Delaware County UHF

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MFR465

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Good morning all...

Figured I would throw it out there... I know DelCo is planning on transitioning fire/EMS dispatch and operations from low-band to UHF by summer 2018 (if my memory serves me correctly). As of now, the only transmitting site (and I use that term loosely) on UHF is at Belleayre on 453.5875. Looking at the FCC database, it looks like 6 new UHF freqs were licensed:

453.5375, 453.5625, 460.4625 (repeated)
453.3875, 465.1750, 465.4750 (simplex)

No idea what is going to be used for what just yet, but perhaps someone more "full time" up that way may be able to keep an ear on things?

Regards,
Chris
 

studgeman

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Pennsylvania is building an VHF-High P25 statewide system. They have sucked up a ton of VHF channels. Add in Delaware County's proximity to Albany, Orange County and Binghamton it begins to become very difficult to find channels that will work county wide using high profile sites. You tend to find a lot of channels that will work on one end of the county but cause interference on the other end. You could lower the profile of the sites, but now you are adding towers and microwave links. Each tower site fully equipped can easy exceed $500K. That buys a lot of radios and pagers.

Just wanted to illustrate some of the challenges and some of the cost/benefit calculus. Its not as crazy or weird as it seems on the surface.
 

SMFD34

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Many of the agencies that have invested in VHF have had the frequencies for a few years, well before Delaware decided what system was going to be built. It will be interesting to see if they continue to use the private infrastructure for communications or if they switch over entirely to the UHF system. My personal belief is that it becomes a safety issue if every department on the fireground is using different channels, let alone different bands. Also of note is the poor habits that go un-policed on some private systems that tend to spill over onto the county systems. Not pointing fingers, just passing along my observations over the years in several different areas.

You can also add Pindars Corners to the list of UHF users. Hancock had 2 UHF channels but they also have VHF channels in place so it's unclear as to the actual usage.
 

MFR465

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Studgeman: Thoroughly understand that - wholeheartedly. Just found it interesting, overall, that with the mumblings over the last 7 years or so about the possibility of going the UHF route, that some FDs continued investing in VHF equipment (Grand Gorge being an example).

SMFD34: It's quite interesting on the FD-specific VHF operations... Andes, Bloomville, Delhi, Downsville, Grand Gorge, Hobart, Middletown, Stamford and Walton are all listed as utilizing either VHF repeaters or simplex equipment. Grand Gorge, for a while, was sharing their repeater with Stamford. It was quite active for quite some time and has since (over the last 2-3 years) drastically dipped off. With the exception of Hobart (911 "repeat"), I have yet to hear any activity - even during calls - on those repeaters. Now, I totally understand being located in Grand Gorge, myself, limits my receiving capabilities - even being on a repeater. But I do a lot of traveling up there and still find it strange the lack of activity on them.

In terms of the UHF side, I have yet to hear Franklin, Sidney or Trout Creek (though, it's a crap shoot I'm ever that far west). Do you have more information on Pindars Corners and Hancock's UHF? Maybe we can get that added into the database...?

As of now, I have:

Andes - 155.0175 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Bloomville - 159.2025 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Bovina - 159.12 203.5 repeater
Delaware County - 453.5875 100.0 simplex simulcast off Belleayre
Delhi - 155.8425 203.5 repeater
Downsville - 154.3775 210.7 repeater
Franklin 1 - 453.475 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Franklin 2 - 453.5625 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Grand Gorge - 153.215 110.9 repeater
Hobart - 159.3825 94.8 repeater
Middletown (Margaretville) - 154.1975 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Sidney - 453.6 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Stamford 1 - 152.4225 141.3 repeater
Stamford 2 - 154.3225 CSQ (unknown PL)
Stamford 3 - 154.9725 CSQ (unknown PL)
Stamford 4 - 155.0025 CSQ (unknown PL)
Trout Creek - 453.15 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Walton - 159.1725 179.9 repeater

Any updated information would be greatly appreciated and can definitely be added to the database.
 

SMFD34

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Andes - 155.0175 114.8 - repeater
Bloomville - 159.2025 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Bovina - 159.12 203.5 - repeater
Delaware County - 453.5875 100.0 simplex simulcast off Belleayre
Delhi - 155.8425 203.5 repeater
Downsville - 154.3775 210.7 repeater
Franklin 1,2 - 453.425 167.7 - 2 repeaters with different input freqs same tx freq
Grand Gorge - 153.215 110.9 - repeater
Hancock - 158.7675 146.2 - repeater
Hobart - 159.3825 94.8 - repeater, broadcasts hobart dispatches also
Middletown (Margaretville) - 154.1975 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Pindars Corners - 453.425 192.8 - repeater, also repeats dispatches for PCFD
Sidney - 453.600 131.8 - repeater
Stamford 1 - 152.4225 141.3 repeater
Stamford 2 - 154.3225 CSQ (unknown PL)
Stamford 3 - 154.9725 CSQ (unknown PL)
Stamford 4 - 155.0025 CSQ (unknown PL)
Trout Creek - 453.15 CSQ (unknown PL) repeater
Walton - 159.1725 179.9 repeater - my notes indicate 203.5 PL
 
D

DaveNF2G

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Unknown PL should not be listed as "CSQ" as that would be a definite indication that there is no PL.
 

jim202

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Pennsylvania is building an VHF-High P25 statewide system. They have sucked up a ton of VHF channels. Add in Delaware County's proximity to Albany, Orange County and Binghamton it begins to become very difficult to find channels that will work county wide using high profile sites. You tend to find a lot of channels that will work on one end of the county but cause interference on the other end. You could lower the profile of the sites, but now you are adding towers and microwave links. Each tower site fully equipped can easy exceed $500K. That buys a lot of radios and pagers.

Just wanted to illustrate some of the challenges and some of the cost/benefit calculus. Its not as crazy or weird as it seems on the surface.

Your tower site cost might be on the low side. A decent tower can run $350k to $500K itself. Add in a shelter to about $55K. Then a generator to the tune of about $35K. Now you have the microwave. A decent engineer will use a looped microwave system. So that if any path went down, it would reverse the normal flow of data. Microwave is all over the map on cost, but you could probably use something close to $100K per path. This would cover the microwave radio and antenna at each end of the path, installed.

As you can see, we haven't even brought in the cost of any radio equipment. You don't get a public safety radio site that is engineered correctly on the cheep side.
 

MFR465

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Unknown PL should not be listed as "CSQ" as that would be a definite indication that there is no PL.
You're right, Dave. I just rattled off what I had on a spread sheet at the time. It's just how I had it programmed into the radio.
 

studgeman

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Your tower site cost might be on the low side. A decent tower can run $350k to $500K itself. Add in a shelter to about $55K. Then a generator to the tune of about $35K. Now you have the microwave. A decent engineer will use a looped microwave system. So that if any path went down, it would reverse the normal flow of data. Microwave is all over the map on cost, but you could probably use something close to $100K per path. This would cover the microwave radio and antenna at each end of the path, installed.

As you can see, we haven't even brought in the cost of any radio equipment. You don't get a public safety radio site that is engineered correctly on the cheep side.
Jim, points very well taken. Your last sentence is a personal favorite, many times cheap is what i see around the country as a consultant. I actually did a VHF-High search a month ago for an additional countywide mobile VHF channel for Delaware. Choices just looking for a mobile channel were limited.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the cost of a tower site. The vertical steel can sometimes be the cheap part. Rural areas can be sometimes factors higher due to access and lack of electrical power. For the purposes of the post, $500 was a nice easy illustrative number to show the lay person the cost factors involved in a radio system.

JS
 
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