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Emergency Communications system

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clockworkbunny

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#1
I am working as a new emergency services coordinator for my student co-op. We have about 20 houses spread about 1.5 miles apart between the furthest two houses in an urban area. We need to find an emergency radio set-up that doesn't require members to get licenses and doesn't cost a bundle. What would you suggest we do?

Thanks!
 

davidgcet

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#2
with no license you are basically limited to FRS or MURS for cheap radios, 900mhz unlicnesed for slightly more expensive units.
 
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#3
Does the house on one edge of this area need to be able to talk all the way over to the house the furthest away, or only a short distance away?
Hand held or base radios? Antennas inside out outside?
1.5 miles in an urban environment is going to be really tough with MURS, and the el cheapo bubble pack FRS radios would only get you about 1/4 mile if your lucky.

With an urban area, you really want to use UHF, but you will need to use radios with REAL antennas, not ones "built into the radios", and you will want the full 4 watts of transmit power that would come with a real UHF radio.
To do anything more than MURS or FRS, you will need some kind of license, unless you rent something from a local radio shop.

Otherwise, why does it need to be 2-way radios?
Whats wrong with the cell phone network, or landline telephone?

If you could settle with base type radios, CB would be an OK option. Then you could install a desenct antenna on the roof of each house, and cover way more than the 1.5 miles needed, all without a license, but then you have to listen to all the yahoos who use CB for the wrong reasons,

Steven
 
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#4
I am working as a new emergency services coordinator for my student co-op. We have about 20 houses spread about 1.5 miles apart between the furthest two houses in an urban area. We need to find an emergency radio set-up that doesn't require members to get licenses and doesn't cost a bundle. What would you suggest we do?

Thanks!
There are several options available that have various simplicity, features, range, and costs.

* Telephones - most of the houses probably already have one installed and most of the students will already have cell phones so this would be the least cost, provide the best coverage (probably), and the users already are familiar with them.

* FRS, CB, or MURS radios - No license required. Range may be an issue as well as interference (they're all shared services so there's no way to guarantee you'll have a clear channel). Generally inexpensive (although MURS may cost more per radio than the other options).

* Contract with a local radio service company to provide you with the necessary radios, frequencies, and coverage. They'll handle the work, but you'll have to pay for the service, radio rentals, and airtime. Coverage issues will be the responsibility of the service company (up to what your contract states), but changes will probably be costly. Service cost may be less than going your own since they'll probably put you on a shared system with sufficient capacity to handle your traffic (you'll probably never know others use the same system due to how they're set up so it'll look like it's there just for you).

* Have the co-op get a radio license (your local radio service company can help with this) and purchase your own radios (from the radio service company that helped with the license). Users will work off of the co-op's license and won't need a license of their own. This will be the most cost and most difficult, but you'll have the most control. Coverage issues will be your issues to resolve and may be costly.
 

N9JIG

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#5
I am working as a new emergency services coordinator for my student co-op. We have about 20 houses spread about 1.5 miles apart between the furthest two houses in an urban area. We need to find an emergency radio set-up that doesn't require members to get licenses and doesn't cost a bundle. What would you suggest we do?

Thanks!
If you are officially affiliated with your university you can try asking if they will provide radios on their system. If they have a trunked system they might be able to provide a talkgroup or two, otherwise a separate PL on a conventional channel might work.
 
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brianearlspilner
#6
I am working as a new emergency services coordinator for my student co-op. We have about 20 houses spread about 1.5 miles apart between the furthest two houses in an urban area. We need to find an emergency radio set-up that doesn't require members to get licenses and doesn't cost a bundle. What would you suggest we do?

Thanks!
If you do go to the CB route, remember those handhelds don't get out that far due to the rubber ducky antenna. Out here, its mostly base and mobile units. Depending on how many members you have, and if they are willing to put out money for CB units, it would be probably costly. I assume you want the capability to walk and talk instead of using base to base or base to mobile.
 
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