A decade after 9/11, Bay Area emergency responders still not on same radio frequency

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RadioGuy1951

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The same IS true of the SF Bay Area (as the title of this thread suggests)

It's a collection of 9 bay area counties, many cities, in an area of an estimated 7+ million residents...with many different bands, freqa, and sytems in use, some dedicated SCPC, some trunked

CLEMARS (California Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Radio System) was supposed to be the common frequency, but which one...??? the VHF-high Clemars system is the most commonly used of the VHF-High and UHF freqs...but I hear many police agencies use both Clemars freqs as secondary TAC channels (along with NLEMARS)...

CAL OES is looking for solutions...

Whan the 1989 Loma Prieta quake hit (which I felt very strongly in Geyserville, Sonoma County) the radio channels came alive...squads of officers from the Cal-DOJ rushed from Sacto to SF to secure state buildings...the feds were doing the same thing for federal buildings...CLEMARS and the FBI channels were active.
 

Stavro35

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Seattle police and fire can talk to each other, they don't. . My old home states community went to a trunked system in the late 90s .And are able to communicate with each other, and do. They have special talkgroups on their system. SO when there is a multi agency response everyone can talk to each other.
 

LowBat

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Dispatchers and incident commanders that can talk to other agency dispatchers/incident commanders and coordinate what their field units are doing is a good thing. Field units talking to other agency field units isn't so wonderful as radio vendors would have you believe. Radio protocols and brevity codes tend to be different; agencies tend to have their own and often different objectives at a disaster scene; the chain of command even comes into question. Imagine a police sergeant trying to talk to firefighters on the radio without ever having any cross training.

It's sort of like when all the services of a county (law, fire, public works, school buses, animal control, crossing guards, trash collection, etc.) share a trunked radio system. Sometimes the trunked system fails and suddenly all users can talk/hear each other regardless of their talk group ID. Anyone who has experienced that knows what a mess it can be.
 

commstar

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Universal interoperability is a concept without any merit. It is a paper tiger.

The people who are driving the interoperability bus are the ones who tend to profit from it- those who sell and those who manage complicated, oversold, under-performing radio systems or have political aspirations.

Cops do not need to talk to firemen. Cops do not WANT to talk to firemen in my experience. Cops do have the need to talk to one another on various occasions but the need to go from one end of the state to the other and have comms is utopian wet dream and unnecessary. The number of times a Richmond Cop needed to talk to a Santa Monica Cop are prolly pretty low.

Most agencies in the bay are pre-trunking were either conventional VHF or UHF and generally had excellent interoperability in their own county/region.

Firemen do need to talk to other firemen. That's why god created the white channel 154.2800 and mandated that it be on every firetruck in the state.

Firemen have common universal missions (squirt water on stuff, save lives, make chili, buy red off-duty vehicles proclaiming how and why they are heroes). There are only so many ways to save a life, fight a fire, make chili. Firemen are process-laden, rarely or intentionally act completely alone.

For those few moments that dogs and cats need to talk, god created CALCORD 156.0750.

God bless the guy who moved thier entire agency to EDACS or Johnson LTR while every one else around is either Motorola trunked or conventional VHF.

There was a high level of potential interoperability in the mid/early-80's thru the early 90's in the Bay Area.

I say potential interoperability because no one really had any need or interest in it then. Just like today.

If there were not DHS money available, Motorola Sales Reps with Mortgages and Political Careers on the line it is my opinion that
the EBRCS system would be nothing more than a dream.

The people who are driving interoperability are the ones who tend to profit from it- those who sell and those who manage complicated, oversold, under-performing radio systems.

There is no answer because: there-is-no-answer.

The answer is strive to talk to the agencies around you, conform your policy, train together, and work together often.
 

Buttescan

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Interop

Having been in LE and EMS based emergency services for 20+ years, I tend to agree with most of the comments that "interop" in the way the media and the politicians mean it not only isn't needed but is impractical in real life operations, disasters or otherwise. It is true that there is no magical, golden frequency or radio or talk group that will save the world... But...

However, that having been said, responders generically DO need the ability to talk across agency/department/regional boundaries when necessary. The Incident Command System is a pretty good system and has been around and used for decades. Incident commanders, agency reps, etc. across all disciplines do need to be able to communicate as do the grunts in the field, again, regardless of disciplines (LE, Fire, EMS, government, etc.).

