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Greater Los Angeles & Inland Areas Discussion Local area specific discussion for Los Angeles and its outlying areas such as Ventura and Orange Counties, and the Inland Empire area.

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Old 01-28-2014, 1:27 AM
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Default What's with the BEEP...BEEP..BEEP on Sheriff?

Hello all,

I have been scanning away on local LA frequencies from the comfort of my hotel room in El Segundo this afternoon and tonight. I put together a system for the Sheriff Department. However, I am having a very annoying problem with this group on my BCT15X:

I can hear a female dispatcher loud & clear carrying on conversations with officers, but I can only hear her side of the conversation. After she is done talking, the scanner stays locked on the channel because a series of beeps is produced right after she's done talking. I have hit HOLD and scrolled through all frequencies in this group and the beep is on ALL Sheriff channels. On top of that, when she IS talking I can hear her on every Sheriff channel, as if the channels are all duplicates.

Am I doing something wrong, or is this a known phenomenon? I figured I'd ask the "veteran" LA area scannists about this one....

Thanks for any help!
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Old 01-28-2014, 1:42 AM
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The short answer is that this is normal. LASD uses the beep as a busy tone for units. If a unit hears the beep, they have to wait until it ends before they can xmit.

Long answer. LASD New Busy Tones

I just did a quick search. There might be a better answer but this one seems like it answers the question.
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Old 01-28-2014, 1:58 AM
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Thanks, that does address the beeping. However, I still don't understand why I can't hear the officers, just the dispatcher(s). Isn't LASD repeated so I don't need the mobile input frequencies?
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Old 01-28-2014, 2:20 AM
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Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriffs Department - The RadioReference Wiki

You'll need to listen to the input freqs for the units in the field.
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Old 01-28-2014, 2:27 AM
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LASD decided a very long time ago that it would confuse their deputies too much if they could hear each other. Therefore on the dispatch channel, all the deputy ever hears is their dispatcher and the "beep beep" busy tone when another unit is talking on the input frequency. They have had repeater capability for a long time (called "the patch") and occasionally turn it on during hot calls to allow deputies to relay BOL info to other units in the field directly. They then quickly turn it back off. Since there is a legitimate need for the sergeants to direct units in the field, you will hear car-to-car traffic on the corresponding L-TAC frequencies for each area.

The busy tones also allow their dispatch center to dynamically rotate radio usage between different dispatchers based on call volume. In other words, you may hear one dispatcher on the channel one minute, and then the channel will get automatically moved to another dispatcher with a lower workload and you will hear a new voice. In a way it's almost like trunking on the dispatcher end... It allows them to have fewer dispatchers work a larger area, but virtually every other department I'm familiar with follows the traditional solution of simply hiring more dispatchers. In my humble opinion, it seems like an overly complicated solution to a simple problem.

The busy tones are one of those strange cultural department traditions I will never understand. I've heard plenty of other reasons for why they exist from those in the department (many even posted in this forum and you can do a search and find them), but it just never makes logical sense to me... So I've given up trying.

Last edited by inigo88; 01-28-2014 at 2:33 AM..
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Old 01-28-2014, 2:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyC View Post
Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriffs Department - The RadioReference Wiki

You'll need to listen to the input freqs for the units in the field.
I just realized that I actually do have those mobile requencies in my scanner. However, I put them in a separate system. I could move them so they are all in the same system, but that doesn't seem to be the solution to the dilemma - which is, as soon as dispatch stops talking the busy tones start but because a live signal is still being transmitted the scanner won't resume scanning. Can I get my scanner to somehow "ignore" the slow beeping?
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Old 01-28-2014, 3:52 AM
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Originally Posted by LIScanner101 View Post
... as soon as dispatch stops talking the busy tones start but because a live signal is still being transmitted the scanner won't resume scanning. Can I get my scanner to somehow "ignore" the slow beeping?
I don't often listen to LASD, but when I want to hear the units and I'm likely to be within range of their mobile (or even portable) radios I set the uplink frequency as "Priority," and with luck the scanner will leave the beeps and switch to the mobile side during their transmission. Lots of luck, though, having both you and the deputy being in the right locations at the right time.
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Old 01-28-2014, 4:24 AM
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Originally Posted by LIScanner101 View Post
I just realized that I actually do have those mobile requencies in my scanner. However, I put them in a separate system. I could move them so they are all in the same system, but that doesn't seem to be the solution to the dilemma - which is, as soon as dispatch stops talking the busy tones start but because a live signal is still being transmitted the scanner won't resume scanning. Can I get my scanner to somehow "ignore" the slow beeping?
To hear the mobiles, you're going to have to be RIGHT on top of them. Even from El Segundo, you probably will only hear the closest of the Lennox units. (And yes, I still call it Lennox.)

