MetroRadio System

System Operating Procedures

MetroRadio System is a not-for-profit unincorporated association.

System Operating Procedures adopted by the
Executive Committee on November 21, 1991
and revised February 25, 1993, June 12, 1995,
December 9, 1999, and April 2003.

Copyright © 1991 - 2003 MetroRadio System

Always Use Your MRS ID# and the MRS Incident Codes When Reporting a Public Safety Incident on the MetroRadio System!

The Metro Radio System has Built an Excellent Reputation and Cooperates with Many Public Safety Organizations. Every Member of the MetroRadio System Must Act and Sound Professional When Using the System.

General Procedures Specific Situations Standing Committees Reciprocal Agreements Co-operative Use

I. General Procedures

A.System Description.

The system utilizes two main repeaters, three satellite repeaters, and two simplex frequencies in the UHF radio services under Parts 90 and 95 of the FCC rules.

The main repeater frequency is 467.725 (input)/462.725 (output). The main repeater is a GE Mastr II™ located off the Southeast Expressway at the Milton-Quincy line, with an antenna elevation of approximately 800_ AGL. Mobile reciprocity is approximately coextensive with Interstate Route 495 around Boston (depending upon mobile equipment), and portable reciprocity extends beyond State Route 128 in most sectors (depending upon portable equipment and specific location).

Supplemental repeaters are located in Hudson, NH (“North 1”), Goffstown, NH (“North 2”), and Paxton, MA (“West”). These repeaters are designed to permit units in the respective areas of these repeaters to get back to the control operators, often by portable radio, from incidents quite remote from the Greater Boston area. Unlike the main repeaters, the satellite repeaters are “community repeaters,” which means that there are other users of those repeaters; MRS members are expected to monitor these frequencies before transmitting so as not to interfere with the other users of those machines.

Access to the repeaters is controlled by CTCSS tones, as set forth in the Channel Plan.

The simplex frequencies are 462.725 (Ch. 2) (main repeater "talkaround") and 462.650 (Ch. 3).

MRS members are individually licensed under Part 95 to transmit on the Channel 1 repeater input frequency and the two simplex frequencies. MRS members are also “permissive users” of the main repeater under sections 95.53(d)(1) & (2) of the Commission's rules, and are therefore authorized to use the repeater though mobile (including portable) stations for communications relating to MRS business with other MRS members. MRS “control operators” are “co-operative users” of the repeater under section 95.33 of the Commission's rules (see section , below). MRS members are authorized operators of the North 1, North 2 and West repeaters under the system license for those machines. For procedures on station identification and call signs, see section , below.

MRS members are responsible for purchasing and maintaining their own mobile and portable equipment, and for insuring that such equipment conforms with all applicable requirements of the FCC and other governmental agencies. MRS members are required to activate the “transmitter time-out” feature found in all radios that automatically shuts the transmitter down after not more than 90 seconds of continuous transmission (in order to avoid “stuck mikes” and similar problems).

B.Channel Plan.

Channel Frequency PL Tone Usage
Ch. 1 (Main) 462.725/467.725 167.9/167.9 Traffic between MRS members and Control Operator relating to incidents.

Traffic between or among MRS members relating to on-going incidents (secondary).

Initiation of communications (not related to ongoing incidents) between MRS members (switch to Ch. 2 or 3 after initial contact).

Ch.2 (Direct) 462.725/462.725 167.9/167.9 Traffic between or among MRS members at the scene of an on going incident.

Initiation of communications (not related to ongoing incident) be tween MRS members (nearby to one another) and non-incident related traffic of short duration.

Tac 3 462.650/462.650 167.9/167.9 Non-incident-related traffic between or among MRS members.
West 461.700/466.700 94.8/94.8 Same as North 1.

Coverage in Central Mass, including Worcester and points between Worcester and Boston.

Tac 4 463.850/468.850 151.4/151.4 Usage: Secondary operations for multiple incidents; non-incident unit-to-unit traffic when not in use for operations.

