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Fire/ Forest Departments and BK radios....

CopperWhopper67

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 22, 2018
Messages
34
Location
Northern California
I'm not sure if this is the proper place to ask this but I have been curious for a while about how it seems that many fire and forestry agencies predominantly use BendixKing portables in the field as opposed to Motorola and the like normally used by their law enforcement counterparts. I understand that many FD's in metro areas will use other radios and some forestry services do too but CalFire, USFS, and other very large agencies use BK units. I've even seen the TSA use exclusively BK radios in some airports. What I am curious about is why use of BK equipment seems limited to these few sectors of professional radio communications? I apologize if I am not clearly communicanting my question so if further clarification is needed then I'll be happy to do so!

Thank you!
 

TampaTyron

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
753
Location
Tampa, FL
BK for forestry is because that has been the standard for a long time, with programming, mics, batteries,and cloning cables being fairly standard. For TSA it came down to price. TT
 

MTS2000des

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
3,078
Location
Cobb County, GA Stadium Crime Zone
Had a presentation a few years ago by some USFS radio support folks. I asked about BK's and why they were the go to: simple answer was bulletproof FPP and cloning capability, availability of disposable battery packs, and much lower cost than comparable radios of the time (the XTS5000 was the like/kind/quality at the time and much more expensive).

A core of BK's business is wildland firefighting. They've got a corner on the market like MSI does with law enforcement. BK makes some pretty decent stuff, they're made in the continental US, and all their support is based here. The folks who develop the firmware/software are here too, which is a big selling point with agencies who have large deployments. They are very responsive to customer requests for features, bug squashing, etc.

Many wildland firefighters that aren't USFS folks are funded locally/state and BK's price difference between a KNG Command portable and say, and APX6000XE with FPP is night and day.
 

IAmSixNine

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,784
Location
Dallas, TX
I am happy with my KNG2-P800.
Having worked for about 8 years at a 2-way shop who supported Kenwood, Motorola and Vertex, i can say i wish we had BK back then.
 

rsmith7799

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
9
Location
Arroyo Grande, CA
I think the others have answered your question. But from my viewpoint, NIFC have used BK radios for years. They are easy to repair, parts are plentiful and most COMT's can do the repairs. The programming is simple. Motorola is complicated and has "keys" for each radio.....PRICING???!!! Retail for the new KNG2CMD is $2,995.00 and other pricing (which I can't say on this site) is much lower. Motorola, sorry the model number is usually the price also. You have to have specific software and licenses and these are very expensive. So for wildland incidents, you have to have a Motorola specialist just to program them. Thus....BK is more prevalent with wildlland departments.
 

Onelick

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2018
Messages
18
Location
100 yards west of the east branch of the Antietam
Just from a cloning standpoint, I have yet to see anything beat a King. On a large incident, there could possibly be over 500 radios. Then there's a change in a comm plan just about every day if the fire is moving pretty good. You have to reprogram every single radio every day, mobiles included. A DPH takes less than 5 seconds to clone, a KNG it seems like 5 min, but it's probably only 2 min. Then each radio can go clone another, then those radios can clone more. Since I'm not as familiar with Moto, can they be reprogrammed that fast? You could have all the radios on the fire reprogrammed in 30 min or less.
Rick, I've only worked with you once on the Modoc Complex I got there late and the fire was winding down, what's the most radios you've seen on an incident?

Onelick
 
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