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Unified Statewide Comm System - will it happen?

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realgeo

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Good evening!

In reading many upon MANY posts in these forums and observing how some surrouning states are doing their systems, one has to ask, "Why doesn't Nebraska seem to have a comprehensive plan for a unified state-wide, interoperable communications system?"

I realize that there are a MULTITUDE of issues to work around when considering this point, and there's always the issue of the heat drastically affecting that small grove of "money trees" in the far northwest reaches of the state, but it just seems as if everyone is out doing their own thing, thinking very little of how to make everything work together.

For instance, you still have the NSP running the good ole' low-band system, and you have counties, like the one named for Peter Cass, who are building systems that don't seem to have forward-looking capacities to co-operate with neighboring systems, such "ORIN".

I know that it's easy to say all of this, considering the politics and other issues that come up, but from the layman's point of view, it seems as if a more centralized "view" needs to come into play.

Those are just some random thoughts - what does everyone think?

73's
George B.
 

SCPD

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Mainly money.
Also you get people that think hey the system is broken why fix it.
Lets see here low band. Many radio dealers don't provide tech supports or parts anymore.
Then some people want 800MHz, because they bought into Motorola's and other radio dealers' sales pitch, while others want VHF or UHF. A VHF system would be hard for Nebraska to do since both S. Dakota and Wyoming are using VHF trunking systems. They may interfere with each other. What would probably work good for Nebraska is a UHF trunking system. This is if the state would do a trunking system and it does NOT have to be digital.

A statewide system does not have to be trunking. It can be conventional. The state of Nebraska has radio towers through out the state for State Patrol, Game and Parks, Roads, and other agencies. What they could do is put repeaters on the towers they already have and on other agencies towers. The repeaters can be linked together so you can repeat 800Mhz on VHF, UHF, and low band (39.9) and vise versa. This way ever one can keep their own system and still be able to talk to anyone in the state. This way you would not have to put a radio that is for a different band in your emergency vehicle. Every mobile, base, and portable radio that a Public Safety agency has must have those frequencies in it for the band that they use. If your agency has a UHF system, either conventional or trunking, all of your radios must have the UHF Mutual Aid frequencies in them.
 

red8

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I SPOKE WITH AN OFFICER IN NEW ORLEANS ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO, AND HE TOLD ME WHEN THEY WERE ON THE OLD UHF
SYSTEM THAT THE GOAL WAS TO HOOK EVERY POLICE DEPARTMENT IN THE COUNTRY THROUGH A SERIES O REPEATERS
BUT THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED. I HOPE WITH THE NEW 700MHZ
INTEROPERABILITY PROJECT THAT HAPPENING DOWN IN LOUISIANA WOULD HELP BUT I DON'T KNOW. WITH THE WAY THE
POLITICAL CLIMATE IS DOWN HERE OUR GOVERNOR DECIDED THAT IT IS NOT WORTH IT CUTTING SOME $92 MILLION OF PORK
FROM THE STATE'S BUDGET SHE DECIDED TO ONLY CUT $3 MILLION WORTH OF PORK FROM THE BUDGET AND THIS IS TO SHOW THE REST OF THE NATION THAT LOUISIANA IS TRYING TO
BE FISCALLY RESPOSNIBLE BULL PUCKIE
red8
 

realgeo

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Howdy, once again, everyone!

You make a very valid point, KG4WHM!! It's mostly a monetary issue to purchase more equipment to tie existing systems together.

I agree - a DIGITAL mode state-wide system is NOT the entire answer for Nebraska, or any other state for that matter. These days, when you talk Interoperability, EVERYONE naturally thinks about P25 Digital Trunking, but a system like that is only part of the solution. Until you have a network of interconected communications assets, you still have a multitude of "islands" that may not be able to communicate with each other.

I like the idea of a state-wide UHF system. And you're right about the tower inventory around the state. Not only do you have Dept of Roads, Games and Parks, NSP, and others, but you also have NET's network of broadcast towers.

There are many avenues to be considered in creating a unified approach and only considering certain technological options at the expense of discarding other viable methods doesn't do anyone any good!

Good discussion - let's keep it rolling! NeFire242 - what's your take?

73's
 

SCPD

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The state really needs a TRUE statewide mutual aid system. Not just one or two low band frequencies. Here in Omaha every public safety agency can talk to each other. But non of them can talk to NSP directly.

In December, I believe, a NSP officer got into a foot pursuit in Ralston. The only way the NSP officer could talk to Ralston PD, Omaha PD, and Douglas County SO was through either his dispatcher calling the Douglas county dispatcher or standing next to the other officers.
 

realgeo

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Yep, I believe you're right about that incident with the NSP.

And, you recited a TRUE example of LOW-BAND - Officers standing next to each and talking! AF (Audio Frequency) is TRUE LOW BAND! :*)

Regarding the Omaha area, are the agencies using the 800 MHz. NPSPAC frequencies, or do they still rely on someting like 155.4750?

