which makes it easier for you to read the information on the screen especially in dark or poorly lit areas.

Channels

A channel is a frequency on which two individuals using two way radios can communicate. Typically, there are 14 FRS channels as well as 15 GMRS channels. Two way radios that support both FRS (family radio service) and GMRS (general mobile radio service) have the capability of supporting up to 22 channels. This makes it easy for people to communicate with each other using these radios. However, to effectively communicate, all radios in the group should be set to the same channel.

Battery

Two way radios are mobile devices. This means that they are designed for you to move around with them. As a result of this, these radios operate on battery power. Most radios work with standard alkaline AAA or AA batteries. Other models include rechargeable batteries. For those models that come with rechargeable batteries, it is essential for you to always fully charge the batteries before using the radio for effective communication.

Call waiting feature

Just like the regular mobile telephones, two way communication radios also have call waiting feature. If you are already on a call, this feature allows you to receive a notification that someone is attempting to reach you. The latest models will give you an option of immediately accepting the new incoming call or simply reject the call and calling back thereafter.

Call tones

Call tones allows the user to alert the other radio users in the group that he or she wants to talk. It is similar to a telephone’s ringing that indicates that someone wants to talk or someone is calling. Most radios allow the user to select from a variety of call tones.

Intrinsically safe

Also known as IS, intrinsically feature is a protection feature or technique used for safe operation of electronic devices in explosive environments. This concept was solely developed for safety measures specifically operation of process control instrumentation in unsafe areas. This means that two way communication radios can be safely used in hazardous areas without the fear of exploding or causing harm to the user.

In summary, from the above features and benefits of two way communication radios it is clear to suggest that, these radios are convenient, affordable and safe modes of communication that can be used in workplaces as well as at home. They can also be used outdoors during camping, hiking or simply enjoying a shopping expedition in town.

How Much Does a Good Earpiece Cost?

Actually, quality two-way radio earpieces are not nearly as cost prohibitive as you might expect them to be.

In fact, you can get a professional quality model for as little as just over £10 (not including shipping costs). The linked model even comes with a special noise-reducing microphone included in the price.

Elsewhere, Amazon.co.uk has earpiece and headset deals for as low as £6.00. These won’t be top-end products, obviously, but they are unlikely to let you down either.

As with all things, it depends on what uses you have in mind. If you are unsure as to exactly what your needs are, then it is wiser to spend a little extra (we’re not talking a bank-breaking amount, after all) than it is to buy the cheapest model, saving £7 – £8 in the short term, only to end up disappointed with your final purchase.

You can get a ‘good’ (as in, generally reliable ‘all rounder’) earpiece for £10 – £20. These earpieces aren’t particularly flashy, but they can be relied upon to get the job done. As a general guide, some of the more professional quality pieces available will go up as high as £40 – £50. Depending on what these models are used for, all will do a fine job.

Of course, as with anything, there is a high-end and a low-end to the marketplace. However, unlike some markets, low-end earpieces do not represent an enormous loss in quality. They will work fine for basic/hobby use, but we recommend you spend out towards the higher end of the market for professional usage.

EarpieceOnline is a good place to get your earpiece from, especially since they offer free next day delivery on all their items.

Typically, earpieces are not an expensive item. In fact, they only cost a substantial amount when professional earpieces are bought in bulk for business use. However, the linked site is among the cheapest online and stocks a wide variety of different products.

Of course, all prices listed here are ‘ballpark figures’ unless otherwise stated. The sites/stockists you use may be cheaper, or more expensive, so it will probably pay to shop around a little bit.

If you are able to find any cheaper sites, then you might let us know, that way we can recommend them to other users.

Did Someone Say Walkie Talkie Earpiece?

Gone are the days of having to actually hold a 2 Way Radio while using it, thank goodness. Today’s world is one of convenience and I am so glad that it has translated over to walkie talkies in the form of an earpiece. When everyone in your vicinity can hear what your conversation is about, or hear other conversations that just happen to be on the same station as you, it can get annoying. Not just when I get those side glances when the person “calling” speaks there mind, but it must be pretty aggravating for those having to hear my (sometimes) loud conversations, but not anymore! walkie talkies aren’t just something I can benefit from, but my family can too (kids love to play with the things, but the 2 Way Radios help parents to keep a check on them).

