Charging and issuing new radio batteries
"I've been told that I need to fully charge and discharge my radio batteries 3 times before putting them in service. Is this necessary? Also, does this affect my warranty if I do not?"
For Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) or Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries we always recommend fully charging and discharging the battery 3 times before putting them into service. You can liken a new battery to a new rubber band. They will stretch much farther the third time than the first time. This 3X charge/discharge method will properly form and balance the cells in the battery and allow it to be charged to its full potential and extend overall service life.
If you have an analyzer/conditioner, most of these machines have an automated setting that will do this for you. If it does not, the condition cycle can be manually run 3X for the same effect.
In the real world, this is not always possible. Many users do not have an analyzer and for those who do, they may not have the luxury of time to perform this cycle (1 charge/discharge cycle can take up to 24 hours depending on battery capacity). If you need to put the batteries into service immediately and/or are unable to perform 3 charge/discharges of your new batteries, the next best thing is to fully charge them in the normal charger and once they are put onto the radio, run them completely dead. If you or your other users are mindful of doing this (Especially when the battery is new), you will have effectively accomplished the same thing.
As for warranty issues, how you issue and put them into service has no effect on your warranty whatsoever. Our warranty on portable radio batteries is 18 months for defect, 80% capacity and case damage through normal use. We base our warranty on the worst case scenario, meaning that no matter how they're put into service or what kind of environment they are exposed to during their service they should last AT LEAST a year and a half.
Be Advised: This information does not apply to Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Ion Polymer (Li-Po) batteries. Lithium based rechargeable batteries cannot be conditioned and you should avoid running them completely dead. Treat them the opposite of Ni-Cd or Ni-MH batteries.
Picking the correct antenna
"I see a lot of different antennas for my model of radio. I have no idea which one I need or should get. How do I determine which one is appropriate?"
The first thing you will need to determine is what frequency ranges (MHz) your radio is designed and programmed to operate at. If you work for a company or agency, try asking whoever is responsible for maintaining, issuing, programming or coordinating radios and/or frequencies at your work. The frequency will be in a numeric format with 4 decimal places like 000.0000 .
Once you have determined what frequencies you use, match that up to the frequency range of the antennas available for your radio. The freq's you use most should ideally fall into the middle of the range that the antenna is rated for. The middle of the range is where the antenna will perform best.
Example: If your primary frequencies are between 154.0000 - 158.0000, you should be looking at antennas rated for 150.0000 - 160.0000.
Once you have narrowed down your choices to a specific freq range, you will need to decide which length of antenna you want and is appropriate. We typically break these down into 3 sizes. Short/stubby (Less than 4"), Standard (6-8") and long/extended (Greater than 8"). In general, a longer antenna will perform better than a shorter one, but will be more cumbersome. If you are in an area that has good to excellent coverage, a stubby antenna may perform just fine and be more convenient and comfortable when worn than a long antenna. If you operate in an area that has poor, spotty or marginal coverage and/or you may need to transmit extended distances, you may want to put serious consideration into a long antenna. Standard antennas are intended to find a good balance between performance and size.
WARNING: Using and antenna that is specified for the wrong freq range or band can damage your radio.
If you are having trouble determining any of the above or would like our help, please feel free to call us any time if you need additional assistance at 541-744-9112. We would be happy to help you.
Audio accessories - Hardwired vs. quick disconnect
"I notice that of the audio accessories you offer, some are "hardwired" and some are "quick disconnect". Also, what is the difference and which should I choose?"
The difference is in how the accessory attaches to the radio. Each radio has some form of interface to "plug" accessories into. Likewise the accessory must have the proper adapter to plug into the radio.
"Hardwired" accessories have the adapter for the radio permanently attached to it.
"Quick Disconnect" accessories terminate in a standardized connection such as 3.5mm threaded or 6-pin hirose. These accessories require a separate adapter to interface them to the radio. The adapter stays on the radio and the accessories can be swapped out without removing the adapter.
As for which you should choose, that depends upon the application you are using your radio in.
"Hardwired" accessories are typically better for users who do not have a need to frequently change accessories.
Example: The radio has a shoulder mic that is rarely if ever removed.
"Quick Disconnect" is often more convenient for users who have a need to quickly change accessories.
Example: A SWAT or HAZ-MAT team member who normally uses a speaker mic, but would need to change to a throat or skull mic as the situation demands. Or, if you have multiple brands and models of radios, QD accessories would allow you to use the accessory on as many different radios as you have adapters for.