What have you heard about Fremont and Dodge County? I know that they have a VHF Sheriff repeater and some VHF/UHF channels for city-based services such as Fire, Rescue, Utilities, and Police.

I also am aware that they have some 4GHz channels in the digital mode, but again, it ties back into my initial them of "everyone for themselves"! Is anyone in the Omaha area using 4GHz?

73's
 

twister19

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Every state is better at something then another state is. Take for instance Iowa, they have one of the best "interop" plans then any of the other states in the region while Nebraska may fall short on communications they have the best health care systems around (our taxes will prove that one). However, I believe that we should keep every community on low band as an interop ability until such times that Nebraska can have the ability to do a state-wide trunking system. Even then they should still have lowband as backup coms in the event of a state-wide failure. In order to finish we must start somewhere, however, the way that we (Nebraska) is approching our problem is one of no sence at all. Whoever came up with these plans knows nothing about radios or the theory of radios. Cass County was forced into using their state granted money into improving their system. By improving I mean rebuilding with all 800 equipment. The county was not able to have a say in the matter, if they wanted the money they had to go with the 800 system. With only 28,000 people in the 540 square mile county 800 seems a little too far streached for me. I think that the money should have gone to enable the county to update their fire channels and get all of the fire departments on VHF frequency while putting more towers up in the southeastern side of the county for the sheriffs to use. Then down the road (15 years or longer) they can think about 800 trunking.
 

twister19

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Come to think of it, I would be a hell of a lot better at cordinating state frequencies then the state cordinater is right now. Yes, I know nothing about radios except that the button that says power turns it on and off and that the button on the mic let you talk to someone on the other end :p
 

NeFire242

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realgeo said:
Regarding the Omaha area, are the agencies using the 800 MHz. NPSPAC frequencies, or do they still rely on someting like 155.4750?
I mainly hear Pottawattamie County and a few other Iowa agencies using the .475 mutual aid (National Law) freq. I never hear Douglas County or Sarpy when I'm in that area ever use it. Sarpy does use the NPSPAC freqs, but I've never heard them used to talk to Douglas, and I've always heard patches just being created for the most part whenever Douglas or Sarpy needed to talk to anyone like Cass or Council Bluffs.
 

NeFire242

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KG4WHM said:
But non of them can talk to NSP directly.
Who's fault is that? DC is licensed for 39.9. Telephone State Radio and make their NSP cruiser go to Mutual Aid for DC. ( Or make a low band patch! *gasp* )

DONE!
 

NeFire242

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KG4WHM said:
Easy don't fix something that ain't broke. Keep the low band. That will be his answer:p
Awww, I love you too Nate.

Yes low band works, which is why NSP is still there. This provides the maximum coverage for what their needs are. However I still think it would not hurt to put a Spectra or Maxtrac in the NSP cruisers with if nothing else the 800MHz mutual aid channels. This would allow them to talk directly to many of the counties migrating or already at the 800MHz band, without the need to rely on a trunking system, or a patch.

You guys are hams you should know the characteristics of certain bands and why they are in use.
 

NeFire242

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twister19 said:
Iowa, they have one of the best "interop" plans then any of the other states
Agreed Iowa does have a good band plan. It helps too since much of the state is on VHF.


twister19 said:
In order to finish we must start somewhere, however, the way that we (Nebraska) is approching our problem is one of no sence at all.

Yes I agree we should start somewhere, but the problem is how would the counties out West who hardly have a need for a digital trunked system with encryption pay for such a thing? They're happy with their lowband because it works. To them microwave is what you use to make popcorn with, and that's it.


twister19 said:
Whoever came up with these plans knows nothing about radios or the theory of radios. Cass County was forced into using their state granted money into improving their system. By improving I mean rebuilding with all 800 equipment.
Sure looks that way. I am just wondering if Cass will keep their VHF radios in the patrol cars just to use as another talk-around or if there are coverage issues with the 800MHz. They still use their low band a lot, and I can hear it for quite a ways. Plattsmouth uses it more as a car-to-car since they can't really do direct as they're simplex.

I just envision some officers going with the 800 stuff while others are hesitant to make the switch and will do half on the old VHF and the other half on 800 or their low band.
 

twister19

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No, Cass County will keep their VHF radios in the car and they will leave their low band in there too. They will just get a third mic to put up with. They still need to talk directly to fire sometimes and beings that they are on VHF and WILL NOT GO to 800 the officers will have to keep their old run down VHF spectra radios in the car.
 

43g70

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A state wide interop system is a waste. Only the state would benefit from it. There a reason that Users like NSP and County Sheriff use low band. That is coverage.

The Omaha part of the "great" ORIN sytem has 7 sites. With low band you could cover that with, uh 2 sites. Yes it is simplex but it is for the officers and us, scanner people.

