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Emergency Communications Radio Project Website

Contact Us: bucksradioproject@co.bucks.pa.us

2014 Updates

December Updates

Project Status Report December 23, 2014

November Updates

Project Status Report November 7, 2014

September Updates

Project Status Report September 29, 2014

Motorola Battery Use and Care

August Updates

Project Status Report August 21, 2014

July Updates

Project Status Report July 9, 2014

May Updates

Project Status Report May 13, 2014

FSB-APX6000

March Updates

Project Status Report March 28, 2014

February Updates

Project Status Report February 7, 2014

January Updates

A letter to Municipal Officials and Chiefs from Emergency Services Director Scott Forster:
An update on the current status and the future benchmarks January 15, 2014

2013 Updates

November 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: November 25, 2013

October 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: October 24, 2013

September 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: September 24, 2013

August 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: August 15, 2013

June 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: June 27, 2013

May 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: May 14, 2013

April 2013 Updates

Encryption Update: April 26, 2013

Project Status Update: April 10, 2013

March 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: March 7, 2013

February 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: February 26, 2013

Ordering Worksheets Fire/EMS (excel) Ordering Worksheets Fire/EMS (pdf)**
Ordering Worksheets Police (excel) Ordering Worksheets Police (pdf)**

**Adobe (pdf) files have been provided for those who do not have access to Microsoft Excel (or compatible software) for reference only if you cannot fill out and save the excel workbooks,please contact Tracy at 215-340-8112.

Project Status Update: February 15, 2013

Narrowbanding Article, presented to the Bucks County Association of Township Officials February 2, 2013

January 2013 Updates

Project Status Update: January 10, 2013

2012 Updates

December 2012 Updates

Project Status Update: December 31, 2012

Project Status Update: December 7, 2012

Decision on Encryption - final signed letter

October 2012 Updates

Project Status Update: October 29, 2012

September 2012 Updates

Project Status Update: September 17, 2012

August 2012 Updates

Project Status Update: August 16, 2012

July 2012 Updates

Project Status Update: July 18, 2012

June 2012 Updates

Project Status Update: June 27, 2012

Project Status Update: June 13, 2012

May 2012 Updates

Motorola Subscriber Unit Presentations - Update May 31,2012

Motorola Authorized Service Centers, May 25, 2012

Project Status Update: May 16, 2012

Police/Law Enforcement Baseline Recommendation, Financial Update, Installation and Removal of Equipment and more...

Project Follow Up
Re: FCC Rules update/status of April 26, 2012
5/3/2012

As we reported last week, the FCC delayed narrowbanding mandate for agencies operating in the T-Band spectrum for an undetermined time.  After careful consideration, we are going to continue working through the radio project.

Update, 4/27/12

On April 26, 2012, we received updated rules to the FCC’s narrow banding mandate. The County and the project team are working on what this will mean to our project and to the users of the County. It is too premature to say with certainty how we will move forward on this new information. Until last night, we had no prior notice of this major change from the FCC. We know this is a significant shift from the earlier position from the FCC and we are working on the issue with our County leadership. As always, we are working in the best interest of our public safety partners. We will keep you posted on the FCC’s revised position as it develops.

 

Project Status Update 04-25-12
(Fleet Mapping Rescheduling, Site Acquisitions, and Fire Company Demonstrations)

Project Status Update 04-12-12

March 2012 Updates

Status Update - March 22, 2012

REMINDER

On April 15th, the ability to monitor the fireground channels in the communication center will be going away. Field users will still have the ability to use these channels. This information  was discussed at the last Fire Communications Advisory Board meeting and published in the March edition of the Bucks County Fire News. If you should have any questions please contact Mike Dydak at mwdydak@co.bucks.pa.us.

February 2012 Updates

500 MHZ Data Modem system is scheduled to be disconnected on or about March 1, 2012, please contact Tracy Carl at 215-340-8112 or tacarl@co.bucks.pa.us if your department requires additional time.

