Baltimore County 46.460 mhz

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fireboat61

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I have always wondered why Baltimore County has maintained the low band system. One of a very few still operating on in Maryland. Was VHF 150 band ever discussed in years past. I understand now that all career stations are dispatched via digital signal no longer requiring the low band. Im guessing as soon as the low band breaks for good the system would be dropped all together. Does anyone have any insight from years past about the 46.460 frequency and why the county never switched to vhf or Uhf ?
 

Mr_Boh

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The answer to the first part of the question is paging and house sirens, both still in use.

As to why they didn’t switch, I don’t have internal insight, but my guess is the logistics associated with switching, especially considering the number of volunteers in the county is a bigger task than the reward of being on a higher band.

Even though Motorola doesn’t support low band and doesn’t offer a low band pager anymore I’m sure they don’t care since they use QCII tones in a way that is definitely not recommended.


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Mr_Boh

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The timing is not to specs. Motorola has a specification of how long Tone A and Tone B should be. If you've heard them before, Baltimore County's tones are very short. I think it's 0.75 sec for Tone A and 0.25 sec for Tone B.

Basically Motorola sets a minimum in specs to help ensure calls are heard.
 

ocguard

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The timing is not to specs. Motorola has a specification of how long Tone A and Tone B should be. If you've heard them before, Baltimore County's tones are very short. I think it's 0.75 sec for Tone A and 0.25 sec for Tone B.

Basically Motorola sets a minimum in specs to help ensure calls are heard.
That's because it's not technically Quik-Call II format. It's Plectron Fast Duo-Tone. It was always used in Baltimore County (since they moved away from QC-I in the early 90s) because of the number of pager tones sent during a full box dispatch and the time it would take to send that many tones on the QC-II format.

fireboat61 said:
I have always wondered why Baltimore County has maintained the low band system. One of a very few still operating on in Maryland. Was VHF 150 band ever discussed in years past. I understand now that all career stations are dispatched via digital signal no longer requiring the low band. Im guessing as soon as the low band breaks for good the system would be dropped all together. Does anyone have any insight from years past about the 46.460 frequency and why the county never switched to vhf or Uhf ?
All station alerting (in-house station systems and sirens) are controlled by MOSCAD over the P25 system. The only thing controlled by 46.46mhz is volunteer pagers. Even career staff and field officers have moved away from voice paging and now receive alerts over their mobile phones (in addition to MOSCAD in stations, MDTs, and voice dispatch over the P25 system).

The reasoning is debated. County radio services will argue that the low band system is sufficient, but one only needs to carry a 46.46mhz pager for a few days to know thats not true.

There is something to be said for the sheer number of 46.46mhz pagers in the field that would need to be replaced. Also, building a new large simulcast analog voice paging system is something of a specialty anymore, and would also probably be costly.

The BCoFD's administration has an ultimate goal of in-station staffed responses from the volunteers. This would mean that from-home responders would basically be responsible for backfilling extra apparatus, and not the initially dispatched apparatus. Therefore, they might try to argue that mobile device alerting would become sufficient for at-home personnel. Even though we all know it's not. It's unreliable and often delayed.
 
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