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Old 06-16-2013, 7:09 PM
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Default Getting Talkgroups to Fit in my 396T for ARMER in the Twin Cities and Stearns County

I've spent nearly 2 hours attempting to program my 396T for my trip to Minnesota with Freescan. I'd like to have the systems for the Twin Cities area, the systems along 94 and the systems in the Stearns County/St. Cloud area.

Getting the systems to fit is no problem, but getting the Law Enforcement, DNR, State Patrol and Fire talkgroups to fit in each system is a whole 'nother can of night crawlers altogether, since the 396T limits me to 200 talkgroups per system.

I'm stuck, I'm frustrated and I figure I'm going about this all wrong. There's gotta be a better way and I figure I should ask some Locals how they have it programmed.

I'll be in the Twin Cities and staying in Dakota County for a few days then traveling to Stearns County and staying there for the majority of my visit. I'd like to be able to Monitor Law/Fed/EMS/Fire in the Cities, I'd like to be able to monitor State Patrol on the move from the Twin Cities to Stearns County (don't worry I have my General Class amateur license, and will bring a laminated copy with me) and I'd like to be able to monitor Law/Fed/EMS/Fire and DNR while there.

If anyone can provide me with some pointers (or even freescan files) I'll happily bring my Unitrunker setup and confirm talkgroups, scan for new ones, confirm sites, do whatever is needed to help improve the DB listings in the Stearns County area, and any other nearby areas if I get time. And if you travel to California, I'd be happy to provide you with all my files.

I'll also bring my 2m/440 HTs with me so if you're licensed, send me a PM and I'll give you a call on your local repeater if I'm in the area.
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Old 06-16-2013, 7:48 PM
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Ok, so start by programming all the counties you will be traveling though ( programming just the CC's, alternates, etc.) Into banks however you like.

For State patrol, it's easy, just go into every bank and put the talkgroups for state patrol in. (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response (ARMER) Trunking System, Various, Minnesota - Scanner Frequencies) Ctrl + F "State Patrol"

When you are traveling, I would just program all the CC's, ACC's in and leave the banks in open mode.

However for dakota county i can offer you more advice,( i live in apple valley). I run a feed covering all of Dakota county public safety.(Dakota County Public Safety)
Here is what i monitor

Dakota County - Law Enforcement Talkgroups -
TKGrp. Alpha Tag Description Tag
4300 DK PD 1 Police Main 1 Law Dispatch
4302 DK PD 2 Police Main 2 Law Dispatch
4304 DK PD 3 Police Main 3 Law Dispatch
4456 DK PD 4 Police Main 4 Law Dispatch
4600 DK COMMON DAKOTA COUNTY COMMON Interop
74 MSP 2400 DSP Metro "2400" Dispatch (State Patrol) Law Dispatch


Dakota County - Fire Talkgroups -
TKGrp. Alpha Tag Description Tag
4200 DK FIRE EST Fire East Main Fire Dispatch
4202 DK FIRE WST Fire West Main Fire Dispatch
4204 DK FGR 4 Dakota County Fireground 4 Fire-Tac
4206 DK FGR 5 Dakota County Fireground 5 Fire-Tac
4208 DK FGR 6 Dakota County Fireground 6 Fire-Tac
4210 DK FGR 7 Dakota County Fireground 7 Fire-Tac
4212 DK FGR 8 Dakota County Fireground 8 Fire-Tac
4236 DK SM OP2 South Metro SSP & WSP Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4260 DK SM OP3 South Metro Fire Ops 3 (SSP/WSP) Fire-Tac
4262 DK F ROAM Fire Statewide Roaming Fire Dispatch

4214 APVLY FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4238 APVLY FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4216 BURN FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4240 BURN FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4218 EGAN FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4242 EGAN FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4220 FARM FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4244 FARM FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4224 HRAN FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4248 HRAN FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4222 HAST FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4246 HAST FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4226 IGH FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4250 IGH FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4228 LKVL FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4252 LKVL FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4230 MHTS OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4254 MHTS OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4234 RSMT FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4258 RSMT FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac
4362 SSPL FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Law Tac
4232 MSVL FD OP2 Fire Ops 2 Fire-Tac
4256 MSVL FD OP3 Fire Ops 3 Fire-Tac

When you are in the metro and listening to state patrol, all they really talk on is the 2400 disp (TG 74) and unless they are in a chase(very rare) they really only communicate driving complaints, debris on roadway, etc) It can be useful, but meh.

