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Fear over updated radio system

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glradio

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RolnCode3 said:
Yes, he's talking about the old trunked system, with approximately 25 pairs (which was cut to 12 or so for a while). The new system has approximately 550 talkgroups, and is EXTREMELY busy...snip...
Yikes!!! What really clobbers a trunking system as far as capacity is TG's which have only a few users, and private calls. I sure hope they calculated the loading carefully.

If the system is simulcast and they are taking sites out of service to convert them to digital, there could be temporary coverage issues.

I'm sure it'll work out in the end, but it sounds like a bumpy road getting there.
 

califzeph

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From today's Sac Bee:

County speeds safety radio update
Technicians have been added to get a bumpy changeover completed
By Dirk Werkman
Published 12:01 am PDT Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Story appeared in Metro section, Page B1



Sacramento County's information technology chief has pledged to have a new radio communication system used by firefighters and deputies running by Monday -- weeks earlier than planned.
The new date is at least three weeks ahead of schedule, said Patrick Groff, chief information officer for the county Office of Communication and Information Technology.

"These are the people who rely on their radios to do their important work," Groff said Monday.
Groff's promise followed a recent critical letter from Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Chief Don Mette, who blasted the radio system changeover as jeopardizing public safety and firefighters' lives.

The system also provides radio communication for police, park rangers, probation and welfare fraud agents and others in the field, Groff said.

Mette said in an e-mail Monday that he was pleased with Groff's response to "an urgent matter."

In his June 30 letter, Mette had outlined problems in updating the radio system from analog to digital -- an $8 million project. He cited instances of weak radio signals and an inadequate number of channels to serve firefighters and law enforcement officials.

Groff said technicians from the county and Motorola, which provided the system, will work whatever hours are needed to meet the deadline. The goal is reprogramming 14,000 radios used by public safety and other personnel in the field and updating other aspects of the Sacramento Regional Radio Communications System.

Eight steps have been agreed upon to improve the system so that those depending on the radios won't lose contact with dispatchers, Mette said.

Groff said he is committed to having all 25 channels in the system restored to full service by Monday. When work began April 24 to reprogram the channels, half were taken out of service to complete the project.

But reducing the number of channels was one of several problems cited by Mette, who wrote a sharply worded letter after firefighters briefly lost radio contact at a Marconi Avenue apartment blaze June 29.

Within two days, 17 of the 25 channels had been restored. Noting the added channels, Mette had said, "While the quality of radio traffic has improved, it still remains intermittent."

Groff said Monday returning the countywide system to full channel capacity also means restoring all four "control channels," key automatic devices that help radio users connect with an open channel. During the update, access to the control channels has been limited.

Mette said Motorola also will upgrade certain software embedded in 132 Metro Fire radios "at no cost to the district." The upgrade is needed for the radios to work in the new system.

Since Saturday, Motorola and county technicians have been working to replace some antennas and cables in a systemwide sweep to find any county areas of weak signals and to boost signals where needed.

Motorola on Monday added three high-level technicians to a staff of at least 20, including some Metro Fire and Sheriff's Department personnel, working on the problem, Groff said.

The county plans to install equipment to monitor the strength of the radio signals 24 hours a day to ensure that no area has service interruptions, he said.

In addition, a device will be installed at Rancho Murieta's Station 59 to boost radio signals in the area, where Mette had complained that firefighters had signal interruptions.

Groff said a monitor and signal booster also would be placed in Folsom's Old Town area.

Mette said in his e-mail Monday that bringing the system back up to the 17-channel level on July 1 "was critical to prevent outages during the Fourth of July weekend, due to increased call volume and emergency radio traffic."

No communications problems were reported during that weekend.
 

Sac916

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Within the circles of civil service there are many frustrations with equipment, staffing and red tape. Just about every single day you'll hear somebody say, " I wonder what the media would think about this?"

Apparently it works.... and it's pretty sad that it has to come to something like this to get things done.
 

sac-emt

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antfreq said:
Within the circles of civil service there are many frustrations with equipment, staffing and red tape. Just about every single day you'll hear somebody say, " I wonder what the media would think about this?"

Apparently it works.... and it's pretty sad that it has to come to something like this to get things done.
antfreq,

So true about the civil service circle. As well as hearing the numerous negative comments on my scanner.

I will be at SSD's Firing Range tomorrow and will have my radio with me. Having duplicated my TG's (County Fire, City Fire, SSD, Sac PD, etc...) on both sites and I will see what transpires from that end of the county
 
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