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Business Band Setup Tips.

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Newbie1234

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Hey guys, so basically my boss gave me the task of upgrading my workplace's two way radio equipment and I'm seriously shocked at the requirement he gave me. He wants to upgrade the current fleet of 250 Motorola Talkabouts to something that will be more reliable. I did some research and figured that I need to upgrade my workplace's equipment to a professional grade 4 channel radio and get a Business Band License for them. First, I am planning on starting small, like just portables, and eventually I am thinking about upgrading to a repeater. Then if funding is available, maybe install mobiles for the drivers.
This is what I came up with:
Channel 1: General Talk
Channel 2: Monitors
Channel 3: Drivers
Channel 4: Administrators.
The range that I need, for now is being able to communicate within the building. The building is only 4 stories and is about 30,000 square feet per floor, so 120,000 square feet total. Then if I get enough funding, I need a range of at least 3 miles in a city environment.
My first goal is to get communication for the workers in the building. The drivers can use zello until more funding arrives. Then hopefully set up something that can give me a 3 mile range.

The radio I'm probably going to purchase is the Motorola CP200.

My questions are:
1. What is the process for obtaining a Business Band Radio License?
2. Do I need a base?
3. Do you guys have any better tips or ways to set up a system like mine? If so, please let me know.
4. How much would it cost to just obtain the proper license to use the equipment.
5. If I get additional radios, will it affect my license at all?
6. Is there anything else I should know?
 

mmckenna

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Answers are based off you being located in the USA. If you are somewhere else, ignore this:

My questions are:
1. What is the process for obtaining a Business Band Radio License?
Frequency coordination, licenses application, receive license. Basically. Getting 4 frequencies isn't going to be hard, but it's best to get some proper frequency coordination done if you plan on ever using a repeater. You'll need help with this.

2. Do I need a base?
Do you think you need a base? You are not required to have one, you could just have a bunch of portable radios. Might be easier, though, for some users to have a radio powered off a power supply rather than batteries.

3. Do you guys have any better tips or ways to set up a system like mine? If so, please let me know.
Find a good radio shop in your area. Based off purchasing 250 radios, they should be more than happy to help you with this process. Don't get hung up on the brand/model, that won't matter as much as finding a radio shop that you can trust and will help you out. Based off that many radios, they should be willing to do the frequency coordination and licensing for free, or darn close to it. Consider digital.

4. How much would it cost to just obtain the proper license to use the equipment.
A few hundred bucks for the license, but you really should be getting the assistance of a frequency coordinator.

5. If I get additional radios, will it affect my license at all?
Normally, when you apply for a license, you would put in there how many "units" you have. Just make this number bigger than you think you will need. If you think you need 250 radios, consider making this number 400, just to cover future expansion.

6. Is there anything else I should know?
Like I said above, don't pick the brand/model yet, that's putting the cart before the horse. Work with a local shop and let them help you make that decision. Go into it knowing you only need a basic radio, don't get sold more than need. Analog would be fine for what you are doing, but don't rule out digital.
 
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902

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Answers are based off you being located in the USA. If you are somewhere else, ignore this:

Frequency coordination, licenses application, receive license. Basically. Getting 4 frequencies isn't going to be hard, but it's best to get some proper frequency coordination done if you plan on ever using a repeater. You'll need help with this.
To augment mmckenna's statement, you have a choice in business coordinators. Shop around and get competitive pricing. You can find them here along with contact information:
FCC: Wireless Services: Industrial/Business: Licensing: Frequency Coordinators

I don't make an endorsement of any of them, but just know you have a few options.

Just a caveat, NEVER buy equipment before you know the resources are available. I very strongly suggest you avoid VHF because of its lack of pairing, and potential difficulty in converting to TDMA digital (DMR or similar) at some future time, if your workplace ever chooses to do so.

Do you think you need a base? You are not required to have one, you could just have a bunch of portable radios. Might be easier, though, for some users to have a radio powered off a power supply rather than batteries.

Find a good radio shop in your area. Based off purchasing 250 radios, they should be more than happy to help you with this process. Don't get hung up on the brand/model, that won't matter as much as finding a radio shop that you can trust and will help you out. Based off that many radios, they should be willing to do the frequency coordination and licensing for free, or darn close to it. Consider digital.
One thing to investigate is DMR. You can have 4 channels for the price of 2 repeaters, and even network them in the future... if you need to. Someone local who has developed a positive rapport with you would be of tremendous value. I echo the brand loyalty. Toss that aside. It will get in the way.

A few hundred bucks for the license, but you really should be getting the assistance of a frequency coordinator.
The coordinator will typically charge additional fees (perhaps up to the mid-hundreds after every nickel and dime have been totaled up) for their expertise in preparing the 601 form. If you have some knowledge in the process, you can save money by doing that yourself, but generally factor that expense into the equation. That local guy we mention might be able to "give that to you" as a value-added service.

