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Catawba County question

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N1DDC

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#1
Does anybody know anything about the Catawba County frequencies? I know they primarily use the VIPER State-Wide talkgroups now but due to some hard-to-reach areas they sometimes go to a channel called Direct-1... Now there is a Direct-1 and Direct-2 frequencies listed in the database but I'm pretty sure they aren't correct. I've driven by a fire scene with my radio on Direct-1 when they've switched and gotten nothing, I've tried it with the PL Code listed and without a PL Code. Does anybody have any insight? Thanks!

••David
 

TylerMK

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#2
CAT DIR 1 - 769.03125 DPL 114
CAT DIR 2 - 769.00625 DPL 114

These are used when only short range communications are needed. VIPER has very good coverage throughout most of the county. Most fire departments use direct channels on "structural responses" due to unpredictable VIPER coverage inside structures (building penetration), preference of analog modulation, and simplicity of operation (direct radio to radio). It should also be noted that these frequencies are limited to 3 watts.
 

N1DDC

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#3
CAT DIR 1 - 769.03125 DPL 114
CAT DIR 2 - 769.00625 DPL 114

These are used when only short range communications are needed. VIPER has very good coverage throughout most of the county. Most fire departments use direct channels on "structural responses" due to unpredictable VIPER coverage inside structures (building penetration), preference of analog modulation, and simplicity of operation (direct radio to radio). It should also be noted that these frequencies are limited to 3 watts.
I get that, those are listed in the database already, but if I drive to a fire scene and put my scanner on those 2 channels I should receive them correct? I am not even half a block away, I've tried turning the PL off and everything. That's why I asked is it possible the frequencies changed OR if someone got it wrong and they use a total separate frequency entirely?

••David
 

TylerMK

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#4
These frequencies are 100% correct and have not been changed since their inception. I rarely mess with scanners so I really can't help you there.
 

N1DDC

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These frequencies are 100% correct and have not been changed since their inception. I rarely mess with scanners so I really can't help you there.
Yeah I'm kinda better at programming Motorola Trunked radios myself, that is second nature to me, but I will try and see if I am making any errors in my scanner, it is a new one I just got and haven't fully learned how to use it yet (Whistler TRX-2), I never thought a scanner would be more complicated to program than my XTS5000's! Not sure what I'm doing wrong or why I can't receive it. Maybe it's just that the time I drove by and sat there they didn't transmit anything on Direct-1. I appreciate your reply tho trying to help out! :)

••David
 

N1DDC

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#6
I did have another question actually. Is there a reason that on almost every fire alarm or fire call they ask to switch to Direct-1? I understand the part of VIPER not having coverage in some areas but I'm noticing it on like every call, if there's THAT many dead spots VIPER needs to re-evaluate and install some more repeater towers! I guess I'm just used to the area I grew up in where every scene operations channel was supposed to be recorded AND repeated so all units could hear what's going on. And when I do hear them use Direct-1 for Scene Ops they are able to switch back to the monitored dispatch channel to advise updates so apparently there is VIPER coverage where they're at. Plus it's safer if something happens on a scene now you have to fiddle with the radio and switch back to a dispatch channel to request another resource. I'm just trying to understand the concept of switching to a non-repeated channel if you don't have to. This is NOT meant as disrespect to anyone, I am new here to the area so I am trying to get a grasp of how things work. :) it's confusing. Maybe it's the Dispatcher in me or the EMT/FF that's been on a bad call before where this situation has happened... Thanks for any input! :)

••David
 

N1DDC

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#8
VIPER is not designed for in-building coverage and does not guarantee it in any fashion.
Okay, I could understand that. I didn't get it initially because any P25 system I've dealt with was okay in a regular house but multi-story bldgs had issues. I was under the impression VIPER was a very good system so I wasn't expecting issues in like a regular 1-story house fire. But I'm new to the area so I wasn't aware that there was issues even in those structures. Thanks!

