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Question about Radios

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  • Question about Radios

    Hi-
    I have a brief question. Long story short, I don?t know much about radios, but my county mandated a system which enforces the use of motorola APX 7000s or radios containing similar electronics inside. I would like to purchase my own, but I don?t have thousands of dollars to spend. I would to be able to listen real time to what?s going on, as I live a distance away from my station. I have tried using the online scanner, but it is about 2-3 minutes behind actually live communications. I have looked into scanners, but I don?t like messing with sqlch and all. Do y?all know if there is anyway to get an XTS 5000 or similarly priced radios to scan or transmit? And if so, do any of you know how to program them? Thanks for reading.

    P.S. I am not sure if they mandated the frequencies to confine to that, but I know all departments in the area have those APX 7000 radios because of some difficulty transmitting. Like I said, I don?t know much about radios.

    Carter Rowe
    FF Bucks County PA

  • #2
    If Radioreference.com is any indication, you've gone to a P25 system there. One thing about most P25 systems is that they don't page well, meaning that most municipalities making the switch maintain a conventional frequency for paging.

    It appears that may be case for you. The fire paging frequency for Bucks County is listed as 155.550 MHz. Whether that's a complete rebroadcast or just dispatch I don't know.

    A number of municipalities also have rebroadcast of their regional TRS talkgroup. You can look that up on Radioreference.com.

    Programming a Moto radio usually requires Moto software, which they protect pretty well. Your system runs in the 700 MHz band, for which there will not be a lot of radios available. Plus, your radio has to be "on the system" to transmit, which may be heavily regulated as well.

    That said, have you checked with your department leadership? They may have an easy answer for you.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Unless your county uses encryption, you can listen to a P25 system using a number of scanners. You can take the information off radioreradioreference to program the scanner. It's not trivial to get this to work and requires some level 2 geekdom to keep working.

      To talk on the system, you need a P25 radio that is properly programmed AND THE PERMISSION OF THE NETWORK OWNER. The radio doesn't have to be a Motorola, the beauty of P25 is that (with some limits) it is interoperable between manufacturers. But the reality is a radio shop won't spend hours on getting a third party radio to work on a particular system unless you buy 150 or 200 of them.
      Last edited by Too_Old; 05-03-2019, 11:25 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Outside of tree68's advise to talk with leadership, you can buy a cheap older used scanner and monitor 155.550 for less than $50. Programming the frequency will take about 10 seconds and the squelch knob is simple, just keep turning it until it quits making a bunch of noise then turn it just a tad farther. You can also spend some big bucks for a P25 capable scanner and figure out the programming, which can get pretty complicated for someone who isn't comfortable with a squelch knob (no offense).
        P25 compatible scanners: https://www.scannermaster.com/Digita...ners_s/708.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tbzep View Post
          Outside of tree68's advise to talk with leadership, you can buy a cheap older used scanner and monitor 155.550 for less than $50. Programming the frequency will take about 10 seconds and the squelch knob is simple, just keep turning it until it quits making a bunch of noise then turn it just a tad farther. You can also spend some big bucks for a P25 capable scanner and figure out the programming, which can get pretty complicated for someone who isn't comfortable with a squelch knob (no offense).
          P25 compatible scanners: https://www.scannermaster.com/Digita...ners_s/708.htm
          Thank you all for the advice.
          155.550 is the dispatch frequency, which is on the pagers. I was hoping to get something where I could listen to the chatter. I am familiar with the squelch knob, as I have been working with aviation radios my whole life, but I have no knowledge of the hardware that is needed. I have talked to my chief, mentioned the p25 system. Would an XTS 5000 with p25 and digital formatting work at all for at least scanning? I am not sure if listening or transmitting is the issue.

          The main two frequencies we operate on are 769.00625 which is an EMS-Tac Channel and 774.93125 which is the fire band. I don't need it to transmit because if I am working around the apparatus, I always have portables nearby. But as I live a distance away, I would like to know what is going on to determine if it is worth even going to a nonsense EMS or Fire Run that will end up being recalled by the time I even get close to the station.

          Once again thanks for your input everyone!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tree68 View Post
            If Radioreference.com is any indication, you've gone to a P25 system there. One thing about most P25 systems is that they don't page well, meaning that most municipalities making the switch maintain a conventional frequency for paging.

            It appears that may be case for you. The fire paging frequency for Bucks County is listed as 155.550 MHz. Whether that's a complete rebroadcast or just dispatch I don't know.

            A number of municipalities also have rebroadcast of their regional TRS talkgroup. You can look that up on Radioreference.com.

            Programming a Moto radio usually requires Moto software, which they protect pretty well. Your system runs in the 700 MHz band, for which there will not be a lot of radios available. Plus, your radio has to be "on the system" to transmit, which may be heavily regulated as well.

            That said, have you checked with your department leadership? They may have an easy answer for you.
            Thanks for the input!

            The paging frequency is 155.550. Like I stated above, I am looking to access chatter. Since I am not an officer, I really don't have a need to be transmitting. Some of the guys have scanners, but they feel cheap and I think I would break it. What I was hoping to do is get an XTS 7000 and program it to listen, but not transmit. The problem is that those APX 7000's are a fortune as you are probably aware. Right now I use the scanner app on my IPhone, but I have found that it is around 2 minutes delayed, which in all honesty is not what I am going for. Unfortunately, they rarely put recall messages on 155.550.

            https://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorola-XT....c100005.m1851

            something like this is what I was looking at.

            Once again,
            Thank you for your assistance with this matter!

            Comment


            • #7
              I found this post in regards to it
              https://newsroom.motorolasolutions.c...ons-system.htm

              Comment


              • #8
                Without knowing how your system is used, I'd suggest that you might not hear all of what you want to hear on the direct channels. Those are likely simplex, line-of-sight frequencies.

                Comms with dispatch, and otherwise on the system (the various talkgroups), will usually be in Phase II P25 trunked.
                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by carter.rowe View Post
                  Some of the guys have scanners, but they feel cheap and I think I would break it.
                  If you are wanting to carry it while on a run, you will probably break a police scanner at the first extrication or structure fire. I don't think any of the P25 capable scanners are water resistant assuming you don't bust the case or display. The handhelds I've laid hands on are pretty fragile to be used while working. Maybe you can catch some used P25 radios that are being replaced by one of those lucky depts that is always getting new stuff before their old stuff wears out.

                  Comment

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