1. #1
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    Question All members issued two-ways

    Our department has recently issued these to all members


    We are a 40 member paid-on-call department and have switched to these after being toned for years on Minitor IIs. We are now operating on our own narrow-band frequency.
    They are able to be used like a pager where you can keep it in alert or monitor as well as scan the other frequencies that are programmed in for mutual aid surrounding communities and our fireground. They are very versatile in their programability.
    Our Chief has issued them with the feeling that by every FF having a portable on the fireground will be in contact during an emergency(trapped/down FF) He is also interested in using them as a text pager for non-emergency messaging.
    We are still working the bugs out and am interested to see if any other departments are using these and what advantages or disadvantages you've found using them.
    One of the few disadvantages that I've found using one recently at a mutual aid call to a house-fire was that they are small and tough to get at in our chest radio pocket. A wired mic would solve this but then you have to carry it around all the time with the mic cord flopping around. It did take quite a beating at that job getting dropped by me a couple times and getting soaked with water and ceiling material.

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    Radio discipline will be your biggest problem--everyone will be steppin' on each other. We see it at every call and we only have 19 radios.
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    so everyone carries those around instead of M II's?

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    Originally posted by jatkins7011
    Radio discipline will be your biggest problem--everyone will be steppin' on each other. We see it at every call and we only have 19 radios.
    Yeah, we've seen a little of that so far but it seems OK with only each truck's officer really using them to communicate with command.

    Kvfcjr-Yep

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    We also issue radios to everyone, but we go with a higher powered unit that unfortunately does not have the pager option on them. We all try to carry cheaper Motorola Keynote pagers to maximize battery life on our radios.

    There are also two distinct disadvantages that I see to your type of radios.

    1. Low transmission power. They tend to work poorly in concrete buildings. You should test them at your first opportunity.

    2. If a call comes in late in the day or the evening, many of your crew will respond with almost dead batteries. The heavy radio traffic at the fire will kill them off quickly.

    But don't write them off. You will have to try them and see how it works for you.
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    Everyone on our department is issued a Motorola MTS 2000 radio. We have a spare that is there for a reserve when the part time firefighters are working.
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    What about you Juniors/explorers, if u have any, what do they get?

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    Default Good points

    mcaldwell those are some good points. We'll have to check their reception in those type of buildings within our response area. I hadn't thought about the battery issue late in the day. Hmmmmm, the chargers are fast at about 45 min to an hour to charge a dead battery but if we need them at say 2200 before someone drops it in the charger we're screwed 'cause the trucks have no backup portables and no one has spare batteries.

    Kvfcjr-we don't have an Explorer program. The probies get issued a portable as a alert device but are discouraged from using them except in a an emergency.

    It seems that peer pressure has kept excessive talking to a minimum

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    GrovFire25
    My apologies....but I can't make out what type of radio you have. Could you tell me the make, model and features of the radio?

    Did they buy these radios outright...or lease a system? Hi band, low band, UHF?

    Radios/chargers/batteries/spares runs into big $$$...doesn't it?
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    All our people are issued Kenwoods. They work like a pager and a radio. We also have "man-down" buttons. By pressing and holding this it alerts all our radios and County 911 with the persons name and unit number. As for battey life we don't have a problem. I take mine out of the charger around 6:30am and it is on w/o charging until around 9:30pm everyday.
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    The radio is a TK-2140.
    We're on 154.8675 which is a what? UHF narrow band? I can't keep those straight

    We have purchased the radios as well as new mobiles in the trucks. Both the portables and mobiles have an ID feature so whenever a transmission is made it shows who or what truck made it on the screen. It is very versatile in programming as FF7134 mentioned, the orange button can be used as a man-down button. We use it as the alert reset button. We also purchased a new computer controlled dispatch board that ties it all together. I don't know anything about that though.
    As far as battery life, now that I think of it if I start the day with a afully charged battery by the end of that day it's only about half discharged.
    I couldn't tell you the exact price but the whole system with the portables, mobiles and new console was part of a capital improvement budget item, It was not part of the FD budget. It's a big nut but we needed to do something because we were sharing a frequency with 3 other local departments, one of which is a busy career department that was running on a closed PL so they'd walk all over you and not even know it. Now we have our own frq. but still are licesnced on the old one and can use it for M/A. Matter of fact we still dispatch simulcast on it.

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    As far as the battery issue is concerned, spare chargers are usually less than $50 each, so we issue multiple chargers to a few people so they can charge them at home and work. The real convenience of those quick chargers is that only ten minutes in the charger gives you a couple of hours of additonal power.

    I find I can't get more than 14 hours without the low battery indicator beeping on my radio, but it transmits at a slightly higher power and therfore burns power faster than the smaller version. We use Motorola MTS 2000's for the officers ($2000+), and MTX 1000's for the main crew ($1200+). Some of the rookie crew still use old P1225's which are pretty marginal ($800+).

    Let us know how you like them after working with them for a couple of weeks.
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    I have had a chance to test out one of those HT's, but for our department, we simply issue tk-380s to Officers/Coordinators and Minitor III's to firefighters and cadets. The cost is alittle high to have everyone carrying them around, plus our firefighters are alittle key-up happy. Otherwise the radio is a great transceiver and I would recommend it for anyone in the fire service that can afford them.

