Basic Radio 101 Trainers Guide


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Basic Radio 101 Trainers Guide

  1. 1. North Dakota Department of Emergency Services Basic Radio 101 An Emergency Responder’s Guide to Effective Radio Communication Trainers Guide
  2. 2. P age |0 Contents Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1 Target Audience ................................................................................................ 1 Approximate Time ............................................................................................ 1 Desired Outcomes ............................................................................................ 1 Before Training ................................................................................................... 1 After Training ...................................................................................................... 1 Test Answers ...................................................................................................... 1 Module 1 Introduction to Radio Basics............................................................... 3 Module 2 Radio Protocol Guidelines ................................................................ 13 Module 3 Basic Radio Troubleshooting ........................................................... 25 Basic Radio 101 Committee Members Northeast Region Southwest Region Al Morkin, Grand Forks 911 (retired September 2009) Mike Dannenfelzer, Burleigh County, Brad Tweed, Sykeston Fire Department Gary Kostelecky, Stark County (retired May 2009) Southeast Region Northwest Region Byron Sieber, Red River Regional Dispatch Center Barry Jager, Burke County Sheriff Jill Breuer, Richland County Dispatch Center Aaron Myers, Minot Community Ambulance State Resources Ken Jarolimek, ND Department of Emergency Services Tim Meyer, ND Dept. of Health, Emergency Medical Services Stuart Hammer, ND Dept. of Health, Emergency Medical Services Becky Ault, ND Department of Emergency Services – Lead Training Program Development Ben Hoffman, North Dakota State University Emergency Management Graduate Student Becky Koch, NDSU Agriculture Communication Director Photos and images in this presentation are used with permission from, and Motorola, Inc.
  3. 3. P age |1 Introduction Desired Outcomes Emergency responders play an important role in After this training, participants will be able to: the effort to protect the people and resources of  Explain the basic radio communication and North Dakota. Whether a full-time police officer identify standard radio parts or volunteer firefighter, these brave professionals continually need opportunities to train and  Understand the difference between the develop practices that will enable them to different types of radios successfully fulfill their responsibilities.  Understand standard frequency and band information Regardless of the activity, effective and timely communication is a top priority. The North Dakota  Learn best practices Department of Emergency Services (NDDES) has  Identify basic troubleshooting situations and created Basic Radio 101: An Emergency learn how to correct them Responder’s Guide to Effective Communication as a tool to promote better radio communication  Enable paid and volunteer emergency throughout the state. responders throughout North Dakota to communicate effectively Before Training In compliance with National Incident Management System (NIMS) standards, this training provides basic communication practices This version of Basic Radio 101 is designed to be and guidelines that apply throughout the state taught to a group using this trainers guide. Before and to all emergency responders throughout training: North Dakota. Improved communication practices  Review this guide. reduce common problems and provide two-way radio operators more time to focus on serving  Practice the PowerPoint presentation on the their communities. computer and projector you’ll use for training. A few slides have automatic animation. Review Thank you for taking time to train these heroic the script so you can teach in your own words individuals who serve faithfully and bravely in rather than reading. protecting the citizens of North Dakota. Target Audience  Gather participant guides, Basic Radio 101 post tests and certificates of completion for class This training is for North Dakota’s paid and members. volunteer emergency responders. Participants who pass the test receive one hour credit for  Print out class roster. continuing education. After Training Approximate Time  Return the training course report, Class Roster, The first three modules of this program take and course applications by mail to: Becky Ault, about 1 hour. Module four is presented locally NDDES NE Regional Coordinator, c/o Grand and will vary in length of time depending on the Forks Fire Department, 1124 Demers Ave, jurisdiction. Grand Forks, ND 58201 or email to Test Answers 1. a, 2. a, 3. a, 4. a, 5. a, 6. a. 7. a, 8. c, 9. a, 10. a
