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is low band dying off?

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Batman
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is low band dying off?

Postby Batman » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:39 am

seems the amount of new low band equipment coming to market (especially from moto) seems to have dropped like a rock from what it was even in the late 80's

just an observation that popped in my head this morning.

wanted to get the thoughts of the experts.
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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby AL7OC » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:21 am

Lots of rural LE and fire departments in western NYS and NW PA (where I used to live) have migrated to high band as metro departments have moved to UHF and trunked 700-800 MHz systems. You can't beat low band for base-mobile coverage without repeaters in rural areas. The downfall of lowland is pager and portable coverage, especially in buildings. My 33.70 MHz fire pager wouldn't activate inside the hospital just a few miles from the fire station. Also, my portable on 33.98 MHz wouldn't work worth beans with dispatch unless I stepped out of the vehicle. I would have to use an external antenna on the truck, but that means the antenna swap drill, which gets old. Helical lowland portable antennas are very inefficient, and a quarter wave whip is usually out of the question. PS users need portables and pagers, and lowland is too readily shielded by buildings and vehicles.

If you don't have to deal with steel or steel reinforced concrete structures, and run base-mobile operations (school buses, agriculture, rural utilities, forestry, etc...), low band is fine.

PL
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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby d119 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:19 am

I know the CHP has recently invested serious money in refurbishing it's low-band system.

Base radios and repeaters are now Midland with custom simulcast equipment.

Mobiles are now Kenwood TK-690 units with custom firmware integrated into the CHP CPVE system. Extenders have gone from VHF-Highband to 700MHz. Portable-to-Car is now P25, Car-to-Station and Car-to-Car is still analog.

I think Motorola's only involvement with the CHP these days is an XTL 2500 7/800 interop radio in the trunk of the car, also interfaced to the CPVE.

I digress.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby escomm » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:39 pm

Extenders have not gone to 700MHz statewide and there is a chance they won't be, they work like crap. The pilot is failing miserably. I understand Johnson had a recall on the entire fleet of radios sold to the state.

And as CHP found out the hard way, low band is not anywhere near dead. Missouri Highway Patrol still runs low band (5kW ERP lol)

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby Wes » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:32 pm

I know Missouri HP is pumping out some power. I can copy them on the mobile at times here in Northwest NC on 42.58 which is the same as one of the NCSHP frequencies. It is not skip. They are licensed for a 15KW ERP :-o
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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby Jim202 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:26 am

There is a great deal of activity still on the low band. It is starting to become slim picking on trying to locate new radios. Those that are still there, plan to stay there unless some slick Motorola sales force makes a play on the dumb management that don't know any better.

Motorola had dumped their entire line of low band except for the CDM. Then they see the light and went out and bought part of an off shore company just so they could stay in the market. The radio isn't much to crow about and still shows all the off shore design, poor documentation and poor construction. The software is about the same or slightly lower grade than Motorola's normal trash software.

Kenwood seems to be the top dog right now in the low band radio market. If there are other companies out there making decent low band radios that are public safety grade, they need to make a larger splash in the ad department to gain some recognition.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby W4KRR » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:14 am

The State of Florida has recently installed a statewide VHF low band repeater system for the Department of Transportation. I'm told it's a multicast type system. Each site uses a different output in the 47.xx MHz range, with a common input frequency in the 45.xx MHz range. Each of the seven districts has its own independant system. The radio equipment is Midland, but the older Maratrac mobiles have been reprogrammed to work with the new system. All new mobile radios will be Midland.

It seems to work well, but there isn't much traffic on it; people prefer to utilize their cell phones. They should have built this 30 years ago.
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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby k2hz » Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:07 am

Jim202 wrote: Those that are still there, plan to stay there unless some slick Motorola sales force makes a play on the dumb management that don't know any better.
Motorola had dumped their entire line of low band except for the CDM.
Kenwood seems to be the top dog right now in the low band radio market.


I think Motorola made a deliberate effort to kill low band.

Back in the late 90's when the FCC first proposed the narrow band conversion, Motorola contacted the management of my employer at the time with their distorted version of the FCC docket. Motorola said that the FCC was mandating all radios be narrow band and establishing narrow band channels on VHF and UHF and, since low band had no provision for narrow banding, Motorola claimed that low band could no longer be used and we needed to immediatley plan to migrate our low band operations to 800MHz trunked.

As a result of this and some other nonsense from the Motorola sales team we began to buy Kenwood. The Kenwood x30, and later x90, series also gave us the capability of a single control head for trucks that needed both low and UHF for rural and city district operations.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby MSS-Dave » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:02 am

W4KRR wrote:The State of Florida has recently installed a statewide VHF low band repeater system for the Department of Transportation. I'm told it's a multicast type system. Each site uses a different output in the 47.xx MHz range, with a common input frequency in the 45.xx MHz range. Each of the seven districts has its own independant system. The radio equipment is Midland, but the older Maratrac mobiles have been reprogrammed to work with the new system. All new mobile radios will be Midland.

It seems to work well, but there isn't much traffic on it; people prefer to utilize their cell phones. They should have built this 30 years ago.


I'll have to check this out. I thought FLDOT drank the SLERS kool-aid (800 MHz EDACS-ESK for the non-Floridians out there..) a few years ago. They were lo-band back in the day anyways, had worked on several of their base stations (GE Mastr II)

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby mancow » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:29 am

Missouri is looking to dump low band unfortunately. They are working on a Vhf / 700-800 hybrid trunking system of some sort but it's still in the very beginning stages.

