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Can anyone donate a VHF Repeater?

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  • Can anyone donate a VHF Repeater?

    I have recently joined a neighboring rural fire department that is in desperate need of it's own VHF Repeater and 60 foot tower. I'm graciously and humbly asking if any fire departments have a older VHF repeater or tower that they could donate to help this fire department out.
    Their present radio system is a county wide system that is poorly designed for the area and 20 years old. Their fire district is in a mountainous area of the county and the county tower was originally designed for the flat area of the county before this fire department was started. 60% of their fire district get only static or zero radio reception. They cover 52 square miles in western Arkansas with a population of 659. They run over 100 calls per year. Many of the cars are MVA's as they have a major state Hwy 71 going through their district. Their annual budget is only about $9,700 to operate 2 fire stations and 25 firefighters. Right now the chief is texting the firefighters to try and get the calls to all the firefighters. They have had fund raisers to raise the money for the FCC Lic. and have applied for it.
    The county is also very poor and doesn't not have a budget for this purpose. The county dispatch will be happy to work with them on the dispatch side if the fire department can find a repeater.
    I know many fire departments around the country are switching to digital or 700/800 MHz systems. If anyone has or knows of a fire department that has old VHF radios and or a repeater they would like to donate please contact me so We can get this fire department help it needs. PLEASE HELP>
    Last edited by volfireman034; 04-06-2014, 07:19 PM. Reason: Added information

  • #2
    Your biggest challenge is the recent changeover to narrowband for VHF. Repeaters tend to be long-term items, so a high band operation probably won't be giving up anything you can use.

    Running a repeater is going to require another frequency, at least. You can't just repeat the frequency used by the rest of the county one-for-one. The input and output frequencies need to be different, and a certain distance apart as well.

    Your best bet to solve the problem is to involve a local radio vendor. It may be possible to use a feed frequency from the other repeater to repeat the county broadcasts, then talk back on that new frequency to get back to dispatch.

    Or you might be able to effectively "cross-band," using a completely separate new channel for the remote department's comms, even though you're still on VHF-Hi.

    You may be able to get by with a couple of "mobiles" with the appropriate coupling device.

    But your local vendor(s) is the best bet.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #3
      We have talked to a few venders are there are some options but the same problem is that they don't have the fund for new equipment. As last week they only had $1,200 in the bank hence the asking for donated equipment. They are in the process of getting there FCC lic for their own freq.

      Comment


      • #4
        Once they get a frequency, perhaps a vendor will lay out a blueprint for such a repeater and they'll have a more specific shopping list.
        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

        Comment


        • #5
          A lot will depend on the frequency spread. More than 5 meg split means a much cheaper duplexer than less than 5 (or even 3). They should specify on their license app that then need that bigger split.

          That can mean the difference between a 2000 dollar duplexer and a 150 dollar duplexer.

          Is there not a tower locally they can hang their antenna? Are they near White Oak Mountain? A 60 foot tower is not much for a repeater, height is EVERYTHING, much more important than power.

          PM me with some more specifics. I will provide a repeater, duplexer, antenna and hardline, provided the licensing is done properly, and you let me find you a tower site. Free.

          Did I mention free?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
            A lot will depend on the frequency spread. More than 5 meg split means a much cheaper duplexer than less than 5 (or even 3). They should specify on their license app that then need that bigger split.

            That can mean the difference between a 2000 dollar duplexer and a 150 dollar duplexer.

            Is there not a tower locally they can hang their antenna? Are they near White Oak Mountain? A 60 foot tower is not much for a repeater, height is EVERYTHING, much more important than power.

            PM me with some more specifics. I will provide a repeater, duplexer, antenna and hardline, provided the licensing is done properly, and you let me find you a tower site. Free.

