News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

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News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by vk6hgr » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:37 pm

“The WA Emergency Radio Network (WAERN) seems to have significantly degraded performance in the bushfire environment,” a committee statement said.

“Incredibly ... its performance is affected by both smoke and water vapour, and witnesses (said) they revert to using their older UHF radios.
http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/br ... ng-report/
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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by vk6hgr » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:59 pm

Some more URLs.

The report, "Higher Risk. Better Prepared? WA’s Preparedness for the 2012-13 Bushfire Season"

http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/C825783 ... -Final.pdf

And the actual Parliamentary committee inquiry details:

http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/C825783 ... enDocument
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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by robbage » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:27 pm

Any idea why the new radios systems are affected by smoke and water vapour but not the old systems? Does it get into the radios?
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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by meg » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:54 pm

Higher frequency Robbage - not as good range as the old frequencies either :-(

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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by robbage » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:49 am

The VHF radios around one fifty/one sixty MHz are having this problem? Do the 78MHz radios do better under the same conditions?
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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by Helitak_670 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:40 am

I have never felt so under prepared in my career as a fire fighter.only good luck will get us through this fire season.

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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by nra555 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:14 pm

The first article is flawed to the max. And wouldnt an actual UHF radio do worse in smoke due to higher freq? The main problems iv experienced with waern are the 6ar/6ip network and the vertex portables.
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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by Helitak_670 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:00 pm

Depending on the fire environment smoke from some materials will cause the radio wave (transmission) to be lost. Water has the same effect. ie high moisture content in some fuels. Someone has done their research I can assure you that.

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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by robbage » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:24 pm

I read an article where tactical forces prefer to use UHF when they are clearing buildings because the signal punches through walls better. I'm wondering if smoke and vapour might be much the same.
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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by Helitak_670 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:33 am

A lot of it has to do with the wave length of the frequency being used. ie larger wave length can be interrupted a lot easier, but can travel a very long way ie HF is great in clear conditions but as soon as it is stormy you can forget trying to get clear comms. UHF less distance but shorter wave length which means less interference.

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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by auntys_eyes » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:12 pm

There is a possibility that the nomenclature in the reports is incorrect as well. The references to witnesses saying they go back to their "UHF" radios is interesting. Whilst UHF radios have been used in regional (non metro) areas due to their compatability with other agencies, local government and farmers (many people have CBs), the previous system in the metro area was/is VHF Mid. I am wondering if some of the confusion is due to people not correctly identifying the correct band (and therefore frequency range) in certain statements and anecdotes before committees.
The anecdotal evidence i am hearing from older volunteers is that whilst the VHF Mid system struggled in hilly terrain (like along the Darling Scarp) that overall it performed better than the VHF High is, and the radios were easier to operate. The VHF High seems to have a shorter line of sight transmission distance and IS effected by such things as smoke, water vapour and dense bush along with the radios being more complex.
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Re: News: Firefighting equipment lacking: Report

Post by Helitak_670 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:29 am

Auntys_eyes

The High Band does have a shorter line of sight over Mid Band due to the wave length.
The WAERN radios are easy to use, it is just a matter of getting someone to train you in a way that you understand. I will PM you with some info.

The hard thing to keep up with the WAERN is the constant channel changing and knowing your area with what channel to use. Either way in Darlington I am pretty sure that it would be difficult to run a large incident in there.

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