Although walkie talkies can be used on a daily basis for different things, I use mine primarily at work. My best friend, and partner on the job, takes his on family vacations so that he and his wife can keep up with everyone. Sure, cell phones are all the rage, but when you are out relaxing on the beach or snowboarding down a mountain, who wants to keep up with a phone? Just stick that little earpiece in and take off. Plus the kids, and the elderly parents, can all use them with ease.

Like I said, I use mine mostly at work. I need my hands to help my customers, so I do not have the extra hands to fiddle with a phone or the whole walkie talkie. Also, they help to keep sensitive information private. The speaker volume is easy to manoeuvre and the mic picks up words without getting all the background sounds. If the weather is nice, the walkie talkie earpiece is great to wear while on the motorcycle. The earpiece fits comfortably under my helmet, so if an emergency signal is sounded from work, I can still get it. This is also great for when my husband and I go on motorcycle road trips. We can always easily talk to one another while always keeping both eyes on the road.

In addition to the ways I use the walkie talkie now, kids seem to really love these things. My partner’s kids love to play on them around the house, but also during games of paintball and airsoft when they need to covertly communicate with other kids on their team. The 2 Way Radio earpiece is also convenient if your kids ever venture off on their own. For example, my parents owned horses when I was a kid. They were always paranoid about my sister and I off riding horses throughout their land with no one around to help us if something went wrong. Thankfully, we had walkie talkies so we could radio them periodically to let them know we were fine and having fun. This situation could also apply to kids running around the neighborhood or out camping in the yard.

The good thing, technologically speaking, about Two Way Radios is that they have been around for many years, and tech teams have worked to make them all the better. No longer do they just reach a couple of feet, but many miles depending on which set you get and the purpose of them. The new earpieces are amazingly convenient and easy to use, at a low cost. How you will be using a 2 Way Radio is something that you should keep in mind when looking for purchase one and the same goes for the earpiece. Although many can be used for multiple purposes, some walkie talkies work better further distances than others. Along the same line, some earpieces work better to keep out background noises (if you are on a motorcycle, per say) and some are more comfortable under a helmet. It is all about how you are going to use them, but they are all convenient and fun to use!

British Screen Icon Richard Attenborough Passes Away, Aged 90

British actor, director and screen legend Lord Richard Attenborough passed away last August, he was 90 years old.

The iconic performer, known for a plethora of memorable film roles over a career spanning an impressive six decades, leaves behind a majestic legacy. What follows is an overview of Attenborough’s film work, both as an actor and a director and, after that, a few words about his contributions outside of cinema.

Beginning his career in the 1940’s, the young actor started out in numerous stage plays before attending The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), which he would later serve as president. His early film roles included the Noel Coward directed wartime film ‘In Which We Serve’ (1942), which starred John Mills, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ starring David Niven (1946) and the original film version of ‘London Belongs To Me’ with Alastair Sim (1948).

Lord Attenborough’s big break came in 1947, when he starred as unscrupulous gang leader Pinkie Brown in the film adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel ‘Brighton Rock’ (which also stars future ‘Doctor Who’ actor William Hartnell). Attenborough’s portrayal was nothing short of mesmerizing in its coldness and cruelty and, by 1949, he was considered to be among the most popular British actors of the day.

Throughout the 1950’s, Attenborough starred in war films such as ‘Dunkirk’ – again with John Mills (1958) and comedies like ‘Private’s Progress’ (1956), he also dazzled as Stoker Snipe in the 1950 film adaptation of ‘Morning Departure’, a highly moving piece about a submarine crew stranded at the bottom of the sea, which also starred John Mills.

