rcid1971

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Probably not. Authentication is mandatory for MARCS, no matter what the "home" system is for a radio. If you expect to operate on MARCS for interoperability, better get the Authentication upgrades before the deadline.
As long as a patch agreement is in place, and both systems are receiving their user fees, I don't think you'll have any problems between the two. Especially since the political powers that be now can now dangle the carrot to each opposing system that we'll drop you.
 

N8WCP

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My understanding is full time patches are prohibited on MARCS. This might end soon.
 

wa8pyr

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My understanding is full time patches are prohibited on MARCS. This might end soon.
Yes, full-time patches are prohibited. I haven't heard anything about changes to this policy in the SIEC meetings.
 

tweiss3

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My understanding is full time patches are prohibited on MARCS. This might end soon.
Yes, full-time patches are prohibited. I haven't heard anything about changes to this policy in the SIEC meetings.
This may really stir the pot in Medina County. MARCS coverage is not great in MC, and I'm not sure L3 will want to give up their subscriber agreement for the FD.
 

N8WCP

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Yes, full-time patches are prohibited. I haven't heard anything about changes to this policy in the SIEC meetings.
I haven't heard of any changes either. My statement "this might end soon" refers to the full time patch, not a change to the policy. I hear there is an effort afoot to harness the political power of the L3 users to "entice" MARCS to install in ISSI for the L3 system.
 

rcid1971

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Yes, full-time patches are prohibited. I haven't heard anything about changes to this policy in the SIEC meetings.
Gateway Patches are allowed with express written permission (when I read written I think Sunshine Law).
DAS has a fear that radios from the neighboring systems will overwhelm theirs, but this appears to be a single RID accessing the system, and not a sudden onslaught of affiliations.

If they've worked it out, and they play nice, I don't see this being a problem in the name of interoperability.
 

N8WCP

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Gateway Patches are allowed with express written permission (when I read written I think Sunshine Law).
DAS has a fear that radios from the neighboring systems will overwhelm theirs, but this appears to be a single RID accessing the system, and not a sudden onslaught of affiliations.

If they've worked it out, and they play nice, I don't see this being a problem in the name of interoperability.
I agree it won't cause a system issue but when you have a policy in place to address full time patches you have to treat each user equally or change your policy. However, if you allow full time patches, what's the incentive to join MARCS?
 

wa8pyr

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Gateway Patches are allowed with express written permission (when I read written I think Sunshine Law).
And even then they cannot be online full-time if they're from outside systems.

DAS has a fear that radios from the neighboring systems will overwhelm theirs, but this appears to be a single RID accessing the system, and not a sudden onslaught of affiliations.
It's not just that.

For starters, a patch of a very active "foreign" channel that's constantly active can effectively bypass the talkgroup priority settings, thus leading to more busy signals for critical users.

In addition, there are a variety of issues with patches of any sort; for example, a user on the patched system could be suffering a stuck mike (or a stolen radio, or junior playing with daddy's radio, etc). Also, improperly set up patches can hinder interoperability rather than help it, as the cruddy audio or ping-pong effect can really screw things up.

In any case, patches have the potential to cause MARCS to lose control over interference; the offending radio on the patched system cannot be disabled by MARCS, only the radio making the patch on the MARCS side can be disabled. If they have to go that route, the patch is no longer of any use unless the patch radio is reactivated.

One should never rely on a patch for coverage enhancement or day-to-day operations; a patch should only be used only when absolutely necessary, and then for only as long as necessary.
 

tweiss3

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And even then they cannot be online full-time if they're from outside systems.



It's not just that.

For starters, a patch of a very active "foreign" channel that's constantly active can effectively bypass the talkgroup priority settings, thus leading to more busy signals for critical users.

In addition, there are a variety of issues with patches of any sort; for example, a user on the patched system could be suffering a stuck mike (or a stolen radio, or junior playing with daddy's radio, etc). Also, improperly set up patches can hinder interoperability rather than help it, as the cruddy audio or ping-pong effect can really screw things up.

In any case, patches have the potential to cause MARCS to lose control over interference; the offending radio on the patched system cannot be disabled by MARCS, only the radio making the patch on the MARCS side can be disabled. If they have to go that route, the patch is no longer of any use unless the patch radio is reactivated.

