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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 12-22-2015, 12:46 PM
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What Elroy said..
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 12-22-2015, 12:51 PM
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And yep, I fully agree with Gary, much better built, (MT2000/JT1000) however Jt1000s seem to be a bit harder to come by, and limited to 16 channels IIRC. MT2000's are plentiful. But IMO if you're comparing Motorola to amateur, ANY Moto will win hands down.

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Old 12-22-2015, 2:11 PM
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You do realize that Kenwood is by no means exclusively amateur, but has a very robust commercial product lineup.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 12-22-2015, 2:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N4GIX View Post
You do realize that Kenwood is by no means exclusively amateur, but has a very robust commercial product lineup.
Icom also produces a broad range of commercial radios (P25, trunking etc). Land Mobile Radios, P25, IDAS - Icom America
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Old 12-22-2015, 2:51 PM
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I am with Garry, My Ham portable is a Jedi HT1000.
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Old 12-22-2015, 3:45 PM
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Kenwood does make some nice commercial equipment. While I do not have any portable radios from their commercial line, I do have 6 mobile radios, & they are excellent, & program with Windows. CPS is free, & cables are cheap.
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Old 12-22-2015, 4:41 PM
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I agree, Jedi > Waris. That's to be expected, because the Waris line is a commercially oriented radios series, while the Jedis were public safety grade.

I consider Kenwoods to be comparable to the Waris line although they may have more features. Still they fall short of public safety grade.

I guess I should also mention that I find the XTS5000 to be a superb radio in every respect, with one caveat: Get a slimline Lithium battery for it. They're too fat with regular Ni-MH batteries. So much so that they lose points for operator comfort.
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Old 12-22-2015, 5:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ElroyJetson View Post
I agree, Jedi > Waris. That's to be expected, because the Waris line is a commercially oriented radios series, while the Jedis were public safety grade.
Explain why so many Waris radios are in use in public safety?

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Originally Posted by ElroyJetson View Post
I consider Kenwoods to be comparable to the Waris line although they may have more features. Still they fall short of public safety grade.
While my TK-2/380 radios are about the same durability as a Waris radio. On the other hand my NX-200 is a far better built radio and (not including the NXDN features) has a much better feature set than my issued HT-750 in every aspect. Is the Waris line even able to do MPL?

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Originally Posted by ElroyJetson View Post
I guess I should also mention that I find the XTS5000 to be a superb radio in every respect, with one caveat: Get a slimline Lithium battery for it. They're too fat with regular Ni-MH batteries. So much so that they lose points for operator comfort.

Maybe when the used market prices fall some more I may look at buying one, but until then, I find much more value in my Kenwood radios.
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Old 12-22-2015, 7:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
Explain why so many Waris radios are in use in public safety?



While my TK-2/380 radios are about the same durability as a Waris radio. On the other hand my NX-200 is a far better built radio and (not including the NXDN features) has a much better feature set than my issued HT-750 in every aspect. Is the Waris line even able to do MPL?




Maybe when the used market prices fall some more I may look at buying one, but until then, I find much more value in my Kenwood radios.
Not to derail the thread, but there are literally thousands of Waris series radios in the public safety field. Great radios for rural departments who don't need anything fancy. There is a picture of a construction worker and an ambulance on the brochure... I guess it's good for both worlds. Oh, and to say no other brand is public safety grade besides Motorola(not referring to you), this isn't 1975. Lots of robust products out there from many brands.

Anyway, to the OP. If you can deal with the software, the HT1550/1250 is a good buy for a decent price. I have a 1250 that I have beat the crap out of for 10 years. Literally. It's my beater radio on analog. Still works great. Can't go wrong with a good working (that's the key) MTS2000 either. Tons of choices. Go out and search for a good deal if your heart is set on a Motorola.

Don't forget to look at other brands as well. My Moto collection is shrinking all the time because I find more value in products other than Motorola.

