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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-05-2014, 9:33 PM
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Default State U-Tac Repeaters

The state has licenses for a vast network of repeaters
utilizing all U-Tac channels.. Does anyone know if this
network was ever constructed, and do you hear any
activity...
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Old 04-05-2014, 9:38 PM
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Yes, it exists. Each repeater site has a corresponding STARNET talkgroup. However, I'm not sure which state agencies actually have these talkgroups in their radios or if anybody actually monitors them at any level. Interop only works if someone is there to hear you.
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Old 04-05-2014, 9:52 PM
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Ok. Thanks....
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Old 04-05-2014, 9:56 PM
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On the state radio website, the "Quick Links" tab contains a link to the state interop document as well as to attachments showing coverage maps of the UHF and VHF overlays.

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Old 04-07-2014, 2:45 AM
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I have also looked into this. There are repeaters all over and they are to be linked to an OpenSky TG but I'm not sure how they get enabled (both repeater side and patch) and/or who controls the links.
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Old 04-07-2014, 9:57 AM
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In Delaware County, the frequencies are listed in the radio procedure manual and the contracted radio dealer was supposed to come out and put them all in the radios. The county radio room will tell us when/if to switch over, so I assume they will be the ones to activate it.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:54 AM
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Only 1 of those repeaters is enabled ib my area. I presume its on the Belmont Ave tower in west Philly.
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Old 04-07-2014, 5:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlipNutz15 View Post
I have also looked into this. There are repeaters all over and they are to be linked to an OpenSky TG but I'm not sure how they get enabled (both repeater side and patch) and/or who controls the links.
Here in Cambria County the UTACs are linked into StarNet full time. I have the the UTAC's in my work radios and have tested them with a member of PEMA. It was just a matter of him going to the appropriate talkgroup in his portable and we able to communicate very easily.

I have logged many hours monitoring these frequencies and traffic is extremely light to non existent
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Old 04-07-2014, 9:16 PM
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Several years ago during the Erie Tall Ships Event, I heard the PSP chopper directing the MillCreek Fire/Rescue Boat to intercept another boat that was entering a restricted area. The freq. being used was 453.46250000.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:23 PM
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I have been monitoring the U-TAC's in Delaware county for 1.5 years and am yet to hear any activity.
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Old 04-09-2014, 6:30 AM
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My monitoring observations in a few states has been, these VTAC/UTAC/8TAC and now 7TACs were used when the BIG ONE Hit or a Large Scale event was Planned/Coordinated where Outside Mutual Aid was going to be used and your normal Mutual Aid Channel Plans would not be sufficient and/or are not avail to the mutual aid resources

Many States have implemented Patches to the TRS as well as Tac-Stac Repeaters (V/U/8) to link the 3 bands together

YMMV tho

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Originally Posted by Audiodave1 View Post
I have been monitoring the U-TAC's in Delaware county for 1.5 years and am yet to hear any activity.
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Old 04-09-2014, 3:03 PM
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Just for a point of reference, to show what is done in another state, in my area, I have heard chit-chat and surveillance on two of the V-Tacs.
The State of Arizona has 155.475/460.375/866.0125 linked in what they call AIRS, or the Arizona Interoperability Radio System. 155.475 (155.190 input) VAIRS 1-5 & D(irect), 460.375 UAIRS 1-5 & D and 866.0125 8AIRS 1-5 & D all have different CTCSS (1 and Direct both use 156.7 Hz), depending on the county. The V/U CALL, V/U Tac and 8Tac channels all use 156.7 Hz.
In the Phoenix metro area, there are nearly 4 dozen interoperability talkgroups available, most in the clear, but about 15 have full-time encryption, available on the RWC trunked system. The "G-deck" TG's are used for large scale special events (NASCAR twice yearly, Luke AFB's recent open house, Cardinals football home games, Tempe Town Lake NYE celebrations, etc) as well as for multi-jurisdictional incidents, such as pursuits.
In Pima County, they have the Gateway Tri-Band/SITCO System, which links 155.3100/453.3500/865.2500 together. The PCWIN trunked system just went live down there. I don't know if they include specific interoperability talkgroups.
I keep a scanlist in my PSR-500 specifically for the interoperability frequencies and talkgroups. IMO, I think it's a good idea for everyone to do the same. You never know what you may hear at any time.

Last edited by KB7MIB; 04-09-2014 at 3:10 PM..
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:28 AM
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I hear very little activity, mostly just testing. Several years ago, I asked the radio project office about the StarNet TG's that the UHF repeaters were linked to, and no one could tell me which TG's were linked or which radio profiles those TG's could be found in, but I was assured that they were linked to something.

