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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-26-2017, 7:33 PM
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Default Phoenix Fire Listening Questions

1) I have a VHF Motorola XTS I use to listen to A1. I have noticed while driving through the valley it seems staticy when I travel into neighboring cities. Are there other repeaters it should be connecting to? Is the A1 frequency and PL tone good enough to listen to the entire simulcast system?

2) I have a 700/800MHz P25 Trunking Radio. Can I listen to all Phoenix Fire's radio traffic if I program in the 700MHz frequencies? Also, are the A Fire Channels patch to the 700MHz system or would I still need the VHF radio to listen to those?

3) Lastly, how come I can only hear Alarm (Dispatch) on the A fire channels and not the on scene traffic unless I am right by the incident?
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Old 02-26-2017, 8:04 PM
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1- PFD uses Remote Bases at remote locations with the ability to transmit off the site closest to the radio they are transmitting to. Your reception in mesa will not be as good if they are talking to buckeye fire for example. however a external antenna may help.
2. You will not be able to scan the K-deck 700mhz channels with your p25 trunking radio unless the city radio shop authorizes programming for you. Your radio will not affiliate to the system. think a unauthorized cell phone on Verizon's network. Will not work. If you want to monitor the 7-800 stuff sell the radio and get a scanner.
3. Remote bases, at various locations receiving and transmitting to units in those areas. This allows units on A3 for example in Buckeye valley to talk and mesa units to use A3 at the same time and not interfere for the most part. No repeaters.
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Old 02-26-2017, 8:52 PM
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A little additional clarification (maybe) on the last question. On the A (for Analog) channels they use 'old school' VHF radio frequencies. The thing is they DO NOT use repeaters. If repeaters were used, you could hear most everything most everywhere. But since they don't, all you can hear is the radios directly. For the most part, everyone uses portable radios that put out 5 watts or less. You won't hear them if you're more than a mile or two away. The alarm room can hear them because they have high quality receivers and high quality (and high) antennas scattered throughout the valley.
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Old 02-27-2017, 4:45 AM
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Thanks for the info. So I guess that brings me to my other question, is the A deck patched to the 700MHz frequencies? It seems like they should be or units responding to the call wouldn't be able to hear the on scene traffic until they got on scene?
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRJL10-8 View Post
Thanks for the info. So I guess that brings me to my other question, is the A deck patched to the 700MHz frequencies? It seems like they should be or units responding to the call wouldn't be able to hear the on scene traffic until they got on scene?
I have never heard any radio traffic on the patched talkgroups. I don't know why not, it seams like that would be the logical thing to do. As far as hearing while responding, I doubt that's much of a problem. Most of the stations are within 3-4 miles of each other, so odds are additional responders aren't coming from that far away (it's not like they're coming from across town), and with their commercial quality radios and antennas, they can hear a lot better/farther than we can with our cheaper scanners and antennas.

Also, on a typical response where A channels are used, there's usually a command set up, and the alarm room typically repeats most everything command says so I don't believe that is an issue.
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Old 02-27-2017, 6:07 PM
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There is a set of talkgroups that repeats the A-deck channels to the RWC, but they are encrypted. They're in the database. The original TG's from years ago that were identified as patches are not used, with the exception of K-1.

John
Peoria
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:02 PM
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I don't want to hijack the thread, but my question is along the same lines. We will be visiting Phoenix next week and I would like to monitor FD communications only. Is there any point to putting any sites into my Unication G4 other than Simulcast B if all I care about is FD comms? Will I get better coverage if I put in all of the RWC sites, or do fire talk-groups not carry over onto the other sites at all? I'm afraid with the G4 if I put in the wrong sites, it will lock onto the strongest site and that site might not even carry FD comms. That's one drawback of the G4, not being able to force it onto a particular site of a system.
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Old 02-28-2017, 5:29 AM
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If you want to receive communications from the Phoenix Regional Dispatch Center, which covers most of the Central and West Valley, the sites of the Regional Wireless Cooperative (RWC) are:
Simulcast B covers the City of Phoenix.
Simulcast C covers the City of Chandler, the community of Sun Lakes and the Town of Maricopa.
Simulcast F covers the City of Tempe and the Town of Guadalupe.
Simulcast G covers most of the West Valley cities.
Simulcast H covers the City of Scottsdale.
Simulcast J covers the City of Buckeye.
(There is overlap of the coverage areas. If you're in Tempe, you should be able to hear simulcasts B, C, F, and H, even though Tempe isn't the primary coverage area for B, C and H.)

