RCMP changes in Alberta?

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electricsheep

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Anyone else have any info/rumours on changes coming to RCMP radio comms in the next year? I understand the install of 800 (yes, eight HUNDRED) car radios and other associated gear will be going on over the next year starting in October and running to September 2007... This is just for the Edmonton and Calgary post garages. 800 seems way more than could be accounted for through attrition of vehicles, and sounds more like a complete fleet equipment upgrading/replacement to me.
 

Jay911

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MatteBlack said:
Anyone else have any info/rumours on changes coming to RCMP radio comms in the next year? I understand the install of 800 (yes, eight HUNDRED) car radios and other associated gear will be going on over the next year starting in October and running to September 2007... This is just for the Edmonton and Calgary post garages. 800 seems way more than could be accounted for through attrition of vehicles, and sounds more like a complete fleet equipment upgrading/replacement to me.
Well, I know it's been in the works for a couple of years. My exposure to it was that the Calgary Regional Partnership (a group of emergency service agencies, mainly fire and EMS, in Calgary and several surrounding municipalities) were about to create a region-wide comms system, until they heard that the RCMP was looking to replace PACS. So that was put on hold so that CRP and the RCMP et al could collaborate on a larger, more involved comms system. That's where my long-standing insistence of a likely expansion of 753f comes from - far as I know, CRP was all but ready to go with that before they put it on hold with news of the RCMP system. And considering that the RCMP fell in love with the Smartzone system that was in place during G8, I wouldn't be surprised to see it continue in that regard. :)

800 mobile radios sounds fair for a fleetwide replacement, considering the amount of cars that I know about in my local area... easily could be 30 or 40 specific vehicles. Even if they don't go ahead with a new system, and for some bizarre reason keep PACS alive, the current radios are MCX1000s.. hardly modern mobiles, IMO. Then again, I'm one to talk, considering my VFD is using nothing but Maxtrac 300s... :)
 

electricsheep

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I guess we will soon know. By the looks of it this work should begin in the next month and a bit, and I would assume there would be testing of either the system as a whole, or each radio install as it is completed. By the looks of the timeframe of the RFP, the timeframe for this entire transition is 11 months or less... pretty aggressive.
Let's hope they latch onto an existing system, as it will make the transition for both them and us easier... :)

I would imagine they would still have to retain some vhf/uhf capabilities in the cars, as all of the regional parties that use frequencies like Tac9, and the national L and S UHF frequencies would still have to be retained for special duty interoperability. Unless that will all be handled via comms level patch.
 

electricsheep

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They are now looking for install staff running through to next June. The RFP I saw ran until September 2007, so I think we are pretty much guaranteed a new RCMP comms system in Alberta starting in the next month or so and with work wrapping up in late summer next year.

Link here to see the job posting
 

Jay911

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Didn't see any indication of the system type being used.. guess I shouldn't expect that if they're just hiring generically for installation into cars etc. Having said that, anyone got any solid info? If they plan to get underway next month, they clearly have made their choice.
 

johnspoon

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RCMP new system

Sorry, but the new system is still couple of years away. RFP was only for interested parties for the design of the system. I don't think the money is available from the Fed Govt for another 2 years at the earliest. Some talk of 800 in metro areas, and 400 for remainer of the province. System will be APCO 25 digital. They are hiring staff to install the mobile workstation (PROS) in vehicles. Plan to have over 800 vehicles installed in next 2 years. Mobile Workstations (Computers in cars) uses cellular frequencies to process data .
 
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Jeffn8wb

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If it's going to be APCO 25, do you think that it will be mostly encrypted? Or is the current line of thought to just be digital but in the clear?
 

electricsheep

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johnspoon said:
Sorry, but the new system is still couple of years away. RFP was only for interested parties for the design of the system. I don't think the money is available from the Fed Govt for another 2 years at the earliest. Some talk of 800 in metro areas, and 400 for remainer of the province. System will be APCO 25 digital. They are hiring staff to install the mobile workstation (PROS) in vehicles. Plan to have over 800 vehicles installed in next 2 years. Mobile Workstations (Computers in cars) uses cellular frequencies to process data .
The RFP I saw was for 800 radios and associated equipment for the Edmonton and Calgary posts to be installed starting October 2006 and having a completion date of no later than September 2007... And now they are hiring a pool of installers with a end date for the position of June 2007 for the same post garages that the RFP for equipment was issued for.