You won't be able to get the scanner to ignore the beeping, if there was a scanner that could, I'd buy it. I have to listen to LASD for work, and at least I tend to not even scan them they're so annoying to listen to.

And I don't know why, but LASD Dispatchers talk faster than any other agency I know of.

Last edited by Code20Photog; 01-28-2014 at 4:27 AM..
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Old 01-28-2014, 5:34 AM
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LASD Dispatchers talk faster than any other agency I know of.
LAPD's are right up there with 'em, with all the multicasting and air-sharing they are required to do.

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(And yes, I still call it Lennox.)
And for me, "3" will forever be University, and "14" will be Venice. And all 21 of them are DIVISIONS, not "AREAS."

Last edited by Radio_Lady; 01-28-2014 at 5:38 AM..
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Old 01-28-2014, 7:03 AM
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We used a "marker tone" in the Midwest, too. It was somewhat different, though in that we had fully repeated mobile traffic and the marker was switched on from the time the initial units had arrived and were clearing the scene to when the first clear disposition is given. It signaled units to hold their traffic unless they had an emergency.

The mode described is called "semi-duplex." It was a command and control technique from the early days of radio, where the dispatcher functioned as a hub and had to parrot the relevant information out to all units. It was common in many highway patrols across the country, and even the St. Louis fire department until very recently. It's also used in taxicab fleets to manage the drivers from chit-chatting with each other and jumping on other drivers' fares. I'm not a fan of it. It puts too much on a pivot person and limits situational awareness (in my opinion). You pick up on the sense of urgency by hearing the unspoken elements of the other units' voices. And, sometimes a unit has a complex, urgent message that can't be effectively parroted without diminishing meaning, or it's fractally rephrased to what the 'spatcher thinks is relevant - kind of like the kids' game of telephone. But it's a system LA has deemed useful to how they operate, so they don't want or need or care about my take on it. That's what makes radio interesting.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:25 AM
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I sometimes listen to LASO when something good is going on either on the news or when they are on area tac or countywide tac. Even 35 years ago when I was a kid I use to listen to LASO on a really old scanner and always heard the birdie or the beep beep beep beep beep and so sound. Nothing new to my ears.

But its going to be a big change for the department when this old system will end up being retired for good. Trust me don't get me wrong its a solid system and its been up for years.

LA-RICS APCO P25 Phase II system. No more birdiees or beep beep sounds. Either you will hear them in the clear on both ends or ENCRYPTION.

One or the other, but time will tell.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:41 AM
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Fun fact about LAPD - the 911 operators themselves will get on the radio and dispatch hot calls. That's why you hear a different dispatcher on LAPD channels every 5 minutes. I did a "ride-along" at the 911 call center many years ago and got to listen in on actual calls in progress and see how they do things over there. Really interesting stuff.

LASD has beeped like that ever since I first got into scanning over 25 years ago (I grew up in SoCal). The beep tone is units in the field talking and there's no way to skip past it, as others have said, other than the priority channel trick (I remember when I first discovered that, I was so excited LOL). What used to REALLY drive me nuts on that system happens in the middle of the night. For no apparent reason (to me at least) one of the frequencies will light up with nothing but the busy beep for sometimes 20-30 minutes or more. Whenever that happened I'd have no choice other than to lock it out and then check back on it every so often to see if it was done. I never did figure out what the hell THAT was all about - does anyone here know? All these years later it still bugs me that I never figured out what it was.

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Old 01-28-2014, 3:04 PM
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I don't bother listening to LASD at work, there's just no way to do it efficiently. LAPD Hotshots is the best radio channel of all time.
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Old 01-28-2014, 3:25 PM
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I've been listening to LASO for years and yesterday I heard something I've never heard before.
A Santa Clarita unit requested an airship for a "920C" ( critical missing person). The dispatcher replied " air units unavailable due to CARPING" anyone have any idea what that is?
Thanks!!
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Old 01-29-2014, 3:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepsima1 View Post
I sometimes listen to LASO when something good is going on either on the news or when they are on area tac or countywide tac. Even 35 years ago when I was a kid I use to listen to LASO on a really old scanner and always heard the birdie or the beep beep beep beep beep and so sound. Nothing new to my ears.
Oh yeah, when they were on 39 MHz with just a couple frequency pairs for the whole county, the beeps were almost a necessity. To my memory they didn't have repeaters on low band, so the dispatchers had to echo the messages that needed it. For a while there was just one car-to-car frequency, 39.48, Ch 1 ("Temple 53-Adam attention to 1, Five-three-A frequency 1 for 50-David, 5-3-A"). They did start adding wide area tactical frequencies, simplex only, like F1 became Charlie (countywide), and channels like Edward (East County), William (west), Nora (north), Henry (Air/ground), etc. Did they ever use repeaters on 39 MHz?

