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Okaloosa County Changes

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ki4wbn

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EMS tone outs now occur on the VHF side, and have completely left left the UHF side. It also sounds like, as of Wednesday, fire north has switched over to narrow band on their 154.725 frequency.

In the meantime, I heard Crestview FD attempting to make contact on the 800 radios to their dispatch, assumed to be the SLERS. They were (and still continue to as regular) communicating with dispatch using their regular VHF frequency, and dispatch was able to hear them when they were testing the radios on the 800, but they were not able to hear dispatch.

I have a feeling full switchover to SLERS will not be far away.
 

mp3sgt

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Changes

I am an officer with one of the north end volunteer Fire dept's and do all the radio programming and liason with Harris and so forth. We have not gone narrowband on any VHF or UHF frequency. The deviation level change is due only to new MA/COM Maestro consoles. Dispatch on Fire/EMS switched to the consoles full time on 12-10-2009. The new consoles, however, are MUCH lower in deviation than the old Orbacom consoles. You may notice some heavy testing to be done during this week as there are pager issues to be worked out due to the change. But no narrowband!
 

ki4wbn

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Oh okay, thanks! I know for the past month they have done quite a bit of tone testing of both the EMS and fire pager tones. I also know they are still test toning some things, especially for EMS.
 

mp3sgt

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more

Also, SLERS will be implemented in some form or another in January or so on the fire side of Okaloosa. We will be using digital dispatch talkgroups but no encryption on the fire or EMS side. Also, we have some analog tac channels.
 

mp3sgt

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Politics

I believe politics to be involved but one of the official reasons is "interoperability" which is plausible from some standpoints. Yes, it is good to be able to go to talkgroup "PS Common" and talk with other agencies on one channel. First you would ask Walton county as they have been SLERS for quite a bit on the FIre/EMS side but not their S.O.(which I have found as funny). Same with Okaloosa. No S.O on SLERS yet.
 

gcr33

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Didn't one of the panhandle counties already dump the non working SLERS system and sell off their equipment?

Interoperability, sounds like the Fire Chief and Sheriff got a free steak dinner and were told fairy tails.
SLERS and Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are all the same.
 

BamaScan

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Could the 800 be Nextel ??? I hear Police and Fire Departments all the time say go to the 800. When they don't have 800 mhz radios.


QUOTE=ki4wbn;1212779] I heard Crestview FD attempting to make contact on the 800 radios to their dispatch, assumed to be the SLERS. They were (and still continue to as regular) communicating with dispatch using their regular VHF frequency, and dispatch was able to hear them when they were testing the radios on the 800, but they were not able to hear dispatch. [/QUOTE]
 

ki4wbn

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I do agree, I think politics came into play with the SLERS system, although I don't really think it was on the local side. I think the uppers over in Tallahassee made the big decisions.

I do like the interoperability side of SLERS, as it is basically unmatched, period. From the emergency management standpoint (one I'm VERY familiar with) this system is one of the best. You can (from what I understand) patch any channels to each other, whether VHF, UHF, or SLERS groups. I would really like to learn a lot more about the system, but haven't really had the chance or offer.

The biggest drawback of SLERS though, at least for me, is the inability to get details of incidents. After the initial tones/dispatch the radio will go quiet, so I will get no additional details, unless I can hear them on DOF White, which isn't used until they get on scene-if I'm close enough to simplex range. The scanner is how we get most of our "hard news" from around the area. Another drawback is with the digital signal itself and either being there or not....with very little in between.
 

boochk

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For those keeping score.... Site 212 Okaloosa

LCN 1 - 858.9375 Sometimes Control
LCN 2 - 866.9875 Sometimes Control
LCN 3 - 868.4875
LCN 4 - 868.9875
LCN 5 - 856.4375

My favorite hobby is being destroyed by this garbage. Although the PV is unencrypted I (we) still cannot listen. I can't beleive a reasonable solution to decode unencrypted PV has not been developed. Dare to dream........
 

wise871

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GCR33
I believe it was Gulf County. They use to be listed as a SLERS Partners but are no longer listed.

Didn't one of the panhandle counties already dump the non working SLERS system and sell off their equipment?

Interoperability, sounds like the Fire Chief and Sheriff got a free steak dinner and were told fairy tails.
SLERS and Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are all the same.
 
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wise871

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mp3sgt
I’ve been hearing the testing over the last few weeks myself. I was able to check out a Florosa engine and it had the MA/COM radio installed. How are you guys going to work the interoperability with the other counties like Santa Rosa and North Walton fire districts who you work closely with? I know there was talk of North Walton Fire District switching to SLERS soon. During the last Bowlegs event Okaloosa EMS was using their old UHF freq to communicate with others. I have noticed that Okaloosa EMS is now dispatched by fire. I still believe SLERS is a big waste of money. If the System was that great, how come every agency hasn’t jump onboard? I mean the state provides the towers, maintenance, etc. The user pays a fee for use of the system. Everyone can talk to everyone and no one can monitor the conversations. What’s the catch?
 
