Chicago, IL - New radio system still in the air for Fire Department

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Thunderbolt

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CHICAGO -- The city has spent nearly $23 million on a new digital communications system that still doesn’t work after more than five years — a shortcoming back in the spotlight following a federal report that criticizes the Chicago Fire Department for not having enough radios during a December fire that killed two firefighters.

New radio system still in the air for Fire Department - chicagotribune.com
 

MTS2000des

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and the situation with CFD stands out as a sadly shining example of what is wrong with the entire process of public safety communications system procurement in America.

One vendor gets exclusive no-bid contracts, and doesn't deliver what the taxpayer ultimately pays for. First responders are left with equipment that doesn't work, or in this case, none at all, and ultimately pay the price.

The crooks in suits, aka bean counting turd politicians, point their fingers at lack of funding, all while counting their payola under the table.

I find this particularly disturbing, the comm director refuses to procure functional analog radios in the meantime while waiting on Motorola to "fix their new system?" So why aren't the new radios programmed to the analog channels and issued? Why isn't the VENDOR being held accountable and made to provide suitable loaners or replacements in the meantime? For God sake even head down to the local outdoor shop and buy some FRS radios, that is better than NOTHING which is what many CFD personnel have.

Absurd. Don't know how these people sleep at night with the blood of dead firefighters on their hands. What a shame that we, the public, send these men and women in to do a job and they aren't getting the tools and support they need to make it out alive. Every single one who is responsible should be fired and charged with criminal negligence.
 
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You know how they sleep at night?

On a bed of money. Thats how.

This shift to Digital is a crock. The equipment DOESNT work is BARELY readable and despite what all the Mototola SHEEP say out here, they never should have left Analog. This new "system" does NOTHING except line the pockets of the chosen few. I got notice the other day from the FCC of intent to move to "digital" and my "required cooperation". I neatly folded the letter and attached 2 words to the response page.While Im sure they will do what they THINK they can to force me to move,it isnt happening. My people will NOT be placed at risk in order to satisfy some masturbatory seizure of some politician and some misguided federal agency.
Similar to the frenzy over "d-star" by the hamsters. Big to do about nothing. Most systems are down,in need of system maintenance or are barely audible. But gosh golly there sure was a dustcloud raised up over it.


I am opposed to any digital or trunked system for public safety. Proven time and time and time and time again to FAIL when needed in a critical moment.

Thanks and may the blood of those fallen fire fighters burn the hands of the Execs at Motorola
 

FFPM571

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Umm the new radios cant be given out in analog til the new system is in place. The new system is UHF and the existing is VHF.
The CFD used Sabers for years, now XTS3000 and 5000's they stil have sabers in place but as they break they are cobbled back together because Motorola doesnt support sabers anymore.

All this grandstanding and pointing fingers is pretty childish. The CFD has a good analog system that would still be used if it wasnt for this BS narrowbanding forced on them. The UHF digital P25 system is not going to be used til its found to be acceptable by the guys on the street. I personally know the Commisioner and he would never let anyting substandard be in use by his people.
 

FFPM571

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I do know him. Im sure the opinion of some scanner listener like you is going to really change the already spent monies on a system that is already in place..
 
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sorry

sorry bucky, I happen to co own a commercial two way business and I know for FACT and CAN PROVE that the new system is garbage. But since you are so tight with the commissioner Im sure you carry more weight and expertise in the field than I.

Good luck with that.


Its ALWAYS such a pleasure to hear from people that "know" people or otherwise toss names around,


yawn. Typical Chicagoan.
 

FFPM571

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I bet your a typical commerical two way business owner who is more concerned with selling rebadged chineese junk and NXDN to all your landscapers and tow truck drivers than public safety systems


Yawn. Typical small time 2 way shop owner.
 

MTS2000des

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Umm the new radios cant be given out in analog til the new system is in place. The new system is UHF and the existing is VHF.
The CFD used Sabers for years, now XTS3000 and 5000's they stil have sabers in place but as they break they are cobbled back together because Motorola doesnt support sabers anymore.

All this grandstanding and pointing fingers is pretty childish. The CFD has a good analog system that would still be used if it wasnt for this BS narrowbanding forced on them. The UHF digital P25 system is not going to be used til its found to be acceptable by the guys on the street. I personally know the Commisioner and he would never let anyting substandard be in use by his people.
you mean the NEW system is getting OLD hardware? why not the all touted interoperable APX7000? A VHF/UHF dual band portable isn't rocket science, and Motorola is pushing them out the door like crazy, of course, with most agencies trying to figure out how to make payroll these days, the 4-6K a piece price tag makes them impractical. I'm amazed that Motorola's "home town" FD didn't write that spec into the RFP. My guess is there was no RFP, there sure wasn't an open, honest bid process. So CFD will get XTS5000's as they are about to be discontinued. Nice. A great opportunity for Motorola to sell the next urgent "upgrade" to the APEX series.

Most prosecutors down here would clear their desks for a corruption case. I guess this isn't the case in Chitown. But then look who's running our country now.

There is NO EXCUSE for these brave men and women for not having the tools they need to do their jobs. NONE. The entire process of how comm systems for public safety are procured is broken and flawed. Until this is addressed, we're just going to do the same things over and over and somehow expect different results.

That by any other standard is the definition of insanity.