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  5. 5. P age |3 Module 1 Introduction to Radio Basics Getting to Know Your Radio and How to Use it Effectively ND Department of Emergency Services Ensuring a safe and secure homeland for all North Dakotans Welcome to Basic Radio 101. The goal of this training is to increase the overall effectiveness of emergency radio communication among North Dakota’s first responders. Basic Radio 101 An Emergency Responder’s Guide to Effective Radio Communication
  6. 6. P age |4 Communication is fundamental in any successful Communication is Important effort but especially important to you brave men and • Communicate women who serve as emergency responders. effectively Effective communication protects the communities • Protect community in which you serve and helps you to save lives. • Save lives Because of the importance of two-way radios in Purpose effective communication, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services has created this Provide a common understanding of training to provide a common understanding of basic basic two-way radio knowledge and two-way radio knowledge and guidelines for all guidelines to enhance overall emergency responders. communication for all North Dakota emergency responders Basic Radio 101 will be presented today as three Overview of Training modules. Module 1, Introduction to Radio Basics, Module 1: Introduction to Radio Basics presents the general components of a radio and explains the usage of frequencies. Module 2, Radio Module 2: Radio Protocol Guidelines Protocol Guidelines, improves communication practices by looking at real-world scenarios. If Module 3: Troubleshooting something goes wrong with radio communication, Module 3, Troubleshooting, teaches how to fix some Module 4: Local Perspective of the most common problems. Module 4, Local Perspective, addresses information that is specific to local jurisdictions. The first three modules will be presented as standardized training today. Module 4 is optional and may be presented locally. Module 4 is an opportunity for hands-on training with your jurisdiction’s radios.
  7. 7. P age |5 Module 1, Introduction to Radio Basics, provides a general explanation of radio anatomy and proper programming. Although radios may vary depending Introduction to on the agency or department, the information and Radio Basics examples in this training will apply. You are Getting to Know Your Radio and encouraged to review the information specific to the How to Use It Effectively radio you use. Module 1 We’ll begin this module by looking at some of the different parts of radios. Different situations call for different equipment, and we’ll look at how it all fits together. Introduction to Radio Basics Radio Communication Trainers: The four photos automatically fade into Walkie-talkies, Phones and Radios this slide. Many of you likely have had experience with walkie- talkies during your lifetime, and most of you are probably comfortable using a cell phone. Two-way radios are not much different than these everyday technologies.
  8. 8. P age |6 Trainers: The three photos and two arrows How It Works automatically fade into this slide. Radio communication infrastructure basically is • Radio console made up of two radios and a tower with repeaters. • Base station • Tower/repeater Emergency responders use mobile and portable • Mobile radio radios. Dispatch personnel communicate with those • Portable radio in the field through a radio console connected to one or more base stations. When people need emergency assistance, they call What’s a PSAP? 911. The public safety answering point, or PSAP, is Public the place where those calls are answered. This is also commonly referred to as the “dispatch.” The Safety information then is sent from dispatch to emergency Answering responders on a designated frequency. Every county Point in North Dakota has 911 service that is handled Emergency locally or provided by an adjacent county or by State 911 Radio. Sometimes a dispatch location will communicate directly with another dispatch location. This is referred to as point-to-point communication. As emergency responders, you can communicate Base Station directly with each other, but most of the time you are in contact with dispatch. Dispatch uses a base • Fixed radio station station to send out and receive signals from mobile • Receives and transmits and portable radios. A base station is a fixed radio – NOT simultaneously station that receives and transmits on a particular frequency but doesn’t receive and transmit simultaneously.
  9. 9. P age |7 Emergency responders can communicate with Mobile Radio mobile radios that commonly are mounted in cars, boats or planes. These radios may be used in motion • Mounted • Used in motion or or during a stop. stopped If you are on foot or a mobile radio is not workable, a Portable Radio portable radio may be used for communication. Portable radios are battery-powered, hand-held • Battery powered • Hand held radio units that may be carried by a person. • Carried by person Due to the distance between radios, repeaters may Repeaters boost the signal. This enables radios to function at • Boost signal much greater distances from dispatch or other • Receive and transmit radios. Repeaters also can receive a signal and different frequencies simultaneously transmit on a different frequency to increase range.
