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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2010, 1:39 AM
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Default Thanks!

mp3sgt:
Thanks for all of the information you are able to provide. It gives an interesting insight into what is going on.

Just wondering, and you may or may not know, but why did they issue you guys P7200 portables? By M/A Coms specs, it seems like the P5100 would have been a better option, having VHF/UHF/800 analog/digital modes all in one, versus the 7200 which is P25/700/800...but then again, Eglin uses P25 so might have played a small role in it. In addition it has 700Mhz capability that the 5100 doesn't. Just speculating.

Why they put fire on we may never know. It's not like the VHF was overused. The patching could still be done to the 800 system in the same manner it is being done now, if it needed to be for disasters or multi agency response.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 12-16-2011, 8:15 PM
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Default Is Okaloosa fire/ems switching to UHF?

Does anyone know if the rumors of Okaloosa County Dispatch Fire/Ems switching to UHF Nov 1st 2012 true????
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 12-17-2011, 12:06 AM
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I HIGHLY doubt this to be true. Would take A LOT of changing things around at the CWP, both in the Maestro (SLERS console-since things are patched and simulcasted through the Meastro) and with the physical radio systems and repeaters, not to mention the logistical side of things when it comes to vehicles.
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Old 01-22-2012, 2:44 AM
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Exclamation Sorry for the delay

To ki4wbn, they issued the 5100's first with a few 7200's. Then they came around and issued the new 7300's,. you know, with the speaker where it typically should be, above the display. I have many issues with the SLERS system in my specific area. Inside houses and buildings, in thick woods, downhill. The issue is not the technology for my area, it is the lack of infrastructure. Take a look at an Okaloosa County map. Then imagine the whole county with only 4 800 towers. 2 towers decently cover the more populated and building filled south end. 2 towers cover the wooded, river bed laden, spread out north part.

As for UHF...By definition, 800 systems are UHF. However, obviously, we typically call UHF systems UHF when they are in the 450-470mhz range.

Analog wideband paging is here to stay via a paging only channel. Also, the soon to be narrowbanded existing north AND south VHF systems are staying up and operational.

South county is full SLERS talkback with VHF monitored but only used for paging (there are volunteers who do not have 800's so it is monitored but not actively used). Patching is used only for Eglin AFB fire to communicate with onscene fire units at a structure fire or other medium to large incident. This is done on the FIN and utilizes a county SLERS TAC channel. Unknown why to me, but Eglin does not have any SLERS radios but they do have civilian VHF.

North is still patched due to some bugs.
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Old 01-22-2012, 6:30 PM
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It seems to me there is a lot of patching and combining of old and new radios systems just to perform daily operations in the 4 county area. Okaloosa first moved EMS to SLERS a few years back and I know they were waiting for the completion of the new EOC but after all these years it's still a mess if you ask me. I hear it all the time on both north and south end.

A few years back everyone was able to communicate with each other no problems but now it has to be patch. Whats going to happen when we get another major Hurricane when they have issues with daily operations? What happens when the patch system fails? Will they be able to communicate by using simplex if needed? I know many of the Law Enforcement radios don't even have the state common channels programed, there patched.

The same holds true with Escambia County going to something totally different then everyone else. I know they have to patch between Alabama and Santa Rosa to maintain interoperability. Many departments dispatches have to borrow other agencies radios so they can monitor what is going on.

Just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. What good is a Statewide radio system if there are not enough towers to cover the area. What may work great in a city environment doesn't mean it will work at the county level. Especially in the more rural wide spread areas. One factor to also consider is Eglin AFB ranges cuts 3 of the 4 counties in half.

I don't even want to get into the radio mess they have in Walton County. Just from my observations of the NW Florida area, the only ones that have there act together is Bay County and Pensacola with there Motorola Type II and Santa Rosa with there VHF/UHF system.
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Last edited by wise871; 01-22-2012 at 6:40 PM..
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:25 AM
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Wink Indeed

First of all, any opinions I put on here are my own and have no relation to my workplace nor other affiliated organizations I serve.

OK. With that out of the way. To wise, I believe part of the problem is a disconnect between county and the more local specialized governments (fire, private EMS, law enforcement).

Another part of it, mostly in Okaloosa and Walton, is getting into a system before the full and promised infrastructure is in place. When a county has an existing old school VHF system in place which works and usually works well, it is hard to commit to a new system before the infrastructure is in place.

Also cost. Once a small fire dept, for example, buys a conventional analog radio, that cost is accrued at that time, minus any future repairs. With SLERS, there is a per radio, per month user fee in addition to buying them in the first place (which in Okaloosa and Walton, was done in 2009 by a PSIC grant).

