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Minitor Band Splits

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WuLabsWuTecH

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I was talking to a friend and we were discussing his situation but I'm unsure about my answer for him so I figured I'd ask here.

He is on 2 departments, one that is considered his primary and gets over 1000 runs a year, and another that is a very rural department that often doesn't break 50 runs a year.

Because they are in two different counties, they are on 2 different frequencies.
His Primary is 159.350
His second is 154.440

I told him his best bet is to continue to carry 2 pagers, but that if he got a Minitor V that covered 151-159 it could theoretically cover both, but there might be some signal degradation on his primary channel since it'll be 350 kHz out of band.

This is where he told me that if signal degradation was unavoidable, he would prefer the degradation to be on the second channel and not the first and was wondering if he could do it the other way. My answer was that 5 MHz was probably going to be too much for a 159-167 pager to cover the second channel.

I think my explanation is correct so far, but please correct me if I am wrong. The next question he asked was, since 159.350 is already so close to the limit of the 159-167 pager, would the signal degradation on the 151-159 pager really be that much worse than the 159-167 pager? Since I don't know what the graph of the signal degradation curve looks like, I was stuck. Anybody know the answer to this? How did motorola determine that the cutoff for acceptable signal degradation base on the hardware was 159 and not say, 159.1?

It should also be noted that signal degradation is a big issue for him. Since he is at the border of two counties, he is about as far away from both towers as he can be!

Thanks for any input guys!
 

BLS501

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His best bet is to get one of them new Unication G1's. They do most of the VHF bandsplit in one pager and he wouldn't have to worry about it.
 

WuLabsWuTecH

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I'm going to guess that they only have minitor programming capabilities--he mentioned no other models than the Minitor V and from what I know, that seems to be the standard in their area. But that's a good suggestion if he had the programming equipment for it!
 

WuLabsWuTecH

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and an additional question, how the heck do you tell what band plan a pager is on based on the model number?!?!? He was starting to look at some and apparently the VHF Hi Band ones all have the same model number???
 

CommJunkie

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If you program the pager for 159.000 you won't hear anything on 159.350. 350khz doesn't sound like much, but it is, especially if he's far from the tower. For Minitors, the only real option is to carry two pagers. Unless he feels like buying a radio capable of QC decode and carries that.
 

SteveC0625

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hmmm let's see a min5 can be brought new all day long at 325.00 used at around 200.00 the unication is just shy of 500 bucks like 450 something i believe um yea i'll stick with the proven min5.
Agree and more! Here's why:

First, the Minitor V programming cradle was $224 from /\/\ last I looked. A good aftermarket cradle is $135. Used M5 cradles are pretty easy to find, too, and at fair prices.

Second, the Unication cradle is about $200. There's not a lot of them out there yet so the chance of finding a used one is pretty slim. Most radio shops don't have them either.

Third, Unication cradles being scarce, buying a G1 just for yourself is actually gonna run around $650. You will want a cradle once you have the radio because who's gonna carry a multi-channel pager/scanner without reprogramming it, OFTEN. Great if your agency buys the cradle and pagers, but not so good for the individual.

Fourth, the whole market is going to experience a big change in the very near future. My advice today (Sunday, February 2nd, 2014) is not to buy anything right now. Wait to see what the change brings before spending your money, especially when it is coming out of your own pocket or your agency's.
 

mikewazowski

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Buy a USB to TTL adaptor from eBay and you'll be all set for programming. Total cost for me was $20 including shipping.

So far I've got $85 for the Min V (2 channel, stored voice) and $20 for the programming interface. Just need a charger and a belt clip.
 

WuLabsWuTecH

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Agree and more! Here's why:

First, the Minitor V programming cradle was $224 from /\/\ last I looked. A good aftermarket cradle is $135. Used M5 cradles are pretty easy to find, too, and at fair prices.

Fourth, the whole market is going to experience a big change in the very near future. My advice today (Sunday, February 2nd, 2014) is not to buy anything right now. Wait to see what the change brings before spending your money, especially when it is coming out of your own pocket or your agency's.
For your first point, where do you find these used cradles? I have been looking forever for one and I cannot find one!

For your 4th point, I assume you are referring to the Minitor 6 that is due to be released? I believe we can talk about it now that the announcement is up on Motorola's page. The only real changes i saw in the specs pdf that I saw before the announcement (which seems to be the same one currently up on Motorola's page) are the expanded stored voice time, the new playback buttons, ability to use AAA batteries, and some other minor changes.

We went ahead and picked up a Minitor 5 this weekend that was lightly used which came with all accessories for just north of $100. I figured it was a good deal for a stored voice model since the lowest I've seen it go for on eBay is $200 and an average of 250. Even with a flood of minitor 5's here in the next few months, I doubt I would see that low of a price within the next 2 months (his timeline for wanting it) considering the 4's with the complete package are still running about $75 so we went ahead and got it. I admit it's a gamble to see if prices fall further than that, but he was comfortable spending the $100 so we pulled the trigger. I have no idea if the accessories for it (case, second charger he wants for work, extra battery, amplifier, etc) will fall so we'll wait and see on that one.

