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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 09-23-2017, 8:16 AM
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I have no idea about other areas but my own, but my experience with Alpha tags is they are useless for large state wide systems.

NUC-DB - an EMA channel

WCECMBR - Watercraft Enforcement - Cambridge Region

Try figuring that out at highway speeds. On my 536/996/352 and my HP1/2 that I use at home or local I have modded al tags to something understandable.

On my mobile use outside of my local area I rely on desciption tags oer Uniden .
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Old 09-23-2017, 1:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisABQ View Post
If the tags are too long or look unreadable, I will alter them on my scanner PC programs before uploading to the scanner.

+1 I do the same, it's not that difficult.
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Old 09-23-2017, 1:18 PM
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Double check the software options when importing from RR. Also check the display options on your scanner. Some flexibility is available as to what/how data is displayed.
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Old 09-23-2017, 5:07 PM
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I think that, if the longest possible field in any user's equipment is 35 characters (for example), then the field length in the DB should be 35 characters. That is not catering to a specific manufacturer, it is making sure that the data will fit in at least somebody's equipment. In this case, a character limit over 35 is useless to everyone who is programming a scanner with the data.

EDIT: A "we were here first, so everybody must conform to us" philosophy usually gets someone left out in the cold eventually.
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Old 09-23-2017, 5:30 PM
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I don't this that is the attitude at all. I think we question why a Db scheme which has been used for years should suddenly be made to conform to a manufacturer choice. Uniden CHOSE to use the description field, knowing full well that field had 100+ characters.

Now the DB should CHANGE only because UNIDEN users (and a segment of them) say so, while waving the "march of progress" flag?
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Old 09-23-2017, 5:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
I just looked at the KSICS system. None of the Description fields say "Kansas State Interoperable Comm....". You sure the problem isn't with your scanner or how you are programming it?
The system title is "KSICS - Kansas Statewide Interoperable Communication System". At 59 characters, that would probably be cut off on most radios (scanners or otherwise).

Within that system, you have talkgroup groups titled "Highway Patrol - Troop x: Town Name". The shortest one is 30 characters and the longest is 40. A radio that displays only 16 characters would just show "Highway Patrol -" for all nine of those groups; kind of pointless. Even if they displayed 24 characters, you'd see "Highway Patrol - Troop x". Barely showing one piece of the actual important information in the group title.

Then there's the actual channel IDs database-wide that all have the exact same description. Look at the USA national part of the DB, under "Public Safety Common - 700 MHz Low Power/Itinerant" (and "Public Safety Common - 700 MHz Low Power/Itinerant" - and those long system/group names are part of the problem, again). Nearly every channel has the exact same name within each group. Those aren't the only places that such things appear.

Another problem is redundancy. The "County of Such and Such APCO Project 25 System" system name is more than 50% unnecessary text. Make it "Such and Such" (add "County" if you really have to). We know it's P25 and we know it's a system, by its inherent properties in the DB. Same with groups within that system being labeled "County of Such and Such Public Works - Sanitation Talkgroups" and "County of Such and Such Public Works - Waterworks Talkgroups". Just put "Sanitation" and "Waterworks". The "County of Such and Such" is inferred by the system name, and "Talkgroups" is obvious from the fact it's a group within a trunked system.

Requests to change all this stuff are not always honored, either.

I went away from using the DB as anything other than a source to make my custom data files (favorite lists, V-folders, or whatever you wish to call them) largely because of this reason.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay911 View Post

Within that system, you have talkgroup groups titled "Highway Patrol - Troop x: Town Name". The shortest one is 30 characters and the longest is 40. A radio that displays only 16 characters would just show "Highway Patrol -" for all nine of those groups; kind of pointless. Even if they displayed 24 characters, you'd see "Highway Patrol - Troop x". Barely showing one piece of the actual important information in the group title.
If you look at these 2 talk groups,

Highway Patrol - Troop B: Topeka Talkgroups
Highway Patrol - Troop C: Salina Talkgroups

The topeka ones list KHP Troop X Bla Bla Bla etc in the alpha tag. The description side looks good. If the tg identifies the contents within, why the need to have KHP in the alpha tag when the tg is labeled as such?

