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  #81 (permalink)  
Old 02-08-2013, 4:10 PM
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Originally Posted by clifford1 View Post
A few sites are up and running on the new Berks County 700 MHz P25 TRS. I have been able to copy some audio on talkgroup 29017 on the South System with my PSR-800.
I activated the staged trunked system I had set up last month, so it should be showing up in the database now. I only have the control channels listed right now.
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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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  #83 (permalink)  
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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  #85 (permalink)  
Old 04-16-2013, 6:07 AM
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Tower disputes dog Berks County radio system
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Old 07-01-2013, 7:50 AM
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Radio tower approved for Bethel, Berks County - Lebanon Daily News

According to the above article, Bethel Township granted special exception and variances for the tower on Hill road.

Just noticed the Cumru Township has approved a tower now also.

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=484216

Last edited by sibbley; 07-01-2013 at 7:53 AM..
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  #87 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2013, 7:29 AM
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If someone in the area can get the System ID and WACN for this system, that would be great. Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2013, 7:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Chauffeur6 View Post
If someone in the area can get the System ID and WACN for this system, that would be great. Thanks.
I will provide all appropriate data including TG aliases and IDs soon.
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Old 08-12-2013, 5:19 AM
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Brian,

Thanks for letting us know the info when avail, Can you also let me know if county Fire units will be able to buy personal radios... I ask this due to the harder to obtain PSR-800, I was a Fire Fighter at 39 for 7 Years, would love to be able to listen when I return to visit friends and Family. I already own a APX-7000 with TDMA turned on. Please advise and thank you in advance sir.
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Old 08-12-2013, 5:53 AM
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Default Berks 700MHz system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chauffeur6 View Post
If someone in the area can get the System ID and WACN for this system, that would be great. Thanks.
The System ID and WACN are already listed under Pennsylvania/Berks County in Radio Reference. Let's hope this system works better than the States Open Sky system which originally was to cost around 200 million; now over 490 million and it still has alot of dead spots. It's interesting to note that the PSP had a great system on VHF High Band before Open Sky; now they are installing VHF radios back in for PSP to cover the Open Sky dead spots. When I attended one of the last meetings, Berks 700MHz system was pegged at 42 million; it's already approaching 62 million. What a waste of the taxpayers money.
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Old 08-12-2013, 5:59 AM
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Originally Posted by SShuster221 View Post
Brian,

Thanks for letting us know the info when avail, Can you also let me know if county Fire units will be able to buy personal radios... I ask this due to the harder to obtain PSR-800, I was a Fire Fighter at 39 for 7 Years, would love to be able to listen when I return to visit friends and Family. I already own a APX-7000 with TDMA turned on. Please advise and thank you in advance sir.
All info has been provided to the DB admin. I believe that he will be "staging" release of info to avoid confusion about stand up including testing TGs and training TGs. The Chinese shutdown of the factory making the 800 was pretty shocking, and I know that puts a kink I the style of folks interested in scanning, but unfortunately we will not be making any radios not "sponsored" by a participating agency active on the system.
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Old 08-12-2013, 6:07 AM
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Originally Posted by RichardKramer View Post
The System ID and WACN are already listed under Pennsylvania/Berks County in Radio Reference. Let's hope this system works better than the States Open Sky system which originally was to cost around 200 million; now over 490 million and it still has alot of dead spots. It's interesting to note that the PSP had a great system on VHF High Band before Open Sky; now they are installing VHF radios back in for PSP to cover the Open Sky dead spots. When I attended one of the last meetings, Berks 700MHz system was pegged at 42 million; it's already approaching 62 million. What a waste of the taxpayers money.
Mr. Kramer, your details are sadly confused. The $42M number you cite is the original signing cost of the executed Motorola contract INCLUDING the first 10 years of maint. You then cite a $62M cost estimate. This is also a correct number, but it includes the cost of physical plant construction of all of the tower sites. This work has ALWAYS been anticipated and budgeted. It was simply a separate contract from the radio system contract as we procured it from a construction vendor rather than pay Motorola's margin to pay a construction vendor.

While I appreciate that you believe that the provision of a functional public safety radio system is a waste of taxpayer funds, I would simply ask that in stating so, you cite correct facts and not make it appear that it is both a waste AND 48% over budget.
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  #93 (permalink)  
Old 08-12-2013, 6:49 AM
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Mr. Gottschall,

What is the time frame for the old system to go silent? My father is in Kutztown and he's an avid listener. I've been telling him to save his pennies for over inflated PSR-800, but he's sure the new system will not go live for years yet.

I'm eagerly awaiting this system to go live. I'd like to see what I might hear from Nazareth.

Thanks,
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Old 08-12-2013, 8:08 AM
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Originally Posted by sibbley View Post
Mr. Gottschall,

What is the time frame for the old system to go silent? My father is in Kutztown and he's an avid listener. I've been telling him to save his pennies for over inflated PSR-800, but he's sure the new system will not go live for years yet.

I'm eagerly awaiting this system to go live. I'd like to see what I might hear from Nazareth.

