Five Lorain County FDs plan to reapply for grant

RT48

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Five Lorain County fire departments intend to reapply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant after learning recently their joint effort to receive funding for up-to-date radio equipment was unsuccessful.


Avon Lake fire Chief Jeremy Betsa said the application was ranked on FEMA’s list for funding, but the agency ran out of money before it got to the five Lorain County departments’ joint application.

Avon Lake teamed up with the fire departments of Avon, North Ridgeville, Sheffield and Sheffield Lake on the application for the approximately $1 million assistance to firefighters grant.
...

Betsa said the bigger picture involves placing repeaters on two water towers in northeast Lorain County so the infrastructure would be in place for all the departments to communicate on a 700 MHz frequency system.

“The current radios that most of us have are not able to be programmed on this new frequency, so we would have to replace nearly all of our equipment, depending on the city,” Betsa said. “That had sparked our interest in applying for the grant to cover that cost.”

A computer “brain” located in Avon Lake would allow the entire system to function, said North Ridgeville fire Chief John Reese. In addition to fire departments, he said police and other city departments could also come onboard the new frequency system.

That plan has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Building the new 700 MHz bandwidth system is currently not fundable by the federal grant, and the cities involved would likely foot an equal bill of about $153,000 each.
 

bcahill0423

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It will never work, it would be worse then what Medina county was dealing with before the fire departments moved to MARCS. I don't know why they just don't fully move to MARCS all the depts have MARCS radios for M/A
 

medic5399

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Moving to MARCS is a definite possibility. There have been a few meetings about MARCS amongst some of the cities
 

rcid1971

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Looks like they're committing to an L3 Harris System and going it alone

Avon Lake moves forward with its portion of firefighter radio system upgrades

City Council authorized a public safety communications and cell tower lease agreement Monday, the latest step toward realizing the “five-city radio” system envisioned to bring the fire departments in Avon Lake, Avon, North Ridgeville, Sheffield and Sheffield Lake a modern 700/800 MHz two-way radio system.
I don't necessarily understand this line:

Betsa said the MARCS 700/800 MHz radio system was also evaluated, but that system would have relied on vehicle repeaters and the L3Harris system was ultimately chosen.
 

mtindor

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Looks like they're committing to an L3 Harris System and going it alone

Avon Lake moves forward with its portion of firefighter radio system upgrades

I don't necessarily understand this line:
Whether true or not, I think Betsa is suggesting that the current active MARCS towers that cover Lorain Co are not enough to provide the amount of coverage that Lorain Co would like, and that they would rather go with their own setup. Lorain Co may be looking for / hoping for better in-building coverage, or better coverage for portables in specific areas that the current MARCS towers aren't necessarily providing.
 

wd8chl

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Whether true or not, I think Betsa is suggesting that the current active MARCS towers that cover Lorain Co are not enough to provide the amount of coverage that Lorain Co would like, and that they would rather go with their own setup. Lorain Co may be looking for / hoping for better in-building coverage, or better coverage for portables in specific areas that the current MARCS towers aren't necessarily providing.
I can tell you, as it is now, most areas north of I-90 will have poor coverage on MARCS, especially in-building. With only two sites in the county, both of which are somewhat to the south, coverage along the lake will suffer. So the two 'lakes' (AL and SL), well, they can forget portable coverage. That's what they are talking about when they say 'vehicular repeaters'. They would need those to have portable coverage, and those have their own share of problems., not the least of which is a complete lack of frequencies to put them on.
 

medic5399

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I can tell you, as it is now, most areas north of I-90 will have poor coverage on MARCS, especially in-building. With only two sites in the county, both of which are somewhat to the south, coverage along the lake will suffer. So the two 'lakes' (AL and SL), well, they can forget portable coverage. That's what they are talking about when they say 'vehicular repeaters'. They would need those to have portable coverage, and those have their own share of problems., not the least of which is a complete lack of frequencies to put them on.
Could they use the Cuyahoga towers at I-90/Columbia and I-480/Stearns? It would help the eastern communities. Probably would help, but not solve all the in building issues
 

wa8pyr

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Could they use the Cuyahoga towers at I-90/Columbia and I-480/Stearns? It would help the eastern communities. Probably would help, but not solve all the in building issues
Those towers probably wouldn't help enough to make it worth the cost, when there are probably more suitable structures within Lorain County. Besides, MARCS wants everyone to use MARCS, so there's no telling how many arms, legs and first-born male children they would require to allow a "competing" system to use their towers.

