Thread: VHF Digital P25

  1. #26
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    DHS is not requiring P25. Some states do, and because of that DFS makes you match that state requirement. What state are you in?

    With a VHF P25 radio going for just under a grand now, the prices have gotten better, just not good enough.

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    Correct me if I am wrong but the PSIC grant did not make a state go P25. It was up to the states to determne allocation of money and make determining factors.

    However it has been my expereinece with SAFECOMM/DHS that P25 was what they were requiring. I cut out the part of the grant below. We are in CA and got denied grant money for non-p25 portable radios even though they were narrowband and that digital isnt required until 2018.

    "Funding requests by agencies to replace or add radio equipment to an existing
    non-P25 system (such as procuring new portables for an existing analog system) will be
    considered if there is an explanation for how the radio selection will improve interoperability
    or support eventual migration to interoperable systems. Absent these compelling reasons,
    SAFECOM intends that P25 equipment will be preferred for LMR systems to which the
    standard applies."

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    The word is prefered, not required. It is all in justification and planning. If you can show that P25 is not in use anywhere near you and never will be in the forseeable future, document that. You need to well document what you want, why you want it, and why it is the absolute best design and most effeiciant way to spend the money. If you aren't requesting P25, then explain WHY you aren't and why it is actually beneficial to NOT get it. Also include how this fits in with your state's communication plan as this is a major factor in decision making.

    You are absolutely right that conventional (non-trunking) and non-encrypted use of P25 digital is moronic. Make your case for such and see what happens.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    We did make our case on those exact things you mentioned and got shot down. We did end up getting the grant money but had to change what we were going to purchase. We ended up purchasing mobile radios that were P25. We didn't buy the radio because its P25 we actually like the radio and it happens to be P25. We ended up getting the TK-5710 which is the big brother to the Tk-790. We already had a few Tk-5710's and the grant money was enough to convert the whole fleet. Why does Safecomm/DHS even give a crap if its P25. P25 does not = interoperability. I am so tired of hearing that. P25 means nothing at this point except more money for the comm industry.

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    Actually it means the opposite of interoperability since it totally inhibits everyone else from communicating with you. I'll never understand the concept. It was clearly thought up by someone who doesn't actually use it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Project 25 Is not a "standard" in this current communications market.
    Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO).. Their brilliant idea was that P25 would take over the world.

    It won't.. It's just too damn expensive for agencies to switch to. The FCC Mandated states that 2013, all public safety is to be Narrow-band. Beyond that, there has been no direction for radio specs, or a "type" of radio or even a format.

    Will the format be Project 25? doubt it. I'm guessing that the current technology will be pushing a new radio format soon!.... All the manufacturers are scrambling to push their own version of digital and still provide analog operations. Kenwood has NXDN, Motorola has MOTOTURBO, Icom has IDAS etc.. etc..

    Best system I have seen is the NXDN 6.25kHz Trunking system. Mototurbo is 6.25 equivalent... blah.. and Icom should have trunking soon.

    Prices for current 6.25kHz digital equipment? Half the cost of P25 Stuff and a 1/4 the cost of any Motorola stuff.

    P25 Equipment pricing? Not really that bad if you're using Kenwood 5210/5710 equipment or even Icom F70D/F1721D stuff. Motorola P25 is O...M...G!!! expensive.

    Currently I have most Icom stuff up to 25% off standard price. www.talktwoway.net Not bad stuff, but if you're interested in any Kenwood equipment, contact your local Kenwood dealer. If you're a member of the WSCA, you can get up to 37% discount also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Actually it means the opposite of interoperability since it totally inhibits everyone else from communicating with you. I'll never understand the concept. It was clearly thought up by someone who doesn't actually use it.
    What they mean by interoperability is, the mobile or portable can receive and transmit in a dual mode configuration.

    You can set a digital channel up to receive digital and analog and transmit analog, or receive digital and analog and transmit digital.

    It's all in the programming. If the programmer sets up zones and banks correctly you can work with agencies using both P25 and Analog Narrow-Band systems.

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    No you can't. Only that agency with the digital radios can do both. All the other agencies with non-digital radios will not be able to hear a word the digital department says. Mutual becomes pretty difficult when you have no communications. Changing to a different channel that is analog when you need to invite mutual aid in is ridiculous.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    RadiomanWA,

    I went to the WSCA website. Can CA local gov purchase kenwood radios through that agreement? Any inof on the process would be great. I have an email into them but anything you can think of would be nice.

    AJ

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    Analog only users will need something like this... http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/acu_m/

    There are other models that can handle larger operations, but this one is a mobile type unit. You can connect 4 different types of radios or whatever..

    So, analog VHF <> P25 VHF. All you need to do is purchase 1-2 VHF P25 Radios and you can multi cast that over Analog. Working on tactical channels on scene usually only consist of 1-2 channels. As long as you know your surroundings (P25 info) you can pre-program the P25 radios for each mutual aid situation.

    Why purchase all new P25 Radio when you can add one of these to a vehicle that can be put on scene and relay all P25 digital conversations over Analog radios.

