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Hull BID upgrades to Entel Digital.

The BID organisation in Hull, East Yorkshire have chosen to upgrade their old analogue Two Way radio system to Digital, using Entel DX portables, Hytera RD985 base station repeater and their local supplier Radphone Ltd…

With help from our trusted communication supplier, Radphone, we have upgraded to digital. The equipment is provided free of charge to HullBID businesses, as is the training and the guidance on how to use the service (subject to availability). It is recognised as one of our most important services and as a major asset when it comes to keeping the city centre safe and secure.

Kathryn Shillito, Executive Director, HullBID.

What is a “BID”?

Business Improvement Districts (BID’s) are defined commercial areas, usually centred around Town and City centres or trading estates. They aren’t owned or controlled by public bodies or authorities.

There are currently over 300 BID’s in the UK. See Here.

BID’s are funded primarily by additional levies on regular business rates, which is then used to provide additional services or improvements for the BID area. More information HERE.

The aim of any BID is to enhance the local trading environment, increasing footfall and improving trade opportunities for local businesses.

This is achieved in a number of practical ways such as:
> Liasing with Police, and other authorities.
> Representation on issues affecting business in the area.
> Organising events to increase footfall. See here.

Hull BID Activities.

One important aspect of BID activity is “feet on the street”. BID support officers patrolling the area, “keeping their finger on the pulse”, so to speak. Dealing with immediate problems, or reporting ongoing ones to the appropriate bodies or authorities.

Another practical and highly effective BID improvement tactic is the introduction of a “Shop Watch” type of Two Way Radio system. Issuing Two Way Radios to businesses means they have an early warning system for things such as shoplifters, anti social offenders, or worse… terrorist threats.

The HullBID radio system has been in operation since 2006 and gives businesses a direct, live link to the HullBID support officers, the police and the City Council’s CCTV hub. The system helps tackle crime by enabling police to track offenders quickly and by deterring potential criminals. We know the radio system makes a big difference to safety and security in the city centre.

Kathryn Shillito, Executive Director, HullBID.

So requests can be made for CCTV to be targeted at developing or ongoing incidents. Local PCSO’s also carry a BID radio on the beat, allowing a quick response to any incidents.

Hull BID Radio History

Hull BID have had a Two Way Radio scheme in place since 2006 and it’s served them well.
The Entel HX485 based “talk-through” system gave good coverage of the area and offered “Caller ID” with an emergency button facility. The 300 “alias” ID’s available in the programming were used up some time ago and as radios were removed from service and re-allocated, constant reprogramming of key user radios had become a regular chore.

After years of service, the system was getting long in the tooth and repairs were becoming more regular. An upgrade was needed.
Digital Two Way Radios had been available for some time and prices were dropping.

However, Hull BID, just like all businesses were having to watch their finances.

Radio System Upgrade

Additional funding was obtained from a local Police initiative. Unfortunately, this was still not enough to replace the full radio system…

Around this time, Entel released their new Digital Two Way Radio. The DX series. Thankfully, the DX series was designed with “legacy” in mind. All batteries, antennas and chargers were backwards compatible with the old analogue HX series.
This immediately increased the number of radios which Hull BID could purchase… Body only. No batteries, antennas or chargers to buy!

Only one problem… the DX was a new radio, it didn’t have all the “bells and whistles” of a mature product.
This meant no caller id… or emergency button.
(It was hoped that a caller “alias” could be sent from the transmitting radio. This eliminates the need to reprogram all other radios, when new users are added to the system).

Fortunately, Entel came through. They put their software engineers to work and came up with the new firmware in double quick time.
After a bug was identified by us and promptly rectified in an Entel update, the system was finally rolled out.

(I’m so glad I didn’t have to walk around 170 shops!)

The feedback from Hull BID is positive… Good clarity and improved coverage in fringe areas.

Categories: Two Way Radio
Radphone: By: Nick Allison. Nick's been in the two way radio industry for more years than he wants to admit. He has seen numerous initiatives come and go, but thinks there will always be a need for basic voice only two way radio comms.

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