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Friday, 16 October 2015 00:00

CFA Digital Scanners - ORDERS NOW CLOSED


ANNOUNCEMENT 16 October: On behalf of CFA and VFBV it is with great pleasure that we announce the availability of CFA’s new Digital Scanners.

*** A copy of this letter and paper order forms have been posted with our October mailout. Digital copies of all forms are attached below. *** 

As you are more than likely already aware, CFA and VFBV through the Joint Communications & Technology Committee and CFA’s Business Services Team have been diligently working on a replacement Listening Set since 2010, with the knowledge that as CFA’s radio network transitioned to digital frequencies on the P25 digital network, almost all current analogue listening sets and scanners being used by members would become redundant. Acknowledging the significant expense that new digital capable devices represents to members, and the important role they play in many Brigades, we have been jointly working on not only a replacement scanner, but a subsidization program that would assist members with their replacement.

After an exhaustive tender, trial and selection process, the Uniden UBCD436-PT digital scanner has been selected. This will be amongst one of the first scanners available in Australian that support P25 Phase 2 digital communications, which future proofs the device as Victorian Emergency Services transition to Phase 2 P25 in the future. The scanner is backward compatible, is capable of receiving analogue and current Phase 1 P25 digital radio traffic and will come preprogramed with the current CFA/DELWP radio channel plan.

As this scanner is not currently available via retail channels, and is being manufactured and sold exclusively to CFA members before a public release next year – retail pricing is not yet available, however it is expected to retail within the $500 – $700 per unit range.

In order to provide Brigades with equitable and fair access to these units, CFA and VFBV have developed a subsidy program that will provide all brigades & groups access to a limited number of heavily subsidized units. Through a combination of project funding and a successful joint CFA/VFBV application to the VESEP program, $3 million dollars has been set aside to subsidize units for members. To ensure equitable access to this funding, brigades will have access to a guaranteed minimum of 8 units per brigade at a one off subsidy price of $150 per unit, plus postage and handling, with the subsidy budget picking up the difference. ($296.75) This effectively represents an approximate 70% discount for members. Groups will be provided with a guaranteed minimum of 2 units per group.

The 8 units per brigade, and 2 units per group will be reserved and put aside for brigades/groups to access. You will have 90 days to claim and order/pay for your reserved units at the heavily discounted price, and they will be dispatched as per the attached schedule as orders and payment are received. At the end of 90 days, any units that have not been taken up will then be re-released into the general pool, and will be equally allocated to brigades and groups based on their 2nd Tier pre-orders. If there are any remaining units, these will then be advertised, and made available to individuals on a first in first served basis until all remaining units have been exhausted.

Once the subsidization budget runs out, (expected early 2016) additional units will be made available to individual members at a cost price of $446.75 plus postage and handling.

As these units are being manufactured by Uniden exclusively for CFA, there are long lead times on orders placed with the manufacturer. Units are being received into Australia as they come off the manufacturing line. The first 3,500 units are due to arrive in the country by the 1st November, with a second and third order of units totallying another 2,500 units arriving late December and February. Again, in order to provide all brigades with equitable access to units as quickly as possible, brigades will be able to access their 8 guaranteed units in two batches. The first 3 will be dispatched immediately upon your order and payment being processed, with the remaining 5 being dispatched as soon as subsequent units arrive in the country, and dispatched in the order that orders/payment are received. Group units will be dispatched upon order and payment being processed.

It will be left to the discretion of your brigade/group to determine how the digital scanners will be distributed amongst members, and the brigade/group may determine to purchase the subsidized units from brigade/group funds or request individual members to reimburse the brigade/group for their scanner. During the subsidization program, orders will only be accepted from brigades and groups. As soon as the subsidization program is finished (expected early 2016) scanners will be available for purchase by individual members at cost price.

Payment for the first 8 scanners must accompany your brigade’s order. Cheques and money orders must be made payable to “CFA”. Payment for the first 2 group scanners must also accompany group orders..

If your brigade/group wishes to pay by direct deposit into CFA’s bank account, please indicate where shown on the order form and once your order form has been received, CFA will issue you with an invoice that will contain the direct deposit bank details for you to pay for the order. (If paying this way – you must wait for the invoice to arrive before making payment.)

CFA brigades who are still operating under their own brigade ABN and are registered for GST will need to be processed separately, and will need to wait for a Tax Invoice to be issued by CFA for the total amount payable. If you are unsure if your brigade is still operating under its own ABN, please contact the VFBV office and we can assist with your enquiries. (There are currently only 33 brigades in the state still operating under a brigade ABN – and your brigade secretary/treasurer should know.)

VFBV is providing the administrative support for the processing of orders, and as such all orders should be returned to VFBV for processing. VFBV will process and lodge all orders with CFA within 48 hours of our receiving them. Brigades will be sent an electronic confirmation of your orders lodgement.

