Bill's Site

Nova Scotia Provincial Government Radio

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a short introduction to the radio communications of the provincial government.  I am not detailing the talk groups or operations of any of the agencies, whether they are mentioned here or not.    As far as I am aware, all information presented in this short article is public knowledge via publications, on-line presences, and unencrypted transmissions, and merely puts together in one place this open information.

1. TMR2

Briefly put, government of Nova Scotia is on TMR2 and that sums it all up.    All or practically all provincial agencies are on TMR2.   TMR2 is described elsewhere on this site but to repeat, it is a P25 700 MHz trunk system that covers the province, and by later extension now covers Prince Edward Island, and will cover New Brunswick too.

TMR2 is a contracted service provided to the province by Bell Mobility.  Most of the network infrastructure belongs to Bell, including the repeaters, the fibre connections and the central processor.   Most of the 86 TMR2 towers in Nova Scotia belong to Bell but a few, around fifteen belong to the province and to other owners.

In this article I am referring only to actual departments of the provincial government, not to volunteer agencies or others that are connected to the government.  

The three largest departments in terms of mobile radios users are Health, Highways and Natural Resources. 

Other departments operate with at least some connection with Shubie Radio.     This is the provincial Operations Control Centre or OCC located in Shubenacadie, but it is always referred to as Shubie Radio.    This is a dispatch and record-keeping centre that receives position and task reporting input via radio from many different types of mobile government inspectors and compliance officers, most of them uniformed.   A representative list includes the following:

Shubie Radio also has the ability to contact DNR and TIR operations throughout the province, as well as all VFD's via TMR2.  It acts as the coordination centre for connecting one agency with another, along with the other OCC's.   Most of the communications via Shubie are "in the clear" and able to be monitored by the public.  The main exception is the Conservation Office dispatch function which is encrypted due to the confidential records checking and also its enforcement operations.   It is possible that there is other encrypted traffic from other agencies via Shubie.

Shubie Radio is also the controlling agency for the use of several of the interoperability talk groups, including MA 1 and MA 2, LAW 1, LAW 2, LAW 3, COMMON 1, and the VFD-DNR talk groups.

2. NSIMRS

All of these sites are available for volunteer, municipal and commercial use either with no charge or under paid contract. Interested parties looking for a site for a repeater should contact PSFC for more information.

NSIMRS is the Nova Scotia Integrated Mobile Radio System.  

NSIMRS Background: Prior to the introduction of the first provincial TMR system in and around the year 2000, NSIMRS was the provincial communications system.   It consisted of a network of VHF repeater sites, most of which had a single conventional repeater for each of six distinct networks:

Users of any of the networks could contact the central network control station in Shubenacadie, where operators could patch them to any of the other networks, or could arrange for assistance in various circumstances for any of the mobile users.   The sites were connected together and to Shubie by microwave or UHF links.  NSIMRS consisted of 24 main sites plus a few other sites that contained only Highways and lodger RCMP repeaters.

When the first provincial TMR system came on line in and around 2000, the NSIMRS system was severely downgraded but not abandoned.   Following the move of provincial government communications to the trunk system there was no need remaining for the departmental communications aspect of NSIMRS.   The DNR and Ambulance repeaters were turned off and presumably removed.   The Highways repeaters were also turned off except in the secondary sites in which Highways was the only repeater present.   For a while many of the lodger RCMP repeaters remained, apparently for backup or for use of Citizens on Patrol but eventually they too disappeared.

NSIMRS Today:  NSIMRS today still exists in the form of approximately 50 radio sites.   The VFD network still remains intact, as does the former GSS network which is available to local EMO and GSAR agencies.    The secondary sites from the past still remain with their former Highways repeaters which have been made available to the VFD's as part of that network.     The sites from the former incarnation of NSIMRS may be referred to as the legacy sites, and in fact NSIMRS overall is sometimes called the legacy network.   With one exception, there is absolutely no use of NSIMRS by direct agencies of the provincial government even though this is a provincial government network.  The exception is that Shubie Radio transmits fire pages to a small number of rural VFD's via the NSIMRS sites at Cochrane Hill and Money Point.

