Oktibbeha County - TRS Upgraded to P25

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Avery93

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Looks like the MSU/Oktibbeha County EDACS system is in the process of, or already has been upgraded to P25.

I had been hearing several unidentified, 800 MHz P25 control channels during band openings for the past month or two. I originally thought they were part of the Alabama First Responder Network, as the System IDs were the same (00A), although the WACN was different (92448). I just now realized that all frequencies I identified were licensed to Mississippi State University under WQTZ369, which is an STA for what appears to be a P25 Phase I TRS. So after a little searching, I found this document where MSU requested permission to enter a contract with Harris to reband the existing TRS and upgrade it to P25. The new system I have been hearing definitely uses Harris infrastructure, so given this and several other similarities, I am fairly sure the CCs I have been hearing are from Oktibbeha County.

Here's the info I have so far, complete with attached Pro96Com logs:

System ID: 00A
WACN: 92448
NAC: 00A
Site 101 PCC: 851.5375
Site 404: 856.0125, Single channel composite


If the system follows the FCC locations, Site 101 should be the tower located on Washington St. Site 404 is a single channel composite site, so it should have replaced one of the old SCAT sites. Given that its CC is 856.0125, I'm going to assume it's the Maben site.

Neither of the sites were showing neighbors when I monitored them, and the control channels did not have the distinctive repeating "chirp" sound present in Harris P25IP systems. Got to wonder if this thing will be integrated with MSWIN at all?

Ignore the system name and tower name in the Pro96Com logs. It got confused due to the System ID being the same as AFRN.
 

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KE5TLF

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Ugh! Had to figure it was going to go down that way. I have little doubt Harrison County, and most all other EDACS systems, will do the same. I'm sure Harris did, and will do, many of the same things it always accuses Motorola of doing to ensure that.


ITS approval (Item no. 6) just shy of 1.5 million

Wonder what it is about Harris P25IP and the site numbers. (101, 202, 303, 404, etc.) That's the same way the sites in Mobile County are numbered too, even though the DB admins have refused to list them that way. The ONLY way I've ever reported them, multiple times. RR is going to have to come up with something to deal with that too it seems.

Does Pro96Com settle in around 68% decode rate on those sites? That's the way it does on the 6 Mobile County (waste of electricity) sites. From what I gather those sites were thrown up primarily just for demonstrating the RoIP thing though. (cell phone apps that "executives" can use to access the actual LMR network)
 
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KE5TLF

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Oh boy! this is from the document you linked, what a total crock!
Contractor Selection Process: Since MSU’s existing equipment and software are
proprietary to Harris Corporation, this vendor is the only one capable of making the
necessary changes to comply with the reconfiguration/upgrade. Further, since Nextel
South Corp. is providing certain equipment and services to Harris for the
reconfiguration/upgrade as well as a cash payment, it is not possible to use a
different vendor for the reconfiguration/upgrade.
 

milf

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Please make a submission of this and we will get the updated info online. And yes, Harris is just as guilty as Motorola in the games being played.. And the kickback parade is in full swing in the OC gov levels.. Want to bet that within an year,... someone from OC gov is going to suddenly be an paid Harris lobbyist? (Either that or go to Parchmann lol...)
 

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KE5TLF

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Ok so the main gist of the controversy is/was over the 3-site roaming thing, and the 3 filler sites, Maben, Sturgis, and Sessums. The location to the southwest of Starkville is Sessums.

Sprint also raised the point that MSU never gave proper buildout notification of the Maben and Sturgis sites..and obviously they are correct about that, as only 2 locations are given on any of the licenses, past or present. (N. Washington and Sessums)

So...do all 3 of these filler sites use a single frequency then?

BUT! then again Location 1, Sessums, does have multiple frequencies licensed, on the old and new licenses.....argh
 
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Avery93

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Wonder what it is about Harris P25IP and the site numbers. (101, 202, 303, 404, etc.) That's the same way the sites in Mobile County are numbered too, even though the DB admins have refused to list them that way. The ONLY way I've ever reported them, multiple times. RR is going to have to come up with something to deal with that too it seems.

Does Pro96Com settle in around 68% decode rate on those sites? That's the way it does on the 6 Mobile County (waste of electricity) sites. From what I gather those sites were thrown up primarily just for demonstrating the RoIP thing though. (cell phone apps that "executives" can use to access the actual LMR network)
Not sure why Harris gives each site its own RFSS ID. Most, if not all Harris deployed systems I have seen are like this. Are you talking about the 6 Mobile County sites from the AFRN 00A system? If so, that seems like deliberate misinformation on the admins' part. Having the correct RFSS ID is a pretty big deal.

