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Thread: Racal PRC6894 - Worth buying or not?

  1. #1
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    Default Racal PRC6894 - Worth buying or not?

    Hi folks!
    I was offered a PRC6894 P25 VHF radio for purchase. The price is about $400.
    There's not much info on it on the internet so I decided to ask any of you who ever had experience with this radio - what are the pluses and minuses?
    As for the pluses I found the following:
    - FPP capable
    - No need for the keyloader
    - Sturdy Al case.

    It would be great if anyone can compare Racal radio to the Moto XTS2500 VHF FPP I already have.
    I do not need trunking for VHF yet, but what I need are:
    - Good sensitivity
    - Ability to group channels into zones
    - The larger the scan list - the better
    - QCII capability would be great.

    How seriously is it out-of-dated comparing to an XTS2500? Any incompatibilities with Moto P25 systems? (Icom had an annoying habit of sounding undecoded digital bursts in the beginning of every transmission an a Quantar repeater, that's why it (Icom) had to go)

    Please post your suggestions. Thanks in advance!


  2. #2
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    That is a Racal (Thales) 25, you need to find out what revision it is, 501, 502, or 503. Most of them out there are 501's. The 503 will support AES, I don't know about the 02, but the 01 will not allow AES. The batteries are very expensive to replace IIRC they are over $200.00 new for OEM and around 175.00 for the Honeywell's. They were all FPP, and easy to work, some have dynamic groups. If it is going to be your main radio, I would lean towards the 2500 but you should try both and decide if you can. There is a yahoo group dedicated to the units look for Racal25, or Thales 25.

    GS

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    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Thales25/?yguid=213365451 I had one that was more or less NOS. It was a 503 and I updated the firmware. I would have kept it for use at the FD but we were required to have MDC and it didn't do it..

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    I've owned a 501 series Thales 25 for years now. I really like the user interface and front panel programming. You can FPP a new channel with a full alpha tag in seconds once you practice a little. It makes a great test/travel radio.

    I believe you could even scan all 256 channels if you wanted to (multi-zone scan). You are limited to 16 channels per zone, though.

    I wouldn't shy away from the 501's unless you need AES, but try and make sure it has the Motorola wideband antenna connector mod done to it. I believe all the 503's and newer came that way from the factory, but some of the 501's have the raised stainless SMA antenna base that will allow the Motorola wideband antenna to fit. It works quite a bit better than the stock antennas from Thales/Racal.

    As GS4 said, the batteries are around $200 each, and you have to be sure to recharge them every few weeks, or they will refuse to charge. If you find a AA alkaline "clamshell" pack or try and power the radio from any DC source other than a Thales or Honeywell battery, it will limit the radio to 2 watts of transmit power.

    The built in speaker leaves something to be desired. It won't get near as loud as an XTS2500.

    My only other complaint is that it doesn't have any transmit audio AGC or noise cancelling like the Motorola radios do. Your transmit audio level is very dependent on how close you talk to the mic--especially in the P25 digital mode.

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    Here's a video I made way back when. It shows the FPP process and the size compared to an XTS3000.


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    I realize that I am replying to a bit of a dated thread, but I used to have a Racal 25 that I ended up selling. While the radio was a tough little brick that was easy to program and had some pretty good capabilities, the overall accessory support is limited to what you can obtain direct from Thales or a very limited cadre of suppliers. As an example, I could find only one company that sold the public safety speaker mic, at a price of nearly $100. Used accessories and chargers are limited to whatever extra stuff the members of the Thales25 Yahoo group have and are willing to sell.

    The final decision point for me to sell came after a chat with Thales technical support regarding a battery charging issue I was having. They informed me that they no longer manufacture batteries for the radio. All their battery sales were old stock that was approaching five years old and dwindling in quantity. The hybrid batteries and AA clamshells are also NLA from Thales.

    That leaves a single manufacturer for the Li-ion batteries, which as another poster said go for upwards of 175 each. When Honeywell decides to end production of the batteries, that's it. I recently saw a used hybrid battery (combination Li-ion and AA) on eBay that had already been bid past $400. As somebody else said, the AA clamshell, if you can find one, will limit you to 2W transmit power. Also with the clamshell, the radio will not fit in the standard leather holster.

    Overall, I liked the radio but concluded that it was a "boutique" item- a pretty thing that worked well but was expensive as hell to upkeep. You can get far more radio for about the same price in an XTS series, with the addition of tremendous aftermarket/ used market support.

    Hope this helps anyone that reads it.
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