There are ways to achieve this through technology, comm plans, and training without too much in-fighting or jurisdictional pissing matches. You can also do this without breaking the bank or making things so complex, it's unwieldy.

Unfortunately, part due to politics and part due to costs, budgets, economy, egos, understanding of the actual goal, etc. this hasn't happened.
 

commstar

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Having been in LE and EMS based emergency services for 20+ years............due to costs, budgets, economy, egos, understanding of the actual goal, etc. this hasn't happened.
Sounds like we agree. My perspective is from municipal law enforcement.

The amazing part to me is that 'interoperabilty' was already in place 20 years ago in some many places. 10-15years ago, a number of Motorola sales reps left the company to become 'consultants' or to go to work managing government radio shops/comm centers which paved the way for /\/\ to sell trunking essentially from inside government.

I have run across former Motorola Employees in some odd and interesting positions of influence and read so many studies for various agencies, written by consultants (who fail to mention thier M roots) who somehow seemed always recommend M systems.

To a lesser degree, the same could be said of GE/Ercisson/Tyco/whoever owned EDACS at the time.

Man, I would love to follow some of those dollars around just to see whose mortgage got paid.

I can think back to so many situations where interoperability existed if one just programmed the radio, executed an MOU, and committed to some training together. Not expensive, not complicated and does not require trunking.

Trunking has its place. It is a system managers dream, a salesman's fantasy and now mostly a bureaucrats illusion- they were often quietly sold the idea that they could charge and make money on a trunked system and wold somehow be self-sustaining and a budget line item asset.

Naturally, this assertion was made in a dark restaurant booth eating consultant steak and never, ever seem to make it into those consultants recommendation

Please anyone, show me a break-even or even self-sustaining trunking system in government.

Now agencies are fighting to move get to what many actually had in the first place; before interoperability was the buzzword du jour.

Can you say Boondoggle?

Mike
 

RadioGuy1951

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Talking Dogs and Cats

Universal interoperability is a concept without any merit. It is a paper tiger.

The people who are driving the interoperability bus are the ones who tend to profit from it- those who sell and those who manage complicated, oversold, under-performing radio systems or have political aspirations.

Cops do not need to talk to firemen. Cops do not WANT to talk to firemen in my experience. Cops do have the need to talk to one another on various occasions but the need to go from one end of the state to the other and have comms is utopian wet dream and unnecessary. The number of times a Richmond Cop needed to talk to a Santa Monica Cop are prolly pretty low.

Most agencies in the bay are pre-trunking were either conventional VHF or UHF and generally had excellent interoperability in their own county/region.

Firemen do need to talk to other firemen. That's why god created the white channel 154.2800 and mandated that it be on every firetruck in the state.

Firemen have common universal missions (squirt water on stuff, save lives, make chili, buy red off-duty vehicles proclaiming how and why they are heroes). There are only so many ways to save a life, fight a fire, make chili. Firemen are process-laden, rarely or intentionally act completely alone.

For those few moments that dogs and cats need to talk, god created CALCORD 156.0750.

God bless the guy who moved thier entire agency to EDACS or Johnson LTR while every one else around is either Motorola trunked or conventional VHF.

There was a high level of potential interoperability in the mid/early-80's thru the early 90's in the Bay Area.

I say potential interoperability because no one really had any need or interest in it then. Just like today.

If there were not DHS money available, Motorola Sales Reps with Mortgages and Political Careers on the line it is my opinion that
the EBRCS system would be nothing more than a dream.

The people who are driving interoperability are the ones who tend to profit from it- those who sell and those who manage complicated, oversold, under-performing radio systems.

There is no answer because: there-is-no-answer.

The answer is strive to talk to the agencies around you, conform your policy, train together, and work together often.
I have to disagree on a few points...

Right now we have a large manhunt for a double killer here in Mendocino County, and we have local, state, and federal agencies taking part...and while clemar and calcord are VERY useful, we're assuming each agency is operating on VHF-HIGH...and IF an agency takes part that operates on UHF, and they don't have VHF-HIGH radios, and the host agency does not have enough VHF-High radios, it's a problem...at that point any "teams" would need 1 person from the local agency to handle comms with the home agency dispatch...

So the big gorilla in the "interoperability" room (issue) to me is VHF-Hi versus UHF...

And don't forget some depts are using analog comms, and some are using p25...

In certain conditions Clemar & Calcoord work good, sometimes no everybody can use it...

