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Old 12-12-2007, 12:13 PM
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Default Cross-agency county radios possible

Published December 12, 2007
Matagorda County is close to being one of the first rural counties in the state to have its emergency personnel — from the sheriff’s office to the school districts — capable of communicating with each other.

The county has applied for a $1.2 million grant to complete its radio interoperability plan, a state-wide initiative to improve interagency communication.

“We’ll be the first rural county in the state if we can get funding for this,” said Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald.

The county is a “good fit,” for the grant, said McDonald, who attended the Texas Homeland Security Conference in San Antonio last week along with other county representatives, including Bob Watts, emergency management coordinator for the county and Joe Enoch from the South Texas Project.

He and the other Matagorda County representatives met with Chief Jack Colley of the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management, who gave them a strong indication that the county is a good contender for the grant.

Threats to the county include hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding — and the county must be ready for a nuclear event — all of which pique the interest of the state’s emergency planners, McDonald said.

“Our county has special needs,” McDonald said.

The county’s excellent emergency operations already in place also help contribute to its chances of securing the grant, McDonald said.

The county has already used more than $2.5 million in grant money to build the infrastructure it needs to accommodate cross-agency communication, Watts said.

This grant would finally put radios in the hands of emergency personnel that will work across every agency, Watts said.

“A Bay City officer said something to me once that has always stuck with me,” Watts said.

That officer said that if he ever found himself in trouble, he wanted to be able to send a call for help that could be answered by whoever is closest to him, whether it be a sheriff’s deputy or a public works employee.

In the past, agencies in the county have not had that ability, Watts said.

During the Sept. 11, 2002 terrorist attack in New York and again during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, emergency personnel came to realize that they needed to be able to communicate with one another, regardless of their agency.

“Every major disaster demonstrated a common problem,” Watts said.

Switching everyone to a common system has been no small task, because cities, sheriff’s offices and other emergency agencies have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their radio systems, Watts said.
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Old 12-17-2007, 2:15 PM
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Default So what happens when some unauthorized gets ahold of a radio

I remember in my school years in a public school system everyone would leave their radios lying around. It would be very easy as a student to gain access to one of these radios. Flip a channel and talk to the whole police department. I don't think this is a very good idea when someone gets ahold of these radios. Then when someone does have one of these radios do they really know if its actually a cop or a school official or a killer? Schools would then have to come up to par with the codes and signals.
I just think this is a bad idea with my experience. What do you guys think?
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Old 12-17-2007, 3:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jono40141
I remember in my school years in a public school system everyone would leave their radios lying around. It would be very easy as a student to gain access to one of these radios. Flip a channel and talk to the whole police department. I don't think this is a very good idea when someone gets ahold of these radios. Then when someone does have one of these radios do they really know if its actually a cop or a school official or a killer? Schools would then have to come up to par with the codes and signals.
I just think this is a bad idea with my experience. What do you guys think?
"Interoperability" is not providing unlimited access to everything, it is providing common ground which is discipline agnostic where everyone can meet to work as a team. If the program is administered responsibly, the use of common media would assure that only an agency's internal operations and the common ground frequencies (or talkgroups) are those programmed.

Another method could be to equip public safety officials with devices that have the capability of changing channels to speak with non-emergency users. We did this in my former fire department after we switched from VHF to UHF. Our radios had the maintenance and security frequencies for each of the schools and highrise buildings in them (theirs DID NOT have our frequencies) and we could scan and communicate with them whenever we needed to. This gave a tremendous advantage during response because we would immediately hear whether the call was cooking related or "real" during response; we could hear how serious the call was in the voices of the building staff. We could also use the in-building repeaters each building's maintenance had set up for incident operations if necessary. Law enforcement use would yield a similar result.

No one ever said "interoperability" had to be a free-for-all.

One more thing - "interoperability" means different things to different people. This is one of the most abused words in the Beltway Bandit's Guide to Free Government Money handbook. Many agencies who've applied for "interoperability" monies have serious OPERABILITY problems with their incumbent radio systems, as well (you can't talk to anyone else until you can talk to your own people).
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:45 PM
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Suffolk county New York gave all school dist port trunked radio's
just in case of a storm or other emergency operations in the county all have a fleet code to the county E.O.C. only { P.D.}
also they gave all fire ; Amb dept's port's too for that too !
now all the county snow plows { Workers } now have the radio's too !
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Old 12-22-2007, 8:14 AM
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Default Wow the media gets it right again

During the Sept. 11, 2002 terrorist attack in New York and again during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, emergency personnel came to realize that they needed to be able to communicate with one another, regardless of their agency.

