Inyo County Moving to Mobile Relay Associates NEXEDGE System?

prcguy

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I was patiently waiting for a mushroom cloud and you sir may have defused it. Thanks. Thanks a lot......

I may have to start my own thread up and fuel it .

I can see my breath in this room...Can I suggest everyone take a deep breath and leave their egos at the door please? Radio people already tend to have issues "reading the room" and now let's take the room/faces/vocal tones away and dump everyone into an anonymous internet forum, and then add the amplified us vs. them mentality growing over the last 5 years, and the passion some here have towards RF energy. I always joke amongst the industry that radio communications technicians or enthusiasts are often the worse communicators. We all are going to step on toes. Forgive. There is some amazing talent, skills, history and experience in this very thread alone; the very kind that can literally die off and never be seen again unless transferred to books, notes, forums. Some are more elder than others, some have more hands-on time with N connector barrels, others more PTT time, some have PTSD and health issues that directly affect effective communication on a forum like this. Some here also recognize this isn't a two-way conversation and word things as such to be an educational/historical reference for future generations to come across this thread on page 3 of google. Some here also recognize nuance, and/or the bigger picture and tend to ignore some of the more literal statements, or let non-important slip-ups be slip-ups.

Patience, forgiveness, one does not always have to be right (woah, if my wife knew I just typed that...) but kindness always matters.
 

AM909

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What norcalscan said. I want to add that I appreciate those who have taken the time to share their knowledge with us – this is stuff that just can't be found elsewhere.
 

KMFRADIO

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Sorry if i had caused any disruption to the group, i merely came onto this to get information on whether MRA intends to scramble all the talk groups used by both Inyo and Mono counties, this has been information i have not been able to obtain thus far in the slowly dwindling group of local techs, i have spoken with. and is apparently secured information only known by MRA, this being the case then the scanner i just purchased is merely an expensive paper weight although i can still use it for all the military's activity in my area, this has been the first scanner i purchased in over thirty years, a lot has changed how these scanner are programmed and function, and i believe with a little more time and patients ill have learned its ins and outs.. i guess i was being lazy and hoping someone would had come along and said "ok you do this this and that.." well guess I'm just getting old and grumpy
 

KMFRADIO

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You are on another page. Are you trying to say that there aren't any agencies with interoperability issues in California? The agencies that will subscribe with MRA will have it on UHF. It is all the other agencies that will remain on VHF high that will not. Example, and I could have used this when I was working, Caltrans cannot communicate with the U.S. Forest Service. I could and needed to, communicate with the Mammoth Community Water District, but not with Caltrans and not with the CHP at the time.

As for your last paragraph, unless repeater bridges between disparate radio bands are established at each repeater site, similar to the Arizona AIRS or Arizona Interagency Radio System is provided that type then interoperability is not possible. I'm not pushing a panic button, I am merely pointing out what has happened in other areas when new systems are installed. For example, not every Caltrans truck can speak with CHP officers, this after Caltrans went to 800 MHz from low band. Only supervisors have low band radios and the rest of their equipment, snow plows, blowers, graders, etc. only have an 800 MHz radio.

Just a reminder - there are multiple agencies all over CA (both Fire and LE) that operate on digital systems like these and have done so for MANY years.

Obviously, but when they did agencies on other bands stopped being able to communicate with them. Example, Law Enforcement Officers on the Cleveland National Forest cannot communicate on Orange County's countywide trunked system to talk with county S.O. deputies. This, unless the USFS can afford to put Orange County radios in each LE vehicle. Given the budget cuts the USFS is living with this can be a major impediment.

Of course, the old method of communicating using scanners might work, for all its disadvantages. I used to call Mono County deputies on the USFS frequency, then the deputy would copy that on his scanner and I would copy his reply on his frequency on my scanner. This prior to having multiple channel radios, even though both of us were on the same band. In recreation management I could not afford or justify the purchase of a scanner, so I bought one myself and installed it in my vehicle. I only had to pay for the cost of another antenna, which was the same as the one for my 160 channel Midland mobile. It came in quite handy on the Angeles NF on a large wildland fire when I copied some traffic on Caltrans frequencies regarding a lane closure on I-5 that was to support a burnout operation that we were going to do from the shoulder of the interstate to secure a line around a subdivision. It turned out that they had changed the plan from what was agreed upon that morning at briefing. No one else on the fire heard what I heard and I contacted the ICP immediately and we had to shut off our planned burn because of it and some other reasons. No interoperability between Caltrans and the USFS existed and still doesn't.
not interoperability just poor planning!
 

