National Interops

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FireRescueMedic11

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Im not sure about this, but i think it's required by APCO that they have them, like ITAC and UTAC and VTAC, but im not totally sure about that, i would imagine they would have to for Defense purposes and Emergency use, if you check the RR database were you live, they might have them listed,
 

SAR923

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There is no federal requirement I know of that requires any agency to have any set of frequencies in their radios other than what the FCC has licensed them on. There are recommendations but there's no enforcement. It obviously makes sense to have these frequencies but what makes sense is rarely how things work in the real world. For example, the next county over from us is on EDACS Provoice. They do have the 800 MHz interop channels in their radios. All the surrouding counties are on VHF. There are Alabama common channels most agencies have in their radios but most don't have the VHF national channels. The county on 800 have no VHF radios in their cars. The counties surrounding them have no 800 radios in their cars. At this point, what good are interop channels anyway? No one can talk to each other except the counties on VHF. We have to wait for the magic van to show up and do radio patches or hope that cell phones and SouthenLinc continue to work. Until we develop radios that can transmit on any frequency on any band that don't cost $15,000, there's never going to be radio interoperability.
 

b7spectra

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Most every agency in the Metro Atlanta area that is on 800 TRS have ITAC in their radios. Cobb County Fire uses ITAC as a backup Fireground channel - in case the TRS doesn't work!
 

zz0468

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General Docket No. 87-112 created the NPSPAC channels and mandated the Regional plans. The regional plans require that 800 MHz NPSPAC licensees have access to the ITAC channels, so, in a manner of speaking, there IS a requirement. The ITAC licenses are issued at the state level, so a city or county would have to apply for a state ITAC license to be issued.
 

SAR923

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General Docket No. 87-112 created the NPSPAC channels and mandated the Regional plans. The regional plans require that 800 MHz NPSPAC licensees have access to the ITAC channels, so, in a manner of speaking, there IS a requirement. The ITAC licenses are issued at the state level, so a city or county would have to apply for a state ITAC license to be issued.
Correct, but it only requires the state to have a license for the ITAC channels. I can find no evidence that this plan requires every agency that also uses 800 MHZ channels also are required to have these frequencies in their radios. They may, and certainly should, apply to the state to have these channels in their radio load but compliance is strictly voluntary. There are absolutely no requirements I'm aware of that require anyone to have VHF or low band interoperability channels.
 

ecps92

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Here is a Very Good reference document.

http://npstc.org/documents/NIFOG v1.2 4-14-2008.pdf

With Rebanding and standard changes, this is probably the best resource.


General Docket No. 87-112 created the NPSPAC channels and mandated the Regional plans. The regional plans require that 800 MHz NPSPAC licensees have access to the ITAC channels, so, in a manner of speaking, there IS a requirement. The ITAC licenses are issued at the state level, so a city or county would have to apply for a state ITAC license to be issued.
 

zz0468

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Correct, but it only requires the state to have a license for the ITAC channels. I can find no evidence that this plan requires every agency that also uses 800 MHZ channels also are required to have these frequencies in their radios. They may, and certainly should, apply to the state to have these channels in their radio load but compliance is strictly voluntary. There are absolutely no requirements I'm aware of that require anyone to have VHF or low band interoperability channels.
Since we we discussing 800 MHz national interoperability channels, VHF and low band were not part of my comments. Also, the regional plans pertain only to NPSPAC frequencies, nothing else. So, there is no real or implied requirement for public safety agencies in general to have any sort of interoperability capability. That's contained in the regional plans, and applies only to NPSPAC licensees.
 

JASII

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Interops

Some nice posts there. I recall not so long ago just a few mutual aid frequencies, now there are more than you can shake a stick at.
 

Grog

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Some nice posts there. I recall not so long ago just a few mutual aid frequencies, now there are more than you can shake a stick at.


I think it's a ploy by the radio companies.


