• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

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Complete Communication Breakdown

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dcrowe40380

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Hey Y'all.. I'm kind of new here, but I'm in no way new to radios and scanners.. I've been raised around them. I knew the local 10 codes before I could read, lol.. However, at a search and rescue situation that happened not too long ago, my fire department and a few others (about 7 in all plus Kentucky Emergency Management and a search dog team from Frankfort) were out, in the middle of nowhere, with no way to communicate between departments. I've been looking around a little, and short of programming our radios with all the sourrounding departments (a feat itself without getting into band problems, etc), I see no viable solution for inter-department communications. And, the couty has no intentions to buy enough radios that can inter-communicate with our radio system for such occasions. We had to resort to teaming up with the people from out of county and/or giving them a radio, which we were reluctant to do, because with 100+ people, it can be tough to track your radio back down. We do have some off-frequency radios, however, the incident commander was forced to carry several extra radios to facilitate communication between teams and it became quite tiresome to switch between radios to get the information to where it was needed. Do y'all have any ideas on this one? Like some kind of mutural aid channels? We're currently on VHF (150's range, however most of our radios can dip to the 130's and go up to the 160's), however, a few of the departments that responded or were en-route were either on 400mhz, VHF Lowband, or 800mhz digital. It would be nice to get a statewide system that has us all on the same band, but, alas, that is years off.. Until then, any temporary solutions?
Thanks
Daniel Crowe
Middlefork Volunteer Fire Department
Powell County, Kentucky
 

Grog

Completely Banned for the Greater Good
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Having someone in command that can (and will) listen to every band in use will be the cheapest way to do that (if you are not wanting to use any avaiable Amateur Radio personal).

There are items like the Raytheon ACU 1000 that can be used to tie together several radio bands. http://www.jps.com/index.asp?node=88
 

dcrowe40380

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Lol, we're barely able to get a new portable every now and then after a few months of begging, so the Raytheon is out of the question... Given the situation, our IC was great. However, listening to one radio communication at a time is hard enough, let alone three or four on different radios. Adding to the mix, with everyone on the main fire channel talkaround, dispatches for other departments/EMS dispatches and communications, it gets downright confusing. I'm not even worrying about the band problems atm because the only departments up there (that I can remember) that are off the VHF conventional highband were Montogmery (VHF lowband) and Lexington (digital). What I would like (I know, wishful thinking, lol) is one or two channels that are soley designated for inter-county mutural aid. I'm positive that there is something (because of NIMS), I'm not entirely sure what they are and if they are even used. I personally programmed in the frequencies for the responding departments (that I could) into my radio that morning when the all tone went off, however, not everyone has this luxuary. I know that was a violation of FCC rules during normal curcumstances, however, I know the FCC allows certain things during emergency situations, so yeah... So, at the moment, I would be happy if I could find out about some type of mutural aid frequencies that are avaliable for use by fire departments responding to large scale incidents.

But, the Raytheon is still a great idea.. I already have enough stuff in my truck, but I may just be able to get it to fit in the minivan... Well, it was a thought..

About the ameture radio idea - we're kind of short on ham radio operators in this area, and the equipment is few and far between. However, with a few recievers, it may make communication a lot easer.. The only thing is you cannot transmit.. hmmm...

Thanks again,
Daniel Crowe
 

jim202

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New Orleans region
Ever heard of radio interoperability? This is just the reason that a number
of companies have developed a gateway system to be able to link non
compatable radio systems together. It doesn't even matter if they are on
different bands.

You may want to check around your area and see if any of the sheriff, police
or who ever have a mobile command vehicle. Normally these units are being
outfitted with a gateway interop system to solve just this issue.

I do know that the Kentucky National Guard has taken delivery of 3 complete
interop systems recently. As of last week, they were all at the main complex
in Frankfort. These systems contain an 18 foor dual axle trailer, 2 generators,
a 15 x 18 self supporting tent, a 4 ton air conditioner on wheels, radio interop
gateway system with 2 VHF, 2 UHF and 2 each 800 MHz radios, a UHF repeater,
25 UHF portable radios, 24 VOIP phones, 15 laptop computers, 2 fax machines,
a video teleconferencing system and a flyaway self pointing 1.2 meter satellite
linking system.