KMFRADIO

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It still costs MRA $$ to maintain radios and sites so does it really save money? I think its just a paperwork shuffle and it could be that going with MRA costs more than city or county employees doing similar work. The city or county does maintenance work to keep running. MRA is in business to make a profit.
Inyo and Mono counties do not have any radio techs on the payroll it has always been contracted out
 

es93546

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MAPRAD.IO map for MRA

Licensee begins with: Mobile Relay Associates
https://maprad.io/au/search/advance...vYmlsZSBSZWxheSBBc3NvY2lhdGVzIl0%3D&source=US
Fabulous tool! Thank you. I noticed the Ibex Peak license and didn't think it would give any coverage for Inyo County and this map showed me wrong. The southern boundary of Inyo County and the northern boundary of San Bernardino County sometimes makes things hard to track when doing FCC research. I knew that MRA has a license for the top of Glass, but the other repeaters they have can cover the county without having a repeater up there. I will say this again, having an FCC license does not mean a land management agency will issue a special use permit for located electronic equipment at a site. I used to think that the FCC consulted with the land management agencies prior to license issuance, but found this not to be the case. At least that is my experience.
 

MtnBiker2005

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The Ibex Peak was one of the sites that was talked about in the county agenda meeting notes.

Ibex Peak – covering Highway 127 from Barstow to Shoshone and Highway 178 heading into Death Valley and portions of the Chicago Valley.
 

es93546

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I can see my breath in this room...Can I suggest everyone take a deep breath and leave their egos at the door please? Radio people already tend to have issues "reading the room" and now let's take the room/faces/vocal tones away and dump everyone into an anonymous internet forum, and then add the amplified us vs. them mentality growing over the last 5 years, and the passion some here have towards RF energy. I always joke amongst the industry that radio communications technicians or enthusiasts are often the worse communicators. We all are going to step on toes. Forgive. There is some amazing talent, skills, history and experience in this very thread alone; the very kind that can literally die off and never be seen again unless transferred to books, notes, forums. Some are more elder than others, some have more hands-on time with N connector barrels, others more PTT time, some have PTSD and health issues that directly affect effective communication on a forum like this. Some here also recognize this isn't a two-way conversation and word things as such to be an educational/historical reference for future generations to come across this thread on page 3 of google. Some here also recognize nuance, and/or the bigger picture and tend to ignore some of the more literal statements, or let non-important slip-ups be slip-ups.

Patience, forgiveness, one does not always have to be right (woah, if my wife knew I just typed that...) but kindness always matters.
Thank you norcalscan. For the info of others I'm the one with PTSD with health problems that are causing cognitive decline that is greater than what would be expected for someone my age. This was the result of seeing something I wish I didn't have to see, but that is life. I've been dealing with this since I was 35 and now I'm more than twice that age. I was diagnosed with "Cumulative PTSD" about a year ago. This is where the sum of smaller traumatic events adds up to a larger one and I had 5, one the line of duty death of a person I was supervising. If I have offended anyone it is not my intent to do so. I'm not as diplomatic as I once was.

Warren is not a designated electronic site, it is an administrative site for forest infrastructure. As I pointed out there are some non wilderness land alternatives for providing communications for first responders. You might have the opinion that a wilderness designation and a prohibition of developing further structures is "bureaucratic BS," but it is the law. The Forest Service is obligated to uphold the law, most especially when land uses are concerned.

