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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2017, 3:31 AM
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Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
As I recall, 90.203 contains a grandfather provision for older radios, but I'll leave the research on that point to others.

OTOH, since narrow-band is mandated in just about all Part 90 services, an old transceiver is probably not compliant with the FCC rules today.
Nothing much is grandfathered in Part 90 past the recent narrow banding mandate.

I have a slew of perfectly useful Motorola Systems Saber radios that are now only good in Part 95 and of course Part 97, these days.

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Old 07-28-2017, 6:21 AM
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I have a friend with a 2-way shop who is kept busy selling refurbished HT-1250's to volunteer firefighters all over the world. They are aligned to spec, & recased to live a productive second life. An economical workhorse.
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Old 07-28-2017, 8:38 AM
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For fire service, they usually require a FM/CSA/IS type certification for use in hazardous environments.

I have yet to see one of the Cheap Chinese Radios that have those ratings. If one did, I'd be highly suspect of it. Same goes for opened up amateur radios used on the fire ground.

As for the clapped out Motorola, the FM/CSA/IS rating would entirely depend on if the radio was maintained/serviced by an authorized shop following the appropriate procedures to maintain the rating.
You're absolutely right. The only problem is the part about "maintained/serviced by an authorized shop." Once again, money. That feed store clerk/firefighter only wants to know about the fire and where it is. I can't help but think that the cost to service and maintain the Motorola would exceed the cost of most any CCR.

Please understand, I'm not condoning what they do. I'm only being realistic based on what I've seen over the years.
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Old 07-28-2017, 9:20 AM
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You're absolutely right. The only problem is the part about "maintained/serviced by an authorized shop." Once again, money. That feed store clerk/firefighter only wants to know about the fire and where it is.
Until the radio that is IS/CSA rated or a radio that is not FM/IS/CSA rated ignites a flammable atmosphere and injures or kill someone.
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Old 07-28-2017, 9:26 AM
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My primary purpose for starting the thread was to address those who are intent on using modified amateur radios in Part 90 services. I wasn't really considering CCRs because many of them allegedly have Part 90 certifications, so they abide the FCC rules that require a Part 90 radio in Part 90 services even though it's questionable whether those radios actually meet Part 90 technical standards.

That said, if a volunteer firefighter wants to monitor his local dispatch channel with an amateur radio, I have no problem with it and it's probably legal to do so. I'll even take it a step further and suggest that if that volly transmits with that modified amateur radio to mark en-route to the run, so be it. However, once that volly reaches the scene, climbs into bunker gear, and starts fighting the fire, he better have a legal radio. As mmckenna says, there are hazardous environment certifications to be met and most amateur radios and CCRs don't meet those standards. The firefighter exposes himself and his fellow firefighters to some risk and his department is exposed to some liability by not using the proper tool for the job.

I'll also go out on a potentially offensive limb. What I see from many in public safety is an overwhelming desire to have the latest and greatest. And, it's not just radio manufacturers and their salespeople who take advantage of this desire to have the latest shiny new bell and/or whistle. The fire department in my town recently took delivery of three new engines. The department has three stations and their three existing engines were serviceable, but weren't the latest and greatest. Luckily, the department has the finances to pay for these engines without additional burden to the taxpayers. So, what happens when a nearby volunteer fire department that operates on a shoe-string budget comes in on a mutual aid run to support my town's department? They see the shiny new engines and think, "gee, we need some that" ...whether their township can support it or not.

My point is that there is a difference between needs and wants. We all, including those in public safety, want the latest and greatest. Do we need it? Can we afford it? Does every firefighter need an APX7000? Maybe the battalion chiefs do, but probably not every firefighter. Will a refurbished HT1250 or TK-280 meet their needs at the fire scene? Probably.
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Old 07-28-2017, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
My point is that there is a difference between needs and wants. We all, including those in public safety, want the latest and greatest. Do we need it? Can we afford it? Does every firefighter need an APX7000? Maybe the battalion chiefs do, but probably not every firefighter. Will a refurbished HT1250 or TK-280 meet their needs at the fire scene? Probably.
This is an excellent point.

