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Thread: 700 mHz radios?

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    Question 700 mHz radios?

    Hey, just got a request this week from the parish OEP wanting a list of my members and apparatus....basically, wanted to know how many radios we would need to outfit every member and truck with a 700 mHz radio. So I'm like, OK, what's the deal? Seems there has been some talk of converting a lot of public safety agencies to 700mHz, and now in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and all the associated communication problems that arose, they're supposedly fast-tracking this project.

    I was led to understand that we could potentially be getting all our radios replaced with 700 mHz. I assume there would also be some kind of interoperability provisions with the new system.

    Now, we just laid out a bunch of $$$ a couple of years ago for some new radios (didn't replace all, just added to what we already have and replaced some of the really trashed ones). The lady at the OEP wasn't sure if these "new" radios were meant to replace what we have or as a supplement, to ensure that all agencies can talk together in another big incident.

    If it's a replacement for our current radios, we'll have to change our operation somewhat, because you can't get voice pagers in 700mHz (at least not from Motorola)....which means dispatch on one system and talk on a totally different one (I know some of you out there are probably already doing this, if you're on 800 mHz or whatever....)

    My question is, any of you communications types out there hear of this? What's the deal? Is this really in the works, because it's the first I've heard of it.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Oh lord. 700 is a new band being opened up by the phasing out of a television channel. It's the same thing as an 800Mhz system, just 100mhz less.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    I'm sure if the Emergency Services went to 700 MHZ the folks at Motorola would have a 700 MHZ pager in a weeks time.

    I don't know about that....there's a LOT of public safety agencies on 800 mHz and they don't make a pager for that....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Hello,

    Putting a new radio system in place does not solve all the problems........ Some of the biggest problems in the south was the loss of the power (including generators from flooding) and equipment, lease lines from the telco all from the storm. It did not matter if the stuff was 2 days old or 20 years old they lost the entire system in most places. Simple things as just keeping batteries charged so portables would work was a big problem. Not to mention the loss of antenna and towers from the wind.

    One of the best things any agency can do is to have there own supply of materials such as spare antennas and spare radios that can be put into place after the fact (you have to store this stuff where it CAN'T get damaged).You also need to have someone within your agency that can get it setup and working. Most outside vendors who do this sort of work are going to be swamped to get people back on the air.

    A great way to get a base back on the air it to have an antenna,mast and cable that can be strapped to a tower ladder and connected to that units radio. Raise the thing in the air 75-100' and you now have a tempoary base station. You also need a way to charge batteries that will work when there is no power, at least 1 spare for each radio. This way you can keep swapping them out.

    All these agencys that are jumping now so they don't get caught off guard. Putting a new system in place is not going to necessarly correct the bigger problem if you can't support the little things.

    Gary
    Last edited by captain247; 09-17-2005 at 09:25 AM.

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    I am a "communications type". First off 700 MHz radios will be functionally no different than 800. i.e. lots of sites needed to cover the area, lots of nulls and fades, all of which can be overcome by the liberal application of copious amounts of money.

    I talked at length to somebody from the EMS agency here about 700 since they sent a questionnaire asking whether it would be any use to us. Basically I told them where they could stick their 700.

    Currently I am not aware of any radios that do this band but I am sure the radio companies could make one within a few weeks time if they haven't already. It would be a simple downbanding of an existing 800 radio.

    The ones who stand to see the most benefit from this are the radio companies. They need something to keep the turnover going.

    A much better option for most fire departments would be migration to high band (if possible due to frequency congestion, but becoming more likely due to narrow banding), if not, migration to 460 MHz which still works pretty well. If already on high band, then more efficient use of the spectrum, and some statewide frequency sharing plan would be nice. Here in California we have a great statewide mutual aid rado system. I can drive my happy little fire engine from one end of the state to the other and still have the channels they are likely to be using on any large incident in my radio because they are preprogrammed and well known.