Yes, Fire "White" was mandated as a Fire-MARS channel, but with more sophisticated radios CDF fire crews can often come up on a local freq if a Strike Team goes out of their home territory.

The biggest snafu is the CONTINUING problems with the Oakland PD comms system...even after the much touted complete radio revamping, they're still dead spots (in neighborhoods where loss of comms IS very critical)...

There's been several incidents reported on the tv news in the SF Bay Area where comms failed...most natably the incident a couple of years ago where a parolee killed 4 PD officers in East Oakland...and there's probably more comm failure incidents we don't hear about...

Am I the only person that thinks the older analog systems, set up with different freqs & PL's for different zones, worked better than what we see now...???

I get a funny look on my face now when I hear about "improvements"...

and, lastly, I remember a sacto sheriff deputy (who like me is also a ham radio op) came up on our freq to tell us to continue up 1 block and turn right to get to the HEART of an incident (we were given a bad address)...that saved us valuable time...

And to say that up into the 90's that there was NO need for interoperability in the SF Bay Area indicates a possible memory lapse about the Loma Prieta quake in 1989...

personally I see both need AND hype surrounding the issue of interoperability...

Compounding the issue is that in the last 25 years there have been MANY advances in radio technology, and with so many agencies using different systems, coming up with ONE STANDARD might be near to impossible unless there is a massive revamping of everybody's radio systems, which I just don't see happening...every agency is territorial in their radio turf and individualistic in how they configue tham...sometimes with good reason...

PS...I've NEVER heard a cop say they didn't want to communicate with firemen IF needed...

This drama might not actually have anything to do with real life...YMMV
 

wuzafuzz

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Dispatchers and incident commanders that can talk to other agency dispatchers/incident commanders and coordinate what their field units are doing is a good thing. Field units talking to other agency field units isn't so wonderful as radio vendors would have you believe. Radio protocols and brevity codes tend to be different; agencies tend to have their own and often different objectives at a disaster scene; the chain of command even comes into question. Imagine a police sergeant trying to talk to firefighters on the radio without ever having any cross training.

It's sort of like when all the services of a county (law, fire, public works, school buses, animal control, crossing guards, trash collection, etc.) share a trunked radio system. Sometimes the trunked system fails and suddenly all users can talk/hear each other regardless of their talk group ID. Anyone who has experienced that knows what a mess it can be.
Commstar you are my new hero.

I couldn't have said it better, and I've been saying it for years.
 

Air37

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Even when we're over a scene helping it gets a bit confusing with different 9,10 or 11 codes. An interoperability standard should be set using plain language.
 

code3cowboy

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Commstar way to tell it like it is.

In addition to an alarmingly accurate depiction of hose draggers and the way Motorola sales guys operate, you hit the nail on the head when explaining going trunked creates your own radio island. In addition to analog and p25 there are still "Astro" systems on the air and now agencies are getting Nexedge and Trbo systems because they are "secure" with no regard to their sudden inability to come up on a neighboring departments channel or an interop channel creating needless delays in response to emergent situations. I am quite surprised nobody castigated the Sac Deputy for his actions.
 

commstar

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Some final words on this, it appears I should clarify my comments for accuracy sake. Comments interspersed.
I have to disagree on a few points...

Right now we have a large manhunt for a double killer here in Mendocino County, and we have local, state, and federal agencies taking part...and while clemar and calcord are VERY useful, we're assuming each agency is operating on VHF-HIGH...and IF an agency takes part that operates on UHF, and they don't have VHF-HIGH radios, and the host agency does not have enough VHF-High radios, it's a problem...at that point any "teams" would need 1 person from the local agency to handle comms with the home agency dispatch...

Sorry to hear about the manhunt. Hope they get a green light to send Mr. Bassler back to Jesus.

what you say is true about differing bands, visiting agencies and host venues when it comes to resources. I am afraid that is reality for agencies coming from distant locations to perform mutual aid or cooperative functions such as the search you alluded to. Resources are always a problem.

So the big gorilla in the "interoperability" room (issue) to me is VHF-Hi versus UHF...

I agree.

And don't forget some depts are using analog comms, and some are using p25...

Spot on you are my friend.

In certain conditions Clemar & Calcoord work good, sometimes no everybody can use it...

Indeed, this is true also.

Yes, Fire "White" was mandated as a Fire-MARS channel, but with more sophisticated radios CDF fire crews can often come up on a local freq if a Strike Team goes out of their home territory.

