Charles County

N4VKF

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I am monitoring Charles County traffic on the Faifax County Marshal Hall 1 TG. I know the purpose of this talkgroup is normally to be used for potomac river communications between Fairfax County, Charles County, and PG County for river incidents. Charles County is on this talkgroup making reference to TG 10A10 for PG County A824 responding mutual aid. Any ideas what that 10A10 talkgroup would be? Any idea what traffic is normally transmitted on this talkgroup on the Fairfax P25 system?
 

maus92

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Charles County's channel / TG map is not particularly logical. The first "10" is the MWCOG designation for Charles County. The "A" is for the first Fire zone, and it may or may not correspond with the A position on the A-B-C switch on the portable subscriber radio. The last "10" is likely knob position 10. For what TGID 10A10 corresponds to is anyone's guess - there is no discernible pattern any more. My *guess* is that 10A10 is TG 17184, which is currently described in the RRDB as "CCFD C10 MA 3" (and the RRDB needs updating.) There apparently are 4 mutual aid TGs (FEMAR1-4) that are programmed in knob positions 8-11.
 

N4VKF

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It was definitely a patch channel to or from a PG talkgroup. That Charles county talkgroup is simulcast on the Fairfax system on a TG known as Marshall hall 1. The dispatcher was giving instructions to PG ambo 824 on what radio channel to switch to. is there a copy of the charles tg map someplace?
 
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10then34

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The 'Marshall Hall' area is not well covered by the current Charles towers. So they came up with this system that has a Charles TG that is actually broadcast through Fairfaxes system. Depending on the location of the call, they get dispatched for the crews to use 10A10 on the portable units. At times, PG units (mostly 824) respond to that area. I dont know whether they have 10A10 programmed into their radios or whether there is a corresponding PG talkgroup that gets patched to this Charles/Fairfax TG.

The marine channel is 10A12. It is set up to patch with systems of other river jurisdictions. That is separate from 10A10
 

maus92

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Charles County is about midway through their extended implementation plan for their new 12 channel, 20 site P25 radio system. Looking at their FY21 Capital Projects budget, they have spent or encumbered $13.9M through FY2020, and plan to spend another $20.7M through FY2024, bringing the project total to $34.6M. The early expenditures were for subscriber units necessitated by the surrounding counties moving to P25 systems, although there is still a full interop issue with St. Mary's since their Harris subscribers don't do SmartNet. The latest plan summitted to the FCC in 2019:

The proposed implementation schedule is as follows:

Milestone Completion Date:

Contract Awarded: 12-27-2018
System Design: 1Q19-1Q20
Site/Lease Acquisition: 3Q19-1Q21
FCC Licensing: 4Q19-4Q20
FAA/ASR Regulatory Paperwork: 4Q19-4Q20
System Construction Begins: 2Q20
Staging: 1Q21-3Q21
Dispatch Install: 4Q21
CATP: 1Q23-4Q23
Training: 1Q24-3Q24
Construction Completed: 4Q24
 

maus92

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Looks like Charles County will be adding 4 new frequencies: 854.6625; 858.0125; 858.1625; and 859.1875. Perhaps they will eventually run two systems concurrently as Calvert did for several years while they were working out their coverage issues.
 

davidhut

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Marshall Hall & Benedict areas are spotty at best. Charles County has an agreement with Fairfax and Calvert Counties that when they have an incident in those areas they have two dedicated channels to use. Below is a copy of the TG map requested. Screenshot_20210718-093000~2.png
 

maus92

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The latest slow growth filing with the FCC has a system completion date of 2025. As mentioned previously, the new system design doubles the number of RF sites from 10 to 20, which should significantly improve coverage in areas along the Potomac and Patapsco rivers. The system is a ways away from testing as the MW backhaul for the new RF sites has not been licensed.
 

maus92

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The latest CIP budget indicates an acceleration of funding for the project, bumping the budget for FY22 by $6M, and decreasing the FY23 budget by a similar amount. This represents an increase of funding in FY22 by 134%.

