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  1. #1
    mcsap is offline Veteran member ( retired) mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute
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    P-25 trunked radio system w MA/COM

    We switched over to our new radios over a month ago. The county spent 36 MILLION dollars to upgrade us frmo our old VHF ( 155 mhz) band. The radios are MA/COM and to say that it has worked well is a joke.

    We are now in the 500 mhz band ( 800 wasn't avail here) and after a years testing in which we were told we will have 95+ % coverage in the county...we are having a terrible time.

    There are dropped transmissions , lost transmissions, GARBLED transmissions , digitized voices that make it hard to understand what is being said. It is truly pathetic how BAD these radios work compare to our old ones. It is common that a conversation is carried between dispatch and a car and the rest of us dont hear it. ( and we are in the same dept ) . We constantly have to call officers our our side channel ( just as bad) to try to see if they are aware that they are being called.

    Fortunately, we had to keep our old radios because they have the siren and PA built into them. They still work GREAT ( with their known limitations) and are ultra reliable. We resort having to use them to make sure we can talk but only on the side channel.

    They have been to our PD several times to re-program the radios. They have taken down one of the 22 towers ( antennas) that they added for this system. They have told us that the " best and the brightest" are working on this problem.

    Finally they are claiming that the signal is trying to be grabbed by different towers at the same time causing the problems.

    All I can say is if your agency has ANY plans to go to a trunked system , especially one designed by MA/COM...do some investiagtion on your own as to the problems that are out there with current systems , like ours.

    This was done all in the name of interoperability.
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  2. #2
    Roger Dat's Avatar
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    We have a trunked system however it is mostly reliable except for the fact we need a tower or two more to cover some trouble spots. Amazing how much money they spend without adequate testing to make sure the MILLIONS they are spending will improve things.

    Hope they clear it up sounds like a MAJOR officer safety issue.
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  3. #3
    chaser266's Avatar
    chaser266 is offline Senior Member chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute chaser266 has a reputation beyond repute
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    I am wondering - is this a problem with MA-COM equipment itself, MA-COM employees and their skills, or the contractor that designed/installed your MA-COM system? Some of the agencies in my area are considering their options, so I'm wondering if they should stay away from MA-COM equipment altogether, or if the problem has more to do with the people trying to configure your system.

  4. #4
    explcdt8's Avatar
    explcdt8 is offline NYS Peace Officer explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute
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    I know I'm not an LEO, but STAY AWAY FROM M/A-COM !!!!

    They are trying to put in a system in NY called OpenSky. Well, it failed its first round of tests, and the state threatened to cancel the contract. Almost all of the problems you described have happened in the two test areas of the state.

    Assuming yours is the same system, which I'm not sure it is, because OpenSky is not P25 compliant, yet they are putting OpenSky in PA also; that 95% coverage is really 95% coverage on state roads.

    Another issue is that if it is OpenSky, it is now ENCRYPTED, so if you have other LE Agencies scanning yours, they won't be able to anymore.

    For more information go to www.radioreference.com/forums
    and do a search on M/A COM or OpenSky, and see the love its getting from NY users (LEO's/FF/EMS and Dispatchers)
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  5. #5
    jim202 is offline Radio Systems Engineer jim202 is on a distinguished road
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    New York's new statewide radio system growing pains

    Sounds like your trying to grind an axe on this system. Maybe you should
    also tell the rest of the group just why some of the issues are there. Like
    maybe the state hasn't supplied the tracks of land in order to build the
    tower sites. Like the state is short of cash and may not be able to spend
    the required money on the radio system.

    There are a number of reasons that the new "OPENSKY" system hasn't
    got very far off the starting block. Be fair to both sides of the issue
    and let the group know just how you feel. Just don't supply a one
    sided biased opinion.

    I don't care if your Motorola and have a engineering staff and gobs
    of people to install the equipment. Motorola has a number of sites
    that are performing very poorly. Lets make sure we are given the
    true facts of what is going on here and not someones biased slant.

    Jim



    [QUOTE=explcdt8;984089]I know I'm not an LEO, but STAY AWAY FROM M/A-COM !!!!

    They are trying to put in a system in NY called OpenSky. Well, it failed its first round of tests, and the state threatened to cancel the contract. Almost all of the problems you described have happened in the two test areas of the state.

  6. #6
    mcsap is offline Veteran member ( retired) mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute
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    I admittedly DO have an axe to grind with ANY radio system / company that was several years in the planning , testing and with a price tag of 36 million dollars...doesn't work right.

    After nearly 6 weeks on the air , we are still plagued with POOR performance. Missed transmissions , dropped transmissions, garbled transmissions , digitized voices that can be legible.

    Our old VHF system at 155 mhz worked ( works) great. It had known limitations , especially with the portables but was VERY reliable. Perhaps adding a few remote receivers would have polished up the system but in the name of interoperability , we went " forward".

