1. #26
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Red face

    New radio system is full of bugs

    $221 million state project was supposed to link police

    By Mike Martindale / The Detroit News


    Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News

    A Michigan State Police radio tower stands at 32 Mile and Dequindre.


    Comment on this story
    Send this story to a friend
    Get Home Delivery


    A new statewide digital radio system that replaced aging World War II technology was intended to help state police and other public safety agencies communicate seamlessly across Michigan.

    But a decade after it was first envisioned, the 181-tower, $221 million radio system has failed to deliver on that ambitious promise. And in some cases it just doesn't work.

    "It's like they built a racehorse and are still trying to get it to walk," said Mark A. Porter, attorney for the State Police Troopers Association.

    A situation could easily escalate into a tragedy if police and other emergency workers can't communicate with each other, said Porter and others.

    Even the most staunch defenders of the Michigan Public Safety Communications System, completed last September, admit it's not without wrinkles.

    "No radio system will provide you with 100 percent coverage 100 percent of the time," said State Police Captain Tom Miller, who supervised the system for four years. "If you have something that does, it's financially impractical."

    Among reported problems:

    * Dead zones, where radio transmissions are impossible, are still common.

    * Portable radios that are part of the system are useless in buildings.

    * The system still is unable to deliver computer data, as once promised.

    According to a Feb. 19 document obtained by The News, the entire radio system in southeast Michigan crashed on Feb. 10 and full signal was not restored for nearly eight hours. For 400 troopers serving several posts from the Ohio border to Oakland County, that meant switching over to the backup radio system supplied by their respective municipal police agencies.

    But several dozen troopers without backup radios, including Wayne and Oakland freeway patrols, were "left without any communication, posing a clear and present danger to all personnel," according to the grievance filed with State Police human resources division by the 2nd District Association.

    "No contingency or backup plan was available to any personnel," according to the grievance, which recommended "all troopers be provided with independent radios capable of maintaining contact with law enforcement dispatch centers apart from the MSP 800-megahertz system ..."

    "They were left hanging," Porter said. "They had no choice but to return to their posts until it came back up. They had no way to get information and no way to give it back.

    "It also happened up in the Upper Peninsula three months ago."

    The system is so unreliable some police, including state troopers, carry Nextel cell telephones in cars for backup. On Feb. 10, that was the only form of communication available to many troopers.

    But state officials contend the old system was much worse and needed to be replaced. It was so outdated it included towers that didn't meet construction codes and couldn't even be climbed by technicians, Miller said.

    "We would have loved to have had a system with in-building coverage everywhere, but it would have easily cost two or three times more," Miller said. "We would probably still be planning it today."

    In a related development, a proposed bill sponsored by State Rep. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, which would permit local units of government to hang radio transmitters on existing state police towers, moved out of committee Tuesday and will go to the full House for possible vote later this week. State police have resisted such efforts, concerned it would interfere with their radio transmissions. Local governments argue they should be able to use any facilities supported with tax dollars at their respective costs providing they don't disrupt signals. A similar bill, introduced by State Senator Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, may be discussed this week or next in the state senate.

    The system is optional for local police and fire agencies. But as more counties upgrade dispatch and 911 emergency response, many smaller departments, especially outstate, have found it necessary to sign on rather than fund their own dispatch centers.

    There is a basic, one-time fee of $25 per radio to departments and an annual $200 per radio, per year, Miller said. But additional requirements can run into the millions. A 500-foot tower, which some communities have built for better reception, costs about $1.5 million, he said.

    Livingston County erected a tower; and a Genesee County Consortium of 31 agencies is looking at an $11 million investment that includes four new towers.

    Washtenaw County developed its own police-fire radio network because the state system was not unsuited for their needs and unreliable inside buildings.

    Miller said some initial problems have been corrected, including unreasonable expectations that technology would bring "flawless coverage everywhere."

    "The beauty in our system is if a local agency wants to come on they get a good picture of what they're buying before they spend one dollar," Miller said. "They know if they have to add or if what they're are getting will be enough. We believe we're providing a standard level of coverage."

    Fowlerville Police Chief Gary Krause had no choice. His whole county, including the 911 system, joined the state system.

    "The system might be great for the state, but for some of us it's been trouble," Krause said. "If you don't sign on, you have no connection with dispatch."

    Krause found out "that once you got out of your car, you weren't 100 percent sure if you would get a signal on portables."