There are your reasons in my humble opinion.
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Old 01-23-2012, 5:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3sgt View Post
First of all, any opinions I put on here are my own and have no relation to my workplace nor other affiliated organizations I serve.
I have to make the same disclaimer haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3sgt View Post
Another part of it, mostly in Okaloosa and Walton, is getting into a system before the full and promised infrastructure is in place. When a county has an existing old school VHF system in place which works and usually works well, it is hard to commit to a new system before the infrastructure is in place.
You are VERY correct in that, and sadly politics have a big factor in this.
The SLERS network was designed as a statewide communications, and thus is along the major highways of the state. Works great for Troopers, but not so great for anybody else-though in rural areas, the troopers have no coverage either (really not sure who's design scheme that was).
Part of the infrastructure issue is that even if you are coming on as a user of the SLERS network, the State of Florida will not provide additional coverage in the form of towers for you. You have to fund and build that yourself (though it can be done through grants, but the SOF will not directly do it).


Walton County Sheriff's Office is currently getting SLERS radios put in. So far 4 of the slated 300 have been installed into vehicles. WCSO WILL NOT be doing any patching between SLERS and UHF (they have seen what problems it has caused in Okaloosa and have learned-good move, really). They have been very insistant in that not happening. Basically, one day in the future, UHF will go quiet and SLERS will be used full time. It still has a little way to go though, as the 3 additional towers required are still being built and WCSO dispatch does not have any Maestro consoles yet (Fire/EMS does though). Any communications between deputies on SLERS right now are done from a handheld within dispatch. They don't have to worry about coverage at dispatch though, the DeFuniak site is less that 500 feet from their building.

Last edited by ki4wbn; 01-23-2012 at 5:17 PM..
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 01-24-2012, 2:00 AM
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Default Indeed

One must remember that, in my opinion, that the SLERS system is built for FHP and DOT law enforcement first and foremost. Thus, coverage is going to be prioritized near state highways and the such. An example is the Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton county tower locations. Hwy 87, Hwy 85, Hwy 83 all have towers for the northern part of those counties. If those counties need or want more, they have to build them without assistance from the State of Florida. Also, SLERS is geared toward the 35w mobile radios, not the 3w portables.
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Old 01-24-2012, 9:45 AM
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Just read the article about how Walton County just approved funding to build several more towers to expand the coverage in their area. Funny how the users are having issues and concerns with SLERS but the Sheriff seems to be pushing it regardless.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 01-24-2012, 12:24 PM
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Default Infrastructure first

I know they are pushing for SLERS but S.O. will only sign on full time to the system with infrastructure upgrades. They have had the radios for years but are waiting for the towers. They are being patient about waiting. They could have installed everything and gone SLERS as early as 2009, but they have not. They have not done so yet until they have the required coverage.
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Old 01-24-2012, 1:35 PM
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MP3SGT, you have it 100% on both of your last comments, especially the portion (and it's not really an opinion-it's a fact) that stated that SLERS was built for DOT and FHP, and designed as a mobile system, not a portable.

Walton County Fire did not want to spend the money to upgrade the infrastructure (yet they have been complaining since day 1 that they can't use their radios).

Walton S.O. is going all or nothing- as something of this magnitude should be. It will help the fire guys too...but they get to ride the coat tails of the Sheriff's Office and don't have to spend any of their money or put forth the effort of getting grant money, as the Sheriff's Office has done. The three new towers (Peach Creek, Freeport, and Gaskin) were all 100% funded by grant money. The 300 (of which only 4 have been installed)mobile radios they have purchased were also covered under 100% grant money.

Last edited by ki4wbn; 01-24-2012 at 1:44 PM..
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Old 01-24-2012, 2:20 PM
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Funny how the economy is going to crap yet departments can still get grant money to upgrade radios. It’s bad enough when I see public safety departments hold fundraisers so they can afford equipment they need. What about hiring more police or fire fighters or giving them the raises they were promised but can’t get since pay was frozen. We have to lay off workers but we have shiny new radios.

Just a little miffed because I know a few folks who are in the PS field and they need more vital equipment than radios right now. They bust their butts for little or no pay yet elected officials to included Sheriffs get pay raises all the time.

