Sandy Springs, GA - Sandy Springs Police Worry About Radio Outages

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Squad10

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Somebody just needs to plug the satellite receiver AC power cord back into the power receptacle, you know, the power cord that the New Radio System salesperson unplugged.
 

ButchGone

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Hmm, does Sandy Springs need to build a digital radio system or can they not use what's already out there? The UASI system built by the state has towers in North Fulton area, why can't they use that? Their field radios are already capable of working in the digital mode.
Is more money needed to build yet another metro system that won't allow interoperability?
BG..
 

nunyax

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Hmm, does Sandy Springs need to build a digital radio system or can they not use what's already out there? The UASI system built by the state has towers in North Fulton area, why can't they use that? Their field radios are already capable of working in the digital mode.
Is more money needed to build yet another metro system that won't allow interoperability?
BG..
The newspaper article stated they were looking to join UASI along with some other north Fulton cities:

'Sult said he is pursuing options with nearby cities. “There is a system out there we can leverage. It’s a matter of money and people talking.”
That radio system is operated by the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a national program from the Department of Homeland Security.'
 

MTS2000des

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Sandy Springs is relying on a radio system that is over 20 years old, 1989 to be exact. The FC TRS was installed when I was still in middle school. I'll be 35 next month. It is using pieces and parts that have been out of production since the late 1990's. The system was also designed for topography of the 1980's, and there wasn't cellular/iDEN nearby in those days. You cannot expect 2010 coverage and performance from a system designed to 1980's specifications.

The UASI project is a sham. What was supposed to have been an overlay so various metro agencies can have end to end user level interoperability ended up being a power struggle. No one wants the privilege to pay $300+ a year per ID to have a radio on a system that they won't use daily. They divert those funds to paying for a celphone/Blackberry or something else.

The problem is Fulton county not spending money over the last 20 years to keep the system running as it still could. I recall back in the early part of the decade the county commission, headed by Mitch Skandalakis (who ended up doing some Fed time) refused to provide 12 grand in funding to replace some damaged and aging antennas on the Roswell high school prime site on King road.

You get what you pay for.
 

ButchGone

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I see, what a mess! So what about expanding either ATL, Cobb or DeKalb's new P25 systems by adding a couple towers to those systems?
Or does ChattComm, or the north Fulton agencies want to go in on a joint project?
BG..
 

Chemosh

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Lost Signal

Coverage problems ...I should say so ..the foalige he was driving through as well as the obvious terrain that was to be covered. I could not tell from the antenna but it looks like an 800Mhz system. The absorbtion/deflection must be awful for them.

New "digital" radios to fix the problem is a laugh. More sites, especially voter sites would fix their problem.

As the newscaster pointed out about cell phones .....the handheld unit was never the problem on cell phone ..it was the ongoing building of cell sites that changed coverage. This department needs to invest in the backbone not a new modulation scheme.

But here is how it will go: Motorola will tell them a new system will fix it. They will buy it. New problems will arise because bit error rate in digital P25 will increase complete failure of the communications system. Motorola will go back and tell them they must have "X" number more sites. Since they are already committed to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) they will not consider going to another vendor but instead will buy more equipment from Motorola and most likely double the cost of the original plan. Because Motorola makes their system as incompatible as possible to other equipment unlike the other vendors. They will increase the networks sites (which is what they should have done in the first place) to fix the problem. They will be so digusted with Motorola for raping them but they cannot admit it in public and will declare the system a sucess because they have no choice. No voter is going to tolerate them starting over to do it right the first time. Don't believe me? Check around. Find the cities, counties, states that have done this over and over again. It is appalling.

Motorola has themselves quite a sales gimmick going here. They intend to soak those guys for every dime they have to build a "digital" system. What do you bet they have not hired a non-biased RF Engineer to do a propagation study and make recommendations on coverage instead of modulation fixes. How does Motorola keep finding these suckers???? It never ceases to amaze me.
 

b7spectra

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It would really be a nail in the coffin if ChattComm would build their own system, have Roswell & Alpharetta join in and then watch Fulton go belly up. Even better if every square inch of land from I-285 north became Milton County!
 

