Business Radios for our Install Crew

Hi everyone,
I’m looking for a bit of advice about Licensed Radios to use for our business. We’ve tried off-the-shelf consumer type radios before, and are looking to make a bit more of an investment for a better grade product. So I’m looking into the ones in the licensed business bands.

We install cable in buildings to provide cell phone service. Most of our work is in downtown DC or in the surrounding metro area. By reading through many previous posts, I have come to a few conclusions:

– We should go with UHF frequencies for the best penetration

– 4-Watts of power is a best bet to ensure good connections

– Quiet Talk / Privacy codes are a very good idea due to the amount of radio traffic we are likely to be around

I like the idea of having a display to be more user-friendly, but it’s not a requirement. The main requirement is of course being able to communicate in buildings with no cell service, worst case someone in the basement 5 floors underground and someone else on the roof. Since this is mostly in DC, the buildings aren’t more than 10-12 stories or so (above ground at least).

Based on my own searches and recommendations from other posters, here are a few I think we could use:

– Motorola:

– Kenwood:

– Icom:

Can anyone give me a quick idea of how the licensing works? Do we apply to the FCC saying we want to use a frequency in UHF band, pay our fee, then get a frequency specific to our business? And do we have to have this in place before purchasing the radio, or is that a user-programmable item?

I appreciate all the help from everyone on the board, I read probably 30-40 posts and got some great advice.


Also consider these:
They don’t require a licence and will have the clarity and range of a good business UHF radio.

They are also pure digital, meaning you can actually call up only one person in your group for 1-to-1 communication, a sub-group for 1-to-some communication, or the usual 1-to-all communication. They are very secure as far as eavesdropping is concerned and they have thousands of possible channels to choose from.

Thanks for the suggestion, we will definitely consider these as well.

My concern would be the penetration ability of the 900 MHz signal through the building. Has anyone had any experience using these from the basement of a building (2-5 floors below street level) to the upper floors?

I have read reports on the net of them going 30 floors or more. UHF is better than VHF, and 900MHz is at the even higher end of the UHF spectrum than most business radios, so I am assuming it has at least as good if not better penetrative capability.

But one thing to consider before laying out a lot of cash is to get or rent two and try them out. With digital radios, it is easy to test the range. Place one down where you want to test it and go to the farthest point on the building, pushing the PTT button every minute or so as you go. If it transmits normally, you are within range. If it beeps, it will tell you on the screen that no other radio is within range. You don’t even need a second person on the other end to test range. (This is how I test range on mine, and test various antenna alternatives.)

found the answer in google