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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 12-17-2012, 8:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bgottschall View Post
Our plans for interoperability are actually quite extensive.

All subscriber units will be programmed with the 700 and 800 non-federal interops, so, as you note, a locally negotiated use of simplex channels by responders working in a mutual aid situation is always a possibility.

However, we are also deploying simulcast interop overlays with 95/95 portable on street coverage countywide. The intention is that out of county userts coming to a Berks home game to help should not need to invest in system radios, but by simply ensuring their radios are programmed properly, have comms with our communication center as well as our subscribers. Each of these overlay channels will be permanently patched to a 700 TG on our system so there should be effective communication between a Berks user with a 700 MHZ portable and an out of county user with one of their home portables as long as both are within our Rf cloud.

Further, for an extended mutual aid operation, we can initiate a temporary patch between the 700 TG that emulates one of the overlay channels and the designated operational talkgroup for the incident at hand.

These overlays will exist as follows:

•VHF low low cut 33.94 (note that this channel is not the non-federal interop, but is a currently Berks licensed channel)
•VHF low high cut – 45.88 – this handles Schuylkill fire users
•VHF high – VCall, VTac1, 155.295, 155.070 – handles Lehigh, Lancaster legacy, Schuylkill non-fire (again, note a mix of interops and currently licensed Berks channels to ease transition)
•UHF – UCall, two of the UTacs (can’t remember which ATM) – handles Lebanon and new Lancaster
•800 – Originally this was to be a Call and three tacs for Chester and Montgomery interop. However, due to both county’s not be fully rebanded, we needed to rethink and are now planning to deploy 8Call, iCall, and one of each tac. This will limit capacity for simultaneous operations out of the gate but considering rebanding is still underway, we don’t see an option. Once rebanding is not a concern, we will reprogram the pre-rebanding repeaters and get to our call and three tacs.

This was a huge commitment for my bosses, but they took the time to really understand the position Berks is in with counties surrounding us in every piece of the radio spectrum, and the need for us to facilitate a system that permits the technological interaction of these emergency responders on a day to day basis. It was an evolutionary process to get them to understand that interoperability can be needed due to a 9/11 scenario, but that the real need is every hour of every day where we have responders coming to help on much more minor incidents. While it is not the same density of coverage as we have designed for the 700 system, 95/95 portable is (in my opinion) a great coverage density for people to expect in a system designed to handle mutual aid responders.

While not nearly the ease and convenience available by investing in Berks system radios, I think this is going to facilitate a great deal of comm. interop for the people we serve. Last thought, lots of technology laid out, but as we know it all comes down to policy and people (training). That chapter is still to be written.
Has this information been passed to the end users? Every person in a leadership position you ask has a different answer or no answer at all. Honestly, If this information was available to the public , maybe the opposition who understands a bit may see it in a different light.


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  #62 (permalink)  
Old 12-17-2012, 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by cavmedic View Post
Has this information been passed to the end users? Every person in a leadership position you ask has a different answer or no answer at all. Honestly, If this information was available to the public , maybe the opposition who understands a bit may see it in a different light.


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Not sure who you mean by "the public" so allow me to answer in a couple different ways.

This information is commonly understood by our emergency service working groups and has been part of the plan since it was laid out to them at the time of contract. It is also addressed in our RFP document which was publically available. Finally, it was extensively detailed during our public meetings that were held in advance of contract (while these were advertised public meetings, really they were only attended by the emergency services).

It was also addressed with each agency when we met with them to establish their subscriber order. Obviously this was at the "chief officer level" in most cases, so what trickles down, I cannot attest to.

It has been discussed at a much higher level in the public where we talk about extensive interoperability in the new system, but we really don't get into the detail I posted here (mostly as I don't think the general public would understand much of this).

So, while I have to acknowledge the answer could be different depending on who you ask, I will also tell you if you talk to someone in a leadership position in the Berks emergency services and they are not aware of this plan, then they either delegated their responsibilities and were not present when it was discussed, just became a leader (a legitimate and common problem especially in the volunteer service), or didn't understand what they were told and failed to say so in order to allow it to be clarified.

The most important outreach in this regard (in my opinion) will be with the neighboring services. Frankly, the time is just not right for that yet. However, any neighboring agency that has contacted me about budgeting for/buying radios has been given a full overview and explanation so they can decide whether the right move for them is buying system radios or rely on the interop overlays.

Last edited by bgottschallberks; 12-17-2012 at 9:11 PM..
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Old 12-17-2012, 9:10 PM
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Originally Posted by benrussellpa View Post
Hey, thanks Brian. Very helpful of you for when we set up the database entry.
No problem. Also, the corrected STAs were received today so I expect that all these channels will be brought up without exception as we turn up sites.
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Old 12-17-2012, 9:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bgottschallberks View Post
Not sure who you mean by "the public" so allow me to answer in a couple different ways.

This information is commonly understood by our emergency service working groups and has been part of the plan since it was laid out to them at the time of contract. It is also addressed in our RFP document which was publically available. Finally, it was extensively detailed during our public meetings that were held in advance of contract (while these were advertised public meetings, really they were only attended by the emergency services).