Motorola knows you can't put all the VHF interop AND your regular working channels into a HT1000. Sooooooo, here's this handy, dandy 850 channel XTS5000 that you can have for the low price of "holy crap" :lol:
 

ki4rvh

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For example, the next county over from us is on EDACS Provoice. They do have the 800 MHz interop channels in their radios. All the surrouding counties are on VHF. There are Alabama common channels most agencies have in their radios but most don't have the VHF national channels. The county on 800 have no VHF radios in their cars. The counties surrounding them have no 800 radios in their cars. At this point, what good are interop channels anyway? No one can talk to each other except the counties on VHF. We have to wait for the magic van to show up and do radio patches or hope that cell phones and SouthenLinc continue to work. Until we develop radios that can transmit on any frequency on any band that don't cost $15,000, there's never going to be radio interoperability.
Where I lived back in the 80's they didn't have mutual aid frequencies. The SD was on VHF Hi. The HP was on VHF lo. The HP had scanners in their cars and the SD had scanners in their cars. In fact the SD used radio shack patrolmen crystal controlled scanners. They would call the other agency on their own frequency and listen for a response on the scanner. It worked pretty good and was cheap. The county fire dispatch would also talk to the next county the same way even though they were both on VHF. They had a radio check everyday at noon across both county fire frequencies. I wonder if something like this would work for interoperability today from 800 to VHF? It'd be a lot cheaper than $15,000 for a radio.

73

Chris

EDIT: I think I just answered my question. Won't work in that situation. Looks like you can't pick up EDACS Provoice on a scanner. Oh well!
 
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SAR923

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Correct, Chris, and that is the big problem. We used to crosstalk through scanners all the time, long before the concept of interop channels even existed. Now, with things like Open Sky and ProVoice plus all the agencies that are going encrypted, this simple method is becoming less and less viable. Even a digital scanner is a major investment at $500 or so a crack. But at least encryption can be turned off if need be. ProVoice, Open Sky, and God forbid, TETRA, and you you're just SOL unless everyone has the right radios with the right interop channels.
 

af5rn

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I think these days that most agencies overcome the systemic incompatibilities through cross-system patches. Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is on ProVoice, and they simply cross-patch to communicate with the surrounding agencies, all but one of which are on Motorola Type II.

EDIT: I don't recall ever once hearing any traffic on the NSPAC interop channels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, yet I continue to scan them regularly. There is a repeater on one of them that CWIDs hourly, but never heard traffic on it. I'd actually be surprised if there are ten officers in the entire area that know what they are or how to use them. Why should they when they can just get the dispatcher to patch them? Most officers have a lot more to worry about than the obscure intricacies of their comm system.
 
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Raccon

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ProVoice, Open Sky, and God forbid, TETRA, and you you're just SOL unless everyone has the right radios with the right interop channels.
You are aware that you can link two systems not just by radios but also between the systems themselves (e.g. switch to switch), thereby allowing interop even the coms on one side are encrypted?
It obviously defeats somewhat the purpose to do so since then the encryption is rendered useless but it is technically possible.

Oh, and in TETRA an authorized dispatcher can just combine different groups, so there is no need to have one (or more) interop group(s) in the radio. But in case if that is not good enough the dispatcher can create a new "interop" group and download it to all the units that require it. Such a group can be manually deleted (say, when the incident is over), or it's possible to set a timer that it will "self-destruct" later. This is really simple and quick to do via the GUI of the dispatch application.
 
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SAR923

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You are aware that you can link two systems not just by radios but also between the systems themselves (e.g. switch to switch), thereby allowing interop even the coms on one side are encrypted?
It obviously defeats somewhat the purpose to do so since then the encryption is rendered useless but it is technically possible.

Oh, and in TETRA an authorized dispatcher can just combine different groups, so there is no need to have one (or more) interop group(s) in the radio. But in case if that is not good enough the dispatcher can create a new "interop" group and download it to all the units that require it. Such a group can be manually deleted (say, when the incident is over), or it's possible to set a timer that it will "self-destruct" later. This is really simple and quick to do via the GUI of the dispatch application.
You can do this with two systems from different agencies using two different kinds of radio systems on different bands? From what switch to what switch? How many agencies are actually equipped to do this right from the dispatch console? I've never seen one in my career. Crosspatching usually gets done when the magic comm van from the state shows up three or four hours into the incident.

You can do all kind of neat things with TETRA but it only works with other users on the TETRA system. If every agency standardized on one type of radio system in one radio band like 800, interoperability would be a lot easier. That chances of that happening are less than zero.
 
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