YOUR WORDS




This is the bureaucratic BS I'm talking about. and the directive sent down by the president to amend such. yes Mt Warren is an administrative site used solely for the purposes of providing vital communications within the Forest structure and yes its a COMMUNICATIONS site deemed as such by professionals like myself that were hired on to perform such duties that know of its coverage capability's or there wouldn't be anything up there to look at. I'm merely saying its there, follow the directives of what is needed by or first responders, in your very words provide interoperability with it that structure. i really think you should update yourself of how things are working these days before you go off the wall to try and convince everyone of interoperability when you at the helm are trying to throw a monkey wrench in the works, lastly your claim to fame in all the time you were involved in the Forest service is of all the citations you had issued i believe you stated to hold some sort of record,, well this is very disturbing as its NOT the goal or mission of the Forest service i was involved in that goal was protecting the Forest and the public with education NOT discipline
It might be a communications site for those techs maintaining the USFS system, but not a communications site in terms of land use, forest resource planning and for special use permits. I can't find any documents that specifically mention Mt. Warren, but somewhere in the files at the Lee Vining ranger station there are some. Remember that a communications system open to the issuance of special use permits has to have Regional Forester approval, a plat map and written direction for the management of the site. I have read the direction in the Inyo NF Land Management Plan that specifically says that commercial development of any kind cannot be allowed in all the wilderness areas on the forest. Nothing new there, that is what the Wilderness Act of 1964 states. Given the location of the USFS repeater now entirely in wilderness (as opposed to being just outside of it prior to the Hoover Wilderness being expanded 10-15 years ago) additional facilities can't be located there even if there wasn't a requirement for the Regional Forester to designate the site for special use permit issuance. This is a land management type situation, not just a radio communications/engineering situation. I've been to meetings such as regional meetings or training where this issue has been discussed. I mentioned before that up in Region 1 (northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota) an effort to remove repeaters from wilderness areas was undertaken when a suitable comm site outside of wilderness could be established. The USFS has a lot of comm sites where they have very minimal development similar to Mt. Warren where no one else can occupy the site, be that a local government or a commercial firm.

"lastly your claim to fame in all the time you were involved in the Forest service is of all the citations you had issued i believe you stated to hold some sort of record,, well this is very disturbing as its NOT the goal or mission of the Forest service i was involved in that goal was protecting the Forest and the public with education NOT discipline."

I mentioned that I had the highest count, not as an ego building statement, but to indicate the recreation workload we had at Mammoth. We had a recreation site called "Hot Creek" that generated a lot of law enforcement activity, not just by me, but by our full range law enforcement officers (defensive equipment worn on a utility belt) and other Forest Protection Officers such as me. Hot Creek generated a lot of law suits and we lived in a fish bowl while managing it. This required consistent and fair law enforcement actions and policy. We also had a road and area where visitors could not drive, they were required to ride a shuttle bus to access the area for day use. We had entrance stations to administer this requirement. This has been in place since 1979 or 1980. This generated a lot of activity with visitors, sometimes being law enforcement related. When someone threatened the employees I supervised, I enforced the law. It came with the territory. I wrote a lot of incident reports for violations where the violator was long gone. I wrote incident reports for bear activity incidents as it showed the senior management staff what a workload we had and it successfully made a difference as far as funding and commitment of personnel in the Forest Supervisor's Office to assist the districts with the problem. I issued a lot of written warnings. I issued citation when people knowingly violated the law and caused resource damage. Citations were about 30% of my numbers. Mammoth had about 50-55% of the recreation use on the Inyo National Forest, so our public contact workload was greater than the rest of the districts combined, so for a field going supervisor who worked year round in the field, having high numbers reflected in the law enforcement activity there, not because of some attitude I took toward the public. I loved working with the public. but, for example, if someone ignored clear signage and drove around barricades onto a meadow, a wetland and damaged that resource I would write a citation. In accordance with policy and good thinking I would also require that they be responsible for repairing that damage. That is just one example of the type of violations I encountered. For many years Mammoth was the only ranger district with two law enforcement officers, which shows the workload we had there.

I say all of this, not for self edification, but to indicate the type of experience I had. A lot of that was in lower management at the GS-11 level and a lot at the GS-9 level in 3 different states. I was a 9 most of my career and retired as a 9. I took a voluntary downgrade from the 11 level to get back in the field as a 9, where I loved the work. I was required to be in the field at least 60% of the time at Mammoth and while I was a GS-11 I had to fight to spent 5% of my time in the field. As a field supervisor I used my brain while wearing out the soles of my boots.
 

es93546

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Sorry if i had caused any disruption to the group, i merely came onto this to get information on whether MRA intends to scramble all the talk groups used by both Inyo and Mono counties, this has been information i have not been able to obtain thus far in the slowly dwindling group of local techs, i have spoken with. and is apparently secured information only known by MRA, this being the case then the scanner i just purchased is merely an expensive paper weight although i can still use it for all the military's activity in my area, this has been the first scanner i purchased in over thirty years, a lot has changed how these scanner are programmed and function, and i believe with a little more time and patients ill have learned its ins and outs.. i guess i was being lazy and hoping someone would had come along and said "ok you do this this and that.." well guess I'm just getting old and grumpy
What model scanner did you purchase? I bought a BDC325P2 about a year ago. I hadn't been able to monitor Southern Calif. Edison since they replaced their Motorola Smart Net with a Phase 2 digital trunking system. They seem to always have the best when it comes to communications systems. I wanted to once again, hear them out in the field when we experience power outages and when big storms hit the Sierra. I'm fairly disappointed with the radio, but it does allow me to hear those dedicated troublemen out on the job.
 

