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  1. #1
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    Default portable radio brands

    hello we recently purchased 10 kenwood tk-280 portables. so far we have had good luck with them, they are very versital and rugged. i just wanted to hear some feedback about radio brands and also how many channels does your department usally use, how do ya train your ff's in there use??

    take care god bless!


  2. #2
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    We use Motorola's here, both in my FD and ambulance. for the FD we have dispatch/main channel. fireground, town highway, county police and the town next to us police freq(ambulance is dispatched off of this), a private channel for the 3 fd's surrounding su. we also have 2 weather freqs. for ambulance we have the dispatch freq, 155.340 and 155.385 for calling the hosp, a private freq, the main fire dispatch channel and a few weather channels. one of our rigs also has the fireground and fd private channel on it also.
    HELL YEAH!!!
    The comments made by me are just that. Not of the Fire dept or Ambulance squad I am on.

  3. #3
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    A vote for MOTOROLA here. That's based on experience, tried, poven and punished! Although the minitor III pagers are a different story.

    As for channel layout, I adhere to the KISS principle. Too much selectivity can actually be a negative when faced with the "big one", and communication is broke down simply because everyone on the team may not be on the same channel. One working channel and a back-up is all that's needed on a portable, the IC can have the rest.

    Communication is a skill that is used on every run, and the capability of the equipment is only as good as those that operate it. The busier you are, the more proficient you will probably be. Many a word can be transmitted over the air during an incident. Some of that can be eliminated with good SOG's and standing orders. To each his own, I realize everyone is structured differently, but when the heat's on, things run better when you keep it simple.....

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    My Department has Motorola commumnications equipment. We have Motorola Spectra 800 MHz on the rigs, the firefighter's portables are the MX800s, officers have the HT1000's.

    When I worked at the Fire Academy, they had a GE radio system (low bid, you get what you pay for!). The GE base unit was okay, but the portables just plain sucked. They were always breaking down and in the repair shop. Two tin cans and string would be a vast improvement.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
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    thanks to all who put in there 2or3 cents worth. whats so bad about the minitor 3 pagers..?? those of you with 800 mhz sytems, are you having the same problems that FDNY did with there portables?

    take care and god bless..thanks again

  6. #6
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    My department runs three different radio models-all Motorola,HT 750's HT 1000's and SP 50's, all also funtion as pagers. As far as the channels the basic set up is county talk around, county repeater, state fire channel, page(same rx as county, but you only hear the page information), and a couple of weather channels. Some of the radios also have state law enforcement channels and state ems frequencies, along with the channnels for nearby departments for mutual aid purposes.
    I don't get paid-the hours are terrible-but I'm doing what I enjoy, and that's good enough for me!

  7. #7
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    My department runs Motorola HT1250's, they're great ... they have a display which shows what frequencie you are talking on.. <A HREF="http://www.motorola.com/LMPS/RPG/NA/portables/proradio/ht1250/ht1250.html[url="http://www.motorola.com/LMPS/RPG/NA/portables/proradio/ht1250/ht1250.html"]web" TARGET=_blank>http://www.motorola.com/LMPS/RPG/NA/portables/proradio/ht1250/ht1250.htmlweb page</A>
    Thank you FDNY, you will never be forgotten

  8. #8
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    Default

    We have Motorola XTS 3000 500 mhz digital radios.

  9. #9
    Forum Member raricciuti's Avatar
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    We used to have GE PCS portables. Unbelievably BAD. Total pieces of junk. They were replaced with Motorola MT2000 A4 portables - 48 channel, 450-512 mHz. Most have speaker-microphones on them. We've had very good luck with them - almost no problems with them at all. Our municipality has about 100 of them. Our neighboring PD's, FD's, EMS, Public Works, and our 9-1-1 center all have the first 8 channels programmed the same to improve operations between agencies. We have 2 police, 1 EMS, 3 fire, 1 public works, and one public safety channel in everyone's radio. The remaining channels are department specific - PD has other police agencies, fire has tactical & hazmat channels, EMS has med channels, etc. Our FD's also have a business channel licensed for non-emergency operations like fundraising, community service details, etc. to avoid tying up emergency channels. We have some of the larger institutional facilities radio channels programmed in, such as our school districts, hospital, shopping mall, nursing homes, etc. This lets us talk directly with supervisory, maintenance or security personnel if needed. We had training for the entire department when we got them, and use them alot (5+ fire calls per day). Only wish Motorola still made them - they discontinued the MT2000 recently.