I have not seen them in PSP, State Parole, or DCNR radios, nor have I seen them in any of the PSAP base stations. The UHF side of the system definitely works, although based on my testing, the coverage shown on their propagation maps is somewhat overstated.
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Old 04-11-2014, 6:28 AM
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I do hear occasional traffic on the 8TAC channels and I believe it is coming out of PA (Possibly Bethlehem or Allentown since they are both on 800).
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Old 04-11-2014, 8:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nosoup4u View Post
I do hear occasional traffic on the 8TAC channels and I believe it is coming out of PA (Possibly Bethlehem or Allentown since they are both on 800).
Repeaters for the 8TAC's are limited in PA. The five county Philly area has them spread around the region and they see some use down here. Other than that, there are only a handful set up elsewhere in the state.

The attached map is a screenshot from the http://www.publicsafetytools.info mapping application.

There is only one site installed by the state (Reesers Summit in NE York Co). There are a bunch of sites mapped in Lancaster Co and they were set up when the county was planning on moving to 800MHz OpenSky. Since that project died and Lancaster is now moving UHF P25, I don't know the status of those repeaters...although since nobody in the county is using 800 other than state agencies who have talkgroups for talking to the county, I doubt the repeaters see any use there. There appear to be two in Bethlehem, but nothing set up by Allentown.

Back when I had training on the state radio system, I pointed at that, at the time, our radios did not have access to the conventional channels and I was told that's because nobody used them and the state didn't set up repeaters. I had to inform the folks running the class that in this corner of PA, at least, the repeaters did exist and did see activity now and then. Sadly, they had no idea there were any 800 repeaters set up anywhere in the state. I'm hoping they took the info I provided and shared it in future trainings with other agencies, but I really have no idea.
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Old 04-11-2014, 8:39 AM
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I forgot to mention that I have heard, on several occasions, traffic control operations on 8TAC channels. I can only assume this is from a PennDOT crew that wandered off the state's simplex channel and onto the 8TAC channel during their roadwork. The two state simplex channels (analog and P25 version) are in the same "bank" as the 8TAC's.
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Old 04-11-2014, 8:02 PM
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I want to also mention that the use of the VTAC's here in Phoenix is counterintuitive. The majority of cities, as well as the county in the Phoenix metro area, are on one of three 700/800 MHz trunked systems, and AZ DPS is on conventional UHF, but I'm thinking that the users of the VTAC's use the VTAC's, because most people will assume that they would be on the various 700/800 MHz interoperability and simplex channels, or on the UHF interoperability or the simplex channels licensed to the state in the case of DPS, and not in another band entirely.
This is why I suggest that folks put in all of the nationwide and all of their state specific interop and simplex channels. You never know where comms are going to pop up, especially if an agency has dual/multi-band VHF/UHF, VHF & 700/800 MHz, or UHF & 700/800 MHz capable radios.
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Old 04-13-2014, 5:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benrussellpa View Post
I forgot to mention that I have heard, on several occasions, traffic control operations on 8TAC channels. I can only assume this is from a PennDOT crew that wandered off the state's simplex channel and onto the 8TAC channel during their roadwork. The two state simplex channels (analog and P25 version) are in the same "bank" as the 8TAC's.
Ben,

The 8TAC repeaters that you know of, are they analog PL 156.7 as suggested in the NIFOG or did the Commonwealth do their own thing ? Also is there a list with locations like in the UHF and VHF overlays ? The map you provided is a tad small, it appears that there maybe a site close to me but I can't tell for sure
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Old 04-13-2014, 6:51 PM
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Quote:
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Ben,

The 8TAC repeaters that you know of, are they analog PL 156.7 as suggested in the NIFOG or did the Commonwealth do their own thing ? Also is there a list with locations like in the UHF and VHF overlays ? The map you provided is a tad small, it appears that there maybe a site close to me but I can't tell for sure
Dan, I do not know about the sites out your way. In the east here, the five counties in the Philly area all have 156.7 PL's on the 8TACs but then also have secondary PL's available, although I'm only aware of two of the five counties actively using their secondary PLs. For example, Chester County uses a secondary PL and calls the channels 8CHES91 thru 8CHES94...these are usually used for landing zone coordination with the medevacs. Montgomery County uses as secondary PL of 136.5 and calls those channels 8MONT91 thru 8MONT 94...just offers an additional set of off system channels for special events.

If you follow the web link in my post, you can go to the mapping tool on that website and pull up a zoomable version of the map I posted. That will get you a good idea of where the site is located nearest to you.
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Old 04-15-2014, 8:51 PM
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http://www.pa2600.com/InteropSOP.pdf refer to the UHF overlay chart for the corresponding PLs.
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