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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2017, 4:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RFI-EMI-GUY View Post
Is that true, Houston prime site down?

It has always bugged me that simulcast systems rely on a central control point. With P25 , GPS and IP, the voting and simulcast functions could all be distributed. No need for a prime site. I have mentioned this to Harris and Motorola systems engineers in the past and I think they missed my point. There seems to be this concept of "control" that the manufacturers dislike any concept where the remote sites are too capable.

The current simulcast architectures are too fragile in that respect.

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If I remember correctly, Houston has redundant prime sites. Harris county, has a prime site with no grounding on the equipment. I had heard (this was back on Monday morning) that Brazoria was down but I don't know if that was a leg with mutiple sites or a simulcast system. I also don't know if "down" consists of site trunking or failsoft or offline altogether.

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Low band vhf is still a good option for rural departments wit little or no infrastructure but not many manufacturers want to support that now.
It's funny you mention that...I know a manufacturer who has a P25 capable low band repeater. For RFI-EMI-GUY, same manufacturer also has decentralized conventional and single site simulcast.

*Disclaimer: No I have not gone down to Houston, I've been told be ready to go next week but so far it seems there are enough techs down there. I have had to help some volunteers reconfigure VTAC repeaters I built for them over the phone but other than that my "Harvey Relief Effort" has been minimal. So I will be learning me some MCC7500 in Central Texas until further notice.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2017, 5:36 PM
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MCore25 Which vendor has decentralized simulcast? TAIT?

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  #43 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2017, 5:53 PM
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Possibly codan


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Old 09-01-2017, 10:38 PM
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MCore25 Which vendor has decentralized simulcast? TAIT?

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Old 09-04-2017, 2:54 AM
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The future is data fusion, IP connectivity, wifi, LTE, and in general, business and public safety communications will become more and more an app running on a customized smartphone-based device and less and less a conventional or trunked two way radio.
Nope the Cell Phone Coverage is much better than the Tetra Network here.
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Old 09-05-2017, 9:13 PM
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I live 50 miles from our state capitol and I don't have cell coverage at all. I have no clue what the end product will be, but it's going to be decades to be implemented.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 09-05-2017, 9:18 PM
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Originally Posted by com501 View Post
I live 50 miles from our state capitol and I don't have cell coverage at all. I have no clue what the end product will be, but it's going to be decades to be implemented.
My money is on never. I give this 5 years and then "Fait Accompli", will be the savior, ATT will announce "the technology is obsolete, we must start over, a Change Order is in the mail".


Meanwhile the LMR heathens will be saddled with mandated 6.25 KHZ technology that barely works.

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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2017, 5:09 AM
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I live 50 miles from our state capitol and I don't have cell coverage at all.
omg do you every search for other carriers?
How about a Repeater?
How many People life next to your House?
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2017, 8:38 AM
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Peak radio was in the late 90's. Saber/System Saber/Spectra/Syntor was the best radio ever. No more crystals, lots of channels. Analog cell phones were still made by Motorola. Remember the Startac vehicle adaptors? It was a convert-a-com for the cell phone. I drilled a hole from my NMO antenna. I remember the first time that powered up. It was pretty cool. My how times have changed.

The iPhone/smartphone changed everything. It was no longer just a phone but a connected computer with multiple functions. Two way radio lacks these multiple functions. This is the inflection point for the downward trend. The telco networks have evolved into a giant wireless data network with a massive paying user base. Always follow the money. They have wide bandwidth that allows a rich feature experience. Two way radio is going in the exact opposite direction in terms of bandwidth. P25 voice quality is flat and lifeless with very limited data. If/when public safety moves to the telco network it should be no problem to write software code to give priority to public safety users. This is not hard to imagine.

The telco build out is impressive and is exponentially larger than what two way was at peak radio. The telcos/tower operators have access to a tremendous amount of funds. This is a key difference between commercial and state radio systems. The telco mesh is much greater and tighter in populated areas than two way. The telco system is pretty darn reliable.

