Thursday, October 20, 2005
OKLAHOMA, PAINTERTOWN, YOUR TOWN, MY TOWN... !
First off, thank you for your kind emails and wishes for better health. Even though I doubt it highly if I will be running the 1K marathon in the next 10 years I DO believe in miracles so you never know, right ?
I had several emails which contained some great information. Of course I keep the email authors “anonymous” unless otherwise directed so the first one I would like to share is this…
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City sidelining troublesome digital police radios
Web Posted 10/19/2005 12:21:00 AM
By J.C. O'Connell
Aurora The police will be switching their radios, again.
Despite months of tinkering with the $12 million radio system and bringing in consultants, the city is still unsure what has caused the system to drop and garble calls.
The police plan to switch from M/A-Com's digital radios to the old analog system.
"Right now the system is not very good, so we think it will be an improvement," said Don James, president of the Aurora Police Association. Over the past year, the digital system has caused
officers to miss calls and have trouble communicating with each other and the dispatch center.
"We've tried a bunch of things and it hasn't completely cleared it up," said Mark Pray director of information technology for the city.
In May, city officials said the radio system was operating at a 99-percent success rate, and the remaining problems could be attributed to interference from cell phone towers. The city hired Colorado Springs-based Pericle Communications to investigate why the 800 MHz system was dropping or garbling 2.4 radio transmissions a day. Pericle could not find the cause but did conclude cell phone tower interference was insignificant. The consultants also said the fundamental design of the
digital system was sound.
The study observed 2,044 instances of interference on one channel during a 24-hour period, making the frequency useless for a total of 65 minutes a day and giving any call a 10.6 percent chance of being garbled or dropped during the busiest hour of the day. The study recommends M/A Com replace antennas and reexamine its digital system while police switch back to an analog radio system.
The $47,100 study and any repairs to the digital system will come out of the remaining balance on a contract between M/A-Com and the city.
Pray said the city is unsure when the digital system will be working.
James said switching back to analog wouldn't be a problem for police officers already familiar with the system but reconfiguring almost 1,000 radios would be a hassle.
City council will discuss the radio system at its informal session on Monday.
By J.C. O'Connell
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Sound familiar ? Dropped calls, not enough frequencies and in this case the “city officials” said their system was working 99% of the time. RIGHT FOLKS !
DEAD SPOTS, DEAD SPOTS, ROLLY POLLY DEAD SPOTS !!
Like ours is at 95%, perhaps our county officials (Rich Matason and Mark Brammell in this case) are confusing the FAILURE RATE with the COVERAGE AREA. If our they would have said in their news letter that our system is failing 95% I might have believed them.
I received another email, this one being anonymous even to me but I’m posting it here because I believe that he/she actually helped install this system.
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You are right on track. Take it from someone who helped install this junk.
Don't give up.
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Now if this is true, let’s pray that this system holds up at least until we get a new 400 Mhz system installed or we go back to what we had and THEN modify it with repeaters and system bells and whistles.
I would rather see money poured into a new system that would actually work than buying new trucks and cars for 911 Management. Again, you should see Dan Stevens new Truck ! Wow !! Has to be at least a $50,000.00 truck that WE BOUGHT HIM (might be leased, 911 doesn’t love me anymore).
In another email I received the following…
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I saw a white & blue Ford POV constable car today with the familiar 3dB gain Motorola antenna on the roof. After inquiring, I discovered that several constables received XTL5K mobiles. Can this be true? WTF? Why do PRIVATE CITIZENS get a $3200 radio and public safety organizations are still short?
BTW, our in-house name for this system is "the great-hundred system" or "GR800" since it is supposed to be great.
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The Great-Hundred System huh !? How apropos.
I cannot confirm or deny whether the constables get their radios from the county for free or they have to pay a certain amount to the county so I placed a call into a constable that I know and when he gets back to me all will let you know.
Even if they do get their radios for free it’s a HELL of a lot better that CONSTABLES carry radios than Park and Courthouse MAINTENANCE EMPLOYEES as they are not part of our first responders.
So what here, a terrorist storms into the courthouse and what, the janitor attacks him with a broom ?? Then uses his radio to bash the terrorist on the head ?? Perhaps that might work, just so the radio isn’t on TG 200 !!
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You would think that with everything that has been told to me by those in positions that would know how bad this system REALLY is, the Westmoreland County Commissioners and / or the Management at 911 would want to talk to me. Instead they remain quiet… as to say I am right and they are misguided.
I ONLY WISH that I had PROOF that someone in our government got a KICKBACK from buying this system and putting it on the air. The county didn’t need it, it doesn’t work right, nothing but problems. The interconnectivity of this system with others is just not there and that WAS A GOAL of 911. A Missed Goal.
I remember a year ago the state police could talk directly to 911 and the Cops out in their district. It is impossible now.
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Playing favorites ? This point has been brought up to me over and over again however I’ve never printed it before. I’m tired of seeing it in emails so I will go ahead a post it now to see if I get any feedback from others.
Harrison City Fire Department, Fire Station 87 is Mark Brammell’s fire station where he is I believe a first or second Assistant Chief. That station has newer equipment in it than Derry Fire Department, for example.
Station 87 can have it’s sirens set off by DIGITAL CODE now instead of using tones on 33.70 Mhz Low Band. Why do they get newer, better equipment than Derry ?