    There have been several incidents invooving officer safety due to these radios and regardless of their repeated reprogamming efforts ,their claims that the " best and the brightest" are working on our system....it is a safety hazard that is placing officers and the public at RISK.

    Is it too much to ask for a system that simply works as well as our old VHF system ?

    Added. It doesn't really matter why the system isn't working. I dont care if it is the manufacturer , the county or the state. When a countywide 911 emergency radio system isn't working right after 6 weeks of use , something is wrong and lives are at stake.

    Let the blame fall wherever it is needed.

    You say you are a radio engineer. Can you tell me why our 36 million dollar system isn't working properly ? It is not every transmission and there is no " bad place " for lack of a signal. It happens all over.
    Last edited by mcsap; 12-31-08 at 02:40 AM.
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  7. #7
    Roger Dat's Avatar
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    We arent talking about cell phones not working properly we are talking about lives at stake and officer safety so YES we have a right to *****.
    ďTake you hands off the car, and Iíll make your birth certificate a worthless document." UNKNOWN

  8. #8
    jim202 is offline Radio Systems Engineer jim202 is on a distinguished road
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    First of all, let me take the position that I am not supporting either side on
    this matter. With that said, I don't recall you saying just what exact
    system your talking about. Without any details I can't be of much help.

    Now let me go on record here and say that with many new radio systems
    that are proposed to a public safety agency, the agency doesn't bring
    on board someone that is neutral and can advise the agency just what
    they are buying. In most cases, regardless to who the manufacturer
    is, the system specs are wrote by the company. Then the agency
    comes and sits down at the negotiating table and says we can't afford
    a system with that kind of a price tag. So now the system gets cut
    back on hardware, tower sites, antennas and the like. What you end up
    with is nothing like what was proposed.

    Now tell me this didn't happen in your system your complaining about.
    Was the specs wrote by the agency or by the radio company? Was an
    outside engineer brought in to review the proposed system to advise
    the agency to go forward with what was presented? Did the radio
    company just come in, say this is what you need and please sign here?
    If so, don't go crying on my shoulder. Go put your upper management
    on the carpet and make them be responsible for what you ended up
    with.

    How do you now solve the issues? Not very easy, but I will bet it won't
    be cheap.

    I will say this, and some won't think I will become very popular. I am
    not here to win any contest. Bottom line is that you don't need a
    digital system to have a well performing radio system. Don't let the
    radio vendors tell you otherwise. Sure the digital radio provides a few
    and I mean only a few special features that you probably will not use.
    So why pay the extra for radios. P25 is not the bottom answer to all
    your radio woes. Even the federal government has come to this
    conclusion. That is why they are no longer demanding that any radio
    that is purchased with DHS money has to be P25 capable.

    I would be more concerned in trying to meet the narrow band requirement
    by 2013 for all VHF and UHF channels your currently using. Has your
    department made plans to narrow band your radio system on VHF and UHF?

    Jim



    Quote Originally Posted by mcsap View Post
    I admittedly DO have an axe to grind with ANY radio system / company that was several years in the planning , testing and with a price tag of 36 million dollars...doesn't work right.

    You say you are a radio engineer. Can you tell me why our 36 million dollar system isn't working properly ? It is not every transmission and there is no " bad place " for lack of a signal. It happens all over.

  9. #9
    mcsap is offline Veteran member ( retired) mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute
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    I am not sure what else you need more than the title of this thread. " P-25 and MA/COM ??

    What I know is that this has been in the planning stages for the last 5 years. We got all new radios and the techs say we now have 22 towers ro cover the county.

    Regardless of where we are in our 50 square mile jurisdiction , we have communication problems as I have outlined before. Our old VHF system is still up and running and works as well as ever.

    We changed over to meet the interoperability requirements put on all of Public Safety.

    We met with the company rep and he pointed NO fingers at our county. They said that they are having issues with the towers competing for the transmission and that is the cause of our problems. They have also reprogrammde our radios several times. They did take down one tower as they claimed it was causing some of the problems. It made no difference that we can tell. I noticed our cell phones dont have such a problem yet they work off of the same principle.

    The plan is to abandon the VHF frequencies and stay on 500 mhz.
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  10. #10
    retdetsgt's Avatar
    retdetsgt is offline Back in my day!!!! retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute retdetsgt has a reputation beyond repute
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    The primary problem is that when government has money, it looks to spend it w/o taking the time to really investigate what they're buying.

    Usually, it's computer systems. The state lost 22 million bucks about 15 years ago when it purchased a new computer system for DMV. My city lost about as much 10 years ago with a system for the water bureau's billing. When we initially got our 500mhz radio, it was horrible. We had dead spots all over the city. Motorola did a lousy job of placing towers, in fact it appeared they took no notice of the terrain. Portland has a lot of hills including an inactive (I hope) volcano in the middle of the city. My union finally filed a complaint with OSHA that got the city to do something about the dead spots.