Also, you can add law tac and info channels if you want it for the counties you will be in. I didnt include them because i don't broadcast them on my feed (not allowed).

The easiest way to go about this I suppose would be to leave all banks in open mode (hear everything).

I hope this helps you out, maybe if you're somewhere in apple valley we can meet up.
Good luck and safe traveling
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:47 PM
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As an occasional traveler to Minnesota, I've felt your pain. The ARMER system is pretty complex. The 396T isn't the easiest scanner to program for this system because you can have only one site per system. The 396XT is a lot better as it does multiple sites per system (and a lot more talkgroups).

Since I am an "out of towner" myself, some of the local folks may have some advice on tweaking this layout.

You'll need to create several systems. One system for each of these sites:

Dakota Simulcast (putting in the local talkgroups plus the Minnesota State Patrol talkgroups for this area - you can look up the MSP map and see which districts cover this area).

Minneapolis City Center. You'll put the state talkgroups there along with EMS. This site is the backbone site for the state talkgroups, but is NOT the one used by the city of Minneapolis (though it is a little confusing by its name).

Minneapolis N side. (This is the actuall Minneapolis system). Here you'll want to put all the Minneapolis talkgroups you want to listen to.

Hennepin East (This is for the outlying suburbs on the east part of Hennepin County, such as Bloomington)

Hennepin Wast (This is for the outlying suburbs on the west part of Hennepin county).

Ramsey County (This is for St. Paul and the Ramsey County suburbs)

I'm a little shaky on the stuff around St. Cloud, so I won't even hazard a guess, other than I would program for sure the St. Cloud regional simulcast site. (Which of the others in Stearns, or Benton Counties are good to program I can't say).

One thing to note is that each of these systems has a relatively small coverage footprint. For example, you could be in Bloomington, but not receive the Minneapolis system (which I found). That's challenging for scanner listening, but no big deal for the system users. The ARMER system is set up such that, for example, a Minneapolis cop could venture down into Bloomington and his/her radio would affliliate with the Hennepin East system and the officer would remain in contact with the dispatcher).

You may want to put the state patrol talkgroups in each of the above systems. As I understand it, the SP can crop up on any of these sites, if they are getting a better signal from these towers. I would also program the State L TACS and S TACS into all of the sites. These talkgroups could also crop up on any site. If a pusuit is going on, they'll usually do some kind of patching between the "normal" (for lack of better word) and L TAC 1, should it appear the pursuit will cross jurisdictional boundaries (such as the state patrol chasing someone around Minneapolis).

This may not be the greatest of help, but it might get you somewhere.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkewman View Post
I've spent nearly 2 hours attempting to program my 396T for my trip to Minnesota with Freescan. I'd like to have the systems for the Twin Cities area, the systems along 94 and the systems in the Stearns County/St. Cloud area.

Getting the systems to fit is no problem, but getting the Law Enforcement, DNR, State Patrol and Fire talkgroups to fit in each system is a whole 'nother can of night crawlers altogether, since the 396T limits me to 200 talkgroups per system.

I'm stuck, I'm frustrated and I figure I'm going about this all wrong. There's gotta be a better way and I figure I should ask some Locals how they have it programmed.

I'll be in the Twin Cities and staying in Dakota County for a few days then traveling to Stearns County and staying there for the majority of my visit. I'd like to be able to Monitor Law/Fed/EMS/Fire in the Cities, I'd like to be able to monitor State Patrol on the move from the Twin Cities to Stearns County (don't worry I have my General Class amateur license, and will bring a laminated copy with me) and I'd like to be able to monitor Law/Fed/EMS/Fire and DNR while there.

If anyone can provide me with some pointers (or even freescan files) I'll happily bring my Unitrunker setup and confirm talkgroups, scan for new ones, confirm sites, do whatever is needed to help improve the DB listings in the Stearns County area, and any other nearby areas if I get time. And if you travel to California, I'd be happy to provide you with all my files.

I'll also bring my 2m/440 HTs with me so if you're licensed, send me a PM and I'll give you a call on your local repeater if I'm in the area.
The TG limit was the major downfall with the 396T. You should program a separate system for police, fire, etc. then the appropriate TGs for that service.