Now when you look at the Salina ,KHP and the Troop are in the alpha and description. If the tg group is labeled with the KHP and the troop, why is this info listed in the alpha tag and description?


See Kansas pic at bottom

.

And here on long Island, your in local fire/ems, why do the words fire district need to be in the alpha and or description? You already know you're in fire/ems, so it really should just list the name of the dept and its use.? Like the following,

The db shows,
Code:
470.83750 WPPY970 RM 466 DPL E Islip FD   East Islip Fire District Dispatch   FMN Fire Dispatch 
472.42500 WPPY970 RM 88.5 PL E Islip FD   East Islip Fire District Ops   FMN Fire-Talk
It seems like it should look like this,

Code:
470.83750 WPPY970 RM 466 DPL E Islip Disp   East Islip Dispatch   FMN Fire Dispatch 
472.42500 WPPY970 RM 88.5 PL E Islip Ops   East Islip Ops   FMN Fire-Talk
East Islip Disp and East Islip Ops. Plain and simple for everyone.

And this is just for the way data is displayed in the database, nothing towards the way data is downloaded to anyone's scanner...

The database needs work, and little by little our admins do make changes. Its not easy and they do volunteer their time. I just wish when db admin "a" comes in and sets a format for data display, that db admin's "b" and "c" would follow the same formatting.


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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 09-24-2017, 3:51 AM
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Direct from the Database Admin HB... in regards to tagging:

