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Improving Motorola XTS 2500 Model II Reception?

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Hello,

I'm a firefighter/EMS in my county, and I have a Motorola XTS 2500 Model II Radio with a red coded
800-900MHz dipole antenna. We are an all-volunteer hall, and we depend on our pagers/radios to
know when a call has come in.

My problem is that when I am at work, I get OUT OF RANGE errors all the time. When I move to a
window, or just outside the building, I get full reception. What I'm looking for, is a method to improve
reception inside. My pager also does not work indoors here. This place is built like a friggin faraday cage
with all steel studs, thick concrete floors, etc. Cell phones do work OK.

I can easily run an external antenna out to our rooftop. What I don't know, is if this is a feasible
choice for me. I'm not an expert on Radios at all, but I do know a licensed HAM operator that I could
talk to for further (local) advice. I'm hoping I could pass some suggestions from here, on to him and
we could work up a solution.

Any tips or suggestions on what I can do? I don't want to be missing calls just because I'm 25 feet away
from a window.

Thank you!
 

vinzep491

Member
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
975
Are the other firefighters in your units experiencing the same issues with their handhelds, or is this a problem specific to your radio?

If it's a matter of swapping out your antenna that is one thing, but you cannot comtrol how the system was setup. Maybe the tower is just a little too far away.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Are the other firefighters in your units experiencing the same issues with their handhelds, or is this a problem specific to your radio?

If it's a matter of swapping out your antenna that is one thing, but you cannot comtrol how the system was setup. Maybe the tower is just a little too far away.
Thanks for the reply!

I am certain that if anyone else in my department worked where I do, that their handhelds would also
experience this issue.

I agree that location is key, but the fact that when I move to a window I get full reception, and just outside
the building, I also get full reception, leads me to believe that it's the building and not my distance from
my closest tower. My best guess is that there is no way I can swap antennas without having to
adjust gain or some other settings on the radio. In my mind, the ideal solution would be to have a
seperate antenna for "at work" and swap back to the issued antenna as I leave the building.

I guess I could use it as a reason to get a window office finally :) haha

Please excuse my amateurish reasoning... I admit I know almost nothing about radios.
 

fineshot1

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2004
Messages
2,478
Location
NJ USA (Republic of NJ)
Hello,

I'm a firefighter/EMS in my county, and I have a Motorola XTS 2500 Model II Radio with a red coded
800-900MHz dipole antenna. We are an all-volunteer hall, and we depend on our pagers/radios to
know when a call has come in.

My problem is that when I am at work, I get OUT OF RANGE errors all the time. When I move to a
window, or just outside the building, I get full reception. What I'm looking for, is a method to improve
reception inside. My pager also does not work indoors here. This place is built like a friggin faraday cage
with all steel studs, thick concrete floors, etc. Cell phones do work OK.

I can easily run an external antenna out to our rooftop. What I don't know, is if this is a feasible
choice for me. I'm not an expert on Radios at all, but I do know a licensed HAM operator that I could
talk to for further (local) advice. I'm hoping I could pass some suggestions from here, on to him and
we could work up a solution.

Any tips or suggestions on what I can do? I don't want to be missing calls just because I'm 25 feet away
from a window.

Thank you!
You may want to post a question in your local state forum and see if your place of work is in the
coverage area of whatever system your fd uses and you may also want to help us out here and
post a link to the system you are referring to so we can get a better idea of area rf coverage.

Usually an outside antenna works wonders and solves a lot of signal strength reception problems
but I do not see how that can help with your pager unless you run the antenna cable to a pager
cradle and it can be hooked up to it with the pager inserted all the time.

Some communications systems simply do not have 100% HT coverage like a cell system does
because cell systems have sites about every two or three miles and conventional or trunk systems
do not have as many sites and can not be compared to a cell system.

Give us some more info or at least a link from the RR database as to which system you are having
the trouble with.
 

krokus

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
3,780
Location
Southeastern Michigan
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.973 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

A "cheap" way to try and overcome this is to put a discone outside, connected to a discone inside. I can only guess how effective it would be, my guess would be not very. (If it was that simple, more people would do it.) You could do the same thing with band specific antennas, but now you are talking about more money, for more effectiveness.

For the trunked system, you could invest in a bi-directional amplifier, which is available for most systems. Talk to a rep for your radio system about that one.
 

Forts

Mentor
Database Admin
Joined
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Messages
5,537
Location
Ontario, Canada
Would it be feasible to put a mag mount or similar antenna on or near the window sill and use an adapter to connect to your radio while you are in the office? Kind of a pain to have to swap antennas but might do the trick.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
7,831
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
A Discone to Discone would probably not work very well but a high gain directional antenna on the roof connected to a bandpass filter (cheap on Ebay) then to a preamp (40dB gain Lucent model on EBay cheap) then to a small Omni inside the building will probably get you good reception. Total price for used stuff under $100 depending on how much coax is needed.

You would have to get near a window or step outside to answer a call.
prcguy


Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.973 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

A "cheap" way to try and overcome this is to put a discone outside, connected to a discone inside. I can only guess how effective it would be, my guess would be not very. (If it was that simple, more people would do it.) You could do the same thing with band specific antennas, but now you are talking about more money, for more effectiveness.

For the trunked system, you could invest in a bi-directional amplifier, which is available for most systems. Talk to a rep for your radio system about that one.
 

W2NJS

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,934
Location
Washington DC
Don't overlook the possibility that part of the problem you're having can be caused by an improperly aligned (tuned) radio. People are always surprised when their HTs come back from the shop and work great compared to their previous condition.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Would it be feasible to put a mag mount or similar antenna on or near the window sill and use an adapter to connect to your radio while you are in the office? Kind of a pain to have to swap antennas but might do the trick.
I would LOVE this solution, if it could work. Can anyone point me to a specific product? I don't see
any external "mag mount" antennas on the Motorola Accessories page.

Thank you!
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
4
A Discone to Discone would probably not work very well but a high gain directional antenna on the roof connected to a bandpass filter (cheap on Ebay) then to a preamp (40dB gain Lucent model on EBay cheap) then to a small Omni inside the building will probably get you good reception. Total price for used stuff under $100 depending on how much coax is needed.

You would have to get near a window or step outside to answer a call.
prcguy

That would be a fine solution... I didnt really think much about that angle. Can you provide any more
specifics on what I might be exactly looking for? I'll take the info to my friends (who is a HAM operator)
and see if we can work out a solutuon.

Thank you! I really appreciate the reply!
 
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