    Birken

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    Exactly! And do not expect to see a 700Mhz pager either. These are trunking systems just like on 800Mhz. No pagers. Could it be done? Sure but don't hold your breath.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    We're currently on high band, so changing to 700 mHz would involve replacing all our existing radios. It would be a major expense, but not likely to yield any substantial benefits.

    Putting a new radio system in place does not solve all the problems........ Some of the biggest problems in the south was the loss of the power (including generators from flooding) and equipment, lease lines from the telco all from the storm. It did not matter if the stuff was 2 days old or 20 years old they lost the entire system in most places.
    I know that, and you know that, and the whole rest of the fire/rescue/EMS/law enforcement community know that....but our wonderful elected congresspersons don't know diddly about it, and are eager to fix the problem by throwing money at it....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    We have an 800 system and no, they dont have a voice pager. So we switched to digital text pagers. Works better then the old voice pagers we had as we can send anything and everything about an incident and you dont have to worry about trying to write down info in case you miss it. Its right there on the pager to read as needed.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

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    I hope that paging system is your own and not a service you pay for....... In a major storm it will be one of the first things to go. Any agency relying on an outside vendor for a communications network (phone, paging, two way, nexthell oops i'm sorry nextel) is just pure insanity. As an emergency service provider you have to have your own reliable equipment and the necessary supplies to get it back up and running in house and ready to go. As just proven down south your on your own for at least 24-72 hours. Anyone who thinks otherwise is play with lives (both the people they protect and the members of the service)

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    Quote Originally Posted by captain247
    I hope that paging system is your own and not a service you pay for....... In a major storm it will be one of the first things to go. Any agency relying on an outside vendor for a communications network (phone, paging, two way, nexthell oops i'm sorry nextel) is just pure insanity. As an emergency service provider you have to have your own reliable equipment and the necessary supplies to get it back up and running in house and ready to go. As just proven down south your on your own for at least 24-72 hours. Anyone who thinks otherwise is play with lives (both the people they protect and the members of the service)
    If thats directed at me, its a county wide system set up and maintained by Motorola a part of the radio systems contract.

    And we are down south, so we are well aware of the potential. As such we have a triple layer radio system with dual harden dispatch centers as well a mobile equipment which includes mobile repeater sites.
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    Cap beat me to the punch. You gave the right answer

    Some people seem to think that having a contract with Verizon or something for paging is a great way to page for life-safety mission critical emergency services.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Default Text Pagers

    Like Dave, we have an 800 system in my county and have recently switched our pagers over to the alpha-numeric ones (although a few minitor's are still floating around out there.) It is a contract through our county 911 and they did all the set up for it and what not. Our paging is done through a vendor in town and they supplied the pagers. The contract is through a company called Midwest Paging. If anyone knows anything about southwest Missouri, we get our share of nasty storms. Never had a problem, only problem is the time delay from dispatch toning and actually receiving the page.
    Firefighter/EMT-B
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    Not to bust your chops but I see this all the time and it bugs me. "Never had a problem (yet)" and "Will work after [insert disaster here]" are two entirely different things. What works for your day to day operations may be entirely wiped out.

    Here we have 3 repeaters on different mountains which are manually selected by the radio operator be it dispatcher or field unit. If one or two were to be lost the coverage of certain areas would be less than ideal but it would still work for the most part.

    I would hazard a guess that your paging system has only one site so if you lose that no more paging, but that probably isn't that big of a deal anyway because in a big enough event everybody would know about it anyway. The real question is does everyone have backup communications sites.

    Birken

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirkenVogt
    The real question is does everyone have backup communications sites.
    3 as a matter of fact

    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirkenVogt
    Not to bust your chops but I see this all the time and it bugs me. "Never had a problem (yet)" and "Will work after [insert disaster here]" are two entirely different things. What works for your day to day operations may be entirely wiped out.
    Well, like I said, our pageing system was built by Motorola as part of the 800 radio system. No seperate company or contracts. Everything is in house. 15 years and no roblems yet, including last summers 2 hurricanes.
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    Yes, we have backup sites, back up equipment and they are somewhat protected.... best defense, is you could not find them, even if I gave you directions.

