1. #1
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    Post Give me a thought on a Radio

    I'm looking to get myself a personal portable. Anyone got any recomendations? What I'd like is something that can do lo-band and possible hi-band (or atleast listen to hi-band). I'd also like one that I can program in the field, ya know got little buttons on it so that I can program freq. Oh yeah, and most importantly it's gotta be cheap. No body in my department really knows much about these kinds of things seeing as how our officers are the only ones given portables. The rest of us just get pagers. So if anyone knows of any good brands or specific types let me know aight?
    Who cares if we are volunteer or paid? Not the fire. We fight fire not each other. Get it straight my brothers and sisters.

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    Hmmm...West Virginia? You guys have radios??? Damn, South Carolina last again!

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    Allow me to, in the most respectful tone I can, say this... If the department doesn't provide you with a portable, odds are you don't need one.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    I agree with Stayback500ft... If your department doesn't issue you one, you probably don't need one.
    My dept issues personal portables to us officers (Lt and up,) as officers speak on the radio more than the others. We also occasionally issue them to active on call paramedics. Other than these cases, the only portables we have are on the equipment.
    It is much better to have the portables on the apparatus rather than in POVs. It also encourages people to use the radios when they are needed as opposed to when it is convenient.

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    Stayback has a good point. Allow me to state a couple of more.

    Your dept's FCC license shows a certain number of radios they can have. If you buy one, you could get your dept a fine or worse yet a revoked license.

    Our dept issues the officer's radios. We also have some on the trucks for the crew to use on calls. A young lad on the dept stepped into a sweetheart of a deal on a portable and bought it. He promised he wouldn't use it except on calls.
    He did fine for a while and then he was in his own car in another town. He observed a minor accident, decided to pick up his radio, give himself a radio # and called it in. Unfortunately, the conditions were just right and every white shirt in the county heard him. He now has a radio shaped paper weight on his desk at home!

    Not to mention what you are looking for would be a very expensive item. I'd like to have that too, but I would be scared to death to carry it for fear of breaking it!

    good luck

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    Stayback has a good point. Allow me to state a couple of more.

    Your dept's FCC license shows a certain number of radios they can have. If you buy one, you could get your dept a fine or worse yet a revoked license.

    Our dept issues the officer's radios. We also have some on the trucks for the crew to use on calls. A young lad on the dept stepped into a sweetheart of a deal on a portable and bought it. He promised he wouldn't use it except on calls.
    He did fine for a while and then he was in his own car in another town. He observed a minor accident, decided to pick up his radio, give himself a radio # and called it in. Unfortunately, the conditions were just right and every white shirt in the county heard him. He now has a radio shaped paper weight on his desk at home!

    Not to mention what you are looking for would be a very expensive item. I'd like to have that too, but I would be scared to death to carry it for fear of breaking it!

    good luck

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    Post Thanks

    Thanks. We don't actually have any portables except for the ones that the officers have. I do know of one of our members who actually happens to have such a radio that I described. That's why I wanted one. He's not an officer, he just has one. Don't really know the FCC rules and regs though. But I think since his radio is personal and not departmental it doesn't affect their numbers, I think he just had to get liscense for the ones that he uses (freqs). Honestly I don't really know what I'm talking about, but it sounds good don't it?
    Who cares if we are volunteer or paid? Not the fire. We fight fire not each other. Get it straight my brothers and sisters.

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    Thumbs down Further Regarding Personal Portables

    The FCC would definitely frown on that practice. The station license for the specific frequency is issued to the state, county, municipality or individual department and it would not allow for personal radios. The department could be subject to a fine...or, in the worst case, loss of license.

    If you decide to go ahead with this purchase, I would hope you check with the license assignee before you jeopardize their operating priviledges.

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    Post Thanks

    You all have defiantly given me something new to think about. I never really thought of a radio having that many problems before. Thanks for the info.
    Who cares if we are volunteer or paid? Not the fire. We fight fire not each other. Get it straight my brothers and sisters.

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    I believe every member on a scene should be provided a radio. It is a costly venture I realize but one that is critical to firefighter communication and safety. If your department can't provide you one I would hope an exemption would be made to allow you to use one of your own as long as you abided by guidelines and procedures. In the case of a department that only issues officers a radio that is great until the officer's partner becomes seperated from him and can't call for help or describe his location or the officer falls thru a floor and is incapacitated. Every member operating having a radio is just as important as every member wearing a PASS device.

    Just my humble opinion.

    Be Safe...
    Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!

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    Originally posted by FiRsqDvr45
    If your department can't provide you one I would hope an exemption would be made to allow you to use one of your own as long as you abided by guidelines and procedures.


    This becomes a problem when all members are issued a portable.


