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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-25-2012, 2:27 PM
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Default Fleet in need of update.

Hello, I am a fleet mechanic for a relatively small excavation company (25 pieces). Due to narrow banding, a number of our mobile and portable radios need replacement. We are looking into a few different options, but I would like to know your opinions.

-We operate on one VHF channel around 151 Mhz (I'd have to look it up).
-We do not use any repeaters, or trucking.
-We have a mixture of 25Watt and 40Watt mobiles, but would like to buy 40Watt
-We do not need a lot of options, just simple units.
-We have had a number of brands and models, our favorite mobile was the Radius M100
-Our Portables are mostly HT1000 and P1225

What I have been looking at was

For Mobiles: CM200 CM300 PM400
For portables: CP185, or more used P1225s

Any advise, pros/cons or first hand experience would be very much appreciated.
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Old 11-25-2012, 3:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTVANDALAY View Post
Hello, I am a fleet mechanic for a relatively small excavation company (25 pieces). Due to narrow banding, a number of our mobile and portable radios need replacement. We are looking into a few different options, but I would like to know your opinions.

-We operate on one VHF channel around 151 Mhz (I'd have to look it up).
-We do not use any repeaters, or trucking.
-We have a mixture of 25Watt and 40Watt mobiles, but would like to buy 40Watt
-We do not need a lot of options, just simple units.
-We have had a number of brands and models, our favorite mobile was the Radius M100
-Our Portables are mostly HT1000 and P1225

What I have been looking at was

For Mobiles: CM200 CM300 PM400
For portables: CP185, or more used P1225s

Any advise, pros/cons or first hand experience would be very much appreciated.
I would use cp200s or 150s and cm300 or cm200s they are all great radios and they all use the same cps. So you can program each radio the same a the portables. I personally would recommend these radios.
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Old 11-25-2012, 3:55 PM
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Thank you for the speedy response. I have read that the CP200 does not have the range that we are looking to get out of our portables, which is the only reason I was thinking CP185. Is this radio available in a 5 Watt model? what kind of range in miles am I looking at with it? Comparable to a P1225?
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Old 11-25-2012, 3:57 PM
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I have a small fleet of CM300's in place up here. So far, they have performed as well as the Radius and MaxTracs that they replaced.

If your company only has one licensed frequency, then the CM200 in the 25-45 watt version should be perfect for you.

Your HT1000's can be narrowbanded so don't let them go. Since they are already in use on your frequency in a wideband mode, they'll just need reprogramming like your other radios. Just understand that only the ones with model numbers ending in DN can be used on the newer "splinter" channels. That should not be an issue for you now since it sounds like you are not using a splinter channel currently.

There are a number of good deals on narrowband compliant equipment now and there will be even more in the months ahead. Many public safety agencies and commercial users have jumped to digital or trunking formats and are selling off their analog gear. Depending on where you are located, you may find someone locally who can help you with this.
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Last edited by SteveC0625; 11-25-2012 at 4:24 PM..
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Old 11-25-2012, 4:04 PM
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I have a small fleet of CM300's in place up here. So, they have performed as well as the Radius and MaxTracs that they replaced.

If your company only has one licensed frequency, then the CM200 in the 25-45 watt version should be perfect for you.

Your HT1000's can be narrowbanded so don't let them go. Since they are already in use on your frequency in a wideband mode, they'll just need reprogramming like your other radios. Just understand that only the ones with model numbers ending in DN can be used on the newer "splinter" channels. That should not be an issue for you now since it sounds like you are not using a splinter channel currently.

There are a number of good deals on narrowband compliant equipment now and there will be even more in the months ahead. Many public safety agencies and commercial users have jumped to digital or trunking formats and are selling off their analog gear. Depending on where you are located, you may find someone locally who can help you with this.
Just as an FYI the cm300 and cm200 are still the radius series.
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Old 11-25-2012, 4:06 PM
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Just as an FYI the cm300 and cm200 are still the radius series.
I knew that... Was just thinking of all the wb only Radius units that have come out of service so it feels like a whole lot of past tense at the moment. I'll recover.
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Old 11-25-2012, 4:13 PM
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I knew that... Was just thinking of all the wb only Radius units that have come out of service so it feels like a whole lot of past tense at the moment. I'll recover.
I hear ya, I had a hard time putting down some old SABERS 😣
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Old 11-25-2012, 7:34 PM
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I'd vote for the CDM-750. 40 watt VHF radio, 4 channels, durable as all get out and nice basic radios. If you are OK buying used, there are a number of these on e-Bay. I've purchased a couple for mobile and base use.
Whatever you choose, make sure you figure in the cost of programming, or if you program on your own, the cost of the CPS and the cable. That can add a lot to the cost of any radio.