It was also addressed with each agency when we met with them to establish their subscriber order. Obviously this was at the "chief officer level" in most cases, so what trickles down, I cannot attest to.

It has been discussed at a much higher level in the public where we talk about extensive interoperability in the new system, but we really don't get into the detail I posted here (mostly as I don't think the general public would understand much of this).

So, while I have to acknowledge the answer could be different depending on who you ask, I will also tell you if you talk to someone in a leadership position in the Berks emergency services and they are not aware of this plan, then they either delegated their responsibilities and were not present when it was discussed, just became a leader (a legitimate and common problem especially in the volunteer service), or didn't understand what they were told and failed to say so in order to allow it to be clarified.

The most important outreach in this regard (in my opinion) will be with the neighboring services. Frankly, the time is just not right for that yet. However, any neighboring agency that has contacted me about budgeting for/buying radios has been given a full overview and explanation so they can decide whether the right move for them is buying system radios or rely on the interop overlays.
I think it is safe to say that information doesn't or hasn't been passed down properly as most do not understand past pushing the button to talk and then someone answers.


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Old 12-17-2012, 9:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cavmedic View Post
I think it is safe to say that information doesn't or hasn't been passed down properly as most do not understand past pushing the button to talk and then someone answers.


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Absolutely. As I said in my original post on this, it will all come down to policy and people. There is a lot of work to be done in both regards yet. Right now we are just focused on ensuring people know we recognize the need and that we have a plan.
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Old 12-17-2012, 9:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cavmedic View Post
Why are these Temporary grants , and only 1 unit designated?
Sorry, missed this earlier. These are STAs because our licensing still has not been given concurrence by Region 8. This is frustrating as we have jumped through many hoops to demonstrate compliance with our regional plan as well as neighboring regions, including having given them engineering on contours in the PLANET MSI special format they required.

We do not believe this is due to any real technical issues as our service area has been constrained to about 3 mi. outside the county as required, and our interference contours with that service area have all passed review.

They have had our request since March, with further information provided in May, but we have not yet been given the concurrence. I am amazed that these folks that volunteer to serve at the Region can find the time to get this stuff done. Obviously most of the folks in the public safety world in that area became very busy after Sandy, and that is understandable, but we hope they will find the time to provide concurrence soon so that our licensing can be finalized.
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Old 12-17-2012, 9:44 PM
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Is this system P25 Phase I, Phase II, or Motorola X2-TDMA?
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  #68 (permalink)  
Old 12-17-2012, 9:45 PM
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Originally Posted by benrussellpa View Post
Is this system P25 Phase I, Phase II, or Motorola X2-TDMA?
Phase II TDMA. No X2.
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Old 12-17-2012, 9:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgottschall View Post
Our plans for interoperability are actually quite extensive.

All subscriber units will be programmed with the 700 and 800 non-federal interops, so, as you note, a locally negotiated use of simplex channels by responders working in a mutual aid situation is always a possibility.

However, we are also deploying simulcast interop overlays with 95/95 portable on street coverage countywide. The intention is that out of county userts coming to a Berks home game to help should not need to invest in system radios, but by simply ensuring their radios are programmed properly, have comms with our communication center as well as our subscribers. Each of these overlay channels will be permanently patched to a 700 TG on our system so there should be effective communication between a Berks user with a 700 MHZ portable and an out of county user with one of their home portables as long as both are within our Rf cloud.

Further, for an extended mutual aid operation, we can initiate a temporary patch between the 700 TG that emulates one of the overlay channels and the designated operational talkgroup for the incident at hand.

These overlays will exist as follows:

• VHF low low cut 33.94 (note that this channel is not the non-federal interop, but is a currently Berks licensed channel)
• VHF low high cut – 45.88 – this handles Schuylkill fire users
• VHF high – VCall, VTac1, 155.295, 155.070 – handles Lehigh, Lancaster legacy, Schuylkill non-fire (again, note a mix of interops and currently licensed Berks channels to ease transition)
• UHF – UCall, two of the UTacs (can’t remember which ATM) – handles Lebanon and new Lancaster
• 800 – Originally this was to be a Call and three tacs for Chester and Montgomery interop. However, due to both county’s not be fully rebanded, we needed to rethink and are now planning to deploy 8Call, iCall, and one of each tac. This will limit capacity for simultaneous operations out of the gate but considering rebanding is still underway, we don’t see an option. Once rebanding is not a concern, we will reprogram the pre-rebanding repeaters and get to our call and three tacs.

This was a huge commitment for my bosses, but they took the time to really understand the position Berks is in with counties surrounding us in every piece of the radio spectrum, and the need for us to facilitate a system that permits the technological interaction of these emergency responders on a day to day basis. It was an evolutionary process to get them to understand that interoperability can be needed due to a 9/11 scenario, but that the real need is every hour of every day where we have responders coming to help on much more minor incidents. While it is not the same density of coverage as we have designed for the 700 system, 95/95 portable is (in my opinion) a great coverage density for people to expect in a system designed to handle mutual aid responders.

