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Old 07-31-2018, 1:53 PM
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Default Some Butler County (OH) Agencies Weigh Less Expensive Option of Emergency Radios

(TNS) - Members of the Butler County Fire Chiefs Association are investigating whether they need the most advanced version of emergency first responder radios, or if basic equipment will do.

Some Butler County Agencies Weigh Less Expensive Option of Emergency Radios
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Old 07-31-2018, 6:30 PM
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I'm happy to hear some of the officials are looking at what they need and not simply buying what the county offers.
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Old 07-31-2018, 7:37 PM
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I hope they endure the political pressure and sales tactics and decide on a system that is affordable, practical, and sufficient for them. Good for them.
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Old 07-31-2018, 9:50 PM
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Good to see someone finally being realistic.
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Old 08-01-2018, 8:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TailGator911 View Post
I hope they endure the political pressure and sales tactics and decide on a system that is affordable, practical, and sufficient for them. Good for them.
What's going on is they're looking at replacing (primarily) XTS5000 portables, which reach end of support 12/31/18. The system is already there and has been for several years (Butler County started out with a stand-alone system, but merged with Ohio MARCS-IP a couple of years ago; their former system controller is now the zone controller for Zone 4 on MARCS).

Motorola isn't the only show in town any longer, and there has been pretty good success elsewhere in the state with radios from Kenwood / EFJ, Tait, Harris and others.

Kudos to the fire chiefs; when you can get a good quality radio that works perfectly well on your radio system, for about half the price of the comparable Motorola product, it would be insane not to take advantage of that.
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Old 08-01-2018, 8:59 AM
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Wonder if they will stick with P25 or look at DMR options.
I too agree that Kenwood, Harris and BK (formerly Relm) make some good radios.
I have had a BK KNG2-P800 for about a year and half now and its a great radio. But im a listener not a FF so i have not really put it to the test in regards to rugged environment.
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Old 08-01-2018, 9:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSixNine View Post
Wonder if they will stick with P25 or look at DMR options.
I too agree that Kenwood, Harris and BK (formerly Relm) make some good radios.
I have had a BK KNG2-P800 for about a year and half now and its a great radio. But im a listener not a FF so i have not really put it to the test in regards to rugged environment.
As noted above, they're not shopping for a new radio system, just subscriber units (mostly portables) to replace the ones they have now which are nearly at end-of-life.
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Old 08-01-2018, 9:24 AM
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Thanks.
It is possible to still get a DMR system and link it to a Statewide P25 system.
But then again any system can be linked to any system. So thats not new.
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Old 08-01-2018, 9:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8pyr View Post

Kudos to the fire chiefs; when you can get a good quality radio that works perfectly well on your radio system, for about half the price of the comparable Motorola product, it would be insane not to take advantage of that.
As long as they're comparing Apples to Apples, it is a great idea. The issue I've seen come up over and over is what they get for the cost. I've got two price quotes from Motorola sitting in my email for some MARCS stuff for a back up center. If you take the total and divide by the radios bought they're over 8k each, and I'm guessing what the Chiefs is that amount. On the quote, the details show the radio is about 6k, then add in programming, engraving, and extra battery and (the really important part) 3 years support, it's jumps to 8.

If the departments, or Butler County, are willing to employ someone to program and support the radios, they may come out way ahead on savings, but if not, they may be getting nickled and dimed to death over the life of the radio.

MARCS itself promotes no one vendor, they even list a bunch of others that will work on the system, so shopping around makes a ton of sense.

On another note, I find it funny that one of the chiefs is upset that a 10 year old system needed replacing. Cell providers went from 2.4 to 3 to 4G in that time frame. The system wasn't replaced with a like system, it was an upgrade.
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:29 AM
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I have relatives that work public safety (police and emt) and they both tell me that they would rather have a simple radio that connects with everyone if need be, different agencies, etc., than a digitally encrypted radio that may isolate them at a time when that is the last thing they would need. My nephew says to me - "For it (encryption) to work, everybody has to be on the same page. Mutual aid, everybody. Otherwise, those using encryption isolate their agencies which, in a certain situation, could put them at risk." He said 'we don't need fancy radios, just need a radio that works.'