Yes, firemen have a universal mission and are easily loaned to another department under ICS who will pay all thier costs as long as the ICS benchmarkes are met...... Anyway, field programming 300 Bendix-Kings at a fire camp is a great idea and works for the fire service. Different animal than LE...FD deployment is generally controlled and far less dynamic than PD (2-in, 1-out, divisions, teams etc). Firemen have a valuable role but a different mission and the tempo, practice and needs of the way they respond allows them time to plan. Firemen roll Code-3 to everything and then walk in. Their role is clear, the enemy known, and the procedure well practiced and outlined. Additionally, Firemen travel in packs, are heavily supervised and tend not to act autonomously (2-in, 1-out; where the Captain).

Cops do not respond cookie cutter, every call is different- yet the same. One small detail can change everything. Multiple skills, rules, processes, policies and laws are all in motion at one time. Time is often not a luxury afford the street cop. The suspect may not be known, cooperative, or might be counter-surveiling you.

My whole point in this is the roles have different requirements. Cops need something where voice security could be useful but talking on a portable thru a Scott Air-Pak Mask may not be a big concern (unless you are Rohnert Park or Sunnyvale).

The biggest snafu is the CONTINUING problems with the Oakland PD comms system...even after the much touted complete radio revamping, they're still dead spots (in neighborhoods where loss of comms IS very critical)...


You tend to support my assertion here.....in the 80/90's OPD was on VHF (156.090/155.790). These two channels were repeated, voted, and used a GE Backbone. That system worked. Fire was on 153.7850 repeated, voted and also GE that system also worked. ACSO was on 154.6500, simplex, and that system worked. San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Union City, Livermore, Pleasanton, Contra Costa SO, Santa Clara SO, Solano SO, Vallejo PD, Napa PD/SO, even into to Lake County was available to any of these agencies as well as CHP (extender) all for the price of programming a Spectra. No one ever bothered. That is a pretty big area to operate in. Going into Marin County, SF, or San Mateo County would be a problem band-wise but historically that has not happened alot as I can recall from my experience.

In pursuits that left your jurisdiction and were anywhere near a CHP unit, CHP would generally offer to take over the chase with the agreement that everyone else would backout once there were two CHP units in the chase. Most agencies availed themselves of this. This would negate the need for direct comms.

So whats my point? Police agencies should concentrate on regional interoperability with those they most often play with and make that rock solid down to their training and corporate culture. Police agencues should plan their system acquisitions with this regional interop as a goal and not worry about talking to everyone on the face of the earth. You can plan must more readily on the regional level than trying to accomodate the entire constellation of possibilities.

There's been several incidents reported on the tv news in the SF Bay Area where comms failed...most natably the incident a couple of years ago where a parolee killed 4 PD officers in East Oakland...and there's probably more comm failure incidents we don't hear about...

I read the AAR on the incredibly tragic loss of the OPD Officers and did not recall that radio performance was raised as an issue. Communications were, but I believe that the finding was more command and control directives/info flo/who is in charge chaos related, rather than technical radio failure. Radio Interoperabilty per se was not even brought up as a factor. I just searched the AAR by Stewart on this event and found no negative mentions of radio. 'Radio system' does not even appear as a phrase in the AAR that I read. Perhaps there is another version that I do not have access to.

My Point here is that there were multiple agencies involved in this and very little to no interoperability yet it was not pinned as a problem despite an incredible number of law enforcement lives lost. Leads me to conclude there is no interest by command staff or the city attorney.

Beyond the barrier of mutiple bands being a problem in this dynamic situation (perhaps an ACU would have helped but there is that Law Enforcement vs. Fire luxury of time motif at play again). But for the sake of discussion, lets imagine that all agencies were able to talk in a single voice path and 'find interoperability'.

Now you have agencies talking to one another where just the difference in a radio code could get someone killed. Code-7 in OPD speak means "Armed Subject" which is frown upon as you might imagine, whereas everyone else means 'Lunch'. Also OPD 9-code, everyone else was 10/11 code with the exception of San Leandro PD.

My point again is there is just no palpable interest here. Police agencies view interoperability as loss of control and a civil/legal/policy problem. Really they only bang the gong for funding or when a bureaucrat wants some press/donation.

Some places are on the ball, San Mateo County is one that comes to mind. Countywide policy, Countywide mutual aid common channel, Countywide codes radio identifiers. They even used to train together a time or two a year doing scenarios etc. Why becuase the Chiefs took an interest and forced all to play together well and socialized this level of interoperabily.