  10. 10. P age |8 Mobile units use repeaters attached to towers to Towers communicate with dispatch or another radio. Higher • Reduce interference towers increase the range of the signal. Towers also • Signal travels farther may have antennas at or near the top to eliminate or reduce the interference by surrounding geography, such as hills, trees and buildings. The signal’s ability to pass through buildings also is improved with towers. Although the radios used throughout the state differ by jurisdiction, this section, Anatomy of a Radio, explains radio features that are consistent across models. Introduction to Radio Basics Anatomy of a Radio Trainers: The two circles and arrow automatically Power fade into the slide. • Power “ON” and “OFF” All this technology begins with turning the radio on. • Different styles Power switches vary by radio, but the most common – Push button – Control knob are push-button and knob styles. In some cases, the • Turn off when volume control and power knob are combined. Make changing batteries sure the power is turned off when changing batteries.
  11. 11. P age |9 Trainers: The circles and oval automatically fade Squelch into the slide. • Eliminates noise on At times, the incoming voice may not be clear. On analog radios analog radios, the squelch is a control that eliminates • “Open” for white noise • “Close” to reduce noise noise. Since squelch is only on analog radios, most • Separate knob or ring newer radios, which are digital, don’t have squelch. under volume knob On some analog radios, the squelch control is a separate knob. On others, it may be a ring under the volume control. When the squelch is wide open, you will hear a loud, hissing white noise. After you have adjusted the speaker volume to a level that you can hear, close the squelch control gradually until the noise disappears. Trainers: The two ovals automatically fade into the Push-to-Talk (PTT) slide. • Wait 2 seconds Once the radio is on, use the push-to-talk button, or • Speak in normal voice PTT, to transmit an outgoing signal. Press the PTT, • Incoming messages lost if PTT is activated wait 2 seconds and begin speaking in a normal voice. Once the message has been relayed, wait 2 seconds, then stop pushing the PTT and listen intently. Incoming messages will not be heard if the PTT is pressed. Trainers: The three circles automatically fade into Speaker & Mic the slide. • Speaker and mic After pressing the PTT, speak clearly into the together microphone. On most two-way radios, the radio • Mic when PTT is pressed speaker and the microphone are located together. • Speaker when PTT is Once the PTT is released, the mic is no longer not in use functioning and the speaker function resumes.
  12. 12. P a g e | 10 Trainers: The two ovals automatically fade into the Antenna slide. • Vertical for best The purpose of the antenna is to collect and send reception radio waves. Make sure the antenna is vertical, not • Not a handle sideways, to receive the best reception. Please remember that the antenna is not a handle for carrying the radio. Charged batteries are essential for portable radios. Batteries The speaker may continue to function for a time with old or depleted batteries, but more current is • When storing: – Turn off radio required for the radio to transmit. Turn the radio off – Remove or replace with charged when it’s not in use. Remove and either replace or batteries recharge the batteries. Always carry charged • Have extra battery pack batteries for the radio and at least one set of spares or an extra battery pack. Some models allow you to place the radio with the battery attached directly in a cradle for charging. Discuss radio programming with your vendor or local frequency coordinator. At the local level, this person may be your emergency manager, 911 coordinator or, in many cases, your local sheriff. Understanding how to program your radio will help you avoid communication problems. This is especially Introduction to Radio Basics important when problems arise during high-stress Programming the Radio incidents.
  13. 13. P a g e | 11 Sound is transmitted naturally as an analog signal. Analog vs. Digital Signals These signals are sent over the air in an unaltered form and are heard as they are communicated. Analog Digital Unlike analog signals, digital signals are not • Signal unaltered • Not continuous • Heard simultaneously • Signal encoded continuous and leave out some surrounding sound. • Human voice is analog • Converted back to plain The signal is encoded using specific values audio representing pitch and volume that are transmitted and then converted back to intelligible sound. Whether digital or analog, the signals transmitted Battle of the Bands must travel by a specific frequency. The Ultra High Frequency, or UHF band, ranges from 450 Megahertz UHF VHF (MHz) to 470 MHz. Emergency responders also use • Ultra-high Frequency • Very High Frequency • 450 MHz to 470 MHz • 150 MHz to 170 MHz Very High Frequency, or VHF band, that ranges from 150 MHz to 170 MHz. In North Dakota, most • Respond to and recover from: emergency communications occur on the VHF • ALL Hazards • ALL Disasters frequency. Frequencies in the 700 and 800 range have been allocated through the federal Department of Homeland Security to use in all-hazard disaster response and recovery. Trainers: The arrow and its text automatically fade Channel Scanning into the slide. Channel/Mode Select Knob Channel selection on some models is with push • Push-button buttons. Other models may use a dial control. Some • Dial control radios even allow the user to scan frequencies • Automatic scanning automatically.
