Baltimore County Fire

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W2SJW

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Guys,

I've been updating my 396XT this weekend, and I'm working on taking the county type-II system out & putting the P25 system in it's place. What's giving me a headache is the almost nondescript name tags on the fire operations TG's.

The type-II system has at least decent break-down in the names as to who uses what TG for what purpose, but a lot of the TG's on the P25 system don't seem to match what's on the old.

Can anyone point me in the right the direction to get a better listing for what all those TAC channels are for (I didn't see anything about it under the county's wiki page)?

Thanks!
 

dpcain

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They seem to follow a fairly similar scheme. In fact, I've already heard the BATT 1 2 and 3 (B3, D3, C3) TAC talkgroups online for fire calls under the same plan as in the TII system. So, they are probably laid out in a similar way to the old plan- I haven't heard of any big operational-method shakedowns at the firehouse, and firefighters are old, ornery, and slow to change. However, it's early days yet to have a full map of all purposes for all tac talkgroups, I believe, as this system has only been online continuously for a few weeks.
 

ka3jjz

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In addition you really shouldn't pull the analog system out of your scanner just yet - it's now a fallback system in case the P25 system goes awry.

There's a 6 month trial before the analog system goes poof....Mike
 

troymail

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I agree - same with the new PG system ... particularly when it comes to the "short" display names. Names like "BCFD B12" and "PGFD 8B5" (EMRC Call) that appear on the scanner's display aren't very obvious. I suppose there are different reasons why this is the way they are listed - in some cases, it just isn't known.... for others, the pattern seems to just get extended/followed.

I think most alpha tagging scanners can handle about 16 characters for the talkgroup label but many of the "Alpha tag" strings in RR are only (less than) 12 characters - and many use 3-5 characters for a string like "BCFD " which can mean several different things.
 

W2SJW

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Thanks for the quick replies. I'm setting up my 396 for the trip next month to the Timonium hamfest.

I'll keep an eye on the database in the next month or so to see if people get any updated data submitted.
 

ocguard

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I also fully agree that the text tags assigned to the Baltimore County fire talkgroups on the new P25 system are mostly useless.

If you go to the database page for the system, you can cross-reference what they actually are.

The talk group layout is essentially the same as what it was for the analog system. For example, BCFD B3 T12 B3 Tac 12 is known simply as "TAC 12" and usually pronounced over the radio as "tac one two."

Each battalion (there are 3 battalions) has two complete sets of fire ground talk groups.

The FIRST battalion (central and northern county) have AC 10 thru TAC 19 and AC 60 thru TAC 69. The first incident in the first battalion would be assigned TAC 12. If expansion is needed (such as water supply, EMS, staging, NIMS functions, etc), it would be expanded to TAC 13, etc, up to TAC 19. If command net is instituted, command switches to TAC 11 and operations stay on TAC 12. If the incident commander needs to make an announcement call over his entire set of tactical talk groups, he would do so on AC 10 (Announcement Call 10) which uses regroup logic to carry the transmission on TAC 11 thru TAC 19. If there were a second incident in the first battalion, it would be assigned TAC 62.

The SECOND battalion (west county) have AC 20 thru TAC 29 and AC 50 thru TAC 59.

The THIRD battalion (east county) have AC 30 thru TAC 39 and AC 40 thru TAC 49.

AC 70 thru TAC 79 and AC 80 thru TAC 89 are spares. AC 110 thru TAC 119 and AC 120 thru TAC 129 are only able to operate on the north system, and, at this time, are not in normal use. I'm told they are reserved for site trunking and/or fail soft.

To whomever maintains the Baltimore County P25 database page, PLEASE be aware that, typically, in the region, to avoid confusion, the BCFD is the Baltimore CITY Fire Department. The BCoFD is the Baltimore COUNTY Fire Department.
 

troymail

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In addition you really shouldn't pull the analog system out of your scanner just yet - it's now a fallback system in case the P25 system goes awry.

There's a 6 month trial before the analog system goes poof....Mike
That's the rumor -- but I think this is unlikely -- the most likely reason for falling back would be users reporting an inability to communicate on the digital talkgroups (i.e. poor transmission or reception on a critical incident, inside a building/basement, etc.).

This is a main reason why some other jurisdictions haven't gone digital - but it also makes you wonder why some have and had not had much in the way of problems. Balitmore County may have overcome some of this by actually spending the $$$ to install enough towers and transmitter sites.

Some examples:
Lawsuit: Digital Radios at Fault in Cincinnati LODDs

The Issue of Background Noise in Radio Communications | Firefighter Nation
 

W2SJW

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See, I thought I was loosing my mind! Now that I know what battalions are using what channels, that makes it a lot more easy for me to set them up & give them better names. I started setting them up like this (pardon the copypasta from FreeScan):

Display TGID L/O Pri AudioType Comment
Main Dispatch 9450 False False All
Central Ops 9451 False False All
East Ops 9453 False False All
West Ops 9454 False False All
Battalion Chiefs 9455 False False All
Administration 9456 False False All
Maint & Supply 9457 False False All
EMS Supers 9458 False False All
Fire Invest 9459 False False All
Batt 1 AC 10 9460 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 11 9461 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 12 9462 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 13 9463 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 14 9464 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 15 9465 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 16 9466 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 17 9467 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 18 9468 False False All
Batt 1 Tac 19 9469 False False All
North AC 110 9470 False False All
North Tac 111 9471 False False All
North Tac 112 9472 False False All
North Tac 113 9473 False False All
North Tac 114 9474 False False All
North Tac 115 9475 False False All
North Tac 116 9476 False False All
North Tac 117 9477 False False All
North Tac 118 9478 False False All
North Tac 119 9479 False False All
 

ocguard

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Balitmore County may have overcome some of this by actually spending the $$$ to install enough towers and transmitter sites.
I think you're probably right. The analog system worked "ok" with 9 towers (one of which was a hot stand-by), so they doubled it. I think they did good by coverage. Just sucks for us scanner listeners with the LSM.

I'm told by a dispatch friend that they have access to TAC 32 and TAC 22 from the Smartnet system for patching of out-of-jurisdiction units that don't have digital capabilities. Perhaps there are still about 10 channels committed to the Smartnet system, and this is why Pro96com is only showing 15 (of the reported 25) channels on the new system.
 

dpcain

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Those are the Police-Fire talkaround TGs for PD interoperability.

And yeah, OCGuard, they had to do that today- I forget what county the unit was coming from, but they didn't have the digital system in their portables so MUTAID patched them into one of the analog TACs.
 

ResQguy

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Those are the Police-Fire talkaround TGs for PD interoperability.

And yeah, OCGuard, they had to do that today- I forget what county the unit was coming from, but they didn't have the digital system in their portables so MUTAID patched them into one of the analog TACs.
It was AACo PM11
 

troymail

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Howard County PM 2-5 is patched from analog 2-2 to WEST right now -- earlier BWI Tower 43 was on analog on a transfer into Baltimore County -- apparently don't have the new digital programming for Baltimore County.

Sounds like most of the surrounding areas don't have the programming -- except Baltimore City who appeared briefly on the analog Fire Main but went back over to the digital system.
 
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dpcain

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My RID list on the system wiki just passed 125 radios listed, holy poop (haven't even pulled much off of the northern precincts or 2B1).
 
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