What is CAIRO ?

Being the Communications Audio Interface for Remote Operations, CAIRO is a simple scheme for standardizing the connectors on the transceivers of two-way radio services, and also on the various microphones and headsets which the user may select to operate them with. Through this standardisation, the radio user is offered total flexibility and full personal preference in their choice of accessory so that they may select the most appropriate item for a particular circumstance and speedily achieve communication through 'plug-and-work' configurations.

However, as well as providing this versatility in the direct connection between radio transceivers and their operator accessories, CAIRO also allows for long or Remote connections to occur and so optimise the organisation of equipment for best signals and service coverage. This additional CAIRO feature is particularly appropriate when equipment is installed either temporarily or hastily in response to an Emergency or similar pressing need.

In a multi-storey building, it permits the aerial to be installed on the roof, with the transceiver installed nearby, say, in a top-storey room, so that the radio signals may provide optimum penetration of the emergency ground while the feeder losses are also kept to a minimum. Then, a simple reel of slender CAIRO cable is paid out to the operations room which may now be as low or as distant as the ground-floor or basement in some cases. This approach offers a ready solution to the often-encountered conflict between the typical mid-building location of an incident management room and the preferable, near-roof location for a  'comms' room.

Similarly, an operational vehicle despatched to a temporary site or refuge, may provide uninterrupted service by leaving the primary equipment secure in the parked-up vehicle, while just paying-out the remote cable to the temporary facility which is to be manned by the operators. Such an approach keeps to a minimum the amount of communications equipment which might otherwise occupy valuable space in the refuge to the detriment of the needs of, say, the casualties being treated there.

The CAIRO approach to these general techniques of Remote Operation also allows for multiple and combination connections of accessories to occur. This further provision allows several operators to participate jointly or interchangeably in the activities of a particular station when the need arises in response to either the intensity or longevity, or both, of an exceptional incident.

The full CAIRO scheme also supports Augmented Operations by its further inclusion of a comprehensive transceiver interface provision; CAIRO-8. This is an additional engineering option which supports the use of simple, active accessory modules which may be plugged in to add a function or facility which is not otherwise present in a basic communications configuration. Simple examples of this include the 'all-stations-alert' gong-sounder or the 'end-of-over' ("roger") bleep module.

Full details of the CAIRO scheme are provided by its founder, Dr Peter Best, G8CQH, at web site;
www.cs.aston.ac.uk/~bestpj/cairo/