1. #1
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    Default Anybody use Nextel?

    Was just taking a poll to see if any department uses Nextels for communications within the department and if so, how do they work.
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    We are switching all the phones in our rigs to Nextels.

    Many members of the FD already have Nextel phones and love them.
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    OK, a personal pet peave rant coming......

    As far as Nextel use in place of cellphones...go for it, they work very well. One wod of caution however. I used to work at our local Sheriff's Dept where Nextel was installing a site. There sites are not supplied with a fixed backup power supply. So, whats happens when the lights go out. Especially during severe weather when the outage is widespread. This may have changed since then, but I know that that particular site still does not have backup power.

    We have several dpeartments in our area that use Nextel phones. One major problem is that they use the direct connect feature for primary communications. This is bad....very bad. Not only are only two of you hearing the traffic, but again what happens when the commercial carrier you are using fails.

    This is from another forum:

    At this time i would like to ask you. How do you feel about the use of nextels radios on the fire ground. I was at a fishing boat fire and command and operations were conversing more on the nextel then on fire ground radio channels. I was part of the fast team and we really couldn't monitor what was going on.
    Just my opinion on your question. I would be very careful relying on a "commercial" phone/radio system for communications. While Nextels do work well, you have no priority within the system over regular communications, so Johnny Dumptruck diver(No Offense anyone) might get through before you. The other problem is that Nextels are user to user, so not everyone would be in the loop. And finally, as of the last time I checked, Nextel do not have backup power supplies for their sites (at least in the Massachusetts area) so what happens when you are playing in the dark.

    Radio procedures should be practiced just like every other procedure. Train in the dark, with gloves. Know your emergency procedures, know when and where your radios work. When you preplan or inspect building, test your radios. The time to find out when and where they work isn't on the fireground.
    Just my rant folks,

    Dave

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    While we do use Nextels in place of more standard cell phones, we do not and I would not recomend using them as a primary communication source. In addition to the reasons already described, another problem with them is the lack of a taped line. While I have heard rumors that it can be done, I've never seen a set up for them and I'm sure it could be very expensive.

    The Nextel phone does work very well for the purpose we got them. notification between chief officers and they're used to relay sensitive information you wouldn't want over the air.

  5. #5
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    Default Love them

    My current department does not use them on the rigs, yet. I would guess that about 40-50% of the guys have them though, and we use them quite a bit.

    My former department had them in all of the vehicles and they were pretty handy, especially to call the dispatch center when the vhf didn't work

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    We use nextels with Coke on a fleet where only the nextel 2way option is the only thing that works to stop people from making unwanted calls. It works well "when you can reach sombody". As for fire department useage, i could see them as very handy if your nextel system around your area supports it.. we have alot of dead spots and it doesnt cover our area very well. But as everybody else has said i would *NOT* use it for your Primary means of communication.
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    Default Nextel...Good Units

    Our Officers started using them about a year and a half ago with both the phone and two radio functions...They all love 'em. a good portion of our members have purchased them and are all on the same numbering plan so thaey can talk to one another...I personaly would like to buy one my self but that god awlful credit check.....Ugggg ! Yeah you've guessed it I don't have major credit backing...Nothing bad just don't have any...Own the car..House in the wife's name .. ect... Anyone know a better way around the Nextel Credit Checks besides the $500.00 deposit ?
    Stratford Fire Company # 1
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    In my dept all officers were given personal Nextels for both on duty and off duty. They also use them as thier personal cell phones and the city pays for them up to a set amount of minuets. All rescue units have a Nextel a since we don't have officers on them. We use them instead of dispatch to get in contact with who ever for regular day to day buisness, and on calls for questions with our Batt chief, EMS suppervisor or medical director because it is faster than having dispatch tone them out, but we don't use them as a primary means of communication. They work out great and have made it easier to get a hold each other.

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    I have a Nextel phone and love it. Love the reception, no static and none of the ..."can you hear me now....??" crap. It's digital and much more clearer. Around Eau Claire, WI area we are getting more towers and they have a battery back up for power outages. Not sure why yours do not. The Direct Connect feature is the greatest and much much cheaper.