If everyone took that tact then we would be miles ahead of the game.

PD's do not loan cops out like FD's do under ICS
.

Each agency has its own custom & practice, culture, language, pursuit, use of force and other policies that can vary greatly from agency to agency.

Am I the only person that thinks the older analog systems, set up with different freqs & PL's for different zones, worked better than what we see now...???

Nope trunking is for system managers, not system users. What we see now is not the 'highest and best' use, it is the 'most efficient' use.

I get a funny look on my face now when I hear about "improvements"...

Me too Brother! Radio improvements are like the terms 'medical success' and 'justice'- it depends on who you are talking to.

and, lastly, I remember a sacto sheriff deputy (who like me is also a ham radio op) came up on our freq to tell us to continue up 1 block and turn right to get to the HEART of an incident (we were given a bad address)...that saved us valuable time...

I dunno who 'our freq' is and therefore cannot comment but glad to hear you made it to your call in a timely manner.


And to say that up into the 90's that there was NO need for interoperability in the SF Bay Area indicates a possible memory lapse about the Loma Prieta quake in 1989...

I was working the street as a Police Officer in the East Bay on October 17th 1989 so I can speak to that. I never said need, I said want. There is a regional need, but the want has never been there. See my comments above.

personally I see both need AND hype surrounding the issue of interoperability...

Compounding the issue is that in the last 25 years there have been MANY advances in radio technology, and with so many agencies using different systems, coming up with ONE STANDARD might be near to impossible unless there is a massive revamping of everybody's radio systems, which I just don't see happening...every agency is territorial in their radio turf and individualistic in how they configue tham...sometimes with good reason...

If you take that evil DHS UASI grant money P25 may be a requirement.


PS...I've NEVER heard a cop say they didn't want to communicate with firemen IF needed...

Heck i'll talk to a dogcatcher if it makes my job easier. The cops' mission is different, his/her role is different and his/here needs are different. Rarely have I ever had the need to talk directly to a Firemen running into a burning building; cops tend to stand around outside and create a perimeter for the firemen to run over their own hoses and spray that special type of fireman adrenaline all over everything.

How would it look for a cop to be in the middle of the new station 11 t-shirt; not good I assert.

Really, what does a cop have to say to a Battalion Chief at a structure fire? Not much. The Fireguys do not want to know that 3L31 needs a box of flares or to take a leak while the fireguys save a foundation.

There are moments, times, incidents but they are few and far between, unusual and can be worked thru without a $4 trillion dollar trunking system that tries to be all things to all people.


Cops ideally want a radio that works when they are rolling around on the ground with a bad guy.

Firepeople want a radio that works thru an Scott mask next to a noisy but well shined truck.

Interoperability should be planned for on a regional basis, like your situation in Mendo. Sounds like there is plenty of VHF on scene there........there was just no interest in getting together before this happened. There is a whole stack of VHF IOP channels available in the DHS NIFOG.....but no one had the interest to program, deploy, train, or policy up on them? Sounds like a lack of interest to me.

Tomorrow, Mendo will cry for a new radio system in the name of interoperabilty, yet the answer is already available.

See, its really about money and control for LE. For Fire it is about money then interop.


This drama might not actually have anything to do with real life...YMMV
I think we might agree here also, the drama is a self-perpetuating ploy for funding.

Interoperability comes with good planning, training (to the corporate culture level), and not buying some doomaflatichie radio system than you neighbors cannot easily access.



 

jim202

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Guys I think your stuck on the small picture of your local operational area and the coms you generally use. If you slow down and step back and take a look at the big picture, you will get a whole new prospective. There has already been one poster talking about having outside agencies come in to help on the manhunt. The coms on the manhunt are some what mixed and problematic.

I travel around the country and do visit many 911 dispatch centers and ask the questions about working with other agencies outside their normal group agencies. It is interesting to listen to the stories about how this agency came in to help on a rail road derailment, flood, massive storm damage and so on. These agencies that come in to help will in most cases not have the local channels in their radios or even not be on a band that can be used.

Now comes the big bad words of using the "NATIONAL INTEROPERABILITY RADIO CHANNELS". These channels were set up for just the use of what has been mentioned by a number of people of the incidents they have had to deal with. When the chips are down you use what ever resources you can muster. Were not talking about the daily political boundary battles that the local politics are always stirring up, but unusual events.

