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Prince George County's new replacement radio system

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Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#1
FYI The Prince George Co. Board of Supervisors (BOS) previously listed bid for a consultant to aid in the replacement of the county's present UHF analog repeater system has resulted with AECOM, Lynchburg? selected for the $175,000 (no typo) contract. Each county radio user representatives i.e., Police, Sheriff, VFD, EMS, School Board and Utilities had a separate one day interview with the consultant last week.

Following are my observations and opinions: In my and a number of area ham's, scanner monitor's and former county employees opinion's, the current county's radio system performance results reflect, in part, previously technical decisions made by non-technical management. As an example, per a retired PG dispatcher/current VFD member, the EMS repeater has had such poor coverage, often county ambulances had to use a cellphone to communicate with the county dispatcher when at MCV, Richmond.

Could possibly the partial grove of trees relatively close by on the north side of the Courthouse tower at the same height or higher (T@92 ft. & R@83 ft.) be absorbing some of the omni-directional RF? I believe so.

The seven existing "new" county tower structures transmit/receive heights with six repeaters are:

1. Courthouse T@92 ft. R@83 ft.
2. Burrowsville T@90 ft. R@60 ft.
3. Garysville T@110 ft. R@85 ft.
4. Disputanta T@127ft. R@111 ft.
5. Tavern Road T@97 ft. R@89 ft.
6. Carson T@86 ft. R@84 ft.
7. Middle Road (non-repeater site) T@ 85 ft. R@85 ft.

The tower transmit/receive heights listed are relatively close to the actual tower heights themselves.

All seven tower sites use 6000 mhz. PTP MW links T/R comm links. Middle Road/Courthouse EOC T/R comms are via 15, 20 and 21 Ghz. PTP MW links.

The tower transmit/receive heights listed are relatively close to the actual tower heights themselves.

As a comparison two air miles west from the Courthouse area, my ground elevation is 145 ft. above sea level level. My comm tower with a 21ft. schedule 80 aluminum section mast pipe extension inserted at the topping section load relief bearing/rotor interface is about 115 ft. at its' highest point. At the very top is my Diamond dual band 2 meter/440 mhz. ground plane antenna with various RF pre-amped scanner antennas mounted lower. No self respecting ham or scanner monitor I know ever would have given up an on site 190 ft. lattice tower antenna platform in good condition already installed adjacent to the Police Station Dispatch/Courthouse for a new 92 ft. tower constructed approximately 175 ft away relatively close trees to its' north side.

That begs more questions, for example, one of which is, if the present Courthouse tower ground elevation is about 130 ft. above sea level with the 453 mhz. analog omni-directional repeaters having coverage area issues and four of the six repeater site towers are under 100 ft in height, what will the coverage be on 800 mhz.? Odds are it will be as bad or worse. The towers are what were installed and are not lattice types. I doubt they can be extended in height.

The previous Courthouse vhf lattice type tower, which supported police, fire and ems on 155.1150 and 155.5500 mhz. repeaters was 190 ft. high with a maximum allowed height up to 199 ft. Maybe, in part, that's why I could receive PG county vhf comms mobile south to the NC line and on occasions as far northeast in Maryland to near Andrews AFB base. Area reception mobile was never a problem I experienced. Unfortunately, the county sold that tower, which still was in good condition and paid for years ago. Also, the county relinquished back to the FCC its' vhf high band frequencies, a few of which were scooped up quickly by Dinwiddie Co. for its' P25 digital comms.

Possibly in 2017 a replacement 800 mhz. digital trunked radio system P1 and P2 will be recommended by the consultant. Depending upon what trs is recommended, the BOS will vote either to approve or disapprove and request a revised partial resubmission be made. I hope history does not repeat from the previous "new" replacement county radio system process and previous technically competent voices this time will be solicited and listened to instead of ignored. Those voices should include, but are not limited to the current operator of the Prince George Co. 444.2750 mhz. Disaster comms repeater and other RF technical competent knowledgeable individuals such as the County Emergency Coordinator, etc. others.

Time will tell one way or the other. As I receive updates of interest I will post them to this thread.

