Baltimore City Fire VHF-Hi

K3JTP

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Is BCFD now totally off the VHF-Hi simulcast? I have not heard 154.415 now for several days. The fireground talk groups have been off VHF repeater for quite some time, but the dispatch was still operating as of last week.
 

maus92

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They don't spend a lot of resources maintaining the VHF side. There have been times in the past where it's been down for days and weeks.
 

K3JTP

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Thanks. Most counties nearby have not abandoned VHF analog on dispatch. Time to turn to the PSR500.
 

maus92

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The city doesn’t have a volunteer force that needs to be alerted. There is a theory that the city retained their VHF to support retirees, but I’m not convinced.
 

Citywide74

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The original theory was that they kept the VHF for members of BOX414. This was done with the first system that went into play I believe 23 years ago, before digital scanners came out. Now most members of 414 own XTS3000 portables that are allowed to affiliate but not transmit on the system. All firehouses have a VHF base and each apparatus has a vhf portable assigned to it for backup purposes, however, these are left over radios from the VHF days.
 

1977addis

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I havent heard anything on those Freq's for quite a while but i am able to hear Kent and Howard counties VHF Simulcast stations from my QTH in Harford County and of course i hear good old 460.6000 24/7
 

ocguard

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The original theory was that they kept the VHF for members of BOX414. This was done with the first system that went into play I believe 23 years ago, before digital scanners came out. Now most members of 414 own XTS3000 portables that are allowed to affiliate but not transmit on the system. All firehouses have a VHF base and each apparatus has a vhf portable assigned to it for backup purposes, however, these are left over radios from the VHF days.
Apparatus haven't had VHF portables assigned since narrow-banding took place and 7/800mhz passive coverage was extended into the metro tunnels (this was the primary reason for maintaining the VHF Ch. 1 repeater network and portable radios).

In theory, dispatching could fall back to VHF in the event of a P25 system failure, however the primary fallback is CMARC/MdFIRST, as this provides continued talk-back capability. Most companies pay no mind to the VHF base stations anymore, if they're even working.
 

zerg901

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1 Baofeng portable per station - total cost - $1,000 (50 X $20)

1 EMP proof tacklebox per station - total cost - ? $1,000

versus

total burndown of entire city in the 48 hours it takes to fly in a radio cache from California
 

maus92

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Apparatus haven't had VHF portables assigned since narrow-banding took place and 7/800mhz passive coverage was extended into the metro tunnels (this was the primary reason for maintaining the VHF Ch. 1 repeater network and portable radios).

In theory, dispatching could fall back to VHF in the event of a P25 system failure, however the primary fallback is CMARC/MdFIRST, as this provides continued talk-back capability. Most companies pay no mind to the VHF base stations anymore, if they're even working.
I'm curious about what radio systems MTA has installed in the tunnels to support their move to FIRST. I'd assume they would use BDAs / leaky cables to cover both FIRST and the city's 800 channels. And I suppose a similar system will be installed when the HST is rebuilt.

CMARC (and 8TACs) as a backup system basically failed the test when AACo had their recent outage. The county then applied for a large block of tgs on FIRST to backup their TRS.

-------

As for Baofeng - not going to happen. And it's the VHF infrastructure side that's really the issue.
 
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dpcain

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CMARC (and 8TACs) as a backup system basically failed the test when AACo had their recent outage. The county then applied for a large block of tgs on FIRST to backup their TRS.
Yeah it's kinda laughable - CMARC doesn't have enough portable on-street coverage for the local-site talkgroups to even be usable, and the wide area talkgroups are so hit-or-miss you're only guaranteed service within a short distance of each tower (with almost no overlap and large gaps for portable users). That system's a money hole pet project, not a capable public safety system.
 

Citywide74

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Yeah it's kinda laughable - CMARC doesn't have enough portable on-street coverage for the local-site talkgroups to even be usable, and the wide area talkgroups are so hit-or-miss you're only guaranteed service within a short distance of each tower (with almost no overlap and large gaps for portable users). That system's a money hole pet project, not a capable public safety system.
What about Harford County?
 

Citywide173

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1 Baofeng portable per station - total cost - $1,000 (50 X $20)

1 EMP proof tacklebox per station - total cost - ? $1,000

versus

total burndown of entire city in the 48 hours it takes to fly in a radio cache from California
A $20 Baofeng portable that is also FCC Type accepted would last about 15 seconds in a real building fire. They do not have the ruggedness necessary. Also, if I'm following your reasoning, you want the portable secured to avoid the extreme possibility of EMP-a little off the beaten path, but OK. If you're protecting it from EMP are you also keeping the battery in the case to protect the charging circuit? If so, how can you expect the radio to work if you're unable to keep the battery charged? Better yet, if you do have the battery charged, what kind of life would you expect from it after it's been sitting on the charger for 5 years? Are you factoring in replacement battery costs every year to your $1000? I've seen some "interesting" posts from you in the past, but this has to be in the top 5.

A CoW vehicle (if they don't aleady have one) would be a better investment, and they could probably get a grant for it, saving them the $2000 that you estimate.
 

dpcain

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What about Harford County?
Yeah after Harford adopted that particular site to become their primary system and dumped a whole lot of extra beef into it to make it work. That didn't do much for the other 2 sites.
 

Citywide74

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Yeah after Harford adopted that particular site to become their primary system and dumped a whole lot of extra beef into it to make it work. That didn't do much for the other 2 sites.
Funny thing, I live in Parkville and get that system very intermittently , if at all, with SDS scanners
 

maus92

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Funny thing, I live in Parkville and get that system very intermittently , if at all, with SDS scanners
Parkville is about 9.5M to the closest Harford zone site, which is in Kingsville; the second closest is 11M in Joppa. Makes sense that your reception is marginal.
 

ResQguy

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1 Baofeng portable per station - total cost - $1,000 (50 X $20)

1 EMP proof tacklebox per station - total cost - ? $1,000

versus

total burndown of entire city in the 48 hours it takes to fly in a radio cache from California
I assure you this region is more than capable of replacing the entirety of BFD with loaner radios ready to go without flying in a radio cache from *Idaho*.
 
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