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    Default Regional Interop. Radio Communications

    To those that successfully received an award for interoperable radios. Did any of you encounter any surprise expenses after the award? Such as license fees? Or increased radio prices, installations, cables, equipment or any other expense that you had to absorb yourself? I'm trying to get this one put together and I would rather cut the number of radios instead of having to eat $3,000 dollars or more for something I missed.

    If you wish you can email me at jam24u@windstream.net

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    Quote Originally Posted by jam24u View Post
    To those that successfully received an award for interoperable radios. Did any of you encounter any surprise expenses after the award? Such as license fees? Or increased radio prices, installations, cables, equipment or any other expense that you had to absorb yourself? I'm trying to get this one put together and I would rather cut the number of radios instead of having to eat $3,000 dollars or more for something I missed.

    If you wish you can email me at jam24u@windstream.net
    Not quite sure what you're asking but I'll give it a try.
    When you put together a bid spec package for radios, make a detailed list of all the equipment that you require. IE.
    portable radio to include
    Radio vhf minimum 120 ch capable with 6.25 narrowband capability
    2200mah lithium battery with base charger and 12 volt auto charger
    iep-67 immersion rating
    milspec a,b,c,f,
    nylon/leather case with belt mount quick release or shoulder strap
    3 year warrantee
    antenna
    shoulder mic
    Radios to be programmed by vendor to our specifications
    vendor to supply programming software to dept as part of bid.

    For mobile radios add: all installation needs to be included not limited to antennas and cables and specify whether you will bring trucks to radio shop or the installer comes to the station.

    I will dig out my exact radio bid spec and send it to you.

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    Licensing fees should not be a surprise either. You can plan all of that ahead of time if you know what your system is going to be. APCO can give you a rundown of the fees.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jam24u View Post
    To those that successfully received an award for interoperable radios. Did any of you encounter any surprise expenses after the award? Such as license fees? Or increased radio prices, installations, cables, equipment or any other expense that you had to absorb yourself? I'm trying to get this one put together and I would rather cut the number of radios instead of having to eat $3,000 dollars or more for something I missed.

    If you wish you can email me at jam24u@windstream.net
    Not quite sure what you're asking but I'll give it a try.
    When you put together a bid spec package for radios, make a detailed list of all the equipment that you require. IE.
    portable radio to include
    Radio vhf minimum 120 ch capable with 6.25 narrowband capability
    2200mah lithium battery with base charger and 12 volt auto charger
    iep-67 immersion rating
    milspec a,b,c,f,
    nylon/leather case with belt mount quick release or shoulder strap
    3 year warrantee
    antenna
    shoulder mic
    Radios to be programmed by vendor to our specifications
    vendor to supply programming software to dept as part of bid.

    For mobile radios add: all installation needs to be included not limited to antennas and cables and specify whether you will bring trucks to radio shop or the installer comes to the station.

    I will dig out my exact radio bid spec and send it to you.

    PS
    Another thought: make sure you check with the state guru to find out what the statewide interoperable plan is before submitting. If in consideration the feds will check to see if your request meets the states approval. In my grant app ,I put that we had prior approval from the state EMA office and met their requirements.

    When we went out to bid we actually came in at a lower price overall than the previous quotes by changing to a different manufacturer, and managed to spend some excess $$ on new pagers
    Last edited by islandfire03; 03-11-2009 at 11:14 AM. Reason: added comments

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    Default radio specs

    Islandfire03,
    Would you mind sending me a copy of your specs also...??? we are also working on a regional radio grant..
    Thanks in advance...David accesslocks@sbcglobal.net

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    E-mail on the way to both of you

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    E-mail on the way to both of you
    Got it. Thanks. Very Interesting. Trait hunh? You mentioned communicating with the state guru. I have been and even today after your above response. I wonder how hard it would be to convince them of using that manufacturer? Repair options, etc.

    During D.H.S. director of grants Michael Paddock's webcast about regional AFG applications as being the best source of funding for local fire jurisdictions radio needs. He had mentioned how the Homeland Security Grants Program had "muddied up" the ability for smaller local departments to acquire radio equipment and be able to achieve interoperability. Those HSGP funds are being awarded to the state and then the regions within the state make their request for their 'share' of the funds for their needs. So our county makes their case to the region then depends on the region to make our case to the state. However, it appears that now the state's own agencies are taking place in front of the line for the small amount of money that has been allocated to the state. In Novemeber our state just got over 8 million. So local departments and counties requests are subbordinate to projects like towers and other higer dollar items that the state and regional leaders want. It's clear that AFG is our only real shot at getting this equipment.


    Thanks Sparks.

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    Jam24
    You're correct that even though the federal HS $$ that are supposed to be trickling down to the end users like us ,it seems that the majority of these $$ are going to build out state infrastructure. Two years ago there was funding earmarked for interoperable communications of first responders. The vast majority of the money in our state went to building towers for the state police radio system and if you happened to have one of these new towers in your area you could place an antenna on it for a fee.
    AFG funding is the only way we could move from 15-20 year old portables and crystal controlled mobiles to modern multi channel narrow band VHF radios.

    Unless your statewide system requires you to go to a digital big $$$$$$$$ system to play , run away and buy what you need to get the job done.
    We were lucky that the state office responsible for comm planning realized that it will be a long time before we have the infrastructure to support a digital system ,so we could buy quality VHF conventional radios and not break the bank.