And like Steve said, don't ditch the HT1000's, they should be able to be reprogrammed for narrow band. If they are currently working for you, then why replace them? Accessories are cheap and there are a lot of the Jedi model radios out there still in use. Batteries, parts and accessories will be available for a long time to come.
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Old 11-25-2012, 8:42 PM
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Range wise, a CP185 won't talk any farther than a CP200 (which I personally like better anyway).
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Old 11-25-2012, 9:50 PM
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Range wise, a CP185 won't talk any farther than a CP200 (which I personally like better anyway).
+1

I've got 15 of them in service here (XLS models) plus a trio of their little sisters, the CP150's. Nice radios all around.

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I'd vote for the CDM-750. 40 watt VHF radio, 4 channels, durable as all get out and nice basic radios. If you are OK buying used, there are a number of these on e-Bay. I've purchased a couple for mobile and base use.
Whatever you choose, make sure you figure in the cost of programming, or if you program on your own, the cost of the CPS and the cable. That can add a lot to the cost of any radio.
Agreed. I have a bunch of the CDM's under my wing, too. (750,s, 1250,s & 1550's) Great radios, and I've had very good luck with picking up used ones off Ebay. My personal radio is a CDM1250 which I am moving into my new truck tomorrow. Lots of them are showing up on Ebay and elsewhere these days.

I prefer the CDM's over the CM's, but for the OP's needs, either would work well.

Also not to be overlooked is the M1225. They're very similar to the CM's in form and function, and are also coming available in quantity on the used market. Since they already have P1225's, whoever is maintaining their radios already has the programming software for the M1225's.
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Old 11-26-2012, 6:34 PM
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We are interested in buying new radios, they come with warranty and more importantly- free programming, which is not something that we are equipped to do. That being said, I am afraid the CDMs are a little out of our price range. Has anyone dealt with a company called Action Communication? They seem to have very low prices which seem too good to be true.

One more thing, when I asked my local Motorola dealer to quote me on the CM300, he came back and said that no one buys the CM300 because the PM400 was only $10.00 more, and it came with a better mic. I find that odd, because on the Internet, it seems the price difference is closer to $100.00, which doesn't sound like much, but when you're buying in quantity, it adds up quickly. Could it be that he has over priced the CM300 just to up-sell the PM400 because it is a more expensive unit?
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Old 11-26-2012, 8:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTVANDALAY View Post
We are interested in buying new radios, they come with warranty and more importantly- free programming, which is not something that we are equipped to do. That being said, I am afraid the CDMs are a little out of our price range. Has anyone dealt with a company called Action Communication? They seem to have very low prices which seem too good to be true.

One more thing, when I asked my local Motorola dealer to quote me on the CM300, he came back and said that no one buys the CM300 because the PM400 was only $10.00 more, and it came with a better mic. I find that odd, because on the Internet, it seems the price difference is closer to $100.00, which doesn't sound like much, but when you're buying in quantity, it adds up quickly. Could it be that he has over priced the CM300 just to up-sell the PM400 because it is a more expensive unit?
I have dealt with Action Communications out of Tuscon a number of times, and have always been satisfied. They do often seem to run out of stock on popular items like the CP/PR and CM/PM series though. In one instance when my fire department bought several of those radios from them it took almost a month for them to regain stock and ship them, but in the end the savings and customer service were worth it.

If you buy from Action Comm, the CM300 and PM400 should be around the same price. If their online catalog is correct, the 45 watt CM300 is actually around $30 more than what we recently paid for a 45 watt PM400. Of course you can always call them up and get definitive pricing.

In my county the majority of fire department mobiles are CM300s and PM400s. They seem to be reliable little radios with a good feature set, and we have had very few problems with them. The PM400 in my opinion is a better radio than the CM though. They seem to have better audio (both TX and RX), and they do come standard with a much better palm mic then the CM.
In fact, the microphones that come on the CMs are really the only thing we have had problems with. The other day I had to replace a relatively new one that developed a constant flutter/wind noise, and we had one that was pretty much crushed when someone lightly stepped on it while in the cab.