The county is filing for a waiver on the build out of the new radio system.

Departments are asked to provide a count of mobiles, portables and accessories by 2-29-12, this information will be used to determine a amount for the county bond.

2011 Updates

The county is in the beginning stages of a radio system overhaul.  The FCC has given a mandate to all U.S. public safety agencies that they must narrowband their operational frequencies.  Our system is one of those that are included in this federal mandate.  This is a significant project to take on, and the County contracted with a nationally recognized consulting team from L.R. Kimball to perform a needs assessment on the legacy radio system.  The recommendation from that assessment included a transition from our existing radio system to a new 700 MHz digital trunked P25 compliant radio system.  The County Commissioners agreed to take on the project in December 2010. ‚Äč

Q. WHY ARE WE MOVING FORWARD WITH THIS PROJECT NOW?

A. From the FCC website:

Narrow banding is an effort to ensure more efficient use of the VHF and UHF spectrum by requiring all VHF and UHF Public Safety and Industrial/Business land mobile radio (LMR) systems to migrate to at least 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013.

More specifically, all existing Part 90 radio systems operating in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands have until January 1, 2013 to convert those systems either to a maximum bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or to a technology that provides at least one voice path per 12.5 kHz of bandwidth or equivalent efficiency. “

Several key factors led to the decision to migrate to 700 MHz . Those include interference issues recognized after the digital television switch in 2009, and the need for additional channel capacity to meet the needs for the next 10-15 years.  This newly acquired frequency range is anticipated to provide us with significantly increased capacity to meet the growing needs of our emergency responders and improve interference issues that have been recognized by our public safety partners in surrounding communities.  Since we are migrating to a P25 compliant system, it gives us more flexibility for interoperable communications with neighboring counties, and gives our providers more choices in future radio system purchases. 

The County is in the competitive procurement phase of the project.  Several vendors have responded to the RFP and the County is reviewing the best possible option to provide to the emergency service community.  The County Commissioners will consider the recommendations placed before them and select a vendor to partner with on this very important project.  Please check back to this website often for new information. 

Our tentative current schedule: 
Proposals Due    March 15, 2011
Evaluation of Proposals  March 16, 2011
Contract Negotiations     April 6, 2011
Notice to Proceed  April 27, 2011

 

March 2011 Updates

Questions and Answers

Q: “It’s rumored that the county dispatches will stay on VHF when we go to 700 MHz and nothing will change.  Is that accurate?”  (3/19/2011)

A: The system that the county is currently operating on is in the VHF high band spectrum.  We are required to narrowband our frequencies, and the dispatch channel is not exempt from this mandate.  The County plans to simulcast all VHF dispatches county-wide with both tone/voice transmissions as well as providing alpha-numeric text paging.  Our existing system does not simulcast and this project will be a significant change from our legacy equipment. 

The County has a strict and aggressive timeline that we must meet to satisfy the FCC narrowbanding mandate.  There has been no indication that the established deadline will be extended. 

Q: “I was told that since the dispatches are remaining on VHF that my current VHF pager will continue working as it does today.  Is that true, and do I need to buy anything for future dispatches?” (3/19/2011) 

A: At this time, the only pager that can be narrowbanded is the Motorola Minitor 5.  It is the only legacy piece of equipment that we can have certified to operate correctly on the new simulcast High-Band VHF system.  Other models and versions will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 

Several years ago, the County procured and deployed 25 Minitor 5 pagers for each department to assist with the transition from low band.  If your agency has not yet put those pagers into service, please begin to do so.  We will not extend beyond the June 2011 date for discontinuance of the low band paging system.

Q: “Is the County is going to eliminate the low band system sometime in 2011 and will I have to replace all of my low band pagers and plectrons this year?”  (3/19/2011)

A: The legacy low band equipment in use today is becoming increasingly more difficult to procure.  Oftentimes, even the replacement equipment is used or no longer supported by the vendor because we must purchase the equipment from aftermarket vendors.  With the deployment of the new radio system, we must be cautious purchasing equipment that will not be capable of reuse in the new system. 

