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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Radio Question - Vertex VX-150

    Another radio question. Anyone using or have used the Vertex VX-150 as a fire service radio. This is a ham radio that can be modified for use in the 150-174mhz band. It gets good reviews on several web sites, but I just wonder if anyone out there has put it to the firefighting test? Pros-cons?

    -Troy


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

    While it may work and work just fine, there are a few little hitches about doing that.

    1. It is a federal crime to modify the radio and use it. The radio is type accepted by the FCC for the band-split it comes with. Changing that and using it is illegal. I think a public safety organization doing this is just plain wrong.

    2. That radio can do a lot of interesting things that a Ham Radio operator would find useful. However, for the Fire Service, all it will do is cause problems and confuse people.

    Like I said, will it work? Yes. But if you don't want to see the FCC knocking at your door with a fine for each radio, I would get the commercial version, not the ham radio. It will save your guys from the confusion and "leaning in the buttons" as well as not getting arrested and/or fined.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
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    I am aware of the FCC regulation, and let me tell you how I feel about that (nothing personal). I am a full time deputy sheriff and I purchased my own handheld to use on the job after my old issued brick failed me in a shootout with no backup. My radio is a export kenwood that is not FCC type accepted, it works great and is about 1/2 the price of the FCC accepted version. If the FCC wants to knock on my door I will give them the address. I don't think it is wrong for me to use this radio because I can't afford to buy the more expensive models. Of course I shouldn't have to do this anyway, but I am not going to sit around without communication while that point is argued.

    Anyway, I appreciate your input.

    -Troy

  4. #4
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I'm not saying it isn't going to work as well if not better than many commercial radios. If this is a personal radio for yourself, eat your heart out. I have done the same thing. But if this is for the actual dept, then I think using illegal radios for a municipality and safety organization is asking for it. Not only that but the warrenty goes out the window when you do that modification. That is fine for your own personal radio but again, as a dept radio, not good.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  5. #5
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    I've got one that I've been using for personal use for both work (EMS) and the fire department (vollie). It seems to work great. Has the same, if not better, range that the Kenwood TK-270 we have for the department. I haven't used it in an actual fire situation, and I doubt I will for a number of reasons. I've actually had to use the programming capability on scene a couple of times to put in a frequency that we didn't have on the dept. radios, which came in extremely handy.

    The only real cons I've come across so far is hitting those freaking buttons on the keypad against something (almost cured that with a leather case) and hitting the dial and ending up scanning the wrong frequency until I finally notice.

  6. #6
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    Different radio, but just so you know, I've used the Vertex vx-180 radio for about two years both as a portable and as a pager. I have alway been impressed with the radio and the company.
    Scott

  7. #7
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    Smile Vertex Radios

    Our Ambulance service has been using the Vertex model 180 for a yeat now and are really satisfied with the performance. We wlso bought the programming software and are doing our own programing. The radios are costing us around $275.00 with Battery, Charger and case.

  8. #8
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    Default VX-150

    I purchased 6 new VX-180 radios about 7mths ago and we are very happy with them. Mine has been dropped and gotten pretty wet numerous times over the 7 mth period. They have performed admireably without a problem to date. I would have prefered to have purchased Motorola radios because they tend to operate at a little bit better distance then anything out there. But at double the cost of the Vx-180 we would have only been able to afford 3 instead of six. I hope that i have helped you out.

  9. #9
    IACOJ - Proud member.
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    We've been using the VX 210's for a few years now. Last batch we got in had the scan option on them. REALLY IMPRESSED with the quaility of the radios. We got them for Fire Police/Fire Ground communications, and they've been thru hell and back and keep on going. Dealer didn't take too kindly to one with a melted case & control knobs, but it still worked !!

    At 1/3 to 1/2 the price of other big name radios(and 1/2 the size) You can't go wrong with these things. Once we get the next batch in, I'm going to trade my motorola 1225 for one of these.

    This is something I found on the internet, too bad it's only showing the size and not the price tag

    Chief Jim Bator
    www.hopewellfire.org

    IACOJ
    Got Crust?
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    I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine. ~Kurt Vonnegut

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber AC1503's Avatar
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    I don't know about the 150, but we also use the VX-180. We bought 10 last summer and have another 17 on order. The reasons that we began buying them include price, paging capability, and the recommendations of neighboring departments. Monkeyrolla lost our business by their excessive cost and also the poor quality of their pagers.

  11. #11
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    I see nothing wrong with illegal radio modifications. Its all a bunch of FCC BS. Im a licensed ham operation and a firefighter, I use a yaesu vx5r modified...Works very nicely, I can have one radio for the fire service and use the same one for ham radio....How is the FCC ever going to find out.

  12. #12
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    Love my VX-5R. Its a cousin of the VX-150, but in dual band VHF/UHF. Either band can be programmed on any of the 220 channels. Great power output, metal case is a big plus too. Keypad can be locked out so you aren't pressing the buttons when you rub against anything. I know, the FCC would frown upon its being modified and used out of band, but its a great radio!



    PS: As an after-thought addition, the only drawback is that the VX-5R doesn't have paging capabilities.

  13. #13
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    We have been using the VX 180 since May with no complaints. We chose these as we were needing to replace our old tone pagers.
    Had several get a good soaking at a major fire we had day before Christmas and they kept on working.
    We purchased these as there wasn't much price difference between these and new tone pagers. Plus it is one less thing to have to carry and having a tone type pager is required by ISO. Do carry alpha pagers but they don't recognize them as primary for dispatching because they go through a third party.

  14. #14
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    Not to get off topic, but has anyone ever had a problem with the Vertex VX-500? We bought 3 of them off the internet at the same time. 1 of them was dropped off the engine going to a fire and hasn't had any problems with it. The other 2 have had problems with the voice transmitting. 1 of them has done it 3 times and the other is trying to get fixed now after the 4th time. The radio will transmit, but the voice is VERY low. Just wondering if anyone else has had this happen, because Vertex supposedly hasn't heard of this either.

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