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Daviess County, KY Proposed Radio System Upgrade

dixie729

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Jan 12, 2008
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399
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Daviess Co., KY
#2
Didn't realize you can't read thing on the article. Haha.

Pretty much, the county vhf radio system is absolutely terrible from a portable radios point of view, your better off using your cell phone to call dispatch. A few repeater stations have been put in place around the county but it has helped little to none.

A 700 mhz system is being proposed. The city of Owensboro is on the P25 800 mhz but they would have to add "voter" stations throughout the county in order for us to get out due to many "out of range" areas in the county. Supposedly a 700 mhz system would not need as many.

I'm assuming it's going to be something similar to Henderson, KY radio system. Not sure about the phase 1 or 2 but anyway. The county will be utilizing a grant but is unclear when this will actually happen. Could be next year, could be a few years.

We will see.
 

dixie729

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Jan 12, 2008
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Daviess Co., KY
#4
I don't believe they are going to tie into the city P25 system because there are many dead zones in the county.

A 700mhz system would be more ideal they are saying.
 
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
229
#5
...A 700mhz system would be more ideal they are saying.
Seems like "they" must be salespeople on commission. If the primary issue is portable talk-back, a much simpler, less expensive solution should be obvious to anyone with even basic technical knowledge.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Messages
388
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Owensboro, KY (Daviess County)
#6
It might help if the county would invest in a decent voting system. The ones that work best are hard wired into the voter and use pilot tones to measure which receiver has the best reception on a particular transmission. However they seem to be using a basic voting system that tries to measure the signal to noise ratios over the air.

Going to one of the digital modes (hopefully unencrypted) would also help. On my amateur radio HT I can't hit the VHF analog repeater at the Roosevelt House on high power from work. On my DMR amateur radio HT I can the UHF repeater, which also at the Roosevelt House, on 1 watt from work.

Failing that I would go Hancock County's route and install mobile repeaters in their vehicles. Anything is going to be better, and less expensive, than installing a new 700 MHz system from the ground up.
 

kib669

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#7
It might help if the county would invest in a decent voting system. The ones that work best are hard wired into the voter and use pilot tones to measure which receiver has the best reception on a particular transmission. However they seem to be using a basic voting system that tries to measure the signal to noise ratios over the air.
Hard wired vs. a radio remote are not the primary drivers in performance. The only value to a pilot tone is to determine if the audio path between the remote receiver and the voter is not interrupted and does not have anything to do with the type of voting technique (i.e. signal to noise). My experience is that this should be over microwave because the phone company causes more trouble than you can imagine. I have switched all public safety customers to wireless links because of these problems. The real things that make the system work well is the voter itself and having it properly setup. If they are using a cheap Doug Hall type system they should upgrade to a JPS unit. The signal to noise algorithms are drastically different and far superior in a JPS. We have had to come behind so many big M radio dealers to adjust the audio levels so the voter actually works properly

Going to one of the digital modes (hopefully unencrypted) would also help. On my amateur radio HT I can't hit the VHF analog repeater at the Roosevelt House on high power from work. On my DMR amateur radio HT I can the UHF repeater, which also at the Roosevelt House, on 1 watt from work.
Digital would definitely make things better. We recently replaced a five site voted analog system, two transmitters with a P25 system that has two sites with voting and it has 2-3x the coverage.

Failing that I would go Hancock County's route and install mobile repeaters in their vehicles. Anything is going to be better, and less expensive, than installing a new 700 MHz system from the ground up.
Mobile repeaters work, it is just another complexity to add to the officers who are typically not radio experts. Most just want to turn the radio on and hit the PTT. I do think a new 700 MHz system is an unnecessary expense for the small number of users the county has. For the yearly maintenance cost of a complex trunked system like Owensboro, Hopkins County or what Henderson just put in would cost more than they current spend on radio every 5-7 years. That does not even include the multi-million dollar initial investment. There are definitely much more cost effective ways to address their coverage issues in a more cost effective manor. The cost of new subscriber equipment for a 700 MHz system alone could pay to make significant improvements to the current analog systems.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
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New Orleans region
#8
There are some big issues with just going from a VHF or UHF system into a 700 or 800 MHz. radio system. The big player is the attenuation you get from all the trees and other foliage. Next is the range is not as good. The higher you go in frequency, the less distance in general that you get.

