APCO-16

Project 16 or APCO Project 16 was a standard development effort started in the 1970s by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), a trade association of mostly police and fire service providers. The program was funded by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), a part of the US Department of Justice. ["4.2.1 APCO Project 16," "Arizona Phase II Final Report: Statewide Radio Interoperability Needs Assessment," (Phoenix, Arizona: Macro Corporation and The State of Arizona, 2004), pp. 42-43.] ["Review of the APCO 'Project 16' Report," "The California Highway Patrol Communications Technology Research Project on 800 MHz", 80-C477, (Sacramento, California: Department of General Services, Communications Technology Division, 1982,) pp. I-3 - I-9. ]

Details

In telecommunications, APCO Project 16 is a standard describing the characteristics and capabilities of public safety trunked radio systems such as:
* channel access times
* automated priority recognition
*data systems interface
*individuality of system users
*command and control flexibility
*system growth capability
*frequency use
*reliability

History

With the Federal Communications Commission's pending release of the first 800 MHz band licenses, the LEAA funded a project to develop required capabilities and standards needed in trunked public safety two-way radio systems. The standards also gained acceptance in businesses such as Specialized Mobile Radio, utility communications systems, and refineries. ["4.2.1 APCO Project 16," "Arizona Phase II Final Report: Statewide Radio Interoperability Needs Assessment," (Phoenix, Arizona: Macro Corporation and The State of Arizona, 2004), pp. 42-43.] ["Review of the APCO 'Project 16' Report," "The California Highway Patrol Communications Technology Research Project on 800 MHz", 80-C477, (Sacramento, California: Department of General Services, Communications Technology Division, 1982,) pp. I-3 - I-9. ]

Result

While the program succeeded in creating basic performance standards and feature sets, it failed to create a signaling standard. The result: three companies built APCO Project 16 compliant systems but radios from each manufacturer were incompatible with one another. In California, for example, University of California, Riverside bought a Motorola system and the County of Riverside purchased a General Electric. In order to communicate, some patch or other custom-built link would have to be installed. Intercommunication was possible but not seamless.

The original Project 16 report dealt with basic deployment issues surrounding use of the then-new 800 MHz band. These included radio signal propagation characteristics of the newly-allocated band. The report addressed concerns about health effects from 800 MHz transmitters but did not reveal definitive findings. It defined proposed methods for frequency reuse, coordination, and interference reduction. ["Review of the APCO 'Project 16' Report," "The California Highway Patrol Communications Technology Research Project on 800 MHz", 80-C477, (Sacramento, California: Department of General Services, Communications Technology Division, 1982,) pp. I-3 - I-9. ]

A follow-on project titled APCO Project 16A was funded by a second LEAA grant. It addressed a proposal to open the 800 MHz band. This program defined technical details such as "channel access time," "system growth capability," and "reliability." ["Review of the APCO 'Project 16A' Report," "The California Highway Patrol Communications Technology Research Project on 800 MHz", 80-C477, (Sacramento, California: Department of General Services, Communications Technology Division, 1982,) pp. I-8 - I-9. The report said 900 MHz but this is believed to be a typographical error. The Department of General Services report should read, 800 MHz instead of 900 MHz.]

A third LEAA grant funded "Draft System Implementation Plans for Participating Communities," which addressed how such a system might be implemented in four US cities. ["Review of the APCO 'Project 16B' Report," "The California Highway Patrol Communications Technology Research Project on 800 MHz", 80-C477, (Sacramento, California: Department of General Services, Communications Technology Division, 1982,) pp. I-9. ]

Notes

ee also

* National Institute of Justice
* APCO Project 25


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