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  1. #1
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    Question Michigan radio system

    Are there any Michigan departments that have switched to the Michigan 800 system operated by the state police? I don't mean just one or two radios but a complete switch.

    Does the system work for fire departments?

    Law enforcement in Van Buren county is 100% changed over. They seem to be happy with mobiles but portables sometimes don't work in buildings.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)


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    Forum Member ffexpCP's Avatar
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    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.

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    Monroe County is making the complete switch this summer. Should be interesting.

    I'm not a big fan of digital radios because of all the horror stories from DC & NY among other places.

    CP, you're correct about the paging. Monroe County will continue to use their VHF frequency for paging only. All other communications will be on the 800 system.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Oh yeah and Pete, if they ever make the switch in your area, be prepared to shell out 500 bucks or so to sit in your chair and listen

    There are only 3 scanners currently available that will follow a digital 9600 baud trunked system like MPSCS and they're all around that price.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Well Pete as you already know we are in the process of changing over to the MPSC system. I will let you know how it goes.

    It is pretty typical over here right now we are half way into the project and everybody is starting to ask many questions and rebel against it.

    It's almost as if everybody was surprised by it. The rolled the plan out in October I believe and all has been quite. Things have been happening and getting done. Now all of a sudden the last 2-3 weeks everybody is up in arms. Some legitimate complaints yes-they do need to do something with the paging system.

    All in all I think this will work good for us it can't hurt with all the dead areas we already have. I think it will be a big learning curve for us however.

    The radios have been ordered and the triaining on the new radios is supposed to start with in a couple of months we will see how it goes and I will keep you posted.

    And yes it will be expensive to sit back and listen now.
    Last edited by lmrchief2; 04-10-2004 at 04:04 PM.
    Les Hartford
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  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber F52Westside's Avatar
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    Cool

    We are not on the new MSP system, but for paging our VHF system is "patched" into the 800 mhz system. It seems to work well. The problems we have are with our dispatch consoles.
    Stay Safe & Bring 'em Home!
    Eddie C.
    I.A.F.F. Local 3008

    "Doin' it for lives n' property"

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and not that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    We also are going to simulcast the paging system to the 800 also. The problem is that we have so many dead areas in our county that the pagers do not always trip. This really will not fix the problem because of the frequency differance.
    Les Hartford
    Assistant Chief
    LMR Fire Dept.

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    We have been using the 800 system in Livingston County for a little over a year; You are right about some of the problems with the system. All the departments in the county still have to be page out on VHF, however the message is simulcast over the 800 system. Our FD in particular has started requiring that all new builds over 10,000 sqft put in an antena system for the 800Mhz range. Our biggest challenge is for mutual aid in other counties that are not on the 800 system. In Livingston county all departments to include ALL PD units are dispatched from a central dispatch.

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    SGT120 are you on the state system or on your own county 800 system.
    Les Hartford
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    LMR Fire Dept.

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    Forum Member ffexpCP's Avatar
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    Arrow FYI

    I chated with a guy from Radio Shack and he was 'hinting' to wait on buying the new trunking scanner now. (man I want one of those) He said the price should drop over the summer. There are also plans to come out with a desktop/car model.

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    Imrchief2 we are on the state wide system, prior to going to this I was very skeptical about the system, I am now feeling better about the system since I have used it quite extensively. If you want more info e-mail me.

    Thanks, SGT120

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    Question Scanners?

    There is a scanner thread going in the firefighting forum. Does anyone know for sure on any scanner that will monitor the the Michigan State Police radio system. I understand it is digital trunked and encripted.

    Stay Safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

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    Default Re: Scanners?

    Originally posted by pete892
    There is a scanner thread going in the firefighting forum. Does anyone know for sure on any scanner that will monitor the the Michigan State Police radio system. I understand it is digital trunked and encripted.

    Stay Safe,

    Pete
    No scanner will be able to decode the encrypted talkgroups on the MPSCS. Not every talkgroup is encrypted though. The MPSCS is an APCO 25 system with a 9600 baud control channel. Right now there are only 3 scanners that will track this type of system (and they are all around $500.00):

    The Radio Shack Pro-96, Uniden BC-296D and Uniden BC-796D

    There are some other digital scanners available but they cannot track the 9600 bps control channel so they will not work on the Michigan system.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  14. #14
    Forum Member ffexpCP's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Pro-96

    I just picked up the RS Pro-96 yesterday. I can hear MSP, Oakland, Wayne, Livingston and other trunked systems. It's a real nice radio. I've been playing with it non-stop, I keep on finding new toys on it.