During the transition, the County recognizes that we must maintain our legacy infrastructure; however, in the very near future we will be discontinuing the use of the low band paging equipment that some companies may still be using.  We have pulsed the fire service to determine who those companies are and as of 4/1/2011 20 companies have notified us that they still rely on this paging system as a primary alerting mechanism.  The County radio staff will work directly with these agencies to resolve this issue.

IMPORTANT: The County will discontinue use of the low band paging system in June 2011.  This move will enable us to start staging equipment for the new system in our shelters.  Real estate is limited in some of our sites, and we cannot continue to support this part of our legacy system. 

If your agency has equipment that must be replaced, please contact the radio shop to discuss options prior to committing to new equipment that may not be suitable on the new system. 

Q: “Is it possible that the county issued single channel Minitor 5 pagers can be modified into dual channel radios and can be reprogrammed to receive two bands?” (3/19/2011)

A: This modification will not be supported by the manufacturer and will not be certified on the new simulcast system. 

Listed below are a few links to learn more about narrow banding, the FCC, and the P25 project below. 

FCC Website for further information on narrowbanding:
http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/public-safety-spectrum/narrowbanding.html

FCC information about the narrow banding mandate:
http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/techtopics/techtopics16.html

APCO Project 25 (P25)
http://www.project25.org/

June 2011 Updates

On June 1st. the County Commissioners voted to enter into contract discussions with Motorola Solutions, Inc to provide radio system infrastructure and Radios as mandated by the FCC January 1, 2013 deadline. This is the time when the 700Mhz system must be ready to turn on.

The contract reviews have started.

We will be developing user equipment road-show presentations to users so you can see the different equipment tiers you may like to purchase and develop a plan for your various departments. (Locations, times and numbers of presentations to be developed.)

We will be adding a link to this website to point to the equipment levels provided by Motorola so you may look at types and accessories for your use.

September 2011 Updates

Below are brochures for the available radios and accessories for the proposed radio system. Please make yourselves familiar with the available options so that you are better prepared when the time comes to order equipment.

The Communications Department is working with appropriate advisory boards to schedule presentations from Motorola to afford you the opportunity to see the actual equipment.
Information on the APX Series 4000 is not currently available. It will be added as soon as it becomes available.

For pricing please contact Dennis Forsyth (drforsyth@co.bucks.pa.us) or Mike Dydak (mwdydak@co.bucks.pa.us).

APX Portable Family APX Portable Comparison APX Portable Accessories
APX Mobile Family APX Mobile Accessories APX Earpiece
APX RSM APX XE RSM  
APX 6000 APX 6000 XE APX 6500
APX 7000 APX 7000 XE APX 7500

October 2011 Updates

The following dates have been scheduled for system users to see the mobile and portable radios available on the proposed radio upgrade:

November 9, 2011: 1:30-3:30 PM at the Fire School
November 9, 2011: 7:30-9:30PM at the Fire School (Northern End FD’s)

November 10, 2011: 1:30-3:30 PM at the Fire School
November 10, 2011: 7:30-9:30 PM at Southampton Fire Company (Southern End FD’s)

The evening sessions will be split:
11/9/11  for North End Fire companies
11/10/11 for South End Fire companies.

The sessions are open to Fire, Police, EMS personnel.

The day sessions will be mainly for Police and EMS.
The evening sessions will be mainly for Fire.

Please notify Mike Dydak at mwdydak@co.bucks.pa.us as to the date-time and number of people attending from your department. We are asking that departments attending limit the number to 3.

Department of Emergency Communications 
Audrey R. Kenny

Director / 911 Coordinator
Bucks County Department of Emergency Communications / 911 Center 
Bucks County Emergency Services Complex
911 Freedom Way
Ivyland, PA 18974
Phone: 215-340-8770 
Fax: 267-885-1323