I have an X9000 in my jeep and scan Missouri's frequencies with it. The clarity of audio and coverage with that system is just amazing.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby N4KVE » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:23 am

W4KRR wrote:The State of Florida has recently installed a statewide VHF low band repeater system for the Department of Transportation. I'm told it's a multicast type system. Each site uses a different output in the 47.xx MHz range, with a common input frequency in the 45.xx MHz range. Each of the seven districts has its own independant system. The radio equipment is Midland, but the older Maratrac mobiles have been reprogrammed to work with the new system. All new mobile radios will be Midland.

It seems to work well, but there isn't much traffic on it; people prefer to utilize their cell phones. They should have built this 30 years ago.
Florida has had a Statewide 50 MHZ system for decades. Back in '96 I was visiting a friend @ Quality Communications in Ft. Lauderdale, & they were installing new Midland 50 MHZ radios in State cars. I have often wondered if that system was hung out to dry when the Open Sky system came to be. The FHP troopers I speak to at work say the Open Sky system is poor compared to the Moto system it replaced. Thank you Jebb Bush. GARY N4KVE

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby W4KRR » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:09 am

N4KVE wrote:Florida has had a Statewide 50 MHZ system for decades. Back in '96 I was visiting a friend @ Quality Communications in Ft. Lauderdale, & they were installing new Midland 50 MHZ radios in State cars. I have often wondered if that system was hung out to dry when the Open Sky system came to be. The FHP troopers I speak to at work say the Open Sky system is poor compared to the Moto system it replaced. Thank you Jebb Bush. GARY N4KVE


Years ago, the FDOT used 47.14 and 47.26, simplex, no PL, statewide. Then they got new Maratrac radios with a seperate base and car to car channel for each district, still simplex, but each district had their own channel with PL. The FDOT stayed on low band even though the rest of the state agencies went to SLEERS. The exception was the FDOT Motor Carrier Compliance, which did move to SLEERS. As of July 1st, Motor Carrier Compliance is no longer a part of DOT, they are under FHP.
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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby RadioSouth » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:52 am

While we're talking FL, Motorola seemed to to an incredible job of convincing many towns/counties to abandon their VHF/UHF frequencies and go to 800. Lotsa smoke and mirrors in this push.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby RADIOMAN2002 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:22 am

When I tried to get some VHF Power/Utility channels I was told there were none available, but I could have as many Low Band as I wanted.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby mr.syntrx » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:19 pm

Similar story in .au with midband systems (66-88MHz.) Very little new equipment being sold, and existing users are moving to UHF or, less commonly, highband.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby d119 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:24 pm

escomm wrote:Extenders have not gone to 700MHz statewide and there is a chance they won't be, they work like crap. The pilot is failing miserably. I understand Johnson had a recall on the entire fleet of radios sold to the state.

And as CHP found out the hard way, low band is not anywhere near dead. Missouri Highway Patrol still runs low band (5kW ERP lol)


For being a pilot, I sure am hearing A LOT of digital extender traffic... But considering your source, I know your information is credible.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby N4DES » Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:44 pm

N4KVE wrote:
W4KRR wrote:The State of Florida has recently installed a statewide VHF low band repeater system for the Department of Transportation. I'm told it's a multicast type system. Each site uses a different output in the 47.xx MHz range, with a common input frequency in the 45.xx MHz range. Each of the seven districts has its own independant system. The radio equipment is Midland, but the older Maratrac mobiles have been reprogrammed to work with the new system. All new mobile radios will be Midland.

It seems to work well, but there isn't much traffic on it; people prefer to utilize their cell phones. They should have built this 30 years ago.
Florida has had a Statewide 50 MHZ system for decades. Back in '96 I was visiting a friend @ Quality Communications in Ft. Lauderdale, & they were installing new Midland 50 MHZ radios in State cars. I have often wondered if that system was hung out to dry when the Open Sky system came to be. The FHP troopers I speak to at work say the Open Sky system is poor compared to the Moto system it replaced. Thank you Jebb Bush. GARY N4KVE


SLERS is ProVoice and not OpenSky.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby N4KVE » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:14 pm

Well, you knew what I meant. The GE, Ericsson, whatever they're called today system. LOL. GARY N4KVE

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby KitN1MCC » Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:39 am

actually the Moto dealer here in CT still pushes LB also most of the FD here keep the LB channels they are great for Car to Base and Car to Car.

i work for the power company full time and we have a multi site LB system that rocks

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby RADIOMAN2002 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:21 am

Yes if it is CLP's, used to work on it years ago. Still don't know why Central Hudson dumped theirs.

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Re: is low band dying off?

Postby olderookie » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:27 am

escomm wrote:Extenders have not gone to 700MHz statewide and there is a chance they won't be, they work like crap. The pilot is failing miserably. I understand Johnson had a recall on the entire fleet of radios sold to the state.

And as CHP found out the hard way, low band is not anywhere near dead. Missouri Highway Patrol still runs low band (5kW ERP lol)



MSHP is going VHF trunked and stl louis metro ( and more ) is going to 700 trunked, so even though we are one of the last we are leaving lowband too.

MSHP changed all the HT to UHF in anticipation of the change too.


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