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  1. #1
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    Default Intercom systems in engines

    We're looking to put an intercom system headsets in one of our engines. Does anyone have any info good or bad about Sigtronics, David Clark Aviation or Firecom? Those are the three I've looked at and wanted some unbiased input from soemone other than a salesman.
    J. Adam Berry
    Deputy Chief
    Griffith Fire Department


  2. #2
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    My dept. has three maybe four different types of systems. Seems that the hands down favorite, David Clarke, is also the most expensive. Our admin feel for the oldest trick to convert to a cheaper system when they were told "we are a local company, so if you have any problems", boy it was a good thing they are cause they always have them. Sorry that I don't know all of the other brands one is WTC and I'm just not sure about the other two. I know that one of them dosen't even have markings on the head set. I figure it like this the military uses David Clarke in almost all of its operations from Aircraft to Tanks, and I've seen alot of their use by Nascar crews. These guys know how important reliability is and they spare no expense to come out on top. Should we as FireFighters think differently?

  3. #3
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    We have David clark , and Sigtronics. Our favorite is the David Clark. I will say that we have had some trouble with the Sigtronics ( not their fault,it was not installed at the factory correctly) they were very good about helping fix the problem also they call every 6-8 months to check the system.
    The David Clark just seem more Fire Fighter friendly ( built like a tank) .

  4. #4
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    Jab1415, I'll agree with everybody else about the David Clarke system. It's very reliable and quite rugged. I believe Los Angeles has been using them for years in their rigs.

    I have also used Firecom and they have come a long way. Their first system had some bugs (doesn't everything) but they seem to have worked them out. Their system is fairly compatible to David Clarke with regard to reliability but I think Firecom is a little cheaper.

    Engine/Rescue Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)

  5. #5
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    We use David Clark forour outside radio connections. I love them. Nice and durable. Good sound dampening..just enough to muffle the loud stuff out, but you can still hear someone "on the outside" talking to you. We have themhooked up to Motorola radios and haven't had a problem (except for a few op errors)
    HELL YEAH!!!
    The comments made by me are just that. Not of the Fire dept or Ambulance squad I am on.

  6. #6
    Forum Member TCFD12's Avatar
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    I hate to throw a wrench into the David Clark parade, but here goes. We have three trucks that have headset systems installed, 2 - have David Clark, 1 has a Setcom system. I can honestly say that even though the David Clark systems are good, the Setcom system is that much better. We had setup problems with the Davd Clark system and with the interface to our radios (Motorola). The Setcom system has not been touched since it was installed.

    I feel that the Setcom system is far clearer sounding than the David Clark. Also, a few other points to consider, the Setcom system has less wires and is cheaper.

    You owe it to yourself to at least look at the Setcom system.

    We just ordered 2 new engines and I can tell you that they will both have Setcom systems.
    "The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men."
    -Henry David Thoreau

    Visit my dept. at www.TCFD.com

  7. #7
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    Portland, OR
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    Just curious...
    I'm not a salesman, but I do work for Firecom and I was just looking around to see what folks think about their intercom systems, so it was interesting to read the above comments. If you could install the perfect system, what features would you build into it?
    Lisa

  8. #8
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    David Clarke by far! We used these in the Navy and beat the crap out of them and they still worked. Don't sacrifice the quality man. Get the best and most experienced in the business. I think they have been around since Graham-Bell invented the phone.

    [ 08-16-2001: Message edited by: pwc606 ]

  9. #9
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    We use Sigtronics at work, and we love them. The only problem with an intercom system, in my opinion, is that you're usually not using them when responding to structure fires because the crews are generally in full gear in the truck and can't wear a headset. But 95% of the time they're great. I do have some experience with Dave Clark's, but the set I've used is about 6 years old, and might not be a valid comparison. But the Sigtronics we use are lighter and less cumbersome that the Clark's, and can be worn for longer periods of time comfortably.
    These are my opinions and not those of the organizations for which I work and/or volunteer.

  10. #10
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    Most any headsets are okay, David Clark, Firecom, Siqtronics, are some of the good ones. one thing do not buy anything with push to talk on the headset. this takes your hands from where they should be. intercoms need to be voice activated. you can use your hands for doing other things, reading maps and preplanes. voice activated works good in the plane. Push to talk to talk on the radio. whatever you purchase, get it engineer for your equipment and have it installed by professional communications people.