    A chief concern among law enforcement groups is the system was designed only for the radios mounted in cars, and not the portable radios upon which many fire and police agencies rely, especially in emergencies. Portable radios are clipped to belts with a small microphone that extends to the uniform's shoulder for hands-free use.

    Many agencies find themselves tied to a system they can't depend on to communicate with their own officers.

    One Fowlerville officer had problems with his portable radio outside one of the city's buildings while struggling with a suspect. He was unable to radio for backup.

    "He was rolling around on the ground with a suspect," Krause said. "Fortunately a couple citizens came along or who knows what would have happened?"

    "To be fair, portable service was never guaranteed," he said. "But you're inside a building and need help, what do you do?"

    Krause said fear of getting "bonked" -- the resulting radio sound indicating no signal is available -- has his department relying on an old radio system for major community events.

    "Our old radio system is crisper, more reliable and we can even connect with the DPW or school buses," Krause said. "We can't call up to northern Michigan like with the new one but what do we need that for anyway?"

    Metro Detroit agencies have shown little interest in the state system, outside of having a few radios in the event of an emergency. But others have faith in it. Miller notes there are now 9,465 users from 268 agencies across the state -- about 14 percent of 1,850 potential user groups statewide.

    The majority -- 7,053 mobile and portable radios -- are used by state agencies, chief among them the state police (4,885). But 59 radios are in use by federal groups, including the FBI (44 radios) and local usage ranges from some police and fire departments using only one radio to the Lansing Fire Department which has 209 radios.

    The Motorola-built system was initially funded at $187 million, but another $34 million in upgrades were added, Miller said.

    "The contract specifications called for state-wide coverage of 97 percent mobile radio, but we believe we're actually receiving 99 percent," said Miller, adding user satisfaction is high.

    Miller noted how Shelby Township, the only Macomb County community to join up, didn't add anything. Shelby Township is near a 500-foot radio tower built by the state, and agencies located near such towers don't report any problems.

    Miller said the state system is still being worked on. Computer-delivered data would be possible with about another $11 million in upgrades.

    He said the system has some shortcomings, especially in the post 9-11 era.

    Poor radio communication was partly blamed for the large number of deaths of emergency workers at the World Trade Center tragedy in New York City.

    You can reach Mike Martindale at (248) 647-7226 or mmartindale@detnews.com.

  2. #27
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Angry

    Kalamazoo, MI - Cell-phone interference is wreaking havoc with Kalamazoo's new police radios and has prompted the city to spend nearly a half-million dollars on tower upgrades.

    Just four months after the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety flipped the switch on a new, $1.8 million radio system, the City Commission on Monday reluctantly approved spending an additional $458,777 on tower equipment.

    Portable radios that officers carry outside their cars are failing at alarming rates to get their signals through, with officers encountering numerous "dead spots," particularly inside buildings, Public Safety Chief Dan Weston told commissioners.

    "On several occasions, officers have been in foot pursuit, and no one has been able to hear their radio traffic," the chief said in a memo. "At other times, officers have attempted to call out for help while wrestling with a dangerous offender, and we have not heard their attempts to communicate with our radio system."

    The city in November activated the new, 800-megahertz digital radio system and signed onto the Michigan Public Safety Communications System, a network of Michigan State Police towers that allows different public-safety agencies to communicate with one another.

    The portable Motorola radios were tested at more than 300 sites in Kalamazoo in December 2002 and produced what Weston said was "very acceptable" coverage.

    But big problems became evident immediately after the new radios went into use last November. State and Motorola engineers attribute the difficulties to the rapid proliferation of cell-phone towers and usage, Weston said. Cell-phone signals, also on the 800 MHz band, sometimes drown out signals from the 3-watt, portable radios that officers use, he said.

    The fix involves adding a signal repeater and other equipment to an existing KDPS tower at station No. 6 at Howard Street and Oakland Drive, as well as upgrading state towers near Plainwell and Vicksburg that serve Kalamazoo's radio system.

    "Instead of us being overwhelmed by the cell phones, it is going to allow us to overwhelm the cell phones," Weston told commissioners.

    The tower work is expected to take about three months to complete.

    Weston said that once the towers are upgraded, Motorola will guarantee radio coverage from inside buildings through 95 percent of the city. "There is not 100 percent coverage with any radio system ... there will still be some dead spots, (but) it is going to greatly enhance our ability to communicate," he said.

