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Posted: 3/24/2009 6:12:55 PM EDT
Hey gents, im volunteering with the county FD and dont have a radio or VHF pager, i am considering buying my own portable radio but dont really know what to look for. The models that our FFs' carry are diverse. One of the models is the Motorola xts-2500. Where is a good place to check for one of these units? I need one and it is going to be a long time before the county can buy another batch of radios so right now buying it myself is the only way. Thanks for the help guys.
Link Posted: 3/24/2009 6:25:52 PM EDT
The XTS2500 is pretty expensive even on the used market. Expect to pay maybe 600 dollars for one, maybe more.


But there are WAY too many factors to consider.


What band is your system on? What features are in use? Is it a trunking system or a conventional one?

If it's trunking...forget it right now. The odds of you getting authorization to put your own personal radio on your county's trunked system are
slim and none, and Slim left town, most likely!


It could be VHF. It could be UHF. It could be 800 MHz. It could require specific features that are optional and cost $$$ to get put into a radio
that doesn't already have them in it.


You can start by writing down the data on the data plate inside the radio's battery compartment. Post it all here except for the serial number.
I will use that information to establish some basics about the system your FD is part of.


CJ
Link Posted: 3/24/2009 8:53:41 PM EDT
If your just getting started and don't want to spend much yet I keep a Chinese Puxing 777 which seams to be a Yeasu copy got it off ebay cheap it's a 128 channel and self programmable. While I have a Saber for most uses I consider this disposable in case of damage.
Link Posted: 3/24/2009 11:35:39 PM EDT
Motorola SP50 or Vertex VX 160, 180, or 210s is what most around my area use. Occasionally you'll see one with a VX-800 (me) or VX-910.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 5:24:12 AM EDT
SP50s are ancient, and parts support is "just what's left over". Plus they're low end crap that has no business being used in public safety.

I've condemned a number of them lately. They're at that age....retirement age.

Vertex? No thanks. I'm not impressed.


For public safety, Motorola is the way to go. I'd recommend a suitable XTS5000 if you can get a good deal on one. They will inspire
"radio envy" on the part of anyone who doesn't have one.


CJ
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 7:51:04 AM EDT
When you find out what radio system you use, post up.

My county is getting ready to have surplus Motorola MTS-2000's.

Not the newest around but they do work!
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 8:24:34 AM EDT
thanks guys ill get back to you when i get the band info. Much appreciated.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 6:19:35 PM EDT
I would check out icom. They make great radios at a good price.

Yes I have carried several brands and put them all through the ringer and these rank at the top.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 6:28:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/25/2009 6:32:01 PM EDT by badeffect10]
If you don't know what kind of system you can go to radioreference.com and search for your county and find the system type and frequency. If it were me(use to be a vol. FF as well) and knew that they would eventually be buying a radio or pager on their dime, I would just go with a low end hand held scanner. Everyone doesn't need to talk on the radio and they SHOULD NOT send you into a residential or commercial fire without a radio off the truck anyway. If they do then you might want to re-evaluate volunteering your time and life with them.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 7:09:12 PM EDT
I know they're expensive, but the XTS series suits me well. I have an XTS 5000 fully loaded for several years now and I love it. Some others you may want to consider would be the PR1500 and the XPR 6000 series. All these are narrowband and digital or analog capable. I'm currently using all three types, but still stick with my standby XTS.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 7:10:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ff162bfd:
I would check out icom. They make great radios at a good price.

Yes I have carried several brands and put them all through the ringer and these rank at the top.

The company I work for is a dealer for Icom, Kenwood, and Motorola. I service several thousand total radios from these manufacturers
and while Icom makes a good radio, they do not hold up well in public safety applications. For public safety, Motorola IS the only way to
go if you want a reliable radio.

In less intense service, other brands are fine, but Motorola makes a more rugged radio that is better suited for public safety usage.

I've been doing this for a very long time now. My opinion is formulated based on roughly 20 years of experience with all brands in all applications.


CJ

Link Posted: 3/25/2009 9:34:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
SP50s are ancient, and parts support is "just what's left over". Plus they're low end crap that has no business being used in public safety.

I've condemned a number of them lately. They're at that age....retirement age.

Vertex? No thanks. I'm not impressed.


For public safety, Motorola is the way to go. I'd recommend a suitable XTS5000 if you can get a good deal on one. They will inspire
"radio envy" on the part of anyone who doesn't have one.


