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Need some opinions

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PembrokeFire

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Kankakee, IL
Our current county dispatching system uses trunked 800 Mhz. Problem is we sit on the border of Illinois and Indiana and on the border of Kankakee and Iroquois County. Their departments are still using high and low band. We can have a brush fire with 25 departments responding and the Chief can have 4 or 5 different radios (supplied by different departments) he has to carry just to communicate with the brush trucks. It is a command nightmare! I have done some research on multi-band project 25 radios i.e. Harris and Motorola, but I can not find any pricing or reviews. We are considering several of these radio in our next AFG grant period, which is approaching soon. Please I need some opinions. Has anyone used one of these radios?
 

12dbsinad

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Mar 15, 2010
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I have "heard", and i stress that word, about performance issues with multi band radios. which from what i hear is the ability to cover all those bands on a single rubber ducky antenna. I have heard they work, but not as good as a single band radio due to the antenna. Like i said before this is hear say for me but i guess it does make some sense if you think about it and i would def do some testing before sinking in the big dollars for those radios. Its pretty impossible to cover low band through 800 and have a well radiating antenna is what i hear. Hope this helps!
 

bc780l

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Feb 15, 2005
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Ever use an ACU-1000 or TRP-1000 to cross-patch? Use in comm center, mobile trailer, or squad? Handy device to tie up to 12 or 24 systems together using COR (preferred) or VOX activation. Just a thought.

See: Raytheon Company: ACU-1000
 

code3cowboy

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Aug 22, 2006
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636
Location
CA
But 800mhz and p25 and trunking are supposed to solve this issue because they are interoperable!

Your best bet is to make everyone use the same frequencies in the same band. Think NIFC. Short of that, you can build a patch in each battalion chief vehicle, or a standalone patch either with an off the shelf expensive interoperability gateway, or a home brew patch. Either would work well.

A multi band radio would not help as it is only on one frequency at a time. He would not be able to hear the low band emergency call when he was on the 800mhz frequency.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
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Location
NH
I'd ask the multi-band radios vendors for a demo radio to try and see how they work for you.

I've got a similar problem in my region and we use both the Raytheon 'patch' solution as well as a BAE solution that is the same as Ratheon but is software based. Nether are well accepted primarily based upon lack of training.

Generally we just unify command with one person to one radio for each bandplan and have a common tactical channel for each bandplan. Not perfect and it's a lot of resources in the command space but the IC can hand off tasks to the sub-commanders such as Accountability. Clearly it depends on the size/scope of your incidents and what fits into your command structure and division/branch segmenting.

The multi-band radios are supposed to provide a solution to these issues but I suspect they haven't solved everything. Additionally, you are still stuck with X number of channels to monitor. What happens if the IC is talking on "Channel 1" and someone needs help on "Channel 5".

Does your state/county/region have a communications group that could coordinate a comms van or a trailer full of radios to hand out at incidents like this? Smells like a grant could help. Money is somewhat simple to attain for "interoperability", it's the training and the comfort of use when the incident actually happens that becomes the failure point.

/Jeff
 
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Here's the URL for the BAE product: First Intercomm™ - BAE Systems

The latest release is a single box solution that internally has 2 radios: a radio on your band pre-configured to your fireground/tactical frequency and the other is a simple protected Wi-Fi connection that networks with other BAE boxes. The default appearance is that all BAE boxes connect to a single talk-group. The command and control function allows the IC to divide the boxes into separate talk-groups, for example into divisions or branches.

And to confuse the matter more, Cisco Systems also has a solution called IPICS. Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) - Cisco Systems

I've seen it function but I've never used it in an active incident. It's real value is for agencies that already have a Cisco networking and IP Telephony foundation but it still is suitable for a radio-only deployment.

/Jeff
 
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