    The project will cost $555,744, with the local share reduced by state contributions of $96,967 in equipment and labor. Local funding will come primarily from federal grants.

    City commissioners expressed frustration with the added expense but unanimously approved the contract-change order.

    "We have to do this. We can't leave our people vulnerable," Commissioner Don Cooney said.

    Other communities have had similar problems with 800 MHz radios. Ionia and Monroe are among other Michigan cities that have encountered serious difficulties with interference since going on the state radio system, Weston said.

    The federal government is working on a plan to move cell-phone frequencies farther away from frequencies used by police, fire and other public-safety agencies, Weston said.

    City Manager Pat DiGiovanni cautioned, though, that the tower upgrades aren't necessarily a last fix for radio interference. "We may need another tower someday," he said. "We can expect more and more interference within the airwaves."

  3. #28
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,719

    Default Re: anyone in Monroe?

    Originally posted by ffexpCP
    Iíve been working on my scanner programming when I noticed each station in the county has a talkgroup for fireground. Someone PLEASE tell me these digital radios are NOT being used for fireground use. If theyíre not (which I hope is the case) what freq. is used for fireground? Is the pager freq. the only analog channel used now?
    The department closest to me plans on using one of the two programmed ITAC analog channels for Operations.

    Command will be on one of the "Emergency Scene" talkgroups since each of the so-called Fireground talkgroups are only accessible to that particular department.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  4. #29
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    142

    Default

    We did the switch to 800, but must keep old radios because of mutual aid requirements. Scanner must have digital to hear traffic. A good resource for talkgroups and frequency numbers is www.radioreference.com

    It is free to sign up and well worth it.

  5. #30
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Default

    communicate with one another.

    Granholm recently obtained approval from the Michigan Legislature to provide $13 million in supplemental appropriations to finance maintenance of state police radio towers for the system, which critics say is inefficient and outdated.

    In April 2004, the state drew $12 million from the Commercial Radio Suppliers fund, a special 911 surcharge fund to aid technology enhancements for all mobile phone users.

    Such withdrawals during belt-tightening times anger Robert J. Daddow, deputy chief executive in Oakland County, which is building its own $42 million radio system and won't rely on the statewide one.

    "There have been problems with the state system since they started, and it doesn't seem like anything is changing -- except for taking more money to do who knows what," Daddow said. "They're marching forward on a system which is obsolete. It's troubling."

    In June 1995, Michigan lawmakers, faced with a crumbling, outdated radio system, approved funding. Federal, state and local public safety agencies were invited to sign onto the system for a one-time activation fee of $25 per radio and a $200 per-radio annual fee.

    There are now about 16,000 radios in use, half by state agencies. But several public safety agencies have shunned the system because it does not support handheld radios, commonly used both outside and inside buildings.

    The state radio system, initiated by the Michigan State Police a decade ago and run for the past two years by the state Department of Information Technology, is designed as a mobile car radio system.

    Some users, such as Kalamazoo police, have said cell phone interference causes major reception problems. It will cost more than $500,000 to build a tower to overpower current interference, said Kalamazoo Police Chief Dan Weston.

    "The main problem is all these cell phone companies are putting up antennas as fast as they can," Weston said. "We're in a valley in Kalamazoo, and we need another tower, probably on one of our fire stations, for better reception."

    Robert Tarrant, director for the state radio system, insists it is a good system. He said the recently obtained $13 million will fund upgrades to accommodate new users in southeast Michigan.

    "It was built for mobile, and if you are relying on handheld radios and inside buildings, you will have to have some additional support, like adding towers," Tarrant said. "But it's a wonderful success story of how the state and local agencies can work together."

    You can reach Mike Martindale at (248) 647-7226 or mmartindale@detnews.com.

  6. #31
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Default

    The system was down in the UP today. Great news with all of the wildfires.

  7. #32
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,719

    Default

    Originally posted by ffexpCP
    Robert Tarrant, director for the state radio system, insists it is a good system. He said the recently obtained $13 million will fund upgrades to accommodate new users in southeast Michigan.
    I hope one of the upgrades is for a new tower in the southern part of Monroe County. The system is not working very well at all there.