While not nearly the ease and convenience available by investing in Berks system radios, I think this is going to facilitate a great deal of comm. interop for the people we serve. Last thought, lots of technology laid out, but as we know it all comes down to policy and people (training). That chapter is still to be written.
Even though there never seems to be as simple a solution as there should be for interop, kudos to Berks for taking this seriously and coming up with a pretty comprehensive plan.
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  #70 (permalink)  
Old 12-18-2012, 5:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bgottschallberks View Post
Absolutely. As I said in my original post on this, it will all come down to policy and people. There is a lot of work to be done in both regards yet. Right now we are just focused on ensuring people know we recognize the need and that we have a plan.

Thanks for putting up the information...

May I suggest a FAQ page somewhere on the County website ( I did not see one ) that explains it in laymens terms, similar to what you posted but a slightly less technical version. Reading through the studies posted really doesn't help people understand exactly how this is being implemented .

Last edited by cavmedic; 12-18-2012 at 6:46 AM..
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Old 12-27-2012, 7:19 AM
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Phase II TDMA is currently only able to be scanned with one current scanner correct?
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Old 12-27-2012, 7:54 PM
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Originally Posted by lancopa View Post
Phase II TDMA is currently only able to be scanned with one current scanner correct?
Hopefully someone else will answer this too as I know very little about scanner technology. I cannot say for sure whether there is only one scanner that will do P25 II but I am of the understanding that this unit will:

GRE America, Inc. - grecom scanner receiver, lcd modules, spread spectrum radio, wireless bridge, scanner antenna, scanner pre-amps.

There is a beta release of firmware available on the website that upgrades the unit to Phase II capability. I have a couple friends that have bought one. The best that I can offer is that soon after we start turning on sites I will advise if they appear to function as anticipated.

Obviously I am not promoting or endorsing this product as, at this point, I have no experience with it except in the scanning of non-P25 trunked and conventional systems.
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Old 12-27-2012, 8:24 PM
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Originally Posted by lancopa View Post
Phase II TDMA is currently only able to be scanned with one current scanner correct?
That is correct, as bgottschallberks noted. At the present time, only the GRE PSR-800 is capable of tracking P25 Phase II TDMA systems. It requires you to install a beta test firmware to do so, as bgottschallberks also pointed out.
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Old 12-28-2012, 4:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bgottschallberks View Post
Hopefully someone else will answer this too as I know very little about scanner technology. I cannot say for sure whether there is only one scanner that will do P25 II but I am of the understanding that this unit will:

GRE America, Inc. - grecom scanner receiver, lcd modules, spread spectrum radio, wireless bridge, scanner antenna, scanner pre-amps.

There is a beta release of firmware available on the website that upgrades the unit to Phase II capability. I have a couple friends that have bought one. The best that I can offer is that soon after we start turning on sites I will advise if they appear to function as anticipated.

Obviously I am not promoting or endorsing this product as, at this point, I have no experience with it except in the scanning of non-P25 trunked and conventional systems.
Thanks for the help!

I wish someone from Lancaster would be like you and join the forums. They've left the public in the dark about stuff.
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Old 12-28-2012, 7:47 AM
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Thanks for the help!

I wish someone from Lancaster would be like you and join the forums. They've left the public in the dark about stuff.
In defense of the folks in Lancaster (or maybe in criticism of myself!), I only found this forum because I have a Google Alert set up for Berks County DES and someone's posts here triggered an alert for me. Maybe the folks in Lancaster are not aware of the community here and they just need to be told about it.

I would think that any outlet they can reasoonably find for sharing information would be appreciated. I can tell you from my perspective, it is one of the hardest parts of the project. There are so many people that have half the story, or think they know the facts when they really don't, being able to provide accurate information to correct the misperceptions is crucial.

I know they have many more people assigned to the project than Berks does, but I would think they are also suffering from the too much to do/too little time problem. Give them a call or drop an email and let them know there is a community of folks interested in what they are doing, and that there is a forum where they might be able to easily provide correct and complete information. I would be shocked if they don't register.
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Old 12-29-2012, 9:24 PM
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I am in the process of verifying my firmware and programming the control channels into my PSR-800. As soon as the sites come alive I'll be more than happy to provide an update!

Cliff
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:00 PM
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Confirmed reciept of the audio with PSR-800. Audio is loud and crystal clear.

Several sites are online and in testing. System footprint even with only a few sites online has been better than expected.

More to follow.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:45 AM
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Question P-25 FACTS OR FICTION?

County personnel were approached by BCTV last week and provided an opportunity to respond to an opinion piece that BCTV intended to place on its public webpage.
At the time, BCTV advised that the piece would be run anonymously under the tagline of “Berks County Taxpayer.”
Upon reading the piece, county personnel expressed shock that BCTV would run such an inflammatory and fact-empty piece without attribution to the author or without independent research to verify the facts.



Berks officials: Critic of emergency-communications plan is wrong, wrong, wrong - bctv.org - News for Berks County and Reading, Pa: Safety, Crime, Police News In Berks
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:49 AM
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Fact empty , please explain ????
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:25 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 6_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/536.26 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0 Mobile/10A523 Safari/8536.25)

The 'op Ed author needs to learn that the PS LTE network will not replace a proper PS LMR system.
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