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Arizona Interagency Radio System (AIRS)


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Arizona Interagency Radio System (AIRS)

AIRS is a suite of full-time, cross-banded (i.e. VHF, UHF, and 800MHz*) mutual-aid channels designated specifically for multi-agency use across the State of Arizona. Agencies wishing to operate on AIRS must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) which holds the licenses for AIRS frequencies. AIRS is designed to provide interoperable communications capability to first responders of police, fire, and EMS agencies, as well as other personnel of municipal, county, state, tribal, federal agencies and approved non-governmental organizations (NGOs) performing public safety or public service activities.

These radio frequencies are to be used in the event of a multi-agency, multi-discipline, and/or multi-jurisdictional operation requiring the use of the common state radio channel(s), specifically for the use of coordinating activities during identified incidents. AIRS frequencies are not to be used by a single agency for routine public safety operations. AIRS frequencies may, however, be used by a single agency to reconstitute communications in the event of a system failure or other significant communications loss.

All participating agencies to the AIRS, program AIRS frequencies into their radios in order (AIRSAZ followed by AIRS1, AIRS2, AIRS3, AIRS4, and AIRS5). The programming zone may differ depending on the agency or the type of radio. Note that the AIRS applies specifically, and only, to AIRS-suite channels and does NOT include VTAC, UTAC, or 8TAC channels.

History

The Arizona Interagency Radio System (AIRS) is an outgrowth of Arizona’s Inter-Agency Radio System (IARS) which was started in the mid-1970s. IARS was developed to allow communications between law enforcement agencies using VHF radio systems and UHF systems (primarily the Department of Public Safety and the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office). Over the next 20 years, this system grew to 15 communications sites covering Interstates I-8 and I-40, Maricopa County and southeast Arizona. While initially envisioned as a law enforcement asset, the Arizona public safety community later identified IARS as a valuable all-hazards resource.

Due to an increased interest in and need for interoperability and the availability of federal grant funds, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) undertook a project to modernize the IARS network. Radio coverage was increased by installing radios at more communications sites and the 800 MHz band was added at each site to create a AIRS suite of radios. The VHF system was also converted from simplex operation to a repeater, allowing for communications between users on all three frequency bands (i.e. VHF, UHF, and 800 MHz). In 2006, this new tri-band system was named the Arizona Interagency Radio System (AIRS).

Operations

The state is broken up into AIRS Regions. See Page 13, AIRS Regional Channel Assignments. Although these regions are drawn on the county boundaries, the radio coverage provided by a single communications site may extend beyond a single region/county. There are also gaps in coverage. Within a region, most communications sites are electronically “voted” to select the site that has the best received audio quality. The “voted” signal is sent to the communications center and a control signal is sent to the selected communications site to enable the cross-band/repeater operation. This operation is automatic, does not require any interaction with the communication center, and provides repeater and cross-band operation to field users.

Because the AIRS regional channels use a single frequency (per band) to cover the entire state, system originators developed a means of controlling intra-system inference by dividing up primary channel usage among the ten regional areas. Breaking the state into ten regional areas ensures that the amount of intra-system interference can be minimized while still providing good field coverage with a minimum of channel changes. Five CTCSS (PL) tones control the ten regions. By reusing the CTCSS tone around the state, Arizona reduces the number of channels needed in the subscriber radios.

The AIRSAZ channel is no longer available throughout the state. Because interference is minimized in the regional channels AIRS1 through AIRS5, their use is encouraged, and the use of the statewide channel AIRSAZ is discouraged and is no longer sanctioned.

Access

Eligible users must contact the DPS Wireless Systems Bureau (WSB) Administrative Secretary to request access to AIRS. Governmental agencies and NGOs utilizing mobile and portable radios that are operated by personnel actively engaged in incident-related activities are eligible users.

All signatory agencies to the AIRS MOU should preferably program AIRS frequencies into their radios in order (AIRS1, AIRS2, AIRS3, AIRS4, and AIRS5). The programming zone may differ depending on the agency or the type of radio.

National Interoperability Channels

While the AIRS MOU applies specifically, and only, to AIRS-suite channels and does NOT include VCALL/VTAC, UCALL/UTAC, or 8TAC channels, agencies are encouraged to program all of the interoperable channels operating in their frequency band into their radios. At a minimum, the calling channel and the first tactical channel should be programmed.

When possible, programming the AIRS Channels along with the National Channels in a separate segment is recommended.

Regional Assignments

Arizona Statewide Interoperable Channel Plan

The Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) has approved this radio channel plan to standardize and increase interoperable communications throughout the state in the VHF, UHF, 700 and 800 MHz bands. It is suggested the each agency incorporate these channels into their channel plan the next time their radios are programmed, but no later than the narrowbanding deadline of January 1, 2013.