In 1960, Attenborough portrayed factory worker Tom Curtis in ‘The Angry Silence’, a British ‘kitchen sink’ movie that saw his character refuse to join his fellow workers on strike as himself and his family dealt with the consequences. He also appeared in the classic crime drama ‘The League of Gentleman’ in the same year.

In 1963, Attenborough starred in ‘The Great Escape’ playing Bartlett ‘Big X’ alongside an all-star cast that included Steve McQueen, James Garner, Donald Pleasence, Charles Bronson and James Coburn.

1965’s Oscar nominated ‘The Flight Of The Phoenix’ saw him playing alongside Hollywood screen legend James Stewart. In 1967, Attenborough portrayed Albert Blossom in the musical film ‘Doctor Dolittle’ and, in 1969, he directed his first feature, the musical ‘Oh, What A Lovely War!’

In 1971, Attenborough performed one of his most memorable roles as the serial killer John Christie, acting alongside John Hurt and Judy Geeson in ‘10 Rillington Place’. He was reluctant to take the part at first, but appears to have done so in order to take a stand against capital punishment.

In 1975, he starred alongside John Wayne in ‘Brannigan’. In 1977, he directed ‘A Bridge Too Far’, a war story that starred Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Gene Hackman, James Caan and Anthony Hopkins.

In 1981, Attenborough completed a true labour of love and his most noted work as a director, the epic biopic ‘Gandhi’, starring Ben Kingsley. The film earned Attenborough two Academy Awards, one for directing and one for producing. In 1987, he directed Denzel Washington in ‘Cry Freedom’, which celebrated the life of anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko. He would next produce and direct a biopic in 1992, directing Robert Downey, Jr, Marissa Tomei, Dan Akroyd and Geraldine Chaplin in ‘Chaplin’, a film depicting the life of influential movie star Charlie Chaplin.

Attenborough’s two most famous late career roles occurred within one year of each other. In 1993, he portrayed impresario John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ (a role he would reprise in the 1997 sequel ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’) and in 1994, he joyously appeared as Father Christmas in the re-make of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, both roles won Attenborough critical acclaim, as well as an entire generation of new fans. In 1998, he appeared as Baron William Cecil in ‘Elizabeth’, an historical drama also starring Cate Blanchett, Christopher Eccleston and Geoffrey Rush, which focussed on the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Attenborough directed his last film, ‘Closing The Ring’ in 2007 and gave his final acting performance in 2004, lending his voice to the film ‘Tres En El Camino’.

Away from acting, Lord Attenborough was active in politics; he was appointed as a life peer (as Baron Attenborough) in 1993 and chose to sit on the Labour party benches at The House of Lords. He was a vocal opponent of South African apartheid and a lifelong advocate of racial equality. In 1983, he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-violence Peace Prize by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Centre For Non-violent Social Change.

A passionate advocate of education at all levels, Attenborough served as Chancellor of the University of Sussex for 10 years (from 1998 until 2008) and he was a patron of University College, Leicester, where his father had served as principal.

He also worked tirelessly on behalf of several charities, including The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, The Richard Attenborough Fellowship Fund (which also aims to fund research into neuromuscular conditions) and UNICEF, for whom he served as Goodwill Ambassador and donated many of the proceeds from ‘Gandhi’ to. From ‘Gandhi’ alone, he raised in excess of a Million Dollars for the charity.

Lord Attenborough received a CBE (Commander of The British Empire) in 1967 and was fully knighted in 1976. From 1969 – 1982, Attenborough, a dedicated football fan, served as the director of Chelsea Football Club. Between 1993 and 2008, he was also the club’s Honorary Vice President.

Richard Attenborough’s career was truly groundbreaking in every sense of the word. He was unquestionably one of the greatest actors of all time as well as a man of moral courage and noble spirit. As an artist, philanthropist, educator and man of conscience, this world will be much poorer without him.

Digital radio – which way will South Africa go?

Radio technology has seen very little innovation and development since FM stereo was introduced in the 1960s.  It was the sound revolution of the time, but little has happened since FM took over local broadcasting. It caused the demise of AM stations and the shortwave services of the SABC and LM radio.

