Thursday, 13 November 2014

Intensive Training to Improve Our Business

I went to this Intensive workshop earlier this year. I thought it would be wise to see what the experts are saying about how to run our business better – and I was not dissapointed. It's a really great workshop, Shweta is a very confident and straight-to-the-point speaker. I've found what I learned really useful. We have been implementing some changes and both our customers & ourselves are benefitting from the improvements. I really recommend you should check it out!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Choosing a covert wireless earpiece


The ICM40 is the standard induction loop earpiece suitable for most applications. For every 100 induction loop earpieces purchased the ICM 40 account for 95 pieces.

The technical specs for the ICM40 are available on our website listing.

The earpiece is available in Beige, mid brown and dark brown shades.

The ICM100 is the same earpieces as the ICM40 with the addition of a noise gate or Squelch system.
The squelch prevents any  magnetic signal below a certain pre set level from being reproduced as audible sound.

If however the induction noise is such a level that it would break through the squelch it will be still be heard as audible noise.
In this scenario a Digital earpiece, the DCM40,  should provide the solution.


The DCM40 Digital earpiece has a tailored 300Hz to 3kHz audio response that will eliminate most mains noise (50Hz) and Hi End Car Data management (10kHz+)  interference.
Noise encountered inside the speech range will still be heard.
The DCM40 also has a limited audio level output of 96dB.

Induction Loop Earpieces - How they work.

The output audio signal from a Walkie Talkie, Tetra radio or Presenter's earpiece Box is passed through a conductor typically a personal neck loop or Shoulder Pad.  When the signal is passed through the neck loop it produces a magnetic field.

The magnetic field produced by the neck loop varies in strength according to the audio wave form being passed through it.
This variation in the magnetic field causes a small current to be induced in a tiny coil housed in the wireless earpiece.  This is then amplified (hence the need for a small pill battery to power the amplifier) and passed into a transducer which converts the signal from the coil to an audible sound. The sound is then passed down the molded delivery tube out of a little apeture hole and into the ear.

 A blue wax guard may be present at the sound outlet hole in the earpiece. This helps prevent wax blocking the sound outlet. Under very hot conditions any wax present can liquify and via the process of capillary action run up the sound passage into the transducer, coil and amplifier to solidify. The earpiece quickly becomes an expensive write off and the warranty does not cover this damage. Not even the wax guard can prevent this so this is an important reason to maintain good ear hygiene before inserting a wireless earpiece into your ear.

Key points of Induction Loop Earpieces
The  process involves no radio frequencies.
The sound level heard by the listener of the earpiece is dependant
  • The output level of the radio (volume control on radio)
  • The match between the radio output (or other device) and the neck loop or shoulder pad.
  • The amplifier gain setting in the earpiece.
Showcomms' neck loops and ICM 40 earpieces have been tailored by our manufacturer to provide consistently good results in most conditions on most radios.  The neck loops use high efficiency coils and the amp is optimised for a higher output.

This is generally encountered as low level buzz or hum and can increase the closer the proximity to the source of interference.  Induction loop earpieces are susceptible by their very nature to unwanted magnetic signals that can be produced by other electronic devices. Sources of possible magnetic include High Volltage, Electronic, switching equipment, electric motors, fluorescent light fittings dimmers and computers.

Monday, 15 September 2014

London Chamber of Commerce and London City Airport Visit

Proud to be members of London Chamber of CommerceWe are pleased to announce our Membership of the London Chamber of Commerce this September.

Our first activity with the London Chamber of Commerce was a behind the scenes visit to London City Airport with other members of the chamber.

London City Airport offer an impressive delivery service standard of just 7 minutes from Check in to security and only 15 minutes from check in to gate.  The terminal manager showed us the 2nd generation Check in Machines through which passengers can scan their barcode from their mobile and check in.  The airport control room is able to monitor the flow of passengers and respond to peaks to ensure their service delivery target times are maintained.    For me London City Airport is now the only true London Airport. It has to be time saving option for the City and Canary Wharf.


