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Surplus state radios

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#1
It's on eBay.


Washington state sells a lot of surplus stuff on eBay. You can look at the stuff before you bid; they're in Auburn about 2 minutes from the Supermall. I've been down there a few times and bought a printer through eBay. You do have to pay tax.

If you do go down to inspect, make sure you check with one of the employees before you go in the back where the eBay stuff is--they get a bit picky as they've had stuff stolen before. If you're going to try to test the radios you're probably OK as they don't hover over you watching you, but you might have some explaining to do if, for example, you brought your own battery to test the MTS radios. If you go during regular store hours, you can always pick up something good in the retail section. Furniture prices are about 1/3 less than what Boeing used to charge.

This is the second batch of GTX radios, so I predict that there will be more in the future. The last batch sold for an average price of $109.72. And above all: keep in mind that stuff is here for a reason. It's either broken, obsolete, or just plain old.
 
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#2
this might be a stupid question, but what can you do with most of those radios (even the ones that work)? don't you have to be authorized to talk on the frequencies which they communicate on?
 
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AuntBee09 said:
this might be a stupid question, but what can you do with most of those radios (even the ones that work)? don't you have to be authorized to talk on the frequencies which they communicate on?
Yes, you do. I've seen a lot of members on RR that work in public safety and for various reasons they have to buy thier own radios. You can also use them for license free services (like MURS). You can also program them for recieve only. I've got a few radios for this very purpose.

I don't know about doing that for trunked systems, as I'm pretty sure they filter the radio IDs so that only their radios, and not "rogue radios" can talk on their systems. This isn't an issue for scanners, as scanners aren't affiliating with the controller.
 
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#4
AuntBee09 said:
this might be a stupid question, but what can you do with most of those radios (even the ones that work)? don't you have to be authorized to talk on the frequencies which they communicate on?
Not a stupid question at all...

A great number of them get converted over to amateur service. Most of the public safety/commercial bands have an adjacent amateur band that the radios can be made to work on with a bit of fiddling.
 
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#5
thanks AtomicTaco and zz0468, that clears up some confusion in my mind :)

So if i somehow figured out how to program one to receive only, do you think it would get better reception than my scanner?

I know the radios that the city of bellevue uses get better reception than my 396, and i think that may be because they are designed specifically for 800mhz... (although i could not find any on the ebay link that said they were 800 mhz)

Thanks for posting this btw
 
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AuntBee09 said:
So if i somehow figured out how to program one to receive only, do you think it would get better reception than my scanner?
It's possible, but whether or not is worth it is up to you. The radio definitely has a better tuner than a scanner. The handhelds (usually) include antennas designed for the band that they transmit on.
Programming requires two things: a cable and software. Both can be pricey, up to the cost of the radio sometimes.

I'm not sure exactly which service you're talking about for Bellevue's radios. If you're talking about the ones that operate on King County's TRS then I doubt you'd be able to listen in as I stated above. If it's 800 MHz conventional then you could listen as long as you can program it.


For the amount you spend on radios, cables, and software you could also get a really really good antenna (or 3) for your scanner. Unless, of course, you're an eBay addict like me and you just HAVE to have the ones you see there. And don't limit yourself to the ones that the state is selling as they may or may not be any good. Do some research with the model numbers, that'll tell you the specifics about the radio (band, channels, power, etc). You can always find good deals in the classifieds here on RR. If it's VHF or UHF you seek, you can also check the classifieds on ham websites--you'll see both ham radios and "regular" radios (as zz0468 said).

You can also find field programmable radios, but 90% of the time these are limited to a set number of frequencies. The Motorola XU2600 is one I'd like to pick up, but it's too pricey. Good radio though. You pick from one of 56 UHF frequencies; they're dot frequencies and other business band frequencies. No public safety. And it's only 2 watts TX power. Still, would be fun to talk to the clerks at the mall, not that I'd do that, of course :)

AuntBee09 said:
I know the radios that the city of bellevue uses get better reception than my 396, and i think that may be because they are designed specifically for 800mhz...
They've got 800 MHz antennas on those radios. If you're looking for a better antenna for your scanner, the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna is excellent for 800, good for VHF and UHF, and bad for aircraft. It does, though, have a BNC connector. With the BNC to SMA adapter, it sticks 7.5 inches above my BR330. It's about 1.5 inches taller than the stock Uniden antenna. There's a SMA antenna made by Antenex reviewed here that I've been thinking of getting.



And if anyone wants, I can head down there and scope out those radios if you have something specific for me to look for. I'm only a few miles away.
 
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Thayne

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#7
You can get some good deals, but they throw the good in with the bad; and the radios are usually sold in one lot. If you get a high roller type come in they will outbid you and take the whole lot. Some of my buddies & I bid against some guy from out of town (we had $2K total) and he bid up the price to $10.8K and got it.

Later he was whining about all the junk he bought to get the good stuff.
 
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#8
AtomicTaco said:
It's possible, but whether or not is worth it is up to you. The radio definitely has a better tuner than a scanner...
Sounds like you really know your stuff. I think i will look into getting an better antenna... I doubt i could figure out how to program those radios lol

i have the radio shack 800 mhz antenna, but in some places it just doesn't get the reception i'm looking for. However, i must confess: i bent it awhile ago and that may have hurt some of its reception. I might get another new one.

the city of bellevue uses the EPSCA system for their radios. I know theirs work way better because, for example: I get absolutely zero reception in the Factoria Mall area of bellevue, but i know they get decent reception because the police have a substation in the mall and constantly have to communicate and receive radio transmissions there. On my car, I've tried both magnetic and window-stick-on antennas and i do NOT get any better reception there (and this is true with both of my radios). so it is kinda a mystery...

anyways, thanx for the info :)
 
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#9
I wouldn't bother buying a MTS to monitor the King County Trunked System. Once rebanding takes place, your radio will not work unless it has the proper firmware. In addition, King County will more than likely start using shuffled band plan. That requires a hard key to program the radios. Bit banging, a pirated soft key, or a FTR key will not work.
 
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AuntBee09 said:
SOn my car, I've tried both magnetic and window-stick-on antennas and i do NOT get any better reception there (and this is true with both of my radios).
From what I've read on antennas, the glass mount antennas are horrible. Mag mounts aren't good because you can't get a good ground plane. I don't know what this means, but I do know that if the antenna is attached to the car permanently (or semipermanently) then you'll get better results. There's an old ham saying that's something along the lines of "Drill if you want to be heard."
 
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