Isn’t that a conflict of interest where you have an Assistant Fire Chief who is also Deputy Director of 911 ? I bring this topic up because my reader bring it up... over and over again.
Besides, from information that I have been receiving, the DIGITAL CODING SYSTEM that sets off Station 87’s sirens doesn’t work half the time.
I don’t know if this is true as I’m going on information received.
The fact that Harrison City has more or better equipment doesn’t bother me however to some it does or I wouldn’t be receiving emails on that subject.
It does bother me that we are paying for his (and others) Vehicles, Cell Phones and Bills, Personal 911 XTS-2500 Radios and other PERKS. I don't even think the President of the United States gets all these PERKS !
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On another topic, 911 has just finished having the NCIC data system installed on their 800 Mhz system which will give way for those MOBILE DATA TERMINALS (MDT) to be installed in the police cars.
Everything will be running on the 800 Mhz Channels for right now (as if they aren’t congested enough already with only 10 channels assigned by the FCC and some cell sites only having 5 frequencies installed) however they HAVE applied for several 700 Mhz frequencies for the purpose of data transmissions only.
With the proper equipment you can pick that stuff up right now from a data scanner like the Radio Shack Pro96 or Pro2096’s PC/IF terminal.
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OH OH OH
I can’t forget this, this is JUST TOO IMPORTANT to forget !
The WINNER of this months CD, selected at random by the Boogerette is
TF from Lower Burrell !
Congratulations TF, I’m sure you will enjoy the CD as much as the 911 Dispatcher and Scott J., the last two winners of this monthly contest.
REMEMBER, there is no cost to enter… just send in your tips, hints and comments on this 800 Meggor Hurts system to email@example.com and on the 17th of every month another name will be pulled. The winner receives the CD at NO COST to them which includes shipping as I, your humble Blah-ger will even pay for that.
Also note that anytime you wish to download any of the audio clips that I have posted on my website, http://800.k3sam.com, just do it. Virus free, download free, FREE FREE FREE !!!
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OH BOY, 911 doesn’t want to talk to Medic 122 again ! Over and over the calls come in “Dispatch from Medic 122” and no answer from 911.
So lets guess again… all dispatchers are in the bathroom, the bird flu has hit the 911 building and everyone was rushed to the hospital (not by Medic 122, that’s for sure), smoke breaks, Coca Cola got spilled on the Ambulance Dispatch Consoles… (all 4 of them !), high tech meeting going on without Mark and Rich, geeeesh, I give up.
Sorry Medic 122, I could hear you just fine here however 911 just WON’T SPEND the $499.95 for a good SCANNER !
Didn’t this just happen a few days ago ???
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HEY PAINTERTOWN FIRE DEPARTMENT, FIRE STATION 7, THIS IS FOR YOU !
Did you know that the 800 Mhz antenna that you have mounted on your truck is in violation of OSHA as it is a HEALTH hazard ! You didn’t violate any laws, the RADIO INSTALLERS DID !
I didn’t see all your trucks however the one that was seen had an ANTENNA mounted in the front that is only a foot or two away from a human head !
Operating an 800 Mhz 35 Watt radio that close is PUMPING TOO MUCH RF into someone’s head… so you are fryin’ ur brain cells man !
IF YOU CAN LOOK OUT OF YOUR TRUCK OR CAR FRONT WINDOW AND SEE THE ANTENNA IN FRONT OF YOU, YOU ARE COOKING YOUR BRAINS ! At least in theory however I wouldn’t want to be the test humanoid. Plus that's what OSHA says too.
Have whoever mounted that damn thing move it. I do believe instructions on “how to mount an antenna” are located in the box with the antenna and perhaps even a diagram is in the box too ! Come on RADIO INSTALLERS, get with it. You guys give Radio Engineers like myself a BAD NAME !
PLUS, you DON’T attempt to GROUND a radio on PLASTIC !
RIVETS should not be used to ground radios either !!
You do not make WASHERS out of painted truck parts.
It is NOT THAT HARD to install a radio… LEARN ! ( you see, if you use a piece of round metal that came off a fire truck that has 15 coats of paint on it and attempt to use it as a grounding washer, there will be no path to ground because of the 15 coats of paint, so it won’t make a good path to ground, or a good grounding washer… lesson for the day )
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In fact, if you are a FIRE CHIEF, or LINE OFFICER with any Westmoreland County Fire Department I would recommend you check the installation of EACH and EVERY radio you have ! This goes for EMS and the POLICE Too !!
Remember I had mentioned that Oklahoma Fire Department, Station 49 had a TRUCK FIRE due to a radio that was INCORRECTLY installed.
Seems that due to improper installation of the 800 Mhz radio not only did the TRUCK catch fire but THE RADIO WAS ALSO DESTROYED ! Wow !
Seems the “installer” didn’t take into consideration that the “cab” of the fire truck lifts up for service and didn’t leave any slack.
When the cab was opened for service the power wire and the control head wire both were nicked… later causing the fire.
Boom, Crackle, Pop.. SMOKE and FIRE.
Hey, the breakfast of Westmoreland County PA 911 Managers… call it “State Nuts”.
That’s it, I’ll get while the gettin’s good.
PS: At posting time I received a call from an officer in Police District 6. I just wanted to say thanks for the call and keep reading the this Blah-g ! THIS is where you will find all the latest correct information about this Eff’ed Up 800 Megga Hurts System.