Tri-Cities, WA - Law enforcement uses two radio systems to communicate

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PACNWDude

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Just because VHF is "old" does not mean it is not useful. They should be using VHF/UHF/800-900MHz gear to be inter-operable with the rest of the area.

Also, if they are still using the vendor they had a couple of years ago, they have had a huge turn over of personnel. they need to find a more competent vendor. We are plagued with only a couple of vendors in the state of WA, and the two biggest players never keep good talent around very long. (Or that talent gets deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq for a year.)
 

12dbsinad

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"VHF is 35 years old". Yet, if they upgraded to a digital platform on VHF, im sure i'd be called "state of the art". ;)
 

PACNWDude

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@ 12dbsinad. Yes, they probably would say that.

I have seen in my local area, many groups with radio comms switch to digital because they were led to think that they had to, as part of the narrow band requirements also.

In several cases, their equipment was able to be changed to 12.5 kHz, but local salesmen convinced them that they had to go digital.

A local military unit purchased Motorola APX radios with the assumption that they were now inter-operable with local police and fire, but ordered UHF/800 MHz versions. The local police and fire department are using VHF.
I know the person who made the order and his background is in satellite communications and not handheld radio.

WA State has some interesting politics when it comes to buying equipment, maintaining inter-operability and reality.
 

12dbsinad

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I have seen in my local area, many groups with radio comms switch to digital because they were led to think that they had to, as part of the narrow band requirements also.

In several cases, their equipment was able to be changed to 12.5 kHz, but local salesmen convinced them that they had to go digital.
y.
Oh yes, I know what you mean. But hey, that's fine let them be dishonest. It just makes the "good" people stand out more. And, I can sleep well at night.
 

PACNWDude

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I listen to WSP all the time on VHF analog all the time. Pretty comical, some of the calls. If you are near the water, vessel traffic can be interesting to listen to as well.
 
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First, its not that P25 and analog VHF are incompatible, just requires a patch. Next WTF is wrong with the Sheriff of that county not wanting to keep his Deputies safe being able to communicate with surrounding communities? He needs to be educated and stop being so ignorant. I can tell he will be one that opposes the P25 mandate, "simply because his existing radios work fine".
 

PACNWDude

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This area has some comm issues because they have made poor choices in the past that cost the local tax payers a large amount of money for systems that do not work.
Personally, I know of one department buying the wrong brand of radio with grant money and then having to use state funds to replace them with the correct type.
Another department buying multi band radios without VHF, and VHF is very common and needed in WA state.
Then one vendor who can't seem to keep anyone employed long enough to know how to set up a digital system. They need to fire their head guy in Seatac, might help the problem.
Another PD was given a small boat to patrol with, with 12dB gain antennas, and wondered why they couldn't talk to anyone while bobbing around Puget Sound. I recommended 3dB antennas to them and they work now. (Once again, vendor was not knowledgeable.)
Lots of local issues that make this a problem, and some unique to this part of the country.
What works in other places does not always work here.
 

icom1020

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His system probably does 'work fine' because the Sheriff of Franklin County doesn't want to be another test bed for 800mhz, financially or technically. Once you go north of Pasco, its hills and canyons. It would take twice as many repeaters to come close to duplicating the VHF coverage. If you lived there and knew the history of the system, Benton County first got the 800mhz platform rolling in the late 90's, thanks to a fed grant related to Hanford. Then a few years ago, another $11 million was granted by the feds to upgrade to Phase 1. Pasco is a easy fix as they lie across the river and can affiliate with Joe Butte and other sites in the Kennewick/Richland area. Unless there is grant money or a bond floated to pay for a new backbone for Franklin County, along with subscriber fees to SECOMM, it will have to come out of someones budget.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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For non federal licensees, there is no such thing as a "P25" mandate nor a digital mandate. I have seen public procurement announcements in various City council agenda claiming that "the City of X must now purchase an 800 MHz digital P25 system upgrade from vendor Y due to FCC's digital mandate". In one case the system already had been upgraded to CAI (Users hate it). Sometimes these announcements cite narrow-banding even though the licensee is clearly at 800 MHz already. I just grit my teeth.

That being said the VHF/UHF narrow-banding mandate has pretty much crippled some wide area systems. After NB, they likely need to simulcast their analog systems or bite the bullet and go digital. And P25 is not mandated for state and local public safety. They still have the option to consider other technology unless they are tied to a federal grant that "recommends" P25 compatibility. Even so, if you can demonstrate that another technology works, you can argue and perhaps prevail.
 

ff-medic

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We learned law enforcement agencies in our area use two different forms of radios to communicate with each other.

Police officers rely heavily on their ability to talk to each other. And, in 2014, that's still done using a radio.

If officers are chasing a suspect and that person moves between jurisdictions, the communication among police becomes all the more critical.
I was always in favor of a mutual aid channel / dedicated freq. A lot of agencies...both fire and law enforcement tie up the primary frequency. Cops get in a chase and go out of their jurisdiction they change over to the anointing agency's primary channel and tie it up for routine or emergency radio traffic. I will not write a book but there are other public safety agencies that have this problem covered. Watch the show "Cops" - study some of the cruisers in California. Notice the antennas on the cruisers.





It was paid for with a federal grant.
GREAT. That is what we pay taxes for. The department is not strained financially and does not have to cut back or limit services.


What's called a VHF radio has been around more than 35 years. And that's where Capt. Cobb says there's an issue.
.

There is nothing wrong with VHF High. It is a good system. From my location I like UHF. But if I had to pick a system for anywhere in the US and the choices was VHF Highband and 800 MHz, I would pick VHF High.

An upgrade would cost upwards of $5 million. Sheriff Lathim told me he has no plans to seek federal money to make the switch.
5 million for the backbone system. Software. Radios and accessories seems cheap to me. Why not apply for a Federal or even a State Grant ? Money is allocated each fiscal year for this. Take advantage of it instead of..... In essence.... Bill the taxpayers twice. Use Federal monies, that is what it is there for.

Unless your agency is in relatively flat terrain 800 MHz gets overly expensive. Expensive by itself over other comparable radio systems but the more towers you put up means that much more maintenance.


FF - Medic
 

sfd119

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There is no mandate. The new pipe dream for them is LTE, P25 is old news.
...actually there kind of is one. The FCC expects that licensees ultimately will implement equipment that is designed to operate on channel bandwidths of 6.25 kHz or less. However, there currently is no deadline
set for making this transition.

Eventually, the FCC would like all channels to be at 6.25kHz with, as far as I know, can't be done with Analog at this time. P25 emissions are 6.25kHz.
 

12dbsinad

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...actually there kind of is one. The FCC expects that licensees ultimately will implement equipment that is designed to operate on channel bandwidths of 6.25 kHz or less. However, there currently is no deadline
set for making this transition.

Eventually, the FCC would like all channels to be at 6.25kHz with, as far as I know, can't be done with Analog at this time. P25 emissions are 6.25kHz.
I think it will be many years before you see this type of mandate. Analog is still highly used, expecially for interoperability. It is the only protocol that nearly every radio (band dependant of course) will work regardless of anything else. Also, the FCC would like to have equipment operate at 6.25 Khz, it does't specify what type of protocol.
 
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