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Old 12-22-2015, 10:46 PM
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Explain why so many Waris radios are in use in public safety?
Because the departments who bought them were financially challenged, & couldn't afford to buy the higher tiered MTS2000. Heck, some departments wanting digital radios are so poor, they're buying the XPR6550, because they couldn't afford the XTS5000.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:40 PM
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HT 1550 and JT 1000 were mentioned for the FPP capability. I would say that this is the most important Motorola feature for hams. You can set the radio up initially so that it can be operated with no computer required. Hams always need to be frequency agile.

My recommendation is the XTS 2500i as it can be flashed easily for whatever option you want including FPP with no special dongle or battery required. It has Windows programming software that will work fine on newer machines, is still a supported product so new firmware and features are still being released, and it has much more interesting accessories for it. It also features P25 digital for experimentation and even encryption features should you ever need it for professional reasons. The downsides are of course the cost of the radio is still somewhat high, but still cheaper than a new Icom or Yaesu proprietary digital radio and the software is not cheap to purchase legally. It is however shared on the internet as most things are so the morality is left up to you to decide.

I also like other's recommendation of an XPR 6550. It has the new popular digital mode DMR and you may be lucky to use it someday traveling or should a DMR repeater be installed near you soon. The XPR has similar downsides to the XTS, cost can be slightly lower than the XTS 2500 but still pricey for some and the software issues again. FPP can be had but it's goofy and expensive, via 3rd party software installed on an option board.

I am not a Waris fan, I used them as a firefighter and hate them. The MTS is far superior. The Waris doesn't even seem like it was designed by Motorola. For cheap and analog, the MTS2000 is about the best you can get. Software is no issue (Windows version available), and the price is right, but no FPP and parts can be trouble. Ask anyone who needs an Astro Saber display. No Longer Available is what Motorola calls it when you are on your own cannibalizing old radios for parts. JT 1000 is same quality but less features and gives you FPP, but the price goes up because of it. It can be modded so no FPP dongle is required.
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElroyJetson View Post
My extensive experiences with ALL of the major "legacy" Motorola radios makes me heavily favor the Saber (which is wideband only) or, even better, the Astro Saber. Which is usually both wide and narrowband, but as I recall it is possible to get one that isn't narrowbanded in options. (Not sure, it's been a while.)

If you get a good one and get new batteries for it, the only issue you have to contend with is knobs that tend to crumble at a certain age. (which, unfortunately, is right about....NOW. ) A creative person can work around the crumbly knob issue if you can't find spares. But I think Motorola still carries spares for the Astro Saber at least.

However, neither Sabers nor Astro Sabers are dual band. As has already been mentioned, the only multi-band Motorola portable that exists on the used market is the APX7000. (You're not going to find an APX8000, not likely for years if ever.) The APX7000 is ordered from the factory with any two of four band options: VHF, UHF low, UHF high, 700/800. You'd want a VHF/UHF-L (range 1) model to cover both VHF and UHF amateur bands. The UHF-H model starts at 450 MHz and I don't think you can drop it to 440.

Saber and Systems Sabers are very inexpensive and high performance. Drawbacks are that you gave to be careful what bandsplit you are buying, especially at UHF. Strong points are that they are very modular and easy to repair and tune. You will need a 16 MHz 486 DOS computer to program them. I have a slew of them here that I have built up over the years. The only failure are the knobs, but thankfully China makes them. Linda-something sells the knobs on e-bay.
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2015, 7:54 AM
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While you will find Waris platform radios in use by some public safety agencies, the odds of finding them being carried by firemen and police officers is rather low. They're good radios but they're not designed to take the level of mechanical abuse that a fireman or cop can dish out.

You could argue (successfully) that the XTS1500 is a glorified Waris platform radio. So it's a lower cost radio for use by budget challenged police and fire departments, right?

Well, they have a rather high failure rate. Even when used by such high demand users as school bus drivers. (That's slightly sarcastic, btw.) In my last job as a radio tech, a few XTS1500s came in for repair and they all needed new housings and most of them needed new PTT switches on the PC board. They're just not up to the mechanical durability standards of the more expensive models.