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Welcome to Belgium Police Zone Ath

Police Zone Ath 
Local Police Zone Ath are our latest Local Belgium Police Zone to order headsets for their officers.
Each August a festival Les VĂ©pres de Gouyasse is held in Ath (Aat).The Festival portrays the marriage of the Giant Goliath.  

The 20 foot giant Goliath and his lady are paraded through the streets. After they lumber through the streets to the Church of St. Julien, Goliath and his lady are married.

Showcomms supplied 38 BG-THR Kevlar 1 wire acoustic tube headsets with microphone for Nokia THR880i radios to Ath Police just in time for the 2014 celebrations.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sage50 and SagePay Integration

Thursday, 12 June 2014

To Celebrate our Peli Dealership Showcomms are offering Free Delivery on Peli Cases and Peli Products until 30th June

Peli Flightcase
Peli 1600 Flightcase
Peli CE2180 Vault iPad Air®

This year's summer season of Sports Events and Festival is now upon us.  Your new Kit is tested and ready to go out.   All your kit needs is a good ,solid flightcase.

Peli Products
We are offering Competitive Prices with FREE DELIVERY on all Peli Cases and Peli Products Until June 30th 2014.
To request a quotation or place an order
Call us now
01689 876620
or email

Peli CE2180 iPad Air Vault Review ON 15/05/2014

Two weeks on and as much as I have tried, not broken it yet.
But seriously, I struggled at first as it was totally alien to the Belkin case I used, albeit far more robust and in a different category.

I believe the case will be successful for on site use, it is heavy, but there are reasons for that, I have had the case noticed everywhere I have been, and I believe the site manager at the Derby school has purchased one.

I work within a large organisation, and there could be opportunity here as well.

What would have been useful, if the lid when fully folded back, had an identical lens cover in the lid to prevent the camera being blocked out, but I guess, not the end of the world.

It is difficult to type on when laying flat, again the Belkin case provides a natural incline which is more comfortable to type on. It stands up reasonably well, but has slipped on few occasions.

That said, as a case for site use and iPad protection, It is by far the superior I have seen, and I am sure will do well in that category. I have carried out a number of building surveys, and have found it comfortable enough to use, and certainly at no risk damage.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Motorola to withdraw CP040 & GP340. Looking ahead now for a replacement radio.

In April 2015 Motorola will withdraw much of it's current range of Analogue UHF radios. This includes the end life of the ubiquitous Motorola GP340 and CP040 radios synonymous with TV Studio and Outside Radio Talkback in the UK and much of the rest of Europe. 

The mechanism driving the withdrawal of these radios is the growth in sales of Digital Transceivers.
Whilst digital radios have their merits and indeed advantages (for instance Radio Talkback can't easily be eavesdropped with a scanner) it does however pose a problem for all those in the Broadcast and Special Event Programme making world who use a base station for Production Talkback or Show Relay.

The root of the problem is two fold
  • In the first instance a DIGITAL base unit introduces a significant enough delay for Production talkback not to be instantaneous enough for cues.
  • Secondly Digital software processing in the base and handsets causes awful phasing of radio conversations. This is particularly noticeable when live sound is picked up on an FM or SM's headset.  The resultant audio when combined with PGM SND (prgam sound),Talk Through and/or pick up from the Director's open mic is not pretty to the ear. 
There is some reprieve most of the digital handsets currently on the market can all be used in Analogue to work alongside existing radios such as GP340s and CP040s.  Adding to existing GP340s and CP040s won't be a major issue however there are only a few digital base units that are capable of constant carrier mode and I currently do not know of a Digital Base unit with balanced audio input and output fitted as standard.

Motorola P145 and DP1400 to take up the current position of the GP340 and CP040 radios.
Motorola P145

The Motorola P145 will be the one Motorola analogue, UHF, 16 channel radio still available.
It is 4W capable and has the same 2 pin Motorola accessory socket as the GP300 and the CP040.