-
6.4. ALPHA TAGGING
6.4.1. GENERAL
Alpha tags are limited to 12 characters to ensure compatibility with older scanners that support only a 12-
character alpha tag. Alpha tags shall be made as clear as possible given the space provided. Alpha tags shall
generally indicate the agency and the channel number or usage to the extent that the information is known and
can reasonably fit in 12 characters. Where possible, alpha tags shall use a mix of lower and upper case letters (the
use of all capital letters should be avoided). Alpha tags shall not necessarily be the alpha tag as shown on a radio
transceiver programmed for a specific conventional or trunked system. Alpha tags shall be written to be useful to
scanner users and furthermore they shall be clear to novice scanner users to the extent possible.
Alpha tags “stand alone” and are not a more specific classification under the category, subcategory and description
hierarchy. The alpha tag itself shall only contain information that is also represented in the county/agency/system
name, category, subcategory and/or description of the frequency or talkgroup.
If the frequency or talkgroup description is insufficient to provide enough information to create a unique alpha tag,
then the frequency or talkgroup number shall be included as part of the alpha tag to ensure uniqueness.
6.4.2. STANDARD ABBREVIATIONS
• AC – Animal Control
• Bn or BN - Battalion
• Car – Car-to-Car
• Dsp – Dispatch
• Disp – Dispatch
• E – East
• EMS – Emergency Medical Services
• FD – Fire Department
• FG – Fireground
• JFD – Joint Fire District
• N – North
• NE – Northeast
• NW – Northwest
RadioReference.com Database Administrator Handbook
Version 1.8
- 23 -
• Ops – Operations
• PD – Police Department
• PW – Public Works
• S – South
• SD – Sheriff’s Department
• SE – Southeast
• SO – Sheriff’s Office
• Svc - Service
• SW – Southwest
• TA – Talk-Around
• Tac – Tactical
• VFD – Volunteer Fire Department
• W – West
6.5. FUNCTION TAGGING
6.5.1. GENERAL
Function or service tagging allows frequencies and talkgroups to be placed into general category-based groups. Do
not be concerned that the wording of the function tag names does not exactly match what you believe to be the
use of the frequency or talkgroup. Function tags shall enable novice users to easily “filter” the frequencies or
talkgroups for which they are searching. The terms “Function Tag,” “Service tag” and “Tag” can be used
interchangeably in reference to Function Tagging.
6.5.2. SERVICE TAGS AND DESCRIPTIONS
• Aircraft – All civilian or military air traffic control operations (typically in the 118-136 MHz and 225-380
MHz bands in AM mode). Other aviation frequencies (that are not used for air traffic control) shall be
tagged with the most relevant non-Aircraft tag. Airline “company frequencies” (in the USA, typically in
the 128.825-132.0 MHz and 136.5-136.975 MHz) shall be tagged as “Business.” Aerial firefighting
frequencies shall be tagged with the appropriate “Fire” tag.
• Business – For most business related entities not covered by other tags. Please note that the following
tags override the “Business” tag and shall always be used instead when they are applicable: Media,
Railroad, Security, Transportation and Utilities.
• Corrections – For jail/prison operations and other corrections activities, including federal prisons.
• Data – For data, paging, telemetry and most non-voice operations. Do not tag encrypted voice
frequencies or talkgroups as “Data” (they shall be tagged with the more specific tag).
• Deprecated – This tag denotes a frequency or talkgroup that is no longer used. This tag shall be used only
temporarily during transition/migration periods for new radio systems. Frequencies and talkgroups shall
be deleted when they are truly obsolete.
• Emergency Ops – For Emergency Operation Centers and similar emergency management or disasterrelated
operations.
• EMS Dispatch – For EMS dispatch (including rescue squads and medical helicopter operations).
RadioReference.com Database Administrator Handbook
Version 1.8
- 24 -
• EMS-Tac – For EMS on-scene communications, tactical operations and secondary channels. Please note
that EMS-to-Hospital communications shall be tagged with “Hospital.”
• EMS-Talk – For EMS talk-around, car-to-car and supervisor operations.
• Federal – For all federal government operations (except corrections, traditional law enforcement patrol
and fire/EMS operations which shall be tagged using the more appropriate tags). In the USA, the Coast
Guard shall be tagged as “Federal.”
• Fire Dispatch – For fire dispatch, including combined fire/EMS dispatch.
• Fire-Tac – For fireground, tactical and on-scene communications, including combined fire/EMS
operations.
• Fire-Talk – For fire talk-around and car-to-car operations, chiefs, supervisors, etc., including combined
fire/EMS operations.
• Ham – For any amateur radio assignment.
• Hospital – For EMS-to-Hospital communications and patient reports (e.g., “Med” or “HEAR” channels).
Please note that hospital operations, maintenance, etc. shall be tagged with “Business.”
• Interop – Interoperability communications, cross-agency communications, mutual aid, etc. This tag
includes inter-entity coordination as well as to interoperability between departments (e.g., police, fire and
public works) of the same entity.
• Law Dispatch – Law enforcement dispatch.
• Law Tac – Law enforcement tactical, SWAT, on-scene, surveillance and specific sub-agency
communications.
• Law Talk – Law enforcement talk-around, car-to-car and supervisor operations.
• Media – Newspapers, television and broadcast radio operations (most commonly in the 450/455 MHz and
161 MHz bands in the USA).
• Military – All military operations (e.g., air refueling, range control, air-to-air combat, etc.) including Civil
Air Patrol in the USA. Military law, fire and EMS shall be tagged with the appropriate law, fire or EMS tag.
• Multi-Dispatch – For combined law enforcement and fire/EMS dispatch. This is a special case tag for
operations that are combined as a matter of normal practice. Do not use this tag for interoperability
channels, or combined Fire/EMS dispatch channels.
• Multi-Tac – For combined law enforcement and fire/EMS tactical and on-scene communications. This is a
special case tag for operations that are combined as a matter of normal practice. Do not use this tag for
interoperability channels, or combined Fire/EMS tactical channels.
• Multi-Talk – For combined law enforcement and fire/EMS tactical talk-around and car-to-car operations.
This is a special case tag for operations that are combined as a matter of normal practice. Do not use this
tag for interoperability channels, or combined Fire/EMS talk channels.
• Other – Anything not covered by the other tags. Note: This tag should rarely – if ever – be used, so in
general pretend like it does not even exist. Administrators sometimes incorrectly use the “Other” tag on
frequencies and talkgroups that should be labeled “Public Works.”
• Public Works – Public agency non-public safety communications. This includes any non-public safety
government services, such as trash, streets, roads, zoos, administration, maintenance, animal control,
community initiatives, code compliance, etc. Please do not use the “Other” tag for government services.
Exceptions: Public transportation and government security services shall be tagged with “Transportation”
or “Security” respectively. Tag government-run utilities with the “Utilities” tag.
• Railroad – All common carrier railroad communications.
RadioReference.com Database Administrator Handbook
Version 1.8
- 25 -
• Security – Non-law enforcement security operations, including private security companies, noncommissioned
government agency security, school security, etc.
• Schools – School-related communications (schools, school buses, football games, etc.). Exception:
Security shall be tagged with “Security” and law enforcement shall be tagged with the appropriate law
enforcement tag.
• Transportation – Public and private bus, taxi and public passenger rail (isolated rail systems not
connected to a common carrier railroad network) communications (except school buses).
• Utilities – Electric, water, natural gas, phone, cable TV, etc. operations whether provided by a private or
governmental entity.