It takes a lot to score a mechanical kill on an XTS5000. Or, to be fair about it, on a Harris P7100. I've seen examples of both radios that had been run over by a fire truck and both were restored to working condition after replacing basically everything EXCEPT the PC boards, which were fine.

I usually make an effort to be very dispassionate about radios these days. They're tools. You use what you want. But I also DO have an opinion on various radios and I will offer it now. You do NOT have to agree with it, but it IS my opinion, formulated over 30 years in radio as both a hobbyist and as a professional:

There are people who think their Kenwood and Icom commercial gear measures up to Motorola (and Harris) public safety radios. And the are absolutely wrong, bordering on delusional. In my opinion. In my experience.

Granted, I have not extensively evaluated EVERY recent and current radio on the market. But I've seen enough examples and bench tested them and been inside them and repaired them and used them that my opinion is certainly adequately validated as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, BTW, prices on XTS5000s have come way down lately. You can get a good one for 300 bucks if you look around. That pretty much qualifies as the bargain of the century.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2015, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElroyJetson View Post
While you will find Waris platform radios in use by some public safety agencies, the odds of finding them being carried by firemen and police officers is rather low. They're good radios but they're not designed to take the level of mechanical abuse that a fireman or cop can dish out.

Funny, my fire text book, has a bunch of photos of HT-750's visually explaining some of the communications concepts. There is even a M-1225 as a base radio in one of the pictures. Out of a dozen radio pictures, there are three that show something other than a Waris radio Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1450889398.307129.jpg
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Book title is "Essentials of Fire Fighting and Fire Department Operations" Copyright 2013

I would wager, if not on a wide area trunk system, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of Waris radios in use by public safety in North America.

Edit: BOT hopefully the OP comes back and answers the question I asked him. I really would like to know why he is set on Motorola for ham use.


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Old 12-23-2015, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElroyJetson View Post
There are people who think their Kenwood and Icom commercial gear measures up to Motorola (and Harris) public safety radios. And the are absolutely wrong, bordering on delusional. In my opinion. In my experience.
Interesting observation. So would you put Harris / GE / MACOM/ Ericsson in that same "does not measure up to Motorola" category? Or were you making an exception for Harris? And while I'm asking, how about Vertex?
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
Funny, my fire text book, has a bunch of photos of HT-750's visually explaining some of the communications concepts. There is even a M-1225 as a base radio in one of the pictures. Out of a dozen radio pictures, there are three that show something other than a Waris radio Attachment 53355

Book title is "Essentials of Fire Fighting and Fire Department Operations" Copyright 2013

I would wager, if not on a wide area trunk system, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of Waris radios in use by public safety in North America.

Edit: BOT hopefully the OP comes back and answers the question I asked him. I really would like to know why he is set on Motorola for ham use.


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Nobody is debating that small towns, broke municipalities and volunteer fire departments use warris radios... but you would be hard pressed to find them in any major firehouse of any city with more than 100,000 people.
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Old 12-23-2015, 1:47 PM
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I definitely think that Harris/Ge/whatever equipment, IF it was intended for the public safety market to begin with, is generally as durable and reliable as comparable Motorola equipment. When you are discussing the concept of the TOUGH portable radio, the M-PA and M-PD, for example, are two types that are unquestionably first rate for toughness and reliability in their day.

It's difficult to argue with a radio that is constructed entirely in a die cast metal chassis. Except for the weight, of course.

As for an M1225 for base radio usage, well, why not? It's not like a base radio on a desk is likely to be subjected to a great deal of abuse under normal operating conditions. I know the M1225 fairly well and it's a basic radio but it's well made.

