The following Frequently Asked Questions are the most common questions we get in the Technical Assistance Center.
On occasion, new revisions of firmware and software are released to provide additional features or to improve the performance of your radio modems. We recommend that you upgrade your firmware to take advantage of these features. If you wish to upgrade your firmware and software, click here.
To get the best performance from your radio modems, keep the following basic rules in mind:
Rule #1 - Antenna positioning is critical to good performance. Radio waves cannot penetrate through the earth, so place your antennas as high as possible to provide the best line-of-sight condition. A telescoping tripod antenna mast is useful in positioning your antenna for best performance. Also, make sure that your antenna is properly tuned for the frequency you are using.
Rule #2 - Maintain your equipment in good condition. Field failures are most often caused by broken cables and connectors. Inspect cables and connectors frequently. Replace worn cables and damaged antennas before they shut you down in the field. It is always a good idea to have spares available.
Rule #3 - Avoid interference through monitoring the available frequencies prior to using your radio modems. For the RFM96 product family, we recommend you use a radio scanner, available from Radio Shack or others, to monitor the frequencies. With the PDL product family, use the patent pending AutoBaseTM technology to select the best channel. Press the channel button until the small "b" is displayed. The PDL will scan all available channels, and select the channel with the lowest interference level. Please note that the AutoBaseTM algorithm takes one minute per channel analyzed.
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For those of you operating in the United States, prior to operating your radio modems, you must obtain a license from the FCC. Licensing is a simple and affordable process, and is absolutely required. Operating an unlicensed radio transmitter is punishable by fine and possible confiscation of equipment.
We recommend that you use licensing service to help you apply for a license. These services are very knowledgable regarding all the proper forms and submission requirements for expediting the licensing process. Many of our customers arrange licensing through consultants such as Enterprise Wireless Alliance/Licensing Assistance Office. For more information go to www.dci-lao.com.
Users outside the U.S. may also be required to license their radio system prior to transmission. Please contact your in-country dealer for information concerning the requirements in your country.
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Please check the following, and if you continue to have a problem, contact our technical assistance center:
Port configuration - Devices (GPS receivers etc.) that are connected to the radio modems may have differing default port configurations. The settings of the port on the device must match the settings of the port on the radio modem. Please ensure that the baud rate, parity, and other settings match those of the radio modem. Use RFMCONF or PDLCONF to view and change settings as necessary.
Batteries - Charge the batteries prior to the first usage, and maintain the batteries in a charged state. Batteries that do not maintain a charge should be replaced. Note that the PDL Rover battery charger only works when the unit is turned on.
Antennas - Poor range may indicate that you have an antenna problem. Inspect your antenna, antenna cable and connectors for damage. Never operate a transmitter without an antenna connected as this will likely damage the transmitter. Also, check the position of the RF output power switch on units equipped with one - the switch must be in the ON position (toggle up) for high power output. The front panel LED indicates the setting of the switched (on for high power).
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You are right. Operation of your radio system obligates you to understand the rules and regulations with regard to the use of your equipment. Unfortunately, the rules are subject to change, so keeping up to date can be difficult. You can view the rules and regulation online by clicking here. The rules specific for your use are contained in Part 90.
First and foremost, get a license (see the FAQ above). Operation without a license is illegal. Make sure to enter your callsign into the appropriate field using PDLCONF. Auto-identification is a requirement. Remember that in most cases, your operation is secondary to voice operation. If there is a conflict, you will be required to change frequencies. Always monitor a frequency before beginning to broadcast. You can do this by observing the RX LED. If the RX LED indicates a co-channel user, avoid the frequency. If all channels show usage, pick the channel with the least interference.
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Your success in using our equipment is important to us. If you need technical assistance, please contact us by e-mail. Our technical support staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org