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Emergency Radio Traffic

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Sep 14, 2002
Wow, in listening to the archive of radio traffic during and after the tornado's hitting Weld County yesterday it is incredible. Everyone from Weld SO, local police departments, and even State Patrol in the metro area and foothills couldn't even get out to call out traffic stops. From the comments units were making like, "Can we open up other channels?" there is a serious lack of knowledge about the radio system from and by the people who actually use the radios. Those personnel don't know that they are only allocated a certain number of frequencies to use and when 6 people are talking at the same time that's it. No one else can communicate. So the obvious solution is to get people to stop talking about non emergency topics like I heard by accident from my Pro 96 cycling fast enough. Someone would stop talking about emergency items and I would get some amatuer sounding chic that wasn't audible talking about something that wasn't related to the situation at hand. EOC needs to have a list non-esential radio's that they can shut down in those situations to relieve the air. The other solution is to obviously increase the number of frequencies on those repeaters. Denver has the right idea having 25 dedicated frequencies for just public safety, another whole different system for public works, and yet another system for the airport. As with most things in Colorado we fund the bare minimum like we do with highways. Expand it just enough to relieve current traffic flow. Do nothing to plan for the future. Put just enough frequencies on each repeater to handle normal traffic. We'll add more after something horrible happens and the system is overwhelmed. All in all it was pure chaos there for a while which is to be expected. Props to Weld County dispatch who kept their cool and remained professional through it all. Thanks to all the first responders who make those sacrifices to save others as did my local police department (Firestone) who were one of the first departments to jump on the air and offer assistance to the outside agencies. Those people need the best tools and the digital system isn't the best it could be at this point. They deserve better.
Jan 20, 2002
Greeley, CO
Unfortunately the PRO-96 starts choking bad when the site you are on starts overloading.

As mentioned in another thread the N. Greeley site's lack of voice channels was most likely the culprit with "busy's" as the affected area is covered by that site.

Sure adding more channels would alleviate site overload however there's this issue called funding and Motorola charges a few dollars for the repeaters.

Denver PS is now a 20 channel system since they switched over to EDACS simulcast.

Comparing Denver to the state system is apples and oranges. Denver is a single major city while DTRS covers an entire state. Huge difference.



Premium Subscriber
Mar 22, 2007
Lewistown, Montana
I didn't get to monitor Thursdays event in the Windsor area until I got home in the evening.
I did monitor all day on Friday, listening to my 96 and then logging several sites with my 2096 and Pro96com. Monitored the Bald Mtn site for most of the day, I doubled my Talkgroup and Radio IDs yesterday with all the "new" radios in the area.

When the next round of weather warnings were issued Friday around 1530 and then Weld CO SO were calling in reports of tornadoes out near Kersey, and several other sitings, the Bald Mtn voice channels were all in use, as a channel became vacant it was immediately
busy again. Makes me wonder how many radios got the "busy" signal when they couldn't get channel access, and how long they might of had to wait to get access? Bald Mtn and Horsetooth have the most voice channels (7) up here in Northern CO. The other sites have less, and as Phil said the "Greeley North" site which is closet to Windsor only has 5 voice channels, so it was probably overwhelmed quickly on Thursday.

AS DGroves said:
"Put just enough frequencies on each repeater to handle normal traffic."
Seems to be common with most state and federal agencies anymore, never plan for the worst situation.

As fast as the areas of Northern Colorado are growing, sure seems like the DTRS system should follow along to handle emergencies like Thursdays and Fridays events.

Just my 2 cents worth.

73, Rex,
Severance, CO.
Feb 5, 2005
Just keep in mind...we're talking about the state gov't here.....big ideas with never planning ahead...and if there is any planning ahead..there's no money to carry out that plan.....but i'll just keep sticking with what I always say. We're better off communications wise now then 10 years ago, at least at a state level
Nov 11, 2007
We're gonna be dealing with the same issue in Mesa County soon. Not a whole lot of voice channels on the local towers, but I think generally, they can handle most of the state's routine traffic right now. Not sure how the 3 valley towers (Grand Mesa, Whitewater, Mesa Point) could handle a major event in the Grand Junction area.

In a couple of years when the entire county (including very busy GJPD, GJFD, and Mesa S/O) get on the system, there's gonna have to be lots more voice channels added. The local agencies are most likely gonna be responsible for that; not the state.

Hopefully the state will study what happened in Weld County, and do something about it. Whether that's urge the locals to get more voice channels or what, I don't know. But this is gonna happen again and again if someone doesn't get aggressive about planning for these things.
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