    I have a feeling most of it will be going to the new Detroit simulcast system though...
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  8. #33
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Default

    I think I heard the tower site down there (Dundee?) has been quite problematic Öor more so than other sites. Heck, back home I can SEE the tower at my house and sometimes not hear a thing.

  9. #34
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sitting in my chair, listening to the scanner while the young kids respond
    Posts
    375

    Smile Bump

    I didn't want this thread to get off the first page.

    I am on the list to get an 800 Mhz portable radio next month thru homeland security grant. I'll let you know how it works.

    Question: Any updates on Monroe county?

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

  10. #35
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Allegan County made the switch a cuple months ago. At first there were alot of bugs that needed to be worked out. The fire side is toned on UHF, but are radios are on the new 800 system.

  11. #36
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,719

    Default Re: Bump

    Originally posted by pete892
    Question: Any updates on Monroe county?
    The system is working reasonably well in the middle and north portions of the county. Portables are basically useless in the south part of the county. The department closest to me has attempted to use the analog tac channels at incidents but even those have issues. They have decided that interior crews will carry the old VHF radios when operating interior at structure fires.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  12. #37
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    4

    Default

    I'll tell ya, I use the 800 system every day I work. So far, there has been only 1 instance as to where I could not get out. Our dept. was one where it was assumed we would have some of the worst reception, due to the building make-up. So far things have worked well for us. Before, when we were using the old VHF system, we could not hear our portables 3 blocks from the station. Bur PLEASE keep in mind. this is a completely new system for Monroe County. There are sure to be bugs to be worked out. WHen we were training on the new system, we had "older" members who did not attend, so now, they are the 1st to complain about the system, bot knowing all of the ins & outs of how it works. So remember, giveit time to work everythng out. It is the same as an ambulance or fire truck. IF IT IS MANMADE, SOMETHING CAN & WILL BREAK, OR CAUSE PROBLEMS.

  13. #38
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Default

    Radio performance improved - 07/15/2005
    The emergency communication system's performance has improved since Thursday, when technicians replaced an amplifier on the E. Dunbar Rd. tower.

    arogers@monroenews.com

    By ANDY ROGERS



    The county's new digital 800 MHz emergency radio system is back to full power after Motorola technicians discovered and repaired damaged equipment on the system's E. Dunbar Rd. tower, county officials said this morning.




    "Hopefully, it's fixed and the system will perform flawlessly like it should," Monroe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jerry Oley said.




    The damaged tower top amplifier was to blame for the $9 million system's recent performance problems, Motorola engineers told the county. The equipment is designed to sound an alarm when it fails, but the alarm was not triggered. A physical inspection of the amplifier revealed no apparent signs of damage, but testing proved that it was not working properly.




    The radio system's performance improved dramatically once the amplifier was replaced Thursday, Mr. Oley said this morning. Signals were especially strong in downtown Monroe where the system's performance has drawn criticism from public safety officials, including Monroe police Chief John Michrina. Portable police radios taken inside downtown buildings could receive communications from Monroe County Central Dispatch, but did not have a strong enough signal to send signals, creating a major safety concern, Chief Michrina told the county board Tuesday.




    That problem, however, appears to have been fixed, according to Mr. Oley, who said the county plans to work with Chief Michrina to organize a test of the repaired system to validate preliminary tests conducted Thursday night.


    "They went downtown in the city last night and went into some buildings and walked along the streets, went into some businesses and even went into a basement, and everything tested great," Mr. Oley said.




    "The checks they performed last night, they actually took their portable radios and transmitted back to Central Dispatch and all of the communications were loud and clear."




    The fix also appears to have improved radio communication from inside the Monroe County Courthouse, where officials were considering purchasing extra equipment to boost performance. Similar equipment, called a bi-directional amplifier, already has been installed at the Monroe County jail.




    The Dunbar Rd. tower where the malfunctioning amplifier was found is one of four towers that makeup the 800 MHz system. It is the closest tower to the City of Monroe.




    Coverage problems with the new system also have emerged in areas of southern Monroe County, including Erie and Bedford townships. Monroe County Sheriff's Office Lt. David Thompson was traveling to Erie this morning to see if the Dunbar Rd. tower repair improved the radio system's performance there, too.




    "They think it's going to be an improvement in the Luna Pier area, too, because of the way that tower is" Mr. Oley said. "Who's to say if it was lightning hit or if it was a mechanical failure or just an equipment failure. It could be any one of those three things."

