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Plans for national emergency radio system 'languish' in Congress

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W2NJS

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Let the non-techie, "big thinkers" loose and this is the kind of nutty idea that they produce.
 
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talkpair

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It's been almost 10 years, and voice interoperability still isn't a reality for many.

What they are asking for here is broadband spectrum, and infrastructure to use it.

As a taxpayer, I would have been all for this idea before so many were forced to build new voice radio systems to comply with the narrowband mandate.

A national "COMBINED" voice and data radio infrastructure, built on a "real world tested", non-proprietary specification would have made more sense to me, rather than letting every department, city, county, and state agency invent and build their own wheel......like they did for voice communications.

I think it's irresponsible to throw money into a totally separate system that covers the same real estate covered by voice.
 

oft

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Talkpair:

Your thoughts are well versed in reference to communications on the law enforcement side.

From the citizens side, After 9-11-01, there was a bill wanting a specific "public service radio" to be used in case of a natural disaster. However, a Congressman figured out that the Weather Radios with the S.A.M.E. technology could be used to alert for disasters or terrorist attacks (now called "public alert" or "All Hazards Alert") in a similar way the National Weather Service alerted people for Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. Congress took some steps to implement the S.A.M.E. technology from only being weather to now include other things such as "911 Telephone Outage Emergency", "Child Abduction Emergency", and or/ "Nuclear Power Plant Warning". (According to Midland Radio's site - see
Midland Radio - Midland Radio | Current List of Alerts)

If anything, the infrastructure needs further developing in order for it to do more features (instead of wasting taxpayer money on another communications infrastructure)? With the technology present and working across America via NOAA weather radio towers, Why can't there be some further interfacing to this system. It's already set up and in place.
 

mm

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Unfortunately nobody will have any money left over even if this grand LTE public safety network ever gets off the ground.

First off the FCC is making all users of VHF and UHF public safety bands to go narrowband first and everyone is scrambling to find the money to purchase new narrowband radios and narrowband infrastructure, many of the users have made the choice to remain on their existing VHF and UHF frequencies and buy cost effective FM narrowband equipment for a couple of hundred grand as opposed to multi million dollar 700/800 MHz P25 trunking systems.

After spending multi millions of dollars, (just an estimate of all agencies combined needing to move to narrowband), just to meet the narrowband deadline in 2013, do they really expect all of these public safety agencies to then drop their newly purchased narrowband radios and jump on the public safety 700 MHz LTE boondoggle in a couple of years, I doubt it ?

Plus I'd wager that some manufacturer like Motorola will come out with some new LTE radios that are just different enough from anyone else's LTE radios and corner the market with a proprietary system that doesn't drop the handset prices one bit, further throwing a wrench in things.

If these bright politicians and so called radio experts simply went the route of leaving everyone alone on their existing frequencies and had the manufacturers simply develop cost effective narrowband FM multiband radios that can hold a charge longer than 6 hours along with some cost effective intertie linking bridges to tie all of the various agencies different frequency bands together, it would have saved a lot of money and time.

And another biggie that these so called experts have forgot is that simply trying to get 700/800 MHz equipment to work in the big forest of the Pacific Northwest and other areas of this country isn't going to happen, as Mr. Scott said 'I Can't change the laws of physics'.

These experts with their 700/800 MHz LTE network idea have no knowledge of how radio waves propagate in the majority of the rural areas of this country, one massive 700 MHz system just isn't going to happen for another 15 or 20 years.

Even if they do succeed at some point in time at installing a nationwide system, by that time thise country will be probably be owned by China and then we'll probably get stuck with some proprietary Chinese system.

OK off my rant

Mike
 

ButchGone

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The fact is analog was and still is way more "interoperable" that digital has turned out to be. Analog is also perfectly capable of being narrow banded as will be required. Analog can easily be patched, bridged, whatever you want to call it between different bands.
Regions like Atlanta have gone P25 but the different counties still won't allow others to use their systems, or be connected with others. After hundreds of millions of dollars spent they still can't talk to each other!

Don't even begin talking about these Open Sky and other non P25 technologies that don't work with anyone elses systems either.
Now there's P25 phase 2, which requires users to buy new radios at $6,000 or more each...and they won't talk with other systems.
The problem with analog is that there was no fortune to be made pushing something new.
Analog is far more interoperable than anything that has come down the pike, affordable, and bridgeable between bands. Not to mention preferred mode for users like the fire service.
New and expensive is not always better!
BG...
 

MtnBiker2005

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Quote: Communications Interoperability and Kindergarten - September 04, 2011
“All you need to know about communications interoperability you should have learned in kindergarten. It’s called sharing.”
http://www.emergencymgmt.com/emergency-blogs/disaster-zone/quote-communications-interoperabiolity-and-kindergarten-090411.html

10 Years After 9/11: How Far Did $635 Billion Spent on Homeland Security Go? - August 31, 2011
http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/10-Years-After-911-Homeland-Security-Funding.html
 
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WX4JCW

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Honestly is it really the agencies fault, the comm managers who really don't have an idea of how this all works just listen to the Big radio companies salesmen who tell them what they want to hear, scare the crap out of them about opsec and convince them to spend money on this supposedly newer better technology - but the fact remains.

