2005-2008 VIPER Discussion (Archive)

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pboy

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Hello NC Forum:

I originally posted a query about NCSHP and its migration to 800MHz in the western part of the state.


http://www.radioreference.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=23827


North Carolina's VIPER (Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders) initiative soon became the topic of discussion.

The topic has been touched upon here and there in our forum, mostly concerning the new NCSHP 800MHz radio system going online. It might be informative though to consolidate a general discussion focused on VIPER-related funding issues, technical information, etc.

One big area of contension is how federal Homeland Security grants are being "diverted" by the state of North Carolina for this project.

Another point of dissension is that some localities do not want to be forced to go "800MHz".

There is no arguing, however, that state and local agencies do urgently need interoperability.

TomS
Hickory,NC
 
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KE4ZNR

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Tom-
This is happening in Wake County....pretty much everyone else has moved onto the Wake County system BUT Raleigh Police....they have decided to stay on UHF for the time being....Raleigh Fire, Raleigh/Wake EMS, Wake County Fire all have moved onto the Wake County system but Raleigh PD is content to be left out of the loop :D
I am interested in hearing what others have to say on this issue...
Marshall Sherard KE4ZNR
 

pboy

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Hello Marshall,

How has VIPER enhanced communications in Wake County?

Are agencies now talking to each other that could not before?

How well is 800MHz working for NCSHP, assuming they have switched over?

Did any localities go to 800MHz that could not have any other way?
 

KE4ZNR

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pboy said:
Hello Marshall,

How has VIPER enhanced communications in Wake County?
Most would agree that it has helped comms out in Wake County....granted the Wake County system is still in its infancy so we will see how things turn out down the road...


Are agencies now talking to each other that could not before?
Yep...some examples:
Garner PD can now converse directly with Wake County Sheriff...Garner PD can also talk to Garner Fire & EMS directly...SHP can talk to Garner PD Directly as well as SHP can talk to Wake Sheriff....so things are good there



How well is 800MHz working for NCSHP, assuming they have switched over? SHP has been on the 800Mhz system for a long time already...they were one of the first users of the "VIPER" system...the big event I remember was the NC State fair in 2000/2001 where I remember sitting in the
SHP mobile command post and seeing a rackful of XTS3000's....


Did any localities go to 800MHz that could not have any other way?
Sometimes I get the feeling that it is a grownup toy situation...what I mean by that is if one police chief sees that another chief's department has nice new fancy XTS5000's with all the bells and whistles then the 1st chief is gonna say "well I have to get those too"...
Marshall KE4ZNR
 

pboy

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KE4ZNR said:
This is happening in Wake County....pretty much everyone else has moved onto the Wake County system BUT Raleigh Police....they have decided to stay on UHF for the time being....Raleigh Fire, Raleigh/Wake EMS, Wake County Fire all have moved onto the Wake County system but Raleigh PD is content to be left out of the loop :D
I am interested in hearing what others have to say on this issue...
Marshall Sherard KE4ZNR
As VIPER expands there will be others like Raleigh who don't opt in.

For the most part it is for reasons of local funding.

Why do VIPER participants have to be 800MHz?

460MHz or 150MHz can be linked just as easy.
 

Grog

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But they would be tied to their local system. If XYZ PD had to send 20 officers to assist ABC PD with a large event. They couild already have their HTs programmed (or done quickly) for the stay.

Or, because it's the newest & sexiest thing to do with their radio $$$$ :D
 

pboy

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Anyone have comments about VIPER and its current usage along the I-95 corridor?
 

CCHLLM

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When various comm systems of differing freq and operating systems are tied together at the controller level for particular talkgroups, the operation of the two (or more) systems becomes transparent at the user level. When they are tied together by most other methods, they become cumbersome and difficult to use unless you've got plenty of time to wait for the two systems to synch ops, and are dependent upon operator or comm center attention.

Too bad some of the potential participants see the state system as being sold on a "get in with 800 mHz or get out" basis and are being put off by what they percieve as a "our way or the highway" kind of thing. Truth is, a talkgroup in a 450 mHz trunked system can be linked with a talkgroup in an 800 mHz system on a manually selected basis or on a default basis. The controllers don't care, they just respond to programming. The difficulty lies in reaching that level of operating transparency, and that happens only when the controller doesn't see the two systems as actually being separate. Connecting through a JPS unit or similar is adding another step and another factor to the mix, and requires the two (or more) systems to be up and running in place talkgroup to talkgroup or talkgroup to channel before communications can take place. When done through controller programming, the talkgroup of one system just looks like another site link to the controllers on the other and vice-versa.
 