Eight thousand buckaroos for a duty radio? Thank God for the tax payer.
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Old 08-01-2018, 10:53 AM
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It all comes down to how lazy the agency/Municipality etc is. If they are typical lazy, they do not want the expense of hassle of actually having a radio shop of their own. So they contract out to a local Motorola/or whatever shop to program/maintain the radios. In my book a WTF move since your STILL paying for the radios to get programmed etc, and for an person to do this! REAL lazy, get Motorola, or whoever, to to that all for them.. Again an WTF move. Your now out of the loop in the chain of control, and paying even more than what the local contract shop charges usually. Kinda lazy: You let the next level on the food chain do it, AKA the County, State etc.... The SMART way: Freaking hire at least ONE GUY... Set him up with a couple of computers, the RIB etc... And buy the CPS. Program them in house to your OWN specs etc... But for various reasons, far too many agencies, Municipalities, etc... Skimp out on this and end up paying far too much to get stuff done.
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Old 08-01-2018, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lone77wulf View Post
On another note, I find it funny that one of the chiefs is upset that a 10 year old system needed replacing. Cell providers went from 2.4 to 3 to 4G in that time frame. The system wasn't replaced with a like system, it was an upgrade.
I think many departments, from chiefs on down, do not understand how it works. As a citizen, I most certainly do not.

I wonder if it was miscommunication or lack of hearing that led to the confusion. I believe many of the rural townships do not understand what they are being told, so it's all a surprise, especially with the relatively quick migration from VHF to P25 to MARCS to MARCS-IP.
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It all comes down to how lazy the agency/Municipality etc is. If they are typical lazy, they do not want the expense of hassle of actually having a radio shop of their own. So they contract out to a local Motorola/or whatever shop to program/maintain the radios. In my book a WTF move since your STILL paying for the radios to get programmed etc, and for an person to do this! REAL lazy, get Motorola, or whoever, to to that all for them.. Again an WTF move. Your now out of the loop in the chain of control, and paying even more than what the local contract shop charges usually. Kinda lazy: You let the next level on the food chain do it, AKA the County, State etc.... The SMART way: Freaking hire at least ONE GUY... Set him up with a couple of computers, the RIB etc... And buy the CPS. Program them in house to your OWN specs etc... But for various reasons, far too many agencies, Municipalities, etc... Skimp out on this and end up paying far too much to get stuff done.
I'm not certain, but I believe many, if not all, agencies in Butler County use the county technicians for radio programming and maintenance currently. It doesn't seem like the county is requiring usage of the radios they contracted for, so it wouldn't surprise me if they would support a different radio in terms of programming and leave it to the township to support it in regards to working with the vendor for failures or parts.
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Old 08-01-2018, 9:08 PM
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I'm trying to figure out why was some fire chiefs at a nearby Ohio County are being forced into using MARCS-IP when they already have a decent VHF countywide system? Plus a neighboring County has 14 towers in a P25 system?
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:33 PM
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I'm trying to figure out why was some fire chiefs at a nearby Ohio County are being forced into using MARCS-IP when they already have a decent VHF countywide system? Plus a neighboring County has 14 towers in a P25 system?
I know your talking about Wood County and your mis-informed as to what is happening there. The fire chiefs are the ones that decided to go to MARCS, they are not being forced to. The fire chiefs got together, applied for and were granted a state fire marshal grant to cover the cost.

When they were researching which system to go to, the sheriff's office told them that the SO would only dispatch them on one system.
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Old 08-03-2018, 7:52 AM
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The bottom line with subscriber units (end user radios) is that for the most part they are wildly overpriced and 'over-capable' for that they need to do for a line FF, patrol officer or EMT. That the XTS series is becoming end of life is nothing more than a scam.

There isn't much of a difference between an XTS and an APX, and before you start squawking about technical specs, capabilities and 'shut up you don't know what you're talking about,' I'll tell you I have both, use both and have programmed both.

My department is getting 'end of life' with out XTS5000s. We will be taking a very very serious look at other manufacturers, instead of financing Motorola's R&D for the feds. As a FF, I want a rugged frame, ergonomic buttons and audio that sounds decent in all environments, analog & P25. I would love to be able to buy new XTS5000s instead of getting a smaller, more expensive one (APX6000).

The capabilities of new P25 systems are overboard for smaller agencies with limited personnel for dispatch and line. You are paying to subsidize features that you will never use. Unfortunately most Chiefs get the 'Gold Badge Syndrome' and fall for the sales pitch that your system will be better than everyone else's.
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Old 08-03-2018, 1:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbella View Post
The bottom line with subscriber units (end user radios) is that for the most part they are wildly overpriced and 'over-capable' for that they need to do for a line FF, patrol officer or EMT. That the XTS series is becoming end of life is nothing more than a scam.

There isn't much of a difference between an XTS and an APX, and before you start squawking about technical specs, capabilities and 'shut up you don't know what you're talking about,' I'll tell you I have both, use both and have programmed both.

