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Old 05-30-2014, 8:31 AM
   
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Default State of analog?

Hi folks. I've recently been put in charge of my company's radio system (Motorola LTR). We've got around 80 handsets, EX600-XLS and HT1250-LS (intrinsically safe handhelds are a requirement in our environment). At the turnover meeting, our equipment/service partner informed me that we really needed to be planning to switch to a digital system in the nearish future, and speculated that within a year or two our handsets would be discontinued and difficult to find parts for.

My company is being particularly tight with the budget at the moment. The analog system serves us just fine... we really wouldn't make use of many of the bells/whistles made possible by digital systems. I'm not really looking forward to trying to convince people around here that buying an entirely new fleet of handsets is a good idea.

Does anyone have any insight on this? Is the EX600-XLS likely to be phased out soon? When it is, will it likely be difficult to find a similarly-featured intrinsically safe analog handset to replace it with? I'm just trying to get a feel for the landscape, as I'll need to get the ball rolling for budgeting pretty well in advance if I do need to upgrade.

Thanks for any comments.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:05 AM
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Sounds like a vendor is trying to push you into replacing a radio system that you are perfectly satisfied with, that meets your needs, and is cost effective.

Time to fire them and find another vendor. While the EX series will be phased out as they are over a decade old, other vendors continue to make LTR portables with IS ratings as an option. Icom, Kenwood and Vertex-Standard all have multiple analog LTR portables in their current lineup. Most of the Icom and Kenwood NXDN digital radios also support analog LTR and conventional.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glibdud View Post
Hi folks. I've recently been put in charge of my company's radio system (Motorola LTR). We've got around 80 handsets, EX600-XLS and HT1250-LS (intrinsically safe handhelds are a requirement in our environment). At the turnover meeting, our equipment/service partner informed me that we really needed to be planning to switch to a digital system in the nearish future, and speculated that within a year or two our handsets would be discontinued and difficult to find parts for.

My company is being particularly tight with the budget at the moment. The analog system serves us just fine... we really wouldn't make use of many of the bells/whistles made possible by digital systems. I'm not really looking forward to trying to convince people around here that buying an entirely new fleet of handsets is a good idea.

Does anyone have any insight on this? Is the EX600-XLS likely to be phased out soon? When it is, will it likely be difficult to find a similarly-featured intrinsically safe analog handset to replace it with? I'm just trying to get a feel for the landscape, as I'll need to get the ball rolling for budgeting pretty well in advance if I do need to upgrade.

Thanks for any comments.
Let me add a couple of things here....

First, "you need to plan to switch to digital soon" is just a sales tactic and a weak one at that. Many, many agencies and businesses have analog systems that are performing just fine. Individual components can be replaced with available analog gear now and for the forseeable future.

Second, even if Motorola does discontinue the EX and/or HT lines, they will still have full parts and depot repair support for at least five years beyond the end date.

Third, without the pressure of having to plan and budget a new system in the immediate future, you have some breathing room to gain knowledge and experience as a radio systems manager. You will be in a much better position to work with your company to develop a long range plan to cope with whatever the future brings.

Good luck.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:18 PM
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I'd agree, time to find a new dealer. Your sales guy is trying to line his pockets at your employers expense.

As for the rumored demise of analog, read this, send it to your manager, maybe even send it to the sales guy:
Radio Resource Magazine: OnlyOnline

I had to replace my old analog trunked system a few years back. We looked at going to an analog LTR system, but finally ended up choosing the Kenwood NexEdge digital system. It works fine, and it made sense to us since we tend to run our equipment until the wheels fall off. But, we could have survived just fine with analog. If your existing system provides what you need, then don't change it. There are some perceived benefits to digital, but they come with some tradeoffs.

