Tag Archives: Motorola

Victorian Government Operational Communications Program Update & other matters

Hi All,

It’s been far too long since our last article, but that’s what happens when you have work, a wife and kids to consider. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had to contend with all of the above whilst still trying to have a hobby.

Victorian Government Emergency Management Operational Communications Program

As most will know the initial deadline for Victoria Police in rural areas to go encrypted on an expanded RMR Network has passed. It was an ambitious date to begin with and those who have worked in government circles will realise that.

Also let’s remember it was a timeline that was initially set during an election when point scoring between parties is at fever pitch.

Once the waters settle a little and everyone who has a stake in such a project has their say, formulates business cases, does their feasibility tests, runs tenders, sources suppliers etc. a more realistic, and attainable timeline tends to be seen and in most cases differs from what was originally stated.

This is a massive project! It is never an easy task trying to get everyone on the same page, so I don’t think we should be too surprised that we didn’t see Victoria Police in rural areas running digital encrypted on the RMR Network by July, 2017. You have to remember the original timeline announcement was set in April 2015, for a project of this size that isn’t a big window.

If it was just Victoria Police involved in the project and moving to an already long-established system then I think they would’ve achieved it. But the reality is there are many other entities involved in such a project and they’re moving to a relativity new system that needs to be expanded in order to cater to several agencies and be at a certain operational readiness in the desired areas before switch-over.

An expanded RMR Network will see the remaining four CFA Districts in the Metropolitan Fire District (Districts 7, 8, 13 & 14) migrate to the network.

The RMR Network has already started to expand and we should see just over 235+ sites when done, up from 199 sites. Some of these new sites will permit the outer Country Fire Authority brigades in the outer Metropolitan areas (Districts 7, 8, 13 & 14) to finally migrate across to the RMR Network like the rest of the agency.

An interesting note is that some time ago I was advised that the Sheriff’s Office of Victoria (SOV) was halting plans to migrate across to the RMR Network in order to do an internal review and assessment of their future communication needs.

If you have a read through some of the initial documentation and announcements SOV were part of the ‘master plan’ of inclusion and even had funds allocated to them for the exercise. However the recent revived timeline announcement doesn’t include them. I believe you will find as it stands at present they’re out of the project altogether for now, which means they may need to hand back some money to Emergency Management Victoria they received in order to budget the project at agency level under the ACMA Compliance project. Time will tell.

Motorola APX series radios are expected for Victoria Police in rural areas and Corrections Victoria.

There was a post by a user on the ‘Aussie Scanners’ forum back in July 2017 stating he’d suddenly noticed a few of his local Police carrying Tait portables and not their usual Motorola radios. I believe you’ll find some Tait units were loaned to Victoria Police via another agency for trial and testing purposes, however don’t expect to see Tait rolled out for Victoria Police. I believe you will find Motorola will be supply new radios to Victoria Police, Corrections Victoria (CV) and possibly the State Emergency Service (SES).

Victoria Police and SES will in all probability get some dual band assets, not all radios will be dual band, but expect some areas to have access to such, this will permit roaming between the two networks. I’m uncertain where AV (Rural) is at for the moment, dual band radios were touted for them as a possibility at one stage I believe. We should see only Victoria Police and CV will run encryption on their talkgroups and enjoy some nice new Motorola APX units as well as some

Surf Life Saving Victoria is still in the picture and expected to migrate with Kenwood radios.

Also of note regarding government communications is the current situation for Vicroads and its various operational departments such as  Works, Incident Response Service (IRS), Transport Safety Services (TSS) and the Traffic Management Centre (TMC).

Vicroads at present is not part of any network migration plans, which is quite interesting in my opinion. They are a government department and are existing users of a radio system, they also play a very large and vital role in keeping the road network humming along and dealing with all sorts of matters and incidents on the road network.

Vicroads used to use a very extensive radio system several decades ago with one of the greatest coverage footprints of any government department across the state at the time, some might even argue it actually surpassed elements of Victoria Police’s then VHF and later UHF network. So what happened?

I’m told that in short a certain Premier back in the 90’s envisioned that as cost saving exercise they could sell and dismantle the system and migrate to the then VHF SMR Network (based on MPT1327 protocol) which was in its early years of operation, which is pretty much what occurred. However some UHF allocations were retained for use in Metropolitan areas and the final one of those UHF frequencies was vacated only a couple of years ago.