Sounds like they are going through a lot of crap if they have no money for this project as you say.
 
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johnspoon

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Radio System

As with the Calgary System, parts of the system will be encrypted and parts will be open digital, but with the system a couple of years away, things may change. Unless the Province takes over the development of the system, the normal planning cycle for RCMP systems is 3-5 years. I know the Treasury Board only started putting funding aside during 2006-2007 fiscal year (3 years to reach the total amounted required). I know both the Calgary and Edmonton Post Garages are presenting starting to install the 800 mobile PROS computer terminals which as I previous stated uses 800 frequencies, so I guess the RFP needs individuals who are familair with 800 technology for these PROS devices.

I know at this time there is no installation of a new radio system. They only assigned a team manager in the last 6 months for this project so we are still several years away. As reported above, if the Province of Alberta takes over the project the timeline could advance but I still feel it will take 1-2 years to see new system.
 

Jay911

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I guess I feel the need to remain skeptical of posts without some kind of source mentioned to back them up. No offense meant, of course. The RCMP have been planning for a new radio system since before G8 came to town in 2002. I work in an agency that uses the Calgary DRS (753f) daily and recall the RCMP folk (guys with stuff on their epaulettes, not rank & file detachment patrol members) drooling over the concept of a Smartzone trunked radio system, even back then.

The Calgary Regional Partnership is a group made up of several agencies and regions surrounding the city of Calgary, including a significant number of emergency services in the area. This group had intentions a couple years ago of developing a partnership-wide radio network not only for their emergency services but for all their communications needs, i.e. public works, etc. What I'd heard is that RFPs, etc., had already been through the paces and a decision was literally within days of being made - I don't know what the decision was, but the people I talked to were in agreement that the most sensible and costwise solution was an expansion of 753f. That's when the entire project was put on hold, because the Province of Alberta and the RCMP were in the midst of doing their own radio project, to replace PACS. The implication was that if CRP and the provincial/RCMP initiative could get together, it might save duplication of effort and funds, especially if a province-wide system like SK, MB, or ON are employing was the end result.

I haven't heard anything lately except the speculation we have all been putting forth. I'd been hoping that the province, having gobs of spare cash lying around, would put some of it to use, or Ralph would want to spend a couple of dollars as his swan song. That didn't come, though, and instead of a provincewide radio system to allow total interoperability throughout collaborating regions, my community is getting a roundabout at the intersection of two major rural highways. :p

For now I respectfully don't believe any declarations of what might/will be happening unless they come from a known, proven source. That includes my own assertions that the end result will be 753f's expansion.. for all I know it could be M/A-COM, or even an iDEN system, lord help us.

I have noticed more contributions and commentary in regards to Alberta recently here, though, and that leads me to hope that once things do come online, we'll have it all figured out and disseminated amongst other hobbyists soon enough. :)
 

richster

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Here in Saskatchewan, M/A-COM have been creating P25 systems in the VHF band for the RCMP.

The problem has been M/A-COM's 9600 baud P25 control channel. Currently no digital scanner is able to decode the CC, but they can convert the P25 comms back to analog in conventional mode only.

I posted a sample of that signal here.

http://www.radioreference.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22743

I would imagine that M/A-COM has the contract to create these P25 digital systems in Alberta as well.

Regards,
Richster.
 

electricsheep

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Best case scenario if the RCMP do implement a new radio system in Alberta is as Jay has indicated, an expansion of the Calgary smartzone system (with not too much encryption please!). Mainly as the system is already known to us and it would be an easy transition.

