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Old 11-27-2012, 1:41 PM
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Default Nashua, NH aldermen to consider upgrades to city radio system

NASHUA, N.H. A proposal to spend up to $1.6 million for upgrades to the citywide radio communications system will be introduced to aldermen today for its first reading.

Nashua aldermen to consider upgrades to city radio system | New Hampshire NEWS06
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Old 11-28-2012, 5:03 PM
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NASHUA, N.H. A proposal to spend up to $1.6 million for upgrades to the citywide radio communications system will be introduced to aldermen today for its first reading.

Nashua aldermen to consider upgrades to city radio system | New Hampshire NEWS06
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Old 11-28-2012, 5:19 PM
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These articles are all surprisingly telling.

"A maximum bond of $1.6 million is being sought for the first phase of a major radio communications project that could ultimately cost $5 million to $10 million over the next five or six years."

I could see spending this kind of money for a radio system covering an entire major metropolitan area but not for a small city with a population of 87,000. This is a "citywide" system we're talking about here afterall.

The article also says
"The radio systems are about 12 years old, according to Alderman Brian McCarthy, the board president, who said their life expectancy is a decade."
Ok, so this proposed system, I take it, will also have a life expectancy of a decade, so this isn't $5-$10 million one time. This is going to be $5-$10 million every ten years or so.

The article also says they have 1000 radios in service. If the system costs 10mil, that's $10,000 per radio/ $1000 per radio, per year. That's crazy.
Am I the only one with a calculator? Oh I hope the people of Nashua do and I hope they march down to their city hall meeting and make their opinions heard and hopefully their city will listen to them instead of the motorola salesman.

I mean... what did they pay for the last system??
If it lasted 2 years longer than expected, isn't it safe to say that is a GOOD SYSTEM!!??

Last edited by rapidcharger; 11-28-2012 at 5:26 PM..
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Old 11-29-2012, 5:58 AM
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As I have posted previously, radio system salesmen have to eat, too. The support cycle for hardware systems of all kinds is now approaching that of software. Knowledgable people on this website have long used 20-years as the outside number for systems life cycles, sometimes called "useful life" where parts and service are reliably available. Of course, this is predicated on buying the system when it is newly introduced. Waiting for it to be proven as an effective system in other deployments only reduces the time you will have when you make a buying decision. The manufacturers, systems engineers, and sales forces use this to pressure relatively uninformed political bodies.
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Old 11-30-2012, 7:27 AM
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Nashua Fire was on VHF high before they moved to the 800 mhz TRS. They still have the VHF high channels (151.25 & 154.325) for backup and mutual aid. The Nashua Police were at 460 Mhz before they moved to the 800 mhz TRS. The only other agencies within 50 miles that are on 800 Mhz are - Manchester NH - Portland ME - Mass State Police - Worcester MA - Cambridge MA - Logan Airport - Marlborough MA. The vast majority of NH agencies are on VHF highband. The vast majority of eastern Mass agencies are on UHF. Nashua sits on the NH / MA border. Seems to me that the smart thing to do would be to replace the 800 Mhz TRS with a VHF / UHF dual band P25 / analog system.
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Old 11-30-2012, 3:03 PM
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Originally Posted by zerg901 View Post
Nashua Fire was on VHF high before they moved to the 800 mhz TRS. They still have the VHF high channels (151.25 & 154.325) for backup and mutual aid. The Nashua Police were at 460 Mhz before they moved to the 800 mhz TRS. The only other agencies within 50 miles that are on 800 Mhz are - Manchester NH - Portland ME - Mass State Police - Worcester MA - Cambridge MA - Logan Airport - Marlborough MA. The vast majority of NH agencies are on VHF highband. The vast majority of eastern Mass agencies are on UHF. Nashua sits on the NH / MA border. Seems to me that the smart thing to do would be to replace the 800 Mhz TRS with a VHF / UHF dual band P25 / analog system.
Would that work on my BCD396xt?
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
... The article also says
"The radio systems are about 12 years old, according to Alderman Brian McCarthy, the board president, who said their life expectancy is a decade.
Those radios will outlive Brian McCarthy, the radio expert.
I wonder if he's related to Charlie McCarthy, if anyone is old enough to remember him.
For you youngsters, Charlie McCarthy was the dummy used by the ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen.
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Old 12-01-2012, 8:03 AM
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Would that work on my BCD396xt?
The US Military TRS has freqs at 380 Mhz and VHF high, but they are at different sites IIRC. I dont know if a TRS can use both VHF and UHF at the same site at the same time. And I dont know if any scanners can track it.

