1. #1
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    Default Used Mobile Radio's

    Okay I don't pretend to be an expert when it comes to Radio's. I know when I click the button on the mic, wait for a second and speak into it, the folks at our Dispatch facility can hear me (On a good day...if the TV isn't up to loud)

    Where I have a problem is in my personal vehicle, I carry my portable radio with me (Motorola HT750) But it's just not powerful enough to reach the repeaters, so nobody can hear me. I want to install a Mobile in my truck so I can solve this problem. I've been digging through ebay, but I honestly don't know what I'm looking at. I know I need a VHF radio, and that at our station we use strictly Motorola Base, Mobile and portable radios so I'd like to stick with that if I can.

    I'm poor...like most Volunteer Firefighters, so I've got a budget of around $250. I've looked at other radio's that aren't Motorola's, but since I've got no experience with them I have no idea if they will be any good. So folks, any suggestions? Helpful advice in general in regards to Mobile Radios, they're instillation, what not to do? Any help is much appreciated. Thanks folks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EngineCO38 View Post
    Okay I don't pretend to be an expert when it comes to Radio's. I know when I click the button on the mic, wait for a second and speak into it, the folks at our Dispatch facility can hear me (On a good day...if the TV isn't up to loud)

    Where I have a problem is in my personal vehicle, I carry my portable radio with me (Motorola HT750) But it's just not powerful enough to reach the repeaters, so nobody can hear me. I want to install a Mobile in my truck so I can solve this problem. I've been digging through ebay, but I honestly don't know what I'm looking at. I know I need a VHF radio, and that at our station we use strictly Motorola Base, Mobile and portable radios so I'd like to stick with that if I can.

    I'm poor...like most Volunteer Firefighters, so I've got a budget of around $250. I've looked at other radio's that aren't Motorola's, but since I've got no experience with them I have no idea if they will be any good. So folks, any suggestions? Helpful advice in general in regards to Mobile Radios, they're instillation, what not to do? Any help is much appreciated. Thanks folks.
    Does your department allow you to install and use a personal mobile? Not trying to be a jerk, just something you need to consider.

    Do they use any identifiers on their radios? Meaning, can someone with a display model tell that a specific radio is keying up?

    Is there a radio shop that your department uses? You might want to contact them and see if they have any cheap radios.

    How many channels do you need?

    The mobile version for your model is a Motorola CDM750.. older model, but quite good. You can usually pick one up for <$200.

    The KEY to a good install is the Antenna. If you aren't willing to drill a hole, then you are looking at a sub-optimal installation. Not that it can't be done, but drilling is the way to go.

    Also, the Antenna itself can cost some money and there are quite a few considerations when selecting one.

    If you don't have much experience, find someone who does...

    Peruse the forums on www.radioreference.com There are some great install threads there.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-26-2011 at 07:40 PM.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Beyond ChiefKN's excellent points, unless your agency is using some technology proprietary to Moto, you're not limited to them. There are plenty of vendors selling compatible radios, sometimes new, for under $250. Icom is well respected, for one.

    As you're looking through the used market, remember that VHF-High frequencies must be narrowband by 2013. I'm guessing here, but I've got a feeling that there will be more than a few used non-compliant radios available on the market. Make sure your radio is narrowband capable.

    Assuming that you are, indeed, authorized to have a radio in your personal vehicle, going to a local/regional comm dealer is probably your best bet. If they've got a trade-in on their shelf, they'll probably gladly program it to your specs for a reasonable price. And they'll know what you need for programming the radio.

    And that's the spot where you'll likely have the most trouble - programming the radio. If you don't have a resource available, you're stuck with buying the cable and programming program. And if you're not a licensed tech, that could be a problem, too - particularly if you screw it up and the FCC gets involved because of the interference you caused.

    What are others in your department doing?
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    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Saw a post about radios and thought I might have some input - but you two have covered it well! I am hiring for 3 sales guys if you want to move to MO LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Saw a post about radios and thought I might have some input - but you two have covered it well! I am hiring for 3 sales guys if you want to move to MO LOL
    Don't tempt me...
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    You will have to check with the holder of the radio license, for permission to use their frequency on your radio.

    In my state, some channels licenced by the state cannot be on a mobile radio, in a privately owned vehicle.

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    Hey folks, thanks for all the replies and help, its very much appreciated. However I think my problem resolved itself all together without me having to get a mobile radio. Though I'm sure someday I will need one, I don't intend to remain at the rank of Firefighter forever ya know, a young lad (25...cause I know you all are like 50 or something like that, which makes you all old) like me has aspirations for advancement! Maybe I'll never wear a white helmet, but a red one would be nice.

    But for right now sticking with my Portable works just fine. But thanks again folks, have a happy New Year and for god sake's keep safe out there!

    P.S. Totally gonna get a scanner still though...because I need SOMETHING to put with my switch box or it'll just look stupid.
    Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EngineCO38 View Post
    I don't intend to remain at the rank of Firefighter forever ya know, a young lad (25...cause I know you all are like 50 or something like that, which makes you all old)
    50 is OLD? 25 is still a young web behind the ears whippersnapper. We at 50 have just learned how to delegate properly. I have a mid level supervisory position that has your name all over it. I will let you wear a red helmet. The position is PLO. Want it?

    50 is old... If I could get my walker moving his direction I would slap him.....

  9. #9
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    I wish I could remember what 50 was like.
    Closing in on 60 real fast here!

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    You 50 to 60 years olds are a bunch of youngsters!





    EngineCo38, if your portable radio has a BNC connector, get you a good antenna with a BNC connector, remove the antenna on the radio and put the mobile antenna on it and stick the mobile antenna on your roof or rear deck lid. It will help your portable receive better.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    EngineCo38, if your portable radio has a BNC connector, get you a good antenna with a BNC connector, remove the antenna on the radio and put the mobile antenna on it and stick the mobile antenna on your roof or rear deck lid. It will help your portable receive better.
    If it has any connector, there's likely an adapter available online. My Kenwood uses as TNC connector, and I have an adapter for it.

    The only way you're going to have a problem is if you have an old radio that's got the antenna permanently affixed to the radio.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  12. #12
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    Well the antenna does come off, not sure what connector it has. And to be honest I had no idea this option even existed. But I don't think I really want to go this route, this Portable is also what I carry with me on every call. Just grabbing it when I get to the station is one thing, having to unscrew it from the antenna and then put the regular one back on is just kinda a pain.
    Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

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    It's really not that bad, and the antenna will help as much as anything.

    With my handheld, I can talk to the SO from 20 miles off if I'm not in a low spot. With an antenna, that same radio will hit the SO from 40 miles out.

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    I can tell you that I have seen a LOT of repair issues over the years from people doing this, and destroying the antenna connector.

    It sort of tends to be worse on issued radios than privately owned, but it is an issue.

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    wrong thread...
    Last edited by ChathamVFD9921; 01-03-2012 at 11:15 AM.

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