One should never rely on a patch for coverage enhancement or day-to-day operations; a patch should only be used only when absolutely necessary, and then for only as long as necessary.
I did some more digging. If I understand the article about HB801 (I forgot about this article), Bill would mandate use of MARCS radios in Medina County, all the fire departments in MC are on MARCS. This appears to be confirmed by only seeing 3 UIDs on L3, but many UIDs on MARCS. So perhaps its is just a simulcast transmission for the benefit of the City of Medina and PD monitoring. I still find it hard to believe FD went to MARCS with the minimal coverage/sites of Medina County, but now that I am paying attention, I do hear bad transmissions from units where dispatch has to request a repeat of transmission.
 

N8WCP

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I still find it hard to believe FD went to MARCS with the minimal coverage/sites of Medina County.
Sites in adjacent counties help fill the gaps. Summit simulcast site was hit with 40+ hours of traffic from Medina TG's last month.
 

tweiss3

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Sites in adjacent counties help fill the gaps. Summit simulcast site was hit with 40+ hours of traffic from Medina TG's last month.
Yes, roaming is an issue. I have found MARCs coverage on the west side of Wadsworth is non-existent, and have noticed a number of other spots in my traveling where coverage is gone. While adjacent counties help, its still not covered like Stark/Summit/Cuyahoga. On the other side, the L3 simulcast doesn't seem to have any glairing holes in coverage, though the amount of traffic is extremely minimal compared to MARCS, so it is difficult to notice while driving around.
 

rcid1971

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Sites in adjacent counties help fill the gaps. Summit simulcast site was hit with 40+ hours of traffic from Medina TG's last month.
And there’s a lot of gaps! Effectively two towers are designed to serve Medina County on MARCS and there are six towers serving Medina County on the L3/Harris system.
 

tweiss3

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And there’s a lot of gaps! Effectively two towers are designed to serve Medina County on MARCS and there are six towers serving Medina County on the L3/Harris system.
Two? Seville and which other one? Grafton, Marshallville and Summit Co. only provide some "coverage"
 

wa8pyr

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As long as a patch agreement is in place, and both systems are receiving their user fees, I don't think you'll have any problems between the two. Especially since the political powers that be now can now dangle the carrot to each opposing system that we'll drop you.
Authentication is still mandatory on MARCS as of 2025, so if a "foreign" radio won't do authentication by then, it won't matter what agreements are in place.

Two? Seville and which other one? Grafton, Marshallville and Summit Co. only provide some "coverage"
Keep in mind that MARCS was only designed for mobile coverage in most of the state; anything better than that is a bonus, but the system was only designed for that. It just happens to do reasonably well with in-street portable coverage, but that's part of the bonus.
 

rcid1971

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Authentication is still mandatory on MARCS as of 2025, so if a "foreign" radio won't do authentication by then, it won't matter what agreements are in place.



Keep in mind that MARCS was only designed for mobile coverage in most of the state; anything better than that is a bonus, but the system was only designed for that. It just happens to do reasonably well with in-street portable coverage, but that's part of the bonus.
On other systems, once an agreement is in place, those radios are authorized, that’s why there’s an agreement.

I understand the original design for only mobile, but we find over and over that users demand and have a legitimate expectation of portable coverage, MARCS may just be too big to succeed at that goal.
 

wa8pyr

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On other systems, once an agreement is in place, those radios are authorized, that’s why there’s an agreement.
Authentication is a firmware upgrade to a radio (and an authentication key placed in the radio), not just someone saying the radio is authenticated in an agreement.

And it doesn't matter if an agreement is in place. Every agreement like that from the State that I've ever dealt with includes various clauses indicating the rights and responsibilities of both parties; one of those clauses is that each party to the agreement has the right to make changes to their system, and that radios of both parties must meet the standards of the other system in order to operate on that system. The authentication mandate is just such a change.

Another standard clause in the contracts is that either party may cancel the agreement with a specified number of days notice to the other party, so if Party X refuses to upgrade their radios for authentication, not only will their radios not get on MARCS, but MARCS could reluctantly cancel the agreement as well. Just because Party X is too cheap to spend a couple hundred bucks to upgrade their patch radio doesn't mean that MARCS won't implement authentication and compromise the rest of the users on the system.

I understand the original design for only mobile, but we find over and over that users demand and have a legitimate expectation of portable coverage, MARCS may just be too big to succeed at that goal.
Then the unhappy users are welcome to work in partnership with MARCS to add sites for improved coverage in their area, as has been done in several other areas of the state. Presumably, they knew what they were getting into when they signed on the dotted line; if they didn't do their due diligence, shame on them.
 
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