Nobody from the smartphone generations carries a memory of one of the most enduring products in telecommunications history — an image like Broderick Crawford barking into a device in his fist in the TV opening theme of Highway Patrol.
That was a two-way radio he was commanding, children, a vintage version of that thing of the internet that takes pictures and phones home too.
Phones home, that is, if it’s not in a WiFi dead zone or fuzzed with interference.
Increasingly rare as those occurrences may be becoming in the IoT, the highway patrol doesn’t take a chance on them. Nor do the surgeons, nurses and security guards at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, who recently bought 100 two-way radios as backup for life and death communications. Two-way radios use dedicated high frequency signals that don’t get dropped.
RCA Communications Systems recently added Alabama as the 21st state with an authorized dealership, Birmingham-based Falcon Wireless Direct, which sold those radios to St. Vincent’s in the high-security midst of the virus crisis.
“They absolutely love the radios,” says Candice Staggs, who made the sale to St. Vincent’s. “I hope to be providing more radios to other hospitals, police departments, churches, schools and manufacturing facilities in the very near future.”
Staggs is the owner of Falcon Wireless Direct, a 38-year old company that she recently inherited from the family of founder Burch Falkner, who passed away on July 4, 2019.
“I worked for him for nearly 30 years, and they gave me the company when he passed away. He was like my father and my grandfather. It has been rough with him not being here. I get calls every day from people who want to talk with him, and I have to explain to them what happened,” says Staggs.
RCA Communications Systems — a legatee of one of the most enduring brands in the history of radio and electronic communications — has been cultivating its return to the forefront of the two-way radio market, building on the hallmarks of durability and reliability.
The core of the two-way radio market are industries that call for simple and reliable performance under the harshest of work environments — heavy-duty industries like public safety, education, manufacturing, construction, oil and gas production, grain storage and warehousing.
According to Global Info Research, the two-way radio market is expected to grow into a $30 billion industry by the year 2022.
“We are incredibly proud to include Falcon Wireless Direct into our RCA Communications Systems family,” says Ben Burns, CEO of RCA Communications Systems. “Our greatest point of differentiation is that we work closely with dealers, providing them with technical expertise and helping them provide professional, value-added solutions that will benefit their customers’ efficiency, safety and regulatory compliance.”
The history of the two-way radio traces back to German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who proved it was possible to send and receive electrical waves without using wires. The next major evolution in the technology came after Swedish engineer Ernst Alexanderson developed the first high frequency generator, called the “Alexanderson Alternator,” which cranked out a 100khz frequency that allowed the human voice to be transmitted.
In 1923, an Australian policeman created the first mobile two-way radio, which was mounted inside his patrol car and used a long antenna for greater coverage: Over and out, Broderick.