The former GSS network, operating in the 143 MHz range, is very very lightly used today.   The VFD support network, operating mostly in the 151-152 MHz range is still used daily by VFD's in some parts of the province, whereas in other areas it is not used at all.  This is particularly ture in areas such as HRM where all fire communications are on TMR but in other areas it is simply because the VFD's have set up their own privately owned and operated repeater systems.  Why this has happened is baffling, when there is a free to use repeater available.   It is possible that the present low level of NSIMRS fire usage may wane further as more and more VFD's transtion to TMR usage for their operations.

Today, as mentioned, there are approximately 50 NSIMRS sites which is more than there were when this was the government's communication network.  This results from two processes.  First of all, the provincial government purchased a number of RCMP sites that had been additional to the NSIMRS-hosted sites but were no longer needed by the force when it went to TMR.   Secondly, a number of new sites were purchased and towers built as part of the planned and later-to-be-cancelled interprovincial trunk system.   

The former links between the original NSIMRS sites were almost entirely decommissioned years ago, so that the dial-up links were gone, as was any connection to, and control from, Shubie Radio.    That has meant that the network is really a set of stand-alone repeaters for the most part.   All the legacy sites retain the one or two repeaters from the past, all of which have been replaced by new hardware in recent years, including new antennas and transceivers.   The purchased or newly built sites do not, with a couple of exceptions, have any government-provided repeaters at all.  Many of the sites overall have third party equipment such as amateur repeaters, broadband, NSPC equipment, school board or commercial repeaters, and it may be best to describe the present NSIMRS as a basic site infrastructure to support volunteer agencies, and with contracts, other levels of government and as well, commercial entities.

All NSIMRS sites are monitored for alarms by Shubie Radio.  Open doors and power failures appear instantly at Shubie.  Each site has a call-in base radio, on which visitors report their presence and identity, and later their check-out.   The sites are visited regularly for security and maintenance purposes, and all are equipped with automatic diesel generator backup.

Note that 11 of the NSIMRS sites house TMR2 repeaters for Bell.  

Site Name Area Served ORIGIN TMR2? PNS Fire Rptr* PNS EMO Rptr
           

Aldersville [PNS Site]

Chester

New Bld      

Barr Settlement

East Hants

LSS   150.125  

Cape Smokey    

Victoria

Legacy   152.21 143.565

Chaplin [PNS Site]

HRM (North)

New      

Church Lake

Lunenburg

Purchase      

Cochrane Hill    

St. Mary's (Sherbrooke)

Legacy   151.535 143.805

Corberrie

Clare

New Bld TMR2 152.675*  

Creignish

Inverness

LSS   150.455  

DND (North Mountain)

Annapolis

Legacy   151.805 143.355

East Kemptville

Argyle

Legacy   151.745 143.655

Fairmont    

Antigonish

Legacy TMR2 151.985 143.655

Fox Island

Guysborough

New Bld TMR2    

French Lake

Argyle

LSS   150.53  

Garland

Kings

Legacy   151.985 143.625

Granite Village 

Queens-Shelburne

Purchase      

Great Hill (AKA Liverpool)

Queens-Shelburne

Legacy   152.03 143.805

Hammonds Plains

HRM (Halifax)

Legacy   151.895 143.565

Hannamville 

Annapolis south

New Bld      

Harmony Ridge 

Colchester (Truro)

Purchase      

Hilden [PNS Site]

Colchester (Truro)

Purchase      

Hunters Mountain

Victoria

LSS   150.305  

Italy Cross 

Lunenburg (Bridgewater)

Purchase   152.27*  

Jerusalem Hill

HRM (Musquodoboit Hbr)

Legacy   151.805 143.355

Kiltarlity 

Inverness and the Highlands

Legacy TMR2 151.805 143.355

Kingsburg

Lunenburg coastal area

New Bld TMR2    

Kirkhill

Cumberland (Parrsboro)

