Knole's old analogue radio solution was beginning to creak at the seams. Coverage was patchy at best. Static was regularly causing communication issues. The analogue portable radios were working 'back-to-back' without any central repeater infrastructure, which also contributed to the site's lack of coverage in certain areas. The management team recognised that the existing infrastructure needed to be upgraded in order to improve communications and safety. However, they had to be conscious of cost as Knole is a charity and survives on charitable donations.

Radios needed to be robust and weather-proof

With staff spending much of their time outdoors, the new radios needed to be robust and weather-proof. What's more, many of the employees spend a lot of their working time alone, so from a Health and Safety perspective, features such as Man Down or Emergency Alarming functionality would be required. The communication solution equally had to provide reliable coverage across the 1,000 acre site.

A trusted Hytera dealer & a reliable system

Having recognised that it was time for a radio upgrade, the Knole management team turned to local two-way radio suppliers and valued Hytera dealer, Smye Rumsby. 

Throughout the consultation process, Smye Rumsby liaised with National Trust staff at Knole to ensure that best possible solution was provided to meet Knole's increased requirement and budget. The answer was a Hytera DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) system.

Smye Rumsby carried out the site survey and recommended the installation of a central repeater. This would improve site coverage. A Hytera RD625 repeater was installed within one of the turrets at Knole itself.

The RD625 has a 'plug and play' aspect, meaning that thanks to its small size, it can be discretely hidden within the historic building, and nobody would ever know about it.

High-specification radios for point-to-point individual calls

The majority of radio communication at Knole is point-to-point individual calls, so staff require an easy-to-use digital radio with screen and keypad. 

The natural choice was the Hytera PD685G. This radio is compact, robust (IP67) and cost-effective compared to similar competitor models, and is packed full of features such as Lone Worker and Man Down, which staff now use to full effect when working on their own.

The radios also have the potential to enable GPS tracking should Knole decide to use this in the future.

Crystal clear communication, and much more...

Since the radio solution was installed, Knole has been hugely impressed by performance.

The site now benefits from complete coverage of the 1,000 acres thanks to the RD625 repeater. Staff now also benefit from crystal clear communication thanks to noise cancellation, which cancels out any background noise.

The radios have an incredible 16 hours of battery life, and an IP67 rating, so users can rely on their radios for day-to-day operations, no matter what the conditions. Peace of mind also extends to emergency situations thanks to the PD685G's superb Man Down and Lone Worker functionality.

The partnership with Smye Rumsby was a winning one, ensuring that Knole received a customer-focused, professional transition to digital from initial consultation to commissioning.

We are extremely happy with our new Hytera radio system as it has improved communication across our site. They have exceeded our expectation in both clarity of sound, range and increased functionality for both now and for the future. We were offered sound advice and service from the Hytera agent and Mike Syrett, Account Manager for Smye Rumsby.
Jo Hatcher, Premises Officer, National Trust - Knole

Visit Knole: National Trust

Learn more about the Hytera dealer involved: Smye-Rumsby

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5 January 2017