East Fishkill (NY) Trunking

From The RadioReference Wiki

First a little background. East Fishkill is a fairly affluent town in Southern Dutchess county. It borders Putnam county to the south. The LTR system was set up so that the frequency spectrum could be utilized more efficiently. It allows all town services to share a common system, utilizes relatively inexpensive RF equipment, and allows interoperability.

You do not need a trunk tracker scanner to monitor the system, although it helps. If you program the home repeater 460.3375 csq into any scanner you will hear 90% of the traffic. However Dutchess 911 polling is patched into the system and you will hear most of their transmissions and not necessarily all or any of East Fishkill itself.

A trunking scanner allows you to "pull" selected talkgroups out of the system. So you only hear what you want to hear.

All scanners are different so I will only provide generic instructions. You will need to know a few pieces of info to program the system effectively. First the area is 0 or zero. Next program the repeaters listed in the database. Note that they skip some numbers, program them exactly as you see them 1,3,5,7,9 This is done intentionally so that the radio company managing the system can add repeater channels in the future to expand the system. Next the home repeater for this system is 3. 90% of all the traffic you hear will be on channel 3.

When there is a transmission going on, on channel 3 the system will automatically select a different repeater for the next transmission 1,5,7,or 9. In this fashion the system can handle 5 simultaneous conversations. Which on this system will very rarely occur. This switching happens automatically without the user realizing. This allows much more efficient use of the repeaters, than having 5 dedicated repeaters would be.

Next are the talkgroups, you will find the talkgroups listed in two ways, first is the entire group like 0-03-170 second is just the group number such as 170. 170 represents the talkgroup for the East Fishkill Police Patrol 1. 0 is the area and 03 represents the home repeater. The scanner or radio must know these values in order to track the talkgroup properly. Simply program in the talkgroups that you are interested in.

The system is an LTR standard and there are no special features like I-call in use.

Where this system really shines in that with one UHF trunking radio an employee can have a lot of information at his disposal. First any and all of the talkgroups can be programmed into the radio. So just by changing the channel to officer can raise the DPW plow truck he is working with. Second because the system is UHF a second bank can be programmed with Dutchess County Fire, so officers will be aware of any calls in their area and be able to raise any Fire apparatus.

Dutchess 911 polling is on VHF, and they solved that problem by patching the VHF channel into a talkgroup. So now any car in East Fishkill can communicate with DCSO directly and pick up assignments or call for help. This leap eliminates the need to carry a VHF radio to reach the county.

The NYS Thruway passes through East Fishkill and with a UHF radio they can simply program a channel to raise thruway cars and equipment.

The system is brilliant in a lot of respects. For example: let's say East Fishkill develops a citizen patrol and they want to give the radios. Normally you would need a repeater to talk from one end of East Fishkill to the other, so you would have to find a high spot and purchase a repeater. With trunked system all you have to do is buy a few radios and program a new talkgroup on the system. Now the citizen's patrol can communicate effectively anywhere in East Fishkill, without affecting any other users of the system. In theory, if they use the system a lot, they could busy it out, but the system manger could add additional repeaters in the empty slot to handle the traffic.

An LTR system also has some disadvantages: You could in theory get a busy signal if the 5 repeater channels are in use. An LTR system is older technology and there is no way to prioritize users, like modern trunking systems. It is very very rare that all 5 channels will be in use, given the typical use of the system. It is also at the mercy of the equipment. If you lose the trunking site or any part of it due to weather or power outage, you lose the entire system. Smart system mangers always have generator and battery backups. Additionally you could still have simplex channels in the radios for emergency use.