I was not really suggesting that they need a TRS - I WAS suggesting that they should use VHF and UHF channels - instead of 700/800 channels.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:44 AM
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read my response on the n.h.forums.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:34 AM
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Why does Brian McCarthy need to be a radio expert? It's common knowledge technology advances at a rapid pace, manufacturers come out with new radios and systems and when they do no new parts for older equipment is manufactured. For repair they rely on stock and when it's gone it's gone so a radio system reaches the end of its life when it can no longer be repaired. Ten years is the average and the rule of thumb so that's the time for planning a new system. Any longer the old system ends up patched together with spit and string, frequent failures are the inevitable result.

Yeah I remember Charley McCarthy, the wisecracking one. Now if you're going to insult Brian a relation to Mortimer Snerd would be more appropriate. (;->)
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Old 12-01-2012, 1:07 PM
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Quote:
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Those radios will outlive Brian McCarthy, the radio expert.
I wonder if he's related to Charlie McCarthy...
Brian's an old friend of mine. He's a computer expert and has served a long time in Nashua city government. Give him a break. He didn't claim to be a radio expert. He's merely describing the situation on behalf of the Board of Alderman.

Quote:
Seems to me that the smart thing to do would be to replace the 800 Mhz TRS with a VHF / UHF dual band P25 / analog system.
It's a true city-wide system. WIth police, fire, EMS, schools, DPW, and every other thing on the system. It's a perfect setup for a TRS, and it is at least partially using P25.

The interoperability issue you raise, however, is real. Fire simulcasts on VHF for interop purposes. I don't know what the PD does. I would love to know what their plans are to enhance interoperability in the local area with this upgrade.

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Old 12-01-2012, 3:44 PM
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Originally Posted by N5TWB View Post
As I have posted previously, radio system salesmen have to eat, too. The support cycle for hardware systems of all kinds is now approaching that of software. Knowledgable people on this website have long used 20-years as the outside number for systems life cycles, sometimes called "useful life" where parts and service are reliably available. Of course, this is predicated on buying the system when it is newly introduced. Waiting for it to be proven as an effective system in other deployments only reduces the time you will have when you make a buying decision. The manufacturers, systems engineers, and sales forces use this to pressure relatively uninformed political bodies.
I think this is a big point many who aren't nor haven't been involved with consulting or implementing these radio systems miss. Today's vendors, and not just MOTOROLA, are accelerating the life cycle of their entire product lines.

10-15 years ago, 20 years was the norm in LMR. Today, we see that number cut in half by the vendors not supporting the products after 5-7. This is true for ALL the major LMR players, not just big blue. Try getting Kenwood to provide support for your TK-250G or TK-880s, I've got a Kenwood dealer account and an MOL account, and I see the monthly "EOL" products list, and both are surprising with fairly current products being added.

When it comes to infrastructure this is a major problem. Smartnet trunking, for example, is still widely used- and being fairly robust, it's a staple in many areas. Motorola has kept it alive for close to 30 years. I personally like it, but the reality of it is trying to keep a mutl-site simulcast Smartnet II trunking system on the air with failing cards in CEB's, master clocks that aren't made anymore, and fewer and fewer controllers on the secondhand market, it's a prudent decision to replace such clunky infrastructure.