Radio Communications System Upgrade
Project #: 3220

This project will replace the County's technically obsolescent Motorola 4.1 800 MHz Smartzone radio system with an industry-standard P25 platform. The County replaced 80% of the critical portable and mobile radios by Sept 2015. The infrastructure and the remaining 20% of subscribers must be replaced.

Deficiencies: Obsolescence, Radio Coverage, Channel Capacity
Since this project was initially forecasted to CIP in FY15, the County secured the expertise of a public safety communications consultant firm and their recently completed Assessment identified more significant deficiencies in performance than those which were known in 2014 (see Altairis Assessment Report Sept 2017).

Critical Technical Support has dwindled. Motorola can no longer guarantee technical support or restoration response times for this critical communication system and the current maintenance and support contract has assigned Charles County to their “Best Efforts” support. This includes parts, technical expertise on outdated software and firmware, as well as our 24 x 7 x 365 network monitoring service. Nearly all of the critical components of the system are no longer supported and our service provider has to search with third party vendors such as eBay to attempt to find replacements.

Significant radio coverage complaints were revealed during critical user surveys and interviews. The Assessment revealed significant coverage deficiencies in several areas of the County (Benedict, Port Tobacco Valley, Marshall Hall, Bryans Road, Maryland Point, Waldorf) including the identification of 365 critical buildings, 108 of which are designated Critical 1 Buildings that require mandatory 95% coverage throughout.
Additionally, the County suffers from insufficient channel capacity issues due to the increased number of radio system users (more than 2,000) and their operational requirements. Adding more frequencies and/or moving to a spectrum efficient (TDMA) technology to correct our capacity issues is also not possible with the current system.

Enhancements: Interoperability, Mobile Data and Encryption
A P25 radio system would allow the County to improve our interoperability with regional partners. Replacing the portables and mobiles resolved a significant portion of the past interoperability deficiencies by allowing direct and instant communications with adjacent and neighboring agencies that have replaced their systems, the most significant being Fairfax, St. Mary’s, Calvert and the State of Maryland.
The P25 radio system will allow such mobile data services such as location for emergency personnel (APL/AVL/GPS) which will identify the position of personnel and emergency apparatus, wireless subscriber programming (Over-the-Air-Programming) which eliminates the costly need to manually re-program radios in the field which in turn disrupts the day-to- day operations of our public safety personnel, wireless subscriber re-keying (Over-the-Air-Rekeying) which allows remote reprogramming of encryption keys for instant changes to communications security.
While the new subscriber radios will now allow County users to operate on the most current encryption technology on other agency systems when supporting them in a mutual aid mode, the County does not have this capability when operating within County borders.
Upgrading the Public Safety radio system directly impacts the safety and security of the County's citizens, visitors, and first responders.
 

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Chris52

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I’ve been hearing a few (ambulance to hospital) med patches on 10 Bravo 12 this evening. I was also able to hear both sides (hospital and ambulance) of the conversations. I wonder if something has changed to allow this, typically a med radio is used. Med radios are still a thing Southern Maryland so I find this interesting.
 

maus92

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I thought 10B2 was the same as 10A2 - Fire / EMS2 Ops / local alarms? Probably a patch. Anne Arundel has a couple Med channel patched into several tgs half-duplex and although they frequently don't sound very good, you hear both sides of the convo.
 

Chris52

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Charles County is experience radios issues, they are having a had time coping units in the field. They say they only get every other word or nothing at all but can see when someone keys up. Now Charles County PSC are using portables but still have issues.
 

maus92

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Seems to be ok now. Must have been a connectivity issue between the consoles and the backhaul network. Do they have a backup EOC?
 

michael7a

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Has Charles Co. moved to P25? I haven't had any digital transmissions monitoring the Motorola system going on two weeks now. I only get the analog of the Fire Dept. I hear the police at Charles County Maryland Live Audio Feeds so they are broadcasting on some system. I even bought a new scanner Uniden BCD996P2 (which I will need anyway when they complete the P25 upgrade) upgrading from the older BCD996XT. Maybe there are updates not yet captured in Radio Reference? Help.
 
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