“Every major disaster demonstrated a common problem,” Watts said.

Switching everyone to a common system has been no small task, because cities, sheriff’s offices and other emergency agencies have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their radio systems, Watts said.
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Old 12-22-2007, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WCHija
During the Sept. 11, 2002 terrorist attack in New York and again during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, emergency personnel came to realize that they needed to be able to communicate with one another, regardless of their agency.
Matagorda County has a great idea that will enhance their ability to respond to certain types of incidents. Still, in many other places this problem existed far before 9/11 and Katrina. The greater issue is the inadequacy of internal communications systems because they are underbudgeted and under-supported by the communities they support. Radio systems are poorly understood by responder senior staff, completely not understood by politicians and understood too well by the people who work around their deficiencies every day. They will get the lowest priority below parks, flowers in front of the county seat, new roads or overpasses, or even statues of the community's patron (I have first-hand experience of having a truncated radio budget because that money needed to be spent on a bronze casting of the community's namesake). Compounding the issue has been the cellular subscription model where someone else has already built the network and all a community does is pay the bill to use it, leading many agencies to compensate for their system shortfalls by using cellphones as a workaround. "You don't need a better radio system, you need a few more cellphones."

An example on missing the communications point (and it's not relevant to the situation cited in the article, but is relevant to SAFECOM's and ICTAP's proposals to many urban areas): A matrix will do nothing for a growing community that has only one voicepath to handle its incidents on VHF except completely collapse the incumbent network's ability to conduct traffic by adding an exponential number of transmissions from another band. This was a cottage industry that is thankfully drying up thanks in part to public safety communications administrators realizing the solution does nothing to enhance their internal deficiencies.

Some common deficiencies in many places-
  • Inability to meet 2013 narrowbanding requirements
  • Lack of enough voicepaths to handle normal situations, nevermind surge capacity
  • Lack of spectrum availability within their current band of operation
  • Poor coverage due to 'beer can' engineering*
  • Interference due to a legacy of haphazard frequency assignment and power levels that are far over what's necessary to cover a venue
  • Lack of a sincere commitment to support the system, for example, by creating berms above flooding, using alternative means of connectivity and placing dual-manifold generators capable of running on two sources of fuel
  • Lack of channels for adequate segregation of zones under ICS structure (i.e., each particular module of the operation has a resource capable of meeting its needs for efficient operation) - the biggest problem being fireground operations on frequencies where alert paging or other potentially disruptive operation is taking place
If there is engineered surge capacity, and IF the coverage of two disparate systems overlaps in the affected areas, and IF the systems are hardened, IF there are no hang-time or VOX dropout delays, IF there were store and forward buffers in case of trunked queueing and IF they matrices are controlled by someone who knows when to spot trouble (like see-sawing or unauthorized activation of another similar device) then and only then would this solution make sense.

Now, the co-mingling of voice and data are distractions to the overall goal of improving responder voice communications. Someday scanners will go away. We don't realize the impact of having a 'nationwide public safety broadband network,' but eventually voice traffic in many places will ride as IP data over such systems and the 'radios' will be secondary to software that emulates radio functions and is capable of arbitrating between a wi-fi accesspoint, the PSST's collaborator's infrastructure and locally owned infrastructure to send and receive traffic. That won't happen tomorrow, but it's not far away, and many IT people are making the argument that they should be able to use public safety communications monies ostensibly to create data networks rather than voice networks because they believe it is the future of all communications - and it is.

Still, communities have no problem spending UASI monies in particular on tanks, helicopters, consumable goods with shelf-lives and programs that would evaporate without external sustainment monies for that once-in-a-career incident because they have better toys than just the we-use-them-every-day radios.

