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.
Communication is fundamental in any successful effort but especially important toyoubrave men and women who serve as emergency responders. Effective communication protects the communities in which you serve and helps you to save lives.
Because of the importance of two-way radios in effective communication, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services has created this training to provide a common understanding of basic two-way radio knowledge and guidelines for all emergency responders.
Basic Radio 101 will be presented today as three modules. Module 1, Introduction to Radio Basics, presents the general components of a radio and explains the usage of frequencies. Module 2, Radio Protocol Guidelines, improves communication practices by looking at real-world scenarios. If something goes wrong with radio communication, Module 3, Troubleshooting, teaches how to fix some 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.
Module 1, Introduction to Radio Basics, provides a general explanation of radio anatomy and proper programming. Although radios may vary depending on the agency or department, the information and examples in this trainingwill apply. You are encouraged to review the information specific to the radio youuse.
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.
Trainers: The four photos automatically fade into 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.
Trainers: The three photos and two arrows automatically fade into this slide.Radio communication infrastructure basically is made up of two radios and a tower with repeaters. Emergency responders use mobile and portable radios. Dispatch personnel communicate with those in the field through a radio console connected to one or more base stations.
When people need emergency assistance, they call 911. The public safety answering point, or PSAP, is the place where those calls are answered. This is also commonly referred to as the “dispatch.” The information then is sent from dispatch to emergency responders on a designated frequency. Every county in North Dakota has 911service that is handled locally or provided by an adjacent county or by State 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 directly with each other, but most of the time you are in contact with dispatch. Dispatch uses a base station to send out and receive signals from mobile and portable radios. A base station is a fixed radio station that receives and transmits on a particular frequency but doesn’t receive and transmit simultaneously.
Emergency responders can communicate with mobile radios that commonly are mounted in cars, boats or planes. These radios may be used in motion or during a stop.
If you are on foot or a mobile radio is not workable, a portable radio may be used for communication. Portable radios are battery-powered, hand-held radio units that may be carried by a person.
Due to the distance between radios, repeaters may boost the signal. This enables radios to function at much greater distances from dispatch or other radios. Repeaters also can receive a signal and transmit on a different frequency to increase range.
Mobile units use repeaters attached to towers to communicate with dispatch or another radio. Higher towers increase the range of the signal. Towers also 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.
Trainers: The two circles and arrow automatically fade into the slide.Allthis technology begins with turning the radio on. Power switches vary by radio, but the most common are push-button and knob styles. In some cases, the volume control and power knob are combined. Make sure the power is turned off when changing batteries.
Trainers: The circles and oval automatically fade into the slide.Attimes, the incoming voice may not be clear. On analog radios, the squelch is a control that eliminates noise. Since squelch is only on analog radios, most newer radios, which are digital, don’t have squelch. 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 slide.Oncethe radio is on, use the push-to-talk button, or PTT, to transmit an outgoing signal. Press the PTT, 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 the slide.After pressing the PTT, speak clearly into the microphone. On most two-way radios, the radio speaker and the microphone are located together. Once the PTT is released, the mic is no longer functioning and the speaker function resumes.
Trainers: The two ovals automatically fade into the slide.The purpose of the antenna is to collect and send radio waves. Make sure the antenna is vertical, not 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. The speaker may continue to function for a time with old or depletedbatteries,but more current is required for the radio to transmit. Turn the radio off when it’s not in use. Remove and either replace or recharge the batteries. Always carry charged 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 important when problems arise during high-stress incidents.
Sound is transmitted naturally as an analog signal. These signals are sent over the air in an unaltered form and are heard as they are communicated. Unlike analog signals, digital signals are not continuous and leave out some surrounding sound. The signal is encoded using specific values representing pitch and volume that are transmitted and then converted back to intelligible sound.
Whether digital or analog, the signals transmitted must travel by a specific frequency. The Ultra High Frequency, or UHF band, ranges from 450 Megahertz (MHz) to 470 MHz. Emergency responders also use Very High Frequency, or VHF band, that ranges from 150 MHz to 170 MHz. In North Dakota, most emergency communications occur on the VHF 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 into the slide.Channel selectionon some models is with pushbuttons. Other models may use a dial control. Some radios even allow the user to scan frequencies automatically.
Trainers: The two arrows and their text automatically fade into the slide.Mostradios can work off only one frequency at a time. Radios can communicate only when the frequencies match. Correct frequencies need to be in place to talk to each other. Generally, each 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 Radio Basics. This module has looked at general radio communication, the anatomy of a radio and programming the radio. Module 2, Radio Protocol Guidelines, aims to improve communication practices by looking at real-world scenarios.
Module 1: Intro to Radio Basics -- for Trainers
ND Department of Emergency Services<br />Ensuring a safe and secure homeland <br />for all North Dakotans<br />
Basic Radio 101<br />An Emergency Responder’s Guide to Effective Radio Communication<br />
Communication is Important<br />Communicate effectively<br />Protect community<br />Save lives<br />
Purpose<br />Provide a common understanding of basic two-way radio knowledge and guidelines to enhance overall communication for all North Dakota emergency responders<br />
Overview of Training<br />Module 1: Introduction to Radio Basics<br />Module 2: Radio Protocol Guidelines<br />Module 3: Troubleshooting<br />Module 4: Local Perspective<br />
Introduction to Radio Basics<br />Getting to Know Your Radio and How to Use It Effectively<br />Module 1<br />
Radio Communication<br />Introduction to Radio Basics<br />
Anatomy of a Radio<br />Introduction to Radio Basics<br />
Power<br />Power “ON” and “OFF”<br />Different styles<br />Push button<br />Control knob<br />Turn off when changing batteries<br />
Squelch<br />Eliminates noise on analog radios<br />“Open” for white noise<br />“Close” to reduce noise<br />Separate knob or ring under volume knob<br />
Wait 2 seconds<br />Speak in normal voice<br />Incoming messages lost if PTT is activated<br />Push-to-Talk (PTT)<br />
Speaker & Mic<br />Speaker and mic together<br />Mic when PTT is pressed<br />Speaker when PTT is not in use<br />
Vertical for best reception<br />Not a handle<br />Antenna<br />
Batteries<br />When storing:<br />Turn off radio<br />Remove or replace with charged batteries<br />Have extra battery pack<br />
Programming the Radio<br />Introduction to Radio Basics<br />
Analog vs. Digital Signals<br />Digital<br />Analog<br />Signal unaltered<br />Heard simultaneously<br />Human voice is analog<br />Not continuous<br />Signal encoded<br />Converted back to plain audio<br />
Battle of the Bands<br />VHF<br />UHF<br />Ultra-high Frequency<br />450 MHz to 470 MHz<br />Very High Frequency<br />150 MHz to 170 MHz<br /><ul><li>Respond to and recover from:
Selecting Frequency<br />Channel/Mode<br />Name<br />One frequency at a time<br />Must be on same channel<br />Special-use frequencies<br />Channel/Mode<br />Select Knob<br />POL<br />DISP NW<br />MUTE<br />CALL<br />PAGE<br />
Introduction to Radio Basics<br />Review<br />General radio communication<br />Anatomy of a radio<br />Programming the radio<br />
ND Department of Emergency Services<br />Ensuring a safe and secure homeland <br />for all North Dakotans.<br /> <br />