Government radio networks in Australia
The Government Radio Network (GRN) is the umbrella term used to refer to various systems in place across Australia that enable statewide trunked radio communication. The network operates through inter-linked sites for government and public services such as police, ambulance, fire, or roads authorities which require such a system to function properly. The main aim of the GRN is to consolidate all resources into one network, ensuring greater coverage and reliability than if each department had its own independent communication system. The existence of the GRN also reduces the amount of government money and resources needed to maintain communication between units of emergency and public service branches. Last, it allows effective intercommunication among these services in times of national or state emergency for coordination of wide-scale actions.
- 1 New South Wales Government Radio Network (NSW GRN)
- 2 External links
- 3 Victorian Government Radio Networks
- 4 South Australia GRN (SAGRN)
- 5 References
New South Wales Government Radio Network (NSW GRN)
The New South Wales Government Radio Network (commonly referred to as the NSW GRN) is a trunked radio system operating in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Established in 1993, the network was the first government trunked radio network in Australia and is currently one of the largest in the world. The network covers approximately one-third of New South Wales and the majority of the Australian Capital Territory, equating a coverage area of approximately 226,000 square kilometres. Currently, the network is owned by the Government of New South Wales through the NSW Telco Authority and the network’s operations are managed under contract.
The network is used by 5 of the 6 large NSW and ACT emergency services (the exception being the NSW Police Force) along with 29 other agencies, departments, services, and non-government organisations, including:
- Fire and Rescue NSW
- NSW Ambulance
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- NSW State Emergency Service
- ACT Emergency Services
- Department of Attorney General and Justice
- Roads and Maritime Services (formally Roads & Traffic Authority and NSW Maritime)
- Sydney Ferries
- Department of Corrective Services
- NSW Department of Juvenile Justice
- National Parks and Wildlife Service
- Endeavour Energy
- Hunter Water Corporation
- Sydney Water
- Sydney Catchment Authority
- Sydney Ports Corporation
- Central Tablelands County Councils
- Sutherland Shire Council
- Child Flight
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Chevra Hatzolah (Jewish Community sponsored and staffed medical response)
The network is also used by other government departments and discrete law enforcement agencies.
The network is a digital 9600 bps Project 25 (commonly referred to as P25 or APCO-25) Phase 1 trunked radio system operating in the UHF band between 403 MHz and 425 MHz in 12.5 kHz steps. End user equipment is currently supplied mostly by Motorola and consists primarily of the XTL-5000 (mobile) and XTS-5000 (hand-held) two-way radios (although Tait Communications and Simoco radios are also authorised for use). Encryption is supported and used by some agencies on the network
Victorian Government Radio Networks
Melbourne Metropolitan Radio (MMR)
The Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) service is a Project 25 (APCO-25) Phase 1 radio voice communications system. It provides mission critical high quality and secure communications over the Greater Metropolitan area supporting Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board.
Current users are limited to Emergency Services such as Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (Police talkgroups are encrypted using [AES-256] bit strength keys).
All digital scanning receivers are able to decode the unencrypted conventional P25 channels.
End user equipment is supplied by Motorola, primarily XTS5000 portables and XTL5000 mobiles.
Victorian StateNet Mobile Radio Network (SMR)
The Victorian StateNet Mobile Radio network is a MPT1327 trunked radio system owned by the Victorian Government Department of Treasury and Finance and managed by Telstra Corporation.
It consists of 101 base sites which are strategically positioned to provide 96% coverage of the state to its users. PSTN interconnect features are available, with calls possible from radio to mobile telephones & landlines and vice versa.
Frequency allocation for this network start at 163.0625 MHz to 165.6875Mhz (channel spacing of 12.5 kHz).
There are many government and commercial users of this network, some of which include:
- Parks Victoria
- Yarra Valley Water
- City West Water
- AusNet Services
- Sheriff's Office
- Department of Environment and Primary Industries
- Numerous Taxi Companies
- State Emergency Service
- Country Fire Authority
- State Aircraft Unit
The network was recently upgraded by Tait Communications to give users access to a web-portal based reports system called Telstra Hosted Online Reporting (THOR). This feature allows users to track their individual network usage in greater detail.
While a small number of users employ analog frequency inversion voice scrambling, the vast majority of voice traffic on the network is clear.
There are no commercially available scanning receivers able to directly track MPT1327 networks, following voice conversations is possible using freely available decoding software such as Trunkview and a compatible scanner.
Most of the current end user equipment is supplied by Motorola and consists primarily of MCS2000s, MTS2000s, MCX760s and PTX760s.
Regional Mobile Radio
Towards the end of June 2013 the first two Digital VHF P25 trunking sites were switched on for the new Regional Mobile Radio Network (RMR) that will become the primary communications system for contacting fire dispatchers used by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria. Augmenting its older Analogue VHF Network the RMR network is being used for incident dispatching and emergency communications with statewide fire dispatchers with the older analogue VHF network being slowly decommissioned or repurposed and analogue simplex radio communications being used for local and fire ground radio communications. The RMR Network forms part of the wider CFA Regional Radio Dispatch Service (RRDS) Project.
The current end user equipment is supplied by Tait Communications and consists of custom CFA branded TM9100s and TP9100s.
South Australia GRN (SAGRN)
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The South Australian Government Radio Network is a trunked radio network usually using Motorola SmartZone. In essence this is a system of interconnected repeater sites, mobile (vehicle mounted), portable and static radio transceivers used within Australia for radio communications.
The system is employed in South Australia by Country Fire Service, Metropolitan Fire Service, Ambulance Service, State Emergency Service, Department Of Fisheries, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Department Of Transport, St John Ambulance. It is in use in several other government agencies, as well as some private companies.
The SAGRN provides both analogue and digital voice radio communications. The South Australian Police department (SAPOL), SA Ambulance Service and South Australian Department of Fisheries use encrypted digital radios while all other users use unencrypted analogue radios.
Frequencies are allocated dynamically to each TalkGroup (a group of authorised, connected radios) as required and are only activated in areas which contain radios belonging to that TalkGroup. The network also has Multi-Agency TalkGroups that allow the different services to be able to talk to each other during mass emergencies, major events or whenever is needed. These operate on analogue, without encryption.
The SAGRN data network is also used by the South Australian Police for their in-vehicle mobile data terminals.
The SAGRN also has a statewide paging network.
All radio communications frequencies are subject to licensing by the ACMA. Those licensed to the GRN are outside of the Citizen's band, and as such are relatively secure from casual interference, although they can be monitored by scanners (requiring a trunk or trunking scanner).
Equipment and features
The current voice equipment is supplied by Motorola.
It is possible to disable a lost or stolen radio remotely through an 'inhibit' feature. If the radio is on, the inhibit command will block the radio's use. Only Motorola, the vendor, can re-enable.
In 2010, Motorola entered into a contract with the South Australian Government to support the SAGRN. Prior to this, Telstra was the primary on the SAGRN support contract, with Motorola assisting with Voice and Data network support.
- NSW GRN Overview Retrieved 5 May 2011 0831
- Page 3 ACMA Response Document Retrieved 5 May 2011 0831
- Page 11 1%20-%20APD%20Website.PDF NSW GRN History Retrieved 5 May 2011 0832
- Page 56 NSW GRN Users Retrieved 5 May 2011 0832
- NSW GRN Users Retrieved 5 May 2011 0836
- NSW Department of Services Technology and Administration licences.ACMA register of radiocomunications licenses Retrieved 9 October 2010 1452
- Motorola. "SmartZone Network Spec Sheet" (PDF). Motorola.
- PS News. "New radio contract run up the mast".