*beer can engineering: take a topo map of your area. Find the highest point. Put the tallest tower you can there. Put the highest power transmitter and highest gain antenna there. Take a beer can, put it on the map centered around the site, then draw a circle around the bottom. That's your coverage area. Forget about all the excess power being radiated toward the horizon, it's someone else's problem.
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:00 AM
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Hmm, seems that I posted something about this some time ago.

http://www.radioreference.com/forums...ad.php?t=75894

Last edited by ohiodesperado; 12-25-2007 at 12:30 AM..
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Old 12-25-2007, 1:01 AM
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September 11, 2002 ?!?!!
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:51 AM
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Default Uniden BCT8

I'm having trouble finding my local PD frequency...any suggestions?
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Old 12-25-2007, 5:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ohiodesperado
Hmm, seems that I posted something about this some time ago.
Yes you did. And, that's an interesting idea. But the problem is more than simply using vacated AT&T sites. In my area, there are absolutely NO VHF frequencies available. They literally have someone on or immediately adjacent to each and every one and are actively used. A while ago, an initiative to put some federal monies toward disparate band interoperability was derailed here because we had absolutely no wideband VHF frequencies to construct one wide-area repeaterized voice path. We have plenty of sites (and actually our former Long Lines sites were dismantled and are now sites of high-dollar subdivisions, but that's another story). We also got derailed by a lack of connectivity that did not incur a recurring cost, and the fact that any proposed solutions that were discrete, non-scalable one-for-one patching had an inadequate amount of talk-paths to handle a high-impact incident or one of prolonged duration.

When the NTIA came up with the $1B grant, the intent was to foster 700 MHz development. It was an attempt to develop band-commonality. That died because political interests succeeded in watering down the initiative to where 700 MHz did not have to be any part of the solution. The other thing is $1B divided amongst the 50 states and adjusted to a value assigned by strategic value, risk and vulnerability (read: whose Congressional Representatives are the most powerful) resulted in ridiculous amounts of money for meaningful initiatives. Yes, $1B. All things being the same, that only results in a median value of $50M for each state. But they're not. Some states got less than half of that value so others could get more. So, what kind of meaningful statewide initiative can be had when that $1B was watered down to $12M for the entire state?

Probably the best words I've ever heard from the President's mouth are, "it's complicated."

I blew the dust off my crystal ball. I believe we will achieve band-commonality, but not through public safety equipment, itself - rather the marketplace. I believe that eventually we will all transition to a 'cellular' model, where someone builds the network and public safety agencies buy 'handsets' and pay recurring costs to pay for their ability to communicate through the network. Most agencies have already proven that they are incapable of devoting the proper amount of attention and funding to their radio systems, but they can all pay a bill. Apparently I'm not the only one who believes that (I don't WANT that, but I do believe that). Morgan O'Brien's Cyren Call was built on that platform and is an offshoot of what a pre-Sprint Nextel tried to do, and now, as the advisor to the PSST, may be able to make a nationwide 700 MHz network come to fruition. When that happens, expect the first phase to be data only, but it will be very soon when a radio-emulation application will put IP-based telephony on this network, as well as arbitrate between other access modes. I'd say, within 5 years of network roll-out. To borrow words from someone who could be confused to make whiskey, "I could be wrong."
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Old 12-25-2007, 5:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip230
I'm having trouble finding my local PD frequency...any suggestions?
Hi, your local PD is probably listed in the Database section. Go up to the top of the screen to where the yellow Database link is. Click on that, then on your state and county. It's most likely in there.

If you don't see it there, your state forum has a number of people around your area who probably know the answer and can help you.

Good luck.
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:54 PM
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I gave this some thought, and figured a way that it could possibly work and keep layman's hands off radios that were programmed for direct public service frequencies.

Now mind you it will not work in every situation, the one person posted about not having any VHF pairs available in his area, this of course is not going to work in that situation, or would require a monitoring of a non-public service frequency by the public service frequencies.

If the schools had a their radios programmed with their specific LMR frequencies on channel two and an emergency frequency on channel one, and a monitoring system that would transmit either a reduced audio level 'alert' on the public safety frequencies if the system was in use currently or a full level alert if the system was not currently being used then the same repeater pair being programmed into the public safety frequencies so that someone could respond, once the initial communications took place, the radio dispatcher, or public safety official could through a DTMF sequence, or a specific PL tone being transmitted reset the 'alert tone' on the public safety systems.