CJ

What hasn't impressed you with the Vertex'? Yaesu knows their radios, IMO. I run a 500 and 800 and have run them hard the past 4-5 years. The 500 has seen extreme abuse, including fully submerging in water more than once and it's still kicking.

I agree the Motorola's are GTG as well, and I can't discount the fact that 90% of the volunteers in my area rely on an SP50. All of the paid public safety workers run a Vertex though.

I quit having radio envy years ago after dumping tons of money into the newest Kenwood, Motorola, or Vertex mobile that would hit the market. All I need is about 32 channels, tone board, NC806 rolling code/inversion encryption, and an easy to nav interface. I had more problems with those new-to-market radios than I ever have otherwise.

I still run Moto 1225, Kenwood TK-760, and Vertex VX-4000s. The 1225 has been the most reliable mobile I've ever fielded.
Link Posted: 3/25/2009 10:51:23 PM EDT
About half our SO has Vertex, the other half has ICOM's

Not happy with either. Very very, poor tx ability with both of them (part of that is our lack of repeaters)

A couple of us have personally owned radios that work great (one moto, and a couple of one other brand that I can't recall off the top of my head)
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 3:02:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:

Originally Posted By ff162bfd:
I would check out icom. They make great radios at a good price.

Yes I have carried several brands and put them all through the ringer and these rank at the top.

The company I work for is a dealer for Icom, Kenwood, and Motorola. I service several thousand total radios from these manufacturers
and while Icom makes a good radio, they do not hold up well in public safety applications. For public safety, Motorola IS the only way to
go if you want a reliable radio.

In less intense service, other brands are fine, but Motorola makes a more rugged radio that is better suited for public safety usage.

I've been doing this for a very long time now. My opinion is formulated based on roughly 20 years of experience with all brands in all applications.


CJ



I have carried the same icom icf11 for over a year now. It has been dropped in water and on concrete many times with no problems. I am not saying Motorola or kenwoods are bad but for under 200 bucks you cant go wrong. And yes I have carried all three in my career.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 4:23:44 PM EDT
First thing I would be worried about is if it's ok with the chief. I assume it is? Why not just buy a used HT750? Basic and rugged.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:57:59 PM EDT
How is it that you're volunteering for your FD and don't even have a pager? If you're a probie there's probly a reason you haven't been issued either yet. If not I would at least ask for the pager to be issued to you. I mean how would they expect you to respond without it?
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:01:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2009 8:09:06 PM EDT by hardhit77]
ive got an alpha numeric pager from the FD but the only problem with it is that the dispatchers for some reason do not page out over the alpha numeric, or if they do i get the page an hour or so later. instead of buying more radio pagers they thought this would be a better way to go. They still have a bunch of bugs to work out with it.

i am just a probie, but going through the training now will be certified in short order.

Edit::: the radio system in my county is a trunking system. Im going to talk to my cheif and see what he says about buying my own radio and putting it on the net. Ill get back to you guys the next time i talk to him.

Thanks for all the help gents
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:28:20 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2009 8:29:42 PM EDT by RED_5]
most mainstream radios will serve you well.. (as long as they meet system requirements)

most end users are clueless to the what their radios can and cannot do, and same goes for the radio system itself.

They tend to blame their radios for every little thing.

most lack the training and/or the brains to use the thing properly.

PUSH the button THEN talk (better yet, push, wait (one one thousand) then talk)

talk across the microphone

too many have a mic on their belt or lapel and are talking no where near the microphone (head turned the other way)
and the resulting audio sucks ass and they blame the radio (same can be said for dispatchers)

they don't understand how the repeater works so the just push the button the same time or after they start to speak
and they wonder why the dispatcher or other unit is asking wtf they just said because they didn't hear the first part as it was cut off (missed) by the repeater.

the antenna is not a 'handle'

do not coil the mic cord around the antenna

just because the radio system was just put in 15 years ago and hasn't seen any maintenance (as well as all the end user equipment) doesn't mean it'll operate as new
(iow, if your dept values your safety, they'll have some sort of radio system maintenance program)

I've got a million more, (~)



eta: oh yeah, and there are those slackers that don't want to do a fucking thing on the job so they'll go hide somewhere and claim the radio wasn't working right and cause problems for everyone else.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 11:35:58 PM EDT
If you are just looking to get calls, I would get a scanner. There are some Uniden scanners that have tone-out capability for alert, also.
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 6:52:17 PM EDT
Do not waste your money on a radio or pager, find a inexpensive scanner for home or vehicle and have a friend on the dept who has a pager or radio call you if there is a tone out. The dept will issue you a pager, radio or both when they get ready.
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