I'm finding out through unofficial sources that the system was in fact down for 20 minutes.
Fire dispatch had to place phone calls to stations for calls, and were not able to communicate with them once they left the station.
Police dispatch initiated a procedure for when the system is down, which involves placing phone calls to individual units, and possibly involves some sort of staging. I'm getting conflicting answers on that part. Some units still have VHF mobile radios, and I heard at least one unit tell dispatch that he happened to have his VHF hand-held radio, and that he would "stay out".
My first question is, "Why didn't anyone think to tell units to switch to NPSPAC channels. If they did think of that, was that system down as well, or was that suggestion discarded for some other reason?"
My next question is, "Were there any delays in dispatching calls?" and "Were there any calls that were delayed until the system came back up?"
And of course, "What was the cause?" and "What's being done to prevent this in the future?"
Oh yes, can you think of any questions that you would like an answer to? I can't think of all the questions, folks ;-)
Don't trunked radio systems typically have some type of "fall back" mode where, for instance, in the event of a trunking glitch, every radio reverts to a pre-assigned "home" repeater and you wind up with a very servicable conventional system until trunking can be reestablished?
Not exactly. There are redundancies built-in, which do kick in automatically, but if the system goes down completely, as in this case, individual users would have to switch to teh NPSPAC channels to communicate through a repeater.
Some do have a "Fall back" as woody stated. Generally, it has to be programmed in all the radios in the beginning - they will revert to "conventional" repeaters (same freqs as the TRS though, usually). Moto calls it "Failsoft" - I think it's the same in EDACS land.
Good catch Dave! I wasn't around to see that happen. :-(
From what I know about this system, I would venture to guess that one of the "single failure points" is suspect. Either the site with the voting equipment and/or the site with the audio switch are prime areas to look at for power failures or software glitches. Everything else on the system that could cause this has physical redundancy - controllers and microwave paths.
I think it's inevitable that any system is going to go down at some point. All of them that I know of have at some point. I'm sure they'll quickly determine the cause and take whatever steps are needed to try to prevent it. It was likely a valuable learning experience for all of those involved.
The state TRS has gone down several times that I am aware of, although I don't recall one in quite some time now.
I haven't really paid attention to it, but I bet they had some real problems in St. Louis with their recent severe storms and all the damage there.