Thursday, June 30, 2011

Radio Update Reminder

REMINDER - All of your radios are loaded into the automatic update program. We will let this program run for as long as it takes but we’d like for you to try and take the opportunity to get your portables turned on for about 5 minutes. Once we have the majority of the radios updated we will reconcile the master list and make individual contacts to catch the remaining radios. The update is transparent to the users but the radio must be in good radio coverage. After that time frame you can turn the radio off, no need to contact anyone. If a radio is missed we will be following up as mentioned.

Just for clarity this procedure is in addition to the touch the County and Harris just completed with you. This is a needed process to correct an issue that surfaced immediately but was caught just as quick for remediation.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cumberland/Franklin County Interoperability Update

Harris will be supplying two loaner control stations to Franklin County for console to console patch capability. The PA Office of Public Safety Radio Services (OPRS) will be paying for the installation under an existing interoperability grant. This project should be completed and operational in the near future.

FCC Narrowbanding

The FCC has set the deadline date for FCC Narrowbanding for January 1, 2013!

What is Narrowbanding?

Most public safety radio systems use 25 kHz wide channels. In an effort to create more channels on the same spectrum, the FCC is requiring those operating below 512 MHz to move to 12.5 kHz wide channels. Again this is done in an effort to allow for more channels to exist in the same spectrum. Those who do not meet narrowbanding requirements face the loss of their communication capabilities. Some users will need to upgrade equipment so that it is 12.5 kHz capable.

Cumberland County is in line to meet the FCC deadline of narrowbanding. Narrowbanding will effect EMS paging and Cumberland County is currently seeking a solution.

P7200 Performance Issue Update

P7200 Series Portables; M7200 and M7300 Series Mobile Radios – Performance Issues Update

Following reports from various field services of performance issues with P7200 series portable radios (also applicable to M7200 and M7300 series mobile radios) occurring after “Touch Two” agency visits, Harris conducted extensive field investigations and identified incorrect configuration settings used as part of the R17 subscriber software update. Configuration settings are extremely complex that control all aspects of radio performance, features, and functionality. Harris after adjusting the two settings in radios used for testing, were able to correct the “thrashing” problem reported that resulted with out of range tones, garbled and dropped transmissions. Harris is adjusting these settings using over-the-air programming that is part of registration with the system when the radio is first turned on. Additional radios were updated over the weekend and testing with those supported the Harris findings.

The Update Process:

Harris will and has began the process of imbedding the configuration change in the registration process that occurs when a radio is first turned on. The update will download during the data registration part of the affiliation with the voice switch. The update should not cause any added time for the radio to register with the system. Harris will track the radios registering with the system receiving the update. After a couple of days following the availability of the update on the radio system, the re-banding team will make agency contact informing the agency having radios not updated to ask they perform the update process. It is very important to note this does not affect M803 series mobile radios and VTAC’s. A couple of agencies that did not receive the software update during “Touch Two” agency visit once the performance issues were reported, will be re-contacted for a field visit to receive the complete software update.

Starting this past Monday, Police radios were added to the update process and EMS will follow. Fire radios will be updated after EMS, and then all remaining radios in the County will be updated.

Recommended Procedure for the Update Download:

1. Make sure the radio is in good coverage. For portables if poor or marginal radio coverage is suspected, take the portable radio outdoors.

2. Turn the radio on and allow the radio to register to the system. When the radio is fully registered, a “martini glass” symbol will appear in the lower left portion of the display (for M7200 and M7300 series mobiles – this symbol is in the upper left hand corner of the display).

3. The update only takes a few seconds to complete but to be sure please allow a few minutes to pass before powering the radio back off.

Following the Update:

If you continue to experience performance issues not previously noticed prior to the “Touch Two” agency visit, please report those to Brian Hamilton at If reporting, please be very specific to the performance issue being experienced; the specific location it occurred; the date and approximate time of occurrence; talk group selected; and the readings noted in the display if you have the opportunity to view it. Harris field teams may be in contact for further information.

Future Updates:

At least one additional over-the-air configuration update is anticipated for the P7200; M7200; and M7300 series radios that are not related to the performance issue concern. At least one configuration item needs changed, and possibly one other. These are not being done at this time since the changes related to the performance changes are a critically needed update.