I said it once before and I'll say it again, what was Jeb Bush thinking when he was talked into SLERS. Even by today’s standards the system is outdated. Look how long they have been pushing the system. The state agencies had no choice and that was fine back then. If you notice, larger counties who can afford to buy something different do so. The smaller counties look at SLERS as a bargain, sort of a rent to own. Problem is it’s owned by Harris Corp. What till they raise their rates. We all know what happens when a company comes in and dominate the area, (Cable, Power, etc). If not right now they will in the future.
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Last edited by wise871; 01-24-2012 at 2:39 PM..
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 01-24-2012, 7:25 PM
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Even without Harris involved, it cost the departments more money, in the sole fact that you still have to maintain the VHF network for tone outs. Quite honestly, you might as well continue to use it as primary communications with that being the case.
The idea behind the SLERS is great, but in the fact it was built using an EDACS base, and with the exception of the aircraft sites, still uses EDACS, it's dated.

I have to agree though, radio communications upgrades, while they may be important, are really one of the few things that should be looked at right now in this economy, especially with so many fire departments having a hard time. Many of the volunteer departments in the north end are BARELY able to pay for the cost of fuel to run the trucks. Equipment is pretty much out of the question at that point.
And it's EXTREMELY hard to get grant money for equipment-as long as it isn't SLERS related. It's easy then....

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Old 01-25-2012, 8:22 AM
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I know what you mean about the hurt the VFD and North End departments are feeling. Remember when the gas prices were sky high. It got to the point where they had to decide if they were going to respond to standard calls (Non-Emergency or Investigation). During that time even Pensacola was talking about laying off fire fighters and police.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:40 AM
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Just as an item of interest, the Crestview FD/PD dispatch is currently working on moving into the former Okaloosa County Dispatch building. The city actually owned the building, even when it was used as dispatch by the county, but the county has lease agreements (and even now with EMS Medic 4 occupying the building). Don't think anything will change otherwise.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:18 AM
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Any updates to this? Will be visiting in several weeks. Understand Sloppy SLERS dominates area. Any other area agencies not SLERS?

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Old 03-01-2012, 9:18 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

No big updates. The Walton County SO is currently getting their remaining vehicles installed with SLERS, but until the additional towers are built, only a few select groups within the SO will be using it. Other than that, no updates or changes.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:00 AM
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Where is this definition 800 = UHF? UHF is 403-512 + military UHF

Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3sgt View Post
To ki4wbn, they issued the 5100's first with a few 7200's. Then they came around and issued the new 7300's,. you know, with the speaker where it typically should be, above the display. I have many issues with the SLERS system in my specific area. Inside houses and buildings, in thick woods, downhill. The issue is not the technology for my area, it is the lack of infrastructure. Take a look at an Okaloosa County map. Then imagine the whole county with only 4 800 towers. 2 towers decently cover the more populated and building filled south end. 2 towers cover the wooded, river bed laden, spread out north part.

As for UHF...By definition, 800 systems are UHF. However, obviously, we typically call UHF systems UHF when they are in the 450-470mhz range.

Analog wideband paging is here to stay via a paging only channel. Also, the soon to be narrowbanded existing north AND south VHF systems are staying up and operational.

South county is full SLERS talkback with VHF monitored but only used for paging (there are volunteers who do not have 800's so it is monitored but not actively used). Patching is used only for Eglin AFB fire to communicate with onscene fire units at a structure fire or other medium to large incident. This is done on the FIN and utilizes a county SLERS TAC channel. Unknown why to me, but Eglin does not have any SLERS radios but they do have civilian VHF.

North is still patched due to some bugs.
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Old 03-13-2012, 9:52 PM
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Default SLERS in the Current Monitoring Times Rag

I just received my electronic copy of the April 2012 Monitoring Times Magazine and there are two articles that cover subjects of interest to NW Floridians. The first is an article about the demise of EDACS, which SLERS uses. Harris has announced it will stop supporting EDACS in 2017 in favor of P25. The article explains some of the impact this will have on EDACS customers. The author specifically mentions SLERS and Walton County's upcoming conversion to SLERS. The second article is on the increase in encryption in public radio and the effect it it is having on the public and on the agencies employing it. It also discusses the use of Smart Phone applications to listen to distributions of public service transmissions. Check 'em out.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2012, 10:35 PM
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Thanks for the heads up!

Florida has been "working" on P25 for a couple of years now, and will be switching over to it within the next 3, at least at this point. Any radio purchased for the SLERS network within the past 2 years already has P25 capability.

The Walton County installations are in full swing, and keeping me VERY busy (am the head person in charge of the installations into the vehicles).

The current plans are for the patrol units not to have activated radios until at least after rebanding, and the current infrastructure builds are complete. So, those who listen to them on UHF can continue to do so for a couple of months yet.
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