Motorola P145 Analogue Radio

Currently overlooked by most Motorola Dealers and end users this will be the analogue Motorola radio we see appearing in a charge near you.

Motorola DP1400
The Motorola DP1400 is a canny introduction to the Motorola range of radios.
I would describe the DP1400 as a digital capable radio at a familiar analogue radio price.
The DP1400 can be purchased as an analogue radio, making it less expensive to purchase than current Digital radio's working in analogue mode. The DP1400 will work alongside all your existing GP340 and CP040 radios.  However the story does not end there.  Lieing dormant within the radio is the capacity to enter a special Key Code. This code will shed the DP1400's Analogue Mortal coil and it will re-spring into life to work in Digital Mode alongside any of the Motorola MotoTrbo digital radios.  In short pay now for analogue and unlock digital capability when required. The cost of the Key is just the difference between purchasing the DP1400  digital and DP1400 analogue (approx £85 plus VAT currently).
Motorola DP1400 Analogue or Digital Radio
There is no Call To Action and no Hard Sales Drive behind this post just what I think is useful info for when the Plug is finally pulled and it next comes round to replacing some radio talkback.

As a post script I would just like to thank Fountain Studios for their recent order of 36 x GP340 radios and whom helped us test various Kenwood Digital handsets and a Digital base unit  during rehearsals at X factor Last year.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Showcomms is 12 Years Old this month

A big Thank You to all our customers, to all our suppliers, all our supporting network my staff past and present.

Showcomms is 12 Years Old this month.

I learned only last night 80% of businesses don't make 5 years.

Only 4% go on to survive past 10 years.

Of the 4% that make 10 years only 4% of those get past £500K turnover.
Only 1% grow past a £1M
Amazingly only 0.4% will go on to break the £10M barrier.

This financial year, which ends June 30th, we will break the £500K barrier for the first time.
We have grown organically from a One man hire business with turnover of under £50K to an established, growing, profitable SME.

Wow - well done team.

There is one moment moment that, for me, capped it all. 
Early one Saturday morning in 2012  I was up early to watch the start of the 2012 Olympic Torch Procession.

I was sat in my pyjamas, hoping I might just catch a glimpse of one of our BG-F-TETRA Earpieces being worn by the Met. Police Olympic Torch Protection Squad.  

I could not believe my eyes when there one was, Bold as Brass, on the screen, beamed around the whole world on television and all the world's press camera's flashing. One our Earpieces from Bruce Cocks Showcomms Ltd of Chelsfield Village anonymously global.

If ever I felt an emotional sense of pride it was then, as now, with a smile and a watery eye. 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Welcome to Havila Fortress and M/Y Garcon

Havila Fortress
Showcomms are pleased to welcome the Havila Fortress and M/Y Garcon as new customers.

Two more vessels ordering communication accessories directly from Showcomms.

Havila Fortress
IMO: 9126455

Call Sign: C6NX9

Type: Multi Purpose Offshore Vessel
Gross Tonnage: 3017

M/Y Garcon

M/Y Garcon


Call sign:V7XW9

  Support Yacht

GARCON is equipped with every explorer style tender or toy available. With a Bell 365 helicopter, five large tenders ranging in size from 14 meters to 10 meters, a 4 man submarine, a complete custom diving cabin, and numerous jet skis, wave runners and sea bobs, GARCON is truly a uniquely equipped vessel. She boasts a top speed of 26 knots and a transatlantic range. GARCON is a self-supporting ship that can sail any ocean of the world.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Broken your iPhone or Galaxy Screen the Peli Phone Vault is a cost saving solution to future expensive repairs.

I am a little clumsy at times and if, like me, you have dropped and broken your iPhone you too will have experienced the cost of an expensive phone repair. I have finally found a cost effective solution having tried the Peli Protector Phone Cases or Peli Phone Vaults.

Peli Vaults have been dropped tested from 2.0 metres height to military standard MIL 802 to protect the iPhone from impact.

