Thread: Radio question

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    Question Radio question

    My department use's Maxon radios tuned to Goverment channels. The portables seem to be extremely quiet even when the volume is cranked! I have been in the truck and pumping and I can hear the trucks radio but not the portables over the noise----there have been a few times where it has been quiet and the voice is quiet and garbelled outside. Part of my work is deep inside a bunker and I know the signel does not get down there well or at all but this quiet problem is happening outside next to the repeater. Is there anyway I could increase the volume more on the portables?
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Part of my work is deep inside a bunker
    You work in a bunker? Cool.
    Is there anyway I could increase the volume more on the portables?
    Have you tried a earphone or speaker mike? It could be your built in speaker.

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    I'm not familiar with the Maxon line of radios, but you may want to check with your dealer (if you have one) about earphones or even a full headset. I use Motorola equipment and you can get a complete headset kit including "earmuff" type earpieces, a boom mic, and a push-to-talk switch, and all the necessary adapters to hook it into any type of radio. I'm sure there must be a similar solution for Maxon.

    I've always been an advocate of headsets at the pump panel. If I could find a way to do it, and keep it from getting destroyed, I'd even push for a full control head (the front of the radio) at the pump panel. Sometimes the channel the radio in the cab is on is not the channel you want to be on.

    I guess in that situation it's better to have a portable with a headset. In any case, if you haven't guessed by now, I'm suggesting going for the headset solution.

    --j.

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    Yes I work in a bunker somewhere and yes it is cool ; ). Im not supposed to tell you where or what I do though. Here is a declassified photo of it when it was first built sometime in the 1960's----the arerial profile has changed dramatcily since then.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Another of the missles on a drill.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    This is inside our current appartaus bay------20 years before it was a appartaus bay.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Hello,

    Some one said, " You get what you paid for"

    This is the case in the Mot and kenwoods. If your radios have something like compandering or x-pand turn it on. These options are usually used in narrow banding freqs. But will pick up the vol in wide band.

    As far as being close to the repeater. If you dont have proper filtering you can be desening the front end of the repeater. The best is to run double cans on your front in with a preamp. In addition, run two cans on your output. This should kill any side band noise and lower you noise floor and increase sensitivitey. Let me know if you need some sites for your resarch. This is an example that I am talking about for your front end.

    WWW.anglelinear.com/custom/custom.html
    Last edited by caffder; 01-21-2004 at 03:19 AM.

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    My department uses ICOM handhelds. They are great and we have never had any problems out of them. I can be at my regular job in the next county over from mine and still pick up just fine. They are quite pricy though...(but that's what Forestry grants are for )
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    First he wants working radios ......next he'll want new trucks
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    Your bunker is much much cooler then mine. My office (EOC) is UNDER the county library, built in the 60s with a Civil Defence grant. The walls are wicked thick and we have a lot of those cool fallout shelter stickers all over.

    I cant realy get usefully hand held radio use down here, I have to rely on phone lines to effectively keep in touch with the world.

    I dont realy have a solution (to yours or my propblem) except to get a base station and run and antenal outside. Not in my budget!

    My pager does not work at all down here, my motorola (IIRC 1250 something or other) works very very poorly. Luckily I have a old government issue Bendix King passed down from DNRC (and before that USFS, and maybe before that US Army???) that does work a little, but the static is horrid...

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    Originally posted by Jay911
    If I could find a way to do it, and keep it from getting destroyed, I'd even push for a full control head (the front of the radio) at the pump panel. Sometimes the channel the radio in the cab is on is not the channel you want to be on.

    --j.
    We have a dual-head radio on a pumper at another station, so they do exist. The head mounted at the pump panel is weatherproof. It solves all the problems you allude to. I think it's a Kenwood, but I can't see it from here.
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    We have those on all our trucks. Weatherproof Kenwoods work great, our Engineers have headsets that they wear when operating the pump.
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    Originally posted by ullrichk


    We have a dual-head radio on a pumper at another station, so they do exist. The head mounted at the pump panel is weatherproof. It solves all the problems you allude to. I think it's a Kenwood, but I can't see it from here.
    Oh, I know dual head radios exist.. We currently have a bunch of Maxtracs and Radiuses (Radii? ) which I've never seen in a dual head configuration. And now, we're most likely switching to an 800mhz Smartzone operation in the next year or so, and I believe the standard for that is going to be Motorola MCS2000s or the next step up (if there is a next step up). I'm not sure if I can get a weatherproof version of that or not.

    It'd probably be easier to spec inside-the-cab pump panels on replacement pumpers than go through all this.

    --j.

