Regional Mobile Radio Network – First two sites now active.

Towards the end of June, 2013 the first two Digital VHF P25 trunking sites were switched on for the new Regional Mobile Radio Network (RMR) that will become the primary communications system used by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria, replacing its older Analogue VHF Network. The RMR Network forms part of the wider CFA Regional Radio Dispatch Service (RRDS) Project.

The two locations now active are located at Kinglake and Pretty Sally. Despite much speculation amongst communication hobbyists and those in the CFA that the system would be P25 Conventional, it is not, the backbone of the system is trunking. I believe the RMR Network will be much like its Metropolitan & Greater Geelong counterpart, the UHF MMR Network, whose backbone is trunking with an allocation of conventional P25 channels. Time will tell.

Telstra is the lead contractor on the project suport_radio_smallpported by Motorola.

Those familiar the MMR Network will know that the Site ID’s (SiteID’s)  are prefixed with SiteID’s of 01## and 02##. With the RMR Project I believe we will see SiteID’s of 03## and 04##. Another familiar aspect of the RMR Network is that its System ID (SysID) is 0164h, the very same used by the MMR Network.

Monitoring of the network over the last week has shown little to no activity on the system yet. Not surprising given the CFA will need to reprogram their relatively new Tait portables and mobiles in order to be able to access the system.

The current control channel frequencies for the two active towers are;
Kinglake: Control Channel: 15-0104 166.5000MHz SysID: 0164h SiteID: 0431
Pretty Sally: Control Channel: 15-0110 166.5750MHz SysID: 0164h SiteID: 0485

Alternative Control Channels and Network Access Codes (NAC) are yet to be obtained.

There has been a bit of industry and hobbyist speculation as to whether the Victoria Police are watching how the network unfolds and in the future may also wind up as users of it as they look to replace their old VHF Voting Network. Once all the infrastructure is in place they may look to offer to expand each sites capability and then become part of it, with of course the possibility of encryption on their TGID’s / Channels.

Before some of you faint, no the CFA are not looking to encrypt their allocation of the TGID’s / Channels at this stage.

For the hobbyist, with the beginning of the RMR Network and those who enjoy listening to the CFA this means you will have to ensure you upgrade your scanner (listening sets) to a digital and trunking capable scanner in order to continue to do so.

Part of the new allocation of system frequencies can be found here on the ACMA Database: http://web.acma.gov.au/pls/radcom/client_search.client_lookup?pCLIENT_NO=20011154

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have anything else to offer or a further insight in to this system.

9 thoughts on “Regional Mobile Radio Network – First two sites now active.

  1. The constant tone on 165.600Mhz and 165.225Mhz is the P25 test pattern.
    It is used to assess the Bit Error Rate (BER) of the signal.
    Those with mobile P25 capable scanners can have a listen to the tone as they drive around, and hear the tone warble and break up as the signal varies.

    The system engineers will use this test to determine correct antenna gain, patterning and transmitter power output/deviation for the given site within the required coverage area.
    The control channels will be being assessed also for system performance.

    A NAC of 293 is essentially digital carrier squelch with no specific NAC in use.
    NAC 293 is the default used by P25 capable equipment.

    Interesting times ahead as the network takes shape.

    No doubt the APX line of Motorola radios will be used for MMR and RMR, especially since the MMR is expected to go to Phase II P25 in the coming years.
    Dual band in the VHF and UHF Range 1 (380-470Mhz) will enable seamless transition for CFA units bordering on the metro regions, with switching between the MMR and RMR possible in one radio.
    Yes…..I want one too!!

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