Both MSU sites were very weak when I was able to monitor them. I think the decode rate was around 50-60%, although I know it went up to around 90% when the signal improved briefly. Like I said, both control channels did NOT have the "chirp" sound that repeats every 1-1/12 seconds on P25IP systems. I'm not sure if Harris even markets non-IP P25 systems anymore, but I'm doubting whether or not this system is IP capable.

Please make a submission of this and we will get the updated info online. And yes, Harris is just as guilty as Motorola in the games being played.. And the kickback parade is in full swing in the OC gov levels.. Want to bet that within an year,... someone from OC gov is going to suddenly be an paid Harris lobbyist? (Either that or go to Parchmann lol...)
Thanks for updating the DB. I was going to hold off a bit, as I'm over 75 miles away and based all of this information off a couple minutes of monitoring and info found online. It would be great if someone closer to the area could monitor the system, as I'm only able to hear it when the bands are wide open.

That said, you got the site numbers wrong. They should be (in hex) Site 1 001, and Site 4 004. Each site has its own RFSS ID. I would also note that 404 is a Composite site as well.

Ok so the main gist of the controversy is over the 3-site roaming thing, and the 3 sites mentioned are Maben, Sturgis, and Sessums. The location to the southwest of Starkville is Sessums. Maben is northeast of Stakville. BUT....

Sprint also raised the point that MSU never gave proper buildout notification of the Maben and Sturgis sites..and obviously they are correct about that, as only 2 locations are given on any of the licenses.

So...do all 3 of these so called "filler sites" use the same, single frequency then?
My speculation that Site 404 is in Maben is just that, speculation. I based it solely off the fact that it operates on the same frequency as the old Maben SCAT site, and the fact that the Maben site was the only original SCAT site I could hear from my location. None of the original SCAT sites, or the new Composite sites are listed on WQTZ369. The old license for the SCAT sites (WNHP677) hasn't been updated, and was very incomplete to start with. All of this is why I was going to hold off and see if someone from the area could get more valuable information before updating the DB.

Unless they are simulcast, no they can't use the same frequency. They continuously transmit as a control channel until a channel grant is given, at which point they immediately convert to a voice channel. The old SCAT systems operated in transmission trunking mode, so as soon as the subscriber unkeys, they would immediately convert back to a control channel and await the next call. These are the first P25 Composite Channel sites I've seen, so I'm not very familiar with them, but they seem to operate almost the same.
 
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KE5TLF

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Yeah I retracted "same" frequency after thinking about it further.

Yep, one of the points of argument from Sprint was they never properly documented the Maben and Sturgis sites with the FCC.

If somebody could actually drive up to each site, that would certainly be best. Seems N. Washington is all kosher as licensed. I guess the freqs. for the other 3 sites are all in the list of freqs for location 1(Sessums). I'm going to work on trying to get accurate Lat/Lon on what I can and submitting them as placeholders at least for now. Hopefully somebody can use that to go out and visit them and fill in the frequencies later.

I guess for now I'll ASSUME they numbered them in clockwise order making Sessums 202, and Sturgis 303 maybe

EDIT: Can't even find the smallest hint to the location of the Sturgis and Maben sites......sigh
WPDU295 rebanding(YE) was approved back in June, so it should be the license of record for N. Washington and Sessums.
WNPH677 is the license of record for Sturgis and Maben and was renewed in May. Both freqs should be ok rebanding wise too, so it doesn't seem there will be a change there.
 
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milf

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We do have a couple of folks in that region, or at least did. One was attending MSU.... Not sure if he matriculated yet or not... And the other are the nearer county guys living in Lee County and points around there... Maybe one of them can take a little trip if not too busy figuring out the MSWIN conversions lol
 

KE5TLF

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FYI I've done all the appropriate wiki changes so you can shoot the EDACS in the head.

Also, has anybody ever seen, or heard of, whether or not Harris does some kind of mathematical conversion of a set of EDACS talkgroups to P25 equivalents? Something like has occasionally been seen in some Motorola 3600 to 9600 upgrades?
 

KE5TLF

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I give up on finding an exact location for Maben and Sturgis. My best, wild arse, guess is they stuck them on a couple fire towers maybe. For no other reason than they are state owned property, and should already have power, and equipment shelters even, maybe.