    Copyright © 2005 Monroe Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved
    Last updated 07/15/05 - 01:24:41 pm EDT

  14. #39
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Default Lightning damages dispatch system

    Lightning damages dispatch system
    Police, fire stations use portable radios instead
    Sunday, July 17, 2005
    BY DAVE GERSHMAN
    News Staff Reporter
    A lightning strike knocked out the microwave communications system used by police dispatchers across Washtenaw County on Saturday, forcing them to use less-reliable portable radios to talk with officers on patrol.

    The strong thunderstorms also dumped heavy rains in some places. A weather station in Ann Arbor recorded 2.4 inches of rain and two streets in Milan closed for almost an hour because of flooding in the afternoon.

    A DTE Energy spokesman said sporadic electrical outages were reported in Washtenaw and Livingston counties but all power was expected to be restored by today.

    Advertisement






    On Saturday night, officials were still unsure about the extent of the damage to the microwave communications system, which is also used by some fire department dispatchers. The damage was caused by a lightning bolt that struck the Ann Arbor police station at about 9:30 a.m. Emergency 911 service was not affected.

    The station houses key pieces of microwave equipment that effectively boosts the signals of portable radios used by emergency personnel and allows dispatchers in police stations across the county to monitor emergency transmissions in multiple communities.

    "There are areas of the city tonight where I'm confident cops can't talk to dispatchers,'' Ann Arbor Police Chief Dan Oates said Saturday evening.

    Because of the damage, the signals of the portable radios are limited, so there are dead zones - such as inside thickly-walled buildings - where police officers cannot reach their dispatch centers using their radios.

    Police were also hampered in calling for assistance from other communities. The microwave system lets a dispatcher in one community instantly talk with a dispatcher in another community. With the system damaged, the dispatcher had to pick up a phone, which is slower.

    "That's precious seconds,'' said Saline Police Chief Paul Bunten. "If an officer is in a very serious situation that could mean an awful lot.''

    Although police departments used to rely on the portable radios, Bunten said, "That's 25-year-old technology and it's certainly not something the public deserves.''

    When Ypsilanti Police pursued a suspect in the daytime robbery of a video store on Saturday, the Washtenaw Sheriff's Department learned of the unfolding chase by phone. The suspect was arrested and the Sheriff's Department did send deputies to help Ypsilanti Police.

    "Our ability to provide assistance to other agencies in a timely fashion is severely hampered,'' said Sheriff's Commander David Egeler, adding: "Our dispatch center was talking with theirs by phone without having that instant ability.''

    Until the microwave system is fixed, police cannot record the radio transmissions between officers, firefighters, ambulance workers and dispatch centers. Those recordings are occasionally used in court.

    "It sort of cuts the police officers off at the knees,'' said Amber Van Amburg, business manager for 800 MHz Consortium, a publicly funded entity that provides communications for the county.

    Van Amburg said no damage estimate was available Saturday evening.

    Oates said the lightning strike exposed the limitations of an antiquated system. Some of the equipment, he said, is outdated and irreplaceable.

    Fire and police chiefs in the county are backing a proposed 0.25-mill property tax that goes before voters on the November ballot to pay for a new emergency radio system.

    Oates said the existing system has gone down temporarily 10 times since last August. A new system would be more capable, Oates said, providing a single communications system for the county and allowing it to join with a network of 60 other counties in Michigan.

    "If one particular tower were to get struck, and we're members of the new coordinated statewide system, the impact on the county would be significantly less,'' he said.

    Reporter Dave Gershman can be reached at (734) 994-6818 or dgershman@annarbornews.com.







    © 2005 Ann Arbor News. Used with permission

  15. #40
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Sturgis, MI. U.S.A.
    Posts
    198

    Exclamation

    800 radios are currently on order for command staff here too. It will be patched to our VHF. I have never heard much good about 800 and the fire service. The sad news is that all those bells and whistles on the 800 band are available in digital VHF. And you still get the "punch" of the VHF when youíre in the basement.

    Iíve been told NFPA will soon pass a guideline that "No trunked radio systems should be used inside hot zones."

    Somebodyís gonna have some serious explaining to do on why the new million dollar super system canít page the departments, or be used on the fire ground.

    OMG!! Iím agreeing with NFPA!

  16. #41
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,719

    Default Detroit

    Detroit switched over to the MPSCS yesterday. I can't hear it very well down south here but their old VHF dispatch channel came in loud and clear most of the time.