    If you go to radioshack.com and click on the coupon section at the top you can print off a coupon good for $25 off through may 21.

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    Unhappy LFD's not happy with it

    Questions Raised About Emergency Radio Network

    http://wlns.com/Global/story.asp?S=1884136

    WLNS 6 Lansing
    5/20/04- It's a multi-million dollar state of the art system designed to connect every public safety agency in Michigan. Some say the statewide digital radio network is the best available, while others simply aren't convinced.

    When it comes to first responders, communication is critical. Their radios become their lifeline, so picking what system to use could make all the difference. In fact, some say it could mean life or death. Completed in 2002, it's touted as the biggest and best system around- a 231 million dollar statewide public communications system.

    Kurt Weiss, MI Info. Technology: "Our staff has their fingers on the pulse of the system 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

    Monitored around the clock, the 800 mega hertz digital radio network helps link public safety agencies all across the state.

    Kurt Weiss: "We want to partner with all the local agencies, this is a team effort when we're dealing with terrorism and homeland security, everybody needs to partner together."

    So far, more than 450 public safety agencies have bought into the system, and Kurt Weiss from the Department of Information Technology says that number continues to grow.

    Kurt Weiss: "We're currently working with some pretty large cities, Detroit is coming on to the system, we're working on negotiations with them, Genesee County, Monroe, Macomb."

    But not everyone is looking to link up. In fact, Ingham County has decided to build its own 12 million dollar system after the Lansing Fire Department had problems with the state's system. The department is the first and only agency in the county using it.

    Greg Martin, Lansing Fire Chief: "I guess it's wonderful that it can talk to the state police in Detroit, but for the most part, I don't want to, I want to talk to the Lansing engine company across town consistently, and that's more important to me."

    More important, but not always possible. Lansing Fire Chief Greg Martin says the state's system didn't meet his expectations, didn't fit the department's needs. In fact, in the case of one emergency, Martin says the radios actually caused an emergency.

    Greg Martin: "About 8 months ago, we had 2 firefighters hurt on the west side of Lansing, they sustained some burns, because they didn't receive the radio message, they went to a upper level of this house, when the message was don't."

    Chief Martin says the problem is dead zones- places in the city where the digital radios simply don't work, and when it comes to buildings, Martin says the radios are basically useless. Instead of a bad signal, there's no signal at all. That's because the system is designed to work in cars.

    Greg Martin: "You hear it on the air many times, they go, "engine 45, can you repeat, you just went digital," you stop sounding like Greg Martin and more like a robot, then it drops."

    But just a county away, Livingston has taken a different approach to the same system.

    Don Arbic, Livingston Co. 911: "Livingston County has been adding components, improving the system, improving public safety communications since the original transition in 1998."

    The county started with nothing, none of its own infrastructure, basically piggy-backing off the state's system. Just a few short years later, the county's added a dispatch center, and built a million dollar tower south of Howell to help with coverage across the county.

    Greg Martin: "Recently we converted our fire service in Livingston County and brought on supervisors from the road commission, medical examiners office, community health and our EMS department is also migrating its communication over as well."

    But what about the lack of communication inside buildings? Arbic says Livingston County solved that problem by having an incident commander on the scene, stationed outside the building, armed with two radios.

    Don Arbic: "We've set up our radios with what we call a direct channel, radio to radio, try to cover maybe a hundred yards top, and that works very well for us."

    So during everyday operations or in the case of an emergency, we found the system which works the best really depends on who you ask. As for Ingham County's new system, it's slated for operation in early 2005. It's a 12 million dollar system, with a digital backbone and analog radios. It was recommended by the 911 advisory committee, passed by the Ingham County Board of Commissioners and funded by the 911 emergency services millage.

    John Neilsen, Deputy Controller: "We've designed it so that it will fit our needs in the future with a number of channels and the type of infrastructure we have."

    Victor Celentino, County Commissioner: "We're giving them the tools they need to do their job of protecting our citizens, so everyone wins in the end."

  16. #16
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    All I can say Moe Is we will see what happens
    Les Hartford
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    LMR Fire Dept.

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  17. #17
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    Default Monroe County

    Well, yesterday was the big day...LE & some fire switched over to MPSCS in Monroe County yesterday.

    Any reports on how it's working yet?