Tower5153

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You are on another page. Are you trying to say that there aren't any agencies with interoperability issues in California? The agencies that will subscribe with MRA will have it on UHF. It is all the other agencies that will remain on VHF high that will not. Example, and I could have used this when I was working, Caltrans cannot communicate with the U.S. Forest Service. I could and needed to, communicate with the Mammoth Community Water District, but not with Caltrans and not with the CHP at the time.

As for your last paragraph, unless repeater bridges between disparate radio bands are established at each repeater site, similar to the Arizona AIRS or Arizona Interagency Radio System is provided that type then interoperability is not possible. I'm not pushing a panic button, I am merely pointing out what has happened in other areas when new systems are installed. For example, not every Caltrans truck can speak with CHP officers, this after Caltrans went to 800 MHz from low band. Only supervisors have low band radios and the rest of their equipment, snow plows, blowers, graders, etc. only have an 800 MHz radio.

Just a reminder - there are multiple agencies all over CA (both Fire and LE) that operate on digital systems like these and have done so for MANY years.

Obviously, but when they did agencies on other bands stopped being able to communicate with them. Example, Law Enforcement Officers on the Cleveland National Forest cannot communicate on Orange County's countywide trunked system to talk with county S.O. deputies. This, unless the USFS can afford to put Orange County radios in each LE vehicle. Given the budget cuts the USFS is living with this can be a major impediment.

Of course, the old method of communicating using scanners might work, for all its disadvantages. I used to call Mono County deputies on the USFS frequency, then the deputy would copy that on his scanner and I would copy his reply on his frequency on my scanner. This prior to having multiple channel radios, even though both of us were on the same band. In recreation management I could not afford or justify the purchase of a scanner, so I bought one myself and installed it in my vehicle. I only had to pay for the cost of another antenna, which was the same as the one for my 160 channel Midland mobile. It came in quite handy on the Angeles NF on a large wildland fire when I copied some traffic on Caltrans frequencies regarding a lane closure on I-5 that was to support a burnout operation that we were going to do from the shoulder of the interstate to secure a line around a subdivision. It turned out that they had changed the plan from what was agreed upon that morning at briefing. No one else on the fire heard what I heard and I contacted the ICP immediately and we had to shut off our planned burn because of it and some other reasons. No interoperability between Caltrans and the USFS existed and still doesn't.
USFS (or any agency using VHF for that matter) can contact Orange County dispatch directly, by using the dedicated VHF access frequency that has been in use for decades. It’s a repeated frequency, and it’s staffed by OCSO dispatchers. If the LE staff on the Cleveland are failing to do so, that’s a CNF issue, not an interoperability issue. The infrastructure is there and working correctly. Not being able to and choosing not too are very different animals. They don’t need another radio, they need to use the one they have correctly.

I followed a DUI driver into Orange County years ago, and had no issues communicating with the Orange County dispatch center using the interoperability frequency.

They can also use any of the CA IFOG frequencies. They’re monitored by OCSO also.

Interoperability is alive and working well in CA. Most people just don’t know how to do it correctly.
 

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Mike_G_D

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Firstly, norcalscan - thank you! That was a great post and perfectly timed.

Secondly, es93546 is, in my humble opinion, a pretty "standup guy" in the vernacular. Like he stated, his information about issuing citations during his career was not to note how proud he was to do so but to indicate the kind of workload and related issues he was faced with (and, by association, the USFS was faced with) at that time. I never took it to mean what KMFRADIO indicated, with all due respect. But I have had private communications with es93546 in the past and got to know him to some small extent so I knew, anyway, that was not in his personality.

Thirdly, I have enjoyed and been enlightened by the information presented in the posts on this thread from all parties! Besides es93546 I really like KMFRADIO, Tower5153, and all the others' posts! Disagreement is part of life and no one (normal mortal human being-wise) can know everything perfectly well at all points in time for all of their life. In large part, this discussion has been pretty civil, engaging, and enlightening, thank you all! However, in nearly all such lively discussions things can get a bit "tetchy" at times. Thankfully, norcalscan came in with the right words at the right time, in my opinion.