            Did I mention free?
            Vols' FD should jump on that like a dog on a porterhouse!
            ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
            Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

            Comment


            • #7
              I will get with the fire chief tomorrow and get all the information you need. Thank you so much

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              • #8
                It is called really good timing. I am clearing out my office and shop. Better to see stuff go into use then storage.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Are you still looking for some radios ? Our department has switched to new digital radio system and so we have some VHF mobile radios and handhelds available. These all support narrow band. We have (all Motorola) for Mobile radios 4 CDM1250 , 5 CDM1550LA. For handhelds (Motorola) 3 HT1250 , 6 MT1000 (in a gang charger) , 2 HT1000 , Quarter gain truck antennas, and misc other speakers and mounts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Firefighter0315f View Post
                    Are you still looking for some radios ? Our department has switched to new digital radio system and so we have some VHF mobile radios and handhelds available. These all support narrow band. We have (all Motorola) for Mobile radios 4 CDM1250 , 5 CDM1550LA. For handhelds (Motorola) 3 HT1250 , 6 MT1000 (in a gang charger) , 2 HT1000 , Quarter gain truck antennas, and misc other speakers and mounts.
                    Prices you are looking for for these radios. I always have people looking for radios.
                    Crazy, but that's how it goes
                    Millions of people living as foes
                    Maybe it's not too late
                    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For the dispatching, don't use the radio. Use cell phones. I like Active 9-1-1, but our dispatchers don't use computer aided dispatching, and didn't want to learn to use Active 9-1-1, so we had to switch to something else. Now we have SafAlert as a tone-based system. Dispatchers set off radio tone and announce the call like they normally would. The tone and the message are sent to everyone's cell phone as a text message alert with the audio of the radio. Not very expensive, and almost everyone keeps their cell phone with them all the time.

                      We were paging using the radio, and sometimes only three or four members would hear the tone out. Now everyone is getting every dispatch, and it has made a difference in attendance.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Our CAD sends out texts (along with faxes), so we don't have a problem with that.

                        The faxes we get for a big event after it's over can run to several pages, though...
                        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WVFD705 View Post
                          For the dispatching, don't use the radio. Use cell phones. I like Active 9-1-1, but our dispatchers don't use computer aided dispatching, and didn't want to learn to use Active 9-1-1, so we had to switch to something else. Now we have SafAlert as a tone-based system. Dispatchers set off radio tone and announce the call like they normally would. The tone and the message are sent to everyone's cell phone as a text message alert with the audio of the radio. Not very expensive, and almost everyone keeps their cell phone with them all the time.

                          We were paging using the radio, and sometimes only three or four members would hear the tone out. Now everyone is getting every dispatch, and it has made a difference in attendance.
                          I'd be surprised if any cell carrier would "allow" this as a primary means of emergency notification. Most in our area (big ones) will not guarantee coverage or the time to send messages, thereby making it unreliable enough to not meet communications standards? We use Iamresponding as a peripheral to radio based dispatching but are constantly being warned that it cannot serve as the primary means of emergency notification.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WVFD705 View Post
                            For the dispatching, don't use the radio. Use cell phones. I like Active 9-1-1, but our dispatchers don't use computer aided dispatching, and didn't want to learn to use Active 9-1-1, so we had to switch to something else. Now we have SafAlert as a tone-based system. Dispatchers set off radio tone and announce the call like they normally would. The tone and the message are sent to everyone's cell phone as a text message alert with the audio of the radio. Not very expensive, and almost everyone keeps their cell phone with them all the time.

                            We were paging using the radio, and sometimes only three or four members would hear the tone out. Now everyone is getting every dispatch, and it has made a difference in attendance.
                            There is not a chance that I would use cell phone dispatching in my area. Depending on the carrier, you can be standing right next to each other and one person has service and another doesn't. As previously stated just not reliable enough and if the system is busy your message may be delayed. Honestly I would like to see what either NFPA or ISO would have to say about using cell phones as your primary alerting system.
                            Crazy, but that's how it goes
                            Millions of people living as foes
                            Maybe it's not too late
                            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When the various cell-based dispatch programs first started showing up here, our county communications supervisor made it very plain that they could not guarantee that service. For one, it runs through the county's email server. Server down for maintenance at oh-dark-thirty? Sorry!

                              That said, it's the rare occasion that we don't get the texts in close proximity to the radio tone pages. A lot depends on how the info is entered in the CAD, how much info has to be entered, and who is keying it in. Every now and then, the text actually beats the tones.

                              Still, it's usually on our phones and the fax machine by the time the first folks get to the station. As EastKYFF points out, it's nice to be able to look at your phone enroute and verify the address and other info.

                              Since the county maintains the station alerting (house sirens), which is also done on the paging frequency, it would make no sense to discard personal pagers even if one had complete faith in the cell-based solutions...
                              Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                              Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                              Comment

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