Color Coding of Radio Systems

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hoser147

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Grand Lake St. Marys Ohio
There has been active discussion in my area on going to a "color system" for uses of Tac channels and inter-agency comms in my area. Supposedly to make the radio's operation easier for the user and less chance of units ending up on different talkgroups. Ive read posts and studied areas in the database and see other area's use system's where a color represents a freq or a group. Just wanting some input if your area uses a user system setup that uses color to guide the operator to the right freq/talkgroup for events.........
 

nnjradiotech

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Northern New Jersey
We have found in my area to simply call the channel by the name of which it is used for. ie: "Fire Dispatch", "Operations", "EMS", "Region 1 Ops", "Region 2 Ops" The problem I foresee with using colors is the lack of "simple colors" in the spectrum and possible inter-op problems with mutual aid. That may not normally operate on your system. You may use "Blue" for police, but blue could be seen as a water supply channel or EMS. What is green? I think of green as a parks and recreation channel...

Also, using a "receiver from sender" format for your communications helps.

"You from Me on 'Operations'". "You" know "Me" is calling on "Operations", that way if you are scanning you know what channel "Me" is on just by listening. Even if "Me" is on the "wrong" channel, they are easily corrected.

It's like "Radio for Dummies".
 

a1emt

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The use of color designations for "common" tactical frequenices / talkgroups has become popular in Wisconsin due to the adoption of a standardized mutual aid system known as MABAS. It is simple and seems to be well accepted by the fire agencies in my area.

A couple of links:

MABAS Wisconsin - Recommended Frequency Priorities

www.mabasradio.org (Site seems to be going through an upgrade right now)

Jim
 

gmclam

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Fair Oaks, CA
A name is a name

Several agencies I monitor use channels named by color. Green is usually the "main" channel, and red for "emergencies". Tac channels are named with other colors.

The biggest agency I monitor which names their channels with colors is the California Highway Patrol (CHP). It has been that way as long as I can remember. Many areas of the state use colors which "make sense", if one has an open mind. San Francisco uses Pink, the Tahoe forest area is Green, south central L.A. is Black, etc.

What is goofy is there are some channels named with numbers added like Amber 2. There's no Amber or Amber 1 in that area (at least before the changes currently underway), so why the 2? Now areas are going through a change of frequencies and the new channels have these numbers added. Traffic that was on White is now on White 2, which uses totally different frequencies and CTs. Eventually most areas will be on these "2" channels, with all of the non-numbered channels retired.

Choices for naming channels can be interesting; some use numbers, some use names and some use colors. Five can sound like Nine and colors seem to sound more unique.
 

whiskeytango

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sacramento ca/reno nv
reno does it at well for their city police/fire and county sheriff, fire main dispatch is red and most of the comms are on that channel...pd uses green for main dispatch, gray is like a tac, and black1 is used for narc ops sometimes with black 2 being for swat
 

WayneH

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Using colors for names is great for conventional radio since you are limited to the number of colors. With trunked systems the format that seems to be popular is a letter-number combination. The letter would indicate the Zone and the number the channel. When dealing with differing agencies (differing programming) a standardized zone/channel plan is necessary. Even when you use colors a user still has to hunt for the color name whereas the A1 format is easier to physically locate with or without a display radio.

For example, this is how the County of San Diego (California) and its sister Cities does it for Fire services.
 
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