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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 03-05-2011, 11:20 PM
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Not 100% sure what a "VHF P25 overlay" means. Will sites in the mountains have 700 and VHF frequencies? Will the mountain sites have VHF only? The Parks radios currently in use, as far as I'm led to believe, are not P25 compatible, so it's not a case of retaining the existing VHF equipment for cost-reduction. It might require agencies like mine - who do work in Kananaskis and etc - to consider one of the multi-band radios like the Harris Unity, Thales Liberty, or Motorola's APX line.

The other thing that caught my eye is this quote Thunderbolt posted - I can't find it in either press release available right now. TB, care to share where it came from? It does seem to confirm things mentioned previously:



The western half of the province is undoubtedly going to be a more difficult build-out, so I guess I'm not surprised that it would be done last, after they've built up some experience putting together the easier portions on the bald prairie side of things.
I was about to throw that quote you put up there Jay911, interesting times coming in the next little while. Cant wait to see how things develope, out east is going to be interesting. AFAIK Yellowhead County is still on thier MPT system, I have not been out there since October but when the MPT control channels were still active
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old 03-22-2011, 2:26 PM
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I have some information about what the "VHF overlay" is.

As has been surmised in this thread, trunking and 700MHz are both not optimal for some of the remote areas like mountainous regions and such. The AFRRCS solution is going to involve VHF P25 Conventional in some areas. This will be digital, conventional non-trunked, in the VHF band.

My understanding of the design and the nature of P25 is that the VHF portion will still have talkgroups, emergency button activation, and other such stuff. The user will have to manually switch between the 700 trunk network and the VHF system when transiting through those areas.

I don't know what will happen if multiple agencies need to use the same site at the same time. I would presume one will get a busy signal "bonk". Or maybe there will be a couple of frequencies on the same location to account for this (say, if RCMP and SRD need to talk at the same time on separate talkgroups). Also don't know if the VHF sites will carry specific talkgroups all the time or how that will work - example, will a site in Kananaskis always be carrying a bunch of SRD comms, the RCMP talkgroup for the area, etc., or how will it know if there's a radio that should be affiliated to those TGs in that area?

My understanding of how things are going to elapse from this point forward is the creation of a governance committee/board to oversee and operate the system, and the test site(s) from Calgary to Brooks. That's 2011 in a nutshell. 2012 involves build-out in the east half of the province, and it's not split by Highway 2 or any other strictly geographic location - it's by census division. IIRC, Calgary and Edmonton's CDs are in the "east half" as far as things appear at this time (of course, nothing is cast in stone, even at this point). In 2013, the "west half" gets built out.
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Old 03-23-2011, 9:58 AM
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Could this VHF overlay be sort of a P25 version of the EDACS SCAT? If so it would accomplish quite is described other than requiring a lot of power for the data channel that would operate until a transmission came in.

No wonder Harris is pushing for the Unity radio which would be a must for both VHF and 700 Mhz. Jay has already filled us in on the other competing radios that would also fit this bill.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:22 AM
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I don't know if it's going to use a SCAT-like functionality. Part of the reasoning for it was that it was not feasible to have a continuous control channel on a solar-serviced (or otherwise not "hard-wire" powered) site.

I'm trying to get a demo of a Motorola APX radio in VHF/7/8 split some time in the near future. I won't be seeing any P25 operation out of it, of course, but we do use the Calgary Smartzone system and a whole ton of VHF in the area (Firenet, FRCC's fire channels, RCMP comms, etc).
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Old 03-24-2011, 9:38 PM
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Originally Posted by harryshute View Post
Could this VHF overlay be sort of a P25 version of the EDACS SCAT? If so it would accomplish quite is described other than requiring a lot of power for the data channel that would operate until a transmission came in.

No wonder Harris is pushing for the Unity radio which would be a must for both VHF and 700 Mhz. Jay has already filled us in on the other competing radios that would also fit this bill.
In one of the multipul meetings I was in attendance about the system. It was asked "do we trust the end user to swtich between trunk (700 mhz) non-trunk (VHF) the group concensious was "no"

Someone asked if radio / system brand X was smart enough for the “Failsoft” feature to do the switching, this would ensure the user would continue to have radio communications.