Ham radio repeaters do all sorts of things through the software on their repeater controllers, it's reasonable to assume that this could be made to work. Granted an addition would need to be made to the repeater controllers for the public safety systems and they would need to monitor the output of the emergency repeater system but we aren't talking alot of additional equipment and a stand alone device could be designed to connect to existing repeaters in service with public safety to broadcast the alert. It owuld need to be smart enough to check the current stae of the repeater it was attached to, see if it was in use or not and then either bring up the repeater or simply inject the audio at a reduced level on the audio lines at the transmitter.

The system with this design would be uneffected by the bands in use and the emergency repeater would only need to have receivers on the used bands. If fire was on UHF and the local PD was on VHF then repeater receivers would be required for both. Hams call it a cross band repeater, and it's not difficult to do.

The necessity for the Long Lines sites are not high on the list of requirements on this, I choose them because of their HAAT being better than most any other site in a given area, the fact that they are very stout towers and the fact that many of them are dormant. They also lend themselves by design to being able to be linked together with minimal effort via microwave which of course can support multiple MUXED channels of voice and data information, via several different, proven and available technologies.

If something like this was implemented with the other system I spoke of, an additional feature could be implemented, that being a passing of the buck so to speak. If an emergency call was to go out, and after 60 seconds no one was to answer it locally, it could be routed to the next town or to another department via the system bringing up that next towns public safety repeaters and broadcasting an alert there.

Another possibility would be a manner that police, fire and weather communications could be directed to the school if they were monitoring the emergency repeater. This might sound odd, but if a storm is coming into a town and concerned parents are calling the school asking if they need to come pick up their children, it's not too much of a stretch to believe that their phone system could be at capacity and unable to receive an emergency call to take action. This would be non dependent on public phones and thus not effected.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:17 AM
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Default Smarter infrastructure, not more radios

Inter-agency communications are possible now, but the users won't use them. And 902 is spot on about operability vs inter-operability.

Here in Broward County we had not one, but several police or fire-rescue incidents over the holidays requiring responses from numerous agencies in our patchwork of fiefdoms down here. All public safety radios in the county have common interop talkgroups programmed in them, as well as talkgroups of neighboring towns where applicable.

Did they use them? Of course not, that would mean fiddling with the zone switch and pushing buttons. So the dispatchers relayed the messages back and forth across jurisdictions while the minutes ticked away. Mind-numbing!

This is one example of the problems with operations that won't be solved by more radios. But I agree that a more robust network carrying packets would allow them to use the best application for the job. When a text message containing facts and figures works best, use it. When a quick sentence spoken on the radio works best, use that.

I'm convinced that the infrastructure should do the fancy footwork so that the units in the field can fight fires and chase bad guys and not be communications experts. Provide the dispatchers and network admins the tools to group together those who need to communicate with each other and turn them loose on each other.

This can be done right now, it's not a pipe dream. We're doing it, other companies are doing it, but it's tough to change the mindset that "more radios" will solve all problems.

http://www.voiceinterop.com for example.
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Old 12-27-2007, 7:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bote
Here in Broward County we had not one, but several police or fire-rescue incidents over the holidays requiring responses from numerous agencies in our patchwork of fiefdoms down here. All public safety radios in the county have common interop talkgroups programmed in them, as well as talkgroups of neighboring towns where applicable.

Did they use them? Of course not, that would mean fiddling with the zone switch and pushing buttons. So the dispatchers relayed the messages back and forth across jurisdictions while the minutes ticked away. Mind-numbing!

(snip)

I'm convinced that the infrastructure should do the fancy footwork so that the units in the field can fight fires and chase bad guys and not be communications experts. Provide the dispatchers and network admins the tools to group together those who need to communicate with each other and turn them loose on each other.

This can be done right now, it's not a pipe dream. We're doing it, other companies are doing it, but it's tough to change the mindset that "more radios" will solve all problems.

http://www.voiceinterop.com for example.
Many of us turn to California's Firescope and Florida, as an early adopter of trunked radio, as pioneers of the techniques that are just now entering our localities. I'm not surprised that the use of interoperability talkgroups did not pop into people's minds. In fact, I have the same situation here, where one group of county responders wanted to speak directly with municipal responders and were told they had that capability five years ago... except they never continued to train and pretty much forgot how to navigate zones and go past the sixth channel in their radios. To make that easier, those common modes were placed in more prominent positions in mobile radios so that it's not a zone change, but just flipping the channel selector knob.