The most recent example of what I am talking about is all the flooding going on along the East coast from all the heavy rains. There are a huge amount of people displaced and even lost their homes from the effects of the storm. Rescue crews from other states have come in to help. The coms have been hit or miss until someone plants their feet and starts to take charge. That person collects the assets he has and figures out what common radio channels they can use. The most common is the "NATIONAL INTEROPERABILITY RADIO CHANNELS" that should be in every portable and mobile radio used by any and all public safety agencies. If those channels are not in your radios, then shame on your mom manager and kick his butt good. Then there are those department heads that put the big political wedge in the way and say that they will never put those channels in their radios.

Be it as it falls, you boys evidently haven't had to deal with situations like I am talking about. Some day it will happen to you, be it an ice storm, hurricane, flood, huge fire, or what ever, time will catch with you butts. It would be nice if you at least had some plans for when that happens.

As for the Motorola sales force and the retired sales force, more power to them. Most of them are nothing more than looking to fill their pockets. i do agree with you on that point. Most of them have little understanding of radio coverage, how to lay out a system or even what equipment an agency really needs, not what they want to sell them.

This could go on for ever. I am only trying to point out that you need to look further than the front and rear bumper of your vehicle when it comes to mutual aid and outside help. I would go take a look at what Virginia has done with what is called the "VIRGINIA COMLINC PROJECT" that was started about 4 or 5 years ago. They figured it out real early on that there was no single answer to radio interoperability. They now have some 130 plus gateways up and on line 24 / 7 in dispatch centers around the state. This includes the 5 at the state police dispatch centers and a number of mobile command vehicles. Do a search on the Internet and take a look at what was done for a lot less money than providing trunking systems for every agency in the state. More states should look at what was done by Virginia and make their plans that way.
 
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Lining pockets and little understanding of radio coverage

Let me speak from experience. All sales efforts are rewarded by commissions or bonuses. Radio salespeople aren't any different that other sales people for the most part.

In the old days, radio sales people were trained on how to project simple radio system coverage. Major system proposals and bids were run through Bid & Quote departments, where they were reviewed by legal, engineering and even by the product groups whose products were included in the bid. Any exceptions to the specs were noted in the bid and priceing was determined for the bid offering. These were team efforts and not undertaken by one salesperson. Most bids included a requirement for a bid and performance bond. This is how I remember the larger manufactures such as Motorola, GE, and RCA as doing business. There were a few MR's who would bid on their own, but most large procurements were handled by the manufacturer direct. Large system range projections were done by engineering when they were required to be included in a bid response.

As community repeaters and SMR's were intruduced, it was standard practice for one company that I am familiar with to have engineering produce coverage maps for use by sales. They featured talk back range for mobiles and portables. The tools were provided to the sales force. One company I am familiar with had a product consultant department in addition to engineering. Dispatch centers/911, microwave systems, CCTV, and other special products were suppported by engineering groups, product consultant departments (these consultants would visit with the customer on the sales call and determine any special requirements) The product consultant would prepare the equipment list for sales.

There were cases where some local MR's would not have the support as factory salespeople did and in some cases, they were not held to the same business standards as factory salespeople.

That was then and today is today. There are many more dealers today and fewer factory salespeople. A good dealer will provide the same kind of support for their salesforce as in the past. I assume that large procurements are still handled at the corp level.

The radio business has always been very competitive. To says that radio sales people are only interested in "lining their pockets" is unfail to say the least.
 

commstar

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Now comes the big bad words of using the "NATIONAL INTEROPERABILITY RADIO CHANNELS"
My intent was not to post again on this but just to perfect the record, you and I also agree.

I did mention the IOP channels you reference in my previous post. They are all in the DHS NIFOG (National Interoperability Field Operations Guide) for all who do not want to, to see.

Congrats to the Commonwealth of Virginia for having some foresight on this topic. Gateways can be a great solution in alot of circumstances.

I hope that they have have backed up all the effort to patch systems together with a training piece and operational commitment needed to affect the change in thier operational culture to make all that effort worthwhile.....otherwise you have a bunch of unused gateway patches in place.