What annoys the crap out of me is when agencies/governments use the "what if you called 911 and no one came" argument. This is a fear based tactic that's often used to slide overpriced solutions past unsuspecting taxpayers.

Don't get me started on the vendors and their sales tactics, or the politicians...

I've got several old HT-1000's, JT-1000's and TK-290's that are perfectly good radios, meet narrow banding requirements, and are reliable. The HT-1K's and the TK-290's can be picked up on the used market for $50 to $100 each, well within the range of amateur radio gear and darn close to the Chinese low end radios.
Yeah, programming can be a challenge, but that's not a deal breaker.
Perfectly acceptable for volunteer use, in fact I've given a few away to people that need them.
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Old 07-28-2017, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
I've got several old HT-1000's, JT-1000's and TK-290's that are perfectly good radios, meet narrow banding requirements, and are reliable. The HT-1K's and the TK-290's can be picked up on the used market for $50 to $100 each, well within the range of amateur radio gear and darn close to the Chinese low end radios.
Yeah, programming can be a challenge, but that's not a deal breaker.
Perfectly acceptable for volunteer use, in fact I've given a few away to people that need them.
Kenwood stuff is easy to program. TK-270(G)/280/290/2180/2170/2212/2202 and MANY older Kenwood radios are all windows based.

Why buy a HT-1000 and pray you can get it programmed, when you can get any of the previously mentioned Kenwoods and not worry about DOS/RIB/finding an old laptop.
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Old 07-28-2017, 10:31 AM
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In plain language would you go stand in a 100 gallon gas spill and play with a zippo lighter because that is what you are doing when you bring CHEAP NON APPROVED radio on a fire scene. They make a cheap scanner/monitor but that is the limit of the CCR they have no place in EMERGENCY SERVICE OPERATIONS. Also if the poopoo hits the fan it will be you that will foot the bill for loss of life and if you are a LOD death your family will not receive one dime because you did use the correct equipment is that what you want to risk for your family.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2017, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
Kenwood stuff is easy to program. TK-270(G)/280/290/2180/2170/2212/2202 and MANY older Kenwood radios are all windows based.

Why buy a HT-1000 and pray you can get it programmed, when you can get any of the previously mentioned Kenwoods and not worry about DOS/RIB/finding an old laptop.
Yeah, I agree, however some are stuck on brand names. I had an uphill battle when I switched our trunked system from Motorola to Kenwood. Had a few upset people that were convinced that Motorola was the ONLY brand that was acceptable. 5 years later and no more complaints.

The TK-290/390's are good radios, and for the amateur radio guys, easily set up for FPP. I've got one that I use as my personal radio. While the JT-1000 is a nice radio, I like having more than 16 channels to work with.
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Old 07-29-2017, 4:39 AM
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Yeah, I agree, however some are stuck on brand names. I had an uphill battle when I switched our trunked system from Motorola to Kenwood. Had a few upset people that were convinced that Motorola was the ONLY brand that was acceptable. 5 years later and no more complaints.
I have had a very similar conversation, lately. I was rather emphatic that using ADP was a bad idea, too.

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Old 07-29-2017, 8:08 AM
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Here in SC, we have a state surplus system that allows county and city agencies to receive previously used equipment that is still good and has some life in it to be obtained for little or no cost.

I know that some (if not all) of our fire departments have received radios from them (I guess when they have them in stock). All they have to do is have them checked out and retuned by an approved radio service at the departments cost. There was a glut of VHF and low band UHF when the Pal 800 system was implemented. I didn't see any listed today when I looked. Well maybe 2 VHF radios...
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Old 07-29-2017, 12:36 PM
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I think that's part of it. The other part is "My case is different, so it's OK", or "My chief said it was OK", or "
Any competent command staff would never authorize the use of uncertified, low cost hobby toy equipment for use in an IDLH application. Any moron brazen enough to get on a public forum and boast about the use of such uncertified, hobbyist equipment while performing their duty in an IDLH environment deserves all the legal butt hurt when something goes bad and "Dewey, Cheatem and How ESQ" find their postings and read them in front of a civil jury.

