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888s as backup fire pager?

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FD84XJ

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Looking into the baofeng 888s as a budget friendly fire pager/scanner for a VFD. Price point and lack of features (aka buttons for people to press and mess something up) are very attractive. We have no dealers nearby to program and I'm familiar with CHIRP on the uv82 and have a good prog cable so I'm confident I can handle that portion.

Only thing I'm wondering is if they will be able to receive 154.8450 with a constant 136.5 pl tone so we don't hear the repeater blaring Morse code all hours of the night?

Thanks in advance
 

FD84XJ

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Just for reference, by Morse code I mean the station identifier, and by constant PL tone I believe I am saying CTCSS so the station identifier doesn't break squelch
 

lmrtek

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They are UHF radios so no they would not work.
............
All the other Baofeng radios are uhf\vhf so one of those would work.
 

cmjonesinc

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From the few baofengs and other assorted Chinese radios I've messed with the 2 tone paging seems to be real hit or miss. Snag a used vertex vx 160 dirt cheap. They do two tone paging, ctcss & dpl decode, are much better built and would actually be part 90 certified for fire use. Programming cable is cheap and the software is available online since they're discontinued.
 

chief21

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Before you run out to purchase a VHF-capable Baofeng, be aware that the receivers in most of these inexpensive radios are known to desense (blank out) in the presence of strong signals on adjacent frequencies or bands.

Not a good situation for a fire pager. Better to use a high-quality radio (or pager) with proven performance.
 

FD84XJ

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Majority of our members rely solely upon eDispatches, which, combined with poor internet (DSL) at the station and shotty cellular service, it's not uncommon for responders to receive the alarm after those of us with radios have already cleared the scene, if they get anything at all. Main thing is we need something cheap or at least field programmable for paging/receive only. We have a few MagOnes that survived Harvey that barely transmit issued out for pagers.

Dealers are few and far between out here and when we can finally get a radio out to one of them they usually don't fix the issue or just tell us to buy a new one.

Is there anything simple/reliable/legal like a monitor IV that I get 20-30 of and program at the station for less than thousands and thousands of dollars?
 

chief21

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The only immediate suggestion I can think of is to scour the internet for a quantity of surplus VHF pagers that have been removed from service but are still serviceable. If the former user was a city or county, you might even be able to suggest a "transfer" to your group, rather than an outright purchase. Even if you end up buying surplus equipment from a private vendor, the cost would be much less than new.

Of course, you might be able to do the same for some older handheld VHF radios, no doubt at a higher cost. Whatever you end up with, be sure that the equipment is capable of narrow-band (12.5 kHz) FM operation.

A final thought... These days, a well-publicized crowd-funding campaign might be capable of raising a surprising amount of $$$ for a local community group in a short time. Best of luck.

- John
 

KK4JUG

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There is now a test for people who want to use 888s (and other CCRs) in critical public safety situations. I have been certified to administer the test. It boils down to this: the administrator give you ten little marbles to put in your mouth and tongue-twister to recite. Every time you say the tongue-twister right, you remove a marble. When you've lost all your marbles, use can use the radio. :)
 

FD84XJ

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The only immediate suggestion I can think of is to scour the internet for a quantity of surplus VHF pagers that have been removed from service but are still serviceable. If the former user was a city or county, you might even be able to suggest a "transfer" to your group, rather than an outright purchase. Even if you end up buying surplus equipment from a private vendor, the cost would be much less than new.

Of course, you might be able to do the same for some older handheld VHF radios, no doubt at a higher cost. Whatever you end up with, be sure that the equipment is capable of narrow-band (12.5 kHz) FM operation.

A final thought... These days, a well-publicized crowd-funding campaign might be capable of raising a surprising amount of $$$ for a local community group in a short time. Best of luck.

- John
Thank you for the suggestions. I'll bring it up at meeting tomorrow and see what the powers that be think about it. Shame my old FD is UHF, they're very well off financially. I remember taking a fire engine to New York from Delaware just to donate it to a station that lost everything in Sandy.
 

KK4JUG

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John has a good suggestion. Probably half of the volunteer fire departments within 50 miles of Columbus (GA) have turnout gear, trucks and/or equipment that was given to them by the local FD.
 
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