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Motorola vs Kenwood repeater

This forum is for discussions regarding System Infrastructure and Related Equipment. This includes but is not limited to repeaters, base stations, consoles, voters, Voice over IP, system design and implementation, and other related topics.

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Ett1033
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2001 4:00 pm

Motorola vs Kenwood repeater

Postby Ett1033 » Wed Aug 13, 2003 6:07 pm

We are in the process of constructing a repeater system to service 5 fire depts. The person who engineered the system is very well known (extremely reputable) in the radio world and maintains radio systems worldwide. When we held meetings prior to the engineering, we told him where we needed to be on cost. Spliting the cost 5 ways is a great benefit to begin with... Anyway, when he designed the system, he came up with a Kenwood heavy continuous duty repeater system. He said we could also go Motorola, it did not matter to him, as he uses both. We are utilizing a water tower for our antennas and we are in the process of securing FCC licenses accordingly. We will have outstanding elevation in the area we will cover. Our engineer says we will most likely be able to obtain a 110 Watt 200 ERP on our transmitter. The area dispatch centers will be connected to this VHF high repeater through a UHF radio link. This will allow the system to be completely wireless. It will also allow our dispatch centers to have override when an open mic occurs.--So far so good. I have no problem with any of this. We do, however, have a person involved in this project who does not think Kenwood will do the job. I need honest opinions on this with facts to back it up. The Kenwood system will be less expensive by several thousand dollars I was told. Cost is a factor, but overseeing this project, I don't want an "I told you so". So with all said and done, lets hear your opinions...

Susan157
Posts: 962
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2002 5:15 pm

We have seen my Kenwood Repeaters A-OK

Postby Susan157 » Wed Aug 13, 2003 6:16 pm

:wink:

Kenwood has some Good Repeaters.
Motorola Is Getting More And More
Costly All The Time.

If You Want To Control Costs Then
Look At KenWood.It Is Still Wise To
Get More Than One Cost For The Repeater.
A Few Dealers Get Heavy With Prices.
You Can Go OnLine To Compare.

2wayguy
Batboard $upporter
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2001 4:00 pm

repeaters

Postby 2wayguy » Wed Aug 13, 2003 6:42 pm

Not that many people on here will want to hear it,, but the Kenwoods I have used/seen in the past have a better receiver than the Motorolas or anything else that they were compared against. I would not be afraid to use the Kenwood.

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phrawg
Posts: 690
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 4:00 pm

Postby phrawg » Wed Aug 13, 2003 7:11 pm

The Kenwood repeaters are very solid machines. I personally
put a vhf one in on 2 meters almost 11 years ago in amateur service for
Skywarn and RACES and in that time it has needed one time in the shop
to replace a final transistor. Considering the amount of ham activity
in the Houston area, that would say good record to me. The /\/\ may take a few more drops to the pavement but I dont think that is the kind of service a repeater is going to be subjected to. In fact most repeaters are really babied in their air conditioned rooms and never touched.

Just my 3.14 cents worth. Phrawg
BBbzzzzz... ZAP.. GULP !!! ahhhh GOOD fly !

Crimestopper
Posts: 267
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2002 10:41 pm

Postby Crimestopper » Wed Aug 13, 2003 7:16 pm

when it comes to contious duty, I also found TAIT, and GE to run very well. Ask your guy about Tait repeater as well as GE Master III. I would feel safe to say that my taits are running well and have been for over 4 years and a LTR and Conventional sytem...PM if you want more info..

Stay Fresh
Crimestopper

dirtrat
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 7:24 pm

Re: Motorola vs Kenwood repeater

Postby dirtrat » Wed Aug 13, 2003 7:30 pm

One thing that noboby here has mentioned that will be critical when you decide to buy a repeater is to determine how long it will take to get it repaired. If your local service center is unable to do the repair and has to send it in, Motorola will be much faster that Kenwood in repair turnaround. Kenwood isn't exactly speedy when it comes to radio repairs compared to Motorola. What are you looking at for Motorola, MTR-2000 and Quantar?