More insidious is the psychological element. I'm not going to bring up a taboo subject, but let me go into the hypothetical: supposing you are a member of an emergency service in a big city and your father was 'on the job' and your uncles and your grandfather and great grandfather, too. You jump on a red truck about a dozen times a day. The next guy drives a blue car and can trace his genealogy back to the 1800's on the same job. Even suppose these guys are cousins. But when they pull up at the same incident, why the heck would one want to talk to the other because "we don't need to talk to those guys over there." All the hardware in the world will never do the work of a direct order to work under NIMS in a unified command environment. It takes a guy who signs the paychecks to say, "I say you have to."

The thing about public safety communications in a spectrum-efficient environment is that to some extent you need a network to function. Even a VHF simplex system can be complicated. Subscriber equipment (mobiles and portables) need to be programmed intuitively so that there is not a lot of brain power being expended when things are hitting the fan.

More radios are a handicap. When I first got on the FD and bought my own radio (we didn't have any, so I bought an HT220), I was told, "STAY OFF THE AIR!" I could have the radio with the proviso that "when I hear you on that thing, it better be you calling a Mayday!" I learned that just because I had a radio didn't mean I needed to talk on it unless I had to get help. I didn't agree with it then, but I do now. One of the things that happen with uncontrolled distribution of radio equipment during critical events is surge traffic. Most of it is acute, but some of it is chit chat about, "Hey Joe! Did you see that?" All of that needs to be prioritized or disabled by the system manager (if anyone can dig the boxes and blow the dust off the system management terminal).
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ohiodesperado
I gave this some thought, and figured a way that it could possibly work and keep layman's hands off radios that were programmed for direct public service frequencies.

Now mind you it will not work in every situation(snip)
I'm not picking on you, but I cringe at my fellow hams' conditioning to consider public safety (acute services) to be one in the same concept as public service (non-acute services). Sorry, but that's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Not hams' fault, but a conditioning by the ARRL. I'm a League member and like the work they do on most issues, but IMO the outreach materials and training have problems differentiating safety vs. service. That's it, I feel better now (and will re-up my family's ARRL membership no matter what).

Some systems on VHF or even UHF do something called "interservice sharing," where business frequencies are used when public safety frequencies are exhausted. The problem is that frequency coordinators in the business/ industrial pool have stated that they will not protect public safety operations on IG frequencies. So, whenever those frequencies are used, there is always a risk that someone will set up a garbage truck fleet on them. This is what makes those frequencies less than desirable, but I do have several on my system. When the band opens, there is much more interference. It's risky to use something like that over a wide area.

I wrote a big, long reply (I do that), but edited it out. We did something similar to what you describe with mixed results.

So, what did I learn?
1) The NWS is the best at radio-based public warning. Help them, don't duplicate them or the expense in a sprawling area will be tremendous and you shoulder the liability of things that don't work or that don't meet your criteria (and you really do need uniform policy on what flies and what doesn't). The NWS works extremely well with the locals and anyone can buy receivers off the shelf.

2) One voicepath will collapse when it is all things to everyone. This may not apply in rural areas, but it does here. In our case, there was 100# of ____ in a 5# bag. The tornado siren SCADA system needed its own unique control path, which is not cost or spectrally effective to maintain as a discrete conventional channel independent of any other use. The agencies needed multiple talkpaths beyond what conventional could provide. Some required encryption, but those could not coexist with unencrypted stratum of users (not everyone needs crypto gear). With personnel churn, keeping externals trained in proper use is difficult but not impossible. Still, having them on a party line with potential responder application was destructive (think about the admissions clerk in the ER grabbing the microphone and saying, "Hello? Hello???" for about 10 minutes). Another issue - uncontrolled distribution of radios led to many with no time-out-timers programmed. Some people had them, but set them to 3 minutes. I won't get into who were the worst about getting to the point on the air. My rule: if you can't get it out in 60 seconds or less, it should not go over the radio! (and it drives some people nuts to get an issued radio that has a 60 second TOT enabled on it.)

