• 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.

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

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    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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Receiving A license & Cost

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nate1992

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First off if this is in the wrong section my apologize it looked like the most fitting!

I am looking into getting radios for my company in the near future as we expanded & start providing services in the county, My first thought was to try & use unlicensed radios from like radio shake, how ever after reading a little bit, it was unclear weather some radios need licencing or didn't & that the range on most the radios was sub-stander,

So here is my question! How hard is it to get a frequency licences say in a VHF or UHF frequency range & what am i looking at in cost just getting the licence ?

Also is there a deference between the licensing for say just two way communication & having a repeater ?

I have been around scanners a long time however im extremely new to even the thought of getting a frequency licence or setting up the radios so expect a lot of questions from me !!
 

LtDoc

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Lots of things to consider. In general, a 'free' radio, no licensing required, usually means shared use, sometimes quite a bit of 'company' on a frequency. But it tends to be 'cheaper'. A licensed service, depending on exactly what it is, can mean the frequency is "yours", or sort of private. Depending on the average terrain, if you can get your 'base' antenna high enough, you probably wouldn't need a repeater(s). Those repeaters do require separate licensing (depends on the service) so figure on the cost going up. And all of this depends on the frequency range, or band of use.
If you don't have some idea of all this stuff, I think your best bet would be to consult a commercial radio shop for what they offer or can offer. They will all be more expensive than 'Wal-mart' or 'Radio Shack', but the quality of radios, service and usability should reflect that price difference.
Not a very satisfying answer, but without a lot more information, that's about all you can expect.
- 'Doc

(You're also right in that this may not be the best forum for what you are looking for. Amateur radio is just exactly what the name implies, it isn't/can't be used commercially. Not to make a big deal out of it, just for clarification.)
 
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KC8TCQ

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Sounds like you would be looking for a low tier business band system, there are many options available, Motorola, Icom, Kenwood, and Vertex all make low tier commercial systems that will work on a repeater system. You will need to apply for a license from the FCC, and get your repeater coordinated. The radio shop you deal with in getting the equipment purchased through should be able to assist with the FCC paperwork if you are unfamiliar with it
 

nate1992

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Okay very useful information, i attend to keep looking into it & finding out what i can about it
 

nate1992

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I think im just going to try out the 2 ways & just keep communication = resources near by -- plus some nicer models of security codes 2 lock out radios that are not working with you.... will see how it goes though
 

nate1992

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Or maybe not this is still really up in the air i would really enjoy some more input on my questions
 

davidgcet

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how much range are you going to need? if more then say 10 miles, you will need a repeater. tower rent to have YOUR antenna/feedline/repeater on someone else's tower can easily run a few hundred a month. it may be cheaper to purchase radios and pay airtime to use them on the radio shops trunk system, at least that way you won't be stuck with the suprise cost of a few grand when lightning takes out the antenna and feedline! generally unless you own your own tower already and it will give the coverage required, with under 10 radios it is cheaper to rent airtime, over that and it may start making more sense to get your own license and pay tower rent. have the shop run the numbers both ways.

EDIT:

a business class license will run you aroudn 500.00 or so up front, plus the cost of radios/repeater/site hardware/etc.. the repeater will be a minimum of 2 grand, feedline costs about 6.00 a foot for 7/8", the tower antenna will run around a grand or higher(you can get "cheap" base antennas and your range WILL show it) for a good quality antenna. tower climber rates vary, but figure on paying at least a grand for them to hang it- maybe more. lastly is the radios themselves, they will cost about the same no matter what unless the shop requires you to use somethign like TRBO for their system, then the radios will be much higher.
 
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nate1992

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Ya im seeing this could be pretty pricey, i have emailed the local radio shop & im waiting to here back, overall starting out i shouldn't need many radios thats y i was considering using gsrm or frs radios but then that gets complicated too........ & as for the tower i think i am just going to put it on the roof & see how that dose at first

Still trying to figure out what exactly my budget is & if i will be able to get small loan
 
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davidgcet

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just putting it on teh roof won't get much more range that using straight radio to radio, unless your building is tall and/or on a high hill above the surrounding terrain. the antenna has be high enough above ground to clear obstacles, every tree/house/etc kills signal and you want to be over them for max range.

BTW, first contact via email is fine. but you will need to sit down with the sales guy face to face to make sure you BOTH understand what the other is saying.
 
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If you decide to go the route of renting commercial tower space, the tower owner will probably require you use a commercial installer to install the antenna, plus most operators also require an isolator/circulator on your repeater.

Bottom line installing and maintaining a repeater takes dollars to do it right; if not done correctly what's the point.
 

nate1992

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Well i was well aware that it wasn't going to be cheap in any way...