In the end I think the CM300 or PM400 will be more than enough radio for your needs, and the 4 channel CM200 might even be a better choice due to the simplicity of your system.
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Old 11-26-2012, 9:54 PM
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I understand you like the Motorola's, and I do too, I own a few. One thing I would suggest is to do some shopping around before you purchase. Motorola makes excellent radios, but they are not the only ones. For what you are looking for there are suitable radios made by many companies. I would suggest contacting a Kenwood dealer and see what kind of price they can give you. They are getting very competitive and trying hard to expand their market. You might find some better prices out there.
I'd suggest something like the TK-7102, a 8 channel radio, 50 watts (can be turned down). List price on those is $350.00, dealer pricing will be quite a bit less.

Free programming should be included from any dealer, especially with only one channel.

While you are at it, I'd also strongly suggest that you replace antennas, antenna mounts and power cables. Unless the installations are fairly new, it's cheap insurance and good practice to swap out this stuff while you are installing the new radios. Things like antennas and antenna mounts can weather over time and reduce performance. Power feed might be fine, but if you went with a different brand other than Motorola, you'd want to swap those out anyway. In the vehicles with the 25 watt radios, you should be taking a close look at the wiring before adding a 40 watt radio.

For hand held radios: Kenwood TK-2302 16 channel 5 watt hand held, list price is about $250 each.

There are a lot of options out there. Nothing at all wrong with Motorola. I use a combination of Motorola and Kenwood at work and am happy with all of them. I've found Kenwood a little easier to deal with and they tend to have better pricing.
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Old 11-27-2012, 9:20 AM
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Reading through this thread I don't think anyone mentioned that, in addition to the HT1000s you have, your P1225 radios are also narrowband capable. That's where the 1225 comes from in the model number, meaning the radio will do 25 or 12.5 kHz deviation.

On the business side, and speaking from years of experience working for equipment dealers, when a dealer can't make delivery of a specific product it sometimes means that he doesn't pay his bills from his suppliers on time. Not always but sometimes. If contemplating a large purchase, it makes sense to order a D&B report on the supplier which will tell yo, among other things, his credit history and rating.
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Old 11-27-2012, 9:37 AM
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On the business side, and speaking from years of experience working for equipment dealers, when a dealer can't make delivery of a specific product it sometimes means that he doesn't pay his bills from his suppliers on time. Not always but sometimes. If contemplating a large purchase, it makes sense to order a D&B report on the supplier which will tell yo, among other things, his credit history and rating.
Excellent point. I ran into this recently with a supplier. Making contact with the factory rep revealed a host of issues with the dealer. He was also able to cut loose enough stock to the dealer so I could get my order.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:53 AM
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Action Communications is a very large company, They have locations in about a dozen places to include three in Washington State.

As for a dealer not having a large number of units in stack, you have to remember that even thru they are a daeler, they still have to pay for the radio to have 'in stock' so they will not have more then a small number in stock.

After recieving a order, if it excedes the number they have in stack, they contact the main warehouse and order the number of radios that are needed to fill the order.

That may take a week or ten days or more to be recieved by the dealer.

To artvandaley, Also, while looking around, look at Icom. They have very good equipment and I have installed several hundred over the last dozen years in heavy equipment and they are still working.

Check your PM
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Old 11-27-2012, 4:06 PM
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Its been many years since i have worked in or with the radio industry. I thought the jan 1 2013 narrowband mandate was for public safety and first responders / emergency stuff. Not commercial users.

I also agree with the thought of looking at Kenwood and Vertex equipment. Although i think I am dating my self there as Motorola bought out Vertex some years back. Units like the VX800 and VX900 were awesome radios.
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Old 11-27-2012, 4:33 PM
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iamsixnine The 2013 narrow band mandate is for ALL USERS (except ham, gmrs, frs, murs, aircraft and marine) that use radio frequencys from 150mz to 512mz.

The HIGHLY recommanded change to all emergency services is if they go to the 700 and up band, they go to P25 digital

As for Motorola, they bought out the Standard/Yessue line. Vertex is still a standalone company.
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Old 11-27-2012, 5:08 PM
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Thanks cabletech for the clarifications..
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Old 11-27-2012, 5:39 PM
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ICOM makes a nice product as well. I have installed some of the 5021 5011's and the people seem to prefer them to the Motorolas. Worth a look see at them as well.....
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