One would not go to Wal-Mart Lawn and Garden to buy a garden hose to put on their fire truck for a primary line, so why when it comes to radios, the brains go out the window and many try to find the lowest cost option for a piece of equipment that human life depends on to function in some of the worst conditions on Earth?
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 07-29-2017, 12:39 PM
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You're absolutely right. The only problem is the part about "maintained/serviced by an authorized shop." Once again, money. That feed store clerk/firefighter only wants to know about the fire and where it is. I can't help but think that the cost to service and maintain the Motorola would exceed the cost of most any CCR.
No excuse for a public safety person who's job function includes operating in an IDLH setting. Whether it's using amateur gear, CCRs, or used good quality part 90 gear that isn't properly tested, it's all the same in the eyes of risk management.

Do it right or go home so someone doesn't die. It's THAT simple. Yes, Motorola, Harris, etc are expensive. So is Morning Pride, Scott, Drager, and every other piece of gear.

It is for a reason. Why when it comes to radios does common sense get flushed down the toilet with so many?
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Old 07-29-2017, 3:54 PM
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I've not seen any career fire departments or any volunteer departments in my area using any IS/FM approved gear in 15 years other than a Marathon oil refinery fire department.


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Old 07-29-2017, 7:22 PM
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Any competent command staff would never authorize the use of uncertified, low cost hobby toy equipment for use in an IDLH application.
The part you quoted was more for the people who think it is legal for them to used modified ham gear on their fire dispatch freq. (Because they are a volunteer, or their chief has given them some type of implied/implicit permission to do so.)

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Old 07-29-2017, 7:24 PM
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I've not seen any career fire departments or any volunteer departments in my area using any IS/FM approved gear in 15 years other than a Marathon oil refinery fire department.


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People near you are not using Motorola HT, XTS, or APX series radios? (Or comparable other brand & model.)

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Old 07-29-2017, 7:32 PM
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My department is using XPR-6550, HT1250, HT750, HT-1000, TK-270(G), TK-2170, TK-2312 None of them but the XPR-6550 are IS rated

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Old 07-29-2017, 7:59 PM
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People near you are not using Motorola HT, XTS, or APX series radios? (Or comparable other brand & model.)

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Most of the vhf in this area is either Kenwoods like the 2312 or NX series and we have several EFJ on 800 and VP900's, however to the best of my knowledge none are rated.


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Old 07-29-2017, 8:03 PM
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I've not seen any career fire departments or any volunteer departments in my area using any IS/FM approved gear in 15 years other than a Marathon oil refinery fire department.


