My department allows us to respond to the scene. Now before people get off topic and critical about that, we've been doing it for years and know how to keep the roads open and such. Anyway, the department however doesnt issue radios or portable/pager type radios. Ive been in the market to buy my own but id like to see what else people are using and what they perfer. I operate on UHF frequency and would require a speaker mic as well. We run Motorola HT1250's and thats pretty much the only brand/ model ive had experience with. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Determine whether you will be operating in an IDLH atmosphere, explosive or flammable vapors. If you are, then stay with Kenwood or Motorola. My department has used Kenwood for the last 20 years. They are intrinsically safe meaning there is very little chance of causing an explosion in an IDLH environment. They are about half the price of Motorola.
Motorola has been around forever. They too have intrinsically safe units. They are a little more proprietary when it comes to repairs and accessories.
Icom is another company which has been in business for years. A relative newcomer to the public safety world, they have enjoyed great success in the amateur radio (Ham) market, and make a very tough unit.
There are many others which are good units provided you won't be in a hazardous environment, but I wont recommend them for fire service.