For those not familar with " Failsoft "

Failsoft ensures that you will continue to have radio communications capability in the event of trunked system failure or in this case signal loss during trunked operation,

The radio will automatically go into failsoft operation if the central trunking controller fails or signal is lost. While in failsoft, the radio will transmit and receive on a predetermined VHF frequency in conventional,P25 mode as opposed to trunked mode.

When the trunked system returns or signal is established, the radio will automatically leave failsoft operation and return to trunked operation.

Monitoring Sheirff trunk radio system around Edmonton was a real pain. Units patroling in the fridge of trunk coverage area, would pop in and out of the trunk system. It took a while to figure out when the radio lost the control channel the radio would pop in to "failsoft" mode and switch to a conventional channel.
Once we figured out the simplex frequencies for conventional mode, life was good again

I did catch a peek of a RF engineer concept design of the system. He pretty had the VHF portion of the radio system tower sites on their own. They zig zagged along the western edge of the province in and along the Rockies. I thought I may have caught a glimpse of VHF tower or two in northeast Alberta.
VHF zones started in Southern Alberta and all the way down north of Grand Prairie. I did see overlap of systems near Edson / Obed .
Can’t say if his designed was used or not, I can’t see any other engineer to come up with something much different

Last edited by brechtd; 03-24-2011 at 10:19 PM..
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 03-25-2011, 10:13 AM
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Hi Doug good to hear from you again. Very accurate explanantion of the failsoft operation that is going to be used and is being used in the Saskatchewan P25 system and current 800 Mhz Sheriff''s system in Alberta.

What blows me away is no one has reported listening to the new 800 Mhz P25 trunked system which is set up in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton. Other than one frequency in Lethbridge and one in Red Deer that is it.

When I am talking Sheriff's I'm not just talking about the traffic Sheriff's who mainly use the RCMP channels now. I'm talking about prisoner escorts, courthouse security, remand centers, provincial corrections, S.I.S. (Stategic Intelligence Support), Legislature Security, FAST (Fugutive Apprehension Street Team) and SCAN, something about safer communities and shutting down drug houses.

All of these have tg's on the system and coventional channels which are the same as the failsoft channels. So if the system goes down or you go out of range Traffic Sheriff's switch to their own failsoft conventional frequency. Escorts then go from their talkgroup to their specific Escort conventional channel. This fits in totally with what Jay was describing regarding the VHF overlay.

To make a long story short those wanting to go on the new system will have to find radios that run P25 700 Mhz and can default to VHF. That's why Harris is pushing the Unity.

The Sheriff's bought this system thinking they would save money by buying Motorola P25 800 Mhz radios which at a later date could be converted to 700 Mhz on the new system. But now the 700 Mhz system with VHF failsoft has put a damper on that.

Wonder what Montana and Idaho are planning? In Saskatchewan start looking for those conventional failsoft frequencies.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:59 AM
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I'm very glad I read this thread. I live in Saskatchewan I had no idea that there was a failsoft frequency here. I'll be on the look out.
So does anyone know what will happen with Lloyd? Right now they are running 2 seperate systems. PACS for the city and Alberta rural and PPSTN for Sask. rural. It seems to me that when Alberta goes to there new system that they may try to have some sort of common Ch. that both provinces can use. Would that mean they would set up the failsoft frequencies the same in both provinces?
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:49 AM
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What blows me away is no one has reported listening to the new 800 Mhz P25 trunked system which is set up in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton. Other than one frequency in Lethbridge and one in Red Deer that is it.
Are you implying that there is an actual 800MHz P25 trunk radio system operating in these cities?

I regularly do a sweep/search of various bands in Calgary including 800MHz and I have yet to find any control channels other than the identified ones for the three Motorola systems in town (Calgary Digital Radio, Calgary Stampede, and TAC Mobility).
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:52 AM
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I'm not sure why Lloyd is such a problem. When the city was in F Division Kitscoty RCMP in Alberta covered the rural area up to the border with Saskatchewan. Now that the city is in K Division and has been given new PACS channel B16 why not have RCMP detachments that cover Marshall and Lashburn in Saskatchewan cover that rural area.

As for what the RCMP will do with Lloyd when the new system comes on line is a very good question. They will have to have interoperability so using VHF for both in that area would make good common sense. But why let common sense enter into the decision when you can stick two different radios in each car in that area

Prior to the new Saskatchewan system Alberta RCMP had Pacs, F Div and E Div 139 Mhz for B.C. in all their VHF radios. I still maintain Alberta's system should have also been VHF P25 trunked. This VHF overlay for 700 Mhz is just saving face to try and correct a flawed decision to go to the newest band to try and foil scanner listeners and give some techs some new toys to play with.

