Tacoma, WA - Investigators: Radio system failing officers and public

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kb2vxa

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"That’s because if that same call had been made over a newer, 800 megahertz system, which is what many surrounding jurisdictions use, the dispatchers at the law enforcement support agency would have known exactly who was calling in."

And the owl says... Oh RLY?

"Because with the newer system, as soon as the deputy keys the mic, a code is sent straight to the dispatcher’s screen, identifying the unit. It's just like caller ID."
If the signal can't be heard neither can the unit ID and it doesn't take an engineer to figure THAT one out!

Not sloppy reporting, I smell a craftily worded report from a media tool, a precursor to a proposal for a tax hike.

I want a nasty little Jewish Princess
With long phony nails and a hairdo that rinses
A horny little Jewish Princess
With a garlic aroma that could level Tacoma
Lonely inside
Well, she can swallow my pride
 
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W6KRU

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So their old radio system was not implemented properly when it was installed, as a result it puts officers lives at risk, and now all of a sudden this must be fixed by getting a new digital trunked system? Ha
 
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Baker845

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If they build out the Tacoma TRS system add sites and up grades to the sites the county has it would probley save Pierce county half amont money needed to build out new system from start to finsh. I thought that was the plan to build out Tacoma TRS so sheriff dept could move over to it? Dont think it would be good idea to build other 800 mhz system in Pierce county.
 

gmclam

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Radio "upgrades"

This article has to do with Pierce County Sheriff, which uses VHF, not Tacoma, which uses an 800 MHz system. I am from the area and my dad montiors them up there.

The Pierce County system has been in place for decades. It has a HUGE area to cover and that's best done by VHF. The city of Tacoma was originally on VHF, but moved to 800 to get more 'channels'/etc. Tacoma can be effectively covered by 800. But Tacoma's signal is marginal in Spanaway, and Eatonville is even farther away. Changing the county to 800 would be a BIGGER problem. They'd be far better off adding sites to their VHF system.

The fact that everyone wants the Motorola contract at twice the cost of its competitor, tells me there is a whole lot more to this story. It has little to do with "better radio coverage".
 
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cj5

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Sounds like propaganda to me just to get the taxpayers to approve a billion dollar radio system, that is simply overkill for their needs, and will enable the police to encrypt transmissions for unwarranted reasons. If the radio infrastructure is built correctly, they should not have a problem at all, and you do not need a 100% digital radio system to tell where an officer is. A band-aid is exactly what this department needs, not a revamp. Stop throwing wasted money at the problem! They should spend more time and effort analyzing the problems with the current old system, and discover cheaper and more efficient ways to solve their operability problems. If they think switching to 800mhz is going to improve the system significantly, then they are way off base, and should fire their system engineers, and hire people who actually know what they are doing. Just because it's newer technology doesn't mean it's going to help improve signal integrity. There was a large amount of spacing in the first transmission, that even the best digital platform would produce the same result. There are current analog systems that use a squelch tone to pass a GPS data before transmission anyhow. This news report is hogwash!
 
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Wouldn't a voting Receiver help out? I knew I was going to hear the system is old it needs to be updated bah bah we need p25 now it's going to fix all the dead spots......
 

gmclam

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Pierce County SO

Wouldn't a voting Receiver help out? I knew I was going to hear the system is old it needs to be updated bah bah we need p25 now it's going to fix all the dead spots......
The point here is that 800 MHz won't make it better, P25 won't make it better, and blindly throwing money at Motorola won't make it better.

A qualified engineer needs to look at the components of the system, the overall design, and the problem areas. They are already operating in the best band for coverage. The county is too vast to cover from a single site.
 

SCPD

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Re:

For one, I noticed the screen shown in the news video shows a VHF PTT ID. You can hear them using on some parts this setup. However we all know not all agencies have every single user on a MDC/STAR/ATIS capable radio. A 800 MHZ system may have a PTT ID option but so does VHF/UHF systems. I hate this Motorola push for digital and 800 mhz trunked. For one I hear nothing but issues with it and near by areas always have chaos with the trunked systems. Exactly as others put it, just a excuse to upgrade, encrypt everything, and pay the big M a dump load of money.

The digital systems in my opinion suck as I deal with it everyday.
 

k7frk

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I hate it when people don't know what they're talking about. P25, 800mHz, etc. will not solve their problem. The extenders are a good option, but clearly not the best. The best thing they could do is build out their current system with more sites. Also, all of the high speed "features" like the "caller ID" are available on conventional systems. They could upgrade what they have currently for far fewer dollars than starting over from scratch. Going to a trunked system also is not always a good thing especially being in a region prone for earthquakes and with a volcano or two nearby. If the big quake hits, the trunked system is going to go down. With conventional VHF, they may loose a site or two, but they system can keep working. With the mandated narrow-band coming up, there are more frequencies they could add to the system especially with everyone else vacating VHF. Besides, if a trunked system is what they are after, they do make VHF trunking systems, but again, you have to hope the computer stays up and running. Someone needs to inject a little common sense into the discussion before the tax payers and the emergency responders get screwed.

73,

Fred
K7FRK
 

Baker845

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K7frk,

You are right, adding more sites will help,But your never going to get good covege on HT no matter what you do. Douglas county Oregon up graded and added new sites to there radio system but, HT covege hasn't changed in parts of rural areas still even throw the sites were added. I think best thing for Pierce County Law vhf system is to upgrade sites and add vhf repeaters to areas where there deadspots, and put extenders in all cars.
 

mattinrsvl

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A “digital” system is not the answer.

What they are looking for is “stat alert” a function of the radio that will identify who is talking by name or car number. That feature is available in VHF UHF and 800 MHz. It sounds like they need a good voter/repeater system in place and increase the number of receivers so that the repeater can hear the portable radios, plus include “stat alert” so the dispatcher can identify who is talking.

One person suggested switch to Nextel as a low cost alternative. That would be foolish and actually cost more. $70 per month x 75 employees x 12 months. ..Do the math. On top of that, how many times has your Nextel been in a dead spot?

A “digital” radio system that all the big companies work OK until there is excessive background noise, like a siren, a person yelling, or a loud fire truck pump. The Dispatcher hears mush & static on the other end.

Radio systems in law enforcement are like the evidence room. Administration could give a crap about them until something is missing or goes wrong. Then the poo poo hits the fan and everyone has knee jerk reactions and wants to spend fifty million dollars to quickly reinvent the wheel.
 

gmclam

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You are right, adding more sites will help, But you're never going to get good covege on HT no matter what you do.
I'd disagree with that statement. Their HTs could simply operate as a "extender" to their vehicles. What should be done depends on the exact needs of the department.
 

kb2vxa

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All being experts you guys could be a great help to the city (like a garlic aroma that could level Tacoma). Trouble is like a room full of engineers no two can agree on any one thing. (;->)
 

gmclam

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All being experts you guys could be a great help to the city
Yes we could. They should hire one of us.

(like a garlic aroma that could level Tacoma)
Having grown up there, I don't think you know the irony of your comment. There's an old saying: "The aroma of Tacoma ..."

Trouble is like a room full of engineers no two can agree on any one thing. (;->)
It appears that in this room many of us agree that there is nothing wrong with Pierce county remaining on VHF and a move to 800 would make things worse.
 
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