C.Calling Procedures.

1.Unit Identifications.

When calling, members should identify themselves as "MRS Car ###." The term "unit", "portable" or "mobile" may be sub stituted for "car" as appropriate.

Discussion: Because of the use of tone-controlled repeaters and receivers, it is common for the first word or so of a transmis sion to be clipped. In the format set forth above, the "MRS" and also the "Car" are technically sacrificial, that is, it really doesn't matter if they are clipped. By using the consistent terminology, however, the number of times that the unit number itself will be clipped (which, when it happens, leads to confusion and ineffi ciency) will be reduced.

Those members who have control stations should avoid the designator "Dispatcher" when not actually functioning as the Control Operator in Service, to avoid confusion.


2.Control Operators and Identification.

The system operates as a semi-closed network, which means that communications to and from the system generally should pass through the Control Operator in Service, if there is one, but communications between two units directly need not be made through, or with the prior permission of, the Control Operator. However, unit-to-unit traffic is secondary to system traffic.

To the extent possible, there is always a Control Operator in Service. A member can reach the Control Operator in Service by calling "MRS Car ### to MRS." It is recommended that mem bers calling to the Control Operator in Service address their call to "MRS" or "MRS Dispatch" and not to a specific unit because, if, in fact, some other Control Operator happens to be in Service, he will interpret the call to a particular unit as unit-to-unit traffic and not system traffic.

Example: Car 159 was the Control Operator in Service until lunchtime, when 239 took over. Car 999 was off the air at the time and didn't hear the change. He then wants to notify about a fire he had heard and so he calls "MRS Car 999 to 159." 239 interprets this as traffic for 159, and so he (properly) doesn't respond.

The Control Operator in Service should periodically give a station identification, with his unit number, such as "[This is] KAE6714, MetroRadio System, Operator ###." It is recom mended that the Control Operator in Service identify as "MRS Dispatch" or "MRS Dispatcher" to avoid confusion.

3.Unit-to-Control Operator Calling.

A member having information relating to a reportable incident should call "MRS Car ### to MRS," and wait for a control operator to answer. If no control operator answers after the second try, then the member should "put the job out" by a message along these lines:

"MRS Car ### to the units on MRS. 10-30 in the City of Boston. Box 1536, fire location 123 Commonwealth Avenue. First company on the scene reports fire and smoke from the first and second floors. MRS Car ###."

Members should not broadcast that “there is no control operater in service.”

4.Control Operator-to-Unit Calling.

Calls by the Control Operator in Service to a specific member are in the format "MRS to Car ###" or "MRS Dispatch to Car ###." Calls by a control operator who is not the Control Oper ator in Service are considered to be "unit-to-unit" calls. (See section .)

5.Unit-to-Unit Calling.

Calls from one unit to another unit are addressed “MRS Car ### to Car ###.” Consistent with the channel plan, traffic not related to MRS business should be switched to one of the simplex channels if the units are close enough to maintain simplex communications, and may be shifted to Tac 4 if that channel is not in use for operations. Traffic relating to an incident of interest to the MRS members generally should not be handled on a unit-to-unit basis, but rather should be given to the system for the benefit of all the members.

6.Incident Contact Procedure.

The first unit to go 10-3 is usually assigned by the Control Operator as the “Incident Contact.” Members should be aware of this and should decide as they arrive if they will be able to fulfill this obligation. The Incident Contact's only purpose is to serve the members of MRS by providing accurate and timely information about an incident as he or she observes the scene. If the unit to be selected as the Incident Contact cannot perform this function (no portable, will be too busy working, doesn't want the responsibility, any other reason), he should let the Control Operator know immediately so that another unit can be selected. For information on initial and updated reports, see section .

Other members 10-3 should communicate with the Incident Contact on direct to provide information that might not be available to him (such as other exposures). At incidents some distance from the repeater, it may be helpful for one member to remain in a mobile, possibly a mobile located on a nearby high site, in order to maintain communications with the Control Operator in Service. That member will then function as the Incident Contact, and he will communicate with other 10-3 members on direct.