I found this compelling demonstration video by Peli products which shows 
the Vault in use in various different environments.

Peli Cases
Peli Laptop Backpacks
Peli Fire Scene and Incident Lighting
Peli Torches

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Choosing the right earpiece and PTT for your radio. 1 wire, 2 wire or 3 wire?

Choosing the correct radio headset is important. As professionals we seek perfection in our work and with the tools of our trade.  Too often headsets are either supplied as standard issue or often get overlooked and suddenly become a matter of urgency.

It is not the technical specifications I get asked for most all but rather "What is the difference between all the  models"?

The first man difference is the type of Earpiece or Ear speaker. Te three most common choices are below: 

C or G Ear Hanger
D Shell Ear Speaker
Acoustic Tube Earpiece
The C style or G style Ear Hanger has some adjustment and a speaker that fits in the ea.
The D style fits over the ear lobe.
The Acoustic tube fits in the ear and no spill is heard by a third party.
Other styles exist from very simple to covert wireless earpieces.

Once you have chosen the listen device the 2 other important items on your headset will be the microphone and the PTT (Press to Talk) switch that will operate the talk mode on the radio for an external mic. This is the point at which you will determine if you require a 1 wire, 2 wire or 3 wire headset.

Just before we read on to the I have a USEFUL TIP to offer .  If your control operator calls through to say  your voice sound miles away try operating the PTT switch n you headset.  Now simultaneously scratch the mic on your headset. If your operator cannot hear the headset mic being scratched now try scratching the radio's on board mic. If they can here this there is a fault, poor connector contact / broken PTT.  On most radios if you press the side PTT switch with a headset plugged in the radio's on board mic will be operated.

1 Wire Radio Accessory

Effectively a continuous cable travels up from the Radio connector to the earpiece. 
A single wire goes up from the connector to the  PTT ( Press To Talk) unit which also contains a encapsulated mic. A cable then continues on to the earpiece unit. A 1 wire accessory has the least amount of cable. The PTT unit is worn on the lapel or at lapel height. There is not usually enough cable on the earpiece cable section to wear the PTT unit in your sleeve.

2 Wire Radio Accessory
With a 2 wire accessory there is a separate cable for the PTT/Mic unit and earpiece. This enables the PTT/Mic unit to be worn down the sleeve.
There may be 2 cables exiting from the radio connector or there may be short run of single cable to a splitter unit.  The mic cable and the earpiece cable then exit from this

3 Wire Radio Accessory
In a 3 wire accessory the 3 constituent parts, Earpiece, mic and PTT unit each have their own cable giving the most flexible options for surveillance work. 3 Wire kits may also be known as a harness.  They may also include an induction neck loop for a covert wireless earpiece.

Choice of Mic.
Most encapsulated microphones are small eletret capsules that are held behind a small hole in the PTT unit.  It is worth locating this small pin hole opening as once you know where it is you will never accidentally cover it with you finger. I would also recommend familiarising yourself with the working properties of your microphone.

There will be an optimum distance and an optimum voice level at which your transmission will sound clearest to your radio controller.  Different microphones have different response coverages (polar diagrams for the techies).  Try establishing these properties with the help of a colleague and a second radio.  If you have Tetra radio you can use your radios in DMO mode to test with. Once you have established these properties try the same position from behind the mic and to the left and to the right of the mic as well.

Once you have established  these properties you have a bench mark to compare within different situations. Turn up the TV or CD player in the background and now compare how the microphone performs with loud background noise.  Is it clearer to the listener if you speak more closely, more quietly or shout into it?

Choice of PTT Unit
There are many different styles of PTT unit.

ABOVE: The most common style PTT units is shown above.

LEFT: The square front facing PTT unit to ideal for use with gloves or clipping to protective body armor. 

RIGHT Torpedo switch used on 3 wire kits worn down the sleeve .