Fourthly, and I know this is "pushing it" but please bear with me, es93546 and I both share one common "affliction", only my opinion and not saying he would share that same opinion - we tend to get a bit wordy when writing about what we know and love. In my case that's RF and related technical concepts and issues while in his case it's his natural resource management knowledge and experience. I can start out intending to write one sentence and easily wind up writing several paragraphs and not even realizing the passing of the time! Some kind of mental "zone" I slip into all too easily and do often get criticized for it. I read others' lengthy posts, including but not limited to, es93546's, with both serious interest and a (maybe misplaced) sense of some commonality between myself and the other writer.

Finally, yes really, to es93546, though I cannot argue the finer aspects of the many non-RF related but equally fascinating concepts being discussed and bantered about, I want to mention a point with some elaboration that I think someone way back in this thread brought up but it may have gotten "lost in the shuffle". That point being "multi-band radios". They are a big thing now not just in amateur radio but now even in professional LMR circles. Yes, the "latest and greatest" all-band (above 138 MHz at least) professional radios are quite expensive and still a bit of a novelty for most less well financed agencies but dual band rigs, even handhelds, have pretty well matured and the prices somewhat stabilized into semi-reasonable figures. Kenwood, in particular, has a nice set of products that allow the customer to choose up to three (and four, if I understand correctly in their EFJohnson line) bands for a single-headed mobile unit. So, with one mobile head on the dashboard (or wherever) the user can have access to more than one band. The separate RF band units are remotely located in the trunk or some other convenient location so, from a user standpoint, it's just "one radio" with channels spanning multiple bands. So, these MRA users could have such a radio with NXDN and analog NFM on UHF PLUS the capability to easily switch to NFM VHF-HI channels. They also allow multiple modulation modes, depending on the models, so you can get NXDN and NFM standard with a choice of a third mode (P25 or DMR, for example) on some models. If you only need NFM on VHF and NXDN on UHF (NFM is always included anyway so they will have that on UHF as well anyway) then I don't think the cost would be too prohibitive in the long run. So, assuming the users mentioned in this thread keep at least some of their old infrastructure in place and decide to keep using their old analog NFM radios as back up, they can, using the Kenwood multi-band capable NXDN gear, eventually migrate to a fully one-headed modern supported Kenwood solution when the old gear can no longer be supported and still have full VHF analog FM capability. That would include any needed VHF-HI interop capability - all from one single "head" in the cab, no need for multiple radios in the cab. As I understand it, part of what has driven the development of such products is the very need for VHF-HI interop especially among fire services. Also, since you brought it up, the CHP is a major user of Kenwood equipment because they are about all there is now in terms of manufacturers of low-band VHF equipment (among the normal public safety LMR brands - I know Harris, Thales, etc. do as well but more military and government oriented, at least as far as low band VHF is concerned); Kenwood, through it's acquired (I think - unsure of the business specifics here) EFJohnson line now has the capability to offer simultaneous four separate band units communicating to one mobile "head" in the front allowing, potentially, full VHF-Low, VHF-HI, UHF/UHF-T, and 700/800 MHz capability with multiple modulation modes and even trunking capability - again all through one dash mounted (or wherever) head control unit! So, with all due respect to your concerns, at least with regard to the VHF analog FM capability, I don't think it will be a significant problem simply because, one way or the other, it isn't really going away even if their day-to-day normal operations will transition to the MRA NXDN network. Again, if I understand this correctly, of course.

Carry on, but keep it civil! Most interesting!

-Mike
 

es93546

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Firstly, norcalscan - thank you! That was a great post and perfectly timed.

Secondly, es93546 is, in my humble opinion, a pretty "standup guy" in the vernacular. Like he stated, his information about issuing citations during his career was not to note how proud he was to do so but to indicate the kind of workload and related issues he was faced with (and, by association, the USFS was faced with) at that time. I never took it to mean what KMFRADIO indicated, with all due respect. But I have had private communications with es93546 in the past and got to know him to some small extent so I knew, anyway, that was not in his personality.

