York, PA - Officials hope patch solves 911 radio communication glitches

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Seadoo

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Wonder why they didn't do what they did here in our county. Instead of buying portable radios for every firefighter, the county purchased one additional radio for each truck that was compatable with the fellow counties TRS. They hardwired their radio with the radio that was compatable with the other counties TRS together " sort of like a rick setup for motorola and with the flip of the channel selector switch on the portables, the firefighters would go to talkaround mode " Radio to Radio " and the truck would become the patch to the other counties system. the portables communications were relayed through the trucks radio to the sister county TRS allowing them to communicate with each other.
 

Jay911

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Same story on FireRescue1 at Pa. officials hope patch solves 911 radio glitches

Bistline said the patches have limitations. Responding firefighters have to be within the range of their home 911 system to use their own radios to communicate with responders from other counties, he said.

Otherwise, they'll have to communicate using the other county's equipment.
I have to admit total lack of knowledge about the counties and systems, other than the story content and a brief glance at each county here in the RRDB. The sad part is, one county is evidently using a standards based system and the other not.

Is there co-ordination usually in counties in the States when new systems are being built/spec'ed? Over such a small area, relatively speaking, as a few counties, you would think they would get together and have a multi-county system built that would cover everyone, and/or at least use either a standards based system or the same vendors so that interoperability wouldn't be a stumbling point. Here, a regional partnership consisting of several counties and a number of cities got together and established a working group which ultimately agreed to expand one city's trunk system to cover the entire partnership's coverage area.
 

W2NJS

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Sad, that's the only word for it, that the FD authorities of York and Cumberland could not coordinate the simple matter of one or two analog simplex fireground channels that were common to both departments.. They obviously have mutual aid agreements in force. That's not the whole answer to their coordination problems but it would have solved the comms problem at the referenced fire.

And someone should tell the reporter that the problem ain't bandwidth, it's programming!

Tom, W2NJS
 

Jay911

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Looking at the RRDB, it looks like one system is 500MHz, another is 800MHz, and both counties have VHF low-band equipment - one on 30MHz, one on 40MHz. (What's the appeal of low-band anyway?) I'm curious why the one system went into the 500s. Maybe the county was guaranteed the licenses by the FCC if they used such an empty part of the band (and 400/700/800 was not definitely available)?
 

ocguard

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York County uses 500mhz P25 trunking while Cumerland County uses 800mhz OpenSky.

The reason for York's chosing 500mhz was lack of sufficient available 800mhz frequencies (bordering the Baltimore metro area is a huge reason for this) AND 800mhz would have required 10+ additional towers. York County is, for the most part, rural, with a handful of urban centers. 500mhz is a happy medium to answer these different terrains.

As for lowband, York County abandoned all but one of it's 33mhz frequencies. It kept one for coordination with mainly medical helicopters, and only operates from 1 transmission site in the center of the county, making is unreliable for land-based mutual aid communication.

What I don't understand from the article is that it states that there is already a working patch between York County and PA State Police. PA State Police are using OpenSky 800mhz JUST LIKE Cumberland County. So if it worked for one, why not the other?

This is just another press release from YC911's Mr. Bistline trying to blow sunshine and make people think that they are really fixing problems. In reality, they just publish the fix of one problem over and over to make it appear that they are working hard. Interoperability solutions exist that can connect tin cans to Wendys drive-through headsets. Don't pat yourself on the back for purchasing something that's existed for years but you just discovered it.
 
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