ObJectives: A general introduction to 2-way radio communications systems Specifics of the MetroSafe 800 MHz, Regional Communications Systems (RCS) • 3
Our Current System Very High Frequency (VHF) One frequency per channel. Manual control of towers from the Dispatch Center. May go through Repeater or Direct Radio to Radio May be “voted” - Many sites receive but only one transmits. You need to select the proper “Tone” to talk to the dispatcher!
Very High Frequency (VHF)Ultra High Frequency (UHF) May go through Repeater or Direct Radio to Radio
Pros & Cons of Simplex • “Simplex” refers to conventional ‘radio-to-radio’ function where two radios are tuned to the same frequency. As long as the radios are within range of each other and tuned to the same frequency the user will be able to push to talk and release to listen at all times. • Pro – The use of simplex ensures that radio users within range (generally two miles or less) and tuned to the same channel will hear each other. • Con– Simplex dedicates the full-time use of a frequency; in other words, the resource is committed, even when no one is talking.
The New System 800 Megahertz Digital Trunked Simulcast
Digital vs Analog Digital Analog Not as susceptible to obstacles in path of radio wave travel Receiving radio has circuits that try to correct items blocked during radio wave travel All or nothing when receiving communications Radio wave can be degraded by obstacles and distance Analog cannot correct and you only receive “some” of the transmission when radio wave is obstructed
Trunked Multiple Voice Channels and One Control Channel Control Channel prohibits “walk over” Control Channel allows emergency messages to become priority – Emergency button gives user highest priority MetroSafe will have 23 Voice Channels and 1 Control Channel
Trunked The control channel is used by the system to automatically switch each radio on a given talkgroup to the same voice channel. A voice channel is where the actual conversations take place. Trunking is a method to make the most efficient use of voice channels.
Trunked Trunked Radio Systems share a small pool of frequencies among a large number of users. They can do this because communications are generally short (typically less than 5 seconds long,) and a particular channel might be busy less than 5% of the time. System users are assigned to "talkgroups" which function as virtual channels.
Trunked When a user makes a call, the radio transmits its current group ID and a request for a radio channel (frequency pair) to the computer which controls the trunking system. The computer then sends out a “channel grant” specifying which radio channel to use, and telling every other radio in that user’s group to also go to that radio channel and monitor for traffic.
Trunked When the user stops transmitting, the frequency is released so that it is available for the next group to use, which can be any other users of the system. On a trunking radio, a “channel” is not the frequency in use, but is rather the code (Talk Group ID) assigned to a particular group of users on the system to identify them to that computer.
Trunked The benefit of this technology to the agencies is that many more virtual channels are available for specialized traffic than there are frequencies. For example, the Fort Worth trunked system has only 20 frequencies, but services over 400 talkgroups. All radio channels in a trunking system are repeaters, so system traffic can be widely heard.
Trunked Priorities: In rare situations there may be more requests to use the radio system - in our case 24 desires to converse cannot be accommodated by 23 voice channels. Should this happen, a priority system is in place. This gives people with a more critical function, such as emergency responders, faster access to the system than the garbage truck driver.
Encryption The MetroSafe radio systems uses two levels of encryption so that sensitive communications remain confidential. Low level encryption is used on Medical Channels so that private medical information relating to a patient cannot be heard by the public having scanners. However these conversations can be heard by MetroSafe radios.
Encryption High Level Encryption is a more complex system. It is used for conversations requiring a greater amount of privacy, such as during police SWATT operations, or for arson while conducting a surveillance operation. Only those MetroSafe radios specifically configured can receive high level encryption (the top 3 command officers for each department). It could be used by fire command to discuss an injured firefighter’s condition without it being heard by undesired listeners, such as the firefighter’s family monitoring the incident on a scanner.