    larry

  11. #11
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    Within the last 2 years, I helped spec. out headset systems for my vol. dept. I contacted every manufacturer that I could find. Our department had a slight problem with most systems, because we use 2 different radio systems on calls and sometimes have to switch between them. We received systems from David Clark, Sigtronics and Firecom to demo as they were the only ones that could fit our radio needs. The david clark demo system was able to be used on the truck as well. We found that the david clark system did well on eliminating engine and transmission whine, but the controller boxes where rather big for limited space. The guys did not like the feel of the sigtronics system. We ended up going with a firecom system. The guys liked the feel of the system, and the cost was at least half of a comprable david clark one. It did require some filters to eliminate alternator whine and took some fine tuning, but our guys love it now. As for having ptt on the headset, i prefer it there. When the pump operator has to talk on the radio, he is not always around the pump to press the button. With it on his headset, it is always within reach. The main thing is call and talk to the manufacturers. They are more than happy to help you out with any questions you have.
    Morgan Boyd
    Montgomery County, MD DFRS
    South Greensburg, PA VFD

    [ 08-21-2001: Message edited by: firemedicmo ]

  12. #12
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    We use FireCom on all our trucks. We have replaced some old Clark units and like the FireCom's price and dependability. We have to use filters on some of the trucks to cut out some of the whine, but our people like them. We like the push-to-talk feature.

    Jim
    A proud member of the Highlands Firefighters, Local 1505.<br />The opinions and information provided are my own and do not reflect the views of my Department or Local 1505.

  13. #13
    Forum Member gunnyv's Avatar
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    We have firecoms on all our trucks. Good thing, cause when they break or don't work you can trade them between rigs. We have had a lot of problems with them. They are nice when they work, and when you have an officer who's not afraid to mess up his hair! We also have some guys who say they are too tight, but their heads would fit in on Easter Island.

  14. #14
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    Default firecom not so good

    We have Sigtronics, Sigtronics with David Clark headsets, and on Firecom system (2years old). I spec'd out the Firecom as I had read it was the latest technology.

    Unfortunately, the system had alternator whine, which was fixed; too tight of headset spring, two have broken by guys trying to spread them a bit too much; ear cushions get hard after a while and need replacing; are aweful to wear for longer periods of time as compared to the David Clarks.

    The biggest problem has been that you really need to have that germ bank called a microphone at 1/8" from your lips. Otherwise, you are not heard. You have to speak pretty loud to turn on the VOX, thus you sometimes miss the first word.

    We are not happy with the Firecom and would not recommend them. Sigtronics is okay, but the guys cheat the system by turning the squelch up to turn off the VOX. So, we hear all the noises anyway. The Sigtronics headsets don't hold up well to fire fighters tossing them down. The David Clarks seem to take the beating pretty well.

    I know that the DC's are more money, but I think that the quality is more than worth the extra expense. Hope this helps you choose.

  15. #15
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    We've had hte DC's and not been overly impressed. In fact we chose not to include any intercoms in our latest due the issues with the DC's. Though I must admit, we probably have or had a poor rep who installed our system so it's more of a pain to use than it's worth. As far as sound after the installation of a filter the communications between sets is good. Though the PTT button on the box stinks and the on/off button on the headset is too easy to bump and shut off. In testing we liked the Firecoms and would consider them if we decide to put them in again.

  16. #16
    Oh Thank Heaven for SQ27 SquadCaptain27's Avatar
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    Holy Thread Revival Batman!

    But while we're at it... Firecom here - trouble free except for us closing them in the damn doors.

    Sean Desjardins, Captain
    Westampton Township Emergency Services
    http://www.westamptonfire.org

  17. #17
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    We started using the Firecoms a few years ago, and trashing the Sigtronics systems. Had multiple problems with the Sigs.

    At the same time we started to use the Firecoms, we had the builder install them as well as the Motorola radios, and drive test (not test drive) them to make sure there were no problems. So far, there has been none.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  18. #18
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    Well why not I know this is old but, we use Firecom. There are a few things that I do not like about them.
    1. Non-adjustable head straps.
    2. Plastic parts inside that break
    3. Not a manufacture problem but bad placement of hook ups in truck. The cords get caught on our seats and you try and rip your head off.

  19. #19
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    Wink Firecom!

    We use Firecom on 3 engines and 4 medic units. We have had good luck with them, product support has been very good. Looked at DC system for new engine but the price was amazing. We will be sticking with Firecom. Neighbor dept just got new 100' platform and put the new wireless headsets, saw the demo from FC and they are cool, but have to remember to charge them and time will tell.
    Our new engine we specd the engineers headset wireless so he can have full communications while moving around engine, wait and see how it works. The headsets are not extremely durable can't throw them on ground or slam them in door they will break. Good luck!

  20. #20
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    We looked into headsets for our tiller. We figured as important as it is for the tiller man to be able to comunicate wiith the driver and officer we would take the time and do our homework. We looked at david clark, sig tronics and Firecom. We had reps come to the station and demo their stuff. Looked at different rigs and spoke with other Depts. out wha they had. When it came down to it we chose Firecom. We hears less bad things about them, and they seemed less likley to have problems with the conection point.
    It takes a little intelligence to enjoy humor,satire & wit, but none to be offended by it.

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