Thread: narrow banding

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    Vol
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    Default narrow banding

    My department is preparing to be narrow banded. Just worried that we will have a hard time getting signal in some low line areas in our district. we have discussed some opions with the county board but really have not got the best answers from them. I would like to be similar the sheriffs department with a bunch of repeater spread through out the district/county. but that all cost money. I think commucation is becoming more and more important and we shouldn't have to worry if we have it or not.
    What are some thoughts on this, from other rural departments out there that cover a large area like we do with hills, canyons, trees and ect.
    Any input would be greats thanks everyone.

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    We're very worried about comms in the South West part of our county because they're not very good right now on wide band. The Sheriffs Deputies have mobile repeaters and they have problems sometimes as well. Our Comm Center is looking at putting up a big repeater in our town on top of the local grain elevator. I don't know if that will fix it or not. You'd think will all the technology today it wouldn't be a problem.

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    Vol
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    I can't believe it is something we are worried about either. I agree you would think it would be getting better not worse. I think we will see better coverage when we eventually go digital but that may be years down the road for my understanding.

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    Narrowbanding doesn't reduce your signal strength. If your base stations are going out on 100 watts now, they'll be at 100 watts afterwards.

    Narrowbanding does reduce the amount of modulation - ie, volume. However, if both the transmitter and receiver are narrowbanded, that should be a wash.

    715 - If your base station is where I think it is, I see your problem, and a repeater in your town would help a great deal. Changing the entire county over to a repeated system, such as your sheriff's office uses, would help even more.

    Technology doesn't fix physics. In fact, going to a UHF system generally requires the addition of several repeater sites, since UHF is far more line-of-sight than VHF.
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    Narrowbanding will not decrease your coverage but if it is in conjunction with a switch from analog to digital equipment, you will have problems. The old analog radio systems had fringe areas where the signal strength was marginal but still functional. Digital has no fringe areas.

    South Dakota switched to a digital trunked system about ten years ago. We still have dead spots throughout the state. The same problem exists with digital cell phones. You can sometimes move one step and either gain or lose the signal.

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    Well right now we can hear our base about 45 miles away with the truck radios and we can talk back to it just fine with this set up. The problem we have is with our Comm Center which is about 14 miles away from our city (One Comm Center covers the whole county) and the lack of concern they seem to have as to wether or not we can hear them or vise versa. The biggest concern we have is with paging, as of right now if you're not standing exactly right you don't pick up anything with your pager. We actually get paged off of a repeater, but its 16 miles away from us, we've argued that point from the beginning but it has gone no where.

    Maybe the radio folks were talking about the modulation and we didn't understand? I know they want to sell radios, but they knew from the beginning that we wouldn't need to buy any, just have ours switched over since they are all new enough and compatible.

    I'm getting really tired of reading and getting lots of conflicting info. Ha ha ha ha.

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    Several of our area departments, faced with poor paging coverage, set up re-activators on a different frequency. When dispatch sets off their tones, their second frequency opens up with the tones and rebroadcasts what dispatch is sending.

    Our comms are still on VHF-Low. We have countywide paging on VHF-High, but several departments are still going with the cross-band reactivators.

    Before we got high-band paging, a number of departments simply retransmitted their paging tones on the dispatch channel when their tones hit. Even though they might not be able to pick up the message, at least their pagers tripped.

    Just a thought - does your dispatch use a CAD program that allows them to send out emails with the dispatch information? Ours does, and since the texting on your phone is little more than an email client, we can get the dispatch info direct to our phones as texts. We also get "rip and run" faxes.

    Administering the texts can be a pain at first, but unless you have a high turnover, it shouldn't be too hard to have them keep you up to date.
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    All of our comms are on VHF-high, our dispatch always sends two pages consecutively and we're trying to get them to send one straight from the comm center and one off of the repeater, we think this will help. Our Comm Center has a CAD system and they're working on getting it set up to send out texts as a secondary paging system. They also have an auto fax system, but its never worked right and we rarely get one unless we request it. I think they're trying to improve things but it seems like we keep hitting the same obstacles with everything they try.

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    Just be aware that sending text pages is at the whim of the commercial cell carriers servers.
    We have that option and sometimes the text comes within seconds of the pager tone, other times they show up 30 -60 minutes later.
    Had a call the other day that the text came after we had done the ambulance transport and returned from the hospital. It came in 1hr 40 minutes after the tone.
    another issue is that if your radios & pagers aren't receiving the calls your cell service probably sucks also. We have very intermittent cell service here , to the point that I don't own a cell phone. Digital cells phone are the same as digital radios: If they work then it's fine::;if they don't work they don't work at all .

    Many marginal reception radio systems will need to add either elevation or more receivers/repeaters to get a good signal.

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    Inquire with your 911 communications coordinator and the vendor(s) that supply the communication equipment (repeaters, etc.) and see if they had a communication study done. If so, request to see a copy. If the 911 Comm center has a copy, then sunshine/public records laws most likely require them to allow you to look at it.

    If a study was done, such as where to place repeaters, etc. there may be data that shows the "no signal" or "likely no signal" area of your county.

    Several years ago, our county had this comm study done. It showed the areas of the county that would have no radio reception.

    If you can dig some type of data out, you may be able to justify more repeators or other measures to obtain better reception.
    Last edited by FIRE117; 03-09-2012 at 08:01 PM. Reason: spelling

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