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Dispatch can you hear me?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by NoGlamour229, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. NoGlamour229


    Oct 22, 2009
    Well it is 2:30 am and for some reason I am up. Second day of SWAT school starts in 5 hours and I guess I need the extra time to get the gel in my hair JUST right (JK!). Anyways I was wondering if anybody's department has recently switched to a new radio system, in order to get compliant with federal standards?

    As of the weekend my department turned on their new radio system...and ALL hell broke loose. The new system was tested, and the new system FAILED big time. Officers couldn't hear dispatch and vice versa. A buddy of mine was out with an armed subject and dispatch couldn't copy his traffic. Everybody's voices on the radio sounded different, and to make matters worse when you do hear them it sounds like they have a loud of crap in their mouth. This is a complete officer safety issue!!

    To make matters worse, I received an e-mail stating our scan feature was being taken away. As of now, I can no longer scan our deputies and other municipal agencies radio traffic. When I asked how this was going to be solved...I of course received no reply. The idea of joint communication has somewhere been lost. I feel as if we have taken 10 steps backwards, when everybody else is moving forward. And the best part of this all, our new Motorola system isn't even designed for Public Safety. It was purchased because it was CHEAP.

    I would definitely like to hear some of your nightmare radio stories. Oh and btw...I just spoke to one of our dispatchers who advised the new system has been taken down, and our officers are now back on the old (until they can fix it).
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  2. efman


    May 22, 2005
    well I'm up to and thats my main reason for posting. but we have alot of mountains in the northern part of the county and our portables suck up there. cell phone service is bad too so things could be bad.

  3. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    (For those of you listening at home, I know NoGlamour229 outside of the forums.)

    We obviously have, but our system is a purpose built public safety radio system. The switch over to digital voice did create some issues at first with recognizing voices (because they do sound a little different), but that did not last long.

    Our system is a P25 simulcast system, and so far the biggest threat to reliability has to do with the (microwave) link between sites. There are eight sites countywide and duirng an extremely heavy storm with winds of 60+, the microwave antennas for a couple of sites were knocked out of alignment and seriously impaired the system. That has now been fixed (for free). The other "issue" with digital systems is that the vocoder is designed to run at a pretty lean bitrate, so it does fine with normal human speech patterns, but anything outside of that range, and, unfortunately, some people's voices when excited or mumbled, are poorly encoded and come out the other end as garbage. Things like sirens and wind can also do some goofy things that were not an issue on analog.

    The shining star on the system for us (in my opinion) has been the ridiculously good battery performance. Our (Harris) portables have Honeywell LiPo batteries that will easily do two 12 hour shifts with moderate transmit and 100% receive time. Our old analog Motorolas with NiMh batteries could go about 14 hours under the same conditions, but the batteries went quickly down hill from there.
  4. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

    We have Motorola. The system is advanced, well beyond what we need for our place, but go figure. The radios are good, but the batteries seem to wear down quicker than they used to. I haven't tried it myself, but supposedly we can communicate out to about 20 or 30 miles away from the repeater. We use the company cell phone for when we are away anyway.
  5. fla2760


    Aug 12, 2006
    What type of system is it, is voice analog or digital? You said it was not designed for public safety is it an LTR system? LTR systems are used mainly as business radios.
  6. rookie1


    Mar 3, 2009
    Good Luck. Our union got involved big time and did that they did to prove it was a officer safety issue. At one point they were talking about getting OSHA involved due to the safety concerns. Not sure what happen due to me just walking in and getting a portable radio and going to work. You might want to talk to our union guys and see what steps they took to make it better on our end.
  7. scottydl


    May 31, 2005
    The Middle
    All of our local areas went to Motorola Starcom digital system. You can talk to folks one side of the state to the other if there's an antenna close enough... they work off cell technology. Voice quality is different than analog, but your ears adapt quickly enough (at least mine did). We do have the issue of "going digital" which is what we call it when someone's voice is all garbled and incoherent due to a bad cell signal - usually on the officer's end, when standing in garage, basement, behind a big building, etc. The solution is to have repeaters placed in the right places around your county/city, something your radio or IT people should be working on by doing radio tests and expanding the coverage in any problem areas.

    I get 2-3 shifts per battery, and they allegedly have "smart" charging technology so they can be charged at any time and won't burn themselves out by being left on the charger indefinitely. Time will tell on that.
  8. We are in the process of transitioning to a the 700 MhZ system. In the meantime, we are limping along with 16 year old portables and deck radios that Motorola stopped servicing years ago. In short the commo agency that heads this up is a bunch of idiots. They've been bailing wire and duct taping stuff so long that it's at a critical failure point.

    The radios have become so problematic and the signal quality so degraded that I have a letter in my personal file at home instructing my wife to get a PI to look into whether poor radio was a contributor.

    I can hardly wait to see what will happen when we are fully 700 with new radios.
  9. Kahr_Glockman


    Feb 26, 2005
    We were in that boat four months ago. Our radios were at the point that our towers control systems were malfunctioning, both of them. We kinda joked that it would be better to use two cans and a string for communications. Kinda.

    We transitioned to a system and the radios are lightyears better. The radios are no longer as frustrating on the new system.
  10. BMG22


    Jul 8, 2009
    Surprised no one has said this.....add in the appropriate tune:

    "Car 54, where are you?"
  11. NoGlamour229


    Oct 22, 2009
  12. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    Analog signals are varying shades of grey, and to resolve the various shades well, need lots of power to get over the noise inherent in the system.

    Digital signals are comprised of 1's and 0's, black and white, no shades of grey at all. Its a lot easier to distinguish a 1 from a zero, takes a lot less powerful signal to get the job done.

    Vast majority of the power expended is transmitting, for analog that's measured in watts. The receiver can do its job with small fractions of a watt. I'd have to look at specs on the digital guys, but they use much less power on the xmitter than the analog units.

    You can get much smaller batteries since you use less power too, and still get better battery life vs analog.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  13. fla2760


    Aug 12, 2006
  14. Cochese

    Cochese Most mackinest CLM

    Jun 30, 2004
    Unmarked Rustbox
    We are on the Colorado Statewide Digital Trunked Radio System (DTRS).

    We run a mix of Motorola APX6000 and XTS5000. I was on the same system at my other department across the metro area from where I'm at now and used an XTS5000. It was flawless. I could get signal anywhere in the city.

    Where I'm at now, they suck.

    "Last unit, you're digital."