Ett1033 wrote:We are in the process of constructing a repeater system to service 5 fire depts. The person who engineered the system is very well known (extremely reputable) in the radio world and maintains radio systems worldwide. When we held meetings prior to the engineering, we told him where we needed to be on cost. Spliting the cost 5 ways is a great benefit to begin with... Anyway, when he designed the system, he came up with a Kenwood heavy continuous duty repeater system. He said we could also go Motorola, it did not matter to him, as he uses both. We are utilizing a water tower for our antennas and we are in the process of securing FCC licenses accordingly. We will have outstanding elevation in the area we will cover. Our engineer says we will most likely be able to obtain a 110 Watt 200 ERP on our transmitter. The area dispatch centers will be connected to this VHF high repeater through a UHF radio link. This will allow the system to be completely wireless. It will also allow our dispatch centers to have override when an open mic occurs.--So far so good. I have no problem with any of this. We do, however, have a person involved in this project who does not think Kenwood will do the job. I need honest opinions on this with facts to back it up. The Kenwood system will be less expensive by several thousand dollars I was told. Cost is a factor, but overseeing this project, I don't want an "I told you so". So with all said and done, lets hear your opinions...

Al
Posts: 1045
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2001 4:00 pm

Postby Al » Wed Aug 13, 2003 7:36 pm

Since your repeater system is going to service five fire departments, don't forget to look beyond initial cost as a factor, i.e. how quickly and readily available is service and parts for the manufacturer that you choose if you're not going to maintain it and sufficient spares to insure minimal downtime. With the number of FDs using it, you really are "putting lots of eggs in one basket" so to speak.

ASTROMODAT
Posts: 1794
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2002 12:32 am

Postby ASTROMODAT » Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:42 pm

If it's for Ham use, then I'd agree that there are some good rice rockets out there. When lives are at stake, go Motorola. For instance, how many Kenwood repeaters have you seen with mechanical filters, and decent preselectors, etc? Also, with M, you have a 100% integrated solution, end-to-end. For instance, when you order a Motorola repeater, you can option it for a tripple circulator, an isolator, duplexer, etc. all tuned, all guaranteed vs/ a big bunch of add-on parts.

Larry

Susan157
Posts: 962
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2002 5:15 pm

Spare Repeater "Yes"

Postby Susan157 » Thu Aug 14, 2003 3:26 am

:wink:

We see a number of groups pooling their
( OUR) money together and the majority
will look at a cheaper system but with a
Programmable backup repeater.This will cover
in an emergency."Plan For The Worst
-Hope For The Best"What happened to
Plan " B "

Susan157

From The Great White North
(Canada I Mean)

Ett1033
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2001 4:00 pm

Postby Ett1033 » Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:03 am

CLARIFICATION -

This system will have back-ups. The engineer and radio supplier has reserve radios ready incase of emergency. Since all of the dispatch centers will be switching to the UHF link, they will be able to maintain the current VHF simplex system. If the repeater (which will have battery back-up) goes down, then a series of tones will be put out on simplex advising all depts to switch to the non-repeater channel. He also has said that the majority of problems encountered these days are with the Motorola systems. He mentioned that it did not used to be this way. The Kenwood repeaters have given him little to no trouble, and they are being used at several public safety agencies in our vicinity.

Susan157
Posts: 962
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2002 5:15 pm

Motorola Radio Supplies"???"

Postby Susan157 » Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:27 am

:wink:

Yes we agree that kenwood is Looking
Better All The Time.

As Far As Suppliers With Back Ups
WELL PUT IT IN Writting.Put In
Writing about how long to get the back up working.
Put In Writing a penalty clause if the equipment is not
there.What is said and what you have in an emergency is
not always the same.
We learned this the hard way.
With nothing in writing then "So Be It".

We have back-ups without the suppliers help.

"The Pen Is Mighter Than The Sword"

RKG
Posts: 2629
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2001 4:00 pm

Postby RKG » Thu Aug 14, 2003 5:38 am

I am generally of the "Go M for Public Safety" school. That said, I've inherited a system that has a couple of older Kenwood (TK720) VHF repeaters and I have to say they have been solid performers. About 8 years of continuous service without a glitch. Clear audio and superb tone response (using DPL), without a hint of falsing. These are 50W machines, and I have no experience with newer Kenwood products.

