EFJ verses MOTO

Forum dedicated to discussion on EF Johnson Radio products

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Mike Moretti
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:18 am

EFJ verses MOTO

Post by Mike Moretti »

I have been reading as much as possable on the EFJ radios.
Moto XTS 3000 will be not supported by the end of 2013 and I have over 3000 radios to support.
I will need to purchase all new radios Mod II's and III's and mobiles. We as a department have always used Motorola radios and my programming lap top and all cables now weigh in at 65 lbs cause of changes.
I did a apples to apples bid to compare priceing and EFJ came in at 1.6 mil less.
Radios are a very important part of our angency and I am looking for input on the EFJ'S and how they handle being used and abused on a 24/7 operation. Hoping for some input if you would purchase the EFJ radios or eat the 1.6 million savings and purchase the solid MOTOROLAS. My buget would love to save the 1.6 but if EFJ cannot being in a rough situations and operate with duriablity then I saved nothing. Need tons of input.

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Intrinsically Safe
Posts: 347
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:19 pm

Re: EFJ verses MOTO

Post by Intrinsically Safe »


I get asked these types of questions a lot. EFJ has typically always come in less expensive than MOT unless MOT did some creative price discounts, but they usually have only done that with strategic accounts. So far this year, they have been much more competitive in the bids I have seen. One thing is for certain though, any agency looking to purchase radios is always better off having EFJ throw in a quote, even if they don't seriously consider them, they will keep MOT a little more honest with their pricing.
Since it looks like you are porting over your XTS3K's you will be able to use most of your accessories on the 5100 series if you so desire.
The 5100s include the AMBE+2 vocoder which does much better audio processing than the IMBE ever did. You would have to get the APX7000 to get the new vocoder as I don't think MOT is going to port it back to the XTS5000. Of course if you run only analog this will not affect you anyway.
The new ES series in my experience is light years better then their legacy radios as far ruggedness. I have worked with a group of corrections officers in max security prison who have both the ES and the older X platform in service. Now granted the X platforms were in use several months longer than the ES but the ES radios were holding up much better. The same thing with the maintenance personnel at the prison. In my experience maintenance and first responders/corrections are typically the hardest on their equipment do to the nature of their work and where I have seen both series in service the ES has fared MUCH better.
If you are using encryption and have a KVL 3000/3000+ you can still use it on the 5100s with the EFJ KVL cable.
Like the portables I would only recommend the ES series. The Rf platform is more stable and have had less issues with them. The standard display is dated although mostly functional. The new control head is phenomenal. I got to play with it at the IWCE show and I was impressed. Longevity is yet TBD since it is so new, but being that is based on aircraft cockpit instrumentation technology, I myself wouldn't be too worried about. I think the price point may be a little higher to get the new head but depending on your needs and work environment it may be helpful to get some radios with it. The rear cables are now chassis mounted for better strength and durability compared to the predecessor.
If you have a need for a hand held controller device I think MOTs is much better and easier to navigate.
If you are using encryption and have a KVL 3000/3000+ you can still use it on the 5300s with the EFJ KVL cable.
Both radios use the same programming software. EFJ finally supports USB for programming but the tuning software still relies on a serial cable.
The programming software is much easier to use than the MOT CPS. I use both on a regular basis and perfer EFJs most of the time. It has its quirks that drive me nuts but in the big picture it is much easier to use.
Their radios come with a standard one year warranty but you can but up to 4 more years at a very reasonable price. They are now even offering a second chance warranty but I haven't checked into that yet so I can't offer much advice on what that is.
As for repair, this can be hit or miss. Sometimes it seems you can get a radio back from repair in a couple of weeks, sometimes it takes 3 months. There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason either. It could be the fact they do all the repair work at the factory and it isn't shipped out to a dedicated repair center but I don't know that for a fact. I can only tell you my experience.
EFJ support is tough to beat. You can always get in touch with someone when you need to. Their phone guys have been pretty knowledgeable the times I have called. There wasn't a lot of reading from a checklist that I could tell. If they don't know the answer they have been pretty straightforward in saying so but they do have access to the engineering dept and have gotten back to me with the answers. They are willing to send someone on site when needed to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
As far as website, they are lacking quite a bit there, although it has come a long way in the last year. You currently can't purchase anything online, and technical info is rather limited.
Being a small company they can be pretty flexible to responding to specific needs. Especially when it comes to feature request or operational enhancements. They can do a lot with software pretty quickly. If you need a hardware mod, that will take a lot longer if they commit to a change. But if you have a feature request, they can usually accommodate you within a year depending on where they are at with their current test cycle. They typically do 2 major releases a year, but are willing to implement new features. They will bug you to death with questions on how to implement but I think it's more to make sure they get it right the first time.

Well that's enough this time around and my hands hurt from typing :lol:

I deal with both vendors radios but just about everyone is familiar with MOT so I didn't really discuss them a whole lot here.

Feel free to PM if you don't want to discuss things in public, I don't have an M or a Viking head(or Star, or WIFI Symbol, or whatever their logo is now) tattooed on me either. I will answer as honestly as I can.

Sean Penn: Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

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