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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Motorola Saber Help

Reviews Summary for Motorola Saber
Motorola Saber Reviews: 14 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $3000
Description: Saber-1, -2 or -3 VHF or UHF software programmable handheld radios
Product is in production.
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KC2OBK Rating: 5/5 Aug 7, 2006 18:25 Send this review to a friend
Know what your buying!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This review is for a high power VHF highband, wide split (148-174Mhz) Saber III Securenet.

As prior reviewers have said the radio is virtually indestructible, it is built very well and really has a nice weight in your hand.

The key to buying one of these fine Motorola HT's is knowing what to get; there are so many different sabers with many many different options, an educated buyer will reap the rewards of a good selection. There are many surplus Sabers on the market as public service agencies move to the XTS line of Motorola portable radios.

Depending on the model and CORE version these radios are capable of MDC1200, QuikCall II (basically enables Minitor paging functionality *fire tones*), StatAlert, voice encryption and various scanning functions.

That said, you will need a professional programming shop to load the radio or of course the Saber RSS, complete with the programming cable and the RIB. If you do it yourself you will need a slow computer (i.e. 486sx 25 or less) otherwise a great radio can be turned into an expensive brick!

In short, fantastic radio. If you can jump on one for a good price, do it!

WA2JJH Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2006 18:54 Send this review to a friend
Not easy for hams  Time owned: more than 12 months
Of course it is a great, nearly indestructable radio. bells or whistles.

You may have a hard time programming ANY MOTOROLA with 3erd party RIB boxes and Pentium based computers.

One can convert a SABER ONE TO A SABER 3.

batt life...Double that of any ham H-T

Commercial specs all the way.

KIH23 Rating: 4/5 Jul 13, 2006 18:21 Send this review to a friend
Old radio but good for Secure voice operation  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I own a Motorola saber 1 It is a UHF radio its very good for secure voice operation. I got it off a radio company that is going out of business For a very good price I am very happy to have it. Now i use it as a scanner the Motorola saber 1 has a very good sound synthesis system.
W6CJ Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2004 22:12 Send this review to a friend
Solid portables for Amateur Emergency and Field Use  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have programmed and serviced VHF and UHF Saber-1, Saber-2 and Saber-3 radios in my public safety profession, so I may be biased.

These Motorola radios are no longer manufactured, but they make good radios for Amateur emergency operations teams, Hamwatches or MARS use.

In volunteer or emergency situations, there is no time to input (or instruct) frequency and PL information via keypad. Sabers (or other public safety portables) save the emergency manager a lot of hassles or possible missed calls, injury, property damage or death by eliminating the possibility of user errors. These radios can only be programmed with the correct software, RIB box and cables. Another good concept for the Amateur emergency manager is the portables can all be programmed the same, so that in event of deliberate interfernce or other problems, the net can be directed to go to "Channel Two" for example... no lost memories or "What was that secret PL again?" Separate templates or lists may be saved in order to program your fleet of Sabers for different operations or different regions.

The Saber family of radios:
The Saber-1 radios are usually only 12 channels without an alpha display. They may include the options of selective call and other features of less interest to Amateur users. Saber-2 portables have more channel memories, a limited keypad to select zones, or other features. Saber-3 radios have a DTMF/numeric keypad, even though the Saber-2 may be capable of a pre-programmed DTMF memory. The Astro Saber is more recent and some models are Project-25 digital capable. There are many bandsplits of Saber radios including splits within 66-88, 136-174, 403-512 MHz. Of interest to US Amateurs and MARS would be those radios covering 144-148 and 420-450 MHz. PLEASE RESEARCH THE RADIO VERSION, BAND AND FEATURES BEFORE YOU BUY!

RF performance is excellent. When my "toy" Yaesu VX5R was being blown away by pagers and intermod, I switched over to my admittedly larger VHF Saber and the intermod went away.

You will have to obtain the programming "RSS" or software from Motorola or have an LMR shop program your Sabers and adhere to the software licensing agreements.
There may be an "expanded" or "Plus Ten" version of the software that will extend the bandsplit of a Saber portable 10 Mhz beyond it's limits.

The troubles I've had in Sabers were largely mechanical; replacement cases and battery connections.

There are accessories for the Saber family; speaker mikes, surveillance kits, different rechargeable batteries, chargers, mobile adapters or SVAs.

As public safety agencies move to the XTS3000, MT2000 and other narrowband or P25 capable radios, it should be possible to find used Sabers in your frequency range.

Jay, W6CJ
Los Angeles

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