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Ohio MARCS - current status / other questions

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mtindor

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Obviously there is a wealth of information on here about the MARCS system. Some of the questions I am about to ask may have been asked/answered elsewhere. But I'll give it a shot anyway. To those who "know", I'd appreciate if you could give a response.

1. Is the MARCS system officially 'complete' at this time?

That is to say, are supposedly all of the tower sites built at this juncture? Have all phases been completed?

2. How does MARCS justify the absence (at least absence based upon lack of info on RR) of MARCS sites in Hillsboro (Highland Co) and Washington CH (Fayette Co) ?

If I look closely, after documenting all of the current tower sites and their locations and mapping that out for any easy 'look' at the spread, Washington CH doesn't have a MARCS tower within 10 miles of it from either side - and a lot of roads cross in Washington CH. Is it just a matter of somebody not 'discovering' a new MARCS site but one coudl exist there?

The same applies for Hillsboro.

I have been to neither of these places - Is it simply that the terrain is so flat that communications are possible without having sites in those actual counties or areas? Or does one think there is/will be planned additional site coverage for those areas?

Just curious. I've mapped out all of the MARCS sites on Google Maps to easily view them all (turning on/off any of the zones to see just particular zones), and i can easily see some areas with apparent lack of coverage (based upon distances between sites).

Anyone want to bite on this?

Mike
 

hoser147

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Mike right now they have been aggressively working on a 6 county system in the West Central part of the state, Putnam, Paulding, Van Wert, Allen, Mercer, Shelby and Auglaize on the MARCS system. Cant help ya on the Washington CH. or Hillsboro, although Hillsboro is pretty hilly terrain kinda goes from flat to hilly between the 2 towns.Check out the MARCs newsletters that are here in the forum............Hoser
 

mtindor

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hoser147 said:
Mike right now they have been aggressively working on a 6 county system in the West Central part of the state, Putnam, Paulding, Van Wert, Allen, Mercer, Shelby and Auglaize on the MARCS system. Cant help ya on the Washington CH. or Hillsboro, although Hillsboro is pretty hilly terrain kinda goes from flat to hilly between the 2 towns.Check out the MARCs newsletters that are here in the forum............Hoser
Thanks Hoser. I read those newsletters, but at tihe time I had no interest in counties that I couldn't listen to. But in my free time I've been checking what data I could that's in the RR DB for accuracy. I am in the process of reading through those newsletters again to keep on the lookout for new sites.

Mike
 

mtindor

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MARCS Newsletter Jan 2008 mentions that the Richwood site is online

FCC records seem to confirm recent updates in frequencies and FCC activity.

WQIH535 - RICHWOOD (UNION COUNTY)
Site ID: unknown (probably 1xx)
- license lists "behind fire station, 602 North Franklin St"

- http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/license.jsp?licKey=2985112
- recent FCC changes in STA status with updated freqs in Jan 2008
-- http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/ApplicationSearch/applMain.jsp?applID=4307722

Freqs:
866.2750
866.6000
867.1125
867.9625

This isn't listed in the RRDB right now. I submitted it, but it might not make it in depending on how valid this data is thought to be. Unknown which freqs would be CCs. But if it is supposedly online right now according to MARCS newsletter, somebody near Richwood might want to plug those four freqs in and see if they get a control channel on one - If they do, program in the site and see if you get any activity or at least a site ID. Submit any info to RRDB :)

Mike
 

wa8pyr

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mtindor said:
Obviously there is a wealth of information on here about the MARCS system. Some of the questions I am about to ask may have been asked/answered elsewhere. But I'll give it a shot anyway. To those who "know", I'd appreciate if you could give a response.

1. Is the MARCS system officially 'complete' at this time? That is to say, are supposedly all of the tower sites built at this juncture? Have all phases been completed?
Yes. All initially planned sites are on line. Those now being built are additions to improve coverage in areas where it is deemed necessary.

2. How does MARCS justify the absence (at least absence based upon lack of info on RR) of MARCS sites in Hillsboro (Highland Co) and Washington CH (Fayette Co) ?
There are no sites there as coverage is good enough that they are not needed. If a need were found in those places for better portable radio coverage, sites would be added, depending on availability of funding.

Just curious. I've mapped out all of the MARCS sites on Google Maps to easily view them all (turning on/off any of the zones to see just particular zones), and i can easily see some areas with apparent lack of coverage (based upon distances between sites).
Distance between sites is not the only determining factor in site coverage. Antenna gain, placement and downtilt, transmitter power, receive sensitivity, tower height and type, terrain and other factors all play a role in determining site coverage.

The original statewide coverage testing results are posted on my web page at http://www.wa8pyr.net under Ohio MARCS in the scanning section.

According to those figures, Fayette County has 99.34% voice coverage and Highland County has 98.67% voice coverage. These figures exceed the contracted-for specifications for mobile coverage and in fact are pretty good. When I travel through either place my scanner never loses contact with at least one control channel.
 

mtindor

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I've been plugging in all the MARCS site coordinates into Google Maps, based upon the existing zones. Check it out.

MARCS 1xx Sites
MARCS 2xx Sites
MARCS 3xx Sites
MARCS 4xx Sites

This is a work in progress. Much information can be wrong - It would pulled from a variety of sources, including RR DB. However, I'm doing some more thorough research to eventually provide more detailed information when you click on each tower site (for instance, look at some of the 450-461 sites when you click on them).

NOTE: The sites listed as Hillsboro and Washington Courthouse are NOT trunked sites - they are datanet sites. But except for those two, the rest are trunked sites.

My info may vary a little to a great deal from RRDB while I'm doing my research. I'm doing it for me - when I'm bored. So don't give me crap just because you think information on it might be wrong. Of course, constructive criticism and input works for me.