    My Department cannot get them for a while yet, the city just renewed their contract with their current subscriber but will be with Nextel next time.

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    All of our officers have them and we use them as SFDChief does .......very good for discussing things that are not airworthy !
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    Default Re: Nextel...Good Units

    Originally posted by RES13CUE
    Yeah you've guessed it I don't have major credit backing...Nothing bad just don't have any...Own the car..House in the wife's name .. ect... Anyone know a better way around the Nextel Credit Checks besides the $500.00 deposit ?
    \


    I hear ya- Verizon wanted $1000 from me!!! Apparently I get penalized on my credit rating because my student loans are still in their grace period!

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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Just my opinion on your question. I would be very careful relying on a "commercial" phone/radio system for communications. While Nextels do work well, you have no priority within the system over regular communications, so Johnny Dumptruck diver(No Offense anyone) might get through before you. The other problem is that Nextels are user to user, so not everyone would be in the loop. And finally, as of the last time I checked, Nextel do not have backup power supplies for their sites (at least in the Massachusetts area) so what happens when you are playing in the dark.
    ______________________________
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    I don't quite understand "Johnny Dumptruck driver might get through before you". My understanding of Nextel radio to radio is that it is pretty much like cellular, same frequencies, same principle, it just stays on the towers and doesn't go to land line other than the circuits between towers. Your group of radios is programmed as a unique group, but part of the whole of all phones that would be using those particular towers. There is no priority of one user over another, other than overall capacity of the system. The only way you couldn't get through is if Nextel has a capacity issue in your area- just like getting an all circuits busy on a cell or land line.

    As for "so not everyone would be in the loop", Nextel does support a group feature. Like making a conference call. The thing to remember here is that the minutes come from the same bucket, so everyone burns minutes. But, the capability is there.

    I work for a telecommunications company so I am VERY aware of the down time associated with loss of power, loss of backbone circuits, etc. that would affect a Nextel Cell tower. These are very real issues and affect all commmercial traffic, so I would agree that this is NOT a good option for primary communications. Don't think Nextel or the backbone carrier (BellSouth) would give priority to repairs just because a fire deparment happens to be amoung the users of those towers.

    Nextel phones, just like cell phones, have their place and can be used very affectively. But, factors for use are very unique to departments in differnent areas so no global recommendations can really be applied to anyone.
    Dan LaRue
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    I don't quite understand "Johnny Dumptruck driver might get through before you". My understanding of Nextel radio to radio is that it is pretty much like cellular, same frequencies, same principle, it just stays on the towers and doesn't go to land line other than the circuits between towers. Your group of radios is programmed as a unique group, but part of the whole of all phones that would be using those particular towers. There is no priority of one user over another, other than overall capacity of the system. The only way you couldn't get through is if Nextel has a capacity issue in your area- just like getting an all circuits busy on a cell or land line.
    With some commercial paging carriers, it is possible to get "priority" for your pages, thus allowing your pages to be qued first. Many 800 systems also have a priority feature, especially when Highway departments, Parks Departments, etc and public safety share the system. My point was that Nextel does not offer this, so if the system was at capacity becuase there was a sale at Macy's, you messages would wait. I was not aware of the group feature, but stand by my initial felling of using a "commerical' carrier for emergency public safety traffic.

    Dave

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    Thumbs up It's all been said ........

    I have had a nextel for about 3 years now and it's the greatest thing since dacron hose. Several things....Yes, I know a lot of the troops are left out of the loop. Thats intentional. Sites in my area have backup power. I have gotten a few busy signals on the phone side, but never a busy on direct connect. No, I don't think Nextel should replace radio, but they are a very handy gadget to have. Stay Safe....
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    Many of the guys in my dept have gone to Nextel in the past year, it has helped our communication for just routine info and as a fast means of private communication. Helps that one of our LTs is a sales rep for them.
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

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