CCHLLM

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Technically speaking, no, VIPER is not locked into 800 mHz, but that doesn't mean that the state isn't selling it that way. Think of it this way: a state talkgroup on VIPER goes in and back out through the system and is received by one of the local interface systems, applied to the local comm system and in it goes and comes back out on their system. The reply from one of the local units now reverses the procedure to talk back to the state unit. Look at the time it will take to make all the "handshake" motions before the actual audio portion can be accomplished.

To eliminate the delays and unwieldy characteristics, you'd want the systems connected at the controller phase so that the traffic from one system looks like just another zone to the overall system. Adding the zones and talkgroups in those zones to a system does increase the complexity of the system considerably, but if the system design is already a Smartzone/Smartnet regional, sector, and local system (like Florida's), then it should make little major difference complexitywise or costwise whether the zones are 450 or 800 or 150, conventional, trunked, or whatever.

The state wants you buy into the 800 mHz stuff so that your equipment will bolster and complement the state infrastructure, and they're probably saying or not saying enough to give you the impression that it can only work if it's 800 mHz. If you go out and buy equipment that is in another frequency range and another format, the grants will no longer be complementary, and both of you will have to purchase additional equipment to accomplish both your own goals and the goals of the interoperability grants you're trying to get to begin with because the infrastructure requirements will be different and will be functionally duplicated. Let's not forget to mention the fact that if your grant is no longer a "complementary" grant, that'll probably increase yer chances of being turned down. Add to the mix the fact that within fewer years than we'd like to think, narrowband technology will be required in those counties and municipalities that are resisting change, and they'll be spending money to comply with new regs anyway. That's where getting on board with the sharing plan starts to make economic sense.

That doesn't mean that if my county had already spent a bundle going to a new narrowband compliant system that I wouldn't apply for an additional grant to interconnect my system to the state system as another zone in order to achieve user transparency when the state system comes on line. That step would most likely have to be in the original plan for my new system in order for me to get my current grant anyway, so it all falls back to the fact that like it or not, 800 mHz is probably going to be route to go because the way is already paved, and the resultant cost-sharing gets all the subscriber municipalities new stuff for much lower cost on their part. Small departments get out for practically nothing in this plan, so it's especially attractive to the rural jurisdictions.

Timing and politics are always the operative words when government money is involved.
 

RohnsRadio

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Very good points made. Duplin County is having problems with coverage for many years now. Thye have been debateing how to "fix" the problem. As you said, norrowband will be here soon and all will have to have new radios anyway. But they will resist going 800 because that is the way they think. Many rual counties will be the same.

Rohn
 

CCHLLM

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Thanx, and I hope I'm getting the point across that as a technician I see no problem with connecting any system to any other system at the control level, but federal, state, and local politics will surely dictate any direction a system will take. The interconnection of systems is unfortunately hugely more complex politically than it is technically. That's why so many will never be connected at the control level and will depend on the dreaded "over-the-air" interconnect that will never operate satisfactorily, and that either political body involved can shut off when somebody's nose gets out of joint.
 

nctrunkguy

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viper discussion

Sampson County is in the process of getting grant money for an 800mhz system. The County has already erected a 600ft communications tower that will greatly improve reception for their UHF/VHF radios. NCSHP wants to rent space on that tower for the VIPER system(I'm not sure about the SHP part, so correct me if I'm wrong). Sampson County's thinking is that it will be cheaper to "hook up" to the VIPER system than to build their own. With the county in the process of building a 252 bed detention center/law enforcement center and several new high schools, who knows if they will be able to get the grant for the radios.
 

CCHLLM

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If Sampson is gonna have a comm tower of that magnitude, then you can bet the state will be all over it trying to get space, and you're right, it's the SHP. NCSHP is the VIPER's parent organization.
 

pboy

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How much of a complication is the 800MHz rebanding for the VIPER project ?
 

Grog

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VIPER Year Zero (powerpoint) shows Lincoln Co? I guess I have some VIPERolgy to study :lol:
 

CCHLLM

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If, and I emphasize IF, things go as planned, the rebanding will coincide with the state system going digital and then to 700 mHz, whenever that's supposed to take place. As I understand it, all the radios NOT capable of digital and 700 (very few) will be replaced/traded out by MotherMoto. How much of that is actually fact is a guess, and I'm sure your guess is as good as mine.
 

pboy

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Grog said:
VIPER Year Zero (powerpoint) shows Lincoln Co? I guess I have some VIPERolgy to study :lol:
You might want to do a search of the minutes of your county government's meetings for the last couple of years. These are usually online at the county website.

You can gain insight into the communications mentality of the local officials spending all this federal funding.

For example, Catawba County wants to spend $130,000 of FY 2004 Homeland Security money for VHF narrowband radios.
 

PJH

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Why the switch to 700, after all the 800 infrastrure? I am aware that the current/future XTS/XTL lines are dual band, but doesn't seem to make sense to me (at the moment).

Seems like duplication/extra expense...but I dunno.
 
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