7.Station Identification.

The main repeater is the subject of multiple licenses and call signs, and each member operates under the authority of his own license and call sign. For consistency and to eliminate confusion, voice identifications over the repeater by Control Operators and members will use the call sign "KAE6714" exclusively. This is generally handled by the Control Operator in service. The satellite repeaters are generally identified by "Morse IDers" and do not require voice call sign identification; in all events, KAE6714 is not the call sign for the satellite repeaters.

Simplex ("direct") communications between members (whether or not Control Operators) are governed by the members' individual licenses and not the repeater license. Therefore, if call signs are used, the members should use their own call signs for direct communications.

D. Radio Traffic Restrictions.

There are four different codes that may be used by Control Operators (or, in the case of 10-71, by any member who is aware of information about the incident leading to the conclusion that a 10-71 is appropriate) to restrict radio traffic. Each code has a different function.

1.Inappropriate Radio Traffic (10-71).

This code means that a particular subject has been deter mined to be sensitive and should not be the subject of transmis sions over the repeater. Examples: precise location information regarding 10-50 Code 1 situations, 10-41 situations, names or other detailed information concerning injury to public safety per sonnel, information regarding undercover police operations.

2.Essential Radio Traffic Only (10-90).

This code means that it has been determined that, usually because a number of incidents are on-going at the same time, it is necessary that no non-essential traffic tie up the repeater. Non-essential traffic means all traffic not related to the on-going incidents or to new incidents of a normally reportable nature. ("Non-essential" traffic includes 10-8s, 10-9s, 10-10s and 10-11s.)

It is the responsibility of the Control Operator who has invoked the Code 10-90 to monitor the situation until the need for the 10-90 has passed, and then to broadcast the message "Secure from the 10-90."

3.Hold All Radio Traffic (10-97).

This code means that no traffic should be broadcast over the repeater except by the Control Operator who has invoked the code. Control Operators should invoke the 10-97 code only in extreme situations (including impending repeater time-outs), and should broadcast the "Secure from 10-97" message as soon as possible.

4.Restrict Traffic to Current Incident (10-99).

This code means that no traffic other than essential traffic relating to the specific incident should be broadcast. It is the responsibility of the Control Operator who has invoked the Code 10-99 to monitor the situation until the need for the 10-99 has passed, and then to broadcast the message "Secure from the 10- 99."

Note: normally, a Code 10-90 is preferred over a Code 10-99, because of the possibility that new incidents may occur. All of these codes should be used sparingly, particularly 10-97 and 10-99.

II.Procedures Relating to Specific Codes and Situa tions.

A.Indication of Photo-worthiness (10-29).

The code 10-29 may be used, either by itself or together with any other incident code, to indicate that the incident is for some reason photo-worthy. Examples:

On the 10-40: victims have been removed, but the scene remains a 10-29.

On the 10-35: Code 3, going 10-20 shortly, but the scene is still a 10-29.

B.Fire & Smoke Calls (10-30).

1.Sub-Code Definitions:

The purpose of the sub-codes under a 10-30 are to identify, by a common shorthand method, what the MRS member is observing at the scene. Using this information, other members will make a judgment about the effort of response effort that they wish to make.

2.Point of Reportability:

In general, a potential 10-30 is not reported as such until a member of the responding fire companies announces "Smoke showing" or "Fire showing" to his FAO. There are a couple of exceptions:

"Cars on MRS. In Boston, striking box 174, box location Edward Everett Square, on request of the company."

(Note: a number of other departments are beginning to use the "Code C" procedure.)

3.Preliminary Reports:

4.Activity Updates:

After a Preliminary Report (10-12) has been made, and depending on the duration or severity of the particular incident, one or more Activity Updates (10-18) may be necessary. Basically, the need for an update arises out of any major change in conditions on scene or the passage of a reasonable amount of time since the last report. A 10-18 also serves to pass on information that might have been included in a 10-12 but wasn't available when the 10-12 was given.