#1. Digital does not provide clear comms in marginal signal conditions - R2D2 is R2D2, analog in marginal conditions is at least understandable
#2. Motorola doesn't interface with Harris nor any other radio company, one agency buys Motorola, one buys Harris, and another buys Mototrbo, and well we've seen what happened with opensky

"354 in foot pursuit, my location is 5$%$$# and #$^%^#"
"354 You went digital, please repeat your location"
"35# My &*(*&&& Suspect armed ive been hit"

need i go further
anyone who is or has been a dispatcher knows how important it is to get the information the first time, to constantly ask a unit to say again is frowned upon
 
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chrismol1

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Going to all these fancy radio systems is great if you can support it with enough infrastructure.
 

JRayfield

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And that's exactly why many agencies are choosing MOTOTRBO instead of P25. The P25 infrastructure costs too much for smaller, rural agencies to be able to afford. MOTOTRBO infrastructure costs less than the infrastructure for analog systems, yet offers better coverage than analog and similar 'high-tech' features found in P25 systems.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma

Going to all these fancy radio systems is great if you can support it with enough infrastructure.
 

JRayfield

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What experience have you had with using digital systems?

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma

Honestly is it really the agencies fault, the comm managers who really don't have an idea of how this all works just listen to the Big radio companies salesmen who tell them what they want to hear, scare the crap out of them about opsec and convince them to spend money on this supposedly newer better technology - but the fact remains.

#1. Digital does not provide clear comms in marginal signal conditions - R2D2 is R2D2, analog in marginal conditions is at least understandable
#2. Motorola doesn't interface with Harris nor any other radio company, one agency buys Motorola, one buys Harris, and another buys Mototrbo, and well we've seen what happened with opensky

"354 in foot pursuit, my location is 5$%$$# and #$^%^#"
"354 You went digital, please repeat your location"
"35# My &*(*&&& Suspect armed ive been hit"

need i go further
anyone who is or has been a dispatcher knows how important it is to get the information the first time, to constantly ask a unit to say again is frowned upon
 

radiomanNJ1

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It's been almost 10 years, and voice interoperability still isn't a reality for many.

What they are asking for here is broadband spectrum, and infrastructure to use it.

As a taxpayer, I would have been all for this idea before so many were forced to build new voice radio systems to comply with the narrowband mandate.

A national "COMBINED" voice and data radio infrastructure, built on a "real world tested", non-proprietary specification would have made more sense to me, rather than letting every department, city, county, and state agency invent and build their own wheel......like they did for voice communications.

I think it's irresponsible to throw money into a totally separate system that covers the same real estate covered by voice.
It's a plan to sell space on a Nationwide system. Stupid, A NYC unit does not need to be able to communicate with a Chicago unit. It's all about the money.
 

chrislxq

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ONE life of a Public Safety Member is important. Let's get it done! We can't put a price tag on a life.
ONE system with common frequencies, common modes, and available in ALL communities!
 

mm

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fine I have no problem with one system but the 700/800 MHz band does not work for example in most of the rural areas of the pacific northwest and the last that I read was that the public safety LTE system is going to be on the 700 MHz band.

Most of the replies here have mentioned that one country wide system on the same 700 MHz frequency and is not going to work in the majority of this big country, and please do not tell us that cell systems work so LTE at 700 MHz should also work because cell systems don't work in the rural areas of this big vast country.

As an example: The reason that county A(lets say it consists of lots of high mountains and deep valleys) for instance on one side of the US has used VHF for 50 years with good results while county B(flat land with good coverage for UHF propagation) on the other side of the country has used UHF for just as long is because that is what worked in the terrain of these two hypothetical but different terrain counties.

In your area 700/800 MHz might work fine but there are other areas of this country where it just will not work and you can't change the laws of radio propagation unless we put in LTE towers every couple of miles over this entire country and it just isn't going to happen.

Unfortunately just like the bank and auto mfg bailouts, this country is also being drained by unscrupulous radio manufacturers who know that a 700 MHz system will increase their sales of infrastructure equipment more than 10 fold as opposed to a simple but effective VHF or UHF system with some robust intertie links.

Where do you think all of the grant money that the feds freely give away for multi million, probably now approaching billion dollar trunking systems is coming from ?

Yours and my pockets that's where this boondoggle is being fed from, I'm so sick of the big radio Manufacturers and their scare tactics, telling little radio users that they need to go to digital systems or else just too line their pockets, they could care less about who died on 9-11, all they care about is their stockholders and increasing their profit margins and VHF effective system just will not cut it for these greedy corporations.

When things are all done and if they do succeed at installing LTE 700 MHz tower sites every couple of miles country wide, there will still be coverage issues and connect issues and user issues, it's simply the nature of radio and the users and remember that the most important part of interoperability is training not one country wide system.