    PM me if you need something like this or interested in any documentation or pricing.
    Last edited by RadiomanWA; 06-10-2009 at 03:18 PM.

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    Or you can just leave everything analog and not need any of that crap. Analog conventional is interoperable with everyone, everywhere, every brand, without any special equipment. There is nothing you can say or offer that changes this. Making a channel into digital conventional INHIBITS interoperability with everyone else and drives up the cost of all the equipment. Benefits gains, none.

    I'm well aware of the ACU and other similar products. They have their place, this should not be one of them.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Or you can just leave everything analog and not need any of that crap. Analog conventional is interoperable with everyone, everywhere, every brand, without any special equipment. There is nothing you can say or offer that changes this. Making a channel into digital conventional INHIBITS interoperability with everyone else and drives up the cost of all the equipment. Benefits gains, none.

    I'm well aware of the ACU and other similar products. They have their place, this should not be one of them.
    It's too late to leave everything alone. The larger fire departments and Police Departments are convinced (in my area) that they need P25 Radios. I can talk till I'm blue in the face about what they should do, or recommend, but to no avail. Now that the larger districts have P25 Radios, a lot of the smaller districts do not. Some of the districts just cannot replace 20 radios that in Analog world would cost them $11,000, but under P25 compliance would run them $40,000 minimum. That’s assuming they use something other than Motorola, otherwise just tack on about $20,000 more.

    I agree with your assessment on interoperability. Until 2017-18 I myself would not take any drastic measures to my radio system other then Narrow-Band, see where the market is at that time, following any regulations or mandates by the FCC then base my decision on that.

    But until then, districts that are unable to afford P25 Radios DO have options! Purchase 1-2 P25 Mobiles and an item similar to the JPS stuff and provide communications between themselves and districts or departments that have already made the move to P25. Simplex Tactical channels for onsite co-op fire is fairly straight forward.

    If all the districts in your area haven’t moved to P25 nor have any digital units, this whole issue is just hot air. Otherwise, the small guy needs options. There are options.
    Last edited by RadiomanWA; 06-10-2009 at 07:50 PM.

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    We were forced to deal with the same issues when some, not all of our districts moved to the 800MHz Trunking system and left the smaller districts with analog conventional systems behind.

    We provided interoperability for those people as well...

    Now that the 800 Mhz is gone in our area, everything has changed.


    But guess who is still operational...???? Analog VHF Conventional radios. So they had to reprogram to Narrow-Band. Big deal. Sick to see how much money can be thrown at systems and design to have them come right back to Analog VHF after a few years.

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    Trying to work with a neighbor that is trunked is a totally different world, I agree. I'm really talking about some dumb@ss police chief that thinks he is cool by making his department conventional digital. Waste of money and effectively turns them into an island.

    An ACU is a temporary solution to a permanent problem and it only works when someone brings it with them and turns it on and everyone switches to the patch channel. My point is, we shouldn't even have to do this. Unfortunately, as you said, some people are too dense to grasp the concept.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Only thing to gain by going Digital Conventional is privacy, providing you're using AES or DES encryption. Other then that, a total waste of time and money.

    There are places and applications for digital with encryption, like government projects or nuclear applications.

    Only good thing about being conventional regardless of digital or analog, is the delay in X-Repeaters don't have to be as long as Trunking or Repeater configurations.

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    Default Acu

    Quote Originally Posted by RadiomanWA View Post
    Analog only users will need something like this... http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/acu_m/

    There are other models that can handle larger operations, but this one is a mobile type unit. You can connect 4 different types of radios or whatever..

    So, analog VHF <> P25 VHF. All you need to do is purchase 1-2 VHF P25 Radios and you can multi cast that over Analog. Working on tactical channels on scene usually only consist of 1-2 channels. As long as you know your surroundings (P25 info) you can pre-program the P25 radios for each mutual aid situation.

    Why purchase all new P25 Radio when you can add one of these to a vehicle that can be put on scene and relay all P25 digital conversations over Analog radios.
    These ACU devices, and others like them, are fine for situations where you'll have a trained radio tech right in front of them while they're in use. There are NOT (IMHO) a device you can turn your back on. We've had too many situations where radios start playing ping pong. One unkey causes another radio to key, and so on and so on... They'll work for hours just fine and then some combination of signals makes the radios go crazy and then it's all over for all the linked channels. They are like duct tape. They can save the day but you don't want any in a permanent system solution.

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    Default Narrowbanding and Simulcast

    Quote Originally Posted by wilcom8972 View Post
    So to recap, this is really a small issue since most departments have been buying radios from manufacturers who have been making this type of radio for over 6 years or more, you just dont know it. Just have your local radio shop do the programming or buy the software and cables and do it yourself. Its easy to do and I have done it several times in my county.
    One big catch in narrowbanding. If you're analog and you use simulcast, things get very expensive very fast.

