New radio system for Franklin County?

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jshg46

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Very Interesting read Looks like they want to upgrade for all the fire departments.
 

Avery93

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Update

Looks like Franklin County is getting ready to start testing new formats! They sent in an application to add several new emissions to their existing license, KNAR440.

Here is what they've added:
4K00F1E, 4K00F1D: NXDN/IDAS voice and data
8K10F1E: P25 Phase 1 voice
11K0F3E: Narrow FM

The FCC hasn't approved the changes yet but I'll be keeping a close eye on the system.
 
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Avery93

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Unfortunately, they appear to be going with NXDN; which is not monitorable by current scanners:
Grant to aid county communications | The Franklin County Times

It also looks like NXDN's unmonitorability was a selling point for this system. The good news is they bought a lot of pagers and added Narrow FM to their license, so it looks like pages will still be analog.

As soon as the FCC grants the changes to their license (which should be any day now), they will buy the radios and distribute them to the fire departments.
 

Baylink

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Has anyone yet attempted a suit in a case like this?

If it's being paid for by taxpayers, we should be able to listen to it, unless a *clear, compelling* case can be made why not (narc, swat, etc)
 

Avery93

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Has anyone yet attempted a suit in a case like this?

If it's being paid for by taxpayers, we should be able to listen to it, unless a *clear, compelling* case can be made why not (narc, swat, etc)
I doubt it, I don't think we have any legal right to monitor public safety transmissions.

Note however that NXDN isn't unmonitorable per se, just current scanners aren't capable of demodulating it.
 

Baylink

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I doubt it, I don't think we have any legal right to monitor public safety transmissions.

Note however that NXDN isn't unmonitorable per se, just current scanners aren't capable of demodulating it.
I was not clear in my phrasing. My apologies.

I did not mean "I don't believe the laws say that we do not have the right to monitor Public Safety comms".

I meant "I don't believe the laws *SHOULD* say that we do not have the right to monitor public safety comms". :)
 

pony

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I wonder if Russellville city fire with make the switch also? Or is this just for county fire depts?
 

Avery93

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I wonder if Russellville city fire with make the switch also? Or is this just for county fire depts?
It's hard to tell at this point, but all indications point to Russellville fire not going NXDN. They currently have a narrowband repeater that seems to give them pretty good coverage, and they just installed a new backup repeater a couple of weeks ago. The newspaper also only mentioned the county departments.

Does anyone know how long it usually takes the FCC to grant changes to a license like this? Its been over a month and still no approval.
 

Avery93

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Update

The FCC just authorized the modifications on the 3rd, so we should start seeing some changes pretty soon.
 

Avery93

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Well, it looks like Russellville fire is also going digital: ULS Application - Public Safety Pool, Conventional - 0004519652 - City of Russellville Alabama

There has been some changes to the county system, but they haven't gone digital yet. They replaced the west repeater with one of the new ones a couple of weeks ago (in analog mode), but it doesn't seem to be working very well. It almost sounds like the repeater is in narrowband mode, trying to pass wideband audio; but as far as I can tell it is in wideband mode.
 

Avery93

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Thought I would post a long overdue update.

Franklin County is not switching to NXDN, they have been slowly switching to a Midland P25 system. They had all of the county fire repeaters and most of the mobile and portable radios replaced before April 27th, but since then I haven't noticed many changes. They are still operating in analog mode and I have heard very few P25 transmissions.

They are having a lot of trouble with the new system, most of it seems to be programming related. The three new repeaters (all on the same freq) have a 5 second hangtime with no PL tone transmitted during the hangtime, so the users can't immediately tell when the repeater unkeys without looking at the display. This is a problem because there seems to be no standardization on what department uses which repeater, so often a department is trying to talk to 911 on one repeater while 911 is on another leading both repeaters to cover each other. Some of the radios also had to be shipped back to Birmingham because the channel names were wrong (eg. "WEST RPTR" was actually the east repeater).

The new repeaters are also narrowband, and were installed before most departments got the new radios. So for a while many departments had to use their older wideband radios and were virtually unreadable on the new system.

I got a chance to play with one of the new Midland Syntech portables, and although it felt kinda cheap (it seemed like half the weight of my Icom F3161), it was still pretty cool and had a lot of features.

On a related note, in mid-April the FCSO replaced their old Motorola securenet capable repeater with a MotoTRBO one operated in analog only except for a few tests. Then sometime after April 27th replaced the TRBO repeater with a P25 repeater, also analog only except for some more extensive testing. Then about mid-May went back to the original Motorola repeater.
 
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