I'm not going to make official subs either, but will post my somewhat educated, and also somewhat wild arse, guesses below. Locations for Maben and Sturgis are just a couple of random points along Hwys 82 and 12 respectively. Giving them a fairly liberal range too, especially if they are indeed on something as short as a fire tower. Also dropping the range on Starkville since it is on a relatively short water tower. Sessums is a full fledged, good sized, radio tower so 16 miles should be about right for 800 MHz. At least that's always been my general rule of thumb. Maybe a little much for a handheld with a rubber duck dummy load, but about right for a good mobile installation.

Do with this as you will, but take it with a HUGE grain of salt.for Maben and Sturgis. The other 2 should be pretty good though. If nothing else maybe this will give somebody else a bit of a head start. I'm pretty much done studying it now.
Code:
Site 101
Site Location: Starkville, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 1
Site Number: 01
Site Description: Starkville
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors: 
Site Location: Int of N. Washington and Cury Sts.
Site Modulation: C4FM, H-DQPSK 
Site Notes: Antenna on Water Tower
Latitude: 33.46879
Longitude: -88.816920
Range: 12
FCC: WPDU295

Site 202
Site Location: Sessums, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 2
Site Number: 02
Site Description: 202 (Sessums?)
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors: 
Site Location: End of Sweet Bottom Rd
Site Modulation: C4FM, H-DQPSK 
Site Notes: ASR# 1042656
Latitude: 33.43234
Longitude: -88.74885
Range: 16
FCC: WPDU295
Freqs
851.42500
851.70000
851.95000
852.03750
852.22500
853.50000
853.75000

Site 303
Site Location: Sturgis, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 3
Site Number: 03
Site Description: 302 (Sturgis?)
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors: 
Site Location: Unknown, Sturgis, MS
Site Modulation: C4FM, H-DQPSK 
Site Notes: Location is for the general area of Sturgis
Latitude: 33.36105
Longitude: -89.01135
Range: 16
FCC: WNPH677
Freqs
857.01250d

Site 404
Site Location: Maben, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 4
Site Number: 04
Site Description: Maben
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors: 
Site Location: Unknown, Maben, MS
Site Modulation: C4FM, H-DQPSK 
Site Notes: Location is for the general area of Maben
Latitude:  33.50920
Longitude: -89.01438
Range: 16
FCC: WNPH677
856.01250d
 

Avery93

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FYI I've done all the appropriate wiki changes so you can shoot the EDACS in the head.

Also, has anybody ever seen, or heard of, whether or not Harris does some kind of mathematical conversion of a set of EDACS talkgroups to P25 equivalents? Something like has occasionally been seen in some Motorola 3600 to 9600 upgrades?
Many Harris systems I have seen seem to use a very basic method of assigning talkgroups. Many of them start at low, even numbers and just increment from there. If you want to look at some examples and see if you can figure anything out, go here and look for any system with a WACN other than BEExx. Many/Most of these will be Harris systems.

I give up on finding an exact location for Maben and Sturgis. My best, wild arse, guess is they stuck them on a couple fire towers maybe. For no other reason than they are state owned property, and should already have power, and equipment shelters even, maybe.

I'm not going to make official subs either, but will post my somewhat educated, and also somewhat wild arse, guesses below. Locations for Maben and Sturgis are just a couple of random points along Hwys 82 and 12 respectively. Giving them a fairly liberal range too, especially if they are indeed on something as short as a fire tower. Also dropping the range on Starkville since it is on a relatively short water tower. Sessums is a full fledged, good sized, radio tower so 16 miles should be about right for 800 MHz. At least that's always been my general rule of thumb. Maybe a little much for a handheld with a rubber duck dummy load, but about right for a good mobile installation.

Do with this as you will, but take it with a HUGE grain of salt.for Maben and Sturgis. The other 2 should be pretty good though. If nothing else maybe this will give somebody else a bit of a head start. I'm pretty much done studying it now.
Looks like some pretty good guesses to me. The only thing I see that's obviously wrong, at least at this point, is the H-DQPSK modulation. This system has shown no signs of operating in Phase II, so modulation should only be C4FM.