Thirdly, I have enjoyed and been enlightened by the information presented in the posts on this thread from all parties! Besides es93546 I really like KMFRADIO, Tower5153, and all the others' posts! Disagreement is part of life and no one (normal mortal human being-wise) can know everything perfectly well at all points in time for all of their life. In large part, this discussion has been pretty civil, engaging, and enlightening, thank you all! However, in nearly all such lively discussions things can get a bit "tetchy" at times. Thankfully, norcalscan came in with the right words at the right time, in my opinion.

Fourthly, and I know this is "pushing it" but please bear with me, es93546 and I both share one common "affliction", only my opinion and not saying he would share that same opinion - we tend to get a bit wordy when writing about what we know and love. In my case that's RF and related technical concepts and issues while in his case it's his natural resource management knowledge and experience. I can start out intending to write one sentence and easily wind up writing several paragraphs and not even realizing the passing of the time! Some kind of mental "zone" I slip into all too easily and do often get criticized for it. I read others' lengthy posts, including but not limited to, es93546's, with both serious interest and a (maybe misplaced) sense of some commonality between myself and the other writer.

Finally, yes really, to es93546, though I cannot argue the finer aspects of the many non-RF related but equally fascinating concepts being discussed and bantered about, I want to mention a point with some elaboration that I think someone way back in this thread brought up but it may have gotten "lost in the shuffle". That point being "multi-band radios". They are a big thing now not just in amateur radio but now even in professional LMR circles. Yes, the "latest and greatest" all-band (above 138 MHz at least) professional radios are quite expensive and still a bit of a novelty for most less well financed agencies but dual band rigs, even handhelds, have pretty well matured and the prices somewhat stabilized into semi-reasonable figures. Kenwood, in particular, has a nice set of products that allow the customer to choose up to three (and four, if I understand correctly in their EFJohnson line) bands for a single-headed mobile unit. So, with one mobile head on the dashboard (or wherever) the user can have access to more than one band. The separate RF band units are remotely located in the trunk or some other convenient location so, from a user standpoint, it's just "one radio" with channels spanning multiple bands. So, these MRA users could have such a radio with NXDN and analog NFM on UHF PLUS the capability to easily switch to NFM VHF-HI channels. They also allow multiple modulation modes, depending on the models, so you can get NXDN and NFM standard with a choice of a third mode (P25 or DMR, for example) on some models. If you only need NFM on VHF and NXDN on UHF (NFM is always included anyway so they will have that on UHF as well anyway) then I don't think the cost would be too prohibitive in the long run. So, assuming the users mentioned in this thread keep at least some of their old infrastructure in place and decide to keep using their old analog NFM radios as back up, they can, using the Kenwood multi-band capable NXDN gear, eventually migrate to a fully one-headed modern supported Kenwood solution when the old gear can no longer be supported and still have full VHF analog FM capability. That would include any needed VHF-HI interop capability - all from one single "head" in the cab, no need for multiple radios in the cab. As I understand it, part of what has driven the development of such products is the very need for VHF-HI interop especially among fire services. Also, since you brought it up, the CHP is a major user of Kenwood equipment because they are about all there is now in terms of manufacturers of low-band VHF equipment (among the normal public safety LMR brands - I know Harris, Thales, etc. do as well but more military and government oriented, at least as far as low band VHF is concerned); Kenwood, through it's acquired (I think - unsure of the business specifics here) EFJohnson line now has the capability to offer simultaneous four separate band units communicating to one mobile "head" in the front allowing, potentially, full VHF-Low, VHF-HI, UHF/UHF-T, and 700/800 MHz capability with multiple modulation modes and even trunking capability - again all through one dash mounted (or wherever) head control unit! So, with all due respect to your concerns, at least with regard to the VHF analog FM capability, I don't think it will be a significant problem simply because, one way or the other, it isn't really going away even if their day-to-day normal operations will transition to the MRA NXDN network. Again, if I understand this correctly, of course.

Carry on, but keep it civil! Most interesting!

-Mike
Well said! I think another issue may not be understood by many, perhaps 80% or more of the members of Radio Reference. I say 80% as the 2010 and 2020 census shows 80% of all people in the U.S. live in metro areas. However in California 95% pf the state's population lives in urban areas, with 5% living in rural areas, so the percentage if significantly larger here in California. Why do I bring this up? It is because living in rural areas is very much different and the perspective on issues is very different. How many fire departments in L.A. County have held raffle ticket sales, with prizes donated by local businesses, as part of an effort to buy a fire department new turnouts for all members. How many departments have annual fund raising events, such as Bishop Fire Department's destruction derby, the annual fire department picnic of the Mammoth Fire Department and other smaller events in the smaller towns. Mammoth used to include a canoe race on Horseshoe Lake, just west of town, but dropped it during some very low water years on that lake.

