• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

    Please do not make requests for copies of radio programming software which is sold (or was sold) by the manufacturer for any monetary value. All requests will be deleted and a forum infraction issued. Making a request such as this is attempting to engage in software piracy and this forum cannot be involved or associated with this activity. The same goes for any private transaction via Private Message. Even if you attempt to engage in this activity in PM's we will still enforce the forum rules. Your PM's are not private and the administration has the right to read them if there's a hint to criminal activity.

    If you are having trouble legally obtaining software please state so. We do not want any hurt feelings when your vague post is mistaken for a free request. It is YOUR responsibility to properly word your request.

    To obtain Motorola software see the Sticky in the Motorola forum.

    The various other vendors often permit their dealers to sell the software online (i.e., Kenwood). Please use Google or some other search engine to find a dealer that sells the software. Typically each series or individual radio requires its own software package. Often the Kenwood software is less than $100 so don't be a cheapskate; just purchase it.

    For M/A Com/Harris/GE, etc: there are two software packages that program all current and past radios. One package is for conventional programming and the other for trunked programming. The trunked package is in upwards of $2,500. The conventional package is more reasonable though is still several hundred dollars. The benefit is you do not need multiple versions for each radio (unlike Motorola).

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How to start a career in two-way radio?

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KF5YDR

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I've been a ham since I was younger, but only recently got into using surplus commercial gear, and I'm finding I really like it. Programming, aligning, repairing, all of it is somehow very satisfying and rewarding, different than ham gear. So I'm thinking hey, maybe I should get a job doing this.

Does anyone have any advice or tips on getting into this line of work? I have a background in tech work, although computer and not RF related. I don't have a college degree, but I'm good with customers, I know radios, and I'm not afraid of starting at the bottom doing the boring jobs.

Oh, and I'm located in Houston, TX.
 

fxdscon

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I've been a ham since I was younger, but only recently got into using surplus commercial gear, and I'm finding I really like it. Programming, aligning, repairing, all of it is somehow very satisfying and rewarding, different than ham gear. So I'm thinking hey, maybe I should get a job doing this.

Does anyone have any advice or tips on getting into this line of work? I have a background in tech work, although computer and not RF related. I don't have a college degree, but I'm good with customers, I know radios, and I'm not afraid of starting at the bottom doing the boring jobs.

Oh, and I'm located in Houston, TX.
Some good info in previous threads, some are dated but may still contain some good advice. A well structured search would probably find a lot more info:

http://forums.radioreference.com/general-scanning-discussion/149062-radiotechnician.html

http://forums.radioreference.com/industry-discussion/233073-how-become-professional-radio-tech.html

http://forums.radioreference.com/seeking-advice/267495-comprehensive-list-jobs-involve-radios.html

http://forums.radioreference.com/ge...219360-who-works-creates-radio-equipment.html

.
 

mmckenna

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I've been doing this for about 17 years now, and I've been here to see transitions from analog to digital.

Having a background in computers is handy, obviously, but having a background in data networking is worth a ton. With more and more systems "IP connected", understanding IP, routers, switches, etc. is all worth a lot. Guys that have been in the industry for decades are having to learn this stuff now.

Get some training that makes you stand out from the crowd. Open positions get flooded with applications, so make sure you have something to offer that is going to make you more valuable over the next guy. IP/networking is a good one. Tower climbing certification is valuable. All these things you can get on your own time, and would be a valuable investment.

I've worked with a few shops, and I can tell you that the new guys often start off doing installs. While not glamourous, doing the mobile installs is a big job. Being young can make this easier, since climbing around in/under/around vehicles is a big part of the job. Understanding how the equipment connects together is important, but being young and flexible enough is, too. The county run shop here has hired guys from the auto repair industry, and that seems to be working out well. Teaching people how to do installs is easier if they have some good background to base the knowledge off of.

