Safe-T and Mutual aid communications

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jerk

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There has been a recent discussion on "Breaking Events" forum, which drifted off-topic.
But some interesting issues and discussion was created, I would like to see it continue here on Mutual Aid groups and Safe-T

Now on the radio I've seen, Mutual Aid groups are limited in number, and the last one I looked at I don't think even had the I-call frequencies in it.

But that one I saw only had Q-MA-1 and Q-MA-2 I don't recall. I'll have to check it out soon. which is is not good because my County and that County radio both border a northern County that has M-MA-1,2,3 assigned as their "channels" My County also borders a County that uses P-MA-1,2,3 and L-MA-1,2,3 Could make for interesting times if not taken care of in planning.

Second, during the "flooding" problems many radios were getting busies.
I think a rethinking of priorities is needed, and re-training on uses of Talkgroups is needed. For instance, DOT was using at least three different talkgroups during the height of the flooding, and some was along the lines of chitchat like they do during snowplow operations.
 

WA9JGB

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Good points. I know here in Johnson County I can take off or add any set of radios with a click of the mouse. For example....The Johnson County Jail radios can be taken off of the towers during something major. It's all depends on how the radio are programed. As a Communications Officer for Johnson County I can tell you there are several options, but few people understand how to use them. Motorola likes to keep the so called secrets to themselves and take credit for fixing the over-crowding issues on towers. The counties need to set up the priority status's correctly and alot of the issues would be fixed. Eliminating the old VHF and UHF repeaters throughout the county is the worse thing to do, but alot have already done it. When a major storm rolls through you will find Johnson County Sheriff using the old VHF Tac-2 repeater for Primary communications opening up the remaining Safe-T frequencies for Fire communications. It's a good quick fix for communications, but alot of countys don't have that option anymore. When you have a DOT truck and a Sheriff trying to use the same conjested tower who knows who will be chosen for priority status. You already know all of this, but some may not. Sorry for the typos. This was a quick reply.
 

AK9R

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Now on the radio I've seen, Mutual Aid groups are limited in number, and the last one I looked at I don't think even had the I-call frequencies in it.
Yes, the radios have limits as to what can be programmed. However, the radios also have a lot of capability that the people setting up the templates or programming the radios sometimes don't take advantage of or the programming is done, but the users don't know how to access the radio's full capabilities.

The radio I was issued is a Motorola XTS2500. I don't know how many "zones" (a Motorola term that scanner users would understand as "banks") this radio is capable of, but my radio has been programmed with 9 zones, A through I. The zones on my radio are selectable by pressing one of the front panel buttons to go into zone select mode, then use the 4-way rocker switch to move up or down through the zones. Each zone is capable of 16 "channels". Channels can be talkgroups on a trunked system, conventional repeater channels, or conventional simplex channels. Channels are selected by rotating the channel select knob on the top of the radio.

My previous radio was a Motorola XTS5000 which had a 3-way toggle switch on the top of the radio that selected between Zone A, Zone B, and Zone C. That was a little easier to use than going the front panel route on my current radio.

On my radio, the channel list is different for each zone. Since the radio was set up using a county law enforcement template, Zone A is mostly Hendricks County law enforcement talkgroups with a few mutual talkgroups thrown in. A fire radio might have mostly fire talkgroups programmed in Zone A.

As I mentioned in the other thread, my radio has all of the statewide mutual aid talkgroups in one Zone, several of the nearby regional mutual aid talkgroups in another zone, and the NPSPAC conventional repeater channels in yet another zone. Some of the zones on my radio have MECA talkgroups programmed in them. That's a bit of a mind bender to think that the radio is capable of accessing two different trunked systems, but it's just an example of the flexibility of the radio.

When you have a DOT truck and a Sheriff trying to use the same congested tower who knows who will be chosen for priority status.
And that's the point I was trying to make in the other thread. When the you-know-what hits the fan, everybody starts talking. They don't hear the other users because they are all using different talkgroups. But those talkgroups still take up resources on the tower. By getting everybody narrowed down to a handful of talkgroups, you can still make sure people can use the system to communicate.
 

ads47

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The radios can hold roughly 50+ zones or 856 TalkGroups, But thats not set in stone as the memory is used in a fairly dynamic method. For instance you can put say 20 talkgroups in one zone instead of 16, then you access the others through the keypad. It also uses more memory when you add multiple systems etc. You can set the multiple menu levels to select talkgroups by system instead of zone. I have been programming them of and on for about 8 years and still learn new stuff every day. There are very few people even within Motorola who really know all the in's and out's of these.

It sounds bad but radios/templates are set up for the "dumbest" guy in the county, because when your in dire need and everything is going wrong you don't always think clearly enough to use a complicated radio.

