Charleston Gets $1M Grant From Byrd - All Digital Within Three Years

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Completely Banned for the Greater Good
Oct 12, 2007
The Appalachians - Next to the tent and campfire.
Quote = GORMAN: That was absolutely a problem. Commissioner Gribbon's statements, I agree with him. The fire department, in March, issued 3300 -- 3800 new radios to fire personnel, at a cost $33 million. Those radios were recalled two weeks later because of serious failures in the field. Those radios -- the tragedy of 9-11 is there was $33 million of new radio equipment locked up in a warehouse because they failed. They were sent back to Motorola to be reprogrammed in an analog mode. No one has ever been held accountable for that blunder.

Link =

If DPS can talk from Beckley to Morgantown on analog..So can a fire department. But why would a fire department need to do so? EMS "MAY" need to in a mass casuality event..but even that is doubtful - FF/MEDIC !!!


Quote = The common complaint, which most affects fire departments, concerns the digital vocoder's inability to differentiate between a voice transmission and background noise - whether a chain saw, sprayed water or personal alarm. Background noise renders the voice transmission distorted and often unintelligible. Another critical problem is that digital radios lose contact inside buildings. "In most cases, it is a very political and sensitive position to abandon expensive technology and go back to something that is old," said Daryl Jones, owner and president of Telecommunications Engineering Associates, which manages public safety systems throughout the San Mateo area in California. "But many agencies are finding that complaints from line personnel, both in fire and police, are so significant."

Quote = The Boise (Idaho) Fire Department spent about $1 million two years ago on mobile and portable radio equipment to join a cutting-edge countywide 700 MHz digital trunking system. While training users on the system, the fire department discovered problems with voice intelligibility when a firefighter's low-air alarm went off. That led the department to investigate the issue further, and it found more instances where alarms interfered with the quality of voice transmissions. Today, the department and other fire departments in the county remain on analog VHF radios while the rest of the county operates on the 700 MHz digital trunking system.

Link =


Quote = In rural Michigan, fire departments use predominantly low-band VHF radios systems operating in the 39-50 MHz band. Because of their low frequency, the wavelength of radio signals in these system is very long allowing it to penetrate trees and foliage effectively and provide comparatively long-distance communications from bases or mobile units without system infrastructure such as remote base stations or repeaters. Low-band VHF systems require higher power levels than higher frequency modalities and are therefore less effective for use with handheld portable radios.

Quote = Some rural and most suburban departments utilize high-band VHF system operating in the 150-170 MHz band. The statewide mutual aid (DNR) channel, 154.295 MHz, is located in this band. The length of this wavelength is shorter, slightly reducing it’s propagation characteristics in heavily wooded areas, but giving the signal more ability to bounce off steel and concrete structures. High band radio systems require less wattage to operate effectively, making the use of VHF handheld radios desirable. VHF High-band systems can be used in simplex mode – directly from radio to radio, or through a repeater to increase their effective range considerably.

Quote = Some suburban or urban departments utilize UHF radio systems. Such systems feature a wavelength that is very short and well suited for concrete and steel environments, but subject to increased attenuation from trees and foliage.

Quote = For fire service use, such systems can be programmed to operate in the analog mode, thereby avoiding digitizing errors arising from muffled audio or high ambient noise.

Quote = Based on the data from this study, the Garden City Fire Department, and other departments using digital 800 MHz radio systems should aggressively pursue mitigation strategies to overcome the systems shortcomings. First, a thorough investigation should be undertaken into reprogramming one or all fire talkgroups to operate in the analog mode.

Link = Communications in the State of Michigan.pdf


In reading "Fire Chief" magazines, "Fire Engineering" , and various other public safety publications, I read numerous stories of problems with digital communications on the fireground. Some problems with digital communications have also been suspected of costing firefighters their lives.

Digital is not "Fact" proven. It has drawbacks, and limitations. Drawbakcs and limitations that you absolutely cannot afford to have in life saving, life preserving situations.

When I was a "Field Medic" for a large metro area, I ALWAYS carried two things. A good flashlight, and a handheld radio. I never went no where without my handheld while I was on duty. I had the freqs for my agency, ajoinining fire departrments for mutal aid, as well as fireground. And one bank set up for Law Enforcement. Oh-Dark-thirty at someones house, and the situation turns bad.......I could ask for help directly without going through some mediator. ( incidently..I did get mistaken for a cop on a trailer fire one time - some woman wanted me to arrest some juveniles for arson...and all I was doing was standing near the scene with my arms crossed. )

Communications is critical for Public Safety agencys. The safety of the individuals on duty depends on good-reliable and proper communication. To have the ability to communicate with responding resources, to give dispatch a size-up, and mutual aid communications.

One area, agency goes digital, while surrounding agencys are analog..what good will it do? As I said before..what about the Nitro tire fire where surrounding agencys and departements gave assistance?

A relatively new system comes out to a "Hick" state and everyone wants to get on board. I doubt if any research was done, or a study completed. Seems like a radio agency / businees in Cross Lanes is going to be making some money.....even when they know better.

NC1911 !!!
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