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    The power output of the little radio is no different than the MTS-2000. 5 watts is 5 watts.

    http://www.kenwood.net/indexKenwood....dID=70&Group=2

    I actually have a plan in place for the same thing, with a few minor differenes. We are awaiting a grant to build a UHF repeater system and part of that is paging. I was going to go with Vertex VX-180 portables. They are basicly the same as the Kenwood except without the text messaging and the display was a little smaller. I didn't even know this Kenwood 3140 existed until now and I like it. I like the idea of messaging with it and the bigger display.

    We already have Kenwood 90-Series portables on all the apparatus to use for operations. I'm not worried about members not having enough battery to TX with. My main goal was this...

    The system will have the repeater and 2 simplex fireground channels. With a normal Minitor pager, you couldn't monitor all of them (only 2). Plus, the surrounding towns are going UHF as well and they will have their own channels. Using these miniture portables radios as a pager allows:

    Multi-Channel monitoring for fireground
    Ability to scan other towns & agencies
    Tone paging just like the minitors
    They are cheaper than a Motorola Minitor IV!

    You can put a lockout on channels you don't want the general membership having TX ability on (ie- police).
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    What about you Juniors/explorers, if u have any, what do they get?
    after taking tests on 2 trucks air packs and hydrants we get a M II. as for 2 way radios we dont get any but i would like to have some smaller kind that arent fire radios so i can talk to the other explorers at drills and at the fire ground.

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    Hey Quigger,
    We get M II's, and a few of got m 3's, we dont get radios, but we can tlka on the truck ones.

    Go get some of those 2mile range famly cmaping radios, ya know the ones that are everywere, like the Motorala talkabouts. Those are just simple UHF freq's and wil probly not interfear witrh the fire radios. Get a few and give them to the top Juniors so you can keep in touch at calls, me (V Pres) and the pres of the Jr's each have one.

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    yea i was thinking about getting some of those. only problem is im the only explorer that really goes to calls out of the 6-7 we have that can go to calls.

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    well then why are you looking for a radio in the first place?, lol

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    We have a Motorola hodge podge of radios..... ......All Officers are issued portables and there is at least 2 on every truck. We have some OLD Ht90's, MT600's, HT's , and MT2000's. We are looking to get a couple of new radios soon ....... It would be nice for every FF on the sceneto have a radio ....I think there would be ALOT of extra chatter.
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    the 154 is VHF range.

    if you're talking, you ain't listening.
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    Originally posted by Quigger
    yea i was thinking about getting some of those. only problem is im the only explorer that really goes to calls out of the 6-7 we have that can go to calls.
    If you start giving your explorers radios, you had better make sure they get some training in the potential risks, and consequences first.

    Radios must not be used at bomb calls as even the 1 watt family radios could detonate the device, and cheap radios are not intrinsically safe, so they could ignite gas/fuel vapours. Talk to your training officer and get a copy of your radio training program first. And never give names or sensitive operational info over the family radio (i.e. Smitty just pulled a victim out of the back door), everyone is listening.
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    150 Range: VHF
    450-512: UHF

    Narrow Band is a whole different concept. It is a reduced channel spacing and TX/RX deviation.

    Wideband requires 25Khz between available channels and uses 5Khz deviation.

    Narrow band only has 2.5Khz deviation and only requires 12.5Khz between available channels. Narrow banding in essance doubles the amount of channels available for licencing. Most new FCC licenses are Narrow Band. I don't have the time table in front of me but in a certain number of year, all existing systems will be required to convert to narrow band. Manufaturers will not be allowed to produce wide-band equipment either. The total time-table went out to I think 2012 for complete changeover. This includes all buisness and public safety systems operating below 512Mhz.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Originally posted by nmfire
    The power output of the little radio is no different than the MTS-2000. 5 watts is 5 watts.
    While yes your technically right, I should have probably used the phrase "transmission quality" instead.

    The smaller, cheaper radios supposedly transmit the full 5 watts, but in practice the quality and range is not the same as the higher end radios.

    Example: My MTS 2000 will work 25 km from our repeater in the next town (which does not have a repeater on our frequency) our P1225's only work 15 km away on a good day. In urban settings, the MTS 2000 works well in parkades and basements, while the P1225 is no more useful than a door stop. The smaller radios may have lesser quality components/antennae/etc, to keep the size and price down, and that translates to poor reception and transmission.

    If someone has found one of those fancy new portables to perform as well as an MTS 2000 in the most severe conditions, I would love to hear about it. The multiple features would be great.
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    I am a firm believer in having a radio on the trucks/issued for each memeber at a scene. Just because my team lead/officer has a radio doesnt mean I am safe from getting lost or in need of help should the officer get hurt.

    Having a key happy member is a correctable problem. I would hate to think my safety was compromised because someone could not control a members mouth on scene.

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    Post Cost Driven

    We issue VHF radio pagers to each member and have for about two years now. We have tried a couple brands and there are pros and cons on each model. The biggest gripe I get is the bulk of carrying them versus the pager. We found this to be a cost effective alternative for us over pagers. I can equip each person with a radio/pager with significant savings of our meager budget. I can give you dozens more examples when the additional comm helped with incident command than when clutter was a problem. A little fine tuning of the mike key manipulator with the hooligan bar seems to remedy the occasional excessive actuation problem. They work for us!

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