Additional Information:

System information and updates can be found at Please check this site regularly or when directed to with notice from our office.

DPS Newsletter

Check out the latest edition of the DPS Newsletter...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fire Paging Update

DPS is planning the replacement of the current Fire 1 base stations. This would also include spares for quick repairs as low band equipment can take time to procure. The new transmitters would replace the four current stations that range in age from 20-40 years old. This will allow us to continue to page on Fire 1 for years to come as long as low band tone and voice pagers remain available. Maintaining the current system would come with no financial impact to the fire service community beyond the normal maintenance and purchase of their own equipment. Cumberland County will continue to explore this and other possible changes and updates to the Fire paging system in the future.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cumberland/Franklin Interoperability Update

Cumberland and Franklin County are actively working together towards a common goal of interoperability. One small step towards this goal has been made as Cumberland and Franklin have provided each others respectful mobile units with a mobile radio for interoperability.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011- IMPORTANT Radio Information

During the recent Touch II project, rebanding teams worked to remove old channel lists from your portables and mobiles and Cumberland County took advantage of this opportunity to also upload the most recent software upgrade. As this software has rolled out across the County, a few performance issues have been reported. As is customary, Harris was immediately notified of these issues and is actively investigating and testing in the area to seek a resolution. As soon as the issue is properly identified and an acceptable resolution is determined, we will inform you. As always, we remain committed to being transparent and keeping the communication flow open with you, the user, and hope to have an update for you soon.

It is important to note that when dealing with any digital radio system, periodic software upgrades are necessary and will occur. This is a stark change from the way we did business with our analog system. Your radios are essentially computers, and just like your computer at home or work, they will require updates that improve performance. While our system comes with the benefit of being able to conduct some upgrades and programming over the air, software upgrades may require your radio to be “touched." While it may be tedious at times to participate in these upgrades, they are necessary and important to the performance and integrity of our system as a whole.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

April 2011 PTT Report

Statistics on Push-to-talk (PTT): The number of times a radio was used to make a voice transmission. The following stats are discipline specific county wide.

Law Enforcement – 112,486
Fire – 59,215
EMS – 47,429
Agencies –106,119
DPS – 2,020
County Agencies – 61,454
Municipal – 11,569
Total County Wide – 400,292

April 2011 PTT’s from the main dispatch (9-1-1 Center) talk groups:
Fire – 29,014
EMS – 39,969
Police West – 22,984
Police East – 66,624
Police Data – 17,734

Daily Average Total of PTT’s 13,343

Site Utilization (Percentage of site use)...
Forward = Calls to the sites from the radios
Reverse = Calls from the sites to the radios
Lambs Gap- 10.55% Forward 4.33%Reverse
Reesers Summit- 11.88% Forward 4.11% Reverse
EOC- 8.87% Forward 3.41% Reverse
Courthouse- 11.22% Forward .71% Reverse
Commonwealth Technology Center- 9.8% Forward .55% Reverse
3 Square Hollow- 7.2% Forward .58% Reverse
Ship Cell- 9.22% Forward .49% Reverse
South Mountain- 7.7% Forward .39% Reverse
Waggoners Gap- 8.47% Forward .47% Reverse
Rose Garden- 7.12% Forward .47% Reverse
Boiling Springs- 7.39% Forward .15% Reverse
Shippensburg- 7.19% Forward .55% Reverse
Dickinson Twp- 7.08% Forward .17% Reverse
Holy Spirit- 7.21% Forward .14% Reverse
Kings Gap- 5.14% Forward .1% Reverse
Pine Grove- 3.71% Forward .03% Reverse

Reeser’s, CTC, ShipCel and Courthouse had some queuing; the time duration was not long enough to have any impact on the system.

As of this report we have 2,490 radios on the system in Cumberland County. There are 458 Talk Groups being utilized on the Cumberland County system.
Control Stations: 25
Mobiles: 673
Portables: 1792

Touch II

Touch II is almost complete! If you have any equipment that was unable to be upgraded on your scheduled day, please contact DPS ASAP so that we can schedule an upgrade!