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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What solutions do Cotel offer?
We offer a vast range of radio and telecommunications solutions – Handheld and Mobile Analogue/Digital Two-Way Radios, Repeaters, IP Radio, CCTV, Cellular Boosters, Wireless Links, Satellite Radio, Lone Worker Tracking, Asset Tracking, GPS Tracking, Telematics, Alarms, Battery Monitoring Systems and more. We configure, install and service all of our equipment to meet the customer’s requirements. We support a range of solutions and industries that can be found on our Home Page, as well as short term hire for events. Demonstration equipment can be provided free of charge, the option to rent or purchase the required solution is provided, and any changes required can be implemented very easily.


What businesses use radio communications?
Radio communications are used by a vast number of industries, which include: amusement parks, care homes, construction, education, farming, food processing, holiday resorts, hospitals, manufacturing, mines and quarries, retail stores, security, sports and leisure, taxis and transport, warehouses and more.


Can different brand two-way radios communicate with eachother?
Yes. As long as the radios are programmed with the same frequencies, they will be able to talk to eachother. However, VHF and UHF radios are unable to communicate with eachother because they use a different range of frequencies, and RoIP (Radio over IP) and Satellite radios will only communicate with eachother.


What is the best brand of radio?
The Cotel Sitemaster range, which includes hand held and mobile units available in VHF or UHF frequencies and analog or digital technologies, is a highly competitive range of two-way radio communications. We offer a range of two-way, RoIP and satellite radios that are highly reliable, easy to use and can be customised with a number of features to fit your specific needs.


What kind of radios do stores use?
Supermarkets, retail stores and warehouses use two-way radio communications to communicate between employees and make staff announcements. Radio technology is essential for the current retail industry, to provide fast and convenient communications between staff in all departments and improve productivity.


What is a two-way radio?
The term two-way radio is a technology that allows individuals to keep in contact with each other using radio waves. Each user is given a radio unit which sends and receives audio and data sent over the radio waves. A two-way radio system can be as simple as two radios connecting directly to each other, or as complex as an encrypted network that covers an entire country. You might know two-way radio by the name "walkie talkie", which is the term used for unlicensed radio devices. The term two-way radio covers the unlicensed equipment and the licensed equipment.


Are two-way radios legal?
Yes, as long as you’re operating under a license and within the country’s legal specifications. Bear in mind that different countries have different laws regarding radio usage.


Do I need a license for a two-way radio?
Yes, unless your two way radio operates on a pre-programmed, license-free frequency approved by Ofcom. License-free radios (commonly referred to as walkie talkies) don't usually provide the coverage or features that a business requires. Cotel can offer you licensed two-way radios that are programmed to your own frequencies, or licensed two-way radios that are programmed to our own demo frequencies. All of our radio solutions can provide the coverage and feature that your business requires.


Which is better, VHF or UHF radio?
VHF is suited for long distances and for outdoor use where you are free from obstructions. The frequencies of VHF travel further if they are not disrupted by barriers. UHF, on the other hand, is better when using radios for indoor use, like in buildings or around cities. The reason why UHF is better for inside use opposed to VHF is because UHF signal does a better job at reaching through wood, steel and concrete, therefore, can reach further into the building. However, VHF and UHF will both work indoors and out.


Can you use your phone as a two-way radio?
No. Not only do phones use a different technology from two-way radios, but radios are designed to be used for commercial environments where you need to group call and talk to one or more parties straight away. There is no need to dial a number as you push to speak directly to the other person or people within the group.


How far away do two-way radios work?
Normal two-way radios transmit directly from one radio to another. The likely range that can be expected from two-way radios can vary from a few hundred metres to a couple of miles or more. This range depends on how powerful the radios are and how much of a line-of-sight exists between radio users. This range can be extended to offer wide-area coverage over towns, cities and rural areas by using a repeater base unit.


Do two-way radios work internationally?
Although RoIP (Radio over IP) and Satellite radios may work internationally, two-way radios will not. Not only do different countries have different laws regarding radio usage and frequencies, but a two-way radio wouldn’t be powerful enough to transmit across the world anyway. If you’re interested in radios for international use, the solution would be to use RoIP (Radio over IP) or Satellite radios. See our Cotel "Connect" and "Satellite" pages for more information.


Can you use two-way radio anywhere?
Yes. Two-way radios can be used anywhere, as long as you’re operating under a license and within the country’s legal specifications. Bear in mind that different countries have different laws regarding radio usage.


Are two-way radios traceable?
Generally speaking, no. Two-way radios offer closed communication networks and these networks rely on radio frequency, not an internet connection. However, certain models of radio can come with GPS capability, allowing your organisation to pinpoint the locations of each individual. See our Lone Worker Tracking or Taxis & Transport pages for more information.


What are two-way radios used for?
What is two-way radio? The term two-way radio is a technology that allows individuals to keep in contact with each other using radio waves. Each user is given a radio unit which sends and receives audio and data sent over the radio waves. A two-way radio (as defined by the majority of professional users) is a high-end, feature-rich radio aimed at commercial users, such as businesses with large sites, hospitals, security, event management and other settings where a quality device is required.


Is it legal to use a two-way radio while driving?
The short answer is yes – you may legally use a two way radio while driving, as long as this does not cause your driving to suffer in any way.

Most drivers are aware that it’s an offense to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. This also applies to any "interactive communications device", but an exemption applies for two-way radios which are designed or adapted for the purpose of transmitting and receiving spoken messages. The exception was created because so many government organisations and private companies (for example council departments and taxi companies) use them.

Even allowing for this legal exemption, the police can still stop you if they believe your use of a two-way radio is distracting you from your driving. This could result in a fixed penalty and points on your license, or in extreme cases, even a disqualification.

