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Old 03-30-2017, 3:21 PM
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Default State Radio System

The State of South Dakota is scrambling to find funds to update the digital state radio system to P25. Our fire department will probably have to update our current radios with a software update or replace them all together for them to work on the updated system when and if it happens. The state radio system currently is a trunked VHF multisite digital voice system installed by Motorola. Could somebody please explain to me what "P25" means in terms that I can understand. All the research that I have attempted to do on it just confuses me more.
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Old 03-31-2017, 8:42 AM
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If it makes you feel any better, the system has been P25 for many years, ever since the "Janklow Upgrade." I don't want to get too technical, but the pending upgrade should be a matter of getting your radios programmed and that it is all. I doubt any new equipment will be necessary.

This guide explains the system and how it works:

http://sdpscc.sd.gov/documents/TraintheTrainer3_003.pdf
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:24 PM
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I have a pretty good understanding of how the current system works. I was just having a difficult time wrapping my head around why exactly the upgrade was needed. . Even listening to the on line recording of the legislation appropriations committee meeting, it seemed that no one that testified for or against the bill to spend the money for the upgrade knew why it was needed.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolinger View Post
I have a pretty good understanding of how the current system works. I was just having a difficult time wrapping my head around why exactly the upgrade was needed. . Even listening to the on line recording of the legislation appropriations committee meeting, it seemed that no one that testified for or against the bill to spend the money for the upgrade knew why it was needed.
It's my understanding that Motorola will no longer support the ASTRO 4.1 platform the state of South Dakota is using by the end of the year. The latest software-defined platform from Motorola is 7.17, which allows for many system enhancements, including voice, data, Phase-II modulation, and other improvements that are not available with the current system that's in use. This means that many radios, dispatch consoles, and even scanners will need to be upgraded.

The good thing about P25 technology is that it's non-proprietary, which means that you can choose radios from various vendors. This means that you can receive competitive bids; thus, saving money in the long-run. This is good news for small, local government agencies that are on limited budgets.

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Ron
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Last edited by Thunderbolt; 04-21-2017 at 10:56 AM..
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Old 04-21-2017, 2:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Thunderbolt View Post
It's my understanding that Motorola will no longer support the ASTRO 4.1 platform the state of South Dakota is using by the end of the year. The latest software-defined platform from Motorola is 7.17, which allows for many system enhancements, including voice, data, Phase-II modulation, and other improvements that are not available with the current system that's in use. This means that many radios, dispatch consoles, and even scanners will need to be upgraded.

The good thing about P25 technology is that it's non-proprietary, which means that you can choose radios from various vendors. This means that you can receive competitive bids; thus, saving money in the long-run. This is good news for small, local government agencies that are on limited budgets.

73's

Ron
OP, if you go to replace radios, PLEASE ask some questions of the system administrators for your state first! In a perfect world, any compatible P25 radio should be useable...but these statewide systems all have governing bodies, and those folks can and often do dictate exactly what is welcome on the system. Anything not in that category won't be issued a RID and won't work...except as a paperweight.

You may discover that your Department's ability (or lack thereof) to afford the allowed type of gear is of just about zero consequence to the folks in charge of the system, and that if affordable gear is available but isn't allowed, it's "just too bad."

You can probably guess how I know this.
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Old 04-21-2017, 7:52 PM
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So this is from the horses mouth. At the end of 2017 Motorola will no longer offer the 9600 baud flashcode upgrade. The upgrade is $400 per radio. The states wants to upgrade the system at the last possible minute in the year 2023 when Motorola suspends support of the system. Departments are left with two options. Options 1 upgrade all mobile and portable radios which will cost large amount of money for these volunteer departments. Option 2, don't upgrade. In my opinion of your going to upgrade any radios upgrade the best/least used radios. Or actually, don't upgrade any at all. Why spend $400 dollars on radios that Motorola doesn't even support anymore? And why spend the money now when there is no change for at least 6 years? My gut feeling is that there will be something new at that time that Motorola will want to upgrade to that wont be supported by any XTS/Astro series radios. And honestly I think that the state will end up paying money to upgrade department radios...they will have to. These small departments hardly have money as it is, where are they going to come up with $$$$ to upgrade their radios? Why upgrade when their bunker gear is from the 90's?
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Old 04-21-2017, 7:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolinger View Post
I have a pretty good understanding of how the current system works. I was just having a difficult time wrapping my head around why exactly the upgrade was needed. . Even listening to the on line recording of the legislation appropriations committee meeting, it seemed that no one that testified for or against the bill to spend the money for the upgrade knew why it was needed.
I stated this earlier but can restate is for clarification.. At the end of 2023 Motorola will no longer support that over 20 year system (at that time) and I don't blame them. Its like running Windows 95 in 2017. Many upgrades will be possible with the upgrade including adding more tower sites. Currently we are maxed out on tower sites. (But we don't have money to add more tower sites so I guess its s mute point...)
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Old 04-27-2017, 5:17 PM
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Thank you very much for the much needed information. At least now I have an idea of what the future brings and why.
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