In any case, it sounds as though Cleveland Communications is installing the necessary infrastructure, and charging the involved agencies less than MARCS would charge, so it sounds like a pretty good deal for them.
 
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tweiss3

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I wonder how this is going to work when Avon's high school is currently under construction, yet they are putting in the building transponder system (for 70cm) and it will become obsolete in right after occupancy is granted when they come onto this "new" system.

I did notice that MARCS coverage in Avon and Elyria is pretty good (from Elyira and Grafton CI sites) yesterday all over town.
 

wa8pyr

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I wonder how this is going to work when Avon's high school is currently under construction, yet they are putting in the building transponder system (for 70cm) and it will become obsolete in right after occupancy is granted when they come onto this "new" system.
If the system is properly designed and the construction contract properly written, all they should need to do is a change order to move it to 700/800 MHz. The BDA/DAS is usually one of the last things that gets done so they probably still have time.

I did notice that MARCS coverage in Avon and Elyria is pretty good (from Elyira and Grafton CI sites) yesterday all over town.
Talk-out (receiving on the street) might be pretty good, but how is talk-in, ie portables/mobiles to the system? That's usually the issue.
 

wd8chl

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Could they use the Cuyahoga towers at I-90/Columbia and I-480/Stearns? It would help the eastern communities. Probably would help, but not solve all the in building issues
That site doesn't make it into Lorain Co. to speak of. It's just a fill site, and really doesn't do very well in Bay Village. I've had to do coverage tests in Bay-MARCS failed miserably inside a new building. Cleveland was OK-barely.
Avon has poor coverage too, btw. Inside Avon PD doesn't work at all. Zip. Their "old" VHF system is just down the street, both PD and FD. And it's maintained by the county. 2nd site in Sheffield Lake. It covers better than any 2-site 700 MHz system ever will.
 

wd8chl

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If the system is properly designed and the construction contract properly written, all they should need to do is a change order to move it to 700/800 MHz. The BDA/DAS is usually one of the last things that gets done so they probably still have time.
Don' forget too, a typical BDA system goes for $20-50K. Per building.
 

a388sig2

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Specific to this discussion Bay Village is a perfect example of how MARCS had the right people to get them off the ground, those people moved on, and it’s back to being an uninspiring division of a massive state agency with loose oversight and lack of accountability.
 

RT48

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Looks like North Ridgeville might be joining this L3 Harris system also.

North Ridgeville Fire Department currently uses an ultra-high frequency (UHF) analog system, and Chief John Reese said the department has been using it for more than 20 years. Communication problems have been reported in multiple situations.

Reese supports a switch to a 700/800 MHz L3Harris system as part of a "five city radio" plan with Avon, Avon Lake, Sheffield and Sheffield Lake. All five communities' fire departments provide mutual aid to each other.

Like other communities involved in the plan, North Ridgeville would enter into a two-year contract with the Parma-based company Cleveland Communications Inc., which intends to install hardware on three towers in the area, assuming necessary approval is obtained. Each participating city will pay a fee for use. Cleveland Communications will own and maintain the core of the system at its headquarters.

Each community would also receive 20 free radios as part of the deal, Reese said, a savings of about $65,000 per department. They could get additional help with purchasing new compatible radios from a grant.
 

rcid1971

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wd8chl

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So much wrong with all of this...it won't cover any better than their UHF system, which is right behind city hall. Probably not as good. And why are they being dispatched by Westcom (that they have to pay for) when they could be dispatched by Lorain Co for free? "Interface to Elyria". EFD will NOT be going to that system. The chief has said so. They have too much invested in the current system. I could go on, but I don't have time.
Mid-September to move to it? They haven't even started construction! Maybe 2022. Maybe. Crazy waste of tax dollars.
 
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