While having experience is a good thing, make sure you go in with a certain amount of humbleness. I've done a fair amount of hiring and helped a few guys get started in the industry, and the number one thing that turns me off is people that come in with a "know it all" attitude. It's great to have confidence, but understand that the LMR industry is far ahead of amateur radio, and doesn't need/want amateur radio to "save us". Radio shops want to train new people to do things "their" way. The industry and the hobby have some similarities, but the end product is different. Amateurs make great radio shop techs, and you'll find that most guys who work in LMR are also hams.

Good luck! I've been doing this for a quite a while, and most of the time I really enjoy my job. The days I don't is when I get called out at midnight for something. It's just part of the job.
 

WB4CS

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KF5YDR, the first thing you'll need to learn if you're going to get into commercial radio is how to read, understand, and follow the FCC rules.

Based on your own comments in this post, you don't seem to have a grasp on this concept yet. Since you've been pretty vocal about programming FRS/GMRS into non Part 95 approved radios, I wouldn't suggest getting into a career where you're going to have to follow FCC Part 90 rules to the letter. While you're correct that the FCC may not bring the hammer down on people using FRS with unapproved radios, once you get into the commercial/public service world of radios, following the rules is paramount. Not following the rules can end up costing your company several thousands of dollars in fines, which means you probably won't have a job after that.

Take it from someone like me who has worked in radio for a job, both commercial radio and broadcast radio, understanding and following the FCC rules is a huge part of the job. Many employers scour the internet for details about a potential employee. I can tell you, that if I had your resume and came across that above thread in my search, your application would go in the trash bin.

That's just my $0.02 worth of advice.

As for the job itself, you may find that you'd make more money going into radio sales than actual radio tech. Most install tech's don't make a large salary, and broadcast radio engineering usually pays less than working at McDonald's. But if you can work for a company that pays on commission and sells high dollar radio systems, you might make a decent paycheck as a sales person.

I gave up radio as a career when I discovered that I could make more money as a burger flipper at Burger King than I could programming radios and taking care of an FM radio station transmitter site. Now I work in Information Technology and do pretty well for myself, and still get to enjoy radios as a hobby.

In either case, good luck to you.
 

KF5YDR

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Thanks for the responses, y'all. I definitely have gotten the message lurking here that there is a lot more to commercial two-way than ham VHF systems, and that there's quite a bit to learn.

I might look into getting certified as a tower climber. Any hams I ask about getting involved in the actual nuts-and-bolts of repeater maintenance, their first question is always, "do you climb?"
 

mmckenna

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There are a few companies that do "certified" tower climber courses. I've used Comtrain, and they are pretty well accepted in the industry.
ComTrain - Your source for Certified Tower Climbing Safety, Fall Protection & Rescue and Tower Construction & Technology Training.
You'll need about $700 is gear to climb. The course is $835. They move around the country, so finding one local just takes patience.

Learning to climb properly and safely is extremely important. Most large companies won't let you near the tower unless you have been through the course.
 

KF5YDR

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Welp. That certainly is always a possibility.
 
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teufler

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I was the National Sales and Operations Manager for the 2nd largest , behind Nextel, for two way radio for customers. We had about 1,500 sites around the US. Company finally sold the licenses to Nextel and wqe closed in 2007. As has been reported, the first job, for new hires , was in the install area. There they got familiar with the gear, talked with the people that used the gear. The next step was going to the tower locations and helping with the techs doing site repair and adjustments.Tower climbing was not a big part of the job, going up on tall buildings and working on the top floors orf working on theradios in the radio rooms at towers did occur. While the salesman did make mofre money, they were clueless to the radio side of the business. If you want to check things out, check the yellow pages out for the radio supply , the radio install l companies.
 
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There are several commercial radio service companies in the Houston area, most specialize in servicing petroleum related industries with a lot of work involving off-shore in the Gulf of Mexico. Some also provide services to international clients but they only send their top notch people that can handle any problems they my run into.

