AST Radio Range Questions

peq387ab

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Central Minnesota
Good evening.

I recently became interested in what the state troopers operate for a radio system in such a large vast variety of country throughout the state. Living in northern Minnesota, we have our own challenges of remote access to areas, but nothing like Alaska. From what I can see the trunk radio system covers a good portion of the mainland interior part of the state and the SE part of the state.
What I am most interested in is the remote detached troopers that are working out in communities like Bethel or Nome, Barrow, etc. or even further out in remote villages, what are they using for two way communication or if any at all. I’m wondering if there is just a point with troopers where they don’t have communications that far out, or they have simplex or some sort of analog system.
 

kikito

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North Pole, Alaska
Good evening.

I recently became interested in what the state troopers operate for a radio system in such a large vast variety of country throughout the state. Living in northern Minnesota, we have our own challenges of remote access to areas, but nothing like Alaska. From what I can see the trunk radio system covers a good portion of the mainland interior part of the state and the SE part of the state.
What I am most interested in is the remote detached troopers that are working out in communities like Bethel or Nome, Barrow, etc. or even further out in remote villages, what are they using for two way communication or if any at all. I’m wondering if there is just a point with troopers where they don’t have communications that far out, or they have simplex or some sort of analog system.
Those places you mentioned are now considered “big cities” by Alaska rural standards and they have an extension of the Trunked radios systems that interconnect with the rest of the ALMR in most cases. Many times they have some conventional frequencies that patch to ALMR also and lastly they have simplex frequencies also when many places don’t even have cellphone connectivity and no comms outside of their immediate area.
 

aps_ak

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Alaska Land Mobile Radio is the main means of communication, as you may have figured - as it footprint covers the majority of the population of the Alaska.

In the remote areas, things vary. In some towns big enough to have their own PDs, AST usually has presence on their channels. Otherwise, simplex and perhaps some old repeaters are used - AST used to have a set of about 10 VHF channels spread out throughout the state, used before the switch to ALMR.

Other than that, sat phones, in-reach devices, cell phones and other VHF channels to be used. There aren't really rural dispatches per se - as most calls from Western AK now get routed to the Fairbanks dispatch.

North Slope Borough runs their own show everything north of the Brooks Range, so AST isn't there frequently - and they have their own P25 system.
 

aps_ak

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Those places you mentioned are now considered “big cities” by Alaska rural standards and they have an extension of the Trunked radios systems that interconnect with the rest of the ALMR in most cases.
There was a conversation within ALMR/DMVA leadership regarding that technology, but it's hasn't been implemented. The microwave/satellite system to link that isn't there.

There are no AST areas that are outside normal ALMR footprint being patched in to the normal dispatch channels. If a unit is transmitting on an ALMR talkgroup, they are genuinely within the ALMR footprint.
 

kikito

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There was a conversation within ALMR/DMVA leadership regarding that technology, but it's hasn't been implemented. The microwave/satellite system to link that isn't there.

There are no AST areas that are outside normal ALMR footprint being patched in to the normal dispatch channels. If a unit is transmitting on an ALMR talkgroup, they are genuinely within the ALMR footprint.
Yeah, wasn’t St. Paul Island an early “experiment” on that type of connectivity? I know several areas like Delta and others for Fire, etc. seem to be doing the analog/conventional patch “thingie”. Heck, even Fairbanks Airport seems to still be doing some sort of patches.

I know now that even Anaktuvuk Pass had a DMR or NXDN system for a short time as part of the North Slope Borough but seems like they went P25 recently also.
 

aps_ak

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Yeah, wasn’t St. Paul Island an early “experiment” on that type of connectivity? I know several areas like Delta and others for Fire, etc. seem to be doing the analog/conventional patch “thingie”. Heck, even Fairbanks Airport seems to still be doing some sort of patches.

I know now that even Anaktuvuk Pass had a DMR or NXDN system for a short time as part of the North Slope Borough but seems like they went P25 recently also.
Oh yeah you’re right - St. Paul WAS a site, but I think for a while before it’s eventual shut down it operated in site trunking mode with no reachback.
Sometime last year, there was a plan to somehow (satellite?) link Sand Point PD officers to Valdez Dispatch into their channel, but I haven’t heard much about status of that.

I’ve had someone confirm to me the P25 NSB system this summer - they flip flopped from VHF back to 800mhz for better building coverage.

FAI Airport PD has been trying to get more on ALMR - but for now, the patchy sound you hear is just the bridge from their VHF conventional to ALMR. They haven’t even had many P25 radios until 2-3 years ago.
 

Wilrobnson

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Been around the state a bit. I know that in Kotzebue, AST has access to the Kotz PD freqs (encrypted) but 95% of the time uses cell phones.

Never seen a trooper with a radio in Nome, but I've only spent a few days there.

There's no AST on the North Slope.
 

Wilrobnson

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I know now that even Anaktuvuk Pass had a DMR or NXDN system for a short time as part of the North Slope Borough but seems like they went P25 recently also.
They were P25 Phase-2 in VHF for a few years but went back to 800mhz, still P25 phase 2.
 

aps_ak

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Been around the state a bit. I know that in Kotzebue, AST has access to the Kotz PD freqs (encrypted) but 95% of the time uses cell phones.

Never seen a trooper with a radio in Nome, but I've only spent a few days there.

There's no AST on the North Slope.
Yeah, Nome AST uses LE Simplex for comms between themselves, but can also use Nome PD if needed. Portables arent used a whole lot, as with simplex you're not getting much - and cell phones work anyway.
 
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