Vicroads TSS Officers appear a little more fortunate with their current radio access than their IRS and Works colleagues.

Not long after the disastrous Black Saturday fires of 2007 there was some concern regarding their works depots lack of access to radio infrastructure and that of the Transport Safety Services (TSS) and Incident Response Service (IRS) should they need to allocate resources in to disaster affected areas outside of the metropolitan area, and they realised they couldn’t just have crews relying on mobile phone networks for obvious reasons. The TSS are bit more fortunate in this regard in that most, if not all, of their units also have access to the VHF SMR Network for rural operations and UHF for metropolitan operations in addition to MDT access. However the IRS and Works Department don’t appear as fortunate.

Things seemed to get a little worse only a few years back when they had to vacate the last of the UHF allocations of which the IRS were big users of. This also meant that some work depot crews also lost access to radio communications. The TSS were lucky in that they could fallback to the SMR Network.

I believe with the passage of time there may have been some administration matters that required them to forgo the last UHF frequency allocated for their voice communications, happy to be corrected if anyone can shed some further light on the matter.

Vicroads now find themselves on a leased UHF frequency, which incidentally if I’m correct is licensed to a chap who was instrumental in setting up the rather large radio network Vicroads used to own and operate that I mentioned above.

Surely one would think they have a good business case for access to the MMR and RMR Network? Whilst I understand they are not necessarily classed as an ESO, given the role they play on our vital roads infrastructure in time of fires, accidents, natural disasters and major incidents & events and their very regular liaison with various ESO’s they would be better serviced, as would the State and its population, they should be using the MMR and / or RMR Network?

Late last year a very limited user trial was held for several weeks in order to test some 1.8Ghz LTE technology based on a Sonim XP7 handset. The Sonim XP7 was loaded up with TASSTA PTT Software.

The Sonim XP7 handset & cradle (only) being trialed by Vicroads with TASSTA PTT software.

TASSTA software can include the functionalities of digital radio and smartphones combined. Included can be Group and Individual calls, Priority call via Push-to-Talk as well as many other additional features such as Messaging and Data transfer such as files and images, status messages, encryption, history and voice recording, GPS, emergency calls with full-duplex-mode, remote control (picture and voice), Man-Down, alarm, ID management and time tracking.

After the initial and brief limited user trial it was decided to try a trial on a larger scale, this commenced around the end of June 2017 and was intended to last for 3 months or so, so you would’ve noted the leased UHF frequency falling silent. The trial was to include the TMC, Works, TSS and IRS. It looks however as if the trial has come to halt in parts due to a number of factors. One of those being some friendly advice in regards to the legalities around the ‘use handheld device whilst driving’ rules and regulations. From this I’m assuming that the trial did not include a full fit-out of the communications package featured in the image and possibly just the cradle and handled device itself. Again if anyone can shed further light on the matter I’d be interested to hear it.

I believe there may have been another minor matter pertaining to the durability of aspects of the device, however I’ve been unable to confirm if those are device related or end-user practice related.

Around 2014 Simoco was awarded a tender by Vicroads to supply new radio hardware (based on the SRM9000 series) which included a P25 upgradeable solution. So surely access to either one or both of the States P25 networks is not that unattainable or questionable and would allow for everyone’s favourite phrase since the events of Black Saturday, enhanced interoperability.

A few months ago the below message was sent to me via the site and from someone  called ‘billy’. Below is the message from ‘billy’;

all a waste of time i use a prop mtorolla radio with all tac and repeaters on all ditital emergency frequencys you will never be able to acess or listen to what i do mobile or base not even god ha ha ha hacker on the loose f### your pi##y scanners cant encrypt nothing waste of money ,out

Billy it is so hard to argue with such well researched, composed and intelligent arguments such as yours.  But I’ll give it go, please see below for my response, also remember ‘billy’ you’re not as invisible as you think on the internet. 😉

A special message for ‘billy’. Thanks for your input to the hobby.

