DFES digital

WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services (6AR and 6IP) (Including the Fire Services, SES & VMRS) and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

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Re: DFES digital

Post by auntys_eyes » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:15 pm

kyeboi wrote:did mean to upset set any one when I said someone's ''blowing smoke up ya'' it was more that I couldn't see them running digital on career and not vollies there would be so much confusing and lack of info swapped, large bushfire or other incidents would be come more crazy than the all ready are.

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Firstly, I hope you meant to say "didn't" not "did". Proof reading your own posts before clicking submit would save you a lot of embarrassment Kye.
Secondly, if you read some of the previous posts they state that digital radios are being trialled for STRUCTURAL fires, and that some volunteer brigades ARE involved.
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Re: DFES digital

Post by kyeboi » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:18 pm

auntys_eyes wrote:
kyeboi wrote:did mean to upset set any one when I said someone's ''blowing smoke up ya'' it was more that I couldn't see them running digital on career and not vollies there would be so much confusing and lack of info swapped, large bushfire or other incidents would be come more crazy than the all ready are.

kyeboi

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Firstly, I hope you meant to say "didn't" not "did". Proof reading your own posts before clicking submit would save you a lot of embarrassment Kye.
Secondly, if you read some of the previous posts they state that digital radios are being trialled for STRUCTURAL fires, and that some volunteer brigades ARE involved.

first it is not a spelling comp so dont think that your king @@@@ and I CBF reading all that crap wasn't trying to pick a fight just looks like your looking for one !!! and yes I mean DIDN'T
Last edited by kyeboi on Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DFES digital

Post by vk6hgr » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:54 pm

Everyone. Enough.

Stick to the topic at hand and leave personality clashes out of this.
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Re: DFES digital

Post by Nathan127 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:34 pm

While this is very entertaining to read.

I go with on topic, To my knowledge (lets face it im not a radio geek or anything) the WAERN system was digital & encrypted on some channels if yes why change if no why not just encrypt the radio system we have ?


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Re: DFES digital

Post by Helitak_670 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:05 pm

Digital will be here in 2015.

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Re: DFES digital

Post by Nack » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:53 am

As has been mentioned elsewhere on this forum, DFES will be using the WAPol P25 network. They will have their own talk-groups, with probably limited common groups between WAPol and DFES. I'm unsure whether they will be running encryption or not (knowing DFES and it's lust for shiny toys, probably) but if they do it will be using their own key set. Again, there may be some common keys available for interaction between DFES and WAPol, and the system is intelligent enough to negotiate these between disparate radios.

My understanding is that the P25 system will be used for 6AR, and patched to the current analogue 6AR/6IP channels. WAPol have some concerns regarding how this will impact the utilisation of their network; having one big talk-group with many hundreds of subscribers across the network could mean that every transmission on that talk-group lights up nearly every repeater site and ties up a channel. WAPol's talk-groups are generally limited to either geographic areas, or small operational groups (K9, TRG, etc). I am yet to hear whether or not this has been resolved.

There are pros and cons to the P25 system being trialled. In 30 years involvement with fire fighting, the underlying radio technology has not changed (new band, new channels, same tech). Talk-groups are certainly a vast improvement upon the conventional analogue system used by WAERN. No more having to look-up which channel to use when travelling out of your area; just select the 6AR/6IP talk group and talk. The trunking system will seamlessly hand you from repeater to repeater as you travel, without needing any input from the user. Other benefits of P25 include clearer audio and advanced radio features (private calls, status messages, emergency alerts, etc).

Having said that, the greatest and more important improvement ever achieved within WA's fire-fighting radio network was getting all three services (WAFB/BFS/CALM) onto the one radio system. In days gone by local governments operated their own radio systems and attending a fire out of your area could mean not being able to talk to anyone else on the fire ground. The amalgamation of WAFB and BFS into FESA largely solved that and everyone's chief problem then became finding free channels.

This current move to separate FRS from BFS/DPaW, as well as DPaW's experimentation with P25, is deeply concerning and a huge step backwards. Yes, everyone will still have the WAERN radios, but I lack confidence the new radios will always be used competently and appropriately.