Any type of incident may change as time goes by. A fire may extend to an exposure, a helicopter may arrive on scene of a search or accident, one of the entrapped occupants of an accident or fire may be removed, a building may collapse, companies may be ordered out of the building and to an exterior attack. All of these examples warrant a brief update to the Control Operator. There are many other items that make an update necessary or appropriate, as well as many that do not. The fact that Ladder 6 is "throwing the stick" is not generally important to the membership. Conversely, if companies are being withdrawn from the fire building and master streams are going put into operation, the "fight" would appear to be an extended one and this fact is likely to be of interest to units that may have an extended ETA. Do keep in mind that updates shouldn't be coming every two minutes (unless conditions are really unusu al).

There may be times when an operation continues unchanged for an extended period of time. The only people that know that the situation remains the same are those who are already 10-3. Try to keep this in mind as the Incident Contact; put yourself in the position of members still inbound (or considering it). If 15 minutes have elapsed without a 10-18, consider a brief 10-18 to the effect that "conditions remain the same" or "conditions remain a Code ___." Likewise, it may be appropriate to report that "conditions appear to be improving" just so that inbound units have a chance to back off before wasting time and gas.

On the other hand, be careful with a report that "conditions appear to be deteriorating," because this is sometimes taken by the listening public a criticism of the Department; if conditions are deteriorating, try to be specific.

C.Motor Vehicle Accidents (10-40).

1.Sub-Code Definitions:

2.Restrictions on Use of Code:

A 10-40 is not a reportable incident unless it fits in one of the following classifications:

D.Emergency Vehicle Accidents (10-41).

The Code 10-41 should be used with discretion. In particu lar, it is MRS policy that no detailed information is given out regarding 10-45s arising out of a 10-41. The reason for this rule is to assure that family members and friends of actual or possible victims do not receive their first notifications of injuries through MRS. (This is the same as the reason why departmental transmission relating to injuries to members are generally made "off the repeater.")

E.Avoid Area/Congestion (10-47).

This code is not to be used for general traffic reporting. Its use is restricted to (1) "avoid area" advice to MRS members responding to an on-going incident and (2) other cases in which the circumstances are otherwise newsworthy (e.g., six feet of water on Memorial Drive).

F.Wrong-Way Traffic (10-49).

This code is used to indicate a report of a vehicle travelling in the wrong direction on a divided road, i.e., south in the northbound on 128. Such reports should be given quickly, in order to alert any MRS mobiles in the area of the possible hazard. If the incident arises out of a 10-50 Code 1, the prohibi tion on specific location does not apply. Once the incident is terminated, a 10-20 should be given.

G.Police Chases (10-50 Code 1).

Except where a 10-49 is involved, information relating to a 10-50 Code 1 should be limited to the start, finish, and general location of the incident. It is the policy of MRS neither to encourage nor to facilitate members going 10-1 to the scene of a 10-50 Code 1, and any member electing to do so does on his own responsibility.

H.Selective Enforcement (10-67).

10-67 calls are strictly limited to direct (Ch. 2 simplex). Be careful: a 10-67 over the repeater (even if accidental) may lead to loss of radio privileges.

I.Emergency and Good Samaritan Notifications (10-91).

Reportable: accidents involving confirmed or highly probable personal injury; accidents involving disabled cars in (or extending into) the traveled part of the way or into the median of a high- speed highway (like 128); DMVs (whether or not the result of an accident) meeting these criteria; rollovers and car-fires; any incident in which EMS is required.

Not reportable: accidents not involving confirmed or highly probable personal injury or hazardous obstruction of the roadway; disabled motor vehicles not involving hazardous obstruction of the roadway. Note that this restriction does not apply in the case of an MRS member who is himself disabled and seeking assistance.