Beware of this sales guy, he likely won't give up. Be prepared for him to do an end run around you to your management. This is a common tactic. To be fair, there are some good sales guys out there, but unfortunately the bad ones tend to talk the loudest.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:18 PM
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Definitely find a new vendor, there are no plans to stop manufacturing the HT-1250ls for at least another 6 years. That info is directly from Mother M when we were planning on retiring our fleet of HT-1250 and going to Icoms. That has been a common tactic for quite a few years now, even telling the customer the radios are no longer being made when it's not true. I had to show the discontinued radio sheet to our FD which had the Federal models on it but not what we use. The vendor sheepishly then ordered 25 new analog radios for us.We should have gotten rid of the vendor, but politics came into play with a previous Chief.
If you really want to get their goat, have them provide on Motorola Corporate letterhead the discontinue date of the radio, and see what happens. I doubt you will get one.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:25 PM
   
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Thanks for the info, guys. I had a feeling it wasn't quite as urgent as he was trying to imply. Won't be kicking them to the curb quite yet, though. We've got a pretty good relationship with them. I just needed a bit more ammo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveC0625 View Post
Second, even if Motorola does discontinue the EX and/or HT lines, they will still have full parts and depot repair support for at least five years beyond the end date.
That's particularly good to know. Is that a written policy somewhere I can refer to, or just their general way of dealing with hardware phase-outs?
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:43 PM
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On a similar note, we are looking at replacing all the hand held and mobile radios for our police department. Since all the agencies in our county are analog, and there are no plans (or funding) to replace any of those analog system, we will stick with analog. Looking at our options, we asked Kenwood what their plans were. I was told that Kenwood intends to keep producing the TK-x90 line of analog mobiles for another 10 years. There are so many agencies that cannot afford to replace their systems that the market for analog radios will be around for a long time.
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Old 05-30-2014, 9:03 PM
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How did we do it before digital ? Great to hear that many are starting to realize this digital thing is nothing more than some sales pitch or a latest new fad.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:04 PM
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Digital has certain advantages but also has its own drawbacks. But if your existing system works well for you, there is no reason to replace it. The salesdroid is trying to drum up sales. It has nothing to do with any NEED to go to digital.

Digital at its best never sounds quite as good as good analog radios in a good RF environment, receiving at full quieting.

Digital range may or may not actually be more than analog range but at least with analog, you know when you're getting near the limit of coverage and you can (probably) still make out what's being said through some static. But when digital goes bad, it goes BAD. You won't be able to make out what's being said when the radio starts pumping out random noises instead of clear speech.

Just because a radio is being discontinued doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot of good years of service left. Don't let the salesdroid stampede your company into spending money that they don't need to spend at this time.
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Old 05-31-2014, 7:43 AM
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That's particularly good to know. Is that a written policy somewhere I can refer to, or just their general way of dealing with hardware phase-outs?[/QUOTE]

Google it, there is a list of EOL radios in the Pro Series most are odd ducks like the Federal Version. If you have access to MOL it's there too. If you don't have access I would recommend highly you get a MOL account so you can see what's going on, since they (Motorola) for the most part give a last date you can order a product before discontinuance.
As I said earlier, have you vendor provide it, then they know you know.
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Old 05-31-2014, 8:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glibdud View Post
That's particularly good to know. Is that a written policy somewhere I can refer to, or just their general way of dealing with hardware phase-outs?
Symbol Service End-of-Life Support Position - Motorola Solutions USA

Five years at least.
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Old 05-31-2014, 8:10 AM
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Quote:
they (Motorola) for the most part give a last date you can order a product before discontinuance.
As I said earlier, have you vendor provide it, then they know you know.



Not exactly true.

There's a last date where they GUARANTEE they'll have full support for a given radio.

Beyond that date, parts availability is subject to stock on hand.

To this day Motorola still has some stock on hand for radios as old as the HT220 portables and Motrac mobiles.

But they won't be replacing that stock as it gets depleted, IF it gets depleted.
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Old 05-31-2014, 8:45 AM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9900; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.11+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/7.1.0.1047 Mobile Safari/534.11+)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nfd2004
How did we do it before digital ? Great to hear that many are starting to realize this digital thing is nothing more than some sales pitch or a latest new fad.
It is not a 'sales pitch' although in this case it is, nor is it a 'fad'.

