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Simplex/Talkaround Channel Programming

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Astubs

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Thanks folks for all the tremendous help on my other posts, lots of great info to consider. And a very happy New Year to all.

As I've mentioned before, we are running 3 XPR 8400 repeaters connected via IPSC, supporting 21 radio users (a combination of XPR 7550, SL7550, and XPR 3500). We have been granted 3 repeater pair frequencies from the FCC on the business spectrum. We have two timeslots, with 5 channels on TS1 and currently 1 channel on TS2.

I would like to make better use of simplex/Talkaround channels for our system, but do not fully understand how they function. The goal would be to increase the number of simultaneous transmission s that can occur, so that, for example, our facilities staff isn't competing with our audio visual staff. Will simplex channels help with this? Effectively would love to have a dedicated simplex/Talkaround channel for each department that has radio users. We have excellent direct mode coverage in our primary facility, the repeaters help to cover two remote, relatively unused locations... direct mode would provide sufficient coverage under most circumstances.

A few questions...

1) is there any functional difference between enabling Talkaround on an existing repeater channel and creating a stand alone Simplex channel?

2) All my channels on ts1 share the same RX and TX frequencies. If I enable Talkaround on multiple of these channels, will they conflict? Would this still prevent multiple simultaneous transmissions?

3) Our dealer programmed 3 dedicated Simplex channels. Is it possible for me to add more? How would I determine the frequencies?

4). Is it possible to scan or listen to repeater channels while operating on a simplex channel?

Any thoughts or resources would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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DisasterGuy

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You will not get additional voice paths out of a talk around channel. You are simply "talking around" the repeater by transmitting and receiving on the repeater output. It sounds like you need to either reconfigure your timeslot loading or consider a trunking configuration.


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TampaTyron

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I strongly agree that you need to re-evaluate your channel loading. 5 tg on one slot and 1 rarely used tg on your second slot is poor system design. Can you share who designed this system (radio shop or end user)? If you have loading issues and can cover some users needs with simplex, then I would dedicate simplex channels to whole user groups (instead of talkgroups). We do this commonly with hotels who have remote golf courses or remote banquet halls. The IPSC system would only be used by those who need the coverage, everyone who works ok with simplex, gets simplex. Alternatively, you could install another 8400 at your main facilityand offload 2 TG there OR install a 8400 with Capacity plus and offload everything with room to spare, then you would only use your IPSC for the specific needed TGs. Clear as mud? TT
 

Astubs

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Thanks everybody.

To be clear, we worked with one of the large national Motorola dealers to develop our system. We had previously used Nextel Direct Connect and transitioned to the Mototrbo system when Nextel went offline. Unfortunately we/I had little experience with LMR and now that we've been using this system for a few months, the weaknesses in the design have become apparent. I am doing what I can to build some internal expertise to manage the system moving forward.

We are an academic organization with approximately 350 staff. Much of our work involves hosting public meetings in our 5 conference rooms/auditoriums. We occupy approximately 100,000 sq. ft. spread out over 6 floors with an open atrium running through all six floors. Our tests indicated that we could cover 100% of our primary space without need for a repeater. We needed to provide coverage to a basement space as well as to an exterior evacuation assembly point and building command center, which necessitated the use of the repeaters, but this use is very uncommon. We adopted the Mototrbo system to for the purposes of emergency communication as well as for day-today operations.

We have 4 major user groups, 1) Facilities, 2) Audio Visual, 3) Events, and 4) Emergency.

We have 21 radios (2 XPR7550, 6 XPR 3500, and 15 SL7550). We have 5 Talkgroups:
1) Facilities (Timeslot 1, 4 users)
2) Audio Visual (Timeslot 1, 3 users)
3) Events (Timeslot 1, 3 users)
4) General Use (Timeslot 1, 5 users)
5) Operations (Timeslot 1, 15 users, combines 4 above Talkgroups)
6) Emergency (Timeslot 2, 21 users)

It has become clear that having the emergency channel on a separate Timeslot is not a wise idea, so I would like to move it to Timeslot 1, perhaps reserving Timeslot 2 for a future telephone interconnect.