Example of a small town is Lee Vining with its 350-400 residents. There isn't a 100% all paid, all the time, fire department in both counties (Inyo and Mono). Mammoth staffs one Type 6 engine 24/7 and any additional units needed are provided by volunteers. Bishop has one paid position, the chief and everyone else is a volunteer.

The point is, that even when a better radio is only $200 more than what a department is currently equipped with, that might be a deal breaker. They have enough trouble affording what they have. As for the federal land management agencies, budgets have been cut to the point that, for example, the Forest Service, is non-functional in many areas, I would argue that long term they are non functional in most programs. All of them seem to have a significant reduction in service, except fire management, which is at about the same level of service it was at in the 1990's, in fact an increased level of service now. However, given the situation with fuels, fires and a warming climate, they don't have nearly enough. We either pay now, or a much larger price later.

With all due respect to those who talk about multiband radios and the "it's not all that expensive anymore," thinks are very different in rural counties and small towns. In my book small city extends down to about a 10,000 to 12,000 population and small town is under 3,000 people. Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes are fortunate to have a year round destination resort area, with massive numbers of visitors, which gives them a tax base, that for example, allows having (4) 24/7/365 paramedic units (one paramedic, one EMT) spread out over the county. The injuries at the ski areas (Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain) are a huge part of the funding for same and a huge part of why Mammoth, population 8,000. has a good hospital, great orthopedic physicians and a nearly fully functional operating room. Otherwise, the county and town wouldn't have close to this. Providing law enforcement, emergency medical, fire departments, search and rescue, roads and streets, snow removal and water and sewage services for the demand is challenging, I think much more than in places with a much more diversified and valuable property tax base. I again point out the picnics, raffles and special events that are held to fund fire departments.

As for grants, the rural counties and towns have a lot of people who just write grant applications and county supervisors and town council members lobbying for them. However, as an astute director of the National Park Service said about 30 years ago, "everyone loves a ribbon cutting, but no one wants to fix the roof." You can't hang your hat on grants to maintain a level of service, they come and go and can't be relied on to handle the daily grind.

I grew up in a metro area and moved away at the age of 21 to live in a city of 20,000 with 10,000 college students for 6 years. Then I spent 11 years in two towns of about 675 people and now live in a large town of 8,000 people. It's been 50 years since I left the big city. As the years pass I notice a huge difference in perspective with folks who live in metro areas. This is not just my opinion, but has been a subject of discussion that has increased in the last 10 years. I'm not condemning anyone from big cities either, I'm just saying the perspectives are widening as time marches on. We both need each other in ways we often don't think about and that are too numerous to mention in a forum post.

Lastly, KMFRADIO and myself are communicating via PM's and we are not at each others throats. I used to know his dad and have enjoyed his company at ham radio type gatherings, but am no longer an active ham. KMF . . . and I have been discussing issues and gaining from each other's perspectives and experience. We hope others gain something from our writings.
 

es93546

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One thing I haven't mentioned is that in cases where the state, county and local emergency services agencies can't communicate in wilderness and remote areas, on a very limited basis the USFS is OK with their communications being done on USFS radio systems. This is normally in search and rescue and emergency medical situations. It also depends on the comm needs of the USFS at the time. The Inyo NF and Bishop Field Office of the BLM have 4 repeater nets with fairly good functioning, the two Forest Nets (North and South), the USFS Service Net and the BLM's Field Office Net. This gives some flexibility in providing comms to each incident. There is also the non-repeater equipped, Park Net at Devils Postpile National Monument.
 

es93546

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USFS (or any agency using VHF for that matter) can contact Orange County dispatch directly, by using the dedicated VHF access frequency that has been in use for decades. It’s a repeated frequency, and it’s staffed by OCSO dispatchers. If the LE staff on the Cleveland are failing to do so, that’s a CNF issue, not an interoperability issue. The infrastructure is there and working correctly. Not being able to and choosing not too are very different animals. They don’t need another radio, they need to use the one they have correctly.

