The Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) project replaced the analogue radio systems used by Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board with a state of the art digital radio system.
The MMR system provides coverage across a wider area, with less interference, while also delivering:
- enhanced security of communications through digital encryption facilities;
- digital voice transmission to improve voice quality so that communication in an emergency response situation is clear and unambiguous;
- sufficient channel capacity and flexibility to manage the security and emergency response to major events; and
- interoperability between emergency service organisations and common co-ordination channels to support a multi-agency response to major incidents.
Initially an FDMA (Phase I) system all sites were upgraded to enable TDMA (Phase II) capability if required.
Current users of the MMR Network include:
– Victoria Police (Greater Metropolitan Melbourne & Greater Geelong areas);
– Ambulance Victoria (Metropolitan);
– Metropolitan Fire Brgiade;
– Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC);
– Motorola (Network maintenance & upgrade purposes).
What is the MMR?
The Metropolitan Mobile Radio system was a DIGITAL trunked radio system set up by MOTOROLA for BEST for the emergency services in the metropolitan area to use.
Motorola won the MMR contract and implemented an APCO-25 (ASTRO) system.
When was the MMR introduced?
The MMR system began installation in 2004 and was expected to be up and running in time for the Commonwealth Games (15-26 March 2006). VICPOL and the MFB were on the system in time for the games with MAS not moving onto the system until after the games. The network ran in conjunction with each agencies old UHF legacy systems via way of a patch between the new and old network in event of failure.
Are any other services going to use the MMR?
Initially only the MFB, Victoria Police (Greater Geelong and Metropolitan) and AV (Metropolitan) were using the MMR Network. It is believed the VicRoads Incident Response Service & Transport Safety Services did make enquiries on utilising the system, however this never eventuated and they would need to make arrangement with ESTA. It should also be noted that in 2015 ESTA engaged Motorola to undertake a ‘what if’ study in regards to the removal of the frequency partitions each agency user had in place. This exercise was in the hope of freeing up capacity and bringing other Government users of the MMR Network on board. In September and October of 2015 selected sites had the partitions removed on a trial basis.
Why was the MMR introduced?
There are a number of reasons why – security (secure from being monitored if required and radio’s being stolen), interoperability (agencies can talk direct to each other), better reception. The former technology used was getting very old and expensive to maintain and was prone to interference.
So can I still monitor an APCO-25 system?
Yes so long as the talkgroup is not encrypted.
So I can no longer listen if encryption is used?
Correct – if the agencies implement encryption it will be DES strength and unbreakable except for government agencies.
Are any agencies using encryption?
– Victoria Police talkgroups are encrypted. With a few expections such as the two TGID’s used by ESTA for training purposes. There are a few reported TGID’s that are unencrypted but no traffic has been heard on them.
– Metropolitan Fire Brigade has access to 3 encrypted TGID’s via (mobile) radios installed in vehicles, yet their portables do not carry the encrypted TGID’s. The majority of MFB TGID’s are unencrypted. In addition they also have access to 10 portable radios controlled by Victoria Police (R.E.D) with encryption if needed. These are usually issued by VicPol Officers assigned to the State ECC to designated MFB Officers assigned to a particular role in event of DISPLAN.
– Ambulance Victoria is much like the MFB in that it has access to a small number of encrpyted TGID’s if required but the majority of the operational ones are unencrypted. Their NetCom channels are encrpyted due to sensitve patient details.
So what if I steal a radio so I can still listen to the police?
Firstly you’d be an absolute fool for stealing a radio, and yes you could listen to the Police radio as they drove you to the Police Station to charge you with theft offences. Secondly our understanding is that if a radio is stolen and reported as such the next time the radio ‘logs’ onto the system it is ‘stunned’ and needs to be returned to Motorola.
Can I buy a Motorola radio and clone it?
Well you can but we believe that the system would recognise two radio’s with the same ID and reject both – ‘stunning’ them in the process. Scanners are much more flexible, quicker to program and scan ALOT faster than commercial brand radios.