I see the average government interoperability funding/acquisition cycle play out like this:
1. Have a Problem that makes your agency look bad.
2. Blame nebulous 'Interoperability'. Draft report with lots of pictures that blames 'Interoperability' also.
3. Position technically ignorant 'respected' agency figurehead, a youbg girl in a sundress, and a puppy into political view in impassioned plea for funding.
3a. Hire a consultant.
3c. Endorse consultant findings.
3d. Cry in public once.
4. Receive funding because we all like puppies and don't want the children to suffer.
5. Purchase something incredibly complicated that requires more FTE's/staff to run it and you to manage/supervise.
6. When it does not work, blame the consultant.
7.Ask for more money to solve the problem.
8.Wait for the users to become accustomed to the poor performance while the problem is being 'fixed'.
8a. Stall, stall, stall like a MOFO (and pray).
9. At this point, either politics will force you out or the some other crisis will take the place of the radio system complaints. Either way this is over.
10a.IF you stay, you have an empire to run.
10a.IF you leave, you become a consultant and thus part of someone else's acquisition process.

Tense, punctuation and spelling errors left intact for the readers amusement. Please email with any conjugation errors.

Interoperability is, more often than not, a paper tiger.

Mike
 

kma371

QRT
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
Messages
6,190
Universal interoperability is a concept without any merit. It is a paper tiger.

The people who are driving the interoperability bus are the ones who tend to profit from it- those who sell and those who manage complicated, oversold, under-performing radio systems or have political aspirations.

Cops do not need to talk to firemen. Cops do not WANT to talk to firemen in my experience. Cops do have the need to talk to one another on various occasions but the need to go from one end of the state to the other and have comms is utopian wet dream and unnecessary. The number of times a Richmond Cop needed to talk to a Santa Monica Cop are prolly pretty low.

Most agencies in the bay are pre-trunking were either conventional VHF or UHF and generally had excellent interoperability in their own county/region.

Firemen do need to talk to other firemen. That's why god created the white channel 154.2800 and mandated that it be on every firetruck in the state.

Firemen have common universal missions (squirt water on stuff, save lives, make chili, buy red off-duty vehicles proclaiming how and why they are heroes). There are only so many ways to save a life, fight a fire, make chili. Firemen are process-laden, rarely or intentionally act completely alone.

For those few moments that dogs and cats need to talk, god created CALCORD 156.0750.

God bless the guy who moved thier entire agency to EDACS or Johnson LTR while every one else around is either Motorola trunked or conventional VHF.

There was a high level of potential interoperability in the mid/early-80's thru the early 90's in the Bay Area.

I say potential interoperability because no one really had any need or interest in it then. Just like today.

If there were not DHS money available, Motorola Sales Reps with Mortgages and Political Careers on the line it is my opinion that
the EBRCS system would be nothing more than a dream.

The people who are driving interoperability are the ones who tend to profit from it- those who sell and those who manage complicated, oversold, under-performing radio systems.

There is no answer because: there-is-no-answer.

The answer is strive to talk to the agencies around you, conform your policy, train together, and work together often.
Don't forget, they like to play with their hoses! Sorry couldn't resist.


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zerg901

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 19, 2005
Messages
2,702
How about this for a solution?

Every radio has dedicated receivers on 155.7675, 453.2125, and 851.0125.

Every radio has a Channel 1 that is either 155.7675 TX/RX, 453.2125 TX/RX, or 851.0125 TX/RX

Dispatchers have receivers or base stations on all 3 freqs.

(This is similar to how 168.625 is set up for airtankers - how 156.80 is set for boats - how 121.50 / 243.0 is set up for aircraft)

(Note - ' NIH ' is ' Not Invented Here ' syndrome)
 

kma371

QRT
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
Messages
6,190
How about this for a solution?

Every radio has dedicated receivers on 155.7675, 453.2125, and 851.0125.

Every radio has a Channel 1 that is either 155.7675 TX/RX, 453.2125 TX/RX, or 851.0125 TX/RX

Dispatchers have receivers or base stations on all 3 freqs.

(This is similar to how 168.625 is set up for airtankers - how 156.80 is set for boats - how 121.50 / 243.0 is set up for aircraft)

(Note - ' NIH ' is ' Not Invented Here ' syndrome)
That makes too much sense. It will never happen.

Being in public safety over 15 years, I think the only interop anyone needs is fire.

Like others said before, fire guys respond more often to mutual aid requests, not the police. They need it more than cops do.

I can not think of an incident where I've needed to talk to another police department that my dispatch couldn't handle for me. The ability to MONITOR however is a great tool especially for fire calls.


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