Pros and Cons of Trunking • Pro – Trunked radios allow a large number of radio users to have individual talkgroups (channels) while sharing a pool of frequencies over a large geographical area. • Pro – Talkgroups(channels) can be joined together for interoperability. • Con – The ability to communicate is dependent on the radio user’s connectivity with a repeater. If the radio cannot reach a repeater, the user will not be able to communicate
Simulcast Allows a user to be broadcast from all transmitters simultaneously Greatly reduces, does not eliminate, dead spots within the service area
Topology of 2-way Communications Simplex- AKA direct or talk-around. – Your transmit and receive frequencies are the same. You do not “go through” a repeater. Repeater- Your transmit and receive frequencies are different and are routed through a remote radio site. Simulcast- Broadcasting a message over multiple transmitters throughout a geographical region at precisely the same time • 22
MetroSafe Repeater Sites • Delta Dental 9901 Linn Station Road. • Fern Creek Fire 9409 Bardstown Road. • Waverly Hills 4800 Waverly Park Dr. • Meidinger Tower 462 South 4th Street • Watterson Lake Park Old Manslick Road and I-264 • Hubbards Lane 4400 Hubbards Ln. • Petersburg 4601 Old Shepherdsville Road. • Utica Charlestown Road. Utica Indiana • I-71 at County Line Hitt Lane and Ballardsville Rd. • Hopewell New Hopewell Road and I-265 • Mitchell Hill Mitchell Hill Road (top of hill) • Transmitter 1306 Bardstown Road. • 23
Why are we changing? There are a limited number of radio frequencies available with our current VHF/UHF radio systems. One radio can't communicate with all public safety communities - you would have to carry 10 separate radios to communicate with all of them. The new system provides the ability of two different agencies to communicate with each other, on demand, and in real time. The 800 MHz band has the capability of providing nearly 150 frequencies for the metro area to operate on a single radio system.
800 MHz – The FDNY Questions In the aftermath of September 11th, many questions have arisen about communications difficulties that were encountered. Reading many of the articles the term communications was not limited to radio technology. Many communications were procedural and operational. Since we are in the midst of a large-scale radio system change, the communications problems encountered in NYC were looked at from a radio technology standpoint. In March 2001, the Fire Department of New York made an attempt to switch to newer digital technology. While these radios were digital, they were not trunked. The department remained on their old frequencies but switched to digital radios. This can be likened to switching from analog cell phone service to digital. The department did minimal training, and the radios acted differently than the old analog radios. Since the users had minimal training, they were not aware of some of the operating characteristics of the new radios. Users soon complained of poor communications. After one week in the field, the digital radios were pulled from service. The New York Fire Department conceded that they had moved too fast in an effort to get the radios into the hands of the firefighters. The commissioner stated that the core problem was the failure of the fire department to properly train the firefighters about the characteristics of the new digital technology. These radios were reprogrammed back to the analog mode. The digital mode has not been utilized since March 2001.
800 MHz – The FDNY Questions It was also reported that communications were so poor that when a city engineer said the buildings were at risk of imminent collapse, a runner had to be sent to notify the ranking fire chief. What was not mentioned is that the chief who received the report was Chief Peruggia of the EMS Bureau. The EMS Bureau does not have the same radios as the fire department. The only options the chief had were to send a runner or obtain a fire department radio so that he could notify them of the buildings’ conditions. This was an inter-operability problem between city departments. When the aircraft hit the Trade Center, a radio repeater was destroyed. This repeater had been installed on the tower to improve radio coverage in the area. This resulted in diminished radio coverage. To what extent this contributed to loss of life can only be guessed. It was reported that many did not hear the order to evacuate. The loss of a repeater could be a contributing factor.
Key points as they relate to a trunked radio system • Digital technology was not a factor. The digital radios were removed from service. The problems encountered in NYC are not comparable to the system we will have in Louisville. A computer will act as a traffic cop – allowing only one user to talk at a time. • The fire department is planning a detailed training program so that our users will be proficient and comfortable in the operation of the new radio system. • Radio communications inter-operability caused difficult communications between departments. The new system is designed with a focus on inter-operability
Voice Channel Assignment When your radio is keyed up the Central Controller, through the Control Channel, assigns you a voice channel. All other radios using the same Talkgroup, in the area of the same tower, will then use the same voice channel. • 29
Basic 800 System This slide represents four Agencies using a four channel 800 Site. • 30
