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Berks County - Proposed 700/800mhz Digital Trunked Radio System

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HM1529

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#3
Berks currently runs a mix of lowband and highband VHF for fire, VHF highband for police and EMS.

Here's a link to the report they had done recently outlining multiple options for a new radio system:

http://www.co.berks.pa.us/911/lib/911/cta_report/Berks_Co_Final_Report_Sections_1_to_6.pdf


Berks 911 Newsletters:

http://www.co.berks.pa.us/911/cwp/view.asp?a=1303&q=489065&911Nav=|

See March 31 newsletter for announcement of support by Berks Fire Chiefs for a 700/800MHz trunked system.

Looking at their neightbors, you have two different UHF trunking systems in development to the west (Lebanon, Lancaster), VHF lowband/highband to the north and east (Schuylkill, Lehigh), and two different 800MHz trunked systems to the southeast (Chester, Montgomery).
 
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#4
Fwiw...

That report is a recommendation. The 700 / 800 decision has not been made yet. The report offers several suggestions, the 2nd highest of which is T-band. It seems to me that, looking at those tower sites, 700/800 won't cut it in these hills. Berks would be much better served on T-band. It's not too late yet...
 

CommJunkie

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#5
The report says that T-Band is not recommended due to distance from Philadelphia. I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. Does that mean they won't be able to get licenses for those frequencies?
 
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#6
CommJunkie said:
The report says that T-Band is not recommended due to distance from Philadelphia. I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. Does that mean they won't be able to get licenses for those frequencies?
I would suspect that it's because Delaware County, Bucks County, and SEPTA in Pa. and Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties in N.J. all use T-Band for their systems (DelCo, Camden, and Gloucester are conventional, the other two TRS). I would suspect that the number of T-Band freqs - unless they apply for something in the 470-480 range - are few and far between.

Other than that, I wouldn't see any logical reason why they couldn't use T-Band as opposed to 700/800.
 
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#7
I have noticed in this area (SE PA) there is a general lack of frequencies between 470 and 500. The 500 range is well used in this area. I know Maryland MTA uses freqs in the 494 range for their TRS but that system is centered in the Baltimore area. I don't see why Berks wouldn't be able to use frequencies in the 470 range. They're out there and available.
 

CommJunkie

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I agree with Septa. The 500-512 range is pretty well-used in the area. There are very few in the 480's and 490's used, why not go with that?

I guess, then, it wouldn't be T-Band, more of a low-UHF band...
 

wnjl

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The problem is TV Channel 17 out of Philly is in the 480-500 mhz. range, so I believe that is the reason no frequencies are allocated there within their coverage area due to the potential for interference. One would think 470-480 would be doable though...departments in Southern Somerset and Middlesex Counties in NJ use the 470-480 band, and they are about the same distance to Philly as Berks is.
 
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#10
Yeah, and don't forget that channel 17 will be moving to another frequency next year. I also think 470-480 band would work well for berks. But why do some people think that 700/800 MHz wouldn't cover the county well? Doesn't it have about the same terrain as chester county and montgomery county? 800 seems to work well in those areas.
 
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Yes 800 may work in Chester and Montgomery Counties but keep in mind that T band requires less towers than 800 mHz. Chester County needs about 31 towers in order to have their 800 system cover the county. I'm not sure how many Montgomery has. I would say T band would work in Berks County. Another option is sticking with a conventional system in the VHF and/or UHF spectrum but add more frequencies (i.e. VHF Narowband) for interoperability and other things.
 
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#12
Don't forget about Northampton County using 500Mhz or T-band frequencies.

I always thought that the UHF T-Band was in regions and the 500 - 512Mhz range was for Philadelphia Region the 470 - 480Mhz New York Metro could be wrong but remember seeing it in a back issue of POLICE CALL one time?

Steve
 

ocguard

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#13
Steveradio said:
Don't forget about Northampton County using 500Mhz or T-band frequencies.