The Southern Africa Digital Broadcasting Association (SADIBA) issued a report in 2002 in which it said “to remain commercial attractive, radio as a medium will have to deliver improved quality service, greater choice, interactivity and multi-media. Digital radio technologies must rise to the challenge and deliver the multimedia radio of the future.”

In the document SADIBA made recommendations on the critical aspects to be considered in order to allow for the introduction of digital radio in South Africa.   Little seems to have happened since 2002 until last month when the subject was extensively discussed at the SADIBA Conference where the 2002 paper re-emerged and digital radio mondiale (DRM), one of the technologies, came into the limelight with international speakers and a demonstration of DRM by the BBC transmitting DRM from their  shortwave relay station on Ascension Island with CD clarity – no noise, no interference.

Discussing the advantages of DRM, Ruxandra Obreja, head of digital radio development at the BBC world service and chairman of the DRM Consortium said that DRM and DRM+ have proved to be the obvious choice for digital radio. But not everyone would agree with that.

Let us consider some of the various digital radio technologies available.

IDAB is based on in-band-on channel (IBOC) technology which looks at inserting the digital signal within the existing FM and AM channels without affecting other FM or AM transmissions.  FM IBOC is designed to operate in a 200 kHz FM channel allocation. It would have been very impractical to introduce FM IBOC into South Africa without re-engineering the current  FM frequency plan based on 100 kHz channel.

According to the 2002 SADIBA paper the most established of all the digital radio technologies is the Eureka 147 system.  The technology is based on an open standard defined in a range of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) documents. But it requires different frequency bands which in itself is problematic given the scarcity of spectrum oin the UHF bands which are demanded by satellite communication channels (VSat) and wireless broadband. The so-called digital dividend will also not provide the required spectrum as that process will take a long time to materialise.

Obreja believes that DRM and DRM+ is the obvious solution. DRM,  the acronym for digital radio mondiale, is promoted by a consortium of broadcasters, manufactures’ research institutes and stakeholders that have endeavoured to work toward a world-standard for digital broadcasting in the frequencies initial below 30 MHz, operating on the AM and shortwave broadcasting bands.  Since the original development engineers have moved ahead and DRM+ emerged, the name applied to the DRM standard when used on the VHF frequencies.

“The initiative to extend DRM began with a vote at the 2005 General Assembly to begin the design, verification and testing of the parameters needed to allow DRM to operate in the VHF broadcasting bands between; primarily band I and band II,” said Obteja.

The design process began shortly afterwards and key decisions were made to ensure that the extension completely shared the successful design philosophy of DRM – it is “DRM but at higher frequencies”.

Its spectrum usage parameters are determined from the internationally agreed norms in the FM band (88 to 108 MHz). Therefore it has an occupied bandwidth of 96 kHz and a frequency grid of 100 kHz.

DRM+ provides bit rates from 35 kbps to 185 kbps at SNRs from 2 dB to 14dB and, like DRM, permits up to four services. It is therefore a flexible solution allowing single or small numbers of audio services to be broadcast together.

During the process of gaining endorsement from the ITU for DRM’s extension to the VHF bands, test results from various field trials conducted around the world were submitted.  One of the interesting trials was carried out in December 2011 by Vatican Radio carrying out broadcasting tests of DRM+1 in the VHF band II at 103, MHz. The aim of the tests was to verify the performance of DRM+ in a difficult interference scenario such as the FM VHF band II in Rome and to check the compatibility of the digital technology with existing antenna arrays having complex RF coupling systems such as the one located in the Vatican. The frequency used was assigned to the Vatican in the GE84 Agreement and was chosen for two main reasons: it is not used during a few timeslots in the morning and it suffers from some strong interference coming from stations operating at 103,7 MHz and 104,00 MHz located close to Rome. The tests were carried out taking into account the normal programme schedule. During the tests the digital transmitter was connected to the antenna feeder via a changeover, leaving the analogue transmitter in stand-by. The antenna array is a complex system: four FM transmitters at different power levels share the same antenna with elliptical polarisation and omni-directional horizontal radiation pattern. The results were great. Acceptable stereo coverage under mobile reception conditions has been verified in areas where predicted field strength is comparable with 44 dBmV/m and interference is negligible. Using the most robust configuration for DRM+, it was possible to achieve better coverage in full stereo  than an analogue FM signal; the overall subjective listening experience was better than that of FM interfered with by splashes coming from adjacent stations.