John
W4UVV
 
Joined
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Messages
1,525
Location
Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#3
Courthouse T/R antennas configuration

Most have the receiving antenna on the top level of the tower, maybe why the poor coverage.
I agree. I had the same concern the first time I saw the Courthouse tower T/R antenna configuration. In this part of the state some of the healthy mature pines, pin oaks & a few other types grow to a 90-100+ ft. in height.

John
W4UVV
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
17
#4
Curious

Hi John,

I'm curious if there are any updates on the radio system replacement?

Thanks
Bryan



QUOTE=W4UVV;2644765]FYI The Prince George Co. Board of Supervisors (BOS) previously listed bid for a consultant to aid in the replacement of the county's present UHF analog repeater system has resulted with AECOM, Lynchburg? selected for the $175,000 (no typo) contract. Each county radio user representatives i.e., Police, Sheriff, VFD, EMS, School Board and Utilities had a separate one day interview with the consultant last week.

Following are my observations and opinions: In my and a number of area ham's, scanner monitor's and former county employees opinion's, the current county's radio system performance results reflect, in part, previously technical decisions made by non-technical management. As an example, per a retired PG dispatcher/current VFD member, the EMS repeater has had such poor coverage, often county ambulances had to use a cellphone to communicate with the county dispatcher when at MCV, Richmond.

Could possibly the partial grove of trees relatively close by on the north side of the Courthouse tower at the same height or higher (T@92 ft. & R@83 ft.) be absorbing some of the omni-directional RF? I believe so.

The seven existing "new" county tower structures transmit/receive heights with six repeaters are:

1. Courthouse T@92 ft. R@83 ft.
2. Burrowsville T@90 ft. R@60 ft.
3. Garysville T@110 ft. R@85 ft.
4. Disputanta T@127ft. R@111 ft.
5. Tavern Road T@97 ft. R@89 ft.
6. Carson T@86 ft. R@84 ft.
7. Middle Road (non-repeater site) T@ 85 ft. R@85 ft.

The tower transmit/receive heights listed are relatively close to the actual tower heights themselves.

All seven tower sites use 6000 mhz. PTP MW links T/R comm links. Middle Road/Courthouse EOC T/R comms are via 15, 20 and 21 Ghz. PTP MW links.

The tower transmit/receive heights listed are relatively close to the actual tower heights themselves.

As a comparison two air miles west from the Courthouse area, my ground elevation is 145 ft. above sea level level. My comm tower with a 21ft. schedule 80 aluminum section mast pipe extension inserted at the topping section load relief bearing/rotor interface is about 115 ft. at its' highest point. At the very top is my Diamond dual band 2 meter/440 mhz. ground plane antenna with various RF pre-amped scanner antennas mounted lower. No self respecting ham or scanner monitor I know ever would have given up an on site 190 ft. lattice tower antenna platform in good condition already installed adjacent to the Police Station Dispatch/Courthouse for a new 92 ft. tower constructed approximately 175 ft away relatively close trees to its' north side.

That begs more questions, for example, one of which is, if the present Courthouse tower ground elevation is about 130 ft. above sea level with the 453 mhz. analog omni-directional repeaters having coverage area issues and four of the six repeater site towers are under 100 ft in height, what will the coverage be on 800 mhz.? Odds are it will be as bad or worse. The towers are what were installed and are not lattice types. I doubt they can be extended in height.

The previous Courthouse vhf lattice type tower, which supported police, fire and ems on 155.1150 and 155.5500 mhz. repeaters was 190 ft. high with a maximum allowed height up to 199 ft. Maybe, in part, that's why I could receive PG county vhf comms mobile south to the NC line and on occasions as far northeast in Maryland to near Andrews AFB base. Area reception mobile was never a problem I experienced. Unfortunately, the county sold that tower, which still was in good condition and paid for years ago. Also, the county relinquished back to the FCC its' vhf high band frequencies, a few of which were scooped up quickly by Dinwiddie Co. for its' P25 digital comms.

Possibly in 2017 a replacement 800 mhz. digital trunked radio system P1 and P2 will be recommended by the consultant. Depending upon what trs is recommended, the BOS will vote either to approve or disapprove and request a revised partial resubmission be made. I hope history does not repeat from the previous "new" replacement county radio system process and previous technically competent voices this time will be solicited and listened to instead of ignored. Those voices should include, but are not limited to the current operator of the Prince George Co. 444.2750 mhz. Disaster comms repeater and other RF technical competent knowledgeable individuals such as the County Emergency Coordinator, etc. others.