It's a bit like the police going from X band radar to K Band to foil radar detectors. When K band detectors came out the answer was laser. The same goes with scanner technology.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:10 PM
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Yes that is what I'm saying other than Calgary which is lagging behind and still piggy backing on the city system but we hear that activity is decreasing now too. Jay when you posted that 800 Mhz P25 frequency out of Lethbridge (that is in the RR database) that is part of the Lethbridge system. When someone posted the Red Deer courts frequency in the database that is part of the Red Deer system. Both these frequencies are very active in Calgary too.

As Doug mentioned we have been monitoring the Sheriff system in Edmonton for a number of years. But because of some of us facing confidentiality clauses at one time or another we can't just blurt this stuff out other than giving guidance on how you too can find them. When it was first set up in Edmonton I posted the brand and model number of the radios that were being used. Maybe I'm just hearing things but next time we are at a meeting together I'm the one with the name tag Harry and Doug is the guy with the name tag Doug. I had assumed you were the guy with the name tag Jason
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Old 09-25-2011, 9:45 PM
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AFRRCS microwave links have started showing up in the TAFL!

There are links in: Iddlesleigh, Outer Rainy Hill, Crossfield, Beiseker, Cochrane, Beaupre Hills, Rockyford, and Wintering Hills, according to the licenses.

The licensee is listed as "Govt of AB, SGPS, AFRRCS-Microwave attn: Jim Couprie or Successor".

Looks like there's some driving around to be done this week to see if there's anything in front of that backbone infrastructure
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:55 PM
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Here's a Google Maps kml file with the locations of the eight sites reported by TAFL.

I'm probably going to check out the Cochrane and Beaupre sites tomorrow to see if anything's happening.

I'll also be editing the wiki document tonight. Link: http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/AFRRCS
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Old 09-26-2011, 8:48 AM
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Well, I drove past Cochrane on my way home, and I haven't found anything noteworthy. After I posted last night, I've noticed that the frequency status flag (something I rarely if ever look at) is set to pending for those frequencies. So maybe things are not happening quite yet.

I did find something else exciting, but for another thread.....
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:35 PM
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There's now a second batch of licenses in the TAFL. Both are still "pending", but this one looks more interesting than the MW stuff.

Short version:

Bassano:
CGS835
770.63125
771.33125
771.63125
772.44375

Iddlesleigh:
CGS856
771.10625
771.58125
773.78125
774.88125

8.34 kHz bandwidth.
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Old 09-28-2011, 2:28 PM
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Added the currently advertised sites to the wiki article, along with links to TAFL searches for the LMR-South and MW licenses. Also a link back into the first page of this thread.
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Old 09-28-2011, 8:27 PM
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Yikes! 44 more freqs just showed up in the south LMR license, for sites in:

Airdrie
Calgary
Cluny
Cochrane
Crossfield
Duchess
Wintering Hills

Looks like things are getting underway!
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:54 PM
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Rockyford is the newest site to be added with four frequencies.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:01 PM
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Yup, just saw that. Also there is a new license group for LMR-North with one VHF frequency and six 700MHz ones, at 10104 103 Avenue NW in Edmonton (SGPS offices maybe?) EDIT: Nope. I'm sure you guys know better than I do, but different sources on Google put it as either Bell Tower or Canada Trust Tower.

Adding them to the wiki and the Google map shortly.. also, I have programmed them in to my HP1 and my PSR600 both as trunk data, and in the 600, as conventional - it sits at home with Win500 logging all day long. If the Cochrane site fires up, I should be able to detect it. Anyway, if anyone wants the HP1 .hpe file, or even a .p500 file, let me know.
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:03 AM
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Thanks Jay I'll enter these Edmonton ones in. My 996XT doesn't accept the last digit but should work. The address is for the Bell Tower. Sol Gen offices are at 97 st and 103 Ave.

It's going to start to get interesting,
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:45 AM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9780; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.8+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0.0.600 Mobile Safari/534.8+)

That would be the Bell Tower Jay. I wonder if that is to test the 'Vhf Overlay'?
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