I followed a DUI driver into Orange County years ago, and had no issues communicating with the Orange County dispatch center using the interoperability frequency.

They can also use any of the CA IFOG frequencies. They’re monitored by OCSO also.

Interoperability is alive and working well in CA. Most people just don’t know how to do it correctly.
What you speak of is true for car to car type comms, but repeater access is another story. Orange County is a small county as far as area and has Santiago Peak able to cover most of it. I'm speaking larger counties with more complex and rougher topography. Repeater access is sometimes needed for units only 2-3 miles apart.
 

Tower5153

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What you speak of is true for car to car type comms, but repeater access is another story. Orange County is a small county as far as area and has Santiago Peak able to cover most of it. I'm speaking larger counties with more complex and rougher topography. Repeater access is sometimes needed for units only 2-3 miles apart.
Re-read my post. You specifically stated USFS personnel on the Cleveland cannot talk to Orange County without an Orange County radio.

That is not correct.

There is a VHF frequency that is used to access Orange County Dispatch. It is a REPEATED frequency that is used for units with only VHF radios. It has been around for years. If the CNF units choose not to use it, then the issue is with them, not the infrastructure. The IFOG frequencies are car to car.

The channel used to be listed as “OC ACCESS” in the CAL-FIRE radios. It‘s now labeled “FIRE OC” which is a bit of a misnomer. OC Sheriff and Fire share the same dispatch center.

7E01368F-D14E-422B-AC7F-E39C10520AFF.jpeg
 

AM909

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I've also heard someone (maybe LACoFD) talking to OC Fire on
151.01000154.96500123.0 PLWNIG250OC Fire Tactical / Outside Agency Interop
(yes, with 123.0 encoded on the repeater TX).
 

Mikek

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@Tower5153 -

OC Access and FireOC are not the same. They're different frequencies with different purposes, and authorizations for use.

OCFA and OCSD do not share dispatch centers. The Fire Authority dispatches from their headquarters facility, and the Sheriff from Loma Ridge.
 

inigo88

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Throwing my hat in the ring to endorse @es93546. He spent a decade graciously posting and sharing knowledge about the eastern sierra and various state and federal agencies on this forum under a different user name, and I don't think there is an arrogant or competitive bone in his body. It's difficult to judge whether or not someone has a rude tone through email or web forums, but as @norcalscan said I'd suggest taking a deep breath and giving each other the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst from a post (especially in light of the medical condition he's been so transparent about).

As for the pedantic comment, you guys do realize you're on a radio scanning forum right? We might all want to look in the mirror. ;)

Finally, with @es93546 's Inyo county knowledge and @KMFRADIO 's Mono county knowledge I think you two would really get along in person and have a lot to talk about. And the rest of us will benefit through the comprehensive Eastern Sierra radio knowledge you both bring to the table.

Sorry if i had caused any disruption to the group, i merely came onto this to get information on whether MRA intends to scramble all the talk groups used by both Inyo and Mono counties, this has been information i have not been able to obtain thus far in the slowly dwindling group of local techs, i have spoken with. and is apparently secured information only known by MRA, this being the case then the scanner i just purchased is merely an expensive paper weight although i can still use it for all the military's activity in my area, this has been the first scanner i purchased in over thirty years, a lot has changed how these scanner are programmed and function, and i believe with a little more time and patients ill have learned its ins and outs.. i guess i was being lazy and hoping someone would had come along and said "ok you do this this and that.." well guess I'm just getting old and grumpy
It's difficult to tell whether they will encrypt talkgroups until the system is built out and on the air unless anyone has any insider info they could share in this thread. The MRA system is scannable as it is mostly business users with some private ambulance companies in the LA area. Thus far I don't know of any encrypted talkgroups on the system. However the option to encrypt NEXEDGE 4800 talkgroups does exist and so that could change depending on what they negotiate with Inyo and Mono counties. The MRA system also isn't currently displayed in the RR database because of this letter, but you can find information on it on other websites in this thread or through a google search.
 

Tower5153

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@Tower5153 -

OC Access and FireOC are not the same. They're different frequencies with different purposes, and authorizations for use.

OCFA and OCSD do not share dispatch centers. The Fire Authority dispatches from their headquarters facility, and the Sheriff from Loma Ridge.
I knew they were. The OC Access frequency disappeared several years ago and was replaced with Fire OC

Is the IFOG incorrect then? If it is, it definitely needs to be corrected.
 
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