The dealer programmed 3 Simplex channels, I assume one for each of the repeater frequencies we've been licensed. Which is to say, I cannot just create additional Simplex channels, right? Can I request additional frequencies from the FCC?

As you can see, we only have 10-15 daily users on the system, we don't have any particular load or busy issues, I am just trying to set the system up as intuitively for our users as possible. I don't think we are yet at the point of needing a capacity plus system.

Given all the above, any suggestions would be appreciated. I am open to anything at this point. Let me know if you need any additional information or if I have been unclear.

Thanks for your patience and help.
 

mikewazowski

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You've got 5 different groups of users all operating on one timeslot. It's no wonder you're having problems.

You need to determine your loading and split the users up between the timeslots so each timeslot has equal loading.

You should be able to set the system up so an emergency call takes priority over all other calls.

I don't understand this statement:

All my channels on ts1 share the same RX and TX frequencies.
If you're running all the repeaters in IPSC and you've got overlapping coverage, each repeater should have its own frequency pair.
 

TampaTyron

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What type of antennas and how much cabling is on each repeater? How far away from the main facility are the command and evacuation locations? What types of buildings are at these locations? You are getting the normal treatment from a "National Radio Provider." TT
 

Astubs

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Thanks, I am way outside my comfort zone on this, so I appreciate the patience.

In spreading the load across the two timeslots, I am concerned about confusion during emergency situations. If you have folks on multiple timeslots, some will need to manually switch their radio to a different channel/timeslot to receive emergency communication, no?

Our repeaters are running IPSC and we do have separate frequency pairs for each repeater, but within the CPS, each talkgroup/channel on TS1 has the same pair. There is a different pair assigned to the channel on TS2. If I understand correctly, the coverage of the repeaters is not expressly overlapping, each repeater covers a specific/unique area.
 

DisasterGuy

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What you describe doesn't make much sense. When you say that each channel has it's own pair are you talking about the actual frequency pair for the repeater or the talkgroup ID? The only way the repeaters should all have the same frequencies is if they are many miles from each other or simulcast. Neither situation jives with your statement of having three licensed pairs.

As for changing your channel loading, it should make zero difference in end user experience other than reducing the number of system busy indications. You can still set the emergency talkgroup to highest priority.


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Astubs

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I think I see the confusion. Our dealer setup each talkgroup as both a group call under Contacts as well as a Channel. Within the channel settings each talkgroup has a RX and TX frequency set. This is what I was talking about.

I was under the impression that you couldn't scan/roam across timeslots in IPSC, so if someone was operating on TS1, but the emergency channel is on TS 2, they wouldn't hear it.
 

mikewazowski

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Our repeaters are running IPSC and we do have separate frequency pairs for each repeater, but within the CPS, each talkgroup/channel on TS1 has the same pair. There is a different pair assigned to the channel on TS2. If I understand correctly, the coverage of the repeaters is not expressly overlapping, each repeater covers a specific/unique area.

That makes no sense at all.

Each timeslot on a radio should use the same frequency. The only thing that changes is the timeslot used, the RF parameters should not change at all.
 

Astubs

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You're right, I checked some of our other radios and the frequencies ARE the same, looks like they made a mistake on at least one of these.

So, is it possible for someone who is operating on a channel on TS1 to scan/roam an emergency channel on TS2?

Would it help for me to post a representative CPS Detailed Report for one of our radios?
 

WA0CBW

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Talkaround indicates a simplex channel on the output frequency of the repeater. A simplex channel usually indicates a different frequency than the repeater. In any case each frequency requires an FCC license including the talkaround frequency. The talkaround frequency (the repeater transmit frequency) would be licensed as an MO or FB on the FCC license.
BB
 

Astubs

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WA0CBW - Thanks so much for this, answered my question exactly. I checked my license info and found that I have 3 repeater pairs and 3 simplex channels licensed. Makes perfect sense now!