Okay,

Back to my earlier thought on using fsr radios i know that there range is very unpredictable but for short range communication like on scene radio traffic this would do fine more then likely right, & do they have like base fsr radios or just walke talkes ?

& my other thought is just to use CB along with the fsr radios for the longer communication ( yes i relies this wont be private, but i was planing on put our radio traffic on my site any way... )


& ON another note if all else falls theres still cell phones

Thanks for the help if any one else wants to leave some input please do!
 

wyomingmedic

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As others have pointed out, the $$$ aspect of licensing a frequency, purchasing radios, and getting a repeater or decent fixed (base) radio installed is very daunting. Easily runs several thousands of dollars.

Another option if you are in a semi populated area would be to contact the biggest radio shop around. Lots of them have repeaters already setup and licensed and you may be able to rent space on a system. Either analog or, in some higher end cases, a digital trunked system. Keep in mind, this won't be cheap either, but it may be cheaper than buying everything new.

As for the FRS radios and CB radios, the FRS MAY work on a small location. They are limited legally to 0.5 watts and must have a fixed and permanently attached antenna. This severely limits their range. I would not count on them for much. There is no such thing as a "base" FRS radio.

CB is a whole other ball of wax. Much lower frequency which requires a much larger antenna. The power is limited to 4 watts AM and 12 watts SSB. There are only 40 channels to choose from, so you may have difficulty finding an open channel when propagation is open. It may even be impossible to talk more than a mile or two during noisy times.

I guess my though is this. Not knowing what kind of business you are doing, it is a little hard to totally come up with a communications solution. But if you are attempting to use radios as a business tool, you really cant take the cheap way out. CBs and FRS are just cheap consumer grade toys that the FCC has limited in range so many folks can use them. You would spend more time fighting these radios than you would actually using them for work. Plus, as a business, you want to project a certain level of professionalism. Toy radios do not do that very well.

Good luck with whatever you choose,

WM
 

nate1992

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Okay i am going to provide more incite into the business to better help you guys help me!

The basic way to put it is "Personal Emergency Service"
Although there is more to the company then just this, the radios would be used for the following,

If in the event you be come stranded on the side of the road, snow has trapped you in your house & you need medication, stuff of that nature you could call us & we will come assist you,

The radios are need to keep track of units wile on runs, or moving through out the county i am looking into several options to do this but i find radios would be the easier thing to do if its worth the cost, but i would gladly use a cheaper alternative that could have the same effect of tacking my personal in the filed for safety or if they need assistance wile on a run ( basically same principle as fire police ems services )

So radios is what i figured would be a good solution to this but cost a crap load, so any more incite on the radio idea or if any one has any other ways of communication suitable for this, Im all ears ( cell phones, & computer/internet communication is considerable if particle )

Any ideas suggestions will be greatly appreciated !
 

wyomingmedic

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Hmmm, Having been in emergency services for the past 14 years, and radios for the past 15 years, let me give you my thoughts.

First and foremost, I would CERTAINLY make sure something like this is coordinated with local law enforcement and medical services. Calling it "personal emergency services" (or anything with the word EMERGENCY) will run afoul of many entities. Then you get into state issues of certification (emergency vehicle, taxi, tow truck, etc.). And should something go wrong (like little old lady calls you to come hook up her oxygen but it somehow gets messed up and she dies) where it is determined that you or one of your folks acted negligently, then your entire operations manual (You do have a manual right?) will be called into court. I have been a paramedic long enough to know the pitfalls of "helping". And since this would theoretically be a paid gig, then you are not so protected by Good Samaritan laws. I don't mention this to be a downer, but I want to make sure you have thought about the liability and you take steps to protect yourself.

As for the radios,You would certainly NOT want to rely on FRS or CB. As I wrote about earlier, they are not going to give you the range needed NOR the professional appearance you need.

What I would do if I were you = I would FIRST, get a UHF frequency pair licensed by the FCC. UHF offers better penetration into buildings and it is easier to get a frequency PAIR (2).

Once that was done, I would get on Ebay and find some used UHF mobile radios. Currently, Used Motorola Spectras are going for $200-300. Get the 110 watt version (make sure you are allowed to when you get your license). Get your local radio shop to program them with your frequencies, and install them into your vehicles.

Then get one and hook it up at home. Get the highest support you can and put the best antenna you can afford on top. Something like a 4 bay folded dipole or something.

Also find some used handhelds. They are usually very cheap.

Now, if you have your antenna up 30 or 40 feet, you SHOULD (this is speculation only, real world testing is going to let you know if it will work or not) be able to work the mobiles out 30ish miles. There will be places maybe 40 or 50 miles away where you can work them, but there may be places 2 miles away where you cannot. It will depend on many factors. You will also have a few mile range with the handhelds.

