Bill's Site

Nova Scotia Provincial Government Radio

This page is intended to be brief and without much detail.

 

Briefly put, the 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 all three Maritime provinces.

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 90+ TMR2 towers in Nova Scotia belong to Bell but approximately a dozen of them belong to the province and to other owners but host the Bell TMR equipment.

 

The three largest departments in terms of mobile radios users are Health, Highways and Natural Resources.  All of these operate on the TMR system.

Other departments and agencies are much smaller, and many of them have uniformed officers mobile in the province, and have law enforcement and similar responsibilities.  These operate in conjunction with Shubie Radio, which is the Shubenacadie Operational Control Centre situated near the wildlife park.  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.   

Shubie Radio is also the controlling point 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.

 

The provincial government also operates a subsidiary or auxiliary set of approximately 50 radio sites, most of which are part of NSIMRS, 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 partially exists. The VFD network still remains intact, as does the former GSS network which is available to local EMO and GSAR agencies.    A few of the former Highways repeaters were retained and are now part of the fire network.  

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 true 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 transition to TMR usage for their operations.

The NSIMRS sites are part of the larger set of provincial radio sites.  Those that are do not have NSIMRS repeaters house third party equipment, such as Bell TMR, rural broadband, amateur radio, school bus, NS Power, and other services.  In other words these other sites, owned by the government, do not have any provincial repeaters on them.  

All of the fifty sites are monitored for alarms at Shubie Radio, so that for example, it is known immediately if the entrance door is opened.  The sites that also are NSIMRS sites are linked back to Shubie, whose operators can monitor and transmit on the fire and EMO repeaters at those sites.

Due to temporary issues regarding the PNS sites I am unable at this time to list the sites, but hopefully this chart can be brought back in the future.

It should also be noted that the province coordinates the usage of TMR in the province as it is the primary contract holder for the system that Bell operates.   The responsible provincial agency is PSFC, the Public Safety and Field Communications office of the Department of Internal Services.   PSFC also owns and maintains all of the provincial radio sites and the NSIMRS radio system, as well as Shubie Radio itself.  PSFC coordinates TMR radio use by the volunteer sector, including VFD and GSAR teams.   The field team, with its small fleet of specialized vehicles, trains and lends a hand at events and major incidents, providing communications coordination and patching between different services such as between aero and ground search, or marine and the TMR.