    For example:

    "Cletus 109" has to key up to advise dispatch that he's enroute to the dumpster fire at Cherry Lane...then "Cletus 104" reports in service from his mother-in-law's house five miles away..."Cletus 129" is enroute "Code Red" from the ball field and is reporting heavy smoke in the sky...not to be outdone, "Cletus 219" reports enroute and he thinks he sees a funnel cloud in the area..."Cletus 57" reports on location of a car leaking gas in the parking lot of the Piggly-Wiggly..."Chief Cletus" calls to see if anyone bothered to stop at the station to pick up a rig, but is cut off by "Cletus 57" who's requesting a haz-mat unit and a representive of the National Weather Service at his location because he thinks he can see the funnel cloud too and he wants the gas cleaned up before it gets there...MEANWHILE..."Cletus 104" is severely lost because his directions were cut-off by "Cletus 129"...he is also scared and requesting his Momma..."Captain Cletus" requests all units to move to a tactical frequency, so they do...each one to a different channel...EXCEPT for "Cletus 125" who just realized they had a call because his two year old had the mic keyed for the past 1/2 hour causing tons of static and Sesame Street music to be broadcasted on the dispatch channel...ALL THE WHILE...Dispatch is desperately trying to contact "Chief Cletus" to tell him his dumpster fire has extended into the neighboring nitroglycerin plant and he has had no units reporting enroute from his station....but all he hears is...."Sunny days..sweeping the clouds away..................."
    Last edited by StayBack500FT; 05-08-2002 at 03:32 PM.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    Default to close to home?

    Stayback, that is great stuff...

    Just one question: How did you get a transcript from our last call?
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Default give me a thought on a radio...

    The other day, my crew and I got in the rig to go out to do inspection details... I sat on my portable radio and thought "damn, that's uncomfortable..."
    ‎"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."
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    Default Sorry Gonz, But someone has to say it.

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    Captains.... Radios.... Sitting.... Uncomfortable....

    To many options….. must control myself….
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Post Here's an Idea

    I've got an idea from what you've guys said. I know it'll cost a pretty penny, but.... How 'bout getting a bunch of radios set up at the department that way people can grab them up when they grab their bunker gear going to a call. No body but the officer's get's to keep 'em, but they get to use 'em. I figure we could use about ten or so (we're small, don't got many responding members). Anyone know where I might be able to get some pricing info on this before I suggest it to the Chief? Eh?
    Who cares if we are volunteer or paid? Not the fire. We fight fire not each other. Get it straight my brothers and sisters.

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    How about mounting them in trickle chargers in the units so each seat or position has one assigned to it? If the truck has just a bench in the front then mount 3 radios,etc.
    Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!

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    I won't tell you the problem with mounting them in the appartus, I'll let you figure it out from this. We got five vehciles. 9-60 is our brush truck. It can seat three (maybe). 9-30 is our attack truck (small mini-pumper that we take everywere can seat three). 9-12 is our Engine (seats two, that's it, no more). 9-20 is our Tanker (seats two again, we are getting a new one, but I think it will only seat two also). And then we got 9-80 a mobile vehcile (old ford bronco with a lightbar and sirens and radio, seats 5 or six plus gear in the back). 9 times out of ten we end up having to take atleast two of those trucks plus a whole slew of POV's if it is a big call. That's why I was thinking of maybe having one spot in the bay that we can grab a radio as we run and jump into our gear. Can get costly though I'm sure. Especially since we will have to get some new coats for a few of us (like me). We use a mish mash of gear. My bunker gear consists of an overall style pants with two pockets and my jacket has a zipper and no pockets at all. Well it does have one inside, but I just stick my medical gloves in there. We really don't have the funds for all this new stuff, but we need it. Badly.
    Who cares if we are volunteer or paid? Not the fire. We fight fire not each other. Get it straight my brothers and sisters.

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    I agree with a couple of earlier posts that everyone should have a radio. My reasons for this are roughly the same as those mentioned earlier. At the same time I can see what Stay Back is saying. We have a close by dept. and when they get ANY type of call, you hear 8 different personal (chief, asst. chief, captains, l.t.'s) going en-route, and still no truck has left the station. I know our county dispatchers hate this!!! I am with a career dept where everyone gets a radio no matter what (sure, we have that kind of money). I also run with a volunteer dept. that refuses to give radios to the "rank and file" (they have money to do it, just won't). I am constantly at odds with my volunteer chief over many issues, this being one of them. My "problem" is that if you set the rules, teach proper communications, you should be allright. My old volunteer dept. simply said if you do something stupid like talk just to be heard, or go directly to the scene when you're not supposed to (only a few were allowed to go direct to scene) then you got spanked and and possibly suspended. If this continues you cut the "un-teachable" member loose. I think alot of it is about control of your troops.
    I know very little about FCC rules/regs regarding licensing and the number of radios a dept. can have. I never knew there was a limit, I just thought you had to be affiliated, and approved through an agency.
    For those who do have their own personal radios, and have not been assigned call signs, then don't use them to call stuff in, use a cell, you can usually give more info. this way. I do have a call number, so I can, do, and will continue to call in emergencies to our dispatch, but when I call they know exactly who they are talking to!
    Sorry for the long ranting post!!!!
    Stay safe brothers....

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    Default here a radio, there a radio, everywhere a radio...

