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Radio System Quote

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TennFordTN

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
48
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
Hey Guys,
I’m a 22 year old college student and I work at a medium to large scale church in the Middle TN area working as a part of Operations. Over the years we’ve done nothing but expand and grow bigger. Our teams do everything from cleaning and moving items to landscaping and large scale projects outdoors. We currently use our smartphones to communicate, but we’ve all been talking about the pros and cons of trying out radios. Smartphones are great, but can be distracting and can slow down the work at hand. I was told before I worked here years ago that we tried FRS Bubble Packs and that apparently didn’t last long. I doubt that we will buy anything soon, but I was told to pitch my idea to my boss since he was curious. So my question is: What system would be good for our situation? What setup (repeaters, no repeaters, TRBO, Analog, DMR) would best suit us?

I’ll put our needs into context. We own roughly 300-350 acres of fairly flat land which includes 15+ houses, 2 large barns, 2 softball fields, our main building, and a secondary auxiliary building. The main building is roughly 225,000 square feet on multiple floors with 4 sanctuaries. The secondary building is roughly 15,000 square feet. The main building sits in a central location to everything else on our campus, so if you think a repeater would be necessary, it would be very accessible. The farthest distance from a portable radio to the central building is .5 mile. The farthest distance from edge to edge of the property is 1.1 miles.

I mention a repeater because one time during a large scale event we had going on, I brought one of my Baofeng UV-82s and a UV-5R just to see how building penetration/range were. With 5 watts, there were a few times I could not hear my co-worker inside (in the depths of the building or basement), but edge to edge of the campus was fine.

Currently we are 8 guys strong on staff, so we would need 8 radios at a minimum. We would probably get one for the front office and a few extra for our team. We also have 6 vehicles we use on a regular basis, but I could see us maybe getting a mobile for 1 or 2 of the heavier used vehicles. I’ve been looking up on the MOTOTRBO and I think I like the features offered, although I’m scared of what the price tag would be.
I don’t know if this is the correct term, but the “selective calling” could come in handy, where my boss could choose to speak to one specific radio instead of everyone, if he needed. I could see us purchasing an SL7000 for my boss, as he is in meetings and such and would want that style, and another “selective calling” radio for the front office to “dispatch” specific radios for different tasks. This all assumes TRBO would be the way to go.

So now I want to know. How does a system like this sound for our criteria? Are there better alternatives? What would you “quote” for us?
 

TennFordTN

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
48
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
I understand how Radio Reference works, I am simply looking for input from fellow users on what they would use in my situation. Wether a repeater would be necessary, or the options between analog and digital. Maybe I was using the wrong term with "quote".


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W8RMH

Feed Provider Since 2012
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Jan 4, 2009
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8,112
Location
Grove City, OH (A Bearcat not a Buckeye)
You will get many varied, uneducated opinions here. Probably even stir up and argument or two.

I still recommend that you contact a professional. It won't cost you anything and you will obtain valuable, correct information which will allow you to make a professional, educated presentation to your superiors, which will surely impress them.
 

KG4INW

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Apr 9, 2009
Messages
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Location
Midlothian, VA
I agree. Find a competent radio dealer in your area (or several if available) and get them to come out, survey the area, listen to your needs/wants and then demonstrate a feasible solution. Sounds like you're already well versed in radios and shouldn't have any problem conveying your needs and hopefully won't let them over-sell you.
 

PACNWDude

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
999
MotoTrbo or other brand DMR would work for that distance, 1.1 miles. You could go VHF, but then UHF might penetrate better into the building.

For a similar situation, I used Motorola DTR radios, but then I needed comms to be more secure, and un-licensed.

Licensing is something that needs to be taken into account as well as cost of the hardware.
 

jackj

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
1,548
Location
NW Ohio
As others have said, you need a pro. What recourse do you have if you follow my advice and spend $20k on a system that doesn't work? You don't even know my name or where I live. You need advice from someone who stands to loose if he steers you wrong.
 

rapidcharger

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Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
2,382
Location
The land of broken calculators.
I understand how Radio Reference works, I am simply looking for input from fellow users on what they would use in my situation. Wether a repeater would be necessary, or the options between analog and digital. Maybe I was using the wrong term with "quote".


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Getting an educated opinion from someone who isn't trying to sell you something is actually a pretty clever idea. Good thinking.

