New Handy-Talkies Hit the Street -- Again
The new handy-talkies (Motorola XTS-3500R) are going back into service the first week of September, 2002, in the borough of Staten Island only. Select Brooklyn units (those who relocate to the Island frequently) also have the radios. Beginning September 3, all units operating on S.I. will use the new radios.
There are 2 types, model 1 (for engines, ladders, battalions, and special units) and model 3 (for division chiefs and above). The major difference between the two is that the model 1 radios will not have an LCD display nor will they be able to go to any zone but Zone "A". However, battalions and units in SOC will have 3-zone capability. Model 3 radios will have 3 zones, A, B, and C.
Aside from the fact that these radios will use UHF, the major advantages over the Sabers and MX330's are the additional channels for secondary or adjacent incidents, and additional command channels. Under the old system there was only 1 fireground frequency and 4 tactical frequencies. Now there will be 2 fireground channels each with it's own command channel.
Here is the channel plan as it is now:
ZONE A Models 1 and 3 - Fireground and Repeaters
Channel 1 is designated as the primary tactical channel. All units will use it in the same way we used 153.83 in the VHF system. Should a second incident occur nearby those units will use channel 3 as their primary tactical channel.
If the incident on channel 1 escalates the staff chief on scene will use channel 2 as a command channel. If the incident on channel 3 escalates that chief in charge will use either channels 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 depending on the borough.
ZONE B - Inter-agency and Select Communications
ZONE C - Dispatch Communications
To my knowledge there are no guidelines at this time governing the use of zone B. In my opinion it looks like it will be at least 3 years before dispatch (future zone C) is converted over.