On Cass, they are moving forward for a system that will be better than their single site VHF repeater that doesn't the hills of 75. If they join the "ORIN", what would they gain? They don't have a single border with Douglas or Washigton. They are the only people on the ORIN system of public safety type communications. If anything they would be with Sarpy Type II mixed mode or Lincoln's EDACS. Neither of their system even touch "ORIN", but they don't have "interop" talkgroups on Douglas.

Also find a non digital trunking sytem other than EDACS or LTR.

LTR is intended for Business becuase of it lack of reduancy. EDACS would put Omaha, Sarpy, Dakota County and a few others on a island. Plus do you want your tax dollars to buy a Tyco, INC. produced radios.

Plus trunking system would require a group of poeple that would only do database for the radios on the sytem. With 93 counties of possible user plus the state depts, they would have a lot of work and updating to do all to time. Also who is going to do the programing for trunking radios? A trunking radio needs and ID to talk. They have to be programed by trusted radio shops that would only give the talkgroups you are supposed to have.

Conventional programing for radios of repeaters that the state own like Iowa would be a lot easier to do but it could by anyone with a VHF or UHF radio and you don't need a stinking ID turned on the system. Each dispatch center would have radio for the radio resource near them. You could start to migrate counties to us these instead of Low band and use low band for On Scene communications between two Sepearate enity. The counties would keep the low band for back up but not use if for dispatcher to dispatcher traffic but use the new resource instead.



43g70
 
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twister19

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This is the deal with the "state wide" interop plan. They think that if they force every county into building new towers and placing 800 systems on it then their statepatrol will be able to have better interop with local agencies then they do now. From what I understand is that they are making counties put up these systems to allow the state to take them over whenever they dang well please...but that was the interpretation that i got.
 

NeFire242

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twister19 said:
This is the deal with the "state wide" interop plan. They think that if they force every county into building new towers and placing 800 systems on it then their statepatrol will be able to have better interop with local agencies then they do now.
Force eh? The only reason certain counties are mirgrating to 800 is from things like DHS funds. They could easily deny having to make a switch. There are current systems in place used in this state that do not need to be upgraded or “fixed” because they meet the end users current requiments, and as long as they have a base station or mobiles that allow for 39.98, then the mutual aid issue is taken care of.

twister19 said:
From what I understand is that they are making counties put up these systems to allow the state to take them over whenever they dang well please...but that was the interpretation that i got.
I think people often think their department or agency should have NSP freq in them, or that the NSP should have their depts freqs in them. This is why we have mutual aid. The state would have to have radios with IDs and TGs programmed into them in order for them to take over such systems as the Sarpy or “ORIN” system. This means the mentality of the state "taking over" cannot just happen.

I want to see how Iowa State Patrol plays a part in this with Pott Co joining the “Interop with God ORIN” system. No one has yet to answer my question on if the system fails, who gets first priority. I’m thinking OPPD since it’s their system and potentially the largest customer per se. Only time will tell.

Last month I also posted the Interop Plans from the State and NEMA office:
http://radioreference.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39677
 

NeFire242

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Low Band Point To Point

43g70 said:
There a reason that Users like NSP and County Sheriff use low band. That is coverage.
YAY! Someone is getting the idea.

43g70 said:
If they join the "ORIN", what would they gain?
One of those nifty little bottle opener keychains with every purchase. =)

That is my point, how often do you think Douglas, Washington, and Pott County would talk to Cass? So why have the expense? If anything they would be better off joining with Sarpy who already has a way of connecting with Douglas county. If they go with the Lancaster EDACS, you may begin to run into issues with the two different type trunking systems and trying to talk to the guy next to you.

43g70 said:
do you want your tax dollars to buy a Tyco, INC. produced radios.
Don’t really have a say in what brand / model of radio they purchase. Just remember you get what you pay for.

43g70 said:
With 93 counties of possible user plus the state depts, they would have a lot of work and updating to do all to time.
Security is a good thing to mention. With a system so vast and large keeping track of all the TGIDs would be a monumental task to say the least! A person could easily throw a TGID on the system and program up radios and no one would notice it most likely. Not to mention a radio couldn’t possible hold all of the TGIDs that would need to be made. And you know there would be a group of people who would want their own Talk Groups and a list of others, plus other abilities such as I-Call, etc. This would be a nightmare.

43g70 said:
The counties would keep the low band for back up but not use if for dispatcher to dispatcher traffic but use the new resource instead.
They could in turn use the low band as a point-to-point much like Iowa does.
 

NeFire242

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realgeo said:
Is anyone in the Omaha area using 4GHz?
The only 4.9 GHz license I have found for Douglas County Nebraska is WQCS526.

However, I have noticed a lot more little gray boxes and beam antennas on some of the intersections last time I was in Omaha. Near 16th and Capital, 16th and Cuming were just a few I noticed. Not sure the purpose but I am starting to see them more and more around the city. No idea behind the use. The beams are pointed towards the West.
 
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