Analogue radio in PMR, PMR446 is alive and kicking and still in good shape.


Is analogue two way radio dead or dying? If analogue radio is dying, it is on the tidal wave edge of questionable marketing, often wrong or even false information and an unquenchable thirst for all things "digital" and "App" even if not required.

Let's get the story straight! the CE and ETSI spec for analogue radios passed in to law in the 90s making it very difficult for countries such as China, Korea and Taiwan to manufacture CE and ETSI compliant radios as most of their production was geared to the USA and China spec (FCE spec) which had a slightly lower RF technical specification.

This slightly lower technical specification made no difference to the end user experience of two way radio. Our understanding is that this higher CE & ETSI technical specification difference required the use of propriety designs and micro circuit devices (held by the existing two way radio manufacturers and suppliers - the first wave of manufacturers) which competing manufacturers from the Far East (the second wave of manufacturers) could either not source or use. This led to a number of Chinese companies such as HYT directly copying other manufacturers designs (Kenwood was a typical target) throughout the 90's.

However by the early 00's most Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers had redesigned their hand portable and mobile equipment to meet the CE and ETSI spec and "product certification" tests houses which had originally been based only in the UK and Europe allowed secondary test houses in China and elsewhere to certify the products as being CE and ETSI compliant. This allowed the second wave of manufacturers to produce CE and ETSI compliant radios which were not only as good as but often better than the products coming from Japan, USA and Europe, CERTAINLY they were often better value.

Throughout the early to mid 00's the first wave of manufacturers continued to technically up-spec their products (in particular hand portable two way radios) with added value 5 tone selcall and MDC signalling, high Mil & IP ratings (MDC is a near silent data burst which has a similar function to 5 tone signalling), with a consequent increase in price, particularly accessories such as batteries. The second wave of manufacturers were quicker to respond having "cracked" the major technical issues with achieving the required CE and ETSI spec, thus the second wave of radio manufacturers continued to gain market share at the expense of the first wave of radio manufacturers by producing ergonomically great looking radios often offering better specification and value to the end user.

The second wave of analogue radio manufacturers had not only caught up with the first wave of analogue radio manufacturers in all aspects of two way radio technical, performance, quality, reliability and cost but were poised to overtake with further innovation and capability thus effecting the lead position and huge market share of the first wave of analogue radio manufacturers.

Digital radio was introduced at this point in the development cycle of analogue radio; cynics may think that digital came into existence to thwart the onslaught of the second wave of radio manufacturers and certainly much of the so called digital capability can easily be met by analogue radio!

The good news is that analogue is not finished, it is very much alive and the latest "Pinnacle Peek" analogue two way radio products from all of the second wave of manufacturers offer better value, better performance and better real value than ever before. Will analogue two way radio die out completely? The answer is possibly YES sadly, but this will happen when the second wave of two way radio manufacturers bring better value, high quality digital products to the market place.

1. Some 50% - 70% probably of the advertised advanced "radio" functionality of new digital radios can be had with analogue radios at less cost. In other words there is a lot of "stuff" in digital radios that many end users simply do not need and will never - ever use.

2. All of our analogue radios have superb receivers, a hand held radio is more limited, in RF performance terms, by its receiver than almost any other technical feature. Most medium to large sites can be covered by a well prepared, well programmed analogue radio at less capital cost than a digital radio and less ongoing cost than a digital radio.

3. In the real world most work shifts last 8, 10 maybe 12 hours, all of our analogue radios have a minimum 10 hour duty cycle (on a 5/5/90 basis), by end of 2018 all our analogue radios will have minimum 11 hour duty cycle. The cost of an analogue radio battery is, you guessed it, less than almost all digital radio batteries.

4. All of our highly innovative, highly technical, water proof analogue radios are serviceable by Tacticom. Most digital radios need to be returned to the manufacturer for any repair and after the warranty period, service and repair charges can go through the roof.

More Positive Information!

1. Analogue radios with well set up receivers will give between 80 and 85% or more of the back to back pristine clear audio coverage of any digital radio.Better still a really good analogue radio will hold on the received signal (albeit a bit hissy) when the digital radio often just cuts out the audio due to BER of the digital vocoder.

2. Analogue radios do not suffer from "Digital Echo" when operated close to each other. Digital Echo is that (very) annoying echo heard on digital radios within 10 to 20 feet of the transmitting digital radio (sometimes distances apart can be as great as 30 feet or more and still an annoying echo is heard).

3. Analogue audio is richer and warmer in how it sounds to the human ear, digital is clear, often clearer than analogue, yet it manages to sound robotic! Analogue always sounds better to the human ear.

4. The very latest analogue battery save technology extends the useful life of all Tacticom analogue radio batteries to a minimum of 12 or more hours (based on 5/5/90 duty cycle).

5. Batteries, chargers, belt clips etc are still normally less expensive for analogue radios than the equivalent digital radio.

6. Servicing and repair is less expensive on analogue radios than digital radios. In fact many aspect of digital radio repair is just not possible in the average workshop.

7. Lone worker, man down, emergency call, safety shunting are all well proven operational technologies and systems with analogue radios.

8. GPS is available with analogue radios.

9. SMS is available with analogue radios.

10. In our subjective experience analogue radio interferes with other equipment (such as dect) less than digital radio!

Want more information? Call 01752 777787.