Two way licensing activity is very low and many users have moved on from voice dispatching to apps. The most remarkable example is taxi. The trend is not in two way's favor. There is a lot more RF activity in the air but Motorola's share seems to be shrinking. I don't know exactly why but it appears that they lag in creative thinking. Perhaps there is a parallel between Motorola and Sears. Both have sold off significant business sectors.

I just signed onto Zello for Irma communications. I was impressed. My first impression was CB radio rev 2. Audio is better than P25, and there were no location restrictions associated with being near a two way system or tower. Moderators are able to silence rogue parties, so priority already exists. Yes it requires telco access OR wifi with internet. If you haven't tried Zello you should. Its free and the registration process is non invasive so far. I set it up in thirty minutes, compare that to ANYTHING in two way radio. Is Zello ready for mission critical comms, probably not. But it demonstrates the potential technology that is available and First Net is headed in that direction.

Finally, there should always be a place for local two way radio for government and others. The police/fire/city hall facility should have a two way antenna on the roof and radios available for just in case for ocal and on scene coms. There are places where telco's don't reach, perhaps theses places should have network access. This should be at the states discretion or make the telco's cover it under the First Net agreement. This certainly needs to be balanced against the cost. I'm not sure the nation needs 100% coverage, sorry. Governments primary role is protect their citizens, not to be in the radio business.
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2017, 9:27 AM
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Your statement of Zello does more to substantiate the original claim than deny. Zello is IP, either via WiFi or Cell based internet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MTS2000des View Post
Well, I hear that Houston's prime site went under water. So, how does that fare when you're prime/master site gets disabled? You get failsoft, or nothing at all.

Anything under water is hosed. No brainer. Even those Randy Rescue ARES folks are dead in the water (no joke) when infrastructure is full of water. Ham repeaters hose up just as well as a GTR8000 six pack stack or a Huawei LTE base radio (though the wide adaptation of RRUs being tower top mounted sure does make them safe from water).



I've been listening to Zello talk groups including "Texas Search and Rescue Non-Medical Emergency" for a few hours. Guess what, it's working as well if not better than most LMR is. No one has keyed up with any BER filled transmissions, voice quality far exceeds any narrow band LMR, and the cost is...wait for it...FREE.

Are there cell sites down. Yup. But IP routing and mutliple networks are handling it. No $100,000 rip off overpriced ISSI routers needed at every stinking site or $500 a piece license fees for subscribers or talk groups.

LMR the way it is being sold today needs to evolve or it will be done. The writing is on the wall.
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Last edited by phask; 09-13-2017 at 10:01 AM..
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2017, 9:34 AM
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Public safety will always be depending on LMR. They need a system that approaches 100% mobile coverage in their response area, that can't be overloaded by non-emergency traffic, and is hardened for durability. There are still may areas of the country that cannot get terrestrial TV (Think mountains).

Significant areas of the country are still outside of reliable cell coverage, let alone WiFi. The internet is not available everywhere (probably never will be...)

Ask the railroads how many 220 Repeaters they are having to install as part of the PTC system because cell coverage is not available/reliable.

Once you get away from city/urban areas and the interstate highways, Cell coverage falls off very quickly, and WiFi is pretty useless save for the occasional hotspot.

While Metropolitan/Urban Public safety users may be helped with Cell/Internet/WiFi based systems, they are not the answer for everyone (wasn't this discussed when the 700 MHZ block was put forth as the answer to national public safety?).

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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2017, 9:47 AM
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With many organizations using apps such as Zello etc, I agree that the technology once it gets improved will be the future for Police and Fire etc,However it will be a while for us scanner users to worry about.
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2017, 9:49 AM
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There's also the factor that 700/800MHz works poorly in hilly/mountainous terrain without repeaters on every hilltop. That's not practical in many rural areas. Achieving acceptable coverage in such situations is a lot easier with low band or VHF.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:04 AM
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True - but statewide systems such as Ohio and W.Va, prove it's doable. As do cell towers on every piece of available real estate.

Eastern and southeastern Ohio is about as rough of terrain as any other East of the Rockies.