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    Default IslandFire

    Hey Sparks, Tait contacted me. I didn't realize that their radio equipment was that superior. One other factor was they contacted me right away (major issue with me) and gave me the ammo to belay any caution about choosing their products instead of the big M and the big K. I'm gonna send you a christmas card dude. Major Thanks,,,

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    JAM: Like I said ,we've had nothing but first class service and responsiveness from them, both at the corporate level and our local dealer /service center.
    We're very impressed with them .
    Glad to help.

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    islandfire03 would like a narrative to your Regional Comm Grant. We are working on ours and would more input.
    dtaa665199@aol.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by DTaa66 View Post
    islandfire03 would like a narrative to your Regional Comm Grant. We are working on ours and would more input.
    dtaa665199@aol.com
    We didn't do a regional: only a single department program.
    E-mails on the way.

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    Whats is the cap on portables?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Menlo715 View Post
    Whats is the cap on portables?
    While I'm sure that there is an upper limit to the amount of $$$ the feds will fund , the secret is to justify your request by showing that you are asking for enough funds to purchase radios that will meet your needs and the states interoperability communications plan.

    In other words don't ask for $3500.00 radios if a $750.00 radio will meet your needs. Each state has different requirements. Some departments have to purchase P-25 astro digitals to be interoperable,others a simple VHF narrowband radio will do the job just fine.

    AFG will check with your state before awarding any communications grant funding. They will know what you need & what they cost. Don't get greedy, just show them your needs in the application, and justify why you need it.

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    How can you track down the state contact

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    In many states it is someone in the emergency management office or the state police communications branch. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

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    Thats easy - what state are you in?

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    I thought P-25 was a Federal requirement to be compliant. ???

    If not compliant=no award.

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    Do not fall into the radio salesmen's trap. There is no federal mandate that you move to expensive P-25 digital equipment.
    They will require narrow band,ie instead of 25mhz bandwith spacing you need 12.5mhz. This mandate takes effect in 2013.

    Some states have taken this to mean that P-25 is the way to go because they listened to salesmen who want to make millions of $$ on commissions.
    If your state requires p-25 digital to comply with their interoperability communications plan, then you are screwed. You have to buy $2500.00 radios instead of a high quality conventional at $700.00. Some states restrict your choices even more by by requiring you to buy into a system that requires a monthly fee for every individual radio.

    Last year we were awarded a radio grant and a dept in another state was awarded the same number of radios. His grant funds were well over 100k while ours was under 25k. His dept had to buy 800 mhz trunking P-25 radios with a proprietary system. They also have to pay a monthly fee to link those radios to the system. Forever

    You tell me which way is smarter!!!
    Oh by the way: You should NOT be using those big $$ digital radios on the fireground. instead you need a simplex analog frequency for FF safety!

    Do your homework before you buy any salesmen's line about what they want to sell you.

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    Island is totally correct. And HDfireball, being in NY could make it even more interesting. As you know, NY's system is in a state of flux. I suspect OIT will require the radios to be P25 conventional, because whatever system they do decide to go with at some point in the (far) future will still have tactical bridges.

    One minor point, GOOD P25 radios can be had from a lot of the manufacturers for around 1k. Competition has been a wonderful thing. The whole thing about propietary systems is right on - they make no sense.

    And while P25 mode is pretty evil on the fireground, P25 radios can have analog channels in them, making them fine for the fireground.

    Finally, there are some unscrupulous radio dealers running around pushing fire departments into Mototrbo radios, stating they are "digital, just like P25".

    While they are digital, they are nothing like P25, and are in no way compatable with P25. Run - don't walk from one of these scams.

    (Yes, there are some GREAT Motorola dealers - but like any other vendor, they have some losers also.)

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    LVFD; I was trying hard not to name any of the problem brands out there.
    There are good and bad dealers working for every manufacturer. It just seems like there are many working for a certain manufacturer that are trying to take advantage of unknowing fire departments by selling them equipment they don't need and can't use.

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    I am in Georgia but we have a station in Alabama so we need to interop with both

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    LVFD; I was trying hard not to name any of the problem brands out there.
    There are good and bad dealers working for every manufacturer. It just seems like there are many working for a certain manufacturer that are trying to take advantage of unknowing fire departments by selling them equipment they don't need and can't use.
    Motorola shall remain nameles....
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    LVFD; I was trying hard not to name any of the problem brands out there.
    There are good and bad dealers working for every manufacturer. It just seems like there are many working for a certain manufacturer that are trying to take advantage of unknowing fire departments by selling them equipment they don't need and can't use.
    While many of my years have included bowing towards Schaumberg on my prayer mat, and it has been a pretty fair living, I know I can sleep at night. I seriously wonder how some of the dealers do sleep at night though.

    Of course, you can turn that around and I wonder how some of the low end dealers can sleep at night also - putting absolute crap out there to public safety.

    There is a happy medium out there. Icom, Tait, Kenwood and a few others are putting out very respectable pieces of equipment. Some of the others are absolute crap, some of the others, well, you can get as good or better, but you can't pay more.

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    So you're saying that Ritron is not a good option for public safety communications? C'mon now. They do two-tone decode and only cost $110.00 with shipping. They are perfect!!!

    I swear to god. One of the local motorola dealers actually told our PD that the Quantar is not available in analog anymore.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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