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Who is buying your radio equipment?

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  • Who is buying your radio equipment?

    I asked the same question in the career fire department but was wondering now if the purchasing process of the volunteer fire departments really differs.

    Is it the fire chief that decides what kind of radio equipment they want to purchase or if it is the county that decides for them. I often see fire departments being forced purchasing an 800Mhz system but very often they seem to keep the VHF frequency for their dispatch (especially the pagers). Who makes the decisions at a volunteer FD? The fire chief or the county?

  • #2
    The answers will be about the same as you got in the other area. There are almost as many answers as fire departments. In general it will depend on how you are dispatched and who holds the FCC license for the radio system.

    In our case, the county dispatches for all of the fire and police in the county. Any radios on the system must be approved by the dispatch center and are therefore controlled by the county.

    Just for info, we use 800MHz radio system, but maintain a low-band repeater for use with the pagers. This is simple due to the fact that a 800MHz pager doesn't exist.

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    • #3
      Likewise, our county runs the radio system, although a few departments are bringing their own systems on line for tactical use and for crossband to the dispatch channel (handheld coverage sucks in many parts of the county).

      It makes little sense to set up your own local paging when the county provides county-wide service.

      A couple of counties south of us are now running trunked radio. Both maintain a conventional frequency (one VHF-Hi, one UHF) for paging purposes.

      In our case, we can buy any compatible equipment we want.

      P25 trunking requires the radios to be registered on the system, so even if you do go with a different vendor, you still have to get the administrator to put your radios on the system.
      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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      • #4
        The dispatch center here is a 2 county 911 center that is independant from the departments that they dispatch. Dispatch buys the pagers for everyone they dispatch because they only talk on 800 and page on a highband PATCH.

        Our fire department has a member who does the radios for Sheriff. He makes recamendations and the board of directors buys the radios when we have the money.

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        • #5
          I got the funding to put new radios in the stations, vehicles, handhelds, repeaters and pagers in every department within our mutual aid association.

          However I let our sheriff design the system to be compliant with the new narrowbanding requirments in 2013. We are going uhf 450 range. Staying away from the 800MHz.

          I was way too inexpereinced to influence the technical design.

          I'm just the boss of the project and bossed my way into letting others decide what I could have screwed up.

          So far am very pleased with what is transpiring.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tree68 View Post

            It makes little sense to set up your own local paging when the county provides county-wide service.
            Dover DE does it this way.... the 911 center dispatches to dover, who (re?)-dispatches to their members on their own system.

            I don't know why they decided to set it up this way, or if it has any problems, other than we (neighboring departments in the same county) do not hear their dispatches other than "dover transmitting alarm"

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