  14. 14. P a g e | 12 Trainers: The two arrows and their text Selecting Frequency automatically fade into the slide. Channel/Mode Most radios can work off only one frequency at a Name • One frequency at Channel/Mode time. Radios can communicate only when the a time frequencies match. Correct frequencies need to be in Select Knob POL DISP NW MUTE • Must be on same PAGE CALL channel place to talk to each other. Generally, each • Special-use frequencies jurisdiction has designated channels, which are programmed locally, for general use and specific uses. This will be discussed more in the local training in Module 4. This is the conclusion of Module 1, Introduction to Introduction to Radio Basics Radio Basics. This module has looked at general radio Review communication, the anatomy of a radio and • General radio programming the radio. Module 2, Radio Protocol communication • Anatomy of a radio Guidelines, aims to improve communication • Programming the radio practices by looking at real-world scenarios. ND Department of Emergency Services Ensuring a safe and secure homeland for all North Dakotans.
  15. 15. P a g e | 13 Module 2 Radio Protocol Guidelines Legal, Effective and Appropriate Radio Communication ND Department of Emergency Services Ensuring a safe and secure homeland for all North Dakotans Module 2 of Basic Radio 101 focuses on guidelines for legal, effective and appropriate radio communication. Radio Protocol Guidelines Legal, Effective and Appropriate Radio Communication Module 2
  16. 16. P a g e | 14 The operation of U.S. radio systems is governed by FCC Overview the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has the authority to monitor, review, fine, • Monitors suspend and/or revoke radio system licensees who • Reviews violate regulations. There aren’t many rules • Licenses • Fines relating to public safety telecommunications, but • Suspends those that exist must be understood and followed. • Revokes The FCC is like the police of the air waves. Though the FCC is ultimately in charge of frequencies, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) is the overseer for assigning and monitoring the frequencies. Licensees are responsible to maintain control over Frequency License the stations licensed to them and to ensure they • Licensee are functioning and operating properly. However, responsibilities: operators who do not own nor are responsible for – Maintain station control stations do not need to be licensed by the FCC. – Function – Operate properly Wall of circuit boards connecting dispatch consoles with base stations throughout North Dakota Only calls authorized by the rules governing radio Rules systems may be transmitted. False calls; fraudulent Not allowed: distress signals; unnecessary or unidentified • False calls communications; obscene, indecent or profane • Fraudulent distress signals language; and the transmission of improper call • Unnecessary or unidentified signals is prohibited. Licensees are authorized to communications transmit communications directly related to official • Obscene, indecent or profane language public safety activities and the protection of life • Improper call signals and property.
  17. 17. P a g e | 15 Operators are required to monitor the transmission Monitoring Transmission frequency for at least 2 seconds before transmitting. This is to ensure that the • Monitor for at least transmission will not cause harmful interference to 2 seconds before others who may be using that frequency. transmitting • Avoid causing harmful interference All radio transmissions must be restricted to the Restrictions minimum practical time of transmission. In other words, don’t chat or be too wordy. Dispatch • Minimum practical operators monitor many frequencies at once. The time of transmission • No chatting screen here shows at least 17 frequencies being • Be concise when monitored. transmitting Courtesy of RRR Dispatch Communications involving safety of life or property Priorities are always top priority for all first responders. Priority calls: • Life safety • Property
  18. 18. P a g e | 16 Now we’ll discuss common errors and best practices for using your radio. Radio Protocol Guidelines Common Errors and Best Practices When using a radio to transmit information, the Voice Quality pitch, volume and speed of delivery should be consistent over the course of a shift, regardless of • Maintain consistent pitch, volume and the type or intensity of activity. Responders should delivery speed attempt to keep a normal, level tone to increase • Use normal tone understanding and limit the possibility of distortion. Use a normal speed of delivery to ensure understanding and limit the requests for repeats that tie up additional airtime. Most people can understand the spoken word at a Rate of Speech very fast rate. However, when dealing with critical information and information that must be written Headquarters,251,furryfelinefoundfearfulforfleesinfirtree… or typed, a fast rate decreases understanding and causes details to be missed. Avoid speaking faster Whoa, slow down. in response to stress or excitement, or because everyone else is talking faster. When messages have to be repeated, the advantage of talking faster is completely lost.
