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#72 - What Are Network Radios?

There has been a lot of talk lately about Network Radios, but just what is a Network Radio anyway?


Network Radios are a newer form of communications device that is becoming quite popular both within the amateur radio community and outside of it. At first I thought this was merely a fad and did not see the interest that everyone had been giving these "toys". 


I decided to try out a Network Radio and see what the fuss was all about. I decided on two different versions, both made by Inrico.


The TM-7 looks very much like any other mobile radio that you would have in your vehicle, in fact it reminds me quite a bit of a Motorola mobile radio with the "P" buttons across the front of it under the touch screen.


I also wanted a more portable version for when I am not in my vehicle so I chose the T-320 handheld.



Both of these devices are based on the Android mobile phone system and are able to make and receive phone calls, text messages, email, etc., but what makes these devices different from a traditional mobile phone is the dedicated Push to Talk or PTT buttons.


The T320 looks basically like any standard Android mobile phone except for the external antenna and volume knob on top of it, the PTT buttons and two additional programable push buttons on its left side, and its Motorola style speaker mic connection on its right side.


The external antenna means this device is ale to find a signal where a traditional cell phone will not. Yesterday while out driving around the island I found myself in a location where my iPhone was not ale to reach the cell tower ad I lost service. I then looked at the T320 screen and saw that I still had full service available on it. I was able to use it to when I had no possibility of using my iPhone 7. That is very handy since there are several areas around the island that are well known dead spots where cell phones do not work in. I drove through all of these areas and saw that I never lost service with the T-320 or the TM-7 Network Radios.