    Just wondered if anybody from Detroit Fire or EMS has any comments on the 800 system yet.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  17. #42
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Sturgis, MI. U.S.A.
    Posts
    198

    Default Up on the 800

    I got my new 800 from dispatch yesterday. Got bonked twice at a roll-over this morning but was able to get through most of the time. Going to give it my best shot.

  18. #43
    Forum Member
    ffexpCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    909

    Default

    If anyone wants to listen...

    http://www.wideopenwest.com/~n8chb/

  19. #44
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sitting in my chair, listening to the scanner while the young kids respond
    Posts
    375

    Default Any updates?

    It's been about three months since Detroit Fire switched to the new system.

    Anyone have updates on how its working in Detroit?

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

  20. #45
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Monroe MI USA
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I live in Monroe Mi and as you might know we have switched over to the 800 sys. it does work as far as I am concerned. the biggest prob. is it can not page our depts out so we have to maintain our old paging syst. there are some building that have serious trubl getting out. but it is a new syst and will take time to get all bugs worked out. The loder guys dont like change and this is the biggest change that they have ever had to deal with as a county. But I believe it is for the best.

  21. #46
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Amen Brother. I am one of the OLDER guys, but I still agree to the change. I can actually talk to the other guys on my dept. I do think this is the best thing to happen to Monroe County firefighting since I do not know when.
    If the dissenters do not like the system, I suggest it is time to retire and get out, or get with the 21st century. Do not screw with my safety becuase you are too hard headed to change.

  22. #47
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Our dept. just wrote a grant to switch completely to the 800mhz system. We too will be keeping out 154.430 pagers for tone outs and our radio service is telling us that our dispatch center will be able to patch whatever channel we want. All we have to do is provide them with a copy of our current frequency list and they will have the ability to link up for us, in cluding to neighboring counties, i.e. Vanburen, St. Joe, Calhoun, and Cass Counties. Our LE is currently on the system and they love it. Hopefully we will too.

  23. #48
    Forum Member
    rtrudeau's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Howell, MI
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ffexpCP View Post
    If I can remember all of the technical mumbo, I donít think the system works for fire departments because trunking is not compatible with tone paging. This is why my city still hasnít made the switch yet. We currently have high band fire and po po, but low band for DPW. We just donít want to add 800 to all that.
    The 800 system works great with fire departments in livingston county. Central dispatch can simulcast on VHF for the tone pages and over 800. When central talks on main fire it is broadcast on VHF and 800, when anyone else talks it is only on the type of frequency for their radio type. ie: a FF talks on a VHF radio, only heard on VHF, on 800 only heard on 800.

    800 works nicely because it has multiple talkgroups which you can designate for specific emergency scenes. Also, we can be patched to a VHF frequency for example when we need to talk to Survival Flight or Med Flight.

  24. #49
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Sturgis, MI. U.S.A.
    Posts
    198

    Thumbs down We gave up on it

    The fire service in our county has abandoned the 800 radios. Our area is one of the weakest for 800 coverage. Enter a building and you have no communications on 800. I used it to communicate with dispatch on a few occasions but it was not safe for fire ground operations.

    The 800 system has its purpose and properly setup can be a dependable communications system. I donít agree with the rest of the chiefs that we shouldnít use it at all. I think the problem in our county was that it was perceived to be the fix to our VHF problems when it actually created more. Our patch between the 800 and VHF sucked. The VOX operated patch would ping pong between the 2 bands. Without a buffer, short transmissions on VHF would be over before the 800 ever keyed up.

    Bottom line, if you have good tower coverage and understand how to use the radio, it will do just fine. Try to get by with some hodgepodge home built patch combining it with an already clustered VHF system, and it will only give you heartburn.

  25. #50
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    5

    Unhappy

    I am a firefighter in van burren and a dispatcher in kalamazoo. the 800mhz system works great for police and ems. but not to well for fire. the minute you get into a structure you can lose signal. portible coverage is not very good. command might be just outside, but just like a nextel, if you don't have signal, you can't talk to the guy sitting right next to ya. good theroy but not reliable enough. plus radios are 3000+ dollers and 200 dollers per radio per year for service fees. and the state will not allow individuals to get them programed. they have to be uunder the dept. name. soo overall its a good theroy but not very practicle for the fire service.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register