Yes the radios can do just about anything but slice bread. While in DC last week I learned a new way to set up a template that I may try out soon. The new Hendricks County Templates are basically done we are just in a holding pattern due to MECA's indefinite hold on there switch.


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pickles37

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There were some interesting things happened during the flood ... one was that there were all kinds of other counties' talkgroups popping up on our local tower (Bloomington). Presumably when something widespread like this happens, various units move out of their home area, triggering broadcasting on other towers. I assume this has been taken into account in capacity planning, but it was interesting that twice I heard DOT units reporting having to use cellphones instead of SAFET radios due to getting busy signals. I also heard second hand about units from different agencies wanting to talk to each other but not being able to figure out where the MA channels were on the radios.
 

ads47

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It never ceases to amaze me how people who are issued equipment (radio's) have no idea how to use them fully or what they can do with them.


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WA9JGB

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There were some interesting things happened during the flood ... one was that there were all kinds of other counties' talkgroups popping up on our local tower (Bloomington). Presumably when something widespread like this happens, various units move out of their home area, triggering broadcasting on other towers. I assume this has been taken into account in capacity planning, but it was interesting that twice I heard DOT units reporting having to use cellphones instead of SAFET radios due to getting busy signals. I also heard second hand about units from different agencies wanting to talk to each other but not being able to figure out where the MA channels were on the radios.
There radio status was changed on Sunday. The had no priority at all throughout Indiana.
 

jerk

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It never ceases to amaze me how people who are issued equipment (radio's) have no idea how to use them fully or what they can do with them.

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It's a training issue, then a practice using them regularly.
But hey, floods, we don't have no stinking floods in Indiana.
Oops.

Now in my limited listening, I heard each "group" operating on their own TG or in some cases conventional VHF frequencies.

Lots of DNR traffic, lots of ISP traffic, Lots of IDHS traffic, but none of it being coordinated that I could hear. And so lots of back and forth over the radio to clarify "tasks."

And did they even have the homeland command and communications vehicle operating anywhere during that weekend?
 

jerk

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There radio status was changed on Sunday. The had no priority at all throughout Indiana.
Do you mean DOT priority status was changed? And did they raise it or lower it I wonder?

Yes, ;) that dump truck needs priority access over say fire departments and EMA. But that would not surprise me if they did that. And I would not be surprised if they gave IDHS higher priority over say ISP and people actually on the scene working.
 

ads47

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I know the Morgan County Van was out and being used heavily.

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kb9sxk

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I have one of my "Big Black Johnsons" in front of me right now.

Zone A Local (My county tg's and ISP D 35)
Zone B Regional (SW Hosp tgs, O, P, H, L Ma's
Zone C State Wide (IDHS Stuff and SW call-9
Zone D MA Conventional and talk arounds (including Vanderburgh County specific TA)

My XTS 5000's are simular but some have less regional MA groups
 

jerk

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I know the Morgan County Van was out and being used heavily.

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That's good, but I'm wondering about the big kahuna one from the State.
I'll venture to guess in their "excitement" to be "useful" they forgot all about it or left it behind and never used it.
 

kb9sxk

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That's good, but I'm wondering about the big kahuna one from the State.
I'll venture to guess in their "excitement" to be "useful" they forgot all about it or left it behind and never used it.

"Big Blue" is OOS

"Mini me" was out in District 10. I hear that unit leaves alot to be desired.
 

jerk

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"Big Blue" is OOS

"Mini me" was out in District 10. I hear that unit leaves alot to be desired.
Dang! Just when they needed it. I don't even want to know, that was the greatest thing since sliced bread a few years ago. The last Haz-mat run I heard, they had trouble with that unit as well, siren and lights cutting out.

Sounds like the boys and girls in Indy need to to a some practice runs and PM on their equipment, instead of telling those who actually do the work what they should be doing. ;)
 

kb9sxk

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Dang! Just when they needed it. I don't even want to know, that was the greatest thing since sliced bread a few years ago. The last Haz-mat run I heard, they had trouble with that unit as well, siren and lights cutting out.

Sounds like the boys and girls in Indy need to to a some practice runs and PM on their equipment, instead of telling those who actually do the work what they should be doing. ;)
Its not the IDHS folks at all.

Vendor issues.

I have no issues with the IDHS folks, they worked their asses off for the locals.
 

Viper43

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During the tornado that hit here on May 30th our county and surrounding counties that assisted, both fire and LE used SAFET and it worked well, everyone was on the Hancock co TG's as well as J-MA-1 for all LE activities with outside units. ISP 51 & 52, Shelby, Madison and Hamilton counties all helped out, plus every deputy (many in POV's) as well as Greenfield PD + plus reserves from the county and GPD, New Palestine and others. There must have been around 200 LEO's on the first 12 hours or so and I haven't heard of any who got a "busy" and most seemed to have liked the system for MA use.
 
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