Thanks,
The current schedule calls for final system acceptance in May/June of 2014 with cutover 30 days or so prior. This is based on a critical path item which is the County handing over the last physical site to Motorola on 12/31/13. If we fail that critical path item, the schedule moves.

I anticipate the Spring, 2014 cutover will hold.

Our defined service area is county boundaries +3 miles, so I do not have prop mapping that shows what you might experience in Nazareth. As you know, this is structured spectrum so we have an obligation to design our patterns in a way that constrains our signal to the service area with a hard technical obligation to meet our regionally defined contour limits. Particularly to the NE, our design has been heavily scrutinized for compliance wioth Region 8 so we are pretty tight. As such, I would not anticipate you are going to get much in the way of trunked system. 151.220 will continue to be fire/EMS dispatch though.
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  #95 (permalink)  
Old 08-12-2013, 8:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bgottschallberks View Post
Our defined service area is county boundaries +3 miles, so I do not have prop mapping that shows what you might experience in Nazareth. As you know, this is structured spectrum so we have an obligation to design our patterns in a way that constrains our signal to the service area with a hard technical obligation to meet our regionally defined contour limits. Particularly to the NE, our design has been heavily scrutinized for compliance wioth Region 8 so we are pretty tight. As such, I would not anticipate you are going to get much in the way of trunked system. 151.220 will continue to be fire/EMS dispatch though.
Bummer. I guess I'll be spending more time at my father's place in Kutztown to give the PSR-800 a workout. The 800 works good on the NJ PSIC system, so I just assumed I might be able to grab the Berks system too. I guess being a statewide system it's a whole different animal. I'm still a newbie when it comes to trunking systems.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardKramer View Post
The System ID and WACN are already listed under Pennsylvania/Berks County in Radio Reference.
I wonder how they got there?
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  #97 (permalink)  
Old 08-12-2013, 1:46 PM
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Smile Berks Co 700Mhz system

Hi,
Just want to say kudos to Mr. Gotshall on the most concise answer I've seen to a question on a new system
(other than Upman).
Thanks for the info.
Bob
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  #98 (permalink)  
Old 08-14-2013, 6:10 AM
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Default Berks 700MHz system

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgottschallberks View Post
Mr. Kramer, your details are sadly confused. The $42M number you cite is the original signing cost of the executed Motorola contract INCLUDING the first 10 years of maint. You then cite a $62M cost estimate. This is also a correct number, but it includes the cost of physical plant construction of all of the tower sites. This work has ALWAYS been anticipated and budgeted. It was simply a separate contract from the radio system contract as we procured it from a construction vendor rather than pay Motorola's margin to pay a construction vendor.

While I appreciate that you believe that the provision of a functional public safety radio system is a waste of taxpayer funds, I would simply ask that in stating so, you cite correct facts and not make it appear that it is both a waste AND 48% over budget.
The figures I took are from news articles in the Reading newspaper. They should have explained the costs as you have in your reply. Many of the articles in the Reading newspaper led many people to believe that the County had no choice but to go to this new trunking system as in many of their articles they stated the FCC mandated the County had to move to this new system which wasn't true. You also stated in a Reading newspaper article that by narrowbanding, the radio signal doesn't travel as far as a regular bandwith FM signal. I co-host an amateur military radio net Sunday evenings at 1830 local in the 6 meter ham band. We have a couple of police officers that use surplus military radios which use a much wider bandwith than amateur and commercial FM radios. When I switch between narrow and regular bandwith in talking to the guys with the military gear, the strength of the signal doesn't change, the audio of the received signal drops a bit, so they just turn the volume up. However, when comparing an analog signal to a digital signal of the same frequency and power, the digital signal will not travel as far as the analog signal. I hope for safetys sake we don't have firemen in a burning building that don't receive the digital signal as with what happened in the City of Reading which is why they changed back to the analog mode on the fire talkgroups.
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Old 08-14-2013, 6:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RichardKramer View Post
The figures I took are from news articles in the Reading newspaper. They should have explained the costs as you have in your reply. Many of the articles in the Reading newspaper led many people to believe that the County had no choice but to go to this new trunking system as in many of their articles they stated the FCC mandated the County had to move to this new system which wasn't true. You also stated in a Reading newspaper article that by narrowbanding, the radio signal doesn't travel as far as a regular bandwith FM signal. I co-host an amateur military radio net Sunday evenings at 1830 local in the 6 meter ham band. We have a couple of police officers that use surplus military radios which use a much wider bandwith than amateur and commercial FM radios. When I switch between narrow and regular bandwith in talking to the guys with the military gear, the strength of the signal doesn't change, the audio of the received signal drops a bit, so they just turn the volume up. However, when comparing an analog signal to a digital signal of the same frequency and power, the digital signal will not travel as far as the analog signal. I hope for safetys sake we don't have firemen in a burning building that don't receive the digital signal as with what happened in the City of Reading which is why they changed back to the analog mode on the fire talkgroups.
Mr. Kramer, I appreciate the cause of the confusion. I don't know if you ever get the pleasure of dealing with the media in your professional world, but I can tell you it is not easy. They have a hard enough job trying to get the facts of ANY story right when they have to condense it to X number of column inches. This is even more so when they are writing about a highly technical issue about which the reporter has absolutely no knowledge.

