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Thread: Handheld Radio

  1. #1
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    Default Handheld Radio

    Hey guys, I just recently became a member of my towns volunteer fire dept. I am looking into personally buying a handheld mobile radio since our funds for communication equipment is low. What radio would you guys recommend? Does it need to be VHF or UHF? Also, if I do buy one, how does it get programmed to our fire frequency? Is that done at the factory? Thanks in advance!

    (As you can tell I don't know a lot about the technical aspects of radios)


  2. #2
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    Default Suggestions....

    1) You should get the okay from your Chief if your department allows members to have their own radios. They are licensed by the FCC and are responsible for that frequency's use in your area.

    2) Your Chief or radio guy would give you the information on the band and frequency you need. VHF 150Mhz range, UHF 460Mhz range or 800Mhz range depending on what your area uses. There may also be PL tones, (filter type deal) that your department uses for technical issues.

    3) Programming usually gets done by the dealer. Motorola, Kenwood whomever. Again, you will probably do better using the same dealer that your department or dispatch center uses. That way you get someone familiar with the needs in your area. You already stated you are not technically savy on this so buying from 3 states away will not do you much good if you don't give them the technical details. (IE: Radio does not work because of programing errors.)

    4) We have had good luck with Motorola HT1250's. Others will say other brands but that is pretty much up to you. You get what you pay for and you will need service later on.

  3. #3
    This space for rent NYSmokey's Avatar
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    Do not get anything EF Johnson. They SUCK. Had my emergency button activate due to water (runoff from master stream basically a mist). Guess you need to keep them dry Plus they are like bricks.
    Tom

    Never Forget 9-11-2001

    Stay safe out there!

    IACOJ Member

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    Congratulations on joining the fire service. I can certainly appreciate your enthusiasm in getting started, however; be sure to check with the Chief to see if there is a need for you to purchase your own radio.

  5. #5
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    Another vote for the Motorola HT1250, if you can afford it. Check eBay.

  6. #6
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    Default Don't buy your own radio

    To firefighter914. Do you guys have to buy your own SCBA ? If your officers believe members should have radios they will find a way to pay for them. The value of a radio as a safety tool cannot be denied. However, a radio has become symbolic of ďcommandĒ just as those trumpets in your trophy case and on your officers badges. As the new guy you should be teamed up with a veteran and they will use the radio, you need to keep your ears & eyes open and your mouth shut. Itís nothing personal. It will keep you safe. We have all gone through it ďA hundred years of tradition unimpeded by progressĒ and all that. It might be best if you do what you are told and do the best job as a grunt firefighter you can. You WILL earn the respect of the veterans. Before long you will be ASKED for your opinion & suggestions. You wonít need to buy a radio, someone in charge will put one in your hand.
    Best of luck, Lou

  7. #7
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro2636
    Congratulations on joining the fire service. I can certainly appreciate your enthusiasm in getting started, however; be sure to check with the Chief to see if there is a need for you to purchase your own radio.
    ..Hey Jethrow ............you said it best Bro !!!!!!
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfdlou
    To firefighter914. Do you guys have to buy your own SCBA ? If your officers believe members should have radios they will find a way to pay for them. The value of a radio as a safety tool cannot be denied. However, a radio has become symbolic of ďcommandĒ just as those trumpets in your trophy case and on your officers badges. As the new guy you should be teamed up with a veteran and they will use the radio, you need to keep your ears & eyes open and your mouth shut. Itís nothing personal. It will keep you safe. We have all gone through it ďA hundred years of tradition unimpeded by progressĒ and all that. It might be best if you do what you are told and do the best job as a grunt firefighter you can. You WILL earn the respect of the veterans. Before long you will be ASKED for your opinion & suggestions. You wonít need to buy a radio, someone in charge will put one in your hand.
    Best of luck, Lou
    Well first off it has been OK'ed by the chief. Also, i guess i should have cleared it up..... I have been a firefighter for 10 yrs with a previous department but moved, so now i am joining another department. I have much more experience than about half of the department. I am just looking for recommendations from other firefighters!! Have a Good Day.

  9. #9
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    Default Handheld Radio

    I stand corrected. You are going to need some details about the system you operate on. Conventional, or trunked. The best way to do this is to take one of the radios in use now to a dealer they can ďreadĒ it and than make suggestions. If you can afford new you get local warrantee & programming support. They may have trade in stuff that they will program & support because you bought it there instead of ebay(let the buyer beware). Dealers charging about 1 Hr. labor rate do programming. Programming software for all the Motorola stuff is copyrighted and big M does not play nice with pirates. One of the most widely used conventional & repeater radios in the public safety market is the Motorola HT1000 itís tough, simple and has been discontinued (replaced by HT1250) and showing up in the used market in large numbers. VHF low band (33-50 Mhz.) is on the way out & is limited to few models. VHF high 134-174 Mhz.most common. UHF come in two splits 450-470 Mhz. & 470-512 Mhz. If itís trunked you just canít program a radio and use on the system. The controlling computer will recognize it as an intruder and will (a) lock it out of the system or (b) kill it, your new radio becomes a doorstop.
    Good Luck to the Deptís new "radio guy".

  10. #10
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    Here in my Co. the Sheriff Dept. (Dispatch) does the programming of our radios.

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