In short, use your two-way radio with care when driving and try to minimise the amount you have to fiddle with volume controls, transmitter and tuning buttons.


What frequency do two-way radios use?
Two-way radios can use a series of different frequencies, depending on what has been programmed by your dealer. VHF radios can only use frequencies from (136-174 MHz) whereas UHF radios use frequencies from 400-470 MHz.


What are communication radios called?
The correct name for "communication radios" or "walkie talkies" is two-way radio. The term two-way radio is a technology that allows individuals to keep in contact with each other using radio waves. Each user is given a radio unit which sends and receives audio and data sent over the radio waves.


What are the different types of two-way radios?
Two-way radios can come in the form of:


What are the advantages of radio communication?
Radio communication is essential for some businesses, as it is a reliable way to provide fast and convenient communications between all members of staff, and improve business productivity. Two-way radios are user-friendly, durable, cost-efficient, they work great in remote locations, and you can instantly connect and speak to anyone else who is using a radio. Loads of businesses can benefit from a radio communiation’s system, including those in the construction, education, holiday, transport, sports, quarrying industries and more!


How do you use radio-communication equipment?
Two-way radios are user-friendly, simple to use and can be customised with the features that you’re business requires. A hand unit can be operated using the volume and channel knobs, PTT (push-to-talk) button and any other buttons required for optional features. A mobile unit can be operated using the volume knob, the channel and function buttons on the device and a fist microphone. See our Analogue/Digital Radio page for more information.


Will UHF radios pick up VHF?
No - VHF and UHF radios are unable to communicate with eachother because they use a different range of frequencies.


Do I need VHF or UHF?
VHF and UHF radios both do the same thing – they allow you to instantly speak to other members of your team. VHF is suited for long distances and for outdoor use where you are free from obstructions UHF, on the other hand, is better when using radios for indoor use, like in buildings or around cities. However, both VHF and UHF will both work indoors and out.


What are the disadvantages of radio communications?


What businesses use lone worker tracking?
Any business that hires remote or mobile workers could benefit from using a lone worker tracking system, including:


Who is classed as a lone worker?
Any employer whose staff, contractors or self-employed work within a Lone Worker environment will require some form of monitoring device, to ensure the safety of their "lone workers". A Lone Worker is defined as anyone who works alone, which includes:


Are taxi drivers classed as lone workers?
Yes. Not only do they face risks whilst driving, they also face risks when they are stationary or making a drop.


Is it legal for only one person to work alone?
Working alone is completely legal and is usually safe to do so. However, a risk assessment must have been carried out on lone working activities beforehand and determined to be safe.


How can we protect lone workers?
Identify all of your lone workers, perform risk assessments, and monitor all of your lone workers using Lone Worker Tracking solutions. See our Lone Worker Tracking page for more information.


What are the risks of lone working?
Hazards that lone workers may encounter include:


How do you monitor lone workers?
Lone workers can be monitored using any of our Lone Worker Tracking solutions. These include GPS tracking devices, SOS alarms, mobile phone apps and radio communications. See our Lone Worker Tracking page for more information.


Can you legally track employees?
Employer monitoring of employees and surveillance is legal. In many cases there is a legal duty to monitor employees. However, there are boundaries employers should operate within.


Is it legal to have a signal booster?
Yes. In April 2018, Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, enforced new regulations that allow you to use specific mobile signal repeaters without the need for a licence.


Are signal boosters worth it?
Yes. Signal boosters are designed to strengthen weak 3G and 4G LTE service for any mobile carrier - The stress you will alleviate as a result of stronger service is invaluable. Stress causes a serious negative impact to health and well-being.


Do 4G signal boosters work?
Yes. When using a signal booster, there will be seamless compatibility between the device and your network carrier. The signal booster will receive the weak 3G or 4G signal and amplify it so that you receive a stronger signal. See our Smart Signal Boosters page for more information.


How can I increase mobile signal strength?
There are a number of things you can try to increase your mobile signal strength, such as stepping outside, getting close to a window, standing away from tall buildings, travelling as high as possible… However, it’s likely that this type of solution will be a hindrance and not work all that effectively. The best solution to permanently boost your signal strength by a noticeable level would be to use a cellular signal booster – the booster will receive the poor signal strength, strengthen it and then transmit the stronger signal strength which you can use. See our Smart Signal Boosters page for more information.


Do cell phone boosters work in rural areas?
Yes. As long as there's a cellular signal outside of your residence, vehicle, or office, you can strengthen it with a cell phone signal booster. Your smartphone or tablet might not detect the faintest signals, but signal boosters have powerful antennas.


Will a WiFi booster help cellular signal?
No, because they use different frequencies. WiFi signal boosters will take the specific WiFi frequencies and amplify them, whereas Cellular boosters will receive the poor incoming cellular frequencies and amplify them.


Are network boosters harmful?
No. Although some people believe that cell boosters are dangerous and emit greater levels of radiation compared to a traditional cell phone, the opposite is true. Cell signal boosters emit considerably less radiation than a cell phone, and they keep harmful radiation away from the user.


What businesses use cell signal boosters?
Cellular signal boosters can be used anywhere to boost a poor incoming signal. A booster can be used in your home, a business property or even a mobile home or to cover an outdoors site. Signal boosters are popular in the following industries: Child Care and Home Learning; Education; Holiday Parks and Travel; Hospitality and Healthcare; Mines and Quarries; Office environments; Warehouse and Retail; and more.

CONTACT Cotel FOR PREFERENTIAL SYSTEM RENTAL RATES (INCLUSIVE OF INSTALLATION & MAINTENANCE), UPGRADES, INFORMATION, ADVICE AND GUIDANCE.