Imagine the scenario of a bushfire just starting up. A couple of red-trucks rock up and begin tackling the fire, and because they're new and shiny they use their P25 radios. The fire progresses and more red-trucks rock up. They inevitably lose it and have to call in support from BFS and DPaW. BFS and DPaW don't have P25 radios. Suddenly, at the worst possible time when the fire is really cranking and the IC/IMT are struggling with the chaos that is rapidly arriving crews they now also have to manage re-channelling the fire ground onto new channels that everyone can use. Changing an IC or sector channel is dodgy at the best of times; more than once I've seen it take hours to finally get everyone onto the channels they should be on. Add into the mix a second radio and the outcome is unlikely to be good.

I apologise for such a long post - I had intended to simply set the record straight on the digital radios, but as you can tell this is something I feel very strongly about, and so had a bit of a rant.

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Re: DFES digital

Post by JB5 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:50 am

What would be the benefit of DFES going digital? Is it purely to stop people from listening in?
WAPOL and SJA gave out personal information that was of privacy concern, but what sensitive information do DFES actually broadcast?

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Re: DFES digital

Post by roland985 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:06 pm

JB5 wrote:What would be the benefit of DFES going digital? Is it purely to stop people from listening in?
WAPOL and SJA gave out personal information that was of privacy concern, but what sensitive information do DFES actually broadcast?
Names, Addresses of incidents, locations of trapped people.

That's just the firies.

I'm in the SES, and we have separate concerns.

When we are on a land search, we have to use codes (No, don't ask I'm not letting go of our secrets.) that are assigned to us so that media can't just listen in and proceed to swamp the area we find the missing person either living or dead.

Having that encryption will allow us to be a lot more relaxed in sharing information via radio. Previously, we would use mobiles, but they are not all that reliable in country areas.
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Re: DFES digital

Post by Turbo » Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:43 pm

roland985 wrote:that are assigned to us so that media can't just listen in and proceed to swamp the area we find the missing person either living or dead.
Lol at the media "swamping the area".

I think you will find the media are a HUGE benefit when there is a missing person.

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Re: DFES digital

Post by roland985 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:35 am

They are both a blessing, and a curse. They do tend to be useful, but when on a search, the last thing you need are cameramen running around trying to get a money shot of the search teams.

Some members take off their name badges when on a search.
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Re: DFES digital

Post by Turbo » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:41 pm

Why is it bad for a cameraman to get a shot of volunteers searching?

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Re: DFES digital

Post by roland985 » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:12 pm

It isn't. But they follow our vehicles, they chase us around. They also get in the way.
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Re: DFES digital

Post by vk6hgr » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:24 pm

Well it turns out that the state is broke so they'll be putting this one off for a while :-P
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Re: DFES digital

Post by roland985 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:59 pm

vk6hgr wrote:Well it turns out that the state is broke so they'll be putting this one off for a while :-P
Yep! WAERN is intact and working.

I don't really see an operational advantage for DFES with digital for the following reasons:

1) Digital doesn't mean better comms. In fact, if something goes wrong, people will be unable to communicate at all. Compared to the analog system. As seen in this article.

2) As Gavin pointed out above, they'd be replacing a LOT of radios. For example, at our SES unit, they'd have to replace 20 handhelds, 3 vehicle radios (Both dual band UHF/VHF) for models supporting the digital network. And then they'd have to change the repeaters too. Then we have the firies next door. Twice the issue, as they have a lot more handhelds and vehicles. It's too expensive to do it all at once.

3) WAERN is pretty good as it is right now. It seems to work well enough (though some may have disagreements with that statement.)

4) No need, aside from protecting our channels from interference by malicious entities. (As heard in Jan this year). But you can still jam P25 as well as you can normal narrowband FM.
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Re: DFES digital

Post by Turbo » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:14 pm

roland985 wrote:It isn't. But they follow our vehicles, they chase us around. They also get in the way.
I find that hard to believe but hey, you have obviously had a bad experience.

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