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    I hope you don't mean your getting less of a radio by going with Kenwood vs Motorola. I've found it ot be quite the opposite at times and for most applications, they are equal or at least close. You could smash the Motorola "Professional Series" or "Waris Series" radios to pieces with a kenwood 90 series.

    Anyway, back to the Maxons... Well, they are probably not of the highest quality, but is anything that Maxon makes up to that standard?? There are few things that cause low audio:

    1. The audio circut on the radio sucks by design. This is quite possible.

    2. You have a narrow band system and the Maxons are Wideband.

    2. Your bandwidth is correct but you have companding turned on. This will mess everything up if they don't ALL have it on.

    Getting a speaker/mic or headset will work but it doesn't solve the problem, it just covers it up.
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    Originally posted by nmfire
    I hope you don't mean your getting less of a radio by going with Kenwood vs Motorola. I've found it ot be quite the opposite at times and for most applications, they are equal or at least close. You could smash the Motorola "Professional Series" or "Waris Series" radios to pieces with a kenwood 90 series.
    If that was directed at me, I didn't mean that at all. Several of our firefighters have obtained TK380s and about the only thing that KO'd them was when one got run over by a Jeep. And we do have some Waris series, and while they haven't physically broken, they still sound like crap to me.

    I personally prefer the Jedi series of radios over anything I've used, including the Kenwoods I mentioned above. And while I know other companies make Smartzone-capable hardware, it's hard enough to get the radio techs to program a batch of Jedi portables and a single MCS2000 - I think introducing any other types of radios will just make the whole thing that much more difficult.

    --j.

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    Maxon gets a bad rap, but really aren't that bad a radio. One of my former stations bought 5 to go with the 3 county issued motorola HT100's and thus far the Maxons have outlasted two of the HT1000's.

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    My department uses ICOM handhelds. They are great and we have never had any problems out of them. I can be at my regular job in the next county over from mine and still pick up just fine. They are quite pricy though...(but that's what Forestry grants are for
    I didn't realize $350 was pricey for a good portable. SP 50s are the same price around here and don't come close to the features. We got rid of our TK 280s and went with all ICOMS because of price, quality, features and upgrade features.
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    First of all, an SP50 is not a fireground or public safety radio anyway. It was never intended to be. If you are using it, well, I'f start saving up to get something that isn't one step up from the "toy" catagory.

    You beat and an HT1000 with a MAXON?? I would say that is more of a coincidence rather than normal.

    I would agree the ONLY motorola radio I would trust for fire service use is the Jedi line of radios. If I didn't need any Motorola proprietary features, I would go for the 90 series Kenwoods first though. Cheaper, just as rugged if not more, and just all around more versatile. You buy the radio and you get ALL the features. None of this flash upgrading crap to drive the price up. You can also program it without servering an arm and giving it to Motorola.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    HALOOOOO.... EARTH CALLING.

    You are working in a BUNKER. It is made of concrete and reinforced steel bars and grid sheets wired together to provide the strength and tension for the concrete.

    The steel is all tied together, making for one VELY VELY impressive aerial.

    As moisture content of some amount is inherent in concrete by its nature, your signals are dumped to earth.

    In otherwords you are sitting inside a signal dead zone.

    PS. Do you use those rockets to get to the fire in a hurry?
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    Yeah.. if the weak audio is system-wide, with every radio, and consistently indoors (or however you describe being in the bunker ), that's likely gonna be the issue.

    Many departments in big cities have issues within things like subway or highway tunnels and such. If you think this is the problem, maybe contacting one or more of those agencies to find out what they did could help you...

    --j.

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    Another possibility is that your speaker is just full of crud, dust, pocket lint ect. My radio wasn't as loud as the rest of the crew. Got the radio guru to give it a cleaning . Improved the performance alot.

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    I'm guessing this problem is taking place outside as well, not just inside the bunker. Yes, obviouslt if you are in a bomb shelter, it is not going to work very well. All that steel puts your signal right to ground before it even gets out of the building. Chances are you wouldn't get "low audio", you would just get "nothing".
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    How is it that working at an OLD 'Nike Zeus' missle base is classififed in any manner?

    All the Nike Zeus missles were pulled from active duty in the mid to late 60's when it became apparent that the nuclear threat from the Soviet Bloc would be on a the tip of an ICBM rather than a Bear bomber.
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    Yes I realize im getting nothing in the bunker---I could just yell to the dispatcher down there anyway. My "problem" is that if your standing outside and have the volume cranked it is hard to hear.

    Kiwi it aint the launch thats hard---its the dang'n sudden stop at the end.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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