Communicating with personell & crews?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BobR, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    Am considering the purchase of "Business Band Radio's" for communication between crews and workers in the field.
    Does any one have personal experience with these radios?
    My personal likes from the manufacturer's write up are - instant communication, adjustable power (watts), overnight recharge capability and manufactured to 'mil spec'.
    I realize that an FCC license is needed before using these radios and see no problem with acquiring it.

    Thanks for the opinions in advance...

  2. ztoro

    ztoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 735

    whats the cost? how many do you need?

    Why not a 4-5 phone plan from verizon... if you are IN you will have no unlinited talk time...
  3. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    Radios start at $160 (base) to $225 (full featured), they are the Motorola XTN series. Considering two to start, additional units can be incorporated at any time.

    Cell Phones are not an option -- IMHO junk, will keep one (cell) for myself but helpers get radios.
  4. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    bob r--you will need to have a repeater service for those radios or else your range will be so limited as to not be useful.

    your best bet IMHO is something like nextel. if it wasn't the way to go, it wouldn't be taking over. good luck.

  5. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    NEXTEL was my first thought - $40 for a base plan + misc charges per month for each unit in less that 5 months a radio would be paid for.. Had not thought about the 'repeater' as all of my accounts are local but if problems arise it is a consideration.

    Geo - have you any experience with business radio?
  6. ztoro

    ztoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 735

    Whats nextels coverage like now?

    I remember when I looked at nextel the coverage sucked... to many bare spots...
    Who id they merge wih? is the coverage any better now?
  7. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    BOB--NO experience with this particular radio assigned to the business band specified except for some sportsman radios given when I bought a set of tires.

    BUT I just checked it more closely and these are the type radios that are sold at radio shack and other dealers for people that need close communications. under perfect conditions, 5-6 miles max they are non-repeatable. they are low power 2 watt and low channel, 1-6 channels. a good application for these radios would be in a warehouse or perhaps a golf course. I just don't think these radios are going to work for you while you are out working a mowing route.

    I am very experienced with hand held/moble radios that are used in public service. I own several and use them every day. each are more powerful than the MOTOROLA units and operate off of a series of repeaters.

    TO THAT END--you can contract with commercial radio service provider that will have all the repeaters necessary to give you the range you will need but you will need to have professional radios. these systems can be very clever because they can TRUNKED, meaning the radios know what frequencies are in use and always selects clear channels for communication. you own your radios and they aren't that expensive but you have to pay the SERVICE for the use of his system. this type of radio system would work very well for your mowing route.

    good luck and let us know what you decide.

  8. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    GEO - Thanks... that is exactly the type of answer I was looking / hoping for. What works and what will work better.
    I am not a famous person or a large LCO in fact we are talking about one crew and occasionally a person or persons are splintered off to another customer for what ever task (usually not ½ mile away) the radio would keep them in touch with me if questions / problems arise.
    You are correct in that I am considering the 2 watt 6 channel UHF handheld (souped up walkie talkie's), the next better radio is 4 / 5 watt and is repeater capable and not that much more expensive at about $260 a pop.

    Thanks again
  9. Creative Lawn Care

    Creative Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 271

    I have nextel and the service has been getting much better over the last 2 years. Its was rough to start with but we are very satisfied with them now.
  10. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    We use 2 way radios. I believe they are 25 watts and operate just fine without being on a repeater. It all depends on how large your operating area is, ours is a maximum of 25 km from our office. We have a base station in the office which is handy. All I pay is a yearly licence fee. I'd never go back to cell phones, with radios you can chat all day long and it costs nothing, which is nice especially when we are out plowing in a snowstorm.

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