As of Thursday,evening, March 22nd, PPRCN had been running a 6 site, 18 channel simulcast cell! This is the culmination of years of work by the PPRCN stakeholders and contractors – thank you. This also represents the most significant change to the PPRCN system since the system was first turned on. Simulcast for the Colorado Springs area is a major part of the PPRCN Progressive Upgrade Project (PUP), but there is more work ahead as we finish upgrading our legacy Quantar repeaters at the remaining sites, and continue out backhaul upgrade work.
In 2013, the PPRCN Board selected a software/hardware upgrade plan based on recommendations from an in depth life-cycle analysis conducted by an external consultant, Televate. Part of that plan is to upgrade the radio sites serving the Colorado Springs area to a simulcast system. This work is almost complete, and beginning the week of March 19th we will cut over to this new simulcast “cell”.
This new cell will consist of 5 existing sites; Stanley Canyon, Austin Bluffs, Templeton Gap, Cedar Heights, and Ski Summit, as well as a newly constructed site at the Airport to replace the old one at the main terminal.
The cut-over plan at a high level looks like this:
- Monday, March 19th from 0900 – 1900 – Stanley Canyon will taken down and converted to simulcast. At the end of the day, the new cell (Site 28, “PPRCNS1”) will be up and running on 3 sites, Stanley Canyon, T-Gap, and Airport, and will be enabled to carry radio traffic.
- Tuesday, March 20th from 0900 – 1900 – Austin Bluffs will taken down and converted to simulcast. At the end of the day, we will have a 4 site simulcast cell.
- Wednesday, March 21st from 900 – 1900 – Cedar Heights will taken down and converted to simulcast. At the end of the day, we will have a 5 site simulcast cell
- Thursday, March 22nd from 900 – 1900 – Ski Summit will taken down and converted to simulcast. At the end of the day, we will have a 6 site simulcast cell
These 6 sites will become one – radios will no longer affiliate to an individual site, but will see this new simulcast cell as a single site. This has several advantages, including better use of spectrum resources, better coverage inside the cell’s coverage area, and better building penetration (to name a few) as radios will see all these towers simultaneously, rather than having to switch between them. The new cell will consist of 18 channels, and is designed to allow more channels to be added if needed.
This change represents a major milestone for PPRCN, and is the culmination of several years hard work by many – thank you!
For some years now you probably have heard that PPRCN is working towards a “simulcast” system. Basically, a simulcast system is one where the radio talks to (and listens to) multiple towers at the same time, or simultaneously, rather than working with individual towers. Part of the plan to get to simulcast is to upgrade the Airport site from the existing two sites split between the main terminal and the maintenance yard, to a single site located in the maintenance yard. This new site is nearing completion (CSU utility power turned on yesterday) and we’re scheduling the steps to simulcast cutover. Please note that the simulcast cell consists of sites in and surrounding the Colorado Springs metro area – Stanley Canyon, Cedar Heights, Ski Summit, Airport, Austin Bluffs and Templeton Gap. Calhan, Truckton, Pittsburg, Fountain, Black Forest, Woodland Park and Badger are not affected by this.
The new Airport had utility power installed yesterday, Monday 2/5. Next steps are simulcast testing (which will take several weeks) and then simulcast cut-over. During the testing phase, we will be reducing the channel counts on 2 of our existing multicast sites – Ski Summit and Austin Bluffs. Both Ski Summit and Austin Bluffs will loose 2 channels (from 14 to 12 at Ski Summit), and from 13 to 11 at Austin Bluffs). Under normal use, this should have no impact, but during a major event (such as a snowstorm) more frequent “busies” will be likely.
To configure Ski Summit and Austin Bluffs for simulcast testing, they will need to be taken down for reconfiguration. Current schedule is for Ski Summit to be offline on Feb 12th, and Austin Bluffs on Feb 13th from 0900 to 1900 each day.
Today was a big day for PPRCN – the new Airport site has it’s shelter delivered and tower erected – see the Site Pictures page for more
A new PPRCN site is being constructed at the Colorado Spring Airport to consolidate the equipment that was previously split between 2 buildings. Ground was broken earlier this week with the anticipation of having the site ready for testing before the end of the year.
I guess the first post to the new PPRCN website should be about the new PPRCN website. One of my early goals when I joined PPRCN as the System Manager in November of 2014 was to update the website into something a little more manageable and modern. Three years later, here it is! Please be patient as we flesh out this new website, but my goal is to provide easy access to the documents and information that the user community needs.