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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 04-02-2013, 6:18 PM
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You may also see MARS listed as CBVEMS or something like that.
Community Based Volunteer EMS
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Old 04-03-2013, 6:20 PM
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7. Related to narrow banding, 155.715 MHz is no longer the statewide mobilization or MCI coordination frequency for EMS. The new Statewide EMS frequency is 155.340 (used currently outside of downstate for BLS ambulance to hospital communications).

NYS EMS News look in the October 2012 posting
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Old 04-04-2013, 3:54 PM
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This is actually a meaningless designation. It is a statewide EMS frequency. Calling it the statewide frequency accomplishes nothing.
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Old 04-05-2013, 5:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
This is actually a meaningless designation. It is a statewide EMS frequency. Calling it the statewide frequency accomplishes nothing.
Dave, that statement is an condensed excerpt of meeting minutes. The speaker was not quoted verbatim, and the keeper of the minutes is known to produce the minutes in a slightly humorous fashion. My opinion is that until someone can produce the actual memo out of BEMS, we're only guessing as to whether either designation applies. The only thing I am accepting as accurate is that .715 is no longer what we thought it was, and that .340 CSQ is a channel that BEMS thinks we should in its place.

Truth to tell, for any major incident, someone in the host county is going to initially decide what frequency is used for what. That has its own set of risks and rewards. But I digress...
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:11 PM
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According to NIFOG (page 35), 155.3400 is designated VMED28 and "May be designated for EMS Mutual Aid." The alternate, VMED29, is at 155.3475. Evidently whoever set up the Plan failed to consider adjacent channel interference.

Other options for EMS interop would be the UHF MED channels or the national interop channels in the band that is in local use by relevant EMS agencies.
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Old 04-05-2013, 3:23 PM
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For a very historic perspective, there were several VHF frequencies in the MARS plan in the early 80s. 155.7150 MHz was typically used by HHC police (security) for their post details, and the volunteer ambulances had 155.3400 MHz with DTMF. There was one night a week where the Citywide dispatcher had to poll through the list and do a roll call on 155.3400. The volunteer squad could get back to the Citywide board by pressing the right DTMF combination. All ancient history now.
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Old 04-06-2013, 9:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
According to NIFOG (page 35), 155.3400 is designated VMED28 and "May be designated for EMS Mutual Aid." The alternate, VMED29, is at 155.3475. Evidently whoever set up the Plan failed to consider adjacent channel interference.
Feds, what do you expect?

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Other options for EMS interop would be the UHF MED channels or the national interop channels in the band that is in local use by relevant EMS agencies.
The whole thing needs to be revamped on a state or regional basis with the collaboration of the users. (What a concept!) BEMS designated .340 as an interop channel to replace .715 without thinking it through. How many upstate and western NY counties still use .340 as amb-to-hosp primary? Quite a few, I suspect. Everyone around here does, and those that don't probably use .400. Neither frequency is appropriate as a first-line interop in these areas.

The fed interop channels are restricted to fed incidents only per the NIFOG. I'd leave them alone anyway and take a hard look at using the existing VHF or UHF (depending on local usage) PW frequencies in a better way. Luckily, the previous fire coordinator here did exactly that. He applied for enough frequencies for both fire and ems to set up a real plan with lots of room for growth without crowding.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:53 AM
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One major problem is that "interoperability" has too many interpretations. It is often substituted for the more relevant term "intraoperability." The first word actually originated from the Information Technology field, where it refers to the ability to read databases created with multiple programs via single platform. As many of us know, sometimes IT and radio communications concepts don't mix well. (That is why the IT department should not be placed in charge of the radio system. But I digress...)

Ability for units within the same agency to communicate = operability. Basically, whether or not the local radios work. Local fire departments in my area seek to ensure this by the daily radio check ritual that I refer to as "counting the fire trucks."

Ability for units from other agencies within the same service and geopolitical zone to communicate = intraservice intrasystem operability. This is managed by having a countywide or regional system that is shared by agencies in the designated area. Local mutual aid channels/talkgroups should be designated.

Ability for agencies from different services within the same geopolitical zone to communicate = interservice intrasystem operability. It should not have to be managed on a nationwide basis. That is how we get the kind of screwups that can occur if NIFOG is applied locally (like the .340 issue). Local interservice channels/talkgroups should be designated.

Ability for agencies from other geopolitical zones to communicate = intersystem operability. In this situation, the agencies' "home" radio systems are not the same. If they are within the same frequency range (good) and based on the same technology (better), then interoperability is not a problem. This is where NIFOG begins to have some applicability because different groups of users need to share the same frequencies and tech for mutual aid purposes and radio communications are regulated at the federal level.

Frequencies are one thing and protocols (emission modes, modulation techniques, etc.) are another. Unfortunately, where the feds have made actual enforceable rules about frequency selection, they have utterly failed to make enforceable rules about protocols. Even when they try, too many back doors are left open and the language is so vague as to be open to local interpretation. The telecom industry defines what the buzzwords are supposed to mean according to their needs (compatibility, interoperability, privacy, etc. are all defined by advertising copy), and Congress, the FCC, and other regulatory bodies dance to their tune.