Morons playing with radios

Obviously big news of late in the hobby pertains to an event that occurred only the day before the State Government outlined it’s new expected migration date for the Victoria Police to the RMR Network and with it network security and encryption. I am of course referring to the incident outlined at the following links;

Read this: Victoria Police – Radio Pirate Article 1
Read this: Victoria Police – Radio Pirate Article 2
Read this: Victoria Police – Radio Pirate Article 3
Read this: Victoria Police – Radio Pirate Article 4

Below is a recording of the communications during the above highlighted pursuit and transmissions by a ‘radio pirate’ on the Victoria Police VHF Voting Network. The recording commences shortly after an armed robbery involving firearm. Victoria Police Highway Patrol members from call-sign ‘Wellington 613’ are heard locating a vehicle possibly involved and then engaging in a pursuit of the vehicle. Examples of some of the subsequent illegal transmissions by unknown persons can be heard initially at 6min & 19secs, 6min & 30secs and again at 8mins & 37secs mark of the recording. Further transmissions occur throughout the event and subsequent file.

Its a long file but worth preserving as an example of just one of the reason why Victoria Police in rural areas need to migrate to a secure network just like their metropolitan brothers and sisters did 12 years or so ago. File kindly supplied by Anonymous.

This is not the first time such an incursion on to the Police radio network has occurred. An example is in the below ACMA article from 2011.
Read this: ACMA Blog Article 2011

Below is an audio file recorded during an ACMA investigation in to pirate radio transmissions in 2013 on the Victoria Police VHF Voting Network. An ACMA callsign is heard requesting a radio-check and channel identification clarification.

Before the courts in recent times we’ve also had the following;

Read this: Melbourne Airport Hoax Radio Transmissions Article 1
Read this: Melbourne Airport Hoax Radio Transmissions Article 2
Read this: Melbourne Airport Hoax Radio Transmissions Article 3

Is it any wonder some people scowl at scanner and radio owners at times? Your average Joe can’t really differentiate between a serious hobbyist, casual listener and some wanker who acts in a manner that screws up the scene even more. All of the above examples solidifies many agencies and entities push to secure and encrypted systems and their already twisted view on the hobby.

I’ll leave it at that for now, if anyone has any information they’d like to share or advise of then drop us line.

Happy Scanning!

Uniden announces DMR capability for BCD536HP & BCD436HP series.

imagesUniden America has finally announced it plans to introduce the ability to monitor DMR systems, including Motorola’s MotoTRBO. HOORAY!

The ability to monitor the aforementioned protocol will at this stage only be offered on their flagship range of scanners, those being the BCD536HP and BCD436HP models. Now whether that includes the Australian versions in the local Pacific Telecommunications variants, the UBCD436-PT & UBCD536-PT which was offered to Victorian CFA members, I’m unsure. I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t, but remember, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Those familiar with my ramblings on this blog may recall how disappointed I was when these units were announced back in November, 2013 without the ability to monitor DMR, along with NXDN. (https://vicradiozone.com/2013/11/17/uniden-bcd436hp-bcd536hp-offically-launched/) Given how rapidly DMR usage has grown in numerous countries I found its lack of inclusion perplexing.

The ability for the aforementioned units to monitor DMR will come as a firmware upgrade for a cost, just as Uniden did recently with its ‘ProVoice’ upgrade for EDACS systems.

Uniden has also announced that early subscribers for the firmware upgrade option will receive said upgrade at a cost of $50.00 (USD). No word yet on what the final cost would be for those who don’t take up the ‘early bird’ special.

Should you choose to take Uniden up on their paid firmware upgrade offer your unit would then have the following protocols open to it;

Existing – Conventional Analog channels
Existing – Conventional P25 Digital channels
Existing – Motorola Type I and Type II Trunked Radio systems with Analog and Digital (P25) Voice
Existing – EDACS Analog trunked radio systems
Existing – LTR Analog trunked radio systems
Existing – APCO Project 25 Phase I and Phase II Digital Trunked Radio systems
Existing – EDACS trunked radio systems + Upgrade Option – with ProVoice channels (paid ProVoice upgrade required)
Upgrade Option – Conventional Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) channels (paid DMR upgrade required)
Upgrade Option – MotoTRBO Capacity Plus Trunked Radio systems (paid DMR upgrade required)
Upgrade Option – MotoTRBO Connect Plus Trunked Radio Systems (paid DMR upgrade required)

I can’t help but feel there were a few clues offered on the net that this may have finally been happening. One of those is an email that was initially doing the rounds on a certain YahooGroup which was later to be deleted from the groups servers. However it had been seen by several people before its removal and the author of said email discussed some DMR results on his BCD436HP.

Secondly was Paul Opitz seeking some assistance in using DSD+ on RadioReference. Perhaps to check some data, compare results, and identify where to seek various DMR data string characteristics such as Digital Colour Codes and such?