The one thing that hasn't changed with the shorter life cycle in many cases is a lower price. This isn't the case of the software industry who has lowered it's prices (even Microsoft). And this I think is the major objection many have, including myself. There is much markup on these systems.

I have a feeling Hytera and the other Chinese manufacturers can flip the script once they get serious and start pumping out infrastrcuture.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:56 PM
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Zerg, there aren't enough available VHF High-Band frequencies available, especially in Southern NH to put a trunked system together. The VHF equipment they currently have isn't trunking capable and was kept/purchased expressly for interop and backup.

A $1000 trunked/P25 radio is a crazy low price now. It ain't right, but it's the truth. With the new APX7000 and similar radios hitting the market, Nashua may begin buying one radio for both 800Mhz and VHF High-Band (I don't know if that's an available configuration). But those things are very expensive. The running joke is the model number indicates the release price of the radio. (APX7000 = $7000). They do however, seem to be the best quality radio "M" has produced in awhile.

The state FireNet radios were nearing or passing their warranty period before they hit the streets. All mobiles from the grant are all discontinued. Motorola has been at the forefront of hyperspeed model revolution to either keep R&D or someone making money. For decades they made the only product worth having. But since their seeming reduction in quality and others increase in quality, additional companies have both jumped on the cost increase train and still kept similar equipment prices lower than the Bat Wings.
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Old 12-03-2012, 2:23 PM
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Just as a little background info -

Nashua is presently licensed for - 151.25 - 154.19 (Rockingham County fire mutual aid) - 154.325 - 458.50 HT - 460.5125 HT - 460.5375 HT - 155.025 - 159.195 - 159.9675 (low power at wastewater plant) - 158.925 - the 800 TRS - and 5 HT freqs at 808 Mhz - IIRC the private water dept is on 153.625

The adjoining town of Hudson is licensed for - 153.95 - 154.19 - 154.28 (fire mutual aid) - 154.68 M - 155.955 R - 460.425 R - 159.2175 R - 155.7225 in - 158.7525 R - 460.2375 R - 37.26 - 154.98 low power - 155.6925 low power

Hollis NH has 159.30 R police and 151.46 R fire

Merrimack NH has 155.55 R police and 153.98 R fire plus 154.415 fire plus more I am sure

Nashua has a population near 100K IIRC. The other towns might be 10K each. 130K total. If a regional dispatch center was set up with 1 fire channel and 1 police channel - then you would have about 24 freqs left over. (Keep in mind that Manhattan NYC has 1 fire channel for 2 million people - and its been that way for the last 60 years or more).
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Old 12-03-2012, 2:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerg901 View Post
Just as a little background info -

Nashua is presently licensed for - 151.25 - 154.19 (Rockingham County fire mutual aid) - 154.325 - 458.50 HT - 460.5125 HT - 460.5375 HT - 155.025 - 159.195 - 159.9675 (low power at wastewater plant) - 158.925 - the 800 TRS - and 5 HT freqs at 808 Mhz - IIRC the private water dept is on 153.625

The adjoining town of Hudson is licensed for - 153.95 - 154.19 - 154.28 (fire mutual aid) - 154.68 M - 155.955 R - 460.425 R - 159.2175 R - 155.7225 in - 158.7525 R - 460.2375 R - 37.26 - 154.98 low power - 155.6925 low power

Hollis NH has 159.30 R police and 151.46 R fire

Merrimack NH has 155.55 R police and 153.98 R fire plus 154.415 fire plus more I am sure

Nashua has a population near 100K IIRC. The other towns might be 10K each. 130K total. If a regional dispatch center was set up with 1 fire channel and 1 police channel - then you would have about 24 freqs left over. (Keep in mind that Manhattan NYC has 1 fire channel for 2 million people - and its been that way for the last 60 years or more).
Yes and No. A regional center would make good sense. It is a phenominal idea. But the idea has an extremely high start up cost and extensive planning for procedures, staffing, equipment, infrastructure, backup facilities, future plans, etc are needed. It isn't simply throwing a bunch of frequencies together and calling it good. But if they could ever do it, it'd be great.