I would assess who needs to talk to who and where they will be on the property and how vital it is that you have every nook and cranny of the property covered as you have a small number of people that will have radios and it's a non profit I take it.

Once you have that information, borrow or rent some commercial grade radios (not baofeng) that are in your organization's price range and test them out on the property. First test them in analog to give you an idea of your signal strength. If you don't have any problems communicating where you need to without a repeater, then a repeater obviously isn't necessary and you can save your money. If you have a clear analog signal on simplex, going to digital would offer you few, if any, advantages more than likely so you can save that money too. If you have a fair amount of static on analog simplex, give digital simplex a try. It will clear up the static and might save you the expense of getting a repeater. Now once you've tried all that, if you still don't have satisfactory performance, a repeater is something to consider. But only if you need it. Repeaters are not as simple as just buying a box and plugging it in. Using a simplex base station is something else to consider instead of a repeater if it's just the main office that needs to call on a maintenance personnel and not two people on portables talking to one another from one end of the campus to the other.

Ok, so this is coming from someone who was briefly a salesman for an MSS. And I've used radios all over school campuses, universities, hotels, casinos and condominiums. If you know how to operate a walkytalkie, rent/demo/borrow some. Try them without the salesman and see if they will work. Then you can go from there.

As to where to get demo radios, try some local vendors and contact their sales dept and let them know what you want to do. Many dealers will offer some demo radios for you to try.

And if you're concerned about cost, you might consider brands such as Icom, Vertex Standard or Kenwood, they offer very good business radios that are generally less than the other brand that everyone knows and loves, particularly if you just want a basic radio. And analog radios are still cheaper. If you aren't using digital to avoid static or background noise isn't a problem and you aren't using a repeater, it's not something you need to have.
 

ecps92

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Jul 8, 2002
Messages
12,305
Location
Taxachusetts
...+1... :cool: Sound advice
As others have said, you need a pro. What recourse do you have if you follow my advice and spend $20k on a system that doesn't work? You don't even know my name or where I live. You need advice from someone who stands to loose if he steers you wrong.
 

MTS2000des

5B2_BEE00 Czar
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
3,827
Location
Cobb County, GA Stadium Crime Zone
I concur with getting a professional to do a site analysis. This cannot be done accurately over the internet. To properly build and spec any radio system means a professional engineer has to be ON SITE to do a FULL site survey. This includes a proper check of available frequencies for the system that gets called for, a spectrum analysis is also a good idea (you describe a large church. Usually means an extensive A/V system in place) given you have other RF generating equipment on site, and you surely don't want interference/interaction between the two.

A professional will also make sure your system is properly licensed, coordinated and will do a full burn-in coverage and failure test before you sign a letter of acceptance and go live.

Sure, it can be difficult at times to find an shop who either has a good RF PE on staff or can recommend one, but the cost for NOT doing this or trying to do it alone can lead to situations like this:

http://forums.radioreference.com/in...ild-up-some-wattage-repeater.html#post2329168

There are plenty of reputable PE's and firms that can assist. A consultant will usually not work for free, but bringing them in can be a buffer between a vendor/shop that will help you get the right system for your needs within the budget you are provided to work with.
 

TennFordTN

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
48
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
Going through a shop here in town or in Nashville was definitely my plan from the get-go. I just wanted to see what people on here had to say. Thank you all for your comments.


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R8000

Low Battery
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
828
A reputable two way radio shop will have demo radios and even a repeater to try out.

The MSS I work for offers both digital and analog systems for a customer to try out if they want. We send out a tech, setup a temp repeater and antenna system and let them try some radios out for a week.

Try out some different brands to see which one suits your needs.
 

mmckenna

I really ♥ Ø
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Jul 27, 2005
Messages
17,125
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Pt. Nemo
Don't decide on the technology yet.
Calling a Motorola dealer and telling them what you need will get you exactly what you ask for. You need to come up with a general idea of what your budget is, then talk to a couple of different dealers. MotoTrbo is nice, but there are other digital systems that will have the same functionality. Also, don't rule out analog, it's still a viable technology.

I'd recommend calling the local radio shops, as others have suggested. Find at minimum a Motorola, Kenwood and Icom Commercial dealer. Get them to spec out a system and give you a quote.
 
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