Normally, when you apply for a license, you would put in there how many "units" you have. Just make this number bigger than you think you will need. If you think you need 250 radios, consider making this number 400, just to cover future expansion.

Like I said above, don't pick the brand/model yet, that's putting the cart before the horse. Work with a local shop and let them help you make that decision. Go into it knowing you only need a basic radio, don't get sold more than need. Analog would be fine for what you are doing, but don't rule out digital.
Fine advice, and, if you license with your expansion goals in mind, increasing your mobile count up to that number won't affect your license at all.

Your license would be valid for 10 years. You will have to do a build-out filing after you implement, but no later than 1 year after you receive the license, otherwise the FCC will cancel it and you will find yourself operating unlicensed (even though you had it at one point). If that happens, you will have to go through the entire process again, and there is a possibility that you will not get your original parameters back if someone else jumps into that frequency/region. That would mean "touching" all of your fleet for reprogramming/compliance adjustments (BTDT several times, hunting down mobiles and portables on various shifts assigned to guys on vacation, military deployment, vacations, in the hospital, etc.; don't ever want to do it again). And, that is contingent upon resources being available.
 

Newbie1234

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All right thank you for responding so quick. For radios, how long are the lifespan, reliability of one Motorola CP200 or CP200d? The reason why I am set on it is because my boss gave me a budget based on that particular model. If I do plan on using digital technology, are the frequencies going to be on the UHF/VHF spectrum or is it on a totally different spectrum? Does someone have an article about digital radio technology? I have a feeling I should just stick with the regular.
 

rapidcharger

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All right thank you for responding so quick. For radios, how long are the lifespan, reliability of one Motorola CP200 or CP200d? The reason why I am set on it is because my boss gave me a budget based on that particular model. )))
They're entry level radios. What's the budget he gave you?
A lot of people don't know this but there's other brands of two way radios other than Motorola that give you a lot more for the money. Or just plain better radio for less.

((( If I do plan on using digital technology, are the frequencies going to be on the UHF/VHF spectrum or is it on a totally different spectrum? Does someone have an article about digital radio technology? I have a feeling I should just stick with the regular.
For use inside a building UHF is going to be the better choice. It's also going to be cheaper and easier to get coordinated for 4 UHF simplex frequencies than VHF.

As for the digital, there are some pros and cons to it.
The first thing I would suggest is demoing some radios in analog and digital. In my opinion analog radios sound better provided the signals are strong and no static and there isn't any background noise. That might be the case with such a small building. However if you do have a little static, that will be non-existent in digital. If there is mechanical background noise, some radios in digital will only pick up on the human voice and machines won't be heard on the other end. If it is in your budget to do so (digital radios cost a lot more), you could set up so that you can talk in either analog and digital so if you decide one isn't working out, you can switch to the other. Also be sure your license allows for both analog and digital. It doesn't cost any more to do that. Just a minuscule amount of additional paperwork.
 

kayn1n32008

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I will also echo what 902, mmckenna, and Rapid have all said. They have given you sound advice.

Do investigate digital. There are real advantages, most digital formats have some form of encryption, if privacy is a concern. Another advantage is that modern DSP/active noise cancelling will allow, with proper user training, for transmissions that have next to no background noise.

DMR should be given serious consideration, because it utilizes TDMA to allow two talk paths with one 12.5KHz RF channel. This can allow you to have 4 voice 'channels' using only 2 RF channels. When/if you go to repeaters, this can mean spending half the money over NXDN or analogue for the came number of talk paths.

Do not get hung up on Motorola. There are other companies, that sell gear that is just as good, or better. Kenwood, Hytera, Tait, Vertex and Icom all make very good products.

In North America, Tait, Hytera, and Vertex all make DMR equipment, Kenwood, and Icom make NXDN equipment.

You will also find that to go DMR or NXDN will not be all that much more expensive than analogue.

I will also agree with staying away from VHF.


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12dbsinad

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All good advise here. I will just add a few things if they have not been touched upon.

Demo digital vs analog, some people like the audio of digital, others hate it. So, try it compared to analog. Myself, analog with no other noise sounds as natrual as you can get.

Second, remember that not every digital format is compatible brand for brand. Which means you are somewhat limited on whatever digital format you choose. Analog still remains the number one mode across practically any brand, to be interoperable with each other.

Test both taking into cosideration everyone that commented here, and do what is best for your particular situation.
 

Newbie1234

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Thank you for all your help guys. I guess in the end I am going to stick with 4 UHF frequencies. I thought about going digital but I don't need it in my situation. For radios, I'm still going to be shopping around for them.
 
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