A family owned business trading since 1976, Richard Crookes Construction (RCC) services the ACT and NSW from offices in Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, and Tamworth. Delivering on major projects across government, health, education, defence and more, the RCC team need sitewide radio communication that’s reliable, flexible, and configurable to their needs. With an eye to innovation in their field, RCC teamed up with radio comms specialist D2N – Technology Solutions to develop a new two-way radio system that’s so much more than just push-to-talk.
“Working in the construction industry, everyone knows there’s a million ways to achieve the same outcome,” explains Mark Gawthorpe, Project Engineer at RCC. “However, in this day and age, it’s about achieving that outcome with the least amount of time, stress, and risk. For our work on the brand new MPS Hospital in Harden–Murrumburrah, NSW, we wanted to build a new two-way radio system that could integrate with our emergency ‘Nurse Call’ buttons around the site, turns alarms on and off, start a site evacuation, open and close gates, and anything else we might need at the push of a button, all while standing up to the abuse of being deployed on a construction site.”
Disappointed with the lack of creative technical support from traditional radio suppliers, Mark found a kindred spirit in D2N’s Managing Director Jason Owen. “I really enjoy working with customers that want to create new, innovative solutions,” Jason enthuses. “Mark has a strong technical background, had thoroughly researched what he wanted to achieve, and knew it could be done. He had questions that were both insightful and challenging, and I enjoy the partnership we’ve created.”
The result of Mark and Jason’s collaboration is a system based on two-way radios from Kenwood, augmented with custom wiring to external hardware, with its potential unlocked via a Raspberry Pi microcomputer. “I got technical staff from Kenwood involved to make some changes to firmware,” elaborates Jason. “We had to build custom wiring looms to connect the system to relays, and use the Raspberry Pi as the IT interface to really capitalise on the full capabilities of the system. It created a cost effective, robust system that I was comfortable would perform with no maintenance on a building site in a remote area.”
Highlights of the system include a spoken alert when a ‘Nurse Call’ button is pressed that broadcasts the number and location site-wide to the radios scanning that channel. It also interfaces to RCC’s CB system with custom channel names and descriptions, as well as providing push-button connection to relays that open gates on command.
“Our system was delivered with the radios configured to 95% of our requirements, with the final 5% for us to finalise on-site via the programming software to make it run exactly how we wanted,” continues Mark Gawthorpe. “D2N provided software and hardware training free of charge, so we had a full understanding of the system’s capabilities. Our solution easily met all of our goals and has the capacity for expansion if we need it later down the track.”
Ongoing service and support is part of the D2N offering, with all systems backed by their deep technical knowledge. “Jason from D2N is always available to help with questions, issues, and programming changes to deal with our changing site requirements,” says Mark. “It’s been a pleasure dealing with D2N, and we will absolutely continue the partnership on our next site radio set-up.”
- GPIO Interfacing.
- Remote control.
- Site Management.