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  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Mercer Fire Dept. Mercer,ND

    Post P-25 compliant or analog radios

    We want to buy portable radios, but are undecided and not sure if we should go the digital or analog route. Our state is working on a new digital system but won't be fully up and running for 3 to 5 years they say. We have $6000 to work with and at $2600 a pop for the digitals we'll have 2 of them to start. These radios will be used for our rural FD at any emergency scene where comunication is vital between our FF's, and any other agencies involved. Should we buy the analogs or or buy digitals one at a time or as can be afforded? I also just read that when the country as a whole moves toward interoperability the gov will provide funding for the switch, that sounds to good to be true. Your thoughts appreciated>

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Black Hawk VFD, South Dakota


    Well, We're still working on getting our digital trunked system up and operating for everyone in South Dakota. It's been a three year process on a statewide system.

    The digitals we are using are digital/analog (150-160 megahertz)so the old freqs work. The catch is only specific radios made by Motorola and EF Johnson will work on the system.

    The digitals are more sensitive to hitting a tower than the analog. There is no "fringe" area. You either have communications or you don't, much like cell phone coverage.

    The audio is clearer and the system will work well hopefully by the end of this year. Our problem was with training on the radios. The state bought most of them and put them out to the various agencies without training other than the manual that came with the radio.

    I would say go with the digital if they are also analog capable but make sure you have some good training manuals available for your system.

    Check with your county emergency management. We are getting some additional portables under the WMD grants. They will be of more use than the Tyvek suits and gas masks we are also getting under the same program.

    Stay Safe

  3. #3
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Maryland (DC Suburb)


    Do you need portables for your own agency's communications as well? Get your own communications in line first. That is Numero Uno always. Talking on the state's save-the-world radio system is only secondary to your own communications. I would buy whatever you need for your own agency analog first.

    1. The state is going to buy you some radios, so why spend your money?

    2. There is no point to spending $2,600 on something now that you can't use for 5-6 years. In 5-6 years, the price will come down and there will probably be different technology out by then too.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    New Rockford, ND



    If you want to forward your e-mail to me I will send you some comments from the mobile communications committe and others in ND. Basically, I can find no reason for FDs in ND to even consider p-25 at this time. It is not going to help or change anything...other than your budget. However, if you are looking at new radios you may want to explore radios that are "digital upgradable". We use Bendix/King radios and all of their new radios are upgradeable to digital (for an additional cost).


  5. #5
    Forum Member cellblock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    St Gabriel, La


    If you already have adaquate radio communication between members of your department using less expensive radios then why switch everyone? Do you have one truck or Chiefs vehicle which rolls to every call? A sprint truck, command post vehicle or, like us, a service/rescue truck? This would be a truck which would always be where the command post and the IC is located on a scene. If you have such a vehicle then you may only need to by one Digital radio to be used by the IC to coordinate with other agencies when they are present. Our department has a rescue/service truck which will roll to any call; EMS, Hazmat, Structure fire, MVA, etc. In the cab of this truck is a radio bought from Acadian Ambulance for communication with it's ambulances and Airmed. There's also a Regional Mutual Aid radio in this truck. During an incident this truck will be where IC will operate from. No other truck in our fleet has these radios but all are equipted with our regular department used radios. So unless your radio system is also switching to Digital then you may only need one high priced digital radio in the near future. The rest of the department can operate on lower priced VHF or UHF radios and the money you save can be spent on other equiptment you may need later.
    Last edited by cellblock; 03-08-2004 at 06:35 PM.

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