Burnside Telecom: Fixed Cellular Phones and Terminals



Burnside takes to the air...

Airfair Radio is the official radio station for the Biggin Hill International Air Fair, broadcasting locally for three days each year on the FM band and worldwide via the internet. Neil McGrath, Airfair Radio Engineer reports.

"Each year we broadcast live from the airfield with a mixture of programmes containing commentary, music, interviews, phone-in competitions and dedications. Many of the calls we receive are relayed over the airwaves via our phone-in equipment. Running a radio station from the middle of a field poses some unusual challenges. Electrical power comes from a generator and we have previously had to pay a substantial sum to British Telecom for a temporary telephone line.

This year, we decided to try using a mobile phone instead of paying for a temporary line. The proposal was quite daunting to me as station engineer, because it meant that I would need to modify our phone-in equipment to operate with a mobile phone rather than a standard telephone line. I was therefore very pleased to be offered the opportunity to try out a Burnside Telecom Desktop Mobile. A standard telephone plugs directly into the Desktop Mobile and our phone-in unit could simply be connected as an extension via a 2-way adapter.

The unit itself is presented in a smart aluminium case with a blue display. It is powered from a wall plug mounted power supply and uses a compact magnetic mount antenna attached by a few metres of cable. Everything was plugged in and the smart card slid into a small plastic receptacle at the back of the unit. The desktop mobile quickly detected the network and we were up and running within minutes of opening the box.

The menu commands are controlled from the telephone and were easy to follow. We particularly liked having the facility to receive text messages, which also proved popular with our listeners. The telephone we plugged into the desktop mobile behaved in just the same way as it would if it was plugged into a fixed landline, with the usual dialling and ringing tones presented to the user.

The fixed mobile can access e-mail and the Internet using GPRS, but unfortunately our Internet service provider had unexpectedly deactivated our e-mail account and we were unable to try out the facility.

Having listeners telephone the station and interacting with the presenters adds an extra dimension to the broadcast. One of my favourite phone-in moments was when all the guests attending a barbecue at a nearby house sang the Dambusters March down the telephone, live on-air!"


Supermarine Spitfire

Photo Copyright ©


Presenting the Air Show


"Burnside's Desktop Mobile is a really useful piece of kit and would easily pay for itself after just one of our broadcasts.
It will certainly be top of my shopping list for next year's
Airfair broadcast."

Neil McGrath, Airfair Radio Engineer