  19. 19. P a g e | 17 Mispronounced words and names, and drawled or Pronunciation lazy speech are common causes of requests for Problem Solution repeats. Phonetically spelling a word or name that • Mispronounced • Phonetically spell you are uncertain of is much better than trying to – Words word or name pronounce it, but make sure the receiver knows – Names • Speech • Maintain consistent they will be receiving a spelling phonetically. Again, – Drawled voice quality in all voice quality should remain consistent throughout – Lazy situations the course of a shift and most certainly through each transmission, regardless of the message’s importance. Voice clipping is a common radio use error. A radio Voice Clipping does not know you are going to talk until you tell it you are going to talk by depressing the push-to-talk Remember the 2-Second Rule! (PTT) button. Then the radio must prepare itself to send your voice to the receiver. To allow your radio • Depress PTT button 2 Seconds before to prepare, hesitate after you depress the PTT speaking button. The hesitation should be a rule-of-thumb • Release PTT button of 2 seconds. For example, if you clip the beginning 2 Seconds after speaking of the phrase, “don’t shoot,” the receiver actually hears, “shoot.” A big difference! Remember that you can clip the end of your transmission also, so pause before releasing the PTT button after speaking. Key > Hesitate > Talk Stop talking> Hesitate > Release
  20. 20. P a g e | 18 Trainers: This slide has an automatic three-step Letting Feelings Talk animation. • Avoid: The ability to speak clearly and concisely in adverse – Anger conditions often is something you must practice. – Frustration Anger, frustration, boredom and other emotions – Boredom can clearly be conveyed through your voice. Limit • Be thoughtful emotions as much as possible to avoid giving the impression that the person on the other end of the transmission is the focus of the feelings. Trainers: The text in the speaker bubbles and “no” Thinking Out Loud sign will fade in automatically. Wow, the I, uh, think • Think before you Before pressing the PTT button, think about what sun is he went, um, bright. that way. speak you are going to say and make sure that the Wow, the sun • Be clear and concise is bright. • Insert pauses or information is accurate. Then, clearly and concisely, breaks for longer transmit that over the radio. Always speak in short transmissions • Use “stand by” to and complete sentences. If it is a long transmission, collect thoughts such as a “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO), you can • Keep it simple! insert a break (or breaks) to allow others to take down information. Do not use “ums” and “ahs” over the radio. If you lose your thought, simply say “stand by” to collect your thoughts and continue. The basic rule is “keep it simple.” Trainers: The text in the speaker bubbles and “no” Personal Pleasantries sign will fade in automatically. Really, don’t Although appropriate for everyday conversation, Thanks for all mention it. personal comments like “Thank you” and “I’m the help! sorry” do not belong on the radio. If you follow good radio discipline and practice professional etiquette, those who you communicate with on the radio will know that you appreciate them, and they’ll appreciate you in return.