Positive – Trunked radios allow a large number of radio users to have individual talkgroups(channels) while sharing a pool of frequencies over a large geographical area. • Positive – Talkgroups(channels) can be joined together for interoperability. • Negative – The ability to communicate is dependant on the radio user’s connectivity with a repeater. If the radio cannot reach a repeater, the user will not be able to communicate
800 Talk Group Types Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. Dispatch - Talkgroup designated for the dispatch center (MetroSafe) to alert firefighters of an incident to which they should respond. This is a “one way” path. Field units should not transmit on this channel. For suburban fire, the JCF PAGE talkgroup is patched to the VHF fire paging frequency so that both fire pagers and new radios hear the dispatch information at the same time. For urban fire, the LFD ALERT talkgroup is patched to the Fire Station Alerting System so the both new radios and the FSAS hear the dispatch information at the same time. Operations - Talkgroup designated for communications at incidents between responders at the scene and also with the dispatch center (MetroSafe). MetroSafe monitors Operations Channels. They are designated FIRE 1 through FIRE 8. Fire 1, 2, 5, and 6 monitored. • 32
800 Talk Group TypesUrban Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. FIRE 1 is in the channel 1 and channel 16 position on all fire radios for all zones. That was done so that a responder in trouble can rotate the channel selector knob as far as it will go in either direction and will have a fire dispatcher on the receiving end. Good time to note that Urban fire radios will have their channels programmed identically. • 33
800 Talk Group TypesSuburban Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. FIRE 5 is in the channel 1 and channel 16 position on all fire radios for all zones. That was done so that a responder in trouble can rotate the channel selector knob as far as it will go in either direction and will have a fire dispatcher on the receiving end. Good time to note that Suburban fire radios will have their channels programmed identically. That means a firefighter from department A can pick up a department Z radio and will know which channels are which without having to do much thinking. Exception – Channel position 11 in Zone A which is a department specific tactical channel • 34
800 Talk Group Types Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. Tactical - Talkgroup designated for communications between field units only. MetroSafe does NOT monitor Tactical channels. Tactical channels may be used at incident scenes when the IC chooses to do so. FD TAC 1 and FD TAC 2 are general Tactical Channels available to all fire departments. Can be used during Haz Mat or special rescue incidents. F TAC xx are department specific tactical channels where xx corresponds to the department number, such as 11 for Highview. (Every radio will have access to all department specific tactical channels should the need arise.) • 35
800 Talk Group Types Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. Mutual Aid - Talkgroup designated for communications between different agencies or for administrative contact with MetroSafe (such as for complex status changes). All MetroSafe radios (police, fire, EMS and local government users) have Mutual Aid talkgroups. They are MUTAID 1, MUTAID 2, MUTAID 3. Simplex – is a channel that by-passes the radio system and is intended for use in areas with poor or ineffective system coverage. Radios will be programmed with a “No Service” alert, which informs users they are in a dead zone. If this alert activates at an incident, responders should back out to where there was coverage and inform command that simplex use is necessary. MetroSafe cannot monitor the Simplex channel. • 36
800 Talk Group Types Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. Department specific tactical channels can be equated to “Command”, “Training” or “Channel 8” with the current radios. Command talkgroups are used for command and control communications while conducting operations. Command talkgroups are found in command radios only. These are encrypted talkgroups and cannot be monitored by other radios or scanners. There is a Fire Command talkgroup (FD CMD), and an All Command talkgroup (ALL CMD). The All Command talkgroup would be used for appropriate communications between other agencies such as Police/Fire, EMS/Police, Fire/EMS. • 37
800 Interoperable Channels Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. These channels have been established by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council. They are common to all public safety radios nationwide. This means if we get called to another Hurricane Katrina, we can take our radios down to New Orleans and communicate with responders there. Calling - Channel designated for a person from one agency to contact any person from the same or another agency or Dispatch Center. Once contact is made, the conversation should be switched to an available tactical talkgroup. It is named 8CALL90 in our radios • 38
800 Interoperable Channels Note: See the MetroSafe 800 Fleet Map, for a complete list of Zones installed in the departments 800’s. Tactical - Channel designed to hold conversations, or conduct tactical operations between responders and between responders and their IC. They are named 8TAC91-8TAC94 our radios. 8TAC92 is the recommended fire tactical channel. 8TAC91 is the recommended police channel. 8TAC93 is the recommended medical channel. 8TAC94 is the recommended command and control channel. If the channel has a “D” beside the name, it is a direct/simplex channel which bypasses a repeater. First attempt to use a Repeater channel. If communications cannot be established, assume there is no repeater coverage in the area. • 39