    The idea of having a "central radio depository" is not new, and it can work out rather well. In my department, the chief, the deputy, the captain and the training officer (who is the ex-chief) get portable radios (16 channel HT1000's) The rest of us get four mode Mintor III pagers (only have a problem with 1 out of 20 so that isn't bad, maybe we got lucky).
    4 officer with portables
    2 portables in Rescue 4
    1 portable in Engine 1
    1 portable in Truck 5
    3 radios in located in the station for general use
    2 older radios located in the radio room for general use
    2 even older radios located in the storage room (they don't have very good range)

    The radios in our station, without getting into describing a floor plan of the apparatus bay, are pretty much centrally located and easily accessible to anyone.
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Some random thoughts

    1) You said you wanted a lo/hi dual band portable - good luck I'm not sure anyone has ever made one thats affordable.

    2) You DO want permission from your Chief or if you have a county control authority then you need permission from them. Do you share the freq with other agencies? One of those agencies is the ultimate license holder. They are the ones to give you permission.

    If you share the freq, how many other units use the channel? You are limited to a set number of mobiles and portables.

    The agency I retired from listed 99 mobiles and 99 portables - we only had 7 vehicles and 10 county owned portables but... Every fire unit, rescue squad and most of the various police agencies had our channel in their radios - those all count

    3) Once you have permission make sure that you have some sort of radio procedure protocol set up. That way if things start sounding like a bad CB channel you or the chief will have some sort of control.

    4) The use of personally owned radios can be benificial for a cash strapped agency, especially if someone can afford to buy their own radio. I carried my own prep for years. With one exception I never got in trouble with it. The exception isn't worth going into, you wouldn't believe it if I told you.

    Sometimes we have to remember that the small, poorly funded departments need to get creative in their funding methods.

    On a side note if you are near Hurricane WV their PD has been selling off a bunch of radios on E Bay for the past couple of months. You might get a good deal from them

    Good luck

    Kevin

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    Question

    If someone could just give me some info. What is a good two way radio that is field programable and does lo-band. Specifiacly can transmit 46.14. That is our main freq and the reason why I want to have one that is field programable is well... I guess it don't gotta be. We work with a lot of other departments in the area and some work off other freqs. So I guess it could just be programed into it, but I like the idea of being able to add a freq on the fly if we go somewhere and are working with another department or vice versa. The hi-band I mentioned is because the emt's use hi-band. We are one of, actually the only, department in the county who is fire only. Back to the radio. I was thinking of Motorola. Someone please just give me some info on a radio, I'll work the details out with my chief. I just want to see how much this might cost me or if I can talk him into it the department. See I also want to see about getting the department a whole bunch of portables for us to use during calls.
    Who cares if we are volunteer or paid? Not the fire. We fight fire not each other. Get it straight my brothers and sisters.

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    Originally posted by CBVFC
    If someone could just give me some info. What is a good two way radio that is field programable and does lo-band. Specifiacly can transmit 46.14. That is our main freq and the reason why I want to have one that is field programable is well... I guess it don't gotta be.
    The big problem is you are on VHF/LO. I don't believe there is a field programable LO band out there. I have been wrong before though.

    I am willing to bet a cup of coffee that you will not find a HI/LO combination. They are two entirely different kettle of fish.

    I don't know what to recommend. If there is a field programable out there it will either be from Bendix King, ICOM or Kenwood.

    I do know for a fact that Motorola does not sell any type of programable to the general public. They fully believe in the FCC edicts about using only a Class II tech for programing. Also, I don't think they make much in the way of Lo bands anymore.

    I'll check with my radio guy and see if he has any ideas. Since most of the departments up here are UHF or 800 he doesn't deal with lo band any more.

    Since I haven't been around any departments that use lo band in over 15 years I really don't have any good information for you.
    I would check EBay with a search for LO band VHF.

    I think your best bet will be two seperate radios, sorry.

    If you go with two seperate ones I can recommend a HI band - Bendix King. You can find multiples of them on E Bay. My personal radios are Bendix. One of them has gone swimming twice and still survives. It looks a little ragged but still works fine.

    Kenwood makes a good radio as does ICOM, my personal prefrence is the Bendix.

    Good luck

    Kevin

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    I dont think you will find the type of radio you are looking for. But I will say that I think that everyone should have a radio when responding. Even if it is just the "fireground" frequency. I do not like the idea of finding myself alone and trapped in a structure or looking down the wrong end of a gun while the officer and the radio are out getting equipemnt. People can (and should) be trained to use a radio properly. In the field, I feel that radio is my only link to help and I will not go on a run without one.
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    Question New thought

    here's a new thought. You know those little radios that people have. the little ones that motorola makes, and other companies. Well I was thinking get a few of those cause they're cheap and giving them to everybody. Then on the officer's radios program them to talk on that frequency too. That way we can have a cheap fire ground radio and we won't have to worry about inappropriate chatter on the dispatch freq. So what do you think? Do they even make those little things in lo-band?
    Who cares if we are volunteer or paid? Not the fire. We fight fire not each other. Get it straight my brothers and sisters.

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