You can have the most robust 700 MHz system but if you have 30 people on the same talkgroup yelling at the same time the message is still not going to get thru to everyone.

It takes training and cooperation between agencies to make interoperability work and I don't mean one little department having their own drill, it takes state and country wide planning, training and retraining of all agencies and we all know that this isn't going to happen.

Heck our government can't even decide on a simple matter like keeping the FAA up and running in a timely manner without having a major debate and then some griping and then some conniving and some back door dirty dealings so thinking that a useless LTE system will work at 100% or even 75% reliability with the government involved is a pipe dream.

Oh boy my post are getting longer and longer sorry everyone I just had to get it out, I guess I just hate a failed boondoggle,and this one is kinda like watching a car wreck and knowing you can't do anything to stop it.
 

PhilBurks

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It's been almost 10 years, and voice interoperability still isn't a reality for many.

What they are asking for here is broadband spectrum, and infrastructure to use it.


I think it's irresponsible to throw money into a totally separate system that covers the same real estate covered by voice.
1. And yet SO many now DO have interoperable communications, compared to 10 years ago.

2. Unless that system ushers in the next generation of technology. Think of Interstate highways. It was 'a waste' to put highways where no towns existed in the 60s. They had perfectly good roads at that time.:roll:
 

PhilBurks

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Quote: Communications Interoperability and Kindergarten - September 04, 2011
“All you need to know about communications interoperability you should have learned in kindergarten. It’s called sharing.”
Quote: Communications Interoperability and Kindergarten

10 Years After 9/11: How Far Did $635 Billion Spent on Homeland Security Go? - August 31, 2011
10 Years After 9/11: How Far Did $635 Billion Spent on Homeland Security Go?
Reminders to all-

  1. Sharing- As the article points out (and I have experienced) SO much of interoperability, or lack there-of, has been cultural not technical. I know two MAJOR cities that refuse to go totally on to a common system (with appropriate backup and redundancy plans) because it was good enough for their grandfathers and there is no need to change. BUT... there have been HUGE changes in sharing and interop. Is it perfect? No. But I feel as the generations rotate and experience shows how shared PS systems work, then the job will complete itself. That MAY take 20 years! But it is on the right path.
  2. The $$ spent on interoperable land mobile communications is not the total $635billion. Don't get sucked into that vortex. Even if it is $2billion. that turns out to be .314% of what was spent!
  3. Addressing the question raised in the second article about ROI and makes it sound like if a decent ROI can't be seen, then it might have been foolish money spent- hogwash. Counter questions.... What's the ROI on buying the latest technology for the ambulance that may take your dying body to the hospital? What's the ROI on the Interstate highway system that cost mega-billions to create and maintain and expand? Obviously I could go on.
 
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MM---I am tired of hearing about the major radio companys that are greedy, don't care about the victims of 911, are unscrupulous, and irresponsible. What brings on all of these statements? Shame on you. If the government declares that we will use a 700/800 Mhz nationwide radio systm, and manufactures spend the large sums of money on R&D and respond with the equipment needed to complete the system, does thay make them greedy and unscrupulous? What outrageous statements to make.
 

SCPD

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As a public safety communications official with over 30 years experience in this field I must say that I feel the only way a nationwide public safety communications system is going to become a reality is for the Federal Government to take the bull by the horns and make it happen without relying on State and Local Governments to be responsible for building out any part of the system. They must decide on which frequency band the system is going to operate in along with ensuring there are enough sites to provide 95% coverage in medium to heavy buildings (I personally would like to see a nationwide system in the 400 MHz range for voice, especially since many federal government and military agencies are already using 400 MHz equipment and systems, but I doubt this will happen since there is such a huge push for 700 MHz broadband). There must also be a funding mechanism to not only pay for the infrastructure installed by the feds, but there must be a funding mechanism to allow state and local agencies to come on board, plus pay for any annual reoccurring costs associated with the system maintenance. Regardless of what frequency band and system is selected It MUST be attractive to the State and Local Governments to get them to switch over to the system. I understand this has been attempted a couple of times over the years, with P25 being one of the ideas, but the problem has been and continues to be that once someone comes up with what seems to be a good idea whether it is APCO, IAFC, IACP, etc. and get all of the blessings of the various organizations, the FCC and Congress, plus the funding necessary to build out a system someone else comes out with a solution that is less expensive than the previous one that looks better to some State and Local Governments, so they continue to want to do their own thing.

It is extemely hard to get all of the various levels of government together to agree on the same thing and I personally do not think I will see this happen before I retire, but I hope I am wrong. I personally think there is a huge push for LTE in public safety because many of the vendors feel it is going to be much more attractive to public safety agencies because it will allow for many more features and functionality than that of P25, EDACS, MotoTRBO, NEXEDGE, LTR and some of the other LMR Systems. I guess we will have to wait and see....
 
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