Mesa County to go digital sooner than later....it seems.

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DeltaDOCguy

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I heard tonight, from what I consider to be a good source, that Mesa County S.O is actively working on a DTRS system. As many of you on the western slope know, MCSO is still an analog system. I have no idea if GJPD will be following suit. This was interesting news, considering that I have always thought that they would be staying analog for quite some time. I'm already in the market for a digital scanner to follow CSP traffic, so it may come in handy if a digital upgrade shows up in the near future.
 

K7TKR

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Just wondering,

When you said Mesa county is working on the DTRS, do you mean they are actively building infrstructure or working on the funding to get the radios and consoles up on the system. I heard ( and I don't remeber from where) that there was some sort of fund or grant that would match whatever the counties could scrape up in order to get on the system-and that also depended on who all was going to subscribe. This can be a pretty expensive venture.

Personally, I'd love to see this. I'm all for interopperbility between local, state, and fed agencies-kind've hard to do that when one is VHF analog and the other is a 9600 P25 trunked system.
 

rfburns

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K7TKR said:
I'm all for interoperbility between local, state, and fed agencies-kind've hard to do that when one is VHF analog and the other is a 9600 P25 trunked system.
I don't think there are many federal agencies in Mesa County on DTR. Agencies like the Forest Service, NPS and BLM which have initial response responsibilities within the county will always be on VHF. That interoperability is more critical than during a planned event with other federal agencies. Three BLM people have DTR radios and a couple of Recreation people who work the river would like to have them. It will help with state agencies. Is CDOT on VHF or DTR? Is the juvenile center still on VHF? It was such a difficult place to drive in and out of that I always thought it would be great if you could talk with them on DTR rather than have to get out of the vehicle in an unsecure area.
 
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Mesa County: If it ain't broke....

With regard to Mesa County, one key thing to remember is in terms of radio infrastructure there is really no split between the GJPD and the MCSO. The regional dispatch center handles everyone in the county, owns a lot of the transmitters, licenses and connectivity, and is hiring a radio analyst to coordinate the county's eventual transition to the DTRS.

The dispatch center already used that grant process to build 3 DTRS mountaintop sites and associated microwave links. One of those sites is at Mesa Point, which provides DTRS access for DeltaDOCguy and his cohorts.

Still to be considered and planned for are sites in the Grand Valley, to provide for in-building coverage and enough channels to handle the traffic needs of a growing metropolitan area. The mountaintop sites are all 5 channels. I don't think they could handle all of GJ and MCSO without lots of busies, and from what I have heard the courthouse is one big dead spot inside.

As far as interoperability goes, Mesa County seems to have had that for many years on VHF. Many in the county believe that what is in place is not broken, and therefore does not need "fixing". Interoperability was compromised in Mesa County when CSP migrated to the DTRS in November of 2005.

I believe that the county's public safety agencies will eventually be on DTRS, for better or worse. If you read Firehouse and other fire dept sites, there a re a lot of fire depts that want nothing to do with digital, especially on the fireground.

When that happens depends a lot on the planning and construction of the sites necessary to handle the traffic and provide coverage, and the individual agencies' ability to obtain mobiles and portables to talk on it. I'm out in East Orchard Mesa, and the little fire dept here gets maybe 10 calls a year and their trucks belong in a museum. The $$ for one portable would probably amount to most of their annual budget.

I also believe that VHF will continue to play a significant role in public safety operations in Mesa County for many years to come. The airport just switched to VHF last year. If I had my say, the output from the DTRS talkgroups would be simulcast on the "old" VHF channels for as long as possible.
 

K7TKR

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I can understand the fire departments not wanting it-we had the same issues in regard to fireground comms in phoenix with our PRWN network-comms were not getting to the units inside structures. And that is a major concern isn't it. So, while they are simulcasting on the PRWN, they're still thier analog stuff while another-I think 700MHz system-is being discussed.

How much of the cost do you think will be borne by Mesa County should they deceide to migrate?
 

RodStrong

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rfburns said:
I don't think there are many federal agencies in Mesa County on DTR. Agencies like the Forest Service, NPS and BLM which have initial response responsibilities within the county will always be on VHF. Three BLM people have DTR radios and a couple of Recreation people who work the river would like to have them. Is CDOT on VHF or DTR? Is the juvenile center still on VHF?
USFS and BLM (law enforcement) go into service on both Troop 4A and Mesa S/O primary (VHF) generally, and may be dispatched or hailed by either, depending on the situation. I am pretty sure NPS does not have any DTR radios, yet. State Parks is largely still on VHF, although the Colo. River branch plays around a bit on their DTR Ops channel. The valley State Parks (except Highline I think) as well as Vega are Dispatched largely on Mesa S/O Primary. Highline and Vega may go in service on Troop 4A from time to time. DOW is largely on DTR now, although their VHF infrastructure is still in place.

Not 100% sure, but I think CDOT is largely on DTR now, but their VHF stuff (Gr. Mesa, Debeque, Gateway repeaters) is still up and running. I am guessing they use a combination of both. Some of the other guys around this area might be able to answer that better than me. I simply don't monitor CDOT on VHF or DTR, (with the exception of DTR CDOT in Gateway). I do pick up CDOT on the Lee's Point tower occasionally when I am in Gateway. I choose to keep it in my scan list for Gateway since that greatly increases my chances of hearing anything at all on that site. It's actually very rare that I ever hear anything at all on Lee's Point, other than CDOT units.

DYC (Division of Youth Corrections), which I believe is the only juvenile lockup on the western slope, is still on VHF as far as I know.

Mesa County is going DTR, period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This is a result of several years of efforts to get folks to understand the benefits of not only trunking in general, but of 800 (vs. VHF) for its penetration qualities in the metro areas of the county. Fear of the unknown, resistance to change, and simple failure to understand and/or recognize how the rest of the country works have all stunted progress to the point where we are behind everyone else now. Mesa County is one of the last fairly big DTR holdouts in the state, but things are moving forward now, although slowly. We are probably at least a year to two years out before we will see some serious change, but it's coming. Mesa S/O already has approximately 20 DTR radios, and a few are being used on a very limited basis right now.

But there are still many, many unanswered questions, which the DTR Project Coordinator, once he/she is hired, will have to address. The little guys (small PDs & fire depts.) will be largely taken care of as far as radios are concerned. Once the Blackridge site is up and running, that will immensely improve coverage for the city of GJ and Fruita, as well as Glade Park, Mack, and the west end of the county. DTR in Mesa County will immediately increase the safety of all law enforcement in the valley. The rest of the 3,300 square miles of the county and it's diverse geography is going to be a challenge, and I suspect our VHF infrastructure will be up and running for many years to come due to this. Wildland/rural fire type stuff and SAR will probably always remain on VHF.

Hope this helps clear up some of the speculation.
 
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