    I've heard that they are simulcasting the fire dispatch talkgroup on 154.430 but eventually that freq. will be used for tone outs only.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  18. #18
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    Default 800 radios

    In lansing, it is well documented that this system has given us nothing but problems. We have no need to contact someone in the U.P. when you can't even get through to dispatch from the second floor of a house. Initially Motorola told us it was operator error, why not, after all it is a multi-million dollar system, the system can't fail, right? Anyway, the police never went onboard with the system because Motorola couldn't gaurantee not getting "bonked". We are switching.

    stay safe

  19. #19
    Forum Member ffexpCP's Avatar
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    Default Re: Monroe County

    Originally posted by WTFD10

    Any reports on how it's working yet?

    I've heard that they are simulcasting the fire dispatch talkgroup on 154.430 but eventually that freq. will be used for tone outs only.
    New radio system going online - 12/13/2004

    The 800 MHz radios will be phased in and the conversion should be complete in February, officials said.

    MONROE, Mich. - A new local emergency radio system went active today, the first part of a phase-in that could convert the entire county over to the 800 MHz radio platform by the end of February.



    Sgt. David Thompson of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said this morning the system has joined the Michigan Public Safety Communication System - an assembly of 800 MHz radio systems located throughout Michigan.

    The assimilation means Monroe County law enforcement will begin using the new signal today as radio installation crews replace the radio devices in squad cars with new 800 MHz-compatible units. That process will last until early next year, Sgt. Thompson said.

    "Today they are going to begin switching out the mobile radios that are in the patrol cars, starting with the small police agencies," Sgt. Thompson said.

    Also expected today is a report of coverage testing performed on the system in November. Sgt. Thompson said results of the testing are generally good, but there are some areas of the county that did not pass the testing. Many of those areas were located around Bedford Township.

    "The system isn't going to be perfect, but once we get all of the kinks worked out, I'm confident that it will be a huge advantage to the county," said Sgt. Frank Atkinson of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Traffic Services Division.

    Throughout the entire county, however, the system exceeded the 95-percent in-building coverage requirement, he said, The state requires a radio signal strong enough for transmissions to penetrate the buildings of a particular construction grade. In some instances, Sgt. Thompson said the system might have failed the test in particular areas of the county because buildings of a heavier construction type were selected for testing purposes.

    "There were some grids down in the Bedford area that failed," he said. "We went into some of the buildings that were probably (heavier construction type) and tested and it didn't work," he explained.

    "We were only allowed to test one spot within a grid, so we could only select one building, so I'm putting together a list of the places that we went into and tested in."

    He will compare that list to a map of grid cells where coverage testing revealed deficiencies.

    Once Sgt. Thompson receives the final testing report today, he said a new wave of tests would be scheduled for the area to better determine the radio system's performance there.

    He likened the new 800 MHz signal to a cellular phone signal that may work inside some buildings, but not all buildings.

    Initial testing data shows the system achieved a 97-percent rate of success. Among 1,244 5/8 mile grid squares tested throughout the entire county, 1,211 passed coverage testing and 33 failed - a rate that exceeds the state mandate of 95-percent in-building coverage.

    Until the transition of all county radio terminals to the 800 MHz system is complete, the current emergency radio system will be used simultaneously with the new system.

    "Central Dispatch is going to patch the main (800 MHz channels) of the new system with the channels that we use in the existing system, so when an officer calls Central Dispatch, it doesn't matter what system they are using to call," Sgt. Thompson said.

    "Central Dispatch will be able to hear you and the officers, it doesn't matter what system they're on, they'll be able to her the transmission."

    Channels that will be patched over on both systems will include the City of Monroe's main emergency channel, the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) channel, the county's main fire frequency channel and the outgoing Central Dispatch channel, he said.

    Sgt. Thompson said installation of the new 800 MHz terminals in emergency response vehicles could be completed by the end of February.



    I'll be down in Bedford for the winter explorer event. I'll have to take a listen on the ol scanner. Guess I have some programing to do...

  20. #20
    Forum Member ffexpCP's Avatar
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    Well, I forgot the scanner on the trip. DOH! Anyway, I can pickup the Monroe Fire Talkgroups on the Northville tower. Good signal, but the audio quality is crap. I can tell it is patched from the analog non-trunking system (because I can hear the tones). I can hear dispatch and mobile units, but sometimes it is really difficult to understand as there is lots of static (once again, obviously from the old system).

    Weíll have to see if it gets any better.

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