One reason for the radio remote’s rise in popularity is improved technology that has addressed many of the concerns that were applicable in the past. For instance, restrictions around airports and blasting sites have been lifted.
“The FCC monitors those things to make sure there is not interference,” Wenzel says. “The signal these remotes use is in the cell phone frequency, so you can basically use the radio remote anywhere it would be safe to use a cell phone.”
Manufacturers have also shortened the length from which a radio control will work. Today’s remotes will only work generally up to the 100- to 500-ft. range. This has eliminated some of the concerns people had with past remotes that functioned up to a mile away from the machine.
In addition, radio remotes have shrunk in size, to about the same size as a television remote. And they work in real time, whereas infrared remotes may have a small lag period before the machine actually performs the desired function.
Stone has embraced the recent improvements in radio remote technology, making it the only remote option available with its Bulldog Trench Roller. From there, the company has gone a step beyond, incorporating a maintenance feature into its radio remote.
“We have diagnostic lights on the transmitter and the radio that allow you to see how the machine is operating and what circuits are working,” Wenzel says. “What we teach our customers to use it for is preventive maintenance.”