MTS2000des

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yes, it is a mult-site 800MHz Smartnet II system originally installed in 1989. In 2003, the original 6809 controller was replaced with a Smart-X controller and all the old type I subfleets were phased out.

the system actually works quite well for it's design, especially considering it belongs to Fulton county, which runs 71 miles from it's southern most tip to the northern part. It was the second or third 800MHz public safety system in metro Atlanta and was once revered for it's performance.

I too noticed the officer using a PSM with the antenna pointed downward near his chest. Body tissue absorption is a big issue with portable radios. I always love it when the cellphone analogy gets used. These are two very different networks built with different needs, equipment and capabilities and on totally different budget scales. Yet plenty of uneducated individuals have opinions on how public safety radio systems should work, and worse yet often times these people get put into decision making positions about them.

So they rely on vendors for consultation and the end result is more money spent than often need be and often times a viable solution is not obtained.

Educating users on proper operation of portable radios is the job of the SSPD/Chatcomm not just the vendor. They get a FAIL in this department.
Sandy Springs has some very hilly and rough terrain, simple measures like holding the radio up and at face level with the antenna vertical, especially when in a vehicle, can eliminate many "dead spots". No radio system, digital or analog, is going to have 100 percent coverage, especially in areas like Sandy Springs. But the onus is just as much on the users as it is in the vendors to make it work. and equipment is just part of the issue at hand.
 

MTS2000des

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It would really be a nail in the coffin if ChattComm would build their own system, have Roswell & Alpharetta join in and then watch Fulton go belly up. Even better if every square inch of land from I-285 north became Milton County!
Don't hold your breath on that Mike. Chatcomm and Sandy Springs governments are in the hole. Building out an Astro 25 Smartzone Omnilink to cover the area would cost about 1/3 of the city's annual budget. The other users on the system aren't complaining (Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Milton) as they have sites alot closer in and are satisfied with their performance.

Sandy Springs and Dunwoody ought to team up. Seems like they both have problems. Dunwoody loves DK's new Astro 25 system and their EF Johnson 51SL's, they just hate the incompetence of DK911. They want to contract with Chatcomm for 911 service in Dunwoody but stay on the DK Astro 25 system. SSPD should see about becoming subscribers on the DK system and do a coverage and cost analysis of that system and possibly negotiate with DK county for access. I can guarantee you as bad as Sandy Springs and Fulton sheriff Ted Jackson want a digital radio system, there isn't money in the kitty to get it. Fulton county owns all the prime sites. Sandy Springs would still have to negotiate with them for the sites. and I can tell you good sites are what make it work- more than equipment itself.

North Georgia GMRS wouldn't be squat if not for the good sites they have.
 

b7spectra

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Yeah, DeKalb probably had Dunwoody in a bind that if they use their system, they have to use the 911 center as well.

How about this for a good site - the King & Queen towers?
 

MTS2000des

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well the K&Q buildings are professionally managed, IIRC it's either a Crown or ATC site. So they would be charging money, not mention there is alot of other stuff up there- and some of it is iDEN, a pretty high powered FM radio station (107.5), etc.

there is a UHF ham repeater up on one of the buildings, on 441.95, that has pretty good coverage on the north side of town. Not sure how it got up there, but has been up there for years.
 

radiofan1

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I saw a motorola trunked 800 site up there(YEARS ago). Don't know for sure whose it is, I thought it was Fulton.

I think it would be cool to see ChatComm, all 3 agencies, go to a 450 simulcast system. Trunking is not the end all be all sometimes.
 

MTS2000des

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there is an RX site on Concourse Pkwy but nearest transmit site is Morgan Falls unless Ron made some changes I don't know about.

450MHz trunking around here? Why? Everyone else is on 700/800, and since Motorola doesn't seem to want to add UHF to the overpriced APEX line anytime soon, it would just create another roadblock to end user interoperability. Like we have it now. 15 different trunking systems, no ISSI roaming, and a refusal of agencies to come to the table and work together.