At the same time, since the machines have worked so well, I have very little experience with Kenwood repair facilities, and it is certainly true that with M equipment and some spare components, repair (if needed) on an MTR or Quantar is likely to be quicker.

ASTROMODAT
Posts: 1794
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2002 12:32 am

Postby ASTROMODAT » Thu Aug 14, 2003 9:06 am

If its legacy analog FM that you are dealing with, that's one thing. I believe that Motorola will eventually let this part of the market fade away to the off-shore folks, as technology will soon overtake FM. Let those folks fight it out to the last marginal penny. ICOM vs/ Kenwwod vs/ Yaesu vs/ Radio Shack, et al...If it's P25---there's only ONE answer: Mother M! And, she's laughing all the way to the bank! I'sd sure like to hire that Motorola ASTRO Marketing guy, if he knew something about helicopters!

Larry

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RidgeRunner
Posts: 256
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 4:00 pm

Put a sock in it

Postby RidgeRunner » Thu Aug 14, 2003 5:19 pm

With all of the squabbling aside I can say in terms of repair turnaround I think dirtrat is all "potted up" you can get a turn around on Kenwood gear in less than to just over a week, in most cases if its mission critical most good Kenwood shops have back up units to get people by in pinches. These repeaters just keep running and running.

I will go as far to say that you could purchase a Motorola repeater and it will work great and will probably give you service that is equal to a Kenwood. Though for several thousand dollars difference I would go for Kenwood...and yes yes lets all pull out the saying lives depend on this...well last I checked I have serviced GE, and /\/\ that $hit the bed in situations that "lives depended on it"

All I am trying to say is see the past the rhetoric and look at what counts, don’t fall for the stories about "lives depend on it" "rice rockets" "they suck" and my favorite "its all we've used" I truly think in terms of service and if it fails who quickly you can go back on the air then Kenwood is your choice.

ASTROMODAT
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Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2002 12:32 am

Postby ASTROMODAT » Thu Aug 14, 2003 6:38 pm

I agree with dirtrat and many others that kenwood has very long turn around times for its often needed service. In the rare event you ever need to have your Motorola repeater serviced, Motorola is fast, especially if you have their Expedite Service. Quantar has FRUs, so if you stock spares, you're never down! I had a Micor repeater in continuous service on top of a very cold, snowey mountaintop since March, 1981, and it never needed service. We recently replaced it with a Quantar for P25 contracts, otherwise that old Micor would still be chuggin' away! Hate to do it, but I must finally sell it as we have no more use for FM only gear.

Larry

dirtrat
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 7:24 pm

Re: Put a sock in it

Postby dirtrat » Thu Aug 14, 2003 8:53 pm

Uhh, OK! I manage a wireless shop and we are an authorized Kenwood and Motorola sales and service center. We sell AND repair lots of both brands but I KNOW FOR A FACT that the Motorola repairs come back MUCH quicker than the Kenwood repairs. We send several of each brand in for flat-rate every week so I DO know that for our shop that the Motorola radios come back repaired much quicker. Kenwood doesn't even have a flat rate repair option and I must tell you I have some radios that have been there for 3 weeks now. I've actually sent in Radios to Motorola before on a Monday and had them back in my shop repaired by thursday. Sometimes I'm shocked by how fast they come back. Now WHO do you think is the one all "Potted Up" as you say Ridgerunner! Why don't you tell us about your REAL WORLD recent experiences with BOTH Motorla and the Kenwood repair facilities if you have any?


RidgeRunner wrote:With all of the squabbling aside I can say in terms of repair turnaround I think dirtrat is all "potted up" you can get a turn around on Kenwood gear in less than to just over a week, in most cases if its mission critical most good Kenwood shops have back up units to get people by in pinches. These repeaters just keep running and running.

I will go as far to say that you could purchase a Motorola repeater and it will work great and will probably give you service that is equal to a Kenwood. Though for several thousand dollars difference I would go for Kenwood...and yes yes lets all pull out the saying lives depend on this...well last I checked I have serviced GE, and /\/\ that $hit the bed in situations that "lives depended on it"

All I am trying to say is see the past the rhetoric and look at what counts, don’t fall for the stories about "lives depend on it" "rice rockets" "they suck" and my favorite "its all we've used" I truly think in terms of service and if it fails who quickly you can go back on the air then Kenwood is your choice.