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Usually when the FD arrives, the ignition source has already visited. That said, I once watched a fireman using his boots (standing on) to close off the gas escaping from a 3 inch NIGAS pipe that a car had sheared the meter off of. Nearby his buddies were trying to push the car away with the door half open and the interior dome light flashing. I stayed far away. You could hear the gas "farting" past his boots. I never did understand his urgency in controlling a leak in that way.
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Old 07-30-2017, 12:16 AM
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Reading the comments on this subject, I am impressed by the thinking involved in the two camps that have emerge. I'll call one 'camp' the wealthy urban, metropolitan versus the other; the rural, not-so affluent Fly Over Country. Personally, I won't pick sides- I function, work, live/lived, eat, ate, sleep, slept ________ (fill in the blank) etc. etc.--- in both these worlds.
.
I think it is so easy for those that live in the former to wonder why, and to criticize their less heeled fellow citizens for not doing things in the all-out proper ways. After all, its only money and if life is so important, no price paid should be too small.
.
And so I'll agree; all firemen/women should have THE latest in multi-channel trunk'd 700/800Meg explosion proof radios in a variety of colours to match their turn out gear,-- Heck, for that matter-- the latest and best of everything------- but I have to ask that nagging question:
.
"Who pays for it all?"
.
Its one thing to be a wealthy city with bottomless deep pockets of a complacent tax base --and a government of like mind'd spenders-- it is entirely something else if you aren't such.
.
.
Okay, I can't write like this without eventually resorting to my Anecdotes.
.
So here's one-
.
This morning I took a visiting friend on a trip out to a favorite place.
But first some background information. My, and the neighboring counties have scant populations (mine is less than 8000.) The topography is mostly vertical- ie: we are Mountain Central. There are paved roads, but far more aren't. Amenities are long drives away.
Here there are some isolated little hamlets barely sporting electricity- some don't even have that (the joys of total solar panel/wind power off the grid stuff.) Telephones? if the power lines go there- maybe--- Cellular?-- are you kidding?
The counties out here are on a statewide 800Mhz system- but 800 doesn't penetrate over 12/13/14,000 foot mountains into remote gulches. Get away from the county seats and off the paved roads you will find plenty of 'dead spots.'
.
Enuff of this: I hope I convey'd the picture...
.
The place we visited was a small incorporated old mining towne- its population varies depending on the season- maybe 60 in the summer- but only a handfull year around. They are outside the 800Mhz world, but there are telephones ( though forget DSL.) They have a state supplied base station to link them to the county seat- to 'Civilisation"- in case of really bad emergencies. Its on high band VHF- (remember the days of licensing for 'establishments in isolated places?' --Part 90.15 ?-- then you know what I'm describing. These places still exist in the Lower 48.) 800 doesn't cut it.
.
The towne has no official government, but they do have a volunteer mayor- It was incorporated over a hundred years ago and is still remains sovereign- and as such they find it very convenient to have such an official to interact with the higher government powers.
.
I am a long time friend of the Mayor
.
As mayor, she has been able to get some of the plate scrapings from state/federal government surplus sources from time to time. There is, of course, a regular county fire/rescue system-- but the nearest station is over an optimistic no-snow-over-pass 90 minutes away. Police?.. the Sherrif is equally 'not right there' (think of this towne as true western 12 Ga. type local enforcement when necessary )
They have an old state donated fire engine, and an ambulance, and- to this topic's point- boxes full of old Motorola "bricks." These radios were intended for the town's 'emergency services', aka "volunteers."
.

"Lauri, what are we going to do with these things?" she asked
.
"None of their batteries are any good, they won't hold a charge, -- they are worthless."
"Plus they won't even talk to our one base station"
.
I was ask'd to look them over shortly after she received this generous (??) donation... and what a collection they were- just a hodge-podge of mix'd bands and frequencies, none of which were usuable. Forget rechannelizing them-- really forget sinking money into new battery packs, new rubber duck antennas, chargers- the $$ need for such made this 'government donation' a joke.
.
"We've tried to get other radios from them" she said, "but this is the best of the lot- we've had to throw the real the junk away"
.
So over a bottle of single malt scotch we worked out a plan. Her signature on the FCC application I'd fill'd out, some PDF files of 'supporting documents' and such- got the town a handful of Part 90 155MHz frequencies. What did they do with them?
.......... What was the original topic about volunteers, their organizations and, most of all; their radios........... ?
.
__________________________________________________ ____
Today's visit went great. My friend from the East (she lives in one of those cities where they have certified explosion proof radios) enjoyed a personalized tour of the towne; from the old preserved single room schoolhouse, the former cribs of the 'soiled doves,' the old bars, and some of the Victorian homes along the streets- plus the building where the fire engine and ambulance are lovingly maintained and cared for by the towne's volunteers.
.
________________________________________________
Now least anyone think that this group uses 'hacked' radios- I never said they do. What I will say is that these people are anything but 'wannabes'- they are 'have to be's.' With their limited resources this little rural mountain town has found ways to fit high tech into low budget.
.
.
...............................CF

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