And Description....

6.1.4.2 FREQUENCY AND TALKGROUP DESCRIPTIONS
Talkgroup and frequency descriptions shall be kept short and informative (50 characters or less) while avoiding
exact duplication with other fields where possible. Channel numbers should be included when known. For
example:
• Where an alpha tag states “PD DISPATCH 1” use “Police Dispatch 1” in the Description.
• Common operating channels shall be shown as “Countywide Common 1” or “Law Interop 1” rather than
just “Countywide Common” or “Law Interop” in the Description field.
• Category or Subcategory headings or names will not be shown or duplicated in the Description field.

Some things have changed and a new HB will be coming out before long to address this... Alpha tagging is now extended to 16 characters and is being implemented as admins get to it... As well as the new MODE descriptors....

A lot of the newer scanners pull from the DESCRIPTION field rather than the ALPHA TAG fields... The longest possibility in ALPHA TAGS is 16 characters... If you find the information displyed on your scanner is from the DESCRIPTION.. And its too long, its UP TO YOU to edit this to your liking in your scanner and/or programming software! Most of us try to keep the descriptions as short as we can and still make sense, which is even harder in the ALPHA TAGS... A tad easier with 16 than 12 characters.... But still not the easiest task.
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Last edited by milf; 09-24-2017 at 4:02 AM..
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 09-24-2017, 3:57 AM
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"The database needs work, and little by little our admins do make changes. Its not easy and they do volunteer their time. I just wish when db admin "a" comes in and sets a format for data display, that db admin's "b" and "c" would follow the same formatting."

I addressed this recently and was plainly told... It is up to admin a to go in and make sure its all the hunky dory.... So if admin a gets busy or cant get back to things often.... Its admin a fault,,,..... Such is life, so yes, please cut us a little slack.
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:15 PM
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With about every radio out there allowing you to modify descriptions to your liking, it is pretty strange to me that this topic has gotten to 29 posts when it's hardly worth 4.

Some people need to have been in this hobby when there were NO DESCRIPTIONS to appreciate where the hobby has come.

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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 09-25-2017, 2:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcotor View Post
I don't this that is the attitude at all. I think we question why a Db scheme which has been used for years should suddenly be made to conform to a manufacturer choice. Uniden CHOSE to use the description field, knowing full well that field had 100+ characters.

Now the DB should CHANGE only because UNIDEN users (and a segment of them) say so, while waving the "march of progress" flag?

Absolutely it should conform to a certain manufacturer considering it comprises one half of all that exists.


Last edited by mancow; 09-25-2017 at 2:32 AM..
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mancow View Post
Absolutely it should conform to a certain manufacturer considering it comprises one half of all that exists.
That's overstating the case a bit.

There are other manufacturers besides Uniden and Whistler, and some of their scanners support alpha tagging also. Some can also be computer programmed with software that can download from the database.

I see a difference between making the data maximally usable (nobody's descriptions can exceed 35 characters) and catering to a specific manufacturer.
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Old 09-25-2017, 6:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
That's overstating the case a bit.

There are other manufacturers besides Uniden and Whistler, and some of their scanners support alpha tagging also. Some can also be computer programmed with software that can download from the database.

I see a difference between making the data maximally usable (nobody's descriptions can exceed 35 characters) and catering to a specific manufacturer.
Good points.
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