All of these simulcast systems carry the K-deck and L-deck talkgroups. You will want to program in any and all simulcast sites that will cover the areas of the Valley that you will be in.

Be aware that many listeners have issues due to multi-path interference that is common with simulcast systems. You may not be able to receive anything without a directional antenna in a base station setup. The Uniden scanners are supposedly a little better at receiving the simulcast systems than the GRE/Whistler scanners are.

It should also be noted, that the Thompson Peak IR site, located in north Scottsdale, carries K-deck 2, as well as the L-deck talkgroups when they're active, such as during the recent golf tournament.
The Towers Mtn IR, located in Yavapai County, north of the Valley, helps to cover the City of Surprise, as well as the North County Fire and Medical District (Sun City West, Wittmann, and adjacent unincorporated areas), and carries K-1 (dispatch) and K-6 (Northwest Valley EMS responses) on a regular basis.

The simulcast and IR sites of the RWC system carry the EMS responses. K-6 through K-9 are used for typical EMS calls. K-10 through K-15 are for mountain rescues and major incidents such as roll-over accidents and those requiring extrication. Most comms for the typical EMS responses are handled by the MDC's in the apparatus, such as responding, on scene, enroute to the hospital, available on radio, and available in quarters. You may hear a request for an ambulance/rescue/medic unit if one wasn't on the initial dispatch and is needed. Mountain rescues and major accidents have much more voice activity.

If you want to hear the fire and haz-mat responses, you want to listen to the analog VHF channels.

If you want to receive communications from the Mesa Regional Dispatch Center, which covers Mesa, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek and Rio Verde, you want to listen to the TOPAZ RWC, which has one simulcast system (the Mesa simulcast) and two IR sites, one on Thompson Peak (separate from the Phoenix site) and one on Shaw Butte in Phoenix. From personal experience, the IR sites don't carry comms from the apparatus/portable radios, just the alarm room. You may have to listen to the simulcast system for both sides.
Mesa carries both EMS and fire/haz-mat comms on the TOPAZ RWC. Other than their dispatch channel of 154.340, I don't believe their VHF channels are in use like Phoenix does.

Rural/Metro, Inc is the 3rd largest fire department in the Valley. They cover the towns of Carefree and Cave Creek (north of Phoenix and Scottsdale), Litchfield Park and unincorporated areas of the West Valley not covered by a fire department or district dispatched by Phoenix, unincorporated county islands in Mesa and the East Valley, the San Tan Valley area of Pinal County south and east of Queen Creek, and they dispatch for Fountain Hills as well.

Other small FD's include Luke AFB in the West Valley, which is on it's own 400MHz P25 trunked system. The Salt River Indian community, which is on it's own P25 Phase II trunked system. The Gila River Indian community, which is on it's own P25 Phase II trunked system. The Ft. McDowell Indian community, which uses the TOPAZ RWC system (Thompson Peak IR). The Tonto Hills FD, a community adjacent to Cave Creek, which is on 159.360. And the Circle City-Morristown FD, at the junction of US 60 (Grand Ave) and AZ 74 (Carefree Highway) between Surprise and Wickenburg in the far Northwest Valley, which is on 158.7525.

Outlier FD's include Wickenburg in the really far northwest Valley, and Black Canyon City, on I-17 just across the Maricopa-Yavapai county line well north of Phoenix. They're in the DB if you find yourself in those areas.

I think that covers everything.

John
Peoria

Last edited by KB7MIB; 02-28-2017 at 5:41 AM..
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Old 03-03-2017, 6:56 PM
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Thank you for this great info. Anxious to try it out.
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Old 03-20-2017, 6:37 PM
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I think the handhelds may be a lot less than five watts. I know years back I had VHF antenna up at 50' and could barely hear guys working a fire about a mile away. This fire was in a steel framed apartment complex so I'm sure that played a role, however the rule for hearing Phoenix fire-ground comms is to be close, really close. I would be surprised if the fire department stations hear ALL of the comms from these handheld radios in all situations. Experience says that a handheld radio will not always make it to even a tall antenna in all situations when transmitting inside of a steel framed building, especially VHF frequencies.
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Old 03-20-2017, 6:52 PM
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A few years ago at FDIC in Indy Phoenix fire had a new Batallion chief SUV was there at the fire convention. In the rear, it had several decks of radios and also in vehicle repeaters. It was discussed that all command vehicles were set up the same and all patching was done upon command being established.
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