I have a rule of thumb, (it is a guideline only, it has no technical or legal merit) that if it becomes noisy and you need to turn the volume right up to hear your radio then you probably have the wrong type of headset for noise applications.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Comfortable Earpiece. Even the shape of your own ear changes with time.

The shape of  everyone's ears and ear canal is slightly different.  The shape of your own ear canal may even change so if even you use a generic eartip or a custom molded earpiece the right earpiece for you will change.   

Generic Eartips
The 2 most common types of generic eartip are the Mushroom shaped eartip and the Flanged style eartip. The tapered design of the flanged can be a little less forgiving on ears.

These bung style earpieces are inexpensive and they effective in high noise environments.  However their drawbacks are that they can be uncomfortable and that they block the flow of air to the ear canal. As a result the ear canal can warm up and this can be the cause of irritation.

To avoid an itchy ear the most important piece of advice is to keep your ears clean  before using an earpiece.  Good hygiene should by common sense reduce the possibility of irritation and will also prevent wax building up in the eartip.  If wax occludes the hole in your eartip sound will not pass out of it (see future blog Common Reasons Why Your Earpiece Doesn't Work).

Semi Custom Eartips
An alternative to a bung is the Skeleton ear insert.

 These are flexible inserts that directly replace your eartip. The Skeleton eartips are more comfortable to wear and are held in place by the little ridge in your ear. There are various models the best in my opinion being made from medical grade silicon.
The Skeleton insert does not block the ear allowing fresh air to pass by into the ear canal alleviating itching.   As such they offer no isolation against external sound. They are therefore unsuitable for use in high noise environments.

Skeleton eartips are available to fit the Left or Right ear in 3 sizes Small, Medium and Large.

Custom Molded Eartips
The most comfortable earpiece is a Custom Molded Earpiece made from an impression taken from the shape of your ear. (TV presenters may require both a left and a right side earpiece depending on the camera angle).  For many years the custom process was expensive and time consuming. Fortunately times have changed and a more affordable inexpensive fixed price Mainland UK service is now available called Proguard.

Custom Molded earpieces are made using an impression taken from your ear.  These can be a standard impression which is mostly the external shape or covert wireless earpieces a deep ear impression is required. Ear impressions should only be taken by a suitably trained person.

Custom molded earpieces are produced from hard clear acrylic plastic or softer squidgy substances into which various sound drivers can be fitted.
Custom earpiece may have a small air breathing  hole or even a valve fitted to allow air to circulate.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

30 Second earpiece fitting guide

The 3 most common comments I hear regarding earpieces on our exhibition stands are:
  • My earpiece falls out when I move.
  • My ear itches after a while.
  • How do I get a molded earpiece made.
Most earpieces are supplied to fit the largest ear. As a result the tube is generally too long and the earpiece tends to fall out. A well fitted earpiece will sit comfortably behind your ear lobe and not ride up above it when you place your earpiece into your ear. You can check to see if this happens using a mirror or ask a colleague to check.

If this does occur it is easy to fix. It is a simple case of trimming the tube to length using  a decent pair of scissors.  First remove the eartip. Next pull out the right angled joiner that the tip was fitted over from the acoustic tube. It might resist as the tube has expanded to accept the joiner but it is possible.
Earpiece 90 degree right angle joiner
Now replace the tubing over your ear and note the correct position of the end of tubing where you put the eartip into your ear.  It will be more accurate if you can allow for the short length of the right angle joiner.  Remember it is always easier to cut off a little more tube, it is impossible to put it back on!
Before using the scissors remove the acoustic tube from over your ear. 

Earpiece fitting adjustment instructions

Push the right angle joiner back into the acoustic tube and fit the eartip. 

Did you know if you swing the right angle joiner 180 degrees in the opposite direction you can use your earpiece as a Left or Right side earpiece.

