1. #1
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    Default Radio Standard/Reference

    Is there, to anyone's knowledge, a Standard covering portable radios per firefighter?

    I went through 1500 yestersday and some of 1561 and 1221. I know that almost every LODD report indicates that all members, or at least all crews should have a radio, but I didn't know if it was part of a Standard. Any help is appreciated.

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    I just had to call the Help desk re a portable radio issue. One vendor in Alabama has on their website states that any radios purchased must be P25 compatable. The help desk states that the P25 requirement is only for NEW SYSTEMS and if your adding to an exisiting system then P25 is not a requirement. We were looking at getting each member a new VHF handheld radio and he told me that we were limited to the seated positions in our vehicles. So one handheld radio per seated position per the help desk.

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    What is this help desk and where are they getting their misinformation from.

    The federal government does not require P25. The use of federal grant money does NOT require the use of P25. This is huge and horrible rumor that for some reason spreads like wildfire. It is absolutely false.

    Each individual state typically has its own interoperable communications plan, or something along those lines. State grant money would be based on your request being compliance with this plane. Typically, federal grant money is also awarded based on your plan complying with your state's plan. Most states do not have any such P25 requirement. There are a few states that are stupid, but I do not have a list of which they are.

    None of this has any effect on what you go out and buy on your own with your department's own money. These requirements apply to the use of GRANT MONEY.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    This thread is about Grant Money I thought. The Help Desk is the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Help Desk. When were writing or applying for this grant we have to go by what the help desk says I would think. They told me that NEW RADIO SYSTEMS applied for thru the AFG grant must meet P25. Additions of an existing system do not have to be P25 compatable. If your buying a NEW SYSTEM with your own money then you can buy it howevery you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greginbama View Post
    This thread is about Grant Money I thought. The Help Desk is the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Help Desk. When were writing or applying for this grant we have to go by what the help desk says I would think. They told me that NEW RADIO SYSTEMS applied for thru the AFG grant must meet P25. Additions of an existing system do not have to be P25 compatable. If your buying a NEW SYSTEM with your own money then you can buy it howevery you want.
    Actually it's about if there is a standard/requirement for each firefighter to have their own radio.
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnfireguy View Post
    Actually it's about if there is a standard/requirement for each firefighter to have their own radio.

    ............

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    I believe AFG will fund enough portable radios for each riding position in the apparatus.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    So if you have 3 trucks each with 2 seats that would be 6 portable radios. What about volunteers who show up at an emergency in there private vehicle? What will they use to communicate at an emergency scene?

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    Perhaps if you stipulate that the apparatus only have two seats but have for example 4 air packs, you could justify to them purchasing enough radios for each SCBA on the truck.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    You should also check closely your states interoperability plan.
    These plans cann help with state requirments.

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    Communications apps will be forwarded to the state POC to determine whether they fit within the respective state's interoperability plan. Would be good to have a conversation with that person PRIOR to burning the time and midnight oil. No matter how good everything else is, the state POC has to bless it to be awarded.

    earl

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    JIwatson : send me a PM with contact info and I can send you state of maine requirements for conops plan. We were awarded radios this year and I found out all the info prior to our 07 app.
    Don't let anyone tell you that you need to buy $$$$ P-25 digital radios. What you need is a radio capable of 12.5 narrow banding and interoperability per the state plan. We have started receiving bids this week and i am pleasantly surprised at what we're getting for prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenacres2 View Post
    Communications apps will be forwarded to the state POC to determine whether they fit within the respective state's interoperability plan. Would be good to have a conversation with that person PRIOR to burning the time and midnight oil. No matter how good everything else is, the state POC has to bless it to be awarded.

    earl
    I'd like to add to what Earl said here. Over the past 4 years I have been fortunate enough to get my department $200k for communications interoperability equipment. About half of this amount was earmarked for radio equipment.

    Per the guidelines of the State of Missouri that were in place in 2003 the only major requirement was that the radio equipment had to be narrow-band (7.5 KHz centers) compliant. Given this I was able to purchase equipment that met the needs of my department.

    In 2005 when the state put out the grant guidance for the Interoperability Grants the requirements changed. This was done in part to the state adopting a long range communications interoperability plan. With this new grant we were required to purchase P25 compliant radios along with the following requirements:
    48 Channel capacity or more (96 recommended)
    Narrowband capable (the ability to locate 7.5 KHz centers)
    8 character alphanumeric display
    136/148-174 MHz frequency range
    FCC type accepted
    Project 25 (CAI) Common Air Interface (conventional mode)


    Do I necessarily believe in the need for P-25 equipment for my department…..No, ….we do not have the infrastructure for P25 and probably won’t anytime soon. That is a subject for another time. BUT P25 was a requirement of the grant if I wanted any of the NO match grant money.

    My point to this is like Earl and others have said, the AFG grant guidance says that before an application is awarded it WILL be reviewed by your states POC to make sure it fits into the state plan. Individual state requirements change all the time. Make sure you are not knocked out of the running before you even get started.

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    The help desk may not be as clueless as the IRS helpline but not necessarily have a clue. They could not tell me or find out who at Iowa they even refer commo grants to for review.

    P-25 is not required and there is research that P-25 is not compatible/does not play well with our PASS devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greginbama View Post
    I just had to call the Help desk re a portable radio issue. One vendor in Alabama has on their website states that any radios purchased must be P25 compatable. The help desk states that the P25 requirement is only for NEW SYSTEMS and if your adding to an exisiting system then P25 is not a requirement. We were looking at getting each member a new VHF handheld radio and he told me that we were limited to the seated positions in our vehicles. So one handheld radio per seated position per the help desk.

    So what you are saying is if I want to replace 20 year old mobile and portable radios they don't have to be P25 compatable? Our department is thinking about putting in for new mobiles, portables, and vehicle repeaters. Our county currently operates on a low band system and the portables are pretty useless sometimes. Just wondering what the thoughts are on this. Is this a good project?
    Nick Cook
    Biglerville Hose & Truck Co #1
    Bendersville Community Fire Company

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFDCO6 View Post
    So what you are saying is if I want to replace 20 year old mobile and portable radios they don't have to be P25 compatable? Our department is thinking about putting in for new mobiles, portables, and vehicle repeaters. Our county currently operates on a low band system and the portables are pretty useless sometimes. Just wondering what the thoughts are on this. Is this a good project?
    Well, the better solution would be to put in a VHF or UHF repeater system and ditch low band all together rather than relying on vehicle repeaters. However that may just not be feasible since it is a county system. So what you'd like is the next best thing.

    If there are other towns already using VHF/UHF portables and vehicle repeaters, try to use the same band so you can have their mutual aid frequencies in your portables. And you are reading correctly. You do NOT, repeat NOT need P25 as long as your states interoperable communication plan does not require it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Unless your state homeland security office (is stupid) and requires P25 you do not have to buy it. And going to P25 will GREATLY increase the price of you radios.

    But for Fire Grants you have to conform to whatever interoperability nonsense your state DHS has promulgated. Given you have some major cities in PA who knows what might exists. Talk to the communications officer at PA DHS (if you can find them) and find out what they are going to "require" now rather than finding out when these people review your grant app for approval.

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    Thumbs up

    To all regional directors from the director of branch of fire management concerning the US Dept of the Interior Rural Fire Assistance Grant 2008.

    3) communications equipment (P25 compliant hand-held radios, mobile units for ground vehicles) limit of 1 radio per seat position (i.e., 4-seat engine =4 radios)

    I also found that when applying for most grants you may also get an extra radio for the chiefs vehicle. Good luck, hope this helps.

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