One of the problems facing Amateur operators working in an EOC, hospital, or other emergency management environment is that the radio is never where you really need it to be. More likely, you need radios in multiple locations, but hardware and antenna feedline issues are holding you back.
For example, I work with one hospital where we’d like to have a radio in the emergency department, another in the emergency manager’s office, and a third in the room they’d use as a emergency operations center. The challenges of coax runs, if nothing else, make thus impractical.
However, having a single radio located at the ER nurses’ station doesn’t make much sense, either. Even if the fire department crews love being able to monitor the radio in an area where talkies don’t work very well.
There is a solution, one which many agencies already use, though generally not for Amateur Radio applications. Here is is:
A Texas company, CPI Communications, offers a line of “radio desksets” (as I call them) that look and work much like a telephone deskset. Big difference: The push-to-talk switch on the handset (which some nurses never seem to remember to use).
The desksets use normal telephone wiring to connect to a terminal device connected to a commercial radio, usually in a radio closet or some other location that is just a short coax run to the antenna.
You can connect multiple desksets to the radio terminals and plug them in as needed around the facility (once the proper wiring is connected).
Using this equipment, you can have access to Amateur or commercial frequencies pretty much wherever you need them—including the ability to monitor or transmit from each location.
Downside? Commerical radios do not have VFOs, so you will need to program all the channels you might need—including simplex and repeater outputs as simplex, perhaps—into the radio. Yes, multichannel desksets are available.
You can also choose a desktop that looks more like a traditional radio control, including a desk mic and, I believe, a headset option.
The equipment is not hugely expensive, and I have included links to some specific product handouts you might want to look at. I’d be interested in hearing what you think about this solution.