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DMR For Public Safety

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zacsharpe

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In my county we are currently using an analog conventional system for public safety. There is a few fire departments in my county that are using a DMR system and our EMS is soon going DMR. Thoughts on DMR vs. other digital systems for public safety?


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RayAir

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As long as the radio system is properly set up, DMR would work just fine and would likely cost much less than most P25 set ups for instance.
The audio should be better than most analog systems. Other than that, some salesman probably sold your company on going digital.

A few EMS services near me use DMR for emergent and transport operations. It seems to work well.

What exactly were you concerned with or wanting to know?
 

zacsharpe

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I'm just concerned mostly with physical radio issues. Like I know that the APX Xe series is designed for public safety conditions. I have yet to see a Xe DMR radio design.


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krazybob

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P25 is an open standard. In theory so is DMR but as amateur radio operators have already shown one can deviate away from the standard. That took place with NXDN some time ago even though Kenwood and ICOM both supported it. They started adding special features that weren't available on the competing manufacturers models. Motorola is strong on DMR. The audio quality is generally better than P25. It uses a different and newer vocoder. P25 remains the standard because Motorola salesmen sell it as the definitive standard in Public Safety Communications. The truth of the matter is that DMR is able to give the operator two channels for the price of one. Third-party application developers are already developing applications that will enhance DMR. DMR is already capable of Radio over IP using IP Connect. Amateur radio operators already employ DMR for just this reason. They put the regional or global network on Channel 1 and the local coverage on Channel 2. DMR was intended to be the low cost solution for business but is quickly emerging as an affordable Public Safety tool.

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N4KVE

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The OP's question has not been answered. People have told the OP that the DMR digital standard will work just fine, but I think he was asking more specifically if a XPR DMR radio can take the same beating as a APX, or XTS 5000 radio. To me the answer is no way. They are not public safety radios, and not designed for public safety. It's usually cash strapped small entities who can not afford to buy APX6000/7000/8000 radios who buy them. So the proper reply would be if an APX, or XTS5000 could do DMR, then yes, DMR would be fine for LE. There's a reason a P25 radio costs 10 times what a DMR radio costs, & it's not the digital standard. An APX, or XTS5000 can be run over by a car, & still work. That won't happen with a DMR radio. Around here a DMR HT wouldn't last a week in LE service. Maybe in Podunk Iowa it would.
 

KA5YTH

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Motorola DMR and P25 radios work well for public safety. I've used both and my current agency uses DMR. Actually, both the XPR and APX have the same rating when it comes to the user environment. They are both rated IP67.

IP ratings are explained here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Code

APX radios are designed for ease of use by gloves hands and are consequently bulky. XPR radios are designed to be discreet and worn in business settings.

My preference is actually DMR, mainly because when one of my crews leaves a radio on a back bumper and it is lost, replacement is only $900 instead of $7,000. And the features of the DMR network with capacity and applications such as linked repeaters, GPS, digital messaging, etc. are pretty cool.

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KC3ECJ

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Dispatch is one thing, but aren't there guidelines now that call for on scene fire to be analog simplex?

I have used DMR in private safety, security, and I don't want to have to rely on digital in environments where there is noisy machinery and thus can't properly process the voice.
 

DisasterGuy

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You can't use any federal public safety grants (AFG, SHSP, COPS, etc) for anything that isn't P25.

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IAmSixNine

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Ill add my two cents.
I think DMR sounds better then P25 Phase 1 but a well set up P25 Phase 2 system sounds just as good as a well set up DMR system.
Using my XPR7550 to compare to my APX7000 and Relm BK KNG2-P800 radio. FYI, on Phase 2 i really like how the KNG2 sounds.
While i agree there are some manufacturing and engineering differences on an APX radio i must say the XPR7550 is we well built solid radio.

Small local dept near me has 2 channel (4 voice path) Capactiy Plus system set up for their public safety, mixed PD/FD and i do hear a few complaints of radios issues, but doing some asking around it seems those are guys with XPR6550 units on old firmware and the ones with XPR7550 replacement units are very happy.
Theres also a large mall near me with their security/pd using conventional DMR and same thing. Most have newer radios but a few have older and they tend to have audio issues. I think the second gen DMR radios Motorola made are a huge improvement.
 

michaelstephen

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XPR radios have an IS safe flavor. They're pretty tough. We have 1100 of them in our system, and replace about 10 per year in 2013-2016.

It's politics of using federal grant money for p25 only, sales people pushing p25, interoperability groups wanting p25 as single standard, and rugged hardware features.


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N4KVE

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Theres also a large mall near me with their security/pd using conventional DMR and same thing. Most have newer radios but a few have older and they tend to have audio issues. I think the second gen DMR radios Motorola made are a huge improvement.
Gen 1 radios sound GREAT when the FW is upgraded to 1.12.17, & AGC turned on. To me, XPR radios are GREAT for a "mall cop" who rides around on a Segway all day. Seriously, what do they do? But a real cop in a large metropolitan area would kill one in a week. Years ago, my friend worked for a large county in their radio shop during the days of the cocaine cowboys. Violent shooting all the time. They used the MX back then. Anyone remember them? From time to time he'd come into work & find a MX on his bench covered in blood, hair, & pieces of scalp. The radio worked, it just needed to be cleaned up. The XPR would not last a week under those conditions. They were not designed for LE. I have a XPR7550e, & I love it, but I'm not a cop in Miami where violence is rampant. So while both standards, P25, & DMR work fine, the P25 radios are far more rugged than the DMR radios which were designed for an easy life in the pocket of a hotel manager.
 

IAmSixNine

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LOL looks like K4KVE didnt get the memo.
Cops can no longer use radios to beat suspects.
Tazers and shooting is allowed under certain circumstances. :)

I think we all have good points.
 

IAmSixNine

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Figured once the old MX radios were upgrade to sabers and astro sabers, and those were migrated to the Jedi series radios they were no longer used for beatings.
I do remember some Dallas officers telling me that they used a Saber to break a window in a car and once used to help convince a suspect to stop fighting. :)
 

N1GTL

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Ever try to change a channel or volume on an XPR7550 with a fireman's gloves on? That's a big difference between the XPR and APX. I prefer, and mostly work on TRBO systems. I use DMR and have a 7550e. I wouldn't buy an APX but I can see why they'd be considered better for fire service.
 

michaelstephen

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I 'may' have seen sabers and jedis used to break a few [windows] in the Oakland area too. LOL. No doubt the APX hardware has more durability and better ergonomics for public safety. The XPR have some value too.


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TDR-94

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Just because a product meets IP or MIL-STD requirements doesn't mean that the product will hold up well under so called "normal" conditions. Those are controlled lab tests,not real world abuse.
 

zacsharpe

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Good points guys! I really appreciate the info and input, I believe I will stay with the P25 route considering that they are built and tested for first responder (specifically fire) environments.


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