The HT750 IS mil-spec 810 C, D, and E qualified. It'll handle a certain amount of rugged use. That's obvious by now. But they are not as rugged as the higher tier models , for reasons I've already outlined. Common failures include the housing shedding the entire PTT/monitor button assembly, and damage or destruction of the PTT and monitor switches which are directly mounted to the PC board and actuated by a boss on the back of the PTT button. Overly enthusiastic usage of the PTT button will eventually smash the switch and I've seen those switches ripped right off the board.

One of the distinguishing features of every top tier public safety oriented radio that I can think of is that they ALL have their controls mounted in such a manner that destruction of a control will not result in damage to the PC board. This is a feature that is really a requirement for any radio that is to see the roughest kinds of service.

Any kind of radio that has PC mounted controls is a type of radio that will be a frequent visitor to the repair shop. My last seven year stint as the chief tech at a radio shop showed me this lesson with extreme clarity. Replacement of PC mounted controls was the number one most common kind of repair for portable radios. More radios were condemned as uneconomical to repair due to more extensive PC board damage around the controls than for any other reason as well.

You can try to defend mid tier radios as being suitable for rugged service all you want, but my experience fixing radios every day for the last seven years tells me otherwise. Put mid tier radios into rugged service and they will have a high failure rate due to mechanical damage.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:05 AM
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Thank you everyone for your feedback!!!! With the holidays I was not on here. To be more in depth of what I'm looking for I'll explain. It will be pretty simple usage. All analog and mostly to work repeaters. I travel in my area so I would like to program many repeaters in. I like a nice display so I know what I'm tuning to. I would want to have the ability to program it myself. I do know about programming Kenwood radio's but no motorola. Reason I was leaning towards getting a motorola uhf and a vhf portable is I've always had a common interests in Motorola and it seems there are many more of them one ebay.
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Old 12-26-2015, 1:22 AM
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Kenwood TK-290 for VHF and TK-390 for UHF are a good option. They are available cheap and are solid radios. Many fire agencies have used them for years. Programming software/cables are cheap. There is even a way to set them up for front panel programming. Drawback to these radios is the limited LCD display. I think it's a 8 character display. My TK-290 is out in the truck, so I can't recall without looking at it.

Some of the newer used Kenwood's would be an option, TK-2180 for VHF and TK-3180 for UHF.

Motorola's are pretty nice, we used them for a long time at work. Had about 300 800MHz MTS-2000's and about 50 XTS-2500's. Good radios, but buying into the Motorola game can be expensive. When I replaced our old trunk system I switched to Kenwood, so the older Motorola's are gone. MTS-2000's are really nice solid radios. Only issue that I ever ran across was the pixels dropping out on the LCD displays. This is a common issue with the older radios.
XTS are nice, but not sure the software has been "released" to the free world yet.

Kind of hard to go wrong on most of the newer Motorola, Kenwood, Icom, EFJohnson radios. While everyone obviously has their favorites, overall the stuff that has been on the market for the last 10 years has been pretty good.

Since I work in the industry as well as having an amateur license, I've gone to all commercial gear. Got rid of my last "amateur" radio a few years ago. The Motorola HT-1000 is hard to beat if you can do with out a display. I've got two of those that have been beat pretty well on our ATV's. TK-290 rides in my truck as a VHF portable. My VHF mobile of choice is the Motorola CDM series. I'm using all Kenwood's at work and have been happy with those. Recently switched our police department over to all Kenwood's and they are happy with them.
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Old 12-26-2015, 10:45 AM
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Another thing to remember is the condition of the battery(s) if buying used. If you plan on having a spare battery and the one included with the radio is past it's useful life, plan on buying 2 new batteries. Just something to keep in mind while searching Ebay.

Like mentioned above, My county (PD and Fire) have gone completely away from Motorola. We have a mixture of Kenwood and Icom P25 trunking radios in the field, and have never looked back to Motorola. They have held up just as well against public safety abuse.

Most newer radios made by the major players today are very reliable and rugged. Of course everyone has there opinions, but the bottom line is more and more of these brands are entering public safety use with excellent results. However, you would think differently with some of the posts on this thread.

Good luck!
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