DisasterGuy, you wrote...
As for changing your channel loading, it should make zero difference in end user experience other than reducing the number of system busy indications. You can still set the emergency talkgroup to highest priority.
And Mike Oxlong wrote,
You need to determine your loading and split the users up between the timeslots so each timeslot has equal loading.

You should be able to set the system up so an emergency call takes priority over all other calls.
The problem I am having is that if someone is operating on TS1, they do not hear transmissions over TS2. I have tried both Scan and Roam Lists, as well as Rx Group Lists, but have been unsuccessful. It is important that all users, whether operating on TS1 or TS2 hear emergency communications. Do you have a way of scanning across Time Slots? Thanks!
 
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Astubs

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To be a bit more clear, I realize that there are certain limitations to the IPSC technology. Since bringing our Mototrbo system online, we have had a handful of building-wide evacuations. We established the emergency channel on Time Slot 2 of the system, which works well for our floor wardens as their radios always remain on this channel, but we have experienced some confusion with our more regular users. Given that they spend almost all of their time on Time Slot 1, when an emergency occurs, they must manually switch to the Emergency Channel on TS 2 or they will not hear the necessary instructions. In some cases, they simply fail to remember to make the switch, in other cases, absent an audible building alarm, they are simply unaware that they need to. I know that there is not always a technical solution for human error, but I thought I’d ask. Is there anyway to ensure that all users, whether on TS 1 or TS 2 would be able to receive the same emergency transmissions? I k now we could accomplish this if we Scanned the channels rather than Roamed them, but we need to roam in order to make effective use of the IPSC. Any thoughts?
 

TampaTyron

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Astubs,
A couple of additional ways you might want to consider overcoming this issue are:

A- If you have some sort of central Security Office or similiar, that location could monitor all traffic on all channels (scan/RX Lists) and the initiate ALL CALL on both slots with specific directions in an Emergency. This wouldn't require control stations, but they would make it smoother to use.

B- We have used a proprietary device in the past that receives a call on a simplex channel and then, using control stations set to TX ALL CALL and TX INTERRUPT, replays this message on each Timeslot of each repeater. I have done this with up to 8 timeslots so far. Lots of control stations and NGP mag mounts, but cheaper than Linked Capacity Plus.

Thank you, TT.

To be a bit more clear, I realize that there are certain limitations to the IPSC technology. Since bringing our Mototrbo system online, we have had a handful of building-wide evacuations. We established the emergency channel on Time Slot 2 of the system, which works well for our floor wardens as their radios always remain on this channel, but we have experienced some confusion with our more regular users. Given that they spend almost all of their time on Time Slot 1, when an emergency occurs, they must manually switch to the Emergency Channel on TS 2 or they will not hear the necessary instructions. In some cases, they simply fail to remember to make the switch, in other cases, absent an audible building alarm, they are simply unaware that they need to. I know that there is not always a technical solution for human error, but I thought I’d ask. Is there anyway to ensure that all users, whether on TS 1 or TS 2 would be able to receive the same emergency transmissions? I k now we could accomplish this if we Scanned the channels rather than Roamed them, but we need to roam in order to make effective use of the IPSC. Any thoughts?
 

Astubs

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Thanks TT. Can you explain how Option A might work? Would the security office need two separate radios, one for each time slot?

Also, I did some checking and it seems as though both time slots are set for IPSC, so both are wide area channels, not local, for whatever that matters.
 

TampaTyron

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You would use one dedicated radio per timeslot. If you run one repeater, then you need 2 radios, 2 repeaters is 4 radios, etc...... You can make a local radio call on a wide area system by unchecking the "IP Site Connect" check box at the top of the perosnality when setting up the Channel. It is useful for testing and troubleshooting (thanks to RyanRox for that one). You can also use Manual Site Roam and test mode to read signal strength in Dbm for coverage fine tuning. Some say this is magic, some say it is closer to an art.......TT



Thanks TT. Can you explain how Option A might work? Would the security office need two separate radios, one for each time slot?

Also, I did some checking and it seems as though both time slots are set for IPSC, so both are wide area channels, not local, for whatever that matters.
 
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