Relm BKR 5000/9000 vs Motorola APX Series Handheld Radios

Does anyone have any experience with the BKR 5000 Series Radio’s (I know the 9000 Multi-Bands haven’t been released yet) as well as the Motorola APX Series radios? In terms of user friendliness and durability? Is there any reason I may consider a cheaper radio that has a relatively short history in the advanced multi-band arena vs the tried and true Motorola APX series?

Thanks for the comments, we are just now starting to entertain some new portables, and while they are not specifically for fire assignments I know there are some super radio savvy people.


the BKR is vaporware at the is point. It does not exist.

The APX has been a reliable and durable radio for a decade. It has stable firmware and can be programmed by almost any vehicle upfitter or professional communication shop. The BKR is brand new with little support from local dealers. There are a few places you can send your radio for repair and some dealers offer programming if you already have the program written. The durability is consistent with the price though. If your department can afford the Motorola that’s the radio I would push for. If you can’t afford the Motorola’s I would push for a few spare BKR radios.

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…(big breath) The BKR Series is in a wait and hold/see mode. We as Dealers were suppose to have the 5000 model in our hands as DEMO units in July…actually January 2020. There were some delays. The GPS, Bluetooth, Clam Shell and vehicle charger were still not working to their expectations. The 5000’s were brought back to the factory in September due to these and other design/engineering flaws. As of today they are in a TEMPORARY HOLD pattern. The 9000 ALL BAND…same thing. Still on the burner but not available as yet.

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So, here is just one person’s viewpoint. At some point, we will more than likely see the 5000 on the fireline. Personally, just like the KNG’s, we would see that beside radios that we know are fully tested and fully functional. As with anything new, there is always a period of time in which bugs crop up that need to be corrected. We say that even this year during the height of fire activity with the new KNG software load. In the controlled chaos of a major incident is not the time for a significant radio flaw to appear.

BK radios have been solid radios over the years but it seems like they have now joined the ranks of everyone else in that a new radio or new model needs to be released every year or so instead of what has made them great, which has been providing improvements to an already stable radio platform.

If you’re looking to make a major purchase, my recommendation would be to go with the APEX even though you might have to pay more. Give the 5000 some time to settle in before you spend a lot of money on it and potentially find it to be unsuitable for your needs.


Thank you gents for the opinions. I am leaning towards the APX series radios myself (who knows maybe by the time we buy, the BKR series will be released and vetted!) No matter how you slice it, the radios will be spendy and I would hate to spend a huge chunk of money something that hasn’t been thoroughly abused by firefighters. Thanks again gents! Always a wealth of knowledge!