Any questions or queries should be directed to the VFBV Office on (03) 9886 1141 or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Scanners are not endorsed for operational use, and are no replacement for an official CFA Tait portable/mobile radio. Digital scanners have no send capability, and can only listen in on communications.

This program would not have been possible without CFA’s support and approval, and VFBV wishes to thank CFA for the establishment and support of the subsidization program for the benefit of members.

Download a copy of this letter here

Download a Brigade Order Form here

Download a Group Order Form here

Download the FAQ's here

Download a sample Order Form here

Download Scanner Spec Sheet here


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can we order less than 8 units?
Yes. Brigades are guaranteed to have access to a minimum of 8 subsidized units put aside for them and available up until the 15th January 2016. You can order less than eight, but postage and handling will remain at $35 for any number up to 3 units, and a second postage and handling fee of $45 for any number of units between 4 and 8.

Groups can also order less than their guaranteed 2 units, but again the postage and handling fee will remain at $35 for dispatch of the guaranteed units.

2. How will we know how many subsidized units we can have above our initial allocation of 8? (Tier 2)
We won’t know how many are available until the 25th January 2016. This is to ensure all brigades have equal time to order and pay for their initial allocation. After the closing date of the 15th January – any units not taken up by brigades through the Tier 1 process, will then be made available in the Tier 2 program. We will then divide this total number of units left over by the number of brigades and groups requesting Tier 2 units, and that number will then be allocated proportionally amongst the Tier 2 orders until there are no subsidized units remaining.

On the 25th January, brigades and groups will be advised how many of their Tier 2 orders can be honoured, and payment will then be requested. Brigades and groups will have until the 1st March to pay for these units.

3. Are Tier 2 orders binding?
Yes. Even though you won’t have to pay for these units until we know how many are available, we will have to treat all Tier 2 orders as binding in order to know how many we can allocate to brigades and groups. You should assume that you will be asked to pay for every unit you indicate on the Tier 2 order form.

4. Who will own the units?
This is a brigade/group decision. If the brigade purchases the units using brigade funds, then they will be owned by the brigade/group and can be allocated at the brigade’s or group’s discretion.
Many brigades/groups are likely to request that individual members purchase the units at their own expense, in which case brigades/groups will determine how to prioritize the limited number of subsidized units available, but once the member reimburses the brigade/group for the unit cost, the device will then become the property of that individual.

5. How should we prioritize members if more than 8 members want to pay for a scanner?
This is a brigade decision. The brigade may elect to implement its own ranking system which might prioritize members based on their role within the brigade or group, and what benefit that member’s possession of a digital scanner would have on the brigade.

6. What if a member does not want to order through the brigade/group and just wants to buy one themselves?

Individual members will not have access to units at the subsidized price unless the full allocations to brigades and groups are not taken up. However, individuals will be able to purchase units at the full cost price when they become available. Individual orders will be treated the same as any Tier 3 orders and will be processed only after the end of the subsidization program, which is expected to finish early 2016. The manufacturer will not have any additional capacity until the end of the subsidization program, as it is expected that demand through the subsidization process will deplete all available stock.

Non CFA members will need to wait until the product is released at the retail level, which will be at the manufacturer’s discretion and is unlikely to be until well after CFA’s internal distribution program is completed.

7. Why can only brigades or groups order them?
This scanner has been developed specifically for CFA members and there is a limited budget for how many units can be subsidized by CFA. We are expecting demand to exceed supply, and are therefore relying on brigades and groups to be best placed to determine priority based on benefit to the overall community/brigade/group.

8. Can Headquarters and Coastguard brigades apply?
Yes. All registered CFA brigades and groups may apply. This includes registered Headquarters brigades and registered CFA Coastguard brigades.

9. Can Forest industry brigades apply?

10. Why have groups been provided with a smaller number of guaranteed units?
For two main reasons. The first was to maintain parity and proportion with the units offered to brigades when considering membership/role numbers. The second reason being that groups received a priority allocation well above brigade allocations in the allocation of CFA Tait radios during CFA’s radio replacement project. On average, each group in the state received an allocation of 10 CFA Tait radios for use by group personnel.

11. Why will only 3 units be dispatched straight away?
These units are being manufactured exclusively for CFA. It currently takes 120 days from when CFA places an order, and when that unit is then available in the country. 3 units per brigade has been determined by how many are in the country and are available now, with additional units being dispatched as they come off the manufacturing line.

12. I own a small business. Can I purchase these units for re-sale?
No. These units are only available exclusively for CFA members until early 2016.
These units are likely to be offered to the public through the manufacturer’s normal wholesale and retail channels at some point in the future, but is unlikely to occur before the end of CFA’s distribution program. Any decision to offer the unit to the public will be solely at the discretion of the manufacturer.

Uniden Scanner

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.


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