With South Africa’s poor performance in changing from analogue to digital TV, it may be some time before government will applies its mind to take a decision on digital sound radio. The first step have however been taken by commercial enterprises.  Pulpit Radio is conducting a DRM pilot from their transmitting station  at  Kameeldrift near Pretoria. The 50 kW transmitter was installed by Broadcom International and made history with the first DRM audio broadcast in the Southern African region on 1440 kHz AM. “The results were very good. The station was received in Botswane some 400 km away with CD quality audio,” Obreja said.

One of the issue is however the availability of receivers but Ruxandra Obreja said that experience from elsewhere where DRM was introduced local industry began manufacturing. “This will be a great opportunity to grow South Africa’s electronic manufacturing industry.”

There is software available to decode the DRM signals using a sound card and a dongle is under development that can be used on a laptop or even other devices that have a USB port.

With DRM, the use of medium and shortwave will open up many new radio channels. Each DRM channel can carry three radio programmes and one data channel requiring very narrow bandwidth of less than 5 kHz. Another advantage is that the system is also more energy efficient.

It is very true that we’ve not seen much innovation in the two way radio industry, Here we have seen the Digital revolution in the past few years, but it is far more complex in Africa. Larger coverage area and less technological advancement. You can find the original news story on this website.

Would you wear sunglasses that double as headphones?

Google Glass may be on hiatus, but our appetite for high-tech spectacles endures. One of the latest efforts comes in the form of a Kickstarter campaign for a pair of sunglasses that double as wireless headphones.

Buhel’s Bluetooth SG05 SOUNDglasses obliterated their $80,000 fundraising goal a mere 48 hours after launch, ending up with more than $400,000 by the end of the campaign. “SOUNDglasses give you innovation, freedom, safety, and easier life,” Buhel promises.

Great, but how will the music sound?

Thanks to “bone conduction technology,” SOUNDglasses let users listen to music, conduct a phone conversation, or talk to computerized personal assistants like Siri without the “impediment” of earphones. Two speakers situated in the glasses near the wearer’s temples send vibrations through the bones of the head and into the inner ear. A built-in microphone picks up what the wearer says.

This isn’t exactly revolutionary. Many hearing aids transmit sound with bone conduction, as do other headphone brands. But a main complaint for these kinds of headphones is that the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired. Will these be any different?

Here’s how the creators of SOUNDglasses address that question: “We don’t pretend that Bone Conduction is your perfect HiFi music companion, but we can say that it serves a specific purpose, which increases your safety in an infinite number of situations. The military and Google chose Bone Conduction for some of their devices…They must have thought it was not that bad, and so did nature with dolphins and whales.”

Hmm. Not the most reassuring comment, is it?

Buhel is pushing the safety angle hard to make up for any lousy sound quality. Because nothing has to actually go inside the ear for this technology to work, wearers will still be able to hear the sounds going on around them. This is a plus for what seems to be Buhel’s target demographic: athletes. It would be great to be able to bike down the busy avenues of Manhattan blasting some excellent riding tunes without losing access to one of your most vital senses.

Another problem: using these headphone-less glasses to have a phone conservation could produce some funny looks from passersby. To convince people to accept this kind of public embarrassment, any headphone-glasses combo will have to be excellent in every other way. Sound quality is important, but equally essential is style.

The SOUNDglasses come in a variety of colors and lens shades, and from the outside seem no different from your average sporty shades. This is rule number one for smart glasses: they have to be something you actually want to wear in public. Google found this out the hard way. Not even its own developers wanted to wear the goofy-looking face computer. Of course, SOUNDglasses don’t actually project any visual effects into a wearer’s line of sight, which probably eliminates some of the encumbering hardware that could inhibit a sleek design.