My department is getting 'end of life' with out XTS5000s. We will be taking a very very serious look at other manufacturers, instead of financing Motorola's R&D for the feds. As a FF, I want a rugged frame, ergonomic buttons and audio that sounds decent in all environments, analog & P25. I would love to be able to buy new XTS5000s instead of getting a smaller, more expensive one (APX6000).

The capabilities of new P25 systems are overboard for smaller agencies with limited personnel for dispatch and line. You are paying to subsidize features that you will never use. Unfortunately most Chiefs get the 'Gold Badge Syndrome' and fall for the sales pitch that your system will be better than everyone else's.
I find absolutely nothing about this to disagree with.
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Old 08-04-2018, 7:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbella View Post
The bottom line with subscriber units (end user radios) is that for the most part they are wildly overpriced and 'over-capable' for that they need to do for a line FF, patrol officer or EMT. That the XTS series is becoming end of life is nothing more than a scam.

There isn't much of a difference between an XTS and an APX, and before you start squawking about technical specs, capabilities and 'shut up you don't know what you're talking about,' I'll tell you I have both, use both and have programmed both.

My department is getting 'end of life' with out XTS5000s. We will be taking a very very serious look at other manufacturers, instead of financing Motorola's R&D for the feds. As a FF, I want a rugged frame, ergonomic buttons and audio that sounds decent in all environments, analog & P25. I would love to be able to buy new XTS5000s instead of getting a smaller, more expensive one (APX6000).

The capabilities of new P25 systems are overboard for smaller agencies with limited personnel for dispatch and line. You are paying to subsidize features that you will never use. Unfortunately most Chiefs get the 'Gold Badge Syndrome' and fall for the sales pitch that your system will be better than everyone else's.
You’ll be amazed how many XTS5000s/2500s are still connected to the statewide system. Honestly if they work fine keep using them. The city of Columbus was using MTS2000s up until 2015.
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Old 08-05-2018, 4:26 PM
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It is far cheaper and simpler in the long term to replace an entire fleet in one sitting. Yes the radios mostly work right now, but are not supported and it is just outright stupid to have to be an ebay shopping Public Safety agency. Also outright stupid to play the piece by piece game when your dealing with lots of radios. As each radio goes by bye due to failure, your saying just replace each one at a time.... Your not thinking at all on this one. Your not adding in programming etc. Training etc... You replace all of the radios on apparatus, HTs, and etc at the same time when your upgrading as you then only need to worry about the parts and upkeep for ONE family of radios, not 2 of this, 1 of that, 4 of those... And yes, some apparatus have 2 or more mobiles, all have at least 2 HTs... Some possibly even have vehicular repeaters/mobile extenders.
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Old 08-05-2018, 4:46 PM
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Quote:
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It is far cheaper and simpler in the long term to replace an entire fleet in one sitting. Yes the radios mostly work right now, but are not supported and it is just outright stupid to have to be an ebay shopping Public Safety agency. Also outright stupid to play the piece by piece game when your dealing with lots of radios. As each radio goes by bye due to failure, your saying just replace each one at a time.... Your not thinking at all on this one. Your not adding in programming etc. Training etc... You replace all of the radios on apparatus, HTs, and etc at the same time when your upgrading as you then only need to worry about the parts and upkeep for ONE family of radios, not 2 of this, 1 of that, 4 of those... And yes, some apparatus have 2 or more mobiles, all have at least 2 HTs... Some possibly even have vehicular repeaters/mobile extenders.
I agree fully on replacing all at once, but sometimes that is cost prohibitive. I'm in an agency with about 500 XTS2500s. We are currently issuing/have issued APX7000s and now APX8000s to the bosses and will probably be going with APX4000s for the field providers. The current batch of 30 APX8000s are to get XTS2500s back to issue to the new recruits. The XTS2500s were purchased on a DHS grant and we're buying the new radios out of our own budget. It makes sense for us to get what we can each year, get the new radios out and stretch the 2500s as far as we can. We have a very good in house shop and they do a good job with keeping the radios going, and as more 4000s come in, it will free up 2500s for parts radios to keep them working in smaller and smaller numbers until all have been replaced. The radios are personal issue, so they tend to be taken better care of than radios handed off at shift change. As far as training, we bring everyone up for in-service training about 8 times a year (every other week 1/3 of the department comes in on their scheduled shift) so getting them up to speed isn't really an issue for us.

I have seen discussions by system managers that have to resort to ebay and I don't envy them one bit. You don't truly know what you're getting.
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Old 08-07-2018, 4:01 AM
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If I am reading this thread correctly, is it safe to assume that the Fire Departments you speak of are operating on P25?
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