Also - i didn't knwo what to do with the site IDs of the simulcast portion n Columbus - they are all labeled '101' but are differentiated.

For me, i can see all four of those zones in my maps and turn them on and off selectively. I don't know how to give that information to you so that you an do the same - so all you get is the single zones.

Mike
 

mtindor

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Dubbin said:
Thanks Mike, I have been waiting for someone to make these maps.
You're welcome. If anything erroneous stares you in the face, please feel free to PM me and tell me about it so I cacn change it. Obviously, to do what i did with some of the 450-460 site IDs takes significant time - i started out in my 'home' area. but after I get all that information in across the board it'll be pretty handy.

Like I said, I'll admit right now that most fo the original data I used to make those was gained from information I could get from clicking on the sites in RR. However, just for what I have done I have spent countless hours looking up various FCC sources (license lookup, application lookup, antenna registration records) and info on Antennasearch to cross-reference.

Mike
 

hoser147

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Great Job

Looks real good Mike, great job.:) I ask on Ohio Marcs yahoo group if they had an updated site map havent heard anything back. In the same part of the newsletter about Richwood tower it mentions the Celina tower which they mention they got from a telecom company. Its on 703 at Dibble RD, right between SR 703 and SR 29. Currently there is also a Data tower in Wapakoneta Oh. and The Auglaize co Sheriffs tower is also supposed to go to MARCs as they do this fall. It is N of US 33 between CR 25 and CR 33. You can also check out the map on Yahoo Group MARCs, its a few years old now but has alot of the sites. Thanks Randy
 

mtindor

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I was checking out the MARCS Sites Status Map on the MARCS Yahoo Group and just looking at it real quick, down in the Washington County / Athens County area the sites aren't mapped anything like I have them mapped in Google.

But in mosts instances, what i did was search for an actual registered MARCS tower in the vicinity of the places that were registered - and if that tower said it was constructed, I typically "moved" the site from where it was listed originally in FCC records to wherever the tower registration listed the site as. I'm figuring (possibly erroneously) that for every tower that MARCS actually built out, they moved their equipment there.

It seems to me that frequencies were submitted before towers were built and coordinates for existing towers were used when those site frequencies were issued for FCC approval. Then, the tower sites wre actually built - at which time the actual location changed a bit a lot of the time but the original locations under that callsign still show the original location. I wish somebody could confirm this for me. I'd find it hard to believe that MARCS would build out towers of their own and then never put anything on them.

Also, in many many cases, the lat/long listed in the location record for various sites under a callsign pointed to nothing - middle of nowhere... and then when I searched for an actual MARCS tower constructed in that near vicinity, 9 times (or more) out of 10 one existed and the coordinates for it were spot on when I put them in Google. So this kind of confirms what I"m thinking.

And if what I'm saying is true (at least for most cases), then my mapping in Google _would_ look different than what originally was listed on those maps.

Also, on my map, I changed certain sites to more closely reflect their lcoation - for instance, 'BEEBE' down in washington county. Yeah, its alias is BEEBE, and it's on or near Beebe road, but its actually in Beverly, OH and so the site is called Beverly (Morgan Co) in my map instead of Beebe (Washington Co) since the coordinates I got do indeed point to a Beebe Rd that is in Beverly and Beverly is in Morgan Co.

So there are going to be things that look different. I'm on the outside looking in :)

And, anywhere (so far only in the 4xx sites), that you see MARCS DATANET - I just went by the asusmption that all of the 800 mhz conventional frequencies listed were MARCS DATANET freqs. Taht may not be the case. but they aren't trunked freqs so they weren't designated as trunked freqs.

And I found more information (probably the wrong location in the end) for Washington Courthouse (Fayette) and Hillsboro (Higland). So I did keep them in there as sites 398/399. Since they are not on MARCS towers (at least the locations in the license info doesn't show them on MARCS towers), I'm going to guess that they may be changed down there road and that the original coordinates submitted were for existing sites in similar locations.

But I do have a firm belief that all over the place in various FCC records the locations don't jive. So one can't always go by what RR lists as hte location or what a particular FCC record lists for a location. One can really only go by the tower location listed in FCC records - and then that information won't be correct for a site if the site is not actually using the MARCS tower that was built out in that area.

Mike
 

16b

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The Richwood site has been online for a little while now, I want to say the control channel is 867.1125.

I figured that those "in the know" would have had this in the database before it was on the air, but I don't see it.
 

mtindor

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16b said:
The Richwood site has been online for a little while now, I want to say the control channel is 867.1125.

I figured that those "in the know" would have had this in the database before it was on the air, but I don't see it.
It's in there now. IT was added today I think.

It's site 161 - it looks like somebody else was alreading monitoring it because there is a frequency marked in red indicating a CC.

If you know of a site online and nobody has entered it in the RRDB, that's when you are supposed to submit it :)

mike
 
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radioscan

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I just came down I-71 yesterday and can confirm the databse is correct.
The CC is 867.9625 and it is Site 161. Heard easily while mobiling down I-71.
 

W8RW

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mtindor said:
MARCS Newsletter Jan 2008 mentions that the Richwood site is online
This site went online in December...it was needed to improve portable coverage in northern Union county for law enforcement and fire, since Union county uses MARCS

even though the system is "complete" more sites like this may have to be added if local governments like Union county start to use the system
 

mtindor

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mmartinfan said:
Geez And I have trouble finding time to scratch my butt.
I manage to find time to work 70 hours a week and be on call 24/7 as an IT guy as well. It's called no sleep - and it's made a 70 year old out of a 40 year old man. In fact, that's probably a conservative figure.

Mike
 
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