Finally the clip should be attached to you collar at the position on you collar so that when you turn your head to the opposite side it the coil expands without pulling your earlobe down and when you turn to the same side it does not pile out onto your shoulder (in TV world it stays out of shot).  
You may need to adjust the length of the tube from the end of the coil to the collar clip.
Earpiece Collar Clip

Finally if your earpiece still falls out it is time to consider either a semi custom earpiece insert such as a Skeleton eartip or a custom molded earpiece - more on these items to follow on our blog.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

It only takes one or two shared batteries in a large fleet of radios to create an apparent multitude of poor batteries.

It only takes one or two shared batteries in a large fleet of radios to create an apparent multitude of poor batteries. It is a model that can be applied to headset sockets, earpieces, antennae and so on.

A duff  battery or indeed a radio with a duff battery will go straight back in the most convenient slot in the charger and the next user will pick it up. If the last radio back in the charger was also duff and has now gone green the first user will also have walked off with another duff battery. Before long several duff batteries will be circulating in the most commonly used slots and people will be saying none of the radios are reliable. 

This model can equally be applied to earpieces, headsets sockets, antennas (how often do you see people carrying their radio by the antenna).

The biggest money saving tip I can offer customers is
If you do not already mark your radios now is the time to do it.

A simple unique number on the radio, the battery and the headset will quickly enable you to pull out possible culprits as a pattern evolves.  Who knows it could be a particular charger socket, a particular battery or a particular headset socket causing all your reliability issues.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Tetra Radio accessory Orders to Isle of Man and Gibraltar

We were pleased to recently to send orders to both the Isle of Man and Gibraltar
Isle of Man Parking Administration

Gibraltar Health Authority

EUROS - Showcomms we have made it even easier with Euros

From 17th January  payment can be made directly in Euros on the  SHOWCOMMS website.

To switch the price of item
from £ to Euro 
click on the European Flag at the top left of the page.

Blog archive


Abba (1) Airports (1) Airwave (5) Alan (2) Altair (6) APPSS (1) arboriculture (1) ASL (3) Astrid (1) BAFTAs (1) BBC (9) Beyerdynamic spare parts (1) Big Brother (1) Broadcast (18) CEP400 (2) Channel 4 (1) Colas (1) covert earpieces (4) CTP Systems (2) CTV (1) Dartford Borough Council (1) Dimetra (5) Doormen (1) DP3600 (2) DT108 (1) EADS (2) Eardefenders (2) Edinburgh Tattoo (2) Education (9) Facebook (1) Film Premiere (1) Flight case labels (1) FriskerPro (5) Gearhouse (1) GP340 spare parts (1) Guinness (1) Gymnastics (1) Headset (1) Help for Heroes (1) HOSDB (2) I'm a Celebrity get Me Out of Here (1) industry (3) Infopol (4) inspection camera (3) Installation (1) ITV (3) Jelibox (4) Kent Wildlife Trust (1) Kenwood (3) KlickFast (9) Little Theatre Guild (1) Marine (8) metal detector (3) Motor Sports (3) Motorola (6) MTH650 (3) MTH800 (5) MTP850 (2) National Police Dog Trials (6) Noise at work (1) O2 (1) Peltor (3) Peltor Dect-Com (7) PMR446 (2) Police (10) Prison radio (1) Proms in the Park (4) Quail (1) Radio hire (10) Rail (1) Ravensbourne College (2) Red Bull Academy (1) RNLI (2) road maintenance (1) RTS (8) Rugby World Cup (1) Security (6) Sepura (3) Shell (1) shooting (1) Showcomms (2) Sky (1) SportTac (1) SRH3500 (1) SRP2000 (2) Store security (1) STP8000 (4) Strictly Come Dancing (1) STSG (4) Talkback (1) Talkback systems (8) Tecpro (14) Telex BTR24 (2) Telex BTR700 (1) Tennis (1) Tetra (13) Theatre communications (16) THR880i (7) Three Peaks Challenge (1) Throat Mic (1) Tour Guide (3) Trbo (2) Twitter (1) VoiceVest (4) Walkie Talkie (1) Wireless (4) Worthing Birdman (1) Yacht Racing (1)