  21. 21. P a g e | 19 Noise is common to the responder’s environment. Crowded or Noisy Areas Raising your voice will most likely distort your transmission, making it hard to understand. • Raise voice Likewise, whispering also will be difficult to • Whisper • Turn away from understand. Always speak in a normal, noise conversational tone. It’s instinctive for us to turn away from noise, but this makes the problem • Use conversational tone worse. Facing the noise points the microphone • Use normal voice • Face noise away from the noise. This will eliminate some of the interference of background noise. Trainers: The text will automatically fade in. Method of Calling Unlike other forms of communication, radios require you to notify someone of your wish to 4810, Dispatch. 4810. communicate and inform them of who they will be communicating with. This is done through the use of call-in signs or unit numbers. The flow of a basic radio communication is like this: Center: “4810, Dispatch.” Unit: “4810.” Notice how the officer acknowledges the call. Trainers: The text will automatically fade in. Method of Calling The communication continues: 40010 East Carpenter Road theft report. Meet with Center: “40010 East Carpenter Road theft report. Clark Kent regarding wallet theft. 4-0-0-1-0 East Meet with Clark Kent regarding wallet theft. 4-0-0- Carpenter Road. 4810, copy. 1-0 East Carpenter Road.” Unit: “4810, copy.” Notice how the dispatcher repeats the address and how the officer acknowledges the call.
  22. 22. P a g e | 20 Trainers: The graphics will fade in automatically. Acknowledging Acknowledging a transmission correctly is critical Transmission to ensure sender and receiver understanding. The method of acknowledging for the unit is 4810, ambulance enroute. 4810, copy. responding with the unit number or call sign. When the Center responds, the dispatcher also should respond with the unit number or call sign of the calling unit. The purpose is always to ensure that the Center is communicating with the correct unit. In other words, it verifies understanding. Note that the acknowledgement of “10-4” or “copy” is important to verify that the communication was delivered and understood by the receiver. Pre-alerting is a step to prepare receivers for what Pre-alerting they are going to be asked to do, whether it is to copy information, enter data or take certain • Prioritize • Prepare to receive actions. Pre-alerting tells receivers what you are – Information going to need so they can prioritize the various – Be On the Lookouts (BOLOs) tasks they’re doing. Center personnel use pre- – Telephone numbers alerting techniques to prepare field personnel to receive information, BOLOs, telephone numbers and more. Basically, pre-alert provides the opportunity for receivers to grab paper and pencil, stop their vehicle or ask the sender to wait if they have something more important to complete than what is going to be asked for. Then, when the receiver is ready, he or she can give the sender full attention.
  23. 23. P a g e | 21 The three general categories of pre-alerts are: Pre-alert Categories • Inquiries – We need to ask you a question or • Inquiries – Need to ask have you run information a question or run • Information – We are going to tell you something information you may need to write down or note • Information – Sharing • Details – We are going to dispatch you to or are information to be written down initiating a response to an incident • Details – Follow up with The intent of this process is to prepare receivers for details to incident call what is going to be asked of them. This greatly enhances the receivers’ ability to prioritize their tasks and provide the highest level of service. If receivers know what will be asked of them, they can make a decision to delay one task to ensure the more important task gets completed first, then return to what they knew was less important because they were pre-alerted. When a 911 or emergency call comes into the Emergency! Now What? PSAP, the dispatcher determines the nature of the Responders inform the call, where it has occurred and the appropriate PSAP when they: responding agency, then dispatches the responding 1. Receive their page 2. Are en route to the scene agency, such as fire, EMS or law enforcement. The 3. Arrive at the scene 4. Leave the scene dispatcher needs to continue receiving information 5. Are back at base from the responder when the page is received; when the responder is actually en route to the scene; and when the responder arrives at the scene, leaves the scene and is back at base. In addition, dispatch personnel need the unit number of the responding entity relayed to them for documentation purposes. This is especially important for some of the new reporting requirements for EMS calls. The times also are important, so this is a step responders should remember when they are dispatched. In the event of a large-scale emergency with multiple responders, use plain language to state which department you are with.
  24. 24. P a g e | 22 Generally, addresses should be provided in whole, Addresses & Locations then in part. A fairly regular practice is to also provide locations by using common location names • Whole address when available. This is an acceptable practice when – First, say normally – Second, break it is a universally known location. When used, the down numbers • Common names common location should be provided along with – Universally known the street name to eliminate issues with multiple sites. For example, when giving out “4320 3rd Street Addresses & Locations East,” the address should be provided a second Example time as “4 – 3 – 2 – 0 3rd Street East.” This helps • Whole address – First, “4320 3rd eliminate the transposing of numbers and ensures St. E.” that the receiver is able to copy the correct – Second, “4-3-2-0 Third Street East” address. If the location has a common name, then • Common names say that, such as, “Discovery Middle School.” – Discovery Middle School Coded language has been used in the public safety Code Usage environment for many years. In fact, there are 8120, 10-30 using 10-codes. 10-62. ? many different 10 codes throughout the nation so they may not be understood by responders in your jurisdiction.
