Salem County TRS -> Conventional Conversion

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ayaresr

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Salem County is in the process of converting their Motorola trunked public safety system to conventional channels and doing away with the trunked system. This is mostly still in the works, and some testing has been occuring on air over the last couple weeks. They are slowly taking frequencies off of trunking and converting various user groups one or two at a time. I am going to post my observations below based on what I have heard so far. Once this is finalized I will submit an update to the DB.

501.2375 PL 146.2 haven't heard a designation for this one, being used in Pittsgrove area for EMS now
501.2125 PL 146.2 techs referring to this as Fire 1, still testing, being used in the Pittsgrove area
as of now for fire units
501.2625 PL 146.2 Active testing on 2/28, being referred to by techs as Fire 3
501.4125 PL 146.2 is now EMS to Hospital (actively in use)

Ryan
 

kennyloatman

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They have been using .2375 as channel 10 FIRE and EMS response and .2125 as channel 11 FIRE and EMS response since about the 1st of January. Had a house fire in Pittsgrove about two weeks ago and all fire operations were on channel 10 (501.2375). Hearing a open carrier right now on .2625 . West PD dispatch has also been on 501.1625 since the end of last year, East PD still on the TRS.
 

w2xq

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So why is Salem reverting to conventional? Inquiring minds...
 

ayaresr

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They added 3 additional towers in Pedricktown, Pennsville, and Quinton. I'm fairly certain at least one of the factors was the price difference had they added 3 trunking sites vs 3 conventional sites. Their conventional signals on what was channel 10 and 11 were always much clearer than the trunked system, and I am seeing this with the other frequencies as they have been testing them.
 

w2xq

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Tnx. Interesting...
 

ayaresr

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As of this morning, it appears all District 1 fire units are using the new Fire 1 channel. (501.2125)

District 1 includes:
Auburn
Pedricktown
Penns Grove
Pennsville
Deepwater
Carney's Point

I'll get this submitted to the database, as well as what is now being referred to as Fire 3 (501.2625), though I am not sure that one is actively in use as yet.
 

phillydjdan

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Interesting, indeed. Most agencies switch from conventional to trunking, not the other way around. Anyone know of any solid reason for this? I personally prefer conventional, as there is far less to "go wrong", like trunking controller crashes (although rare). Also, how does thier licensing play into this? Did they modify for this change yet? I would search myself but my phone doesn't like the FCC database
 

ayaresr

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Their existing trunking system has been having equipment problems, and due to its age, parts are becoming harder to source. This combined with the cost to build out 3 more sites were major factors. Couple that with the fact that the trunking system was way overkill for what they need, and going back to conventional really just makes sense for them.

As for licensing, the 3 new sites, as well as the existing Penns Grove site have all frequencies assigned as Mobile Relay, while the Woodstown and Pittsgrove sites still list frequencies from the trunk system as Centralized Trunk Relay.
 

W2SJW

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I'm wondering if they're thinking for the future with this change, as they will have to be off 500MHz by about 2021 (pending any serious legal challenges to the order to vacate).
 

ayaresr

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Scott,
I wrote a freeholder over a year ago when they started talking about making this change. I asked if they might consider starting the process of moving to another band with the addition of the new tower sites, rather than adding more infrastructure to a system they were going to need to vacate sooner than later. To me, it seemed a more fiscally responsible option. I was assured that the person in charge of the changeover was on top of the developments in regard to needing to clear out of T Band, and that they were keeping the freeholders updated on the situation. I was supposed to hear back with more on what direction they decided to take the system, but that never happened.
 

kennyloatman

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Radio checks going on all day and into tonight on conventional channels, Now referring to 501.2375 as FD 2, 501.2125 as FD 1 and 501.2675 as FD 3. Also 155.295 is back up with pager test.
 

ayaresr

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Fire 2 appears to be in regular use now. I submitted that change to the database.

Today, I am not getting a control channel from the trunked system at all. Also 501.7625 (previously a trunked channel) is in conventional mode with testing occurring today. I believe 501.5625 was removed from the trunked system sometime last week, as I have seen some conventional testing occurringi on that as well.

Elmer PD had been continuing to operate on the trunked system, however today they are working off of the 501.1625 police conventional frequency, further leading me to believe the trunked system may be totally offline at this point.
 

ayaresr

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I'm not sure on a timeline. It has basically been coming apart bit by bit over the last week or so, which from what I understand is what their intentions were. (Moving a couple services or agencies at a time)

Scott, let me get one more day of monitoring to confirm they keep the trunked system offline and I'll let you know.

Ryan
 

ayaresr

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Yea, it looks like the control channel is still down as of today (Friday). I'll go ahead and submit the trunked system for depreciation. I'm also hearing Woodstown (12) and Elmer (21) on 501.7625, and its being referred to as PD East. I will have that change made to the DB as well.

Hearing testing today on 501.2875, 501.3625, 501.5625, and 501.7375. Interesting note, 501.2875 was never part of the trunked system, and has been licensed for at least a year or two, but until today, I have never seen any activity on it.
 
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