Sidenote:I love Motorola products, but their way of doing business is crazy. and it's catching up with them. Those Chinese guys (Hytera) and the Japanese (Kenwood) are filling the gap with affordable digital solutions at a fraction of the price. The timing is right for them, hardly anyone can afford Motorola's pricing anymore.
 

FFPM571

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The radios and have been bought programmed and ready to go. XTS5000's they have no need for dual band CPD and CFD EMS are all UHF the CFD suppression is still VHF once they change over to the P25 system they will have no need for VHF unless its for Mutual aid and all the towns that border or respond will have UHF XTS's for the response and the comm vans have extra radios for out of towners.
 

chrismol1

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As I browse through the News forum day after day all I see is the common trend of supposedly the latest and greatest technologically advanced communications systems failing to perform and there must be a common problem. When pushing new technology there must be the responsibility to ensure that the system works. The problem I see is the designing of a fully working system in a large city such as Chicago. It has taken Motorola years of making improvements to get the system up to where it is now. This new technology must be planned and customized for every square foot and nothing must be left out to ensure mission critical communications come through. That comes with the need of money, $23 million and rising and look where they are at now. Capitalism at its finest while snubbing those who rely on its product the most
 

b7spectra

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The radios and have been bought programmed and ready to go. XTS5000's they have no need for dual band CPD and CFD EMS are all UHF the CFD suppression is still VHF once they change over to the P25 system they will have no need for VHF unless its for Mutual aid and all the towns that border or respond will have UHF XTS's for the response and the comm vans have extra radios for out of towners.
I must be missing the boat here, but even though all the radios have been purchased and programmed and ready to go, what is to stop them from REPROGRAMMING the radios to ANALOG frequencies and letting them work SIMPLEX on a fire scene? Oh, I forgot, someone hasn't been PAID OFF to reprogram all the equipment. How many frequencies can an XTS hold? More than enough to have simplex channels put in!

It's all POLITICS and PAYOLA.
 

FFPM571

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Because the existing system that works is VHF. The NEW system is P25 UHF. You know the old apples and oranges thing? The Police and EMS use UHF, fire on VHF.

Also there is no extra cost as the City has their own techs that do all the repairs and reprogramming.. Don't assume ..
 
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radioman2001

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Sounds like a repeat of FDNY in the late 90's and 2000, before 911. Fortunately the Fire Commish made a smart decision to dump digital after a few close calls. They even dumped the radio's(XTS3000)totally, and went with a newer radio, but in ANALOG! Digital has no place in P.S. communications, you drop a phone call no big deal, but if you lose a MAYDAY call your in for some ugly litigation. I suspect the families of the fallen Firefighters will be calling on the fallen in NYC for that information.
 

FFPM571

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FDNY did not drop the UHF XTS3500's they wemt back to the VHF Sabers. The have since reissued the XTS's The communications on the fireground in Chicago are VHF analog. The point that is trying to be made is that there were not enough radios on the fireground. The naysayers say that if every firefighter had a radio it may not have happened. The Commisioner is holding off on implimenting a UHF P25 system that has not been proven. He will not let his people use equipment that is not proven in fireground applications. He is commitment to their safety.
 

radioman2001

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Again someone hasn't heeded all the problems that have cropped up with digital radios and the fire service. Maybe the fact that the radios weren't issued is the reason for the LOD deaths, but if they HAD been issued in analog mode, it might not have happened. So indirectly holding off implementing the use of the new radios which are digital radio has caused the problem Chi-town has. FDNY DID drop the XTS 3000 portable after 911, a derivative of the Astro Saber, and went back to their analog VHF Sabers, but then went to the newer radios which are XTS2500's. They also carry UHF radios not VHF, except in Grand Central Terminal, where they pick up the VHF XTS3000's at the Command Post on Vanderbuilt.
 

XTS3000

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Don't blame Moto or CFD for this problem. The City of Chicago was supposed to secure more repeater towers/sites. The city never secured these additional sites to make the system work, so Moto gave up and gave the unfinished system to the City and told them to call back when they get their act together.

This system was to be a TRS, but Moto gave up and turned it into P25 conventional for now.
 

FFPM571

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The existing radios that you say should have been issued are UHF. The CFD is on VHF. The system that is being built out is UHF. The TRS is more prone to problems than a Repeated and voted P25system ever will be.
 

RADIOGUY2002

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So, I'm lost

Someone needs to explain this to me. I realize the fire department operates on an aging vhf system, so be it. It works for its intend purpose but not in fireground environments as their are not enough radios. So what stops the firefighters from using the uhf radios on a fire scene as simplex as it is the common carrier for on site fire operations anyway. Simplex that is, not necessarily the mode (VHF,UHF,ETC). Its not like the command center (OEMC) needs to hear what is going on at the site level unless advise by a commander requesting additional resources. Why not put the radios that are in stock pile in the firefighters hands in simplex mode for site operations. If it was a big deal and their traffic need to be broadcast on vhf put in a cross band repeater on the engine or command buggy. Their needs to be solution no matter how you look at it. It will improve the function of fire ground communications and people need to get past whatever rumor mill or other nonsense crap that is holding up operational safety. The war between payouts etc is a mood point and safety is more important. The equipment for simplex is their make it happen, plain and simple.

Sorry, but operational safety for my staff is critical and needs to be address correctly. Simplex is a required necessity at some level, equipment fails and a safe alternative needs to be in play. Spare battery's and necessary radios for the staff or a place to get radios for the staff if the need should arise. Ideally you should have one radio for every staff member for your team on a particular shift.
 
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