In all seriousness, UHF would have been a better way to go in metro Atlanta given the terrain and distances involved. But then back in the early to mid 90's pre-Nextel, UHF allocations were about as rare as real estate in Buckhead. And it wasn't what Motorola was pushing. Ironically, all the metro Atlanta agencies that were on UHF back in the day still have some of their licenses (Cobb, Atlanta, DeKalb and Gwinnett). Cobb and DeKalb have some of their BOE's using those frequencies (Cobb school bus maintenance on 460.5 and DK buses are heard on 460.4).

What we really have to ask ourselves is with the advent of most non-dispatch and admin type communications taking place on other services including cellular/PCS, Nextel, Blackberry, etc is there really a need for such large capacity trunked networks? If LA and NYC operate conventional radio systems optimized for dispatch voice coverage in such major metro areas that are 5 times the size of Atlanta metro, why couldn't we have just stayed on conventional and gone narrowband or P25 conventional? Would we have been better served than building out these proprietary closed network trunking systems? Probably so. We may not be closing fire stations and have 911 calls in queue for 20 minutes as we'd have money to pay people to answer those calls and enough personnel to respond to those calls.
 
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b7spectra

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If LA and NYC operate conventional radio systems optimized for dispatch voice coverage in such major metro areas that are 5 times the size of Atlanta metro, why couldn't we have just stayed on conventional and gone narrowband or P25 conventional? Would we have been better served than building out these proprietary closed network trunking systems? Probably so. We may not be closing fire stations and have 911 calls in queue for 20 minutes as we'd have money to pay people to answer those calls and enough personnel to respond to those calls.
Haven't you been listening to Motorola? We all have to be on P25 separate systems for interoperability! Oh, wait, everyone (except Fulco) is on P25 and we still don't have interoperability. Shame they don't utilize ITAC - no, wait, they can't, it's not TRS and it makes sense.
 

acepilot340

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I don't think having a 20 year old system is a problem, many municipalities have been using the same VHF systems since the 60's. The solution to the problem is to install more repeaters all over the area so reception is improved. It also wouldn't hurt to train the officers the functions and how to properly use the radio's.
 

woppermann

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SSPD knows how to use radios

Fulton county is a total failure. SSPD is not stupid, they know how to properly operate their radios. ChatComm needs to built their own system and you watch how well it will work wether its brand new or its 20 years old. ChatComm is run by the private sector and has great resources that it can use. MILTON COUNTY FOREVER BABY! CANT WAIT TO GET OFF OF FULTONS JUNK
 

MTS2000des

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Fulton county is a total failure. SSPD is not stupid, they know how to properly operate their radios. ChatComm needs to built their own system and you watch how well it will work wether its brand new or its 20 years old. ChatComm is run by the private sector and has great resources that it can use. MILTON COUNTY FOREVER BABY! CANT WAIT TO GET OFF OF FULTONS JUNK

The officer in the CBS46 video demonstrated he does NOT know how to use a portable radio correctly. He held the antenna against his chest, while inside a vehicle, when he should have been using his MOBILE radio and cited this as a failure in the system?

I am not saying there aren't issues with the system. But please, this was so staged anyone with a basic knowledge of RF and radio systems would know what was wrong with the picture. It was not a real drive test, it was a user operating his equipment improperly, using his body and his hand as a shield which greatly attenuated the signal into and out of his subscriber unit, operated inside a vehicle (which further attenuates the signal) then he drives into an area of marginal coverage. Yeah nothing staged about that. :roll:

Try this, next time you are on your cellphone in a marginal coverage area, or inside a building, place your hand completely around your phones antenna (you may have to do some research into where your phones' antenna actually is inside, most are on the top rear) and watch the signal degrade, your voice/caller's voice breakup, or the call maybe lost completely.

Network fault? Equipment failure? Nope. No radio system can offer 100 percent coverage. It just isn't reality. It is the user not operating the equipment properly. Do your research instead of sounding like a teenage high school kid at a pep rally.

and your statements about ChatComm are laughable. The grass isn't always greener. Please come back with some facts and figures. What do you know about designing, planning and implementing commercial two-way radio systems?
 
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