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 supported 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.