/\/\y 2 cents
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re:

Postby /\/\y 2 cents » Fri Aug 15, 2003 6:10 am

I also have sold hundreds of kenwoods, and serviced hundred of kenwoods. The Kenwood factory is nowhere near as fast or as responsive as the Motorola depot. The 90 series portable is just barely acceptable in my opinion for fire service, and I sold around 125 of these to a fire dept in florida, they hate them, and not because they are kenwood. The TKR-720 repeater is not continous duty @ 50W I believe so whomever is selling those to you for fire or public safety use is truly either ill informed, or not as much as an expert as they claim to be. Now, you must also look at alterior motives, that shop might be in bad financial standing with motorola and therefore cannot get product like they advertise and then tell you about kenwood and the better 2 yr warranty spiel (trust me I worked for a kenwood shop in south florida that lost their moto dealership standing and still used the "autherized dealer" logo to lure people in and then try to convince them to go kenwood.). also there are incentives from the manufaturers that give them rebates at the end of the quarter etc. In my opinion if you do go kenwood, ask for the "Kenwood Systems" dept. of the 2 way branch. These are the mission critical designed repeater systems that are custom configured. If you choose not to go kenwood, I would strongly suggest a Quantar with no options that is digital upgradable. I would also suggest XTS3000 Model I portables with no options except the coventional operation option.Do Not go with HT series radios, they are a little less quality than the 90 series portables. A setup like this would serve your population and depts. well, and in 10 years or so you wont have to throw everything away to get P25 compliance, which means that if you do the math, the kenwood system may cost you more in the long run because you would be buying 2 systems instead of using one migration path. If your system was for business, transit or a taxi company I'd say kenwood would be a fine choice, but Motorola has been doing what they do in the public safety arena for a long time. Another thing to consider is audio. from my experience, for fireground and in truck operations loud audio is going to be needed. Other than old GE equipment and the like, no other radio can match the robust audio of those moto speakers. everthing else sounds flat, tinny, and just can't go loud enough, and your guys can't afford to miss calls or commands, its life or death sometimes. I would encourage you to email me with any questions or use me (or many of these guys on the board) as second opinions....Some are biased because of thier moto fetishes, others will give you the striaght up based on your application and working enviornment. You can usually tell the difference based on their reasoning. Anyways, good luck with your project and stay informed, dirty salesmen like the company I used to work for wanted me to be are abound. Be informed, its the best thing you can do, it scares these guys when you know more than they do, and its really not all that hard to learn.
Steve
mailto:CriticalRF@yahoo.com

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RidgeRunner
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heh heh

Postby RidgeRunner » Fri Aug 15, 2003 7:05 am

I will PM you ditirat, this fellow just wants to know what to buy a pissing contest isnt helping him. I will say that in my "real world experience" our repair facility which is not the kenwood HQ has an excellent turnaround.

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Big Towers
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Postby Big Towers » Fri Aug 15, 2003 1:31 pm

Everybody seems to be dancing around an issue that is very germain to Public Safety folks in this day and age. Several even mentioned it, but didn't go far enough.

How long before your State, Local, Homeland folks decide to go P25. What is your real world expected time of use of your existing system. Will you ever need to upgrade to a digital system? Will you ever need to do anything that can be upgraded easily on one brand while not on the other. The electrons may flow through both boxes equally well and even for equal decades, but will your organizations thinking remain constant over that same period.

This may make your choices a little more easy, or difficult, depending on the answers.

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wavetar
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Postby wavetar » Fri Aug 15, 2003 1:50 pm

I have zero experience with Kenwood repeaters, but I can vouch for the MTR2000 & Quantar repeaters. We deal with a lot of the MTR's, and have only ever had to get 1 repaired. No Quantar repairs at all yet, although we deal with less of them. I wouldn't think twice about installing either one of them, for any purpose.