I always thought that the UHF T-Band was in regions and the 500 - 512Mhz range was for Philadelphia Region the 470 - 480Mhz New York Metro could be wrong but remember seeing it in a back issue of POLICE CALL one time?

Steve
The UHF-T band is standard (470-512). It's availability for public safety usage changes between regions, based on which TV channels are being used for TV broadcast in those regions. Most major metropolitan centers have between 2 and 10 major TV broadcast stations in use. But an analog TV broadcast takes up quite a chunk of frequency (called bandwidth). This is part of the reason for the analog-digital TV broadcast deadline; once all TV stations are operating in digital mode, each station will use a considerably smaller amount of bandwidth, freeing up additional frequency space for land mobile users.
 
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Yeah It would be nice if bucks went to 800 since Montco is on that.
Are you talking Berks or Bucks? Two VERY different counties. I doubt Bucks has any plans to do anything like that since they only went to 500 MHZ Motorola P25 trunking within the last 10 years. Berks in the other hand is talking about getting a new system. 800 MHZ is NOT good for counties with terrain like Berks. It may work in the City of Reading but not the whole county. If you ask me, as discussed above, a 470 MHZ trunk system would probably be the best choice. VHF trunk would probably also work pretty well. As long as it stays below 512 MHZ, I'll be happy.
 
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#17
what is the problem with low band and high band that they would need to change it to 700/800 mhz
It's a rather complicated issue. From what I understand, nobody makes low band radios anymore. Thus replacements and parts are harder to find and in many cases, none can be found at all. High band radios are still made and there really isn't a problem with them. The biggest reason for changing to 700/800 MHZ is politics and this claim of interoperability. Radio sales personnel will use the claim of interoperability by saying that your current radio system doesn't allow police and fire to directly communicate with each other. With this system, such communication can easily be done with little trouble. These sales agents are partially wrong because some agencies already have a channel that both police and fire can access (in the case of Delaware County, the incident command channel). Politics come into play here because these systems are sold to elected officials often times. These people buy into these systems because they promise to be a cure all for every problem they currently have with their radio systems. In many cases 800 MHZ doesn't provide the coverage that the sales agent said they would get (for examples, see the PA Starnet and the Lancaster County Open Scam systems). There are many more reasons why agencies go 800 but I won't go into them right now because I'd be typing for quite some time.
 
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#18
Berks 700/800mhz system

Where to begin...Some of you from out of the area may be wondering about this subject. I do believe the facts of the matter are this, the county's communications director, and members of his staff, had been floating this idea around. The fist step was to transfer all EMS and Fire dispatching to one dispatch channel, with operations on the current channels, as many other counties do. This channel was to be up by October 2007, that's right LAST YEAR! It's still not close to completion. Problem is they had Fire Companies and Ambulance squads buy new pagers, some through State Grants, which are now stored in a room somewhere, and they need to negotiate warranty deals with Motorola. To make matters worse, they were telling those on low band (mostly Fire Companies) that the FCC was going to force services off of the low band channels, and Motorola wasn't going to be making or serviceing low band radios in the near future. Not true!

The most recent developement to come out of this, is a rumor that the Director was being releaved of his duties in the not too distant future.
 

Audiodave1

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#19
The UHF-T band is standard (470-512). It's availability for public safety usage changes between regions, based on which TV channels are being used for TV broadcast in those regions. Most major metropolitan centers have between 2 and 10 major TV broadcast stations in use. But an analog TV broadcast takes up quite a chunk of frequency (called bandwidth). This is part of the reason for the analog-digital TV broadcast deadline; once all TV stations are operating in digital mode, each station will use a considerably smaller amount of bandwidth, freeing up additional frequency space for land mobile users.
An analog and a HDTV license gets you the same 6Mhz wide channel...which may be subdivided but it is still the equivalent of an analog TV signals broadcast bandwidth.

Dave
 
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