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Old 03-26-2013, 2:22 PM
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Default Contacted Perry County EMA

I decided to contact the Perry County EMA Director and inquire as to whether there are any talks about long term plans to upgrade their system from the VHF low. One of my friends (actually more a friend of my brother and his wife) is a dispatcher. I asked him once if he thought Perry would upgrade to something like OpenSky. He said flat out that Perry was one of the poorer counties and he did not see them upgrading.

I e-mailed the director and inquired about any plans to eventually phase out the VHF low in favor of any other solution...be it VHF high, UHF or something like APCO-25. I know that a neighboring county (Juniata) just moved their low band fire dispatch from 46.06 to a UHF frequency along with (I believe) simulcasting their UHF Med 9 over it as well.

I guess, conceivably, they could just keep using the VHF low indefinitely. I know the cost would be greater for fire and EMS agencies in the county. There are only 3 police agencies in the county with a total of 13 (I believe) officers plus the Sheriff and 8 Deputies. The rest of the county is patrolled by PSP (Pennsylvania State Police). There are something like 12 fire companies which multiple mobiles and portables plus the EMS rigs. I'll be curious to see what, if any, reply I get from him.
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Old 03-26-2013, 6:07 PM
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Dave , Could you list the police agencies for me . I'm just wondering who they are out of curiosity.
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Old 03-26-2013, 6:43 PM
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Sure thing.

68 and 68-1 are Marysville
118 and 118-1 through 118-9 are Penn Township
258 is Oliver Township
8 is the Perry County Sheriff
8-1 through 8-9 are the Sheriff's Deputies.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-26-2013, 6:52 PM
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Right again Dave! Juniata is simulcasting 453.4125 (New Fire/EMS Dispatch) and MED 9
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Old 03-27-2013, 6:24 AM
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Yep, Jeffrey. I have it programmed in my base scanner at home and my portable.

No reply yet from the director. I will give him a week and, if I get no reply, e-mail the asst. director.
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Old 03-27-2013, 8:57 AM
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I did receive a reply from the Perry County EMA Director. See below:

"Mr. XXXX:
At the present time and for the near future this County does not have any intentions to switch frequencies. We currently also have Open Sky capability, but currently only us it for interoperability uses and for regional incidents such as contacting the State agencies, PEMA and FEMA.

I have started a capital improvement account for radios. The current radio equipment we are using is very antiquated. If we need to replace this equipment it will be up to the FCC to advice what system would best fit our region. We currently find it harder and harder to find low band equipment.

Hopefully this answered you questions.
Thanks for your interest.
Tom"


I wasn't aware that it was the FCC that could advise the type of system. I could not see OpenSky working for Perry County as mountainous as it is. It would be a nightmare of dead spots. You think Cumberland County was bad....
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmg1969 View Post
I did receive a reply from the Perry County EMA Director. See below:

"Mr. XXXX:
At the present time and for the near future this County does not have any intentions to switch frequencies. We currently also have Open Sky capability, but currently only us it for interoperability uses and for regional incidents such as contacting the State agencies, PEMA and FEMA.

I have started a capital improvement account for radios. The current radio equipment we are using is very antiquated. If we need to replace this equipment it will be up to the FCC to advice what system would best fit our region. We currently find it harder and harder to find low band equipment.

Hopefully this answered you questions.
Thanks for your interest.
Tom"


I wasn't aware that it was the FCC that could advise the type of system. I could not see OpenSky working for Perry County as mountainous as it is. It would be a nightmare of dead spots. You think Cumberland County was bad....

Huntingdon County uses STARNET to dispatch their Sheriff's Department. I kept a STARNET radio on the Huntingdon "interop" talkgroup for a few days and heard Huntingdon Co Control conversing with DCNR Forestry units several times regarding different incidents. I don't have access to the talkgroup Huntingdon uses for the Sheriffs Dept. It should be in PSP radios, though. I think, from an old Troop G fleetmap that was shown a few times in presentations, that the takgroup was named HUNT_LAW or something like that. The interop talkgroup for everybody else to use it tagged HUNTING. During the times I monitored it, I only heard DCNR actually using it. Not every state agency has these county interop talkgroups programmed in their radios.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that Perry Co law enforcement agencies could move to the state system some day. Obviously, money is an issue there, so I would not expect anything soon. You never know, though. The precedent is out there.
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Old 07-21-2013, 6:15 AM
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I sent an email to in the Emergency Management Coordinator to see if anything new had transpired since we last "spoke" over email. His reply:

"With in the last month the County has contracted a Consultant to complete a study of our entire radio systems and report back the deficiencies of the network and advise as to how to correct the system to receive the most beneficial radio system available that would best serve the County. So I am currently not sure in what direction we will proceed."

I just hope it's not Open Sky. I'm hoping the state's love affair with that radio system is over. Granted, even if it is, they would likely maintain a patch to their current fire/EMS frequency like Cumberland County does. I'll keep updating from time to time as I check in with him and get any new information.
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Old 10-01-2013, 6:11 AM
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I touched base with my contact at Perry County EMA again to see if anything has transpired since they hired a consultant to evaluate the current low band system.

His reply stated essentially that they are working with the FCC to see what frequencies are available for them. The various frequencies levels (VHF, UHF, 800 MHz) dictate how many tower sites are required and that impacts the total cost. He did state that they are currently looking at a VHF system, which would give them the best coverage with the least new tower sites.

Perry is rural and one of the poorer counties in the state. This is actually what I expected them to do. I did not expect them to jump into a sophisticated P25 system. There are only 3 police departments in the county plus the County Sheriff's Office. Most of the radio traffic is Fire and EMS. Plus...VHF propagates fairly well in hilly and mountainous terrains.

I will check with him in another few months (maybe around the holidays or after the new year) and provide another update.


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Old 01-03-2014, 6:18 AM
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Default Contacted Perry County EMA

Still not much movement on Perry County's new radio system. I found out yesterday, however, that the county signed a MOU with Juniata County to build a new tower just off out Route 74 near the county line. They are still working with the FCC searching for frequencies.


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Old 01-12-2014, 12:46 PM
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Well according to the sales rep at ComPros, Perry is looking into UHF system of some kind.

As far as the new tower, I heard J Co got space on a DCNR tower but not sure where. J Co is also looking into replacing the tower at the courthouse so I'm not sure how soon their money will be available for the new towers.
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Old 01-12-2014, 6:26 PM
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No action in the FCC files for a new application over the past
60 days.

They did renew their license for 45.660. That's it. Will re-check in
a couple of weeks.
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Old 01-13-2014, 6:44 AM
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I have occasionally been checking for any movement on the issuance of licenses for new frequencies from the FCC as well.

The only system that the gentleman from Perry County EMA mentioned to me was that they were looking into a VHF system. That was a number of months ago and, during my last contact with him, they were still looking for frequency availability with the FCC. I don't think we will know until we see what frequencies the county gets licensing for. I contact him every couple of months and inquire whether there are any developments on the new system.
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Old 03-05-2014, 6:21 AM
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I got an update yesterday. Perry is done with their study determining that each of the frequencies they request adhere to restrictions put forth by the FCC. They are in the process of requesting licenses for 10 VHF frequencies.

SlipNutz, he did say that they DID look at UHF, but there was only one frequency available.

So, VHF it is...just as I suspected.
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Old 03-05-2014, 6:24 AM
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Awesome. Thanks for the information. Will be watching the FCC database
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Old 03-05-2014, 7:06 AM
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Me too. I just paid to be a premium member for the ease of checking the database.
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