    I have no doubt that if a private company had been putting out that kind of money, they would have demanded, and probably gotten a much more reliable system for less money.
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    You just gotta realize he is hard of hearing and cranky, and try to speak up more clearly next time and make it perfectly clear what you were saying so there is no misinterpretation. You gotta try not to get mad at the old guy, recognizing the issue at hand.

  11. #11
    explcdt8's Avatar
    explcdt8 is offline NYS Peace Officer explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute
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    mcsap

    Did you see this article

    http://ydr.inyork.com/ci_11423971?source=most_viewed

    They may have to scrap M/A-COM and go back to the old system.

    Also apparently your 911 Director has some friends in M/A-COM and may go work for them when he retires:rolleyes:

    If this is thread necromancy please separate into a new thread.
    Last edited by explcdt8; 01-13-09 at 10:24 AM. Reason: message to moderators
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  12. #12
    mcsap is offline Veteran member ( retired) mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute mcsap has a reputation beyond repute
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    2 months and the radio problems continue , as bad as ever. There has been ZERO improvement. We still hear promises of fixes, reprogramming , installing new antennas etc. The public and the officers are continually at risk due to lack of a good solid comm system like we HAD with the " old VHF system.

    A local radio engineer thinks the issue is with the MA/COM software , not the hardware. Regardless , the ONLY thing that will make me feel better is a good , useable , reliable comm system.

    If it wasn't for cell phones and our RELIABLE old VHF radios in the cars ( that we use for our side channel) , the risk to all of us would be increased substantially.

    The one chief is quoted as saying that there is no loss of communication and that the messages are getting through is true to a point. The point is it takes multiple ( grabled) transmissions to do what used to take ONE .transmission.

    If your agency, town or county is considering going to either a P-25 system or any system managed or implemented by MA/COM , PLEASE do research first. You may well regret spending 36 MILLION dollars like our county did.
    Last edited by mcsap; 01-14-09 at 08:35 AM.
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  13. #13
    RoadDog1905's Avatar
    RoadDog1905 is offline Condense Some Non-sense. RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute RoadDog1905 has a reputation beyond repute
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    The PA State Police are slowly working their way over to the 800mhz OpenSky radio system with some problems. From my understanding, the system was designed and tested in the midwest without mountains and other terrain obstacles - exactly like Pennsylvania.

    Right now I'm in Fulton County and the OpenSky system isn't too bad for us. We have our spots around the county where we lose coverage, but they are few and far between. I came from PSP in Montgomery county, where the population is about 1,600/sq. mile, and we had more problems there with the OpenSky system then we have in Fulton County (where we average 32 people per sq. mi.). Messages don't came through garbled with us and while the digitalized voices take a little practice to know who is talking, we don't have any problems with it.

    One thing we did before transferring our voice communications to the 800mhz channel was transfer our data communications to that channel. If we lost our computer connection for a few seconds it wasn't an issue. I hadn't considered it before typing this reply, but it might have been purposefully done by the department to test the systems capabilities before switching out voice communications to the system.

    I will say that I LOVE the coverage with the portables. When I was working PSP Philadelphia I could be standing in the middle of I-76 or I-95 and have NO ability with my portable. In fact, I'd say that I would get a connection with the portable perhaps 1 in 10 times. Absolutely terrible. With the OpenSky, I get a connection about 9 in 10 times even out in Fulton County.

    If you think 36 million dollar is a lot, don't ask how much it is costing the state to transfer over to the new system. Not all the stations are on the new system yet, but they are still trying to get them over to it.
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  14. #14
    explcdt8's Avatar
    explcdt8 is offline NYS Peace Officer explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute explcdt8 has a reputation beyond repute
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    RoadDog:

    How is the coverage in buildings? Apparently that was one of the sticking points with NY's OpenSky system, that M/A-COM promised 95% portable coverage, but really meant 95% portable coverage on state roads.
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  15. #15
    RoadDog1905's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by explcdt8 View Post
    RoadDog:

    How is the coverage in buildings? Apparently that was one of the sticking points with NY's OpenSky system, that M/A-COM promised 95% portable coverage, but really meant 95% portable coverage on state roads.
    Hmmm....I'd say that I'm about 50/50 on getting something in a residence, perhaps a little less. I guess when I compare it to our old portables which nearly never had any signal, I'm still happier.

    I know one feature we have that I've noticed does make a noticable difference is the repeater/booster option in the cars. I've noted on several occasions where that got me from no signal to a signal when I was on my portable.

    On a slightly different note, NYSP went to the 45 GAP's before we did. We must be a bunch of copy-cats from our brothers up north.
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