The guy said it was programmed for 160.something so I figured it was the right band split, but I still can't figure out how to tell band splits from the model number!!! If it's not the right one for some reason, we can just list back onto ebay and get our money back based on what they are going for.

Buy a USB to TTL adaptor from eBay and you'll be all set for programming. Total cost for me was $20 including shipping.

So far I've got $85 for the Min V (2 channel, stored voice) and $20 for the programming interface. Just need a charger and a belt clip.
I am very curious though as to where I might be able to get a used cable or an after market cable. I saw the write up of the DIY charger and that seems like it'll cost us just shy of $50 to put together. With the USB to TTL cable, how does that work? I took a look at the pictures and it seems to me that I'd just have to match up the cables coming out of the connector with the pins on the bottom of the pager? There are 4 pinouts coming out and I would guess they are Ground, Rx, Tx, 5V? Do you know which is which? And if you have a link or picture to the one you bought I'd be very appreciative to see it--I did a USB to TTL search on eBay and got 980 results some less than a dollar and some more in the price range you were talking about!

Thanks guys!
 

mikewazowski

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With the USB to TTL cable, how does that work?

You crimp on 3 pins to the RX, TX and GND lines which are labelled on the interface board. Install the driver software and place the pins in the appropriate holes in the Minitor.

There's a pile of Minitor V pinout pictures on the net. I think the article on here about doing your own interface even has the pinout.
 

DisasterGuy

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How many pagers are you looking to program? Just about any Motorola shop will program a pager for you for $20-40. If you just need to program one, take it to a shop.
 

WuLabsWuTecH

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You crimp on 3 pins to the RX, TX and GND lines which are labelled on the interface board. Install the driver software and place the pins in the appropriate holes in the Minitor.

There's a pile of Minitor V pinout pictures on the net. I think the article on here about doing your own interface even has the pinout.
Ah! I see now. I knew the one on this board had the pinout but I only saw the 3.5mm one. But I also didn't know the interface board was labeled!

And what about the 4th 5V power pin? Can you not connect that one to the power "slot" on the minitor to provide it with power? (I understand you need to power it when upgrading?)


How many pagers are you looking to program? Just about any Motorola shop will program a pager for you for $20-40. If you just need to program one, take it to a shop.
Yes, but that takes all the fun out of it! We're looking to play around with some of the settings and see what works for us. If we can get his up and running, I'm going to get one for myself. Even though I'm only on one department that tones out via radio, I'm sure I could find a use for the second channel like for NOAA or a fireground or something!
 

WuLabsWuTecH

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You crimp on 3 pins to the RX, TX and GND lines which are labelled on the interface board. Install the driver software and place the pins in the appropriate holes in the Minitor.

There's a pile of Minitor V pinout pictures on the net. I think the article on here about doing your own interface even has the pinout.
Also, If you don't mind me asking, why did you go with a $20 usb cable instead of one of the cheaper ones? Is there a brand name you'd recommend that lasts longer or has a better reputation?
 

mikewazowski

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I didn't buy a cable. I bought a USB to RTL adaptor. $20 was the total price including shipping. If you can find one cheaper than I suggest you buy it.

As far as the 5v line, I didn't need it. My Min V already has the latest firmware. I suppose if newer firmware was released, I could use it.
 

WuLabsWuTecH

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I didn't buy a cable. I bought a USB to RTL adaptor. $20 was the total price including shipping. If you can find one cheaper than I suggest you buy it.

As far as the 5v line, I didn't need it. My Min V already has the latest firmware. I suppose if newer firmware was released, I could use it.
The simple mind of WuLabsWuTecH is simple. Is an RTL adaptor just the typo of a TTL adaptor? :p
 

captaincab

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well said steve everyone loves the new unication pager and i do not know why. like come on who needs a 64 channel pager buy a damm radio on ebay program rx only and your set. it will have better reception and signal too and a hell of a lot cheaper.

Agree and more! Here's why:

First, the Minitor V programming cradle was $224 from /\/\ last I looked. A good aftermarket cradle is $135. Used M5 cradles are pretty easy to find, too, and at fair prices.

Second, the Unication cradle is about $200. There's not a lot of them out there yet so the chance of finding a used one is pretty slim. Most radio shops don't have them either.

Third, Unication cradles being scarce, buying a G1 just for yourself is actually gonna run around $650. You will want a cradle once you have the radio because who's gonna carry a multi-channel pager/scanner without reprogramming it, OFTEN. Great if your agency buys the cradle and pagers, but not so good for the individual.

Fourth, the whole market is going to experience a big change in the very near future. My advice today (Sunday, February 2nd, 2014) is not to buy anything right now. Wait to see what the change brings before spending your money, especially when it is coming out of your own pocket or your agency's.
 

captaincab

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i pay 325.00 for a new min 5 from my dealer and most dealers are between that and 350.00 so they are selling the unication for that price?

If you do decide to consider the Unication, I would recommend checking out ScanMD Fire & Rescue Solutions where you can purchase a G1 and they will program it. You can expect to pay the same amount for it as you would for a new Minitor V two channel stored voice.
 
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