As far as the P-25 question, let's say it takes your area 10 years to go digital. What are the odds Motorola will easily (& cheaply) upgrade your 10-year old Quantar (don't forget, by then the Quantar platform will be 20 years old)? Past history shows they will be mainly interested in selling you their latest & greatest product. They may even go so far as to lie (well, at least "withold information") to your face & say it can no longer be done. Especially since IMBE will likely have gone to AMBE or beyond by then. It's a crap-shoot at best.

Todd
No trees were harmed in the posting of this message...however an extraordinarily large number of electrons were horribly inconvenienced.

Welcome to the /\/\achine.

Ett1033
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Postby Ett1033 » Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:18 pm

The reason we don't go P25 is compatibility. We work closely with many other fire depts. Several of these are part-time, low budget depts. For them to do a complete change over is currently impossible. Since we do frequent auto-aid and mutual aid, this would require us to carry 2 types of radio equipment. Besides, we have no problems with our current VHF radio system. We are adding the repeater to simply enhance the system. The overall cost is set to be approx 30 grand split 5 ways. This will allow us greater pager range as well as the ability to talk portable to portable over a longer distance. A few depts not too far away have spent thousands to change over. And for what, they have the same coverage and they still carry VHF equipment to communicate with the rest of the fire depts. At this point, with tight budgets, it does not make sense.

I originated this post, and so far with the exception of service issues, It sounds as though Kenwood has an acceptable repeater product. The service delay does not worry me so much. All of the depts are going to maintain the current simplex operation. As I stated before, we have no major problems with this, and have operated for years and years on it. If the repeater went down for a couple of weeks, we could simply switch. Our engineer is very well known in the industry, and I have great confidence. According to the posts thus far, nobody has complained of continuous failure of the Kenwoods. I like both manufacturers for our application. I currently use Motorola for portables and I have been happy with my Kenwood TK-790 H's in my vehicles. The Kenwood puts out a nice high power mobile for significantly less, and it does the job just fine. I do have MDC aftermarket chips installed, and they work fine also. So keep the posts and opinions coming, the more info the better...
Thanks.

Nand
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2001 4:00 pm

Just my opinion or point of view.

Postby Nand » Mon Aug 18, 2003 4:54 pm

I am all for free trade, but also in even trade. What happened to “Buy American”?
I realize that Motorola manufactures products all over the world, but buying Kenwood doesn’t let you keep any money at home. Dollar wise, Japan sells 50 percent more to the US than it buys from the US and the product they buy are mostly raw materials. Do they still make TV’s in the US? In Canada we don’t any longer along with many other products.
No wonder there is not enough money in the budget to buy at home.

Nand.

/\/\y 2 cents
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Postby /\/\y 2 cents » Thu Aug 21, 2003 11:03 am

Yo NanD, I believe I brought up the point of future upgradability and having to scrap a whole system rather than being able to upgrade it for a fraction of the cost. Gotta give a young guy some props man. It is a huge point and is probably the most important point since APCO25 has been ratified and the homeland security freaks and those of the like are fairly agressive these days in getting many if not all on board (even if they don't need it). I am not saying Kenwood won't make a P25 product in the future, its just you can bet your bottom dollar the stuff you will be purchasing now won't be upgradable because they are only in their first generation of the product as compared to motorola is in their 2nd. It sounds to me like you need a really good bean counter to iron out all of the numbers for you....When you look at the long term picture the cheaper system now could prove to be ALOT more of an expensive of a decision in the future.

Steve

P.S.: I dont even like P25, I think it is a dumb idea due to the reason that even though there is a digital CAI, No one frequency band is correct for all areas and terrains...(imagine 800Mhz in the middle of nowhere in idaho w/ a pop of 1,000 people, dosent make sense and wouldn't work very well unless you spents gad's of $ to put towers up everywhere) You tell me when you saw a VHF, UHF, and 800Mhz Xts3000's all talking to each other.....THEY CAN'T! They still haven't solved the issue and in my opinion P25 is half-a** solution. Forget everybody on 700Mhz too...just as dumb as 800Mhz. We've got to take it to a higher plateau than the radio wave. I guess I can't change the world though...or maybe I can:)...I guess I gotta remember "when in Rome do as the Romans do." or even better, "When in the FCC, do as motorola suggest's"


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