  25. 25. P a g e | 23 This has prompted National Incident Management Code Usage System (NIMS) standards to mandate that public 8120. We’ve got an safety organizations move from coded language to illegal use of 10-codes. 8120, copy. Reply to message. “plain language.” Plain language is simply standard voice communications using common words rather than a code. The 10-code listings are available, though few are actually used. Generally, if it isn’t a common day-to-day used code (for example, 10-4), clear speech is the preferred method of communicating your message. Additionally, at any time multiple agencies are involved in responding to an incident, clear speech is essential to ensure understanding. A list of locally used coded language and the clear speech equivalent is included in the pocket guide. Center personnel are instructed to begin repeating Dispatch Traffic responder radio traffic when the radio channel • Confirm receipt of becomes too busy. However, this should serve as a correct information • Reinforce message to the units in the field that they need to information for slow down. When this occurs, remember these dispatcher • Prevent other units three things: from calling before • Confirm receipt of correct information dispatch is ready • Reinforce the information in the dispatcher’s mind • Prevent other units from calling before the dispatcher is ready to take the next message This module illustrated common errors and best Conclusion practices when using radio communications to • Guidance communicate to and from the dispatch center. • Recommendations Work together with other emergency responders • Appropriate and acceptable practices to improve communication and you will become more effective and efficient in the important role that you fill.
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  27. 27. P a g e | 25 Module 3 Basic Radio Troubleshooting Diagnosing and Correcting Problems with Two-way Radios In this module, we will explore basic troubleshooting techniques. Although some things may seem elementary, it is useful to review so you are more Basic Radio prepared when you are in a stressful situation. Troubleshooting Diagnosing and Correcting Problems with Two-way Radios Module 3 This module will not make you a technical expert on Purpose two-way radio repairs, but it will provide general tips you may use to correct user-created errors. We also Provide general troubleshooting tips will cover basic corrective actions you can take in the first responders can use to maintain field. If the suggested action fails to correct the functional two-way radios problem, you at least have more information to provide to the technical experts who will repair the radio for you. If you are unable to correct the problem on your own, it’s important to quickly replace the radio and get the malfunctioning unit repaired.
  28. 28. P a g e | 26 Here are some general problem areas with radios. Troubleshooting The only real difference between portable and Portable Mobile mobile radios is that power issues on portable radios • Power • Power may stem from battery problems. Transmission, • Transmission • Transmission • Audio Quality • Audio Quality audio quality, talk range and receiving errors are • Limited Talk Range • Limited Talk Range similar between portable and mobile radios and will • Message Not Received • Message Not Received • Battery Problems • Blank Display be covered together through the rest of this module. Also, remember that not all agencies in North Dakota XTL 2500 ZONE SCAN PHON CALL PAGE use the same radios. For more specific troubleshooting tips, consult the user guide for your particular model. Like cell phones, portable radios will provide some Power -- Portable indication that battery power is running low. An • Does the unit beep, audible tone, an icon on the display or both will alert display data or both? you when it is time to change the batteries or • Is the battery properly – charged? recharge your unit. If nothing suggests a problem – connected? with the power level of the battery, check to ensure that the battery is mounted properly and that the connections on the battery and radio are in good condition. Portable If the battery no longer has adequate power, the Battery Problems speaker on your unit may continue to function, but • Avoid extreme temperatures you will be unable to send messages. When your • Clean battery or charger contacts battery is no longer charged, you may either replace • Check charging pin on transformer it or recharge the unit. Be sure to drain the battery • Recharge or replace all the way down before charging. Extremely cold or hot temperatures will decrease the battery life and require that you recharge or replace Portable batteries more often. Also, the contacts on the radio or charger may require cleaning. Moisture or other corrosive elements may prevent the radio from receiving the battery’s power. At times, problems with the charging pin may lead to battery problems. Make sure pins are not missing or damaged.