Lastly was the recent addition of the EDACS ProVoice upgrade, I started to suspect that if they could do that with these units, there may be more looming. Guess we’ll have to stay tuned for the NXDN upgrade huh?

A big congratulations to Uniden on finally getting this option in to some of it units. I think it is long overdue and a fantastic addition to their units.

Hamvention is coming up and with it was the expectation Uniden were set to announce something special, perhaps the early announcement is to get the jump on Whistler Group who are also expected to make some sort of announcement.

You can read more details about Uniden’s announcement here: http://info.uniden.com/twiki/bin/view/UnidenMan4/DigitalMobileRadioUpgrade

Possible changes to the MMR Network and a new customer.

It has been well over 10 years since the MMR Network was first introduced to Victoria with the initial contracts signed between the Victorian Government and Motorola in 2004. The contract called for a fully operational date of 2006, just in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games that Melbourne hosted. The MMR Network was to replace 3 analogue UHF systems then used by Victoria Police, Metropolitan Ambulance Service and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

The MMR Network has consistently achieved or exceeded its required levels of availability and has been a success, despite what you read on the internet by some chap that heard from his postman, who happened to talk to his wife’s friend who worked for Telstra and had daughter who dated a guy with a CB Radio. It’s done it, time and time again.

Motorola Quantar formed the backbone of the initial MMR Network.

The original remote site equipment, consisting of P25 Phase I (FDMA) Motorola Quantar Intelligent Site Repeaters, each a 19″ rack unit weighing approximately 25kg, was upgraded during the 2013 – 2014 period to Motorola GTR8000’s.

The Motorola GTR8000 which replaced the Quantar in MMR Network sites during 2013-2014.

With the upgrade to the GTR8000 came the ability of Phase II (TDMA) operation, software upgrade to core switching equipment, migration to a full IP architecture including all dispatch consoles, a new high-availability IP-based logging service to capture voice radio transmissions and the ability of inter-operating with all other Phase 2 enabled networks.

For those unfamiliar with how a trunking system works it is in short a computer controlled system that allows the sharing of radio frequency channels among a group of users.

Further information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trunked_radio_system

Now ever since the MMR Network was first designed the Victoria Police was very adamant that any voice frequency they used had to be partitioned from other users of the network. The main reason they did this was a measure towards ensuring that no radio of theirs was ever queued and left waiting for an available talk frequency. Queuing is obviously not what you want in event of a major incident with a multitude of talk-groups being used by resources combating said incident.

Subsequently other uses of the network did the same as Victoria Police. There have basically been three different pools of ‘talk frequencies’ sitting in the system, one for each entity using the MMR Network.

Whilst this might help to ensure a low ‘queued call rate’, it is not really making good use of the frequencies and could mean agencies possibly missing out on radio resources (talk frequencies / talk-groups) when needed and available as they may not be being used by the other agencies.

There are features built in to the system to minimise ‘queued calls’.

So now here we are in 2016 and over the last few years a much clearer path has been laid in regards to the direction that the State of Victoria’s existing and future radio systems are to take, some of it in part due to the disastrous events of 2007 during what has become known as ‘Black Saturday’.

Probably the most recent of those changes that many would be familiar with is in the new RMR Network currently in use by much of the Country Fire Authority. It is near identical to the MMR Network however based on VHF for rural operations.

Another change has been the inclusion of another frequency for use by the states paging network known as the Emergency Alerting System (EAS).

The main change for the MMR Network is the possibility of a new user migrating to it, that being the State Emergency Service metropolitan units, not to be confused with their country units who are apparently earmarked for migration to the RMR Network.

That brings me to the second possible change for the MMR Network and one I touched on earlier in this post, frequency partitions.

Recently I noted a few MMR Network sites running with un-partitioned frequencies, meaning VicPol, Ambulance Victoria and MFB are all sharing the sites allocated ‘talk frequencies’ for their talk-groups, just as Motorola originally designed the system for.

So far the un-partitioned frequency operations has been noted on the Chadstone and Surrey Hills (SiD 0164h-0109) simulcast sites with reports of this also possibly occurring on Keilor (SiD 0164h-0203) and the Epping and Greensborough (SiD 0164h-0113) simulcast sites. There has been talk of a further site which I’m yet to confirm (due to distance) such activity on and that this may have been ongoing since late 2015.

