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Old 10-12-2012, 8:04 PM
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Default Victoria, Australia - Radio delays hit firefighters

October 13, 2012

THE Country Fire Authority's ability to track personnel and vehicles during emergencies remains embarrassingly rudimentary 3 years after the devastating Black Saturday bushfires.

A government source has warned that delays in a $40 million update for communication equipment could put lives at risk this summer.

Read more: Radio delays hit firefighters
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Old 10-15-2012, 8:25 AM
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Another knee jerk reaction by a Government needing to be seen to be doing something!
Spend several tens of millions of dollars on new digital radios and worry about the lack of base station infrastructure and the interoperability problems that will occur with other key agencies later.
If you are Victorian though, don't feel too bad, I have seen this also occur in another nearby State, so you are not alone in this kind of bungling.

If I read the article correctly, it appears that CFA haven't payed the extra license fees to Tait to enable MPT1327 trunking in their new radios! If true, this would explain why the new CFA radios can't talk to the DSE radios via the SMR MPT1327 network. Another cockup? or maybe the Tait TM9155's cant do P25 and MPT1327 at the same time.. Either way, it doesn't look good..

Of course the CFA P25 network hasn't been rolled out yet. There is no suitable back haul infrastructure in many locations to support IP linking of the digital base stations. Not only that, but all these dumb promises about voice and status messages and GPS tracking data that will supposedly all be sent over the same single P25 channel, is just pie in the sky stuff.. Those in the industry know that there will be massive airtime conflicts caused by trying to send too much data & voice traffic across the one network. A P25 voice dispatch channel should be just that! If you want to send data as well, you should have chosen some other technology such as dual slot DMR (which would work out cheaper than a single channel P25 phase 1 network).

The lack of interoperability between CFA and DSE is an indictment of the short sightedness and ineptitude of the States CIO and it's advisers. Victoria had/has a good system of UHF in the metropolitan areas and VHF in rural areas. What they need to do is urgently upgrade the rural VHF SMR by choosing a digital standard and sticking to it. Maybe P25 phase 1 is not the best choice after all. A DMR trunking solution would offer many advantages and significant cost savings.

Que the buck passing and damage control..

Sorry to burst your bubble CFA volunteers, but I'm putting my money on a long wait for that digital 'changeover' that will solve all those annoying comms problems that you have during every major fire (he says, tongue in cheek)..
What can go wrong, will inevitably go wrong!

Last edited by Boatanchor; 10-15-2012 at 8:32 AM..
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