All of this is a lengthy way of agreeing with SteveC's comment above and providing some rationale for it.

Of course, I have only addressed the technological side of the problem. The human problem cannot be solved through technological advances. People still have to play nicely together regardless of where they are from or what uniform they wear. So far, we don't have a universal solution for that.
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Last edited by DaveNF2G; 04-07-2013 at 10:56 AM..
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Old 04-07-2013, 6:30 PM
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The biggest problem with "interoperability" is that it became an industry.

The day anyone thought it was a problem and the federal government threw a grant at it (throwing money at something without thorough analysis and a plan is the best way to forever **** it up and the worst possible thing anyone can do to help it along... money doesn't fix problems - plans fix problems) there were a ton of Beltway Bandits who sold Fuller Brush and Electrolux door to door one day and the next they were federal contractor consultants or working for some "solutions" provider.

Most people who did this stuff in real life know that the solution to interoperability is NOT equipment or technology. It's PEOPLE. All the LCD displays and $25,000 radios in the world will NEVER convince agency A guy to talk to agency B guy if A guy doesn't think B guy needs to be on the team.

The problem that loomed larger than "interoperability" was that agencies had deficient systems. They underfunded their systems and were large cities that built for onsey-twosey incidents, or their systems lacked in coverage, surge capacity. A complex incident essentially took every resource or could not be managed by radio. It's a Maslow's hierarchy issue. No one should be thinking about interoperability until they have a system that completely meets their needs first.

And, VHF adjacent channel operation... our friends in Washington made a decision to halve the existing 15 kHz channelspacings (which were already a problem for 20K0F3E systems) and create 7.5 kHz channelspacings.

That's fine. It's the path of least resistance. But when you put 11.25 kHz worth of bandwidth into a 7.5 kHz wide bag, you get a situation where there would be harmful interference requiring geographic separation to use the immediate adjacent frequencies. The situation is a little better when you have a DSP filtering radio (one that does analog but has a digital mode in it as well... the digital mode does not need to be enabled, but the digital signal processing has better adjacent channel rejection capabilities). In all, VHF is a train wreck and narrowbanding did nothing to help free up additional resources - unless you are proposing less-than 7.5 kHz of occupied bandwidth (NXDN/IDAS qualifies for that). But some padorkel in DC will no doubt propose 3-3/4 kHz channel centers then and we will STILL need geographic separation to effectively reuse the channel centers.

The best solution would have been to ditch 7.5/15 kHz spacing, use 6.25 kHz spacings like UHF (and NTIA), and create standard pairings between transmit and receive sides. AND, create exclusively simplex frequencies where repeater outputs are not allowed. Yes, this would have cost money, but the Commission already set two precedents on not caring with 800 rebanding and T-Band relocation to (they have no clue where, and neither does the Congressional committee that approved it).

Time for another Xanax.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 04-08-2013, 8:12 AM
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Absolutely right about the people problem and the political one.

Much of the "interoperability" impetus came from a single incident in a single location, which is absolutely the worst way to decide what to do on a nationwide basis, no matter how high-profile the situation. It is particularly egregious in this case because the location of the once-in-a-lifetime incident is so unique. There is not a similar sociopolitical-radio-whatever environment anywhere else on Earth.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
The statewide EMS plan radio was never followed completely, particularly in WNY. Some areas assigned their own uses to frequencies (155.715 was the operations frequency for the Greater Rochester International Airport) and their own DTMF codes to local hospitals. The plan also specified that there were to be no double tones (like 1-1). Monroe County assigned 2-7-7 to Saint Mary's Hospital so it would "fit in" with the rest of the area hospital codes (NYS assigned 9-8-9).

155.715 is still used in some areas for LZ operations, but the frequency agile radios in the LifeNet birds allow them to transmit almost anywhere, so .715 use is becoming rare (at least here in ENY).
I wouldn't go so far as to say that 715 use is rare. Any EMS unit with a VHF radio (so, all of them) has 715 in it somewhere, speaking generally. We use it regularly to coordinate intercepts with surrounding agencies. I've worked in all of the Capital Region counties plus some. Rensselaer County and Saratoga County are capable of utilizing 715 - not that they always do, but they can.

I'm pretty sure a lot of that is unlicensed usage, but I don't make the rules.

Last edited by kc2kvy; 04-08-2013 at 12:05 PM..
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Old 04-10-2013, 9:03 PM
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The NYC MARS frequency was also on the DOITT 800 trunked system from the early 90's until recently when they went onto the DOITT UHF trunked system.
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Old 04-11-2013, 7:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc2kvy View Post
I wouldn't go so far as to say that 715 use is rare. Any EMS unit with a VHF radio (so, all of them) has 715 in it somewhere, speaking generally. We use it regularly to coordinate intercepts with surrounding agencies. I've worked in all of the Capital Region counties plus some. Rensselaer County and Saratoga County are capable of utilizing 715 - not that they always do, but they can.

I'm pretty sure a lot of that is unlicensed usage, but I don't make the rules.
This is a timely discussion. I just saw an application coming through adding a new site to Saratoga County on 155.715 (and a few other frequencies), so at least they have a license for it..
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