Site Trunking is a back up mode that maintains site communications without disrupting the rest of the zone. So, Transmissions at the site are only re-broadcast at that site, and transmissions at other sites are not re-broadcast at the site in Site Trunking. If this occurs, you may not be able to contact your dispatcher . To reestablish a connection with the central computer, you may need to do one or both of the following: (1) change locations until your radio affiliates with another repeater, IMPORTANT – If a 800 site goes completely off the air you will only be able to communicate locally on one of the “conventional” channels (8TAC91-8TAC94 or SIMPLEX channels). • 40
Dispatch Center EvacuationHandout “E” • All Firefighter tone group activated • Announcement made that center will be temporarily out of service • Metrosafe re-located to 768 Barrett • During the time center is out of service Severe Weather Procedure shall be implemented. • Metro safe shall relay any calls for service to appropriate fire district’s via FIRE 8
Dispatch Center Evacuation • If back up dispatch center is activated a test of radio equipment will be conducted. • A test of all Fire Operations Channels and activation of fire pagers will be conducted • Metrosafe shall confirm with fire department units that Operations channels and fire pager activation was successful • Upon completion of successful testing the Severe Weather Procedure shall be terminated
Radio Trunking System Controller Failure • If the trunking central controller or all voice channels fail, the radio system has a “Fail-Soft” feature. • All MetroSafe radios are programmed to automatically react to a “failsoft” condition. This is displayed on the radio when this happens. • Several talkgroups are automatically combined during a Failsoft condition, thus reducing the number available for use. • Radio traffic must be kept to a minimum during this time due to the reduced number of talkgroups
Radio Trunking System Controller Failure • MetroSafe will activate the All Firefighter tone group and make an announcement that the system is in failsoft condition. • The Severe Weather Procedure shall be in effect during the failsoft condition • FIRE 8 will be used to relay all calls for service from MetroSafe to the Fire Departments • MUTAID 1 shall be used for fire departments to contact MetroSafe
Radio Trunking System Controller Failure • All Fire Department Tactical Channels will be combined into one. • (A department could use its old VHF radio equipment for conversations that would have been on the Tactical Channels). • The Simplex Channel will still work. • The 8TAC channels will still work.
Radio Trunking System Controller Failure • When the failsoft is corrected MetroSafe shall test the Fire Operations Channels and Fire Pager activation • After successful testing Severe Weather Procedure shall be terminated
Event ChannelsHandout “F” • The Metrosafe radio system has ten talk groups for large scale events such as derby and Thunder over Louisville • The talk groups are located in Zone C • MetroSafe will coordinate use of event channels • Fire Departments should request use of these channels in advance thru MetroSafe • If justified MetroSafe may assign a dispatcher to monitor the channels
MotoBridgeHandout “O” • The MotoBridge is a radio resource that can connect different radio systems together for use major incidents such as outside county departments (Bullitt, Oldham, etc.) • The MetroSafe system can only be used to link to a different system if the responders are going to be in range of the Metrosafe system • The incident commander must request the use of the Motobridge • Examples of uses would be Multi Alarm Fires and Large Hazardous Materials
Anchorage Police Jefferson County Sheriffs Office Jeffersontown Police Louisville Metro Animal Control Louisville Metro Corrections Shively Police Bullitt County Sheriff Henry County Sheriff Kentucky State Police Meade County Sheriff Nelson County Sheriff Oldham County Sheriff Shelby County Sheriff Spencer County Sheriff Trimble County Sheriff Clark County Sheriff Floyd County Sheriff Harrison County Sheriff Indiana State Police Washington County (IN) Sheriff Agencies Accessed by the MotoBridge • Anchorage Police • Jefferson County Sheriffs Office • Jeffersontown Police • Louisville Metro Animal Control • Louisville Metro Corrections • Shively Police • Bullitt County Sheriff • Henry County Sheriff • Kentucky State Police • Meade County Sheriff • Nelson County Sheriff • Oldham County Sheriff • Shelby County Sheriff • Spencer County Sheriff • Trimble County Sheriff • Clark County Sheriff • Floyd County Sheriff • Harrison County Sheriff • Indiana State Police • Washington County (IN) Sheriff
FleetMap General: A Fleetmap is the layout of talkgroups or channels for a given radio. The following tables illustrate the Fleetmap for both Urban and Suburban fire radios. Please note the following: 1. Zone “G” is enabled only in command radios (chief officers). 2. Channel positions 1 and 16 are the same regardless of which zone the radio is using. This is for emergencies (Mayday) and other methods of calling for help are unsuccessful (such as PASS devices, calling for help on the assigned talkgroup). 3. Channel positions 1-4 are the fire department’s primary operating talkgroups. 4. Channel position 5 is the “knock-out” talkgroup for a given department. 5. Channel position 11 in Zone A is the given fire department’s tactical (TAC) talkgroup. 6. PS 1 is Public Service (public works, etc).