This will allow voice discussion with folks, but it will not do any tacking. If you wanted to track people or vehicles, you would need to purchase something like a Mototrbo system where the radios have built in GPS receivers and will actually update position based upon that. NOW we are talking THOUSAND AND THOUSANDS!!

I am wagering that with some creative purchasing and building things like antenna supports, and vehicle installs yourself, you could MAYBE do this project for $1000-1500. That would be a radio at "base", and maybe 2 mobiles. The rest would be in antennas and programming and coax and all of the other random things you need to make radios work. Plus the $500 for licensing fees.

I would personally shy away from the cell phone idea. While cell phones do have their place, they are not really built for this line of work. Too difficult to use under pressure and may in fact be illegal in your state to use while mobile.

But the starting of a business is never cheap. From wages, insurance (vehicle, liability, and employee), work comp, building, equipment, fuel, etc; it can add up in a hurry. However you are coming up with startup costs, just factor in a few thousand for radios and do the best you can. In the grand scheme of staring a business like this, a couple of thousand extra dollars is a very small amount I would imagine.

WM
 

nate1992

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AAA in put that is worth reading =D thank you

The liability issues will be handled accordingly, More then likely the actual act of doing something such as oxygen tanks will not be in the job description or services list, I am very aware of the legal side of things

Also i will be contacting local Fire, Police, EMS departments & it will be stated very clear that we are not a "Emergency Service Agency" the real name of the company is Buncombe County Emergency Notifier & the assistance part of the company is Buncombe County Emergency Notifier Assistance, Also any calls for assistance which we have a part in will require the singing of a liability waver, Also when caller makes contact it will be stated in the state of a life threating event to hang up & call 911

As we will not actual be responding to emergency ( Its more of a pro active thing trying to prevent an emergency or just helping out your neighborer type deal )
I only need to keep in touch with the units to know where there at, what they need, & what there doing,

I think i have found a solution to my problem via cellular data exchange ( internet provided by cell phone company )
It is cost effective & meets the needs, i planed on having laptops in vehicles any way

Also yes i will have a Manuel

Thank you for your in put & suggestion

& no starting a company is not cheap at all... but if you think it out & ask for help it can be a lot cheaper then it would be other wise right now im looking at about 6000 in start up cost so its not terribly bad

Thanks Again
 

W2NJS

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Wyoming Medic wrote:

"Currently, Used Motorola Spectras are going for $200-300. Get the 110 watt version (make sure you are allowed to when you get your license). Get your local radio shop to program them with your frequencies, and install them into your vehicles."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stay away from Spectras. They can't do narrowband, which you probably don't understand at this point, but by 2013 everyone's FCC Part 90 radios must be narrowband and Spectras can't do that. You're better off getting your advice from full time professional communications people rather than trying the "curbstone engineering" approach as is too often practiced on this and similar Boards. Get together with some pros, in person, tell them what you want and need to do, set a budget, blah, blah, blah, just like any other business proposition.
 

grem467

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Its not just the 2013 deadline to worry about. As of 1/1/11, you can no longer license a new 25khz channel, so any new system would need narrowband compatable radios.
 

nate1992

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Thanks for your input but i have already decided not to go the radio route & change to internet communications, cheaper & better serves the use
 

RKG

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Wyoming Medic wrote:

"Currently, Used Motorola Spectras are going for $200-300. Get the 110 watt version (make sure you are allowed to when you get your license). Get your local radio shop to program them with your frequencies, and install them into your vehicles."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stay away from Spectras. They can't do narrowband, which you probably don't understand at this point, but by 2013 everyone's FCC Part 90 radios must be narrowband and Spectras can't do that. You're better off getting your advice from full time professional communications people rather than trying the "curbstone engineering" approach as is too often practiced on this and similar Boards. Get together with some pros, in person, tell them what you want and need to do, set a budget, blah, blah, blah, just like any other business proposition.
I wouldn't buy a bunch of Spectra for a new fleet for two reasons: (a) they won't do the narrowbanding, which is mandatory for operations as of 1/1/2013 and mandatory for new licensing right now; and (b) Spectras have an age clock on capacitors, and when they begin leaking you either need repairs (can be pricey) or the radios become unrepairable (where capacitor leakage ruins other parts of a board).
 

nate1992

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I think i have found a solution to my problem via cellular data exchange ( internet provided by cell phone company )
It is cost effective & meets the needs, i planed on having laptops in vehicles any way

As stated above i am not going to use radios now
Thanks for the help
 
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