VHF Interoperability Channels/Frequencies

The VHF AIRS frequencies are licensed to the State of Arizona and an FCC license is required to operate on those frequencies. The AIRS MOU allows the signatory agencies to operate under the State’s mobile license (KA89942). The VHF simplex tactical (TAC) channels are FCC designated national interoperability channels requiring no separate FCC license.

CH# NAME BAND-WIDTH RX FREQ MHz RX CTCSS Hz TX FREQ MHz TX CTCSS Hz
1
VAIRS1
12.5 kHz
155.4750
CSQ
155.1900
141.3
2
VAIRS2
12.5 kHz
155.4750
CSQ
155.1900
131.8
3
VAIRS3
12.5 kHz
155.4750
CSQ
155.1900
110.9
4
VAIRS4
12.5 kHz
155.4750
CSQ
155.1900
123.0
5
VAIRS5
12.5 kHz
155.4750
CSQ
155.1900
167.9
6
SAR NFM
12.5 kHz
155.1600
CSQ
155.1600
127.3
7
VFIRE21
12.5 kHz
154.2800
CSQ
154.2800
CSQ
8
VMED28
12.5 kHz
155.3400
CSQ
155.3400
CSQ
9
VLAW31
12.5 kHz
155.4750
CSQ
155.4750
CSQ
10
VCALL10
12.5 kHz
155.7525
CSQ
155.7525
156.7
11
VTAC11
12.5 kHz
151.1375
CSQ
151.1375
156.7
12
VTAC12
12.5 kHz
154.4525
CSQ
154.4525
156.7
13
VTAC13
12.5 kHz
158.7375
CSQ
158.7375
156.7
14
VTAC14
12.5 kHz
159.4725
CSQ
159.4725
156.7
15
VTAC36*
12.5 kHz
151.1375
CSQ
159.4725
136.5
16
VTAC37*
12.5 kHz
154.4525
CSQ
158.7375
136.5
  • NOTE: The use of tactical repeater pairs VTAC36/37 will supersede the use of VTAC11-14 since their Rx/Tx frequencies will be in use. In other words; - VTAC36 uses the Rx of VTAC11 and the Tx of VTAC14 with a 8.335 MHz separation. - VTAC37 uses the Rx of VTAC12 and the Tx of VTAC13 with a 4.285 MHz separation.
  • Note: VTAC33 and VTAC34 were replaced by VTAC36 and VTAC37 on January 11, 2012.

UHF Interoperability Channels/Frequencies

The UHF AIRS frequencies are licensed to the State of Arizona and an FCC license is required to operate on those frequencies. The AIRS MOU allows the signatory agencies to operate under the State’s mobile license (KA89942). The UHF simplex TAC channels are FCC designated national interoperability channels requiring no separate FCC license

CH# NAME BAND-WIDTH RX FREQ MHz RX CTCSS Hz TX FREQ MHz TX CTCSS Hz
1
UAIRS1
12.5 kHz
460.3750
CSQ
465.3750
141.3
2
UAIRS2
12.5 kHz
460.3750
CSQ
465.3750
131.8
3
UAIRS3
12.5 kHz
460.3750
CSQ
465.3750
110.9
4
UAIRS4
12.5 kHz
460.3750
CSQ
465.3750
123.0
5
UAIRS5
12.5 kHz
460.3750
CSQ
465.3750
167.9
6
UAIRS_D
12.5 kHz
460.3750
CSQ
460.3750
100.0
7
UCALL40
12.5 kHz
453.2125
CSQ
458.2125
156.7
8
UCALL40D
12.5 kHz
453.2125
CSQ
453.2125
156.7
9
UTAC41
12.5 kHz
453.4625
CSQ
458.4625
156.7
10
UTAC41D
12.5 kHz
453.4625
CSQ
453.4625
156.7
11
UTAC42
12.5 kHz
453.7125
CSQ
458.7125
156.7
12
UTAC42D
12.5 kHz
453.7125
CSQ
453.7125
156.7
13
UTAC43
12.5 kHz
453.8625
CSQ
458.8625
156.7
14
UTAC43D
12.5 kHz
453.8625
CSQ
453.8625
156.7
15
MED-5D
12.5 kHz
463.1000
CSQ
463.1000
136.5
16

Statewide 800MHz Shared Channels

AZ-SIEC NAME BAND-WIDTH TX-FREQ MHz TX CTCSS Hz RX FREQ MHz RX CTCSS Hz
8AIRSAZ
20 kHz
821.0125
156.7
866.0125
CSQ
8AIRS1
20 kHz
821.0125
141.3
866.0125
CSQ
8AIRS2
20 kHz
821.0125
131.8
866.0125
CSQ
8AIRS3
20 kHz
821.0125
110.9
866.0125
CSQ
8AIRS4
20 kHz
821.0125
123.0
866.0125
CSQ
8AIRS5
20 kHz
821.0125
167.9
866.0125
CSQ
8AIRS_D
20 kHz
866.0125
156.7
866.0125
CSQ



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