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There's also the factor that 700/800MHz works poorly in hilly/mountainous terrain without repeaters on every hilltop. That's not practical in many rural areas. Achieving acceptable coverage in such situations is a lot easier with low band or VHF.
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  #55 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2017, 10:41 AM
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True - but statewide systems such as Ohio and W.Va, prove it's doable. As do cell towers on every piece of available real estate.

Eastern and southeastern Ohio is about as rough of terrain as any other East of the Rockies.
A contradictory example I like to use is Brewster County, TX. Largest county in Texas, only one city, less than 10 cell towers in the county (covering a staggering 8% of the county). Public safety relies on VHF but can you really justify spending the $1,000,000 per site to build LTE support for only a few hundred first responders? If you go off of Motorola's engineering study to DPS a few years ago, at 700 MHz DPS would require 7 times the number of sites as to what they are running on VHF currently (for statewide coverage). If scale that down, ans assume 7 700 MHz sites makes up for 1 VHF site coverage-wise...you're looking at ~$15,000,000 just to cover the county. Agian, is it worth it for a few hundred first responders?

To put that number into perspective, it generally runs $1.2 million to build a VHF Astro 25 site in Texas right now (turn-key) so you'd be looking at about $2.5 million for the two sites that would definitely be needed. Of course you still have to connect to a core but in the case of Brewster county, that wouldn't be an issue.
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  #56 (permalink)  
Old 09-13-2017, 11:11 AM
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Just curious, but do any of the PS agencies do data? If so how? I realize the population is much less than many.


That county has 10x the sq miles, yet 100th of the pop.density.

My rural county has 90,000 and 600 sq miles or 130 per sq mi, vs 1.5 per sq mi. Bet your cattle density is higher

Here we have 1 minor "town" of 30k or so with 20-30 LEO, a county Sheriff with 30-50 road officers, plus State Highway Patrol - probably 1-5 on duty at any one time. Ohio DNR uses as well - at least one in every state, plus state parks.

Every single cruiser has MDT and is on the statewide MARCS system. Very hilly terrain and 4 sites in the county - plus the surrounding counties come into play at the fringes.

From what I hear from users - works pretty well - nothing is 100% but an improvement over anything they ever had.

We also have one major interstate bisecting the county - additional radio traffic just from patrols on it - and drug interdiction.

All is available as interoperable - yet that is a pipe dream as no one uses it (training).

Now cell service - in many parts of the county - sucks... The Internet in the county outside most towns is also non-existen or dsl.

The local city had a single VHF repeater for years, had bids for a new system but dumped it all and joined the state's system. More cost effective in the end.

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A contradictory example I like to use is Brewster County, TX. Largest county in Texas, only one city, less than 10 cell towers in the county (covering a staggering 8% of the county). Public safety relies on VHF but can you really justify spending the $1,000,000 per site to build LTE support for only a few hundred first responders? If you go off of Motorola's engineering study to DPS a few years ago, at 700 MHz DPS would require 7 times the number of sites as to what they are running on VHF currently (for statewide coverage). If scale that down, ans assume 7 700 MHz sites makes up for 1 VHF site coverage-wise...you're looking at ~$15,000,000 just to cover the county. Agian, is it worth it for a few hundred first responders?

To put that number into perspective, it generally runs $1.2 million to build a VHF Astro 25 site in Texas right now (turn-key) so you'd be looking at about $2.5 million for the two sites that would definitely be needed. Of course you still have to connect to a core but in the case of Brewster county, that wouldn't be an issue.
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Old 09-13-2017, 1:23 PM
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True - but statewide systems such as Ohio and W.Va, prove it's doable.
SIRN is pretty much exclusively 400MHz UHF.
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Old 09-15-2017, 10:46 AM
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Depends where you go. In BC, the vast majority of the province is conventional analogue except for the RCMP, who are conventional P25. the three major radio users in BC are BC Ambulance service, Ministry of Forests, and Ministry of Highways. Ministry of Forests has a network of over 350 VHF repeaters, all linked by UHF(over 1000 transmitters). There are large parts of the primary highways in this province that still do not have AN Y cellular coverage. I can not drive from Edmonton to Vancouver with out losing service on either Telus/Bell/Koodo/Virgin(Same infrastructure) or Rogers/Fido. Forget the smaller providers that have only major city coverage.