    Everyone who deals with radios and emergency services should get a copy of NFPA 1221 and read what it says about communication systems. ALOT of systems don't even come close.

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    Default Backup Systems

    We have a backup system to our 800mHz system then in addition to that, we can revert back to our old 154 mHz system, which also has a back up system. So I guess we have 3? When they first implemented our 800 system about 2 1/2 years ago we had trouble with the patching from the old system radios and our new 800 mobiles. They fixed it and now it works just fine. As for the pagers, if they went down, we wouldn't really care. We don't rely on them as primary dispatching only for a crutch if you forgot the numerics or something but you could always ask dispatch for that information.
    Firefighter/EMT-B
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    BirkenVogt & others: Motorola has made 700mhz radios for some time now. The XTS1500,2500&5000 portable radios, and XTL1500&5000 mobile radios cover 764-870mhz, out of the box.

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    Yes, they can do it. However, the spectrum to use it is only recently becoming available. They were planning ahead when they designed those radios.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    dmleblanc whatever happened to your radio upgrade?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LRFPD60 View Post
    Like Dave, we have an 800 system in my county and have recently switched our pagers over to the alpha-numeric ones (although a few minitor's are still floating around out there.) It is a contract through our county 911 and they did all the set up for it and what not. Our paging is done through a vendor in town and they supplied the pagers. The contract is through a company called Midwest Paging. If anyone knows anything about southwest Missouri, we get our share of nasty storms. Never had a problem, only problem is the time delay from dispatch toning and actually receiving the page.
    ARRRGGGGHHHHH....

    If this is the department just east of Springfield, lets be clear - this is a secondary method of dispatch. If one depends on commercial paging for their primary dispatch then next ISO inspection they find themselves rated a 9!

    NFPA, and ISO do NOT accept commercial paging as a primary dispatch method. It will drop the communications part of your inspection so low that you will end up with a 9.

    The folks at Midwest are fine folks, but I can point out a BUNCH of commercial paging companies that have folded in the past year, and almost every one has left a fire department who was stupid enough to use it as a primary service high and dry without a method of alerting.

    State agencies here in Missouri were left hanging when a large missouri/kansas carrier two years ago folded, no notice. I removed some of their transmitters where they just left them at the towers.

    To those talking about pagers for 800 and 700, Motorola used to make a voice pager for 800, but discontinued it.

    LR could do their own paging system very cheap - in fact probably cheaper than they
    pay for a year or two service, depending on how much coverage they needed. Then it
    would be NFPA and ISO compliant.


    EDIT... Geez, I just now realized how old this thread was.... Commercial paging is a hot topic
    for me though.... And the post today screwed me up...
    Last edited by LVFD301; 05-06-2010 at 07:08 PM.

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Acklan View Post
    dmleblanc whatever happened to your radio upgrade?
    You dug this up after almost five years in the grave???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnee View Post
    You dug this up after almost five years in the grave???

    Yep. Would you have like to see an entirely new thread devoted to this subject? Then I would have been link to this thread and chastised for not using the search feature.
    Just curious to see how the 700 mhz service worked out after 5 years. We moved to it about 3 years ago, form the 800 mhz, and have had few problems.

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    I have to say, I'm interested in an update.

    C'mon Chief, spill the beans!
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Default ISO Slayer

    Remember people.... if you want to have a communication system that ISO recognizes it must follow NFPA 1221 and all of ISO's requirements. Any portion of a communication system that is outside the dispatch centers control will receive no credit... Cell phones, alpha numeric pagers, unless you own ALL of the equipment will get no credit from ISO.... This includes towers, repeaters, phone lines, generators, etc.

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