Time will tell one way or the other. As I receive updates of interest I will post them to this thread.

John
W4UVV[/QUOTE]
 
Joined
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Messages
1,525
Location
Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#5
Bryan,

I checked with my main contact who is a medically retired county dispatcher and active VFD member. The last info he had was the face meetings of the consultant with the county radio users, i.e., VFD, PD, SO, EMS, etc. earlier this year.

Last week I was asked to help the radio reception for an area towing company which is a contractor on rotation with Prince George Co. and a few surrounding areas. His facility is about 15 miles south of mine close to I95. His P. G. Co. reception varied from occasional noise free to choppy on his 996XLT and outside antenna.

The county's area radio coverage is somewhat pathetic. One day I heard a unit radio the dispatcher to contact him by phone if needed as he had difficulty accessing the repeater. His location was at Lowes, 7 miles away from the courthouse tower!

I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard the dispatcher tell a unit "your audio is low can't hear you" or choppy audio and/or with "white noise" and the dispatcher advising "can't understand you". This usually occurs in the Rt. 10 area which is a hilly/valley portion of the county. But there are those who like the system. Either way it makes no difference. That's what they have to use.

Dinwiddie Co. did it right using P25 P1 repeater/simplex comms and kept their vhf frequencies plus acquiring at least two of the five that Prince George Co. cancelled and made available for FCC reissue.

In past years I have heard the old PG County vhf repeaters when near Andrews AFB, MD and about 10 miles into NC on I85. I still can hear Dinwiddie Co. mobile at the NC line.

We will have to wait and see what multi--million dollar solution the "consultant" recommends. Again it probably will be non-technical individuals making technical decisions.

John
W4UVV
 
Joined
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Messages
1,492
Location
Old Dominion
#6
We will have to wait and see what multi--million dollar solution the "consultant" recommends. Again it probably will be non-technical individuals making technical decisions.
I think you'll find that Altaris (the consultant being used) is going to absolutely steer this project move in the right direction. My interaction with them (outside of PG) has been very positive, from understanding the needs of the customer to the hardware and backhaul systems to make it happen.
 
Joined
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Messages
1,525
Location
Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#8
New Prince George Co. replacement radio system

Does anyone know if the UHF frequencies are correct? I can't hear anything, does anyone know what system they are moving to?
No new info yet I've heard as to status. The consultant still is doing whatever. The county frequencies as listed are correct on the big buck analog uhf conventional "static...can't understand you" or "signal noisy...can't understand" county radio system we taxpayers still are paying for. Now another taxpayer funded expense will occur for another "new" radio system. No thanks for reminding me again of a recent real estate tax raise and the probability of another raise again in our real estate tax rate.

Such is the price the taxpayers have to encounter when non-technical government officials make technical decisions.

John
W4UVV.
 

vern23882

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
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Messages
43
Location
Stony Creek
#9
Their signal drops off drastically after you leave the county. This is really noticeable to the South and West. I live in Sussex County and can just barely hear them.

Vern
 
Joined
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Messages
1,525
Location
Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#11
All we can do is hope on several levels

No new info yet I've heard as to status. The consultant still is doing whatever. The county frequencies as listed are correct on the big buck analog uhf conventional "static...can't understand you" or "signal noisy...can't understand" county radio system we taxpayers still are paying for. Now another taxpayer funded expense will occur for another "new" radio system. No thanks for reminding me again of a recent real estate tax raise and the probability of another raise again in our real estate tax rate.

Such is the price the taxpayers have to encounter when non-technical government officials make technical decisions.

John
W4UVV.
--------------------

:(Update from a reliable source friend 24 June 2018....."It's now between Motorola and Harris".

In my opinion, O M G. I do not have a "warm fuzzy" good feeling about this on several levels. My ham radio friend and former BOS member did not win his past District election so currently there is no technically knowledgeable representative voice voting on the BOS. But the new BOS has been active...They raised the county property tax an additional 2 cents per thousand and the sewer tax $20 more a month. Remember, once again a non-technical(s) will be making a technical decisions. The good news is the current county uhf "radio system" "decider" since has retired.

John
W4UVV
 
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