There are real advantages to digital. DMR for example increases talk paths while reducing the amount of infrastruture.

Audio quality has come along way from VSLEP and P25.

I use DMR at work, and actually prefer it to the analogue sysytem it is replacing.

The key is proper engineering, site selection, and coverage planning. If you hack a system together for cheap, expect crappy results.

There is also nothing wrong with analogue. If it works for you, stay with it.
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Old 05-31-2014, 9:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveC0625 View Post
That support policy is for Symbol Technologies bar code readers...Motorola typically provides full product support (including depot flat rate repair) for 5 YEARS on portable radios, and 7 YEARS on mobile radios/infrastructure, and keep in mind this is based on the DATE OF MANUFACTURE, when the last one rolls off the line, is when the clock starts.

Of course, as has been pointed out, this does not mean after that support life cycle is over, that all parts are purged from the system. Last I checked most Jedi parts are still showing available with 2-3 day lead time. Albeit they are expensive, they are in the system available for order.

Analog radio isn't going away, it will be here for years to come. If your radio system is working, there is no need or "mandate" to migrate to digital. It's just plain sales turd B.S.
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Old 06-01-2014, 7:30 PM
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Default Vendors told us to go digital too!

Don't listen to the hype. I work in the gas/oil industry and have a need for IS FM rated radios as well.

Currently we are using Motorola PR1500 radios. However, the company I work for has to use the same radio as all of our customers. Many of them were told they had to go digital as part of the narrow-band mandate earlier this year.

Many of them listened to their vendors and bought MotoTrbo XPR-4550 mobile and XPR-6550 handhelds. Others bought used XTS series radios as they were told "digital is digital" by their vendors. I had to explain their error when one site has XPR-6550 handheld radios and a nearby one has XTS-2500's. They wondered why they could not talk with each other. They didn't know about FDMA vs TDMA and different types of Motorola digital formats.

There was also an issue with Motorola forcing all radios to narrow-band and these customers needing 25kHz channels for marine use in the same radio.

I have had dealings with three vendors in my area, that tell all of their customers that they must go digital for some reason or another.

Do not listen to vendors. Sales people will do whatever they must to make a sale. Some are worse than others, but the politics is always the same.

We have also now gone MotoTrbo, with PR1500's as a backup radio. They are mostly used in analog mode though as GPS tracking and other features are not needed at this time.

If you do buy MotoTrbo XPR-6550 handhelds, you must specify the IS FM rating at time of order and they ship with the correct battery and a label on the radio. If you have an issue in a hazardous environment and this sticker is not on the radio, there could be legal problems. (I was told by Motorola engineers that all XPR-6550 radios are made to IS FM standards but not certified as such without the sticker on it, and used with the correct IS rated battery.) The IS FM certification does cost more for the radio.
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Old 06-01-2014, 7:44 PM
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It sounds as if more Lies are being told by big name manufacturers sales people than anything else. Then either for kick-backs or to preserve their departments it's bought hook line and sinker.

Corporate welfare for Motorola and other manufacturers nothing more as many corporate officers don't know any better or they need a new house.
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Old 06-01-2014, 8:00 PM
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Motorola EOL is still subject to availability. Case in point would be volume pots for SP50 radios. It was not a year after ending production that the pots were no longer available. (they were contstantly being replaced)
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:33 PM
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It is common practice where I work to buy all the extra parts we think we may need, before they get "end of life" by Motorola. We also cannibalize our gear when the flat rate repair is too high.
We have many Radius 1225 mobiles and now CDM series radios still in use. Work great if all you need is analog.
But then I have a MW800 MDT on my desk that parts can only be found on auction sites. Replaced by the MW810/900 and who knows what now.
Last December I bought a MotoTrbo package that included XPR6550 handheld radios. The salesman calls three months ago, saying that there is a "trade up" offer for the XPR6550's if we choose to replace them with XPR7550's. I look at what the offer is and tell him we intend to use this until they break. Which could be years. Then the sales lies begin. Blah blah blah, this radio is near obsolete, you require licenses for Capacity Plus, analog is dead.....
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