With the changing face of Victoria’s communication systems it would appear that the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), who manage the MMR Network on behalf of the state and will also do the same eventually for the RMR Network, are looking to free up capacity.

If they wanted to increase capacity on the MMR Network by adding additional frequencies there would be hefty price to pay one would imagine, and at a guess I’m tipping that it is cheaper to remove partitions to free up the capacity already actually there, just not being used smartly, than add to it.

Knowing how adamant that the one particular user of the MMR were for the partitions to be in place originally I’m tipping it was no easy feat to convince them to do otherwise and would’ve even taken a detailed study and report to back those wanting to undertake such practises.

If you’re after a bit of light reading you can get an idea of some of what is planned for the State of Victoria’s communication networks here:

Will we see a Uniden unit selected for CFA Volunteers?

There has been a lot of conjecture and discussion of late on some communication forums and those that are frequented by Country Fire Authority (CFA) Volunteers and Staff in relation to the planned new ‘listening sets’, so I’m going to add to all the conjecture! (Insert evil laughter soundtrack).

First and foremost can we please stop referring to them as ‘listening sets’? What decade are we in? Is anyone heading home in their horseless carriage to listen to the Top 40 on the wireless tonight? See what I mean?

Let’s try and use words like receiver, or scanner, like most people in the 21st Century do.

Expressions of Interest were released, discussions had, Request for Tenders released and subsequently rewritten by the looks to take into account future technology protocols, namely Phase II (TDMA) protocols.

Let’s break a few things down a little and try to sort out some of the possibilities.

It will in all probability be a handheld given they’re much easier to transport and carry around if need be. I’d be surprised if they offered a mobile/base unit given the limitations of portability and power requirements of that type.  There may however be a few possibly for use in a station environment or similar as a guess.

It will need to be able to be produced in large numbers given CFA claims of nearly 66,000 volunteers, although one would imagine that not every volunteer will want or need one, even so if only half of that number decided to purchase one that’s still nearly 33,000 units.

CFA LogoThe CFA Volunteers representative body the Volunteers Fire Brigades Victoria states in their position paper on the project that after an initial CFA purchase of 10,000 units of the former Motorola model in the 90’s that there may in fact be up to 21,000 of the former units in use. If this were true that is a fair amount of units that will need replacing. You can read their paper here: VFBV Position Paper – Listening Sets

By the way, I’m only adding this as a possibility of what may need to be catered for, I personally would be surprised, but pleased, if that many units were sold, but then again never say never.

The CFA is asking for an initial 2 units for reviewing and subsequent initial supply of 3,500 units. Although as with most things there may be some wriggle room and they may accept a few less units in the initial batch.

It will need to be able to have its profile upgraded as the CFA Channel Fleet-map and associated allocations evolve and change. How annoyed would you be if you forked out your dollars only to have the CFA change things further down the track and then 6 months after purchase the channel allocations are outdated and couldn’t be updated?

The same can be said for the fact it would appear they intend on using the receivers for monitoring of other emergency services. Which begs the question, will the State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers be offered the same deal as the CFA volunteers given they themselves may wind up on an expanded RMR Network and they can undertake like-minded activities in assisting and providing an ESO response to the community?

Obviously here I’m thinking along the lines of most current generation of scanners whereby you can simply upload updated profile by way of a computer and cable, or in some cases an SD card.

Ideally the unit should be from a company with a strong presence in Australia to support faults and failures and general product serviceability. Imagine how annoying, time-consuming and expensive it is going to be to have to send the unit overseas for repairs if it was a company with little to no presence in Australia. I think that would rule out Whistler/GRE and their current range of Phase II capable units.

The unit production is going to need to be cost-effective. Meaning it will be cheaper to modify an existing unit already under production for CFA use, if they can’t achieve this it means added cost to CFA Volunteers, the Government and subsequently the taxpayer.

I don’t see Motorola or Tait researching or modifying any of their existing gear to RX only and keeping the costs down per unit.  Yes, Motorola did do this in the past however Motorola equipment tends to be some very high-end gear and back when this previous project was undertaken it wasn’t as expensive to do given the more simplistic technology used, and Motorola did have the mainstay of supplying radio equipment to the CFA back then which would’ve made it more appealing to undertake.

bcd436hp
Will we see a variant of the Uniden BCD436HP as the preferred receiver for its volunteers?

Taking in to account what I’ve suggested above I’m tending to lean towards the already popular brand here in Australia (and worldwide for that matter), Uniden.