Approach a prospective employer with the attitude that you know a few basic things but start at the bottom and learn. Don't mention that you have any knowledge of programming, that would be a turn off to them. If possible take a couple of local Community College electronics courses, this will help get your foot in the door.
 

Cowthief

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Hello.

SCADA is what the oil companies use.
SCADA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
That is as much software as it is hardware, so programming is very useful, if programming means coding.
There are quite a few places I would think of.
Wonderware | Industrial Automation and Operations Management Software Solutions | Invensys Software
Attend any SCADA convention, hand out your resume, and get hired!
In Houston, there are 3 major conventions every year.
Try this.
Modbus OPC Serial Server, DNP Master Ethernet OPC Serial Server, Protocol Analyzer by Imperious Technology.
I have worked with Imron, know him.
He is your classic Pakistani, very friendly and helpful.
We did a lot of work together, in Houston, just a few years ago.
Remember, the oil industry is booming, plenty of jobs, but a lot of it is remote, figure on living out of a motel room weeks on end.
The workers in the oilfield are usually the bottom of the barrel, with IQ and attitude to match.
At a plant (Refinery), most are intoxicated, most of the time.
But, the money is good!
 

WA0CBW

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Many shops will require you to be certified. Motorola shops are required to have a certain percentage of their techs to be certified by the Electronics Technicians Association-International (ETA-I). Look them up on the web at eta-i.org.
 

KF5YDR

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Approach a prospective employer with the attitude that you know a few basic things but start at the bottom and learn. Don't mention that you have any knowledge of programming, that would be a turn off to them. If possible take a couple of local Community College electronics courses, this will help get your foot in the door.
Thanks for the advice, I didn't think of preexisting knowledge being a turn-off but it makes perfect sense. I imagine they get whacker types in all the time who found a copy of RSS but don't really know what they're doing. Taking classes is a really good idea, too.
 

PACNWDude

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Leaving the oil field for engineering work.

Hello.

SCADA is what the oil companies use.
SCADA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
That is as much software as it is hardware, so programming is very useful, if programming means coding.
There are quite a few places I would think of.
Wonderware | Industrial Automation and Operations Management Software Solutions | Invensys Software
Attend any SCADA convention, hand out your resume, and get hired!
In Houston, there are 3 major conventions every year.
Try this.
Modbus OPC Serial Server, DNP Master Ethernet OPC Serial Server, Protocol Analyzer by Imperious Technology.
I have worked with Imron, know him.
He is your classic Pakistani, very friendly and helpful.
We did a lot of work together, in Houston, just a few years ago.
Remember, the oil industry is booming, plenty of jobs, but a lot of it is remote, figure on living out of a motel room weeks on end.
The workers in the oilfield are usually the bottom of the barrel, with IQ and attitude to match.
At a plant (Refinery), most are intoxicated, most of the time.
But, the money is good!
That above is so very true: remote locations, living in hotel rooms for weeks at a time, (I will add usually with meth addicts in the area), IQ and attitude, intoxicated......I spent 21 years in the military, 9 in the oil field and am glad to go work in a clean lab environment with engineers as an engineer starting this week.
 

PACNWDude

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Radio shops needing certification is for real. I have worked on Motorola gear for over 20 years, have a MOL account and went to many classes in Illinois for the "Big M".

I interviewed at three radio shops in the region. Each one had something to say about my experience. Since it was through the military, I am told that "does not count". I need R56 certification,Motorola, Vertex and Icom certification. One even said I would need to go through an accredited electronics school.
I can produce 6 electronics and radio schools totaling 3 years of formal training, and an Associates degree the military gave me. besides the additional years of school I did on my own.

Not to be flustered, I then went to a local manufacturer of radio equipment, they looked at my credentials, called my references and offered me more money and a higher position than they were trying to hire for. This is an engineering position, and I will probably have some contact with these three radio shops at some point. I thanked each one for their time, kept it professional, but it will be fun to see these guys come in for a tour and see me smiling back at them.
 
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