3) Having the ability to communicate with other entities is a plus all the way around, but ONLY when it's controlled. Control takes training and a commitment from external organizations to develop joint plans (imagine that). Control also may mean enforcement. Absent ANI, there was some degree of horseplay. The system as it is now requires ANI for all subscriber units so that units can be identified and a signal may be sent to turn them off. A free-for-all will turn an event into utter chaos.

4) Never cheap out in a public safety application. That's not a challenge to spend top dollar on everything, but in many communities you will find new everything, including lightbars and ***-o-matic seats in the $800,000 vehicles, but they keep using a known-to-be-deficient radio system. Hams can afford to be innovative (read: with OPJ), but public safety has an obligation to do better than that.

So, great idea if you can parse it out into several different talkpaths. The NWS is an all-hazards partner and is 24/7, whereas an EOC with full-time employees may not be. The Plectron/ Federal VARs didn't go to waste. They were recycled and given to ARES volunteers for their alerting, in addition to some Minitor IV alert pagers for some of the more active volunteers.

Here is the looming issue: none of the equipment, including what remains in service, is 2013 compatible and over the next 5 years there will need to be consideration to replace EVERYTHING (and then there's the wonder if 11K2 modulation would even continue to reliably operate everything).

In a small community your concept is absolutely do-able on one talkpath (in fact, there may be a sense of cohesiveness and collective proprietorship that makes it work), but in a very large area or in an urban environment, the efficacy falls.
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Old 12-31-2007, 10:21 AM
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I see what you mean and totally agree.
I look at this more from the perspective of the rural setting to begin with.
The big cities with large trunked systems are already covered by technology that will provide any and all of this. Radio's for schools, no problem, program a talk group in the system, set up some radios that have just that group in them and issue them out. They ring right to the city dispatch and can be handled by any number of dispatchers in the radio room. Columbus Ohio has a big system where I live, it's the Cols PD and fire. Because it's a county system and not a city owned system, all the little citys around Cols are on the same system and dispatch out of the same radio room. I don't know how many simultanios conversations it can carry at once, but it's s bunch. Now go east into Licking county, the SO has 2 channels and a LEERN channel that's state wide. They do have most of the little burgs VHF freqs in their radio's as well, but no fire. Fire is the same way, everyone has a couple fire ground channels and a primary dispatch channel, ut it's all dispatched out of the 911 center in Newark. No a bad thing, but the SO doesn't dispatch out of the same room so the intercommunications suffers. This coupled with the fact that the town of Pataskala, which annexed an entire township and is as big as Columbus proper, uses the county SO channel for dispatch makes things a bit busy for the county.

I understand that public safety is alot different than ham radio, and should be treated as such. And I am not trying to imply doing things on the cheap for the sake of saving the money. What I am getting at is if designed and implemented correctly, with good stable design, system's could be put into place to bring things together as opposed to a forklift system upgrade. Although some need it... the little burgs and the like can't afford the radio's to get on a system like that, much less build one up out of pocket themselves.
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Old 01-01-2008, 5:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ohiodesperado
... Although some need it, the little burgs and the like can't afford the radios to get on a system like that, much less build one up out of pocket themselves.
You have elegantly made my point for me. It is cheaper and much easier to link together existing radio systems, if they are adequate as is, instead of completely upgrading all the infrastructure and the subscriber units and all the other ancillary systems to support such an upgrade.

But it's not sexy like a shiny new Big M trunked system. I'm not sure whether that is good or bad in this case.

I have seen numerous "news articles" in recent years announcing that some random municipality had awarded a contract for a new trunked system that would allow unprecedented intercommunications and replace broken down old radios with flawless new radios. Now the dog catcher could report lost dogs directly to the police to begin an instant search; fire lieutenants could report stolen automobiles directly to the police to transmit an immediate lookout; dogs and cats would live together in everlasting harmony. I swear these news articles read almost word-for-word identical to each other across the country, like a boiler-plate press release perhaps. In my experience, these utopian predictions never came to reality.

Later came the bickering and law suits over unmet radio coverage and cost overruns. That part was not boiler-plate, but each had a familiar ring to it.

For smaller (poorer) towns and counties, the alternative is likely a better way to go, as you point out.

Happy New Year!
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