Discussion: The policy of the Executive Committee is that emergency notifications are to be limited to situations involving a hazard to life or a serious hazard to property, and the observa tion has been made that many requests for notifications are not within this category. (The rationale for what might seem a harsh rule is that MRS is primarily a public safety incident notification system, whose mission is quite different from, and therefore should not become like, REACT.) Control Operators and mem bers are requested to use good judgment and discretion and to apply the guidelines set forth above. In the event that a Control Operator receives a 10-91 request which he or she deems not consistent with these guidelines, the request may be declined.

III.Standing Committees.

A.Executive Committee.

MRS is a private, voluntary unincorporated association governed by a self-perpetuating Executive Committee, as set forth in the "Statement of Association" dated October 17, 1990. The present members of the Executive Committee are:

Joe Ansin (401) Jim Kauffman (200)
Stan Goldberg (804) Dan Mathews (86)
Warren Doolin (11) Dave Lounsbury (430)
Julian Olansky (8) Dave Chiampa (586)

B.Radio Committee.

The Radio Committee, which is appointed by the Executive Committee, advises the Executive Committee on technical matters relating to system design, radio operation and proce dures, and radio licensing. The present members of the Radio Committee are:

oe Ansin (401) Julian Olansky (8)
Bob Gad (18).



MRS maintains a telephone number of 617-969-3000. During regular business hours, this rings in the MRS business office. At other times it is either forwarded to a control operator or answered by a machine. This telephone is for business matters (membership status, publications, and the like) and emergency notifications in those cases in which the radio system is unavailable or inappropriate. It should not be used for system complaints or suggestions (which should be mailed, see below) or for notifications of apparent system malfunctions (which the system licensee is already aware of).


Mail may be addressed to MetroRadio System, Post Office Box 26, Newton Highlands, MA 02161. Members with com plaints or suggestions are encouraged—and required—to address same to the Executive Committee by letter. The reason for this requirement is to be sure that all complaints and suggestions re ceive the full consideration of the full Executive Committee.

IV.Reciprocal Agreements with Other Systems.

Traffic by MRS members on another system must be related to an on-going public safety incident (or, with discretion, travel information). Our reciprocal arrangements do not authorize "chit-chat." Units should identify as "Boston MRS" (except that "MRS" is sufficient on CRS).

So. Maine Fire Notification Ass'n:

Ch. 1 464.850 PL 173.8
Ch. 2 463.775 PL 118.8
Interstate 464.400 PL 186.2

    1. Central Radio System (“CRS”) (Fitchburg):

Ch. 1 463.825 PL 103.5
Ch. 4 461.550 PL 103.5
CRS uses MRS codes.

    1. Hartford Citywide Radio:

Ch. 1 462.725 PL 167.9
Same frequency and PL as MRS.

    1. New York Central Radio System:

Central 1 464.175 PL 167.9
Central 2 463.725 PL 167.9
Central 3 463.950 PL 167.9

    1. D.C. Citywide Radio Notification:

Ch. 1 452.975 PL 103.5
Ch. 2 452.975 PL 167.9

    1. Fire Notification Network of Michigan:

Frequencies and PLs furnished to members upon request.

    1. California Fire Photographers Association:

Frequencies and PLs furnished to members upon request. MRS members are requested (but not required) to contact by phone at 818-557-6569 before coming up on the system.

V.Co-operative Use Agreement.

For purposes of section 95.33 of the Commission's regula tions, the provisions of this section of the MRS "System Operating Procedures" shall constitute a written contract between the system licensee(s) and those MRS members who from time to time are designated by the Executive Committee as "control operators."

Each control operator is hereby granted permission by the system licensee(s) to use the repeater for all communications that (i) are consistent with the provisions of section 95.33 of the Commission's regulations, as from time to time in effect, and (ii) constitute communications relating to MRS business between or among MRS members. Each control operator may exercise such privileges without any charge over and above that control operator's regular MRS dues. Such privileges may be restricted or revoked by the Executive Committee from time to time, in the discretion of the Executive Committee, with or without cause.