When I travel from Edmonton to the Okanagan or Vancouver area I always take my Global Star phone, knowing that I will be in areas that have NO cellular coverage.

Alberta has AFRRCS and Firenet, one 700MHz/14xMHz P25, the other analogue VHF, an LTE based network is not going to replace either of those networks any time soon, if ever. Too much land to effectively cover with a 0.6w smart phone. Heck I still need to carry a Global Stare phone with me even when less than 50Km from major highways in Alberta. the Cellular coverage is just not practical for a province this size, never mind creating a second PS LTE network to do away with AFRRCS.

Going east, the next province over has a VHF P25 Harris system, and same thing, too big to adequately cover for a 0.6w PS smart phone LTE network.Manitoba is the same, but a mixed mode, 3 zone 800MHz Type 2 omnilink system, that does not even come close to providing coverage in the whole province.

Canada is just far to large to even consider trying to blanket coverage this country with a LTE PS system. There will ALWAYS be a need for traditional LMR radio in Canada.

The only places I can see an LTE network replacing traditional LMR is New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, mostly because they are very small, and can be blanket covered with not a huge cost.

Folks need to remember, British Columbia is 944,735 km²(3rd largest province behind Quebec(1st) and Ontario(2nd). The ONLY US state that has a larger land mass than BC is Alaska at 1,717,854 km², yet that pales in comparison to Nunavut that is over 2 million km².

As an example, you can fit the state of Colorado inside BC 3.5 times
Along with all that land mass is a fraction of the population.
All of Canada has fewer people in it than California alone. It doesn't make economic sense to place infastructure in an area that may not see a person for a month at a time.
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Old 09-15-2017, 10:55 AM
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But when first responders expect 100% coverage/100% of the time with a device that transmits at less than a watt and wants broadband data capabilities... public safety comms may one day, in urban areas move to LTE/what ever the next generation is but there will ALWAYS be the need for robust, LMR networks utilizing 3/4/5w portables.


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Old 09-15-2017, 12:52 PM
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I have my own take on the issue, but don't have a functioning crystal ball. My predictions could be way off target.

I fully expect digital protocols to improve with time, but will run into a brick wall, probably sooner rather than later. Nyquist theory is pretty clear on the minimum sample rate required to faithfully reproduce an analog waveform. Everything after the sample is used to reduce occupied bandwidth in the RF channel, and that's where P25, DMR, NXDN, and the various cellphone formats diverge and get it wrong.

The brick wall will end up being the ability to further compress an information rate (voice?) into less and less occupied bandwidth, then convert back to analog while vaguely resembling the original wave form. In other words, expect some improvement in digital voice quality, but not much. You can squeeze a waveform pretty tight, but that waveform represents a rate of information flow, and you can't squeeze that. You can illustrate that by speaking very rapidly over a cellphone, then speak much slower. At some point, intelligibility decreases with increased word rates. The algorithms can only do so much, and then those pesky laws of physics rear their ugly head.

How that compressed data is delivered, whether by IP or something else is quite changeable. IP is the thing now, but it won't always be. And there will always be smart people who see the need to avoid a centralized communication infrastructure for certain applications, but smart people don't always get to set the rules. I have very little optimism there.

But I wouldn't be overly surprised if analog makes a resurgence in some areas, because of its ability to faithfully reproduce a complex waveform. There's a reason aviation hasn't yet gone digital for voice communication, and it's not for lack of trying.

The haydays of the two-way radio industry are gone for good, but people will always have a need to communicate wirelessly. It's anybody's guess what it will look like, but much of it will continue the trend towards encryption, some will get swallowed up by the IP world, and some, by sheer technical necessity, will remain open, listenable, and whether digital or not, will maintain decent fidelity. Aviation comes to mind.
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