  29. 29. P a g e | 27 Unlike portable radios, mobile units do not use Power -- Mobile batteries as a power source. Most units do not need Problem Solution to be turned off when the vehicle is not on because • Blank or dark display • Ensure unit is on their power is connected to the vehicle, like mobile • No sound • If possible, check connection cell phone chargers. However, some users may turn off the radio as a habit. If the display is blank or no audio is heard, first check to see if the unit is turned on. If there is still no response, attempt to see if the connections to the vehicle are secure and correct. Mobile Trainers: The transmission indicator light words and Transmission photo automatically fade in on this slide. • PTT button not At times, you may feel as if you are talking to pressed correctly yourself. Not pressing the PTT button obviously • Verify channel, frequency and code prevents the transmission of your message to the settings receiver. If the PTT is pressed but no one still seems • Verify transmission indicator to be home, verify your frequency and code settings. Incorrect settings will not transmit your signal to its Transmission Indicator Light proper destination. If all else fails, make sure the transmission indicator is functioning properly. This may be shown on the display or as a light somewhere on the unit when the PTT is depressed. Due to the very nature of radio communication being Audio Quality used, audio problems present a huge challenge. • Volume at midrange level Under stressful situations, the obvious may elude • Proper mic handling you. Make sure the volume is set to a midrange level. – Hold mic 2 inches to side of mouth, like cell phone, not The knob or button may have been bumped and under nose • Press PTT 2 seconds changed the volume. When transmitting, those before and after speaking receiving your signal may not be able to understand • Be aware of obstructions – Buildings, heavy foliage, etc. your message if the microphone is held too close or too far from your face. Be careful not to “eat” the microphone. Hold the mic next to your cheek like a cell phone rather than directly under your nose. Be sure to hold the PTT button for 2 seconds before you speak into the microphone and do not release the PTT button for 2 seconds after you have finished speaking.
  30. 30. P a g e | 28 Buildings, heavy foliage, steel or cement structures, and the like also may cause a decrease in audio quality. Find an open area that will not disrupt the signal. Those same physical obstacles also will reduce the Limited Talk Range range of the radio signal. Changing location may Cause Solution correct this problem. • Steel and/or concrete • Clear line of vision structures/buildings, heavy foliage, vehicles in the way ? The range also may be limited if the unit is held too Limited Talk Range close to the body. Holding the unit 2 inches from the Cause Solution side of the mouth may eliminate this problem. At • Too close to body • Change location on times, the antenna may come loose or be attached body • Secure antenna; incorrectly. Securing the antenna properly will allow • Antenna make snug & vertical the antenna to function at its full capacity. The antenna should be placed vertically for optimal range.
  31. 31. P a g e | 29 Not receiving the message is different than Message Not Received transmission problems, although the causes may be Problem Solution the same. Remember that radios work differently in • Wrong frequency or • Confirm frequency or different places, depending upon topography, channel channel is correct building structure and other issues, for both • Batteries • Recharge or replace • Obstructions • Change location transmitting and receiving. • Incorrect mode • Verify scan setting As first responders, your first priority is to serve your Conclusion community. A functioning two-way radio is critical to your effectiveness in fulfilling that duty. When communication with others is compromised, it is important that you have the knowledge to apply “first aid” to your radio unit. This module has provided you with general information that will assist you in troubleshooting and correcting basic radio errors. For more information on your particular unit, consult your product manual. This concludes the first three modules of Basic Radio 101. You may have a fourth module taught in person in your jurisdiction that allows for hands-on experience. ND Department of Emergency Services Ensuring a safe and secure homeland for all North Dakotans
  32. 32. P a g e | 30 For more training information please contact: North Dakota Department of Emergency Services Office: 701.328.8100 Toll Free: 800.773.3259 Fax: 701.328.8181 Fraine Barracks Lane – Building 35 P.O. Box 5511 Bismarck, ND 58506-5511 OCTOBER 2009