I’m thinking we just might see a local version of a unit already released nearly a year ago on the US, albeit here in Australia it is for a selected market only, namely those associated with the CFA and as such may have some CFA branding and ‘one offs’ so to speak.

However this may in turn mean a public release of the unit in the long run should all go well. Fingers crossed!

I do have concerns after reading the EOI and RFT published by the CFA whether they will totally achieve all functions and abilities they’re considering in the units, however I also feel on reading the documents that the CFA realise this.

If you have the means a review of the RFT document entitled “A.2 Attachment 1 Technical Specification”; states the following under Section 1.1 of the document and associated table;

Term Meaning or Definition
Must The required feature or function is mandatory
Should The required feature or function is desirable
Could The feature or function may be offered as an alternative or to enhance value
Will Not The feature or function is unacceptable.
ACMA Australian Communications and Media Authority
TGID Talk Group ID

So by using this table and on reading the CFA’s ‘function wish-list’ you start to see a few possible existing market units that whilst they don’t have all the bells and whistles initially intended they still in fact meet the intended basics of the desired unit.Page 5 of the same document I mentioned above has the following points in section;

“4. Air Interface”
“4.1 POCSAG Paging
The Monitor Receiver should be capable of receiving and decoding POCSAG paging messages at 512 bps. At least 6 CAP codes should be supported and be configurable by the user.”

and also of note is;

“4.6 P25 Paging
The receiver should support P25 paging and allow the user to configure the subscriber ID for paging.”

As you can see by the above two examples whilst the ability to perform the above is included in the wish list, by use of the word ‘should’ it is not a mandatory component. If they were mandatory the word ‘should’ would have the word ‘must’ in its place.The above two examples also appear to be the only two functions that can’t be met by the current generation of scanner I believe will be offered under this project, however this is negated by the use of the word ‘should’.

There you go, I’ve now added my bit of conjecture for some to ponder. 

Breaking down the MFB Appliance Portables and their UiD’s.

Many of you who monitor the MMR Network and also like to pay attention to the appliances and portable UiD’s may, or may not, have noticed something in regards to the MFB’s portable radios.

I’m not going to concentrate on the actual primary appliance UiD’s as there are already several resources covering this elsewhere on the net (like the Unofficial MFB Wiki Page) and if you look at the MMR Network UiD’s page on this site you’ll see the primary pattern, that being 199###, where ‘###’denotes the MFB’s appliance fleet number, or ‘Car number’ as it is more commonly referred to. So Car 028 would have a MMR Network UiD of 199028

Back to the main purpose of this blog…MFB portable radios!

Many keen observers are familiar with how appliances portables break down to identifying portables as belonging to a particular station.

As an example let’s look at the basics many will have noticed.

Pumper 50 from Fire Station 50 located in Ascot Vale will have a portable radio UiD showing as 150001, many believe this would breakdown as;

First Part = 1 = MFB
Second Part = 50 = Station 50 (Ascot Vale)
Third Part = 001 = Portable 1

Agency

Station

Portable ID

1

5

0

0

0

1

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Let’s pay particular attention to the Portable ID section, the third part in the above table, being the ‘001’. What many don’t realise is that this section does in fact hold even further identifying protocols, in particular the 4th and 5th digits in the overall UiD, so in essence a fourth part can be introduced.

As a comparison lets also look at another UiD of another appliance from another station, that appliance will also be a different appliance type.

A Pumper Tanker from Fire Station 52 in Tullamarine with a portable radio UiD of 152033, which many would expect to breakdown as;

First Part = 1 = MFB
Second Part = 52 = Station 52 (Tullamarine)
Third Part = 033 = Portable 33

Agency

Station

Portable ID

1

5

2

0

3

3

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

In actual fact the 4th and 5th digits of the over MMR UiD identifies a particular appliance type. In this case the ‘03’ identifies appliances of the ‘Pumper Tanker’ type and the final 6th digit the individual portable number assigned to the appliance.