Going to a 700 system regardless of the type of modulation takes some careful engineering. The hills and valleys will play big in the system design.

Another big problem is the existing radio towers that just might be in the right location. Recently the engineering specs for towers was changed. It beefed up the loading and wind requirements There are few standing towers that will be able to meet the new loading specs. This means new radio towers will have to be installed. Not a cheap step to take in trying to bring in a new radio system.

This new tower loading spec means that if you want to change out an antenna on a standing tower, a new engineering load study will have to be made. Bets are that the tower will not pass and your screwed.

So this will be an interesting topic to watch and see just what happens.

Jim
 
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
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#9
...The real things that make the system work well is the voter itself and having it properly setup....adjust the audio levels so the voter actually works properly....There are definitely much more cost effective ways to address their coverage issues in a more cost effective manner (edit). The cost of new subscriber equipment for a 700 MHz system alone could pay to make significant improvements to the current analog systems.
Good points.But fixing the old stuff isn't stylish.
 

dixie729

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Jan 12, 2008
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Daviess Co., KY
#12
After decades of using the same radio system, Daviess County Fiscal Court is planning to send in a consultant to determine whether first responders across the county could use an upgrade. County fire departments, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office and Daviess County Animal Control have used different versions of a VHF analog radio system since the early 1970s, and Owensboro-Daviess County Central Dispatch Director Paul Nave said a switch to digital would come with pros and cons, but mostly pros.
“With any technology, things change over the years,” Nave said. “You want to do your due diligence. What’s best for the first responders? What’s best for the community?”
In the last Fiscal Court meeting, the county commission approved a $33,955 contract with Trott Communications to perform a county radio system needs assessment. Judge-Executive Al Mattingly estimated that a new radio system would cost $5 to $7 million.
Nave said a consultant will check to see whether the analog radio system is in complete need of an overhaul, or whether it just needs some tweaking in order to work more efficiently. The biggest issue with the current system is interference with other frequencies, Nave said.
“With VHF, the spectrum was broken in half a few years back, so there’s more frequencies to be utilized. The same frequencies are being used in a 150-mile radius. Only so much spectrum is available,” Nave said. “Our analog system has been in existence for many years.”
Nave said there are a lot of positives in switching to digital, such as a higher quality of clarity and no skips coming through over the frequency. With digital, however, frequencies aren’t able to travel as far as with analog, so new towers would have to be placed throughout the county in order to extend the frequency’s length.
Owensboro Police Department made the switch to digital somewhere between the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nave estimated.
“The [Motorola p25] 800 system works better inside buildings in metropolitan areas,” Nave said. “We’re excited a consultant is coming in. They can see things we can’t see. They’ll make sure our monies are utilized wisely.”
The switch to digital would be a significant change for first responders, Nave said. A consultant will make observations fairly soon to determine whether the county should make the switch or not.
“I am excited,” Nave said of the potential switch to digital. “Anytime you can look at infrastructure and make a difference for first responders and the community, that’s a good thing. The coverage is going to be better than now. You won’t have to worry as much about dead spots being there. The new system would eradicate that.”
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
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Location
Broomfield, CO
#13
They definitely need a consultant. So many incorrect statements. Seems they believe you have to go higher in frequency to go digital. Owensboro PD just went digital recently, seem to be confusing original 800 MHz shift with going digital. They also seem to believe that digital removes all dead spots. Ask Henderson and Motorola about that! Moto had to install another site for free because they had dead spots. All depends on good coverage analysis and strategic placement of multiple sites. You still will not get 100% coverage.
 
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