Legacy   151.895 143.805

Lundy

Guysborough

Legacy

 TMR2

151.745 143.265

Marinette  

HRM (Sheet Hbr)

Legacy

 TMR2

151.925 143.625

McLellans Mountain  

Pictou (New Glasgow) Legacy

 

152.21

143.565

Middle Ohio

Shelburne Legacy

 

151.535

143.625

Millen Mtn (@ Watson Hill)

HRM (North) New Bld

 

 

 

Money Point   

Victoria (Cape North)

Legacy

 

151.985 143.805

New Chester 

St. Mary's (Ecum Secum)

New Bld

 

   

New Lairg (Landsdowne Stn)

Pictou (SW Rural area)

New Bld

 

   

Noel Lake 

E Hants N & Cumbrlnd S.

New Bld

 TMR2

   

North Range Corner

Digby County SW

Legacy

 

151.895 143.565

Nuttby Mountain

Colchester (N. Rural) Legacy

 TMR2

152.03

143.715

Oban    

Richmond

Legacy

 

151.925 143.715

Rear Boisdale   

CBRM core area Legacy

 

152.03

143.625

Rocky Mountain 

Pictou (SE Rural area) New Bld

 

 

 

Salem

Cumberland (Amherst)

LSS

 

150.425  

Sand River

Cumberland (Fundy) New Bld

 TMR2

153.08*

 

Sherwood

Chester municipality Legacy

 

152.21

143.715

Shubenacadie [PNS Site]

Colchester S & E Hants LSS

 

 

 

Southampton

Cumberland (SE Rural) New Bld

 

 

 

Springfield

Annapolis (S Interior) Legacy

 

151.925

143.265

Sugarloaf

Cumberland (Ox/Pug)

Legacy

 

151.925 143.265

Tiverton

Digby (Digby Neck Area)

New Bld

 TMR2

   

Upper Sackville 

HRM Core and W Hants Purchase

 

 

 

Willow Hill

West Hants Legacy

 

151.745

143.655

Lansdowne (NS Power)^

Digby Area  

 

 

 

 W. Caledonia (CTV)

Queens Interior  

 

153.56**

 

In the origins column, "Legacy" indicates a site that was a primary site in the old NSIMRS and had several network repeaters.  LSS indicates a Legacy Secondary Site that contained only one or two repeaters.  "Purchase" indicates sites purchased from the RCMP or NS Power in recent years.  "New Bld" indicates sites built from scratch in recent years, not rebuilds of existing sites.

Cochrane Hill and Money Point are in regular daily use for fire pages, test and operational, by Shubie Radio.

* Combined use repeater (Fire and EMO)
** PNS contracted fire repeater on a third party tower.  This is not a NSIMRS site and not monitored by Shubie Radio.
*** PNS equipment and shed at NSPC tower. This is not a NSIMRS but the shed is monitored by Shubie Radio.

3. PSFC

The Public Safety and Field Communications office of the Public Works Branch of the NS Department of Internal Service is the manager of the radio communications of the province.     It planned and implemented TMR2 in Nova Scotia along with the prime contractor Bell Mobitlity, and it provides all the training for provincial and volunteer users of the system.  They have managed the distribution of TMR2 radios provided to VFD's and other volunteer agencies in Nova Scotia.   PSFC also manages the physical structure of NSIMRS.  They provide a Mobile Communications Support organization that is available for major incidents and events.  The mobile units allow for patching of radio systems and for the temporary loan of portable radios, both functions promoting the the successful operation of such incidents and events.     PSFC also operates Shubie Radio which serves several other departments of government.  In addition to services mentioned above, Shubie Radio also provides a phone-answering service public calls re dead, injured and nuisance wildlife, hunting infractions and concerns, and as well is a dispatch centre for 8 VFD's in the Guysborough,Pictou and Victoria County areas.