What would make these glasses better is if they came in a variety of frame styles. Right now, the only design on offer looks best on athletes and outdoor explorers, but doesn’t have much fashionable appeal otherwise. Google Glass got a trendy redesign to provide some fancy frame options because it knew it needed to look less geeky if it wanted to be worn by anyone other than, you know, geeks. The same goes for SOUNDglasses, especially if it wants to catch on with anyone other than athletes.

The first shipment of glasses to Kickstarter backers is slated for May of 2015. If you want to wait for the first reviews to roll in before buying, they will retail for “more than $270″ later in the summer.

Well if you had said to us, how about a sunglasses/headset mash-up we would have thought you were mad! but this kickstarter, using bone conductive technology, too which we have lots of knowledge about, We’re looking forward to receiving our pair when they are dispatched. This article was originally posted on this site.

Motorola Earpieces For All Types of Industry

Are you in the security industry? Using Motorola Walkie Talkies? Need the ability to not have your conversation overheard, or need to silent on an event or restaurant service area, yet still in contact with your team? Do you need to walk and talk, so that you can multitask, or get other tasks completed while you are on the phone?

Then Motorola is the company, and the earpiece, for you and your team.

If you are in security, events or hotel management, you wouldn’t necessarily want everyone to be able to see that you are wearing an earpiece, and there are a variety of ways to minimise the “I have a radio in my pocket and I boss people around” kind of look.

First clip the charged radio on to your belt. Select the station or frequency that you will be using. Make sure that the team are all on the same station. Attach the Motorola earpiece to the radio, by slotting the two prongs at the bottom of the cable in to the side of the Motorola walkie talkie. You will see there is a big prong and a small prong, make sure you have them the right way round.

Run the length of the earpiece cord under your shirt, and pop the top out by the collar or top button of your shirt, thereby hiding the wire from site. You will see a clip portion with a little speaker button it. That can be clipped on to your tie, shirt front or collar to allow you to speak in to it easily.

The Motorola earpiece is a curved half moon shape. Make sure the wire is tucked securely in to the casing, as it can sometimes come out during storage and insertion. Clip the half moon shape over the ear and insert the round black earpiece in to the ear. The earpiece is covered with a removable soft cover that can be taken off and washed if the radio’s are used by different people, in the interest of best hygiene practises.

If you are going for minimal look, arrange your hair to cover the earpiece or cord if possible. There are also high security options that run up the back of the neck and over the ear, and come in see through, clear tones to minimise the obviousness of them. These can be secured in to place using see through tape made especially for this purpose.

Motorola also makes very hi-tech options for security personnel, with items that can clip on to sunglasses, shirt cuffs etc, and give a very FBI, protecting the president look, but are extremely functional. They ear buds are also more fitting and are snug in the ear, to allow for better audio.

To speak through the microphone portion bring the unit close to your mouth. Press the button in and wait one second before speaking, to allow time for the radio’s to connect. When you are finished speaking, release the button. Wait for your team member to respond to your message. Remember to talk slowly and clearly. Although Motorola radios are really great quality, you are still a distance away from each other, and things such as mobile phones nearby, thick walls or ceilings, being underground etc can interfere with the signal and reception.

If you are a Motorola mobile phone user, then there are also a wide variety of Motorola earpieces available, that won’t make you look like a call centre agent, or hurt the inside of the ear if you wear them for long periods at a time. The Whisper Smooth Talk, comes with a retractable boom with 4-mic CrystalTalk and offers the user cutting edge clarity and wind noise reduction, especially useful if you are calling from outside, or talking while you are walking.

Bluetooth headsets clip over the ear, and allow you to connect wireless to your phone, which can be in your pocket or bag, and allow you to walk along and talk, without any cables or wires hanging around and getting in the way.

Motorola has been innovating in the phone and walkie talkie industry for many years, and the constant innovation and bettering of their Motorola earpieces and products for ease of use and comfort is inspirational.