I'll go ahead and throw out my WAG on the locations of the Sturgis and Maben sites, starting with Sturgis since it actually looks promising. The County has one of their VHF fire repeaters licensed on a small tower off of FAS Rd 677 just North of Sturgis (33.35124°, -89.04552°). The VHF repeater is the only system licensed at this location, however using Google street view you can see that there are actually 3 antennas on the tower: A VHF dipole, and 2 UHF or 800 omnis. The top omni, which would be the receive antenna for a system using separate TX/RX antennas, appears to have a Tower Top Amplifier installed as repeatedly described in the MSU/NEXTEL case document. I'm actually pretty sure this is the Sturgis site.

Now the Maben site gets a bit trickier. I found 2 towers with a public safety presence, One appears to be an old fire tower located off Hawkins Rd south of Maben (33.50050°, -89.06994), and has another VHF fire repeater licensed here. The other is located off Iron Russell Rd east of Maben (33.54313°, -89.05646°), and appears to be a cell tower with a couple Oktibbeha County Hospital repeaters co-located on it (KRG812). Could be either one, or neither of them. :lol: I will say that the Maben site, if it is indeed 404, is by far the most easily heard from my location. This suggests it's either on a big hill or a big tower.

Like I said earlier, this is all just speculation. I would not update the DB with this yet. I may drive about 30 miles to my south to clear some ridges and hopefully confirm everything on the RF side sometime this week, but I don't foresee making the 200 mile round trip down there just to confirm the site locations for a while. :lol:
 
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milf

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FYI I've done all the appropriate wiki changes so you can shoot the EDACS in the head.

Also, has anybody ever seen, or heard of, whether or not Harris does some kind of mathematical conversion of a set of EDACS talkgroups to P25 equivalents? Something like has occasionally been seen in some Motorola 3600 to 9600 upgrades?

OK guys.. I need confirmation that the EDACS is no longer broadcasting an CC at all on any of the sites. Once this is confirmed, I will pull the trigger... (I did learn lessons about multiple systems at same sites lol.)
 

Avery93

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Had a really good band opening this morning, and was able to get confirmation on the rest of the sites. Looks like KE5TLF was almost dead on. Here's his site list updated with the new information:
Code:
Site 101
Site Location: Starkville, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 1
Site Number: 01
Site Description: Starkville
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors: None
Site Location: Int of N. Washington and Cury St.
Site Modulation: C4FM
Site Notes: Antenna on Water Tower
Latitude: 33.46879
Longitude: -88.816920
Range: 12
FCC: WPDU295

Site 202
Site Location: Sessums, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 2
Site Number: 02
Site Description: Sessums
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors: None
Site Location: End of Sweet Bottom Rd
Site Modulation: C4FM
Site Notes: ASR# 1042656
Latitude: 33.43234
Longitude: -88.74885
Range: 16
FCC: WPDU295
Freqs:
851.42500c
851.70000a
851.95000a
852.03750a
852.22500a
853.50000a


Site 303
Site Location: Sturgis, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 3
Site Number: 03
Site Description: Sturgis (Composite Channel)
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors: None
Site Location: FAS Rd 677 at County tower
Site Modulation: C4FM
Site Notes: Single channel composite site
Latitude: 33.35124
Longitude: -89.04552
Range: 16
FCC: WNPH677
Freqs: 857.01250c

Site 404
Site Location: Maben, Mississippi
Site RFSS: 4
Site Number: 04
Site Description: Maben (Composite Channel)
Site County Location: Oktibbeha
Site Neighbors:  None
Site Location: Unknown, Maben, MS
Site Modulation: C4FM
Site Notes: Single channel composite site
Latitude:  33.50920
Longitude: -89.01438
Range: 16
FCC: WNPH677
Freqs: 856.01250c
This system doesn't appear to be networked at all, at least currently. Looks like everything is done on the subscriber side like on the old EDACS system. Therefore the system description should be changed to something like this:
P25 upgrade of the existing MSU/Oktibbeha County EDACS system, completed by Harris.
I was also able to monitor two talkgroups, 521 and 531. Only caught someone saying "copy" on 521, but 531 sounded like taxi or bus operations. Interesting in that 531 was the decimal ID for MSU Transit Primary on the old system. Looks like there is a good chance they just copied the decimal IDs over to the new system.
 

KE5TLF

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As Tony Stark would say "Nice work, guys. Excellent. Good team effort all around. Go us." :D

...and yeah from all the rigmarole in that FCC document they seemed to insist on exactly the same functionality, or at lest as close as humanely possible to exactly what they had. Regardless if in the end it could have been made to be even better than what they had.
 
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