Quote:
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But its going to be a big change for the department when this old system will end up being retired for good. Trust me don't get me wrong its a solid system and its been up for years.

LA-RICS APCO P25 Phase II system. No more birdiees or beep beep sounds. Either you will hear them in the clear on both ends or ENCRYPTION.
Is there a technical reason they won't be able to continue using the beeps on LA-RICS or with P25? My understanding of LA-RICS is that member agencies will be able to continue using their own systems as they wish, but will all be coordinated so they have wide-area roaming capabilities and lots of instant mutual aid capabilities, much like ICIS, which has been somewhat of a model in its development.

It's funny that whenever the subject of the beeps comes up, the deputies themselves have few if any complaints or problems with it, presumably because it works for them and it's what they've been accustomed to since their first day on the street. It's the scanner listeners and outside agency folks who it seems to grate on.
.

Last edited by Radio_Lady; 01-29-2014 at 4:07 AM..
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Old 01-30-2014, 1:11 AM
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Oh yeah, when they were on 39 MHz with just a couple frequency pairs for the whole county, the beeps were almost a necessity. To my memory they didn't have repeaters on low band, so the dispatchers had to echo the messages that needed it. For a while there was just one car-to-car frequency, 39.48, Ch 1 ("Temple 53-Adam attention to 1, Five-three-A frequency 1 for 50-David, 5-3-A"). They did start adding wide area tactical frequencies, simplex only, like F1 became Charlie (countywide), and channels like Edward (East County), William (west), Nora (north), Henry (Air/ground), etc. Did they ever use repeaters on 39 MHz?

Is there a technical reason they won't be able to continue using the beeps on LA-RICS or with P25? My understanding of LA-RICS is that member agencies will be able to continue using their own systems as they wish, but will all be coordinated so they have wide-area roaming capabilities and lots of instant mutual aid capabilities, much like ICIS, which has been somewhat of a model in its development.

It's funny that whenever the subject of the beeps comes up, the deputies themselves have few if any complaints or problems with it, presumably because it works for them and it's what they've been accustomed to since their first day on the street. It's the scanner listeners and outside agency folks who it seems to grate on.
.
I like how you picked temple, i use to listen to temple on the low band when i lived in san gabriel county as a kid. I remember seeing the vhf low long whip on the LASO units. I also remember the deputies had no portables, and would have to put the radios on P.A. Radio rebroadcadt and clip the mic on the light bar clip. You would hear the beep two blocks away...
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Old 01-30-2014, 1:28 AM
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I like how you picked temple, i use to listen to temple on the low band when i lived in san gabriel county as a kid. I remember seeing the vhf low long whip on the LASO units. I also remember the deputies had no portables, and would have to put the radios on P.A. Radio rebroadcadt and clip the mic on the light bar clip. You would hear the beep two blocks away...
Same here, although I would hear LASO Temple and the beep beep beep via skip on 39 mhz as a child from Maryland! I'd also hear a lot of reference to Covina, or West Covina as well. That made this young kid happier than you can imagine. Hearing the police from 3000 miles away I was in heaven during skip season!
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Old 01-30-2014, 8:55 AM
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To my memory they didn't have repeaters on low band, so the dispatchers had to echo the messages that needed it.
I could hear them here in Texas every summer from about the mid 70's (when I first got a radio that covered low band) until whenever they moved to UHF. I remember hearing them turn on "the patch" but don't know if they always had that or what time period I started hearing it.
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Old 01-30-2014, 5:26 PM
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The busy tones have been used since at least the early 70's. Pepsima, I don't know if the big E will be used when RICS comes on line, but hate to tell you this, there is no intention of the busy tone going away (always subject to change).

Maxi CARP stands for Cadre of Administrative Replacement Personnel, it's when admin pogues get ripped from their little offices to work line spots. Never heard of Aero units having to CARP.

AZ in the middle of nights you will hear longer drawn out tones usually around 0300 hrs. Those are "Test tones", not the busy tone. Test tones are used to make sure the timing is right on all the repeaters.
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Old 01-30-2014, 5:42 PM
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Interesting that the busy tones will get absorbed into an APCO P25 Phase II system. That would be a first I think.
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