There is a government program that gives grants for just such interop equipment.
This year they have awarded 25 such systems to agencies that applied for them.
The program is called CEDAP. You should be able to find out information about
the program by doing a search. Another source of information is the
www.safecommprogram.gov site. This program has 2 short windows of
application each year. They are only about 30 days long and require the agency
that is applying to submit an application. One is normally in the spring and
another in the fall. It takes some legwork and good writing skills. However, it
can be done and there have been about 15 to 25 systems awarded each year.

Jim
 

mastr

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dcrowe40380 said:
Lol, we're barely able to get a new portable every now and then after a few months of begging... Given the situation, our IC was great. However, listening to one radio communication at a time is hard enough, let alone three or four on different radios....with everyone on the main fire channel talkaround, dispatches for other departments/EMS dispatches and communications, it gets downright confusing....
Too many people confuse "interoperability" with "everyone talking directly to everyone else". In spite of what radio vendors would have you believe, the best interoperability tool is a well trained, motivated dispatcher, assuming that the dispatch center/command post has equipment on the needed frquencies available. "Three or four...different radios" should be no problem for as good dispatcher.

Your own example of the confusion on your "fire channel talkaround" illustrates why the direct interoperability that radio sellers would have you purchase is often not the best solution. Of course vendors make more $$$ if you buy a radio for every person and vehicle than if you buy one unit for your CP truck or dispatch center. Think it out, and spend your limited funds wisely.
 

n4voxgill

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Location
New Braunfels, TX
The TRP1000 permits radios from different agencies, on different bands to communicate with each other. It is a cabinet that you mount mobile radios in and then has a computer that permits connecting the different radios so you can communicate. The State of Florida and many local governments in Florida have bought these units and mounted them in small trailers. You can google TRP1000 for more information.
 

avfd2922

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Apr 18, 2004
Messages
42
Location
Kentucky
Seems we (DARRT4 HazMat Team) don't have that problem with interoperability others are having. We can go anywhere in Kentucky and communicate with anyone. How are we able to do this you ask. We have a communications trailer with satelite radio, Vhf and Uhf radios, digital capapble of course, and a great little expensive box ( not the TRP100 as mentioned) where we can hook anyones radio (portable or mobile) into it and basically turn our system into a cross-band repeater system. The system uses a tri-band antenna Vhf, Uhf, 800. With this you can talk on Vhf and others on Uhf or an 800 system can all hear you and vice versa. Biggest problem is you have being a net controller. Waiting for a chance to put it use on a big scene.
 

mastr

Member
Joined
May 7, 2005
Messages
229
A statewide 800mhz trunked system was proposed years ago, circa 1995. There was little to no interest amoung the potential "user" agencies, and most of the ones that did show interest wanted to be given a "priority" talkgroup assignment. The trouble with a shared system is that everyone thinks their own comms should be deemed the most important.

BTW, ofd8001-- Metrosafe has a current MOU for at least one of the MA systems, as far as I know that should apply to your dept. There is also a microwave based console to console circuit between KSP E-town and the Metrosafe center, they can patch together any channel on either end as long as the respective console has access to it.
 
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BigDog-911

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Sep 1, 2005
Messages
365
Location
Kentucky
Interoperability

MetroSafe currently uses a lovely little thing called the MotoBridge. This allows our Radio Techs to program any channel in the bank of radios that we have in the back room and patch any of our channels to any of the channels programmed. This includes VHF-UHF-800mhz or anything else that can be put in the radios. We can also patch different agencies without using our own channels. Meaning we can set up a talkpath from Oldham County Sheriffs Office to Meade County Sheriff office to Harrison County Indiana S.O. with just a few clicks on the computer. It is all computer based and seems to work very well for what we use it for.

We also have several ACU-1000's and I think each of our Radio Tech trucks have ACU-t's on board or at least mobile radios that can cross band repeat on vhf-uhf.

Just some ideas of how we utilize systems for interoperability.

We leave a bridge up all the time on our Suburban f-3 and Urban channel 4 and seems to work very well.

Have a great day.

Doug
 
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