A macom or iden system would be a nightmare.
 

Jay911

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To me, that's the best case for a couple of reasons.

The central infrastructure is already present. Adding towers to the smartzone system is as simple as literally building a tower, stuffing some quantars in a shack, and tying it all in to the zone controller. And the tower sites needn't all be in one band. You can be on 800 and I can have a 400 system, and someone else can do VHF - so those agencies with radios that are already Smartzone capable but not necessarily in the 800 band, can just get by with a flash upgrade instead of having to get all new kit (like my VFD will).

Granted, I know very little about M/A-COM systems, especially multi-site installations, but it would be my understanding (from my limited knowledge of ECOMM WARS in the Vancouver area, etc) that an EDACS multi-site system is a big hassle. Furthermore, and this is possibly because I don't live in an area with a large EDACS system, but I seem to see a lot more accessories and equipment designed around the Motorola platform than M/A-COM, especially for emergency services.

I heard a rumor that one of the entities in the Calgary Regional Partnership once priced out costs to build and install the infrastructure required to expand 753f into their own region. It worked out to about $5m - not per tower site, for the whole thing. That to me is a surprisingly low amount.

Also, there are already a number of cities using Motorola trunking equipment which could be consolidated into a provincewide system. Red Deer, for one; and IIRC either the Hat or Lethbridge still has a Type I/IIi system running their public works. Again, I grant you that three examples does not make an overwhelming majority, considering both Edmonton and Lethbridge run M/A-COM. And I'm sure there are several systems throughout the province that people have no inkling of yet (or aren't sharing with us RR folks!). I also suppose there's got to be some way of interlinking M/A-COM and Motorola, so that well-established systems like Edmonton wouldn't have to be completely scrapped.

I do admit I have a little bit of local bias in me, as I'm sure the folks up Edmonton way (or down in Lethbridge) do, favoring my/their own local system. To be quite honest, I'm not absolutely dead set against something other than a Motorola system being the final decision, other than the fact that it will screw scanner listeners out of some good comms. (Presuming no compatible scanner will be available by then - I don't agree with the folks who say there will NEVER be one capable of doing trunk protocol XYZ - but that's another topic for another entire thread.) So long as the radio works and covers all the area that it needs to, I'd be happy.
 

johnspoon

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Radio system

Jay, I am one of those people you mention with the stuff on their shoulders. I retired just over a 1 year ago. I worked on the plans for the future radio system. Treasury board only started putting funds aside for the proposed new radio system this year and will contain for 2 more years before sufficient funding is available to pay for the system. One must remember, if it is an RCMP system, it is federal dollars that are spend, then charged back to the Province at various forumulas. They appointed a system manager in the last 6 months to work with Ottawa planning group on the proposed radio system. I know they were thinking of using 800 around the metro areas but it would be too costly to use 800 for complete province.
Currently they are building a national border radio system based on 400 megs, so it was suggested the non metro areas would be better served with an 400 meg system. They have not placed a RFP for the system, only a RFP to see which manufacturers were interested in proposing a design for the system. At this time there is no way to determine whether it would be a motorola or Ma/com system or other manufacturer. Who ever gets the contract must supply a full digital system based on P25 standards.

I spent the last 14 years in that area of the force here in Alberta and worked on the survey and discussion on a proposed new radio system. I still have access to info so once the "real" radio system is more than just on paper, I will post some info (only what is available to the public). I can guarentee it will not be a iden system as it does not support encryption at the forces standard (DES or it's replacement)
 
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Jay911

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johnspoon said:
Jay, I am one of those people you mention with the stuff on their shoulders.
All right, many thanks for the clarification, and sorry for the disbelieving commentary earlier. Despite what it might seem like, my statements were intended to discourage ungrounded speculation. In any case, your and everyone else's input is much appreciated, and I'm sure everyone is content with getting the public info when the time comes - just keeping up to date in some fashion.

I guess this settles the debate, in any case. :)
 
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