The population of Nashua is between 80-90,000 I think. Most of the neighboring towns well exceed 20-30,000 for population. FDNY has been developing a bigger system for some time. They also do a lot of comms by MDT
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:08 PM
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Not to beat a dead horse,but ive seen a lot of mis-info here on the nashua system(i know because i used it since the day it went on the air)The comments about Brian Mccarthy are factless,The fact of the matter He has been one of the very few alderman that has ever supported most of the fd/pd projects.Although certainly not an expert on alot of subjects,He has always been there when they needed the vote before the budget process.(The fd/pd need all the votes they can infront of the city)
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Old 12-06-2012, 5:14 PM
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1. Do most FDs in NH have P25 capable radios now?

2. Something tells me that there really are enough VHF high band channels available to put Nashua back on VHF highband. If Lowell FD, Lawrence FD, Methuen FD, and Groton MA all made the move to UHF - that would surely open up enough freqs for Nashua. Surely.

3. I think I only listed about half of the freqs that Hollis NH actually has on VHF.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:12 PM
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[QUOTE=zerg901;1867936]1. Do most FDs in NH have P25 capable radios now?

[QUOTE]

No
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Old 12-11-2012, 9:52 AM
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If Nashua put GPS, cellphones, and mobile data terminals in all vehicles, there would be very little need for voice comms. They could probably do 99% of their business with 1 simplex VHF freq for police, 1 VHF simplex freq for fire/ems, and 1 simplex VHF channel for everyone else. That would leave 5 unused freqs. They could turn those into 2 spare repeater pairs and 1 simplex spare channel. Maybe it would be better to use the 2 repeaters as Channel Ones for police and fire - leaving 4 simplex freqs for everything else. For disasters there would be all the Vtac and mutual aid channels.

And this is before you snoop around at 152 Mhz for clear channels. Or look to use recently abandoned channels from Massachusetts. Or before trying to do a regional thang.

On the other hand - if they remained on 800 Mhz - and programmed in the Mass State system, the Manchester NH system, the Portland ME system, and the Hartford CT system, they would have somewhat reasonable coverage. Adding a 851.0125 repeater on Mt Washington would give them 1 channel in northern NH and Vermont.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerg901 View Post
1. Do most FDs in NH have P25 capable radios now?

2. Something tells me that there really are enough VHF high band channels available to put Nashua back on VHF highband. If Lowell FD, Lawrence FD, Methuen FD, and Groton MA all made the move to UHF - that would surely open up enough freqs for Nashua. Surely.

3. I think I only listed about half of the freqs that Hollis NH actually has on VHF.
Zerg,

There is absolutely nothing simple about just adding frequencies, merging, picking and chosing. Never has never will be. So to answer each section...

1. Yes. NH is 95% High-Band with P25 capability. This was accomplished through a grant a few years ago. However, this only applies to Bases, Mobiles, portables and consoles. It doesn't address member/station alerting at all. Except for Nashua, Manchester, Brookline, Greenville/Mason and maybe one or two others, all FD's in NH are High-Band.

2. All the FCC and people that want to use a frequency can do is work with existing licenses. This applies to NH on the VHF side and Mass on the UHF side. Both are respectively filling up or full; with the new FCC rules and also add the 470-512Mhz loss.

3. See #2

In my opinion, ideally, there would be a regional Fire Communications Center (& similar Police Center) that would handle the communities of Southern NH. Who, where, etc doesn't matter in this thread. In this case there would be enough frequencies to be incorporated into that plan. HOWEVER, simply telling a few people to move, saying it can happen and assuming it would just fall into place is both unrealistic and more importantly, DANGEROUS!. Beyond that, the initial cost to make such a system happen overnight as you seem to indicate is cost prohibitive to even the richest towns in the area.
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