••David
 
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TylerMK

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#9
VIPER is designed for 95% in street coverage. Fire departments in Catawba County have the option of using a tac channel (VIPER) or a direct channel on incidents. Most utilize direct commutations for "structural" responses. Overall the county has very good VIPER coverage. Most buildings in the county have good VIPER coverage but unfortunately you don't know until you're inside. Consider that most firefighters use a radio strap or a chest pocket on their turnout coat for their radio. Then add to the fact that while fighting fire they are low to the floor and might be in a confined area inside a structure. These factors inherently place the radio in a poor location for transmitting, especially to a tower that could be miles away. Direct channels are ideal for operating in an IDLH environment. There are no busy signals, you don't have to hit a tower 10 miles away to talk to someone in the next room over, etc. The biggest con is that there is no direct communications with dispatch on a direct channel. This is why you hear command calling on the dispatch talkgroup when operations are on a direct channel. Due to the limited range of direct channels multiple incidents can take place on a single channel with no interference. It all comes down to unpredictable in-building coverage and simplicity.
 

N1DDC

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#10
That was perfect! I appreciate you taking the time to explain it to me, now I fully understand the process! :) I just moved here from a big city so there's a lot for me to get accustomed to.

••David
 
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#12
Make sure you have the correct NAC codes programmed into your scanner. Direct 1, Direct 2, Direct 3, etc are all statewide 700 mhz frequencies, each county has a different NAC code assigned to them by the state
 

KE4ZNR

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#13
Some areas use a FutureCom DVRS (Digital Vehicle Repeater System) to bridge coverage between portables and radio systems. We have 3 in City FD Battalion Chief vehicles and 3 in County FDs. They work well when used correctly.

Marshall KE4ZNR
 

N1DDC

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#14
Well the database has Direct-1 & Direct-2 and also has a frequency for DVRS in Catawba. As far as NAC codes I don't see any listed in the DB so since they are statewide I'll try to google them and see. I'm sure that's what my problem is since I don't see an NAC code listed, I'm using the default NAC 293, unless it's different...

••David
 

N1DDC

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#15
Make sure you have the correct NAC codes programmed into your scanner. Direct 1, Direct 2, Direct 3, etc are all statewide 700 mhz frequencies, each county has a different NAC code assigned to them by the state
Disregard my post above this one, the database has a DCS/DPL for Direct-1 and Direct-2, the only one with an NAC code is the Mobile Repeater/DVRS. And I don't see any other way of programming an NAC on top of a DPL/DCS on a channel. Is the list true, or do all the Direct channels have NAC codes instead?

••David
 

TylerMK

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#16
Catawba County actually has quite a few direct channels, including a couple that are specific to Hickory Fire (Direct 6 and 7). Direct 1 and 2 are the most used in the county and are analog modulation. The DPL listed in the database is correct. I'll post the remaining direct channels in a couple days, most of which are digital.
 

N1DDC

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Catawba County actually has quite a few direct channels, including a couple that are specific to Hickory Fire (Direct 6 and 7). Direct 1 and 2 are the most used in the county and are analog modulation. The DPL listed in the database is correct. I'll post the remaining direct channels in a couple days, most of which are digital.
That's cool, thanks in advance! I did some Googling and found the entire losing of 700-MHz interoperability channels, Catawba Direct-1 & 2 are in there but they are listed as something different, 7-CALL-something or other. I also found a lot of other cool channels.

••David
 

drayd48

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#18
That's cool, thanks in advance! I did some Googling and found the entire losing of 700-MHz interoperability channels, Catawba Direct-1 & 2 are in there but they are listed as something different, 7-CALL-something or other. I also found a lot of other cool channels.

••David
Mooresville Fire used to have a conventional channel they used before they went to their new P25 radio system. They are all typically just from the nationwide 700/800 MHz tac frequencies. If you put all those channels in your scanner / radio with open mode receiving / mixed mode from ASTRO and analog, then you will probably find some tac channels.
 

N1DDC

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Mooresville Fire used to have a conventional channel they used before they went to their new P25 radio system. They are all typically just from the nationwide 700/800 MHz tac frequencies. If you put all those channels in your scanner / radio with open mode receiving / mixed mode from ASTRO and analog, then you will probably find some tac channels.
Yeah, I'm sure at some point I would hear something if I scanned those interop frequencies.

••David
 
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#20
I'm a little late to this party, but unless you have PERFECT coverage, it would seem to always be safer to be on a simplex channel with the IC outside to relay anything needed on a repeater channel (trunked, conventional, digital, analog, no difference here).

As a past member of a 100% volunteer department (and what was a 100% volunteer county) I would have to try to break it down Barney style to the chief and everyone else how we should be using the true fireground channel, or at least simplex on the county fire dispatch channel (if we were so short handed that everyone was doing something).
 
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