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ki4moc

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For those of you who have not seen yet, Here is Florosa's Truck 5, with the new SLERS radio below the VHF. The picture was taken in early October, and as of them, must of been a fairly new install, because of the protective plastic over the display. View attachment 26603
I have a feeling that the switchover is not too far away.
 
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ki4wbn

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Okaloosa North

Have noticed that at least Baker and North Okaloosa Fire Districts are using SLERS as primary, and it is patched (or so I think) into the VHF frequency as well. I know over in Baker they have had some off and on continuous issues with communicating using the SLERS (800). North Okaloosa has had some small garbles, but otherwise I think theirs is working well. The only big thing that I notice is the fact that the audio seems muffled, likely from the waterproofing into the portable radios. The mobile radios sound good though.
 

mp3sgt

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Apologies for the absence

As the comm guy in my volunteer dept, I have a dept issued HYT portable 5watt VHF and a SLERS Harris P7200 radio. As of now, Okaloosa EMS/FD dispatch has a painful process to set off pager tones. I will get to their painful process shortly. As of now, VHF and SLERS are fully 100% patched on both north and south fire channels. So, at any time, there may be 3 trunks used at one time for simultaneous calls on north and south including the EMS SLERS channel. County has asked us in the field to utilize the SLERS at times to talk back to dispatch and listen. The muffled sound is the digital SLERS to analog conversion in the console, it has nothing to do with the radios themselves.

The bad thing, and I mean a really bad thing is this: To page on south or north fire, the patch has to be broken for tones and initial call info on VHF only. Then the patch has to be put back in place after tones. Otherwise, as some have heard, the tones get abruptly cut off. This also means that I cannot go into Walmart for example with the SLERS and hear the call given out. If out of my vehicle, to receive initial info and tones I must have the VHF portable with me. Otherwise I just have to wait until I hear units responding and dispatch repeating the info.

So, if multiple calls are being paged for back to back, one might as well put the SLERS down because dispatch will page calls and listen to VHF only for the first few seconds after every page or just not patch for many minutes if that many pages needed in a short time(it is going to be interesting when the summer structure fire overload comes in...you know, when the north county gets 10 or more calls in an hour due to lightning strikes with multiple districts). The agreement is for full patch until at least 2011. So, during light call volume, 800 can be used but when it gets heavy, patching just takes too long to keep doing and undoing.

Wise871,
Walton County FR north is a simulcast VHF/800. One can talk to dispatch at Walton via VHF or 800. But only dispatch can hear both. If one talks on VHF the 800 will not hear that part of the convo and vice versa. Santa Rosa is still fully VHF with no public plans for anything else. As you saw on Florosa's truck, that is the same all over the county. We have to have both VHF and 800 capability in our hands.
 

SCPD

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Okaloosa county fire/ems south/north

OKALOOSA COUNTY FIRE/EMS SOUTH/NORTH needs to just stick with the VHF all the way and stop using the slers when i am monitering my radio on okaloosa south some transmissions are vary slerey and then some transmissions are clear.

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS THINK. SHOULD OKALOOSA GO BACK TO USING VHF FOR FIRE AND EMS 100% OR STICK WITH THE SLERS?
 

mp3sgt

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Slers

Well, the SLERS could be useful for some things but really not for the majority of what a fire dept does. I have personally used the SLERS north end for a trial here and there and cannot even keep a control channel in a wooden house well within the expected coverage area. There are areas on State Rd 85 where control channel is lost, thus no radio.
 

wise871

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mp3sgt
Thanks for the insight on the SLERS issues. You reporting some of the issues I'm hearing about from many others. Do you know who the main person was that pushed for SLERS? I have a feeling it was Villani and Morris. Does FWB or Crestview police plan on moving over?

What gets me is, if the system is so great, why doesn't everyone move over to it. You don't see Santa Rosa or Escambia, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola moving over to it. I talked to a few Eglin folks who have SLERS radios and they hate them. The EMS folks loose signal when they walk in the hospital. Their current APCO-25 radios smoke SLERS when it comes to reception and audio quality. No wonder the U.S. Dept. of Defense: Southeastern Region is using APCO-25.They can be anywhere in the Southeastern Region and use their radios. I know, I use them all the time and I can travel from NAS Pensacola to Eglin AFB or up to Evergreen Alabama and use my radio with no problems. What good is a system if you still have to patch it with the old system. If I was a Okaloosa tax payer I be pissed for wasting my tax dollars. The county government is already corrupt and wasting money like it's their own.
 
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