We have a good relationship with most of the folks who have tried to write on this topic over the years but frankly there is only one Reading Eagle article that I consider to be generally technically accurate (and even it has some inconsistencies). That piece is an article written by Greta Cuyler. She spent almost 4 hours in my office asking questions and looking at exhibits to write that piece.

I do not agree with your assessment of wide versus narrow simulcast prop, nor with your assessment of digital versus analog. On the wide vs. narrow issue it sounds like you are basing your position on experience in dealing with a single source transmitter and not a simulcast system. However, again, I support your right to have your opinion in these regards.

I will tell you that your statement about Reading fire moving back to analog modulation is not accurate. Their move had nothing to do with prop. It was because when they deployed their system they had a great deal of difficulty dealing with the audio retransmission that you get in digital. Traditionally the FD have external speakers on their trucks that are set to radio rebroadcast and if you have ever been on a fire scene in Reading you know that they run these speakers very loud. So loud that if you live within a block of the fire scene you don't need a scanner to know what is going on. This, coupled with a software problem in the radios that were deployed in their last iteration, resulted in them having both digital decode issues (a technical issue) and audio retransmission or feedback loop issues (an operational/procedural problem). For these reasons, they elected to move back to analog.

Extensive testing we have done with the current generation vocoder tell me that the digital noise issue is licked and audio reproduction, even in noisy environments, is stellar.

Audio looping is still a concern but people need to manage this through proper operational procedures. There is no need for everyone to run around with their speaker mics at top volume so they represent a source of secondary audio. The City, understanding the cause of their prior issue, has decided to NOT deploy external speakers on their trucks in the new system (also assisting them I addressing some other procedural problems like the family [and the rest of the neighborhood] hearing over the radio about fatalities or injuries at a scene before they can be addressed properly). This feedback looping is not something new, it is no different than the analog whine we get today when a speaker and mic are in too close proximity. It is simply a different manifestation of the same problem. It will take time and training, and people will be frustrated at first, and then they will learn to work through it.

With respect to "safety's sake" and firemen in buildings not receiving a signal, let me dash your hopes right now. There will be MANY buildings in which a fireman, or any other operator, will not receive a signal. That will be MANY less buildings than we have that problem in today though. I am not sure you understand how abysmal our radio prop is today, as it seems like you think we could possibly have worse coverage in the new system. Do you believe that the City's current system functions everywhere? It doesn't. That said, the City has better coverage density than anywhere else where we have responders having to go back to the apparatus to make transmissions from mobile. There will be locations where simplex tactical operation is necessary and the users will need to learn these areas like they know where their "dead spots" are today.

I assure you if nothing works as planned, and all the promise of this new platform falls through, our prop will still be better than it is today.

We did not buy a system that guarantees in building coverage throughout the County, or as it might be more properly called, a $160M system. I would love to have been part of designing and managing such a system, and as and emergency responder, I would love to have it available to me for use. It is simply not feasible.
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Old 08-14-2013, 8:51 AM
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Originally Posted by bgottschallberks View Post
With respect to "safety's sake" and firemen in buildings not receiving a signal, let me dash your hopes right now. There will be MANY buildings in which a fireman, or any other operator, will not receive a signal. That will be MANY less buildings than we have that problem in today though. I am not sure you understand how abysmal our radio prop is today, as it seems like you think we could possibly have worse coverage in the new system. Do you believe that the City's current system functions everywhere? It doesn't. That said, the City has better coverage density than anywhere else where we have responders having to go back to the apparatus to make transmissions from mobile. There will be locations where simplex tactical operation is necessary and the users will need to learn these areas like they know where their "dead spots" are today.

I assure you if nothing works as planned, and all the promise of this new platform falls through, our prop will still be better than it is today.

We did not buy a system that guarantees in building coverage throughout the County, or as it might be more properly called, a $160M system. I would love to have been part of designing and managing such a system, and as and emergency responder, I would love to have it available to me for use. It is simply not feasible.
Richard,

Knowing when to use simplex tactical channels versus on system talkgroups for fireground operations is something every incident commander should be aware of on their fireground. As Brian said, there will always be dead spots for repeated systems unless money is no object (and even sometimes if money were no object).

In my fire company's territory (not Berks), we have a high school building and we are very aware of where in the facility Mongomery county's trunked system does not work and where our private UHF repeater does not work. In those areas, we all understand that we will work simplex UHF for operations and that mutual companies without UHF capability would need to use 800MHz simplex. We have tested the same sort of thing on the Schuylkill River for water rescue operations. As a firefighter, one of the things you need to learn is what tools work where and always have a plan B. I would never assume that any repeated system is going to work everywhere. Anybody who does has unrealistic expectations.
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