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UHF or VHF radios

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by merrimacmill, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Right now I've got pre-programmed business radios that are Motorolla's. They're portables. But they're pretty bulky to use for everyday use or to carry around on your belt so I'm looking to get into a new radio system.

    I'm in a commercial downtown area with wood structure houses, brick buildings up to 5 stories, and its all kind of close together. (downtown Newburyport, MA for any of you who know the area) And I'm trying to fuiger out if I should go UHF or VHF. Right now my VHF motorollas go about 200 feet down the street which is pretty bad. But from what I understand UHF has a shorter distance, but goes through buildings and such better. But VHF has a longer range but gets blocked by buildings and such a little more.

    Of course I want the best of both worlds for when we're plowing, and not just around our building. How much shorter of a distance would I get with a 4 watt UHF as opposed to a VHF 4 watt? Just looking for some opinions. I know a lot of people on here seem to be radio gurus so I thought it would be a good place to get some action.
  2. pyro29

    pyro29 Member
    Messages: 74

    My suggestion would be VHF High (150-160 MHz). Using 45 watt mobile radios you'll get somewhere around 25 miles and still get decent penetration. Using VHF Low you'd get around 60+ miles but have limited penetration and with the UHF you'd expect to see 10 miles and better penetration. If you are looking for portable (hand-held) radios you'll only get 5 watts of power (Federal regulation) and will have limited range without a repeater system so VHF High is the choice 100%. Here in CT we have similiar topography and construction, the fire department I work for uses VHF High with good success...
  3. haligan125

    haligan125 Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 64

    YOu need a licence and if you can get a repeater
  4. citywide

    citywide Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    I work for a radio shop in Revere, MA and we have a repeater system located in Haverhill that would cover your area pretty well. We can rent you air time for a monthly fee as well as sell you new radios if you need them.

    PM ME if your interested and I will send you my phone number and we can discuss your options.


  5. Oasis

    Oasis Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    How about CELLULAR?
  6. TEX

    TEX Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    get some mobils and put them i the trucks, you will be much better off. repeaters are super expensive and you will have to, like said above, find some air to rent or have a license to operate and pay $$ 50+K and many emergency services use that range 150+ also. then there is always the 800s but thats another story.
  7. pyro29

    pyro29 Member
    Messages: 74

    Stay away from the 800 band...the most effective 800 systems are trunked repeaters = $$$
  8. dakotasrock

    dakotasrock Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 260

    uhhh they just started making these things called nextels..... i havnt had a chance to look at one yet, but i guess their ALMOST as good as uhf and vhf........ lol.
  9. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    We would not be using them only for plowing. We have a property management company and would use the portables everyday for the maintance guys. I have AT&T push to talk already, but I just don't like it as much as the radios for communicating back and forth wtih everyone all day everyday. We're all mostly on one property at a time. If we're not, we use the phones.
  10. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    I'm not able to PM you, when I click on your user name its not an option. Let me know,

  11. citywide

    citywide Junior Member
    Messages: 28

  12. mmaddox

    mmaddox Member
    Messages: 57

    Unless you stay with HT's (portables) and go with a Dot freq, you will need a license. If you want to use the HT's for anything other than very short range, you will need to go to a repeater and that means UHF. Figure under $1000 for the repeater, plus the cost of getting the antenna mounted some place tall. Other costs will be about the same. We have both, and each has there place.
  13. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

    Huh? I rent airspace $10 a radio per month, unlimited. No repeater, no license, the radio company takes care of it all for me.

    You're wrong, they're not as good. They suck.
  14. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 794

    Cell phones...CHEAP and DEPENDABLE! payup
  15. Rehost

    Rehost Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    We used to use radios to talk to the the team as well, the main advantage being that everyone hears you when you talk. HOwever, recently, our Telus (nextel equivalent in the states) offered us a "Talkgroup" option with our Cellphones (called Mike here in Canada). This option allows us to talk all together instead of telling each individual.

    The optin was free, however we activated the unlimited Direct Connect feature so we could talk as much as we want.

    Although the radios were good, seeing as how we already had the Cellphones, this was the best option to go for.

    I currently use my scanner to listen to all the snow removal crews in my area. Especially the city sub-contractors who do the streets and plow in our customers. This way I know where they are at all times.

  16. WINTER 3

    WINTER 3 Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 80

    I would have to agree with the folks who said cell phones. Less repetitive services
  17. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    I would have to agree with the use of cell phones. I have two services, one on NexTel, but NexTel has really gone down hill since they were bought by Sprint. Customer service is non-existant and they try to jam you up if you want to cancel. Every time that I get fed up they come back to me and offer a decent deal to make nice with us.

    A long time ago before cell phones I had VHF Hi Band radios in my jeeps. They were okay in the middle of the night but when the sun came up the frequency was so crowded with everybody else on that limited spectrum they weren't that good. I had to get a VHF license and that took about 6 weeks back then, needed latitude and longitude for the base station, and it was really a pain to get the thing set up with the FCC

    I use 450 band for work as well. The license renewal for it is so complicated. The forms need a Philly lawyer to figure out. After the FCC kicked out my renewal for nonsense because I checked the wrong box, I found a service in California that handles licensing applications and renewals for $150.00 service fee each time. It was well worth it. The FCC is really out in the ozone with some forms designed by people who never had to use them, staffed by people whose idea of customer service can be summed up by "none."

    We use CB's when we are relatively close to each other, ie, plowing on the same lot, or within a mile or so.

    But overall, you can't beat cell phones for simplicity and universal availability.