So the reality is;

First Part = 1 = MFB
Second Part = 52 = Station 52 (Tullamarine)
Third Part = 03 = Appliance Type (Pumper Tanker)
Fourth Part = 3 = Portable 3

Agency

Station

Appliance Type

Portable ID

1

5

2

0

3

3

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

From what I’ve been able to glean so far from various software logs and other notes is that Part 3 which is made up of the 4th and 5th digits should follow the below table;

Part 3

Part 4

4th Digit

5th Digit

6th Digit

0

0

Pumper Individual Portable ID

0

1

Pumper (‘A’ Appliance) Individual Portable ID

0

2

Pumper (‘B’ Appliance) Individual Portable ID

0

3

Pumper Tanker Individual Portable ID

0

4

Ultra Large / DeCon / Hazmat Individual Portable ID

0

5

Water Tanker Individual Portable ID

0

6

Teleboom Individual Portable ID

0

7

Ladder Platforms Individual Portable ID

0

8

Rescue Individual Portable ID

0

9

Control Unit Individual Portable ID

1

0

Transporters (‘A’ Appliance)
Individual Portable ID

1

1

Transporters (‘B’ Appliance)
Individual Portable ID

As with anything there are always exceptions to the rules. For example;

Fire Station 6 Portables still use ID’s which would correspond with a Pumper even though they now use a Pumper Tanker. This is simply because their radios have not had their UiD’s updated since they changed their appliance type some time back. Fire Station 7 is another example of this.

Appliance types may change at a Station should their vehicle become unserviceable and it is replaced with a different appliance type until they get their usual appliance back from the workshops or is back online. An example of this could be when Fire Station 44’s Teleboom is taken offline and there are no spares of this type so it is replaced with a Pumper or Pumper Tanker for a period of time.

Please remember the above is a guide only and does not cover Commanders, Zone Cars, Rehab Units and the like. It also is dependent on crews returning the correct radios to the correct appliance and not moving them about at multi appliance stations.

MMR Network – Site upgrades commenced.

Some of you who monitor the MMR Network in greater detail than others may have noticed an interesting message in the raw data of late.

The message does not appear in the data from all network towers, yet, only those that have received upgrades.The works are part of  a 130 million dollar agreement announced between Motorola and the State of Victoria in 2012. The agreement builds on the previous one that was in place between the two entities since the MMR Networks inital inception.

The message basically confirms whether a MMR Network site is now capable of TDMA for those radios that support such, such as the APX series generation of radios. At present the use is very limited, appearing to include only a few technicians and small number of Victoria Police elements with trial APX series radios.

An example of the raw data (from 0164h-0102 – 120 Collins Street) with the aforementioned tell-tale TDMA message is obtained using Pro96com software is presented below;
30 00 00 04 6A 08 66 70 43 A2 23 E1 05/28 17:34:43 TDMA Sync Broadcast – *Invalid* 2004/03/06 14:02 (930) -10

Any site having received an upgrade should show the ‘TDMA Sync Broadcast’ text in the raw data. At this stage a rough timeframe of the site upgrades is believed to be one site per week. I’m uncertain as to how many sites have already received the upgrades but you should be able to find out easily enough if you check the raw data via a sites control channel.

TDMA Wiki Information
MMR Network Upgrade News Article 2012

MMR & RMR Network – System towers frequency mapping

Well this has been a long time coming since we first tweeted about it on February 29th, 2013! Due to work restraints it’s taken nearly a month to get this out to those interested and to be able to find a format in which to present it.

We finally managed to sit down a few weeks back and commence mapping who uses what frequency on the MMR Network. As many familiar with the network would know the voice frequencies are partitioned, that being that each service has its own frequency set aside within the system for its talk requirements.

Obviously not all towers, well actually nowhere near all of them, have been mapped as of yet. That is going to take a fair amount of time and hopefully some input from those able to assist in this exercise.

A few interesting observations regarding this exercise so far.

A  network user whose radio sends data tends to use a ‘talk frequency’  from another agency in order to do so. We’ve noted that if an Ambulance radio has a need to send data packets it will use a ‘talk frequency’ from those set aside for Police or Fire, never one of its own. On the other hand if a Police radio has a need to send data packets it will do so on a talk frequency set aside for Ambulance or Fire and so on.

For those wondering how we obtained these results we used a UBCD396XT and ran the Pro96Com software with it in order to decode the P25 control channel data on each of the system towers completed so far.

The program is available here for those interested and would like to have a go themselves; http://www.psredit.com/pro96com/

Screenshot

The results completed so far are available under the sites MMR Network menu. We’ll try to complete other sites as results come to hand. The plan is to have each site on its own page and in numerical order.

Anyone who has the ability to assist in this exercise feel free to drop us a line for an explanation of what’s required.