    Regarding the post about Minitor-III pagers -we had heard the horror stories about all the problems with them, and bought a bunch of Minitor-II's before they went out of production. A bunch of neighboring departments got Minitor-III's (several hundred pagers), and had problems with them not alerting, missing calls, and reception problems. Glad we got the II's when we did. No significant problems with the Minitor-II's, and we've had some of them for 6 or 7 years.
    R.A. Ricciuti
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

  10. #10
    Forum Member weir33's Avatar
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    Hello Lieut
    Our dept uses kenwood tk250's Ive dried mine out TWICE on the dash heater works great we have 1 private working channel 1 mutual aid channel and a provincial grid system with dialup for each tower plus the private channels of all our closest neibouring dept,s Ive loaded my empty channels with marine freq,s for work (Coast Guard) Also our provincal Govt. gives us 2 portable and 1 mobile 900mghz radios for talking with EMS, AIRMED,DNR ,Casara,RCMP (Mounties),and most other govt. Depts. Also New members are used to assist dispatch it helps a great deal with the comfort levels the more you do it the easier it is. We also bought some Min II,s from a dept switching to III,s their loss. Check out multiplier corp. from MT. Kisco NY for replacement batteries, for tk250,s they were less than half price.

    [ 11-16-2001: Message edited by: weir_33 ]
    J.B.WEIR
    Summerville Vol Fire Dept
    Pride In Service !

  11. #11
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    thanks alot gang for the replies...been real busy up here we had a motel catch on fire a few days ago, i was IC so i was pretty busy.we were there for about 6 hrs.

    question? on your department what do you use to freeze operations (radio transmission)?

    also...if the fcc decides to refarm the high band radio wave spectrum, how will your dept. be affected?

    take care gang!

  12. #12
    Forum Member raricciuti's Avatar
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    LT 907,

    Two phrases will (or should!) cease all radio traffic. One is MAYDAY, the other is EMERGENCY TRAFFIC. The mayday is reserved only for a downed firefighter. The IC puts someone in charge of the RIT operations and radio traffic, which stays on the original channel. Everything else on the fireground is automatically moved to another channel assigned by the dispatcher.

    The "emergency traffic" can be used for anything else warranting those on scene to stop transmitting, pronto. No automatic channel-changing is associated with this phrase - it's more or less a "shut up and listen" command.

    As for high-band refarming, I don't know. We're on UHF at present, with a possibility of going 800 somewhere down the road.
    R.A. Ricciuti
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

  13. #13
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    The Motorola SP50 is a solid radio. I have had no trouble with it and have routinely gotten 10-12 hours of use from the smaller size SP50 before having to change batteries. The Minitor III pagers- I haven't had any trouble with mine and it is wonderful to monitor two frequencies over one pager. That saves my radio battery for fire scenes. The nice thing about Motorola is they will repair your radio or pager ASAP, unlike other brands which can take months to get returned.

  14. #14
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    Post

    hey gang thanks for the repliies!!!

    just found out that we are going to 800 MHZ digital in one year. we are going to start testing soon for portable coverage in our area do you guys have any feedback on this subject?

    should we path our current VHF system into the new sysytem?

    take care god bless!!!

  15. #15
    Senior Member BFD196's Avatar
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    Well 800 systems can work, but you have to have the money to do it right. Here in Stamford we`ve got a GE system. It`s awful, I won`t get into all the details but there`s something wrong with it every day. The portables are huge, heavy, and difficult to use if a sudden channel change is neccesary. The main problem with us though, has been the lack of tower`s. We should have 5 (I think, it may be 4), but we`ve only got 2. Even if the city offers to get the new towers which they didn`t buy before, no one wants one in their backyard! The public won`t understand until something serious happens that results in injury, or death. <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">

    Here`s a flip side, Hartford uses the exact same system, and I just heard they love it. With the proper amount of towers and training they haven`t had any problems.

  16. #16
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    If you have not started your portable coverage testing, there is no way on earth you will be operational in a year. As BFD45 stated, 800 MHz can work reasonably well IF it is properly engineered for coverage.

    One of the best ways to insure that is to have a firm with no other stake in the project do the radio engineering study. Take their results to the money folks and DO NOT allow them to change (reduce) the amount of equipment recommended. Make sure all the funds are allocated to the project before it starts. It is better to scrap the project altogether than end up with an 800 MHz digital system with an inadequate number of transmitter/receiver sites.

    Unfortunately, my department learned the hard way. They are now trying to add sites that were originally proposed, but cut due to lack of funding.

    For a comparison of two systems, one designed and built well and the other not so well, contact Baltimore and DC.

    Also, if you go with Motorola XTS3000 portables, make sure you get the 'ruggedized' (XTS-3000R) that are intrinsically safe. The non-ruggedized models don't like water.

  17. #17
    Some Guy
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    GE is god awfull. GE = good enough
    This space for rent

  18. #18
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Once the 800 systems engineered if they tell you 8"tower" spots use 8.Don't try to shortcut anything or you'll be crying for two tomato cans and a piece of string.I'm hoping we can stay away from 800 for a while;a long while.T.C.

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