Digital Listening Sets/Scanners Update

tait radioCFA’s change to digital radio dispatch channels is set to begin on 8 December in District 12, the first CFA District to migrate to the new digital frequencies on CFA Tait Radios.

The change will roll out District by District, with radio traffic still available on existing analogue radio frequencies for a period of time while the change to digital radio is bedded in.

VFBV has important advice for everyone using a listening set or scanner to monitor local Brigade activity;

  • Don’t dispose of your existing analogue set – analogue radio frequencies will still be used for incident management channels for the foreseeable future, even after regional dispatch goes digita
  • CFA will make regional dispatch available online
  • CFA is now looking at digital scanners/listening sets, with the intention of partnering with a vendor(s) to select digital sets that will be available for members to purchase at a competitive price – VFBV representatives are on the working party that will assess the machines’ suitability

The project was built into CFA’s Regional Radio Dispatch Project after VFBV’s 2010 Scanner and Listening Set Stocktake confirmed that there were thousands of sets being used by Brigades, volunteers and their families to monitor the movement of appliances and the escalation of jobs in their local area.   For operational volunteers, their scanner provided a way of predicting when their own pager might light up, and for family members, the listening set offered a way of providing support or just keeping tabs on how things were going for a volunteer in the field.

Well done to all Brigades that responded to the stocktake, which gave VFBV solid facts and figures to back what had been common volunteer wisdom up until that point, and well done to CFA Headquarters staff and in particular the Regional Radio Dispatch Project and CFA Technology Services Teams for working with VFBV and Brigades to provide flexible options that will help keep volunteers, Brigades and communities in touch with their crews in the field.

Digital radio promises more range, sensitivity and voice quality in radio communications and dedicated dispatch channels for each CFA District.

With Telstra contracted to build the new Regional Radio Dispatch network, the infrastructure build program is well advanced and once District 12 migrates across, a schedule for all CFA districts will cascade in quick succession.

Progress reports and project updates are being posted on the CFA website