    Simulcast means your system has transmitters that work together to give better talk-out range. They are timed using GPS to make sure they all transmit on the same frequency and at the same time so there is no interference and no echo effect. More sites transmitting means wider area coverage and far fewer dead spots. If you turn a corner away from one transmitter, there's a good chance you just turned toward another transmitter. Most trunking systems use simulcast but it's very common on conventional public safety systems. Just to give you an idea, one of our conventional dispatch channels would have about 5 TX/RX sites and maybe another 6 RX only sites. It's totally invisible to the users. But simulcast gets way more complicated when you need to narrowband it. The tolerances are already tight. Cutting the deviation in half makes it much more complicated. If your system does use simulcast, please let us know how things are looking for narrowbanding.

    The vendor's solution for this? Go digital. Many of the technical issues go away in digital. Of course, for the fire service, the problems digital brings are far worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayVaughan View Post
    One big catch in narrowbanding. If you're analog and you use simulcast, things get very expensive very fast.
    Why does the narrowband simulcast get so expensive? I know in simulcast you have multiple sites, so each site would need to be worked on. So, for instance, narrowbanding a one repeater system would be 1X cost factor, while a three site simulcast would be 3X.

    We suffer from a few hills and ridge lines and nothing high enough in town to get 100% coverage. I think we are more than 95% portable coverage, but did solicit proposals to help get us to 100%. One proposal was a dollar sign followed by 6 digits, the other was much less (only five digits). In both cases, the vendors knew that we were already narrowband. I did not see anything in the proposals that would seem to change the price whether the system was wide or narrow.

    Brian

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    Icom has WSCA at 37.25% discount and the best match in P25 and Analog radios on the market now. Not only MIL spec but I.S AND Submersible. you can buy conventional analog, digital or digital capable.
    For more info and prices email me n8972@williamscom.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by wilcom8972 View Post
    Icom has WSCA at 37.25% discount and the best match in P25 and Analog radios on the market now. Not only MIL spec but I.S AND Submersible. you can buy conventional analog, digital or digital capable.
    For more info and prices email me n8972@williamscom.com
    Now, if we are going to start this stuff, then contact my son at Victor@frostytowers.com for prices on Icom.

    And his web page does not have equipment the FCC says you cannot use!

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    There's a really good article in the CSFA (California State FF Assoc) magazine last month giving watch outs and pro/con to various radio strategies. Check it out at
    http://legacy.csfa.net/csfamag/ca fire service nov-dec/index.html?pageNumber=12

    The bottom line is be careful! My own opinion: at least here in CA we have an outstanding mutual aid/interop radio plan that is 90% VHF analog. The system serves us very well and in my county, there is absolutely no reason to go digital for the moment.

    Somebody else stated that in the next 10 years, all the rules will change and technology will be turned on its head. Stick with what works for now, and change when there are compelling advantages to doing so.

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    Default Radio Guy Thoughts

    It is what it is. Not P25 but a good system. It is a ETSI DMR Tier 2 TDMA system that has the benefits of 2 voice channels per repeater. The radios meet high specs similar to a XTS and XTL series. The repeaters will operate dual mode so analog paging is still possible. The current repeater software supports 16 IP connected sites in any combination of 2 paths per site. The multisite trunking system is due to release soon. Avtec and Trbonet are releasing packages to direct control the repeaters at a console level. It's really a question of budget and what you can afford. I would fire your radio shope just yet. Hope that helps...

    RG

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    Default Narrowbanding Mandate

    As discussed above, there is no FCC requirement to go P25 when you narrowband. Further, narrowbanding only applies to VHF and UHF (including T-Band), not low band or high band.

    We've put together a website with all of this information, plus lots of FAQs. I will continuously update it as the FCC releases information.

    www.narrowbandinglaw.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    OMG. I can't believe I missed this. CMJONES, Everything MMFIRE has told you about your situation is corect. (The multi site from what I gather does not apply to your situation anyways)

    There is NO requirement to go P25, with one caveat. In order to qualify for many grant opportunities you have to comply with your state interoperabilty plan when asking for communications equipment. As an example, in Missouri we have to ask for VHF P25 radios to comply with the state plan. (800 if we are within an UASI area)

    You can check with your state office of emergency management to check compliance.

    Mototrbo digital is not compliant with any state plan.

    Your plan to keep fireground on analog is a good one.

    Only unscrupulous Motorola dealers (Or any other manufacturer pushing
    their own digital format) are pushing this for public safety, and it is evil.....
    I agree. It really is evil. Why would anybody want a public safety network in 800Mhz? The coverage with 800Mhz is extremely poor meaning that you will need tons of base stations...meaning that the network will be very expensive. Meaning that Motorola will earn tons of money! Another huge problem with P25 is the battery live. Since the P25 radios are continuously logged into the system the battery doesnt last longer than a day. And hey...there will never be any pagers for P25...who would want to carry around a 4 pound radio on his belt all day? I wouldnt!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayVaughan View Post
    The vendor's solution for this? Go digital. Many of the technical issues go away in digital. Of course, for the fire service, the problems digital brings are far worse.
    What exact problems do you think fire departments would experience when going digital?

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