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  1. #1
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    Default Pros and cons of 800MHZ vs UHF

    I'm looking for some info to take to a committee researching our communication needs. We need to look at UHF as well as possibly going to a county wide 800MHz system but I'm looking for pros and cons of each. I know everyone has preferences (I'm a UHF guy) but I need to show hard (unbiased) data that UHF is the way to stay. I'm not looking for anti-countywide stuff but actual technical (hardware) differences between the 2 systems. Anyone have any websites, white papers, studies, etc please let me know.


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    You're asking an impossible question to answer because you're looking at it the wrong way. There is no operational difference between UHF and 800Mhz. The radios are the same. There is no quality or hardware difference other than the frequency at which they operate. For example, a Motorola XTS5000 in UHF is just as good as an 800Mhz XTS5000.

    What you are actually trying to compare is a system that already exists (county 800mhz) vs some other UHF system that may or may not already exist (I don't know because you haven't stated). Nobody here knows what kind of infratructure your county's existing 800Mhz system has. And nobody know what kind of infrastructure this UHF system has or would have. Therefore, it is not possible for anyone to tell you what would be a better option.

    A properly designed and built trunked 800Mhz system will operate wonderfully. A properly designed and built UHF system will operate wonderfully. If one of them is poorly designed, it will suck. It doesn't matter what the number of Mhz are.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Pretty much exactly what NMFire said.

    You will have a little better range on a single site UHF system compared to a single site 800, but penetration at 800 is often a little better. But it all depends on the system. Anything you want to do on UHF you can do on 800, and vice versa.

    What state are you in?

  4. #4
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    If you are upgrading a system make sure you are getting something that is P2500 compliant. That will assure you be getting something that will meet the newer standards.

  5. #5
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firesarge69 View Post
    If you are upgrading a system make sure you are getting something that is P2500 compliant. That will assure you be getting something that will meet the newer standards.
    Uh. Well for one thing it is P25, which is abbriviating APCO Project 25. Being "P25 compliant" is an overused, misunderstood, and therefore useless statement. There are MANY MANY facets to Project 25 and no system will ever need or use all of them. Most equipment does not support all of it. And lots of equipment supports none of it. And that is perfectly fine as long as you have no use for it.

    You need to purchase what is right for your needs. That may not entail a single aspect of Project 25 standards. It may entails some. It may entail a lot. But regardless, there is no such thing as "be P25 compliant".
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firesarge69 View Post
    If you are upgrading a system make sure you are getting something that is P2500 compliant. That will assure you be getting something that will meet the newer standards.
    As pointed out, it is P25, not 2500, and the P25 standards are STILL yet being worked out.


    Don't fall for the salesperson.

  7. #7
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    My department went from a UHF to 800 system in 1998. We have had numerous problems over the years since switching. Our vendor has been good at trying to remedy the problems. We found that when the system was originally designed, there was some flawed information about our county that was used in the design. We were told that the system was designed by looking at a map of the county and some limited real-time data. We ended up with a system that didn't have enough antenna's. I would suggest that if you go this route, insure that the vendor is using real-time data only and that you test the system every place you currently have issues with the present system. Once the bugs are worked out, it’s actually a pretty nice system.

  8. #8
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    Any well designed radio system requires a feet on the street radio propagation study to be completed before a Radio Engineer starts to design the proper system .
    A bad design doesn't care what frequency your operating on it will be lacking. You cannot design a a good system by sitting at a computer and guessing how well it will work.

    System design should be done by an engineer that is not trying to sell you his / her equipment. A salesman will tell you what you want to hear even if their design will not work 100%.
    Don't fall for the p-25 requirement being anything more than a dream.

    Some states require that you join their statewide system in order to apply for grants using federal dollars. Some of these are well thought out system designs and others have been nothing but inoperable garbage, because some administrator listened to a sales rep and believed the promises made. Many of these systems take millions of dollars after start up to make them work properly.

    I know of one city that spent 3.6 million to switch all communications over to an 800 trunked system for Fire, Law enforcement and public works, schol; bus fleets and harbor vessels.
    After they switched they found that no one could talk to dispatch when they entered large city buildings both commercial and industrial. They ended up spending another additional 3 million to add receiver sites and retrofit large buildings with interior antenna's.

  9. #9
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    Default P25 Compliant two way radios

    Your new two way radios should be compatible with your existing radio system. There have been enhancements with Digital (800 MHZ) as well as the P25 stuff referenced in prior posts and many of these enhancements allow for backwards compatibility to work with your existing equipment.

    Many of the grants available today do require radios to be “P25” compliant… they do not require the equipment be on a P25 system. Full compatibility with a P25 System will cost in the millions of dollars. If your community has a 5 year plan to move to P25 or Digital Systems, I would encourage you to spend wisely to purchase two way radios for your current system and make the larger investment later.

  10. #10
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkarchbold View Post
    If your community has a 5 year plan to move to P25 or Digital Systems, I would encourage you to spend wisely to purchase two way radios for your current system and make the larger investment later.
    Wow. SPAM cleverly disguised as useful and caring reply. How creative.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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