Example of how I had by "T" set up:

0 - City Fire*
1 - Police Zone 1*
2 - Police Zone 2*
3 - Police Zone 3*
4 - Police Zone 4*
5 - Police Zone 5*
6 - County Police*
7 - County Fire*
8 - Suburban System
9 - Hospitals*
10- Conventional
11- Police Other*

All of the * above used the same TRS. I just duplicated the system programming and entered only the TGs pertaining to that service. This permitted the use of the hundreds of TGs that I needed to monitor. Also it helped in changing services geographically as I moved around the county.

The numbers in the left column above are the System Quick Keys (Uniden DMR scanners do not use banks). I then assigned Group Quick Keys within each system.

1 - Police Zone 1
.....1 - Dispatch
.....2 - 1A
.....3 - 1B
.....4 - 1C
.....Etc.
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Last edited by W8RMH; 06-16-2013 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 06-17-2013, 7:53 AM
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I've found the best way to set it up is by counties. make a new system for each county programed with the control channels for the tower in that county and then program the law enforcement, fire, etc for that county in with that system since they will be most active on those systems. Then I add things like state patrol and tac channels to every system since they tend to be on every system.

So it would look something like this:
1. Ramsey County
2. Washington County
3. Dakota County
4. Anoka County
5. Hennepin East
6. Hennepin West
7. Minneapolis (put the minneapolis city stuff in this and maybe some east henn co stuff)
8. City Center (I put the mineapolis and St Paul Stuff in this one)
9. I-94 stuff
10. I-94 stuff

Make Sense?
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:17 PM
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I am a local and probably an oddball...

Since out-of-staters are traveling through numerous sites and agency jurisdictions, I would make one system. In that system I would put all the possible tower sites I would be driving by, using "quick keys" to select different areas. Then in the TG list, have every possible agency you might want to hear (State Patrol Disp, DNR, MNDoT, EMS, Fire). Or, just use "ID Search", and whoever keys up, will show.

On the 996XT I use at home, Quick key 5 is only my local tower, Quick key 7 is the next outer ring of tower sites. Quick key 8 is the fringe tower sites I can receive.

When I drive through and around the Twin Cities, I don't even try to listen -- too many TG's to keep track of.

Just my two cents.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:54 PM
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Obviously when the 396T was designed, this wasn't really a problem. I'm doing a combination of the above suggestions.

Watch, I'm going to put in all this work programming my scanners and my Girlfriend won't let me turn them on ONCE while we're in the cities or on the road.

It would be so much easier if the Database allowed you to download each county as a system (with multiple sites) I suppose I should suggest that to the RR powers that be.

Anyway, thanks for the help. Oh Also, are I-Calls active on ARMER?
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkewman View Post
Obviously when the 396T was designed, this wasn't really a problem. I'm doing a combination of the above suggestions.

Watch, I'm going to put in all this work programming my scanners and my Girlfriend won't let me turn them on ONCE while we're in the cities or on the road.

It would be so much easier if the Database allowed you to download each county as a system (with multiple sites) I suppose I should suggest that to the RR powers that be.

Anyway, thanks for the help. Oh Also, are I-Calls active on ARMER?
What was the I-Call is the 8-Call now. It is not really a part of ARMER. It is programmed into many radios as part of National Interop, as are the TAC's associated with it. I do believe the Metro has repeated infrastructure for these channels. I seem to recall that Rochester and Duluth also have repeaters on some of these as well.
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Old 06-18-2013, 7:50 AM
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The problem with putting everything into one system here (twin cities) is the 396T has a limit of 200 talkgroups and you can use that up long before you get everything you want to listen to in there. Thats why I seperate it with different systems for each county. Set a quick key for each system and turn them on and off as you drive from county to county.

There are I-Calls here but there arent that many of them and I've never heard much of interest on them.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:17 AM
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There's also another issue inherent to the 396T model (but not the XT). The 396T latches on to the first active control channel it sees and disregards any others for the system.

Thus with the ARMER system, particularly in the Twin Cities, one would miss out comms if all the sites in this area were programmed into one system. For example the Minneapolis North Side, Minneapolis City Center and Hennepin East were programmed as one system having their respective control channels programmed in that system. The 396T would latch on to the first control channel it receives such as Minneapolis North Side and then disregarding the others (Minneapolis City Center and Hennepin East). Thus the listener would hear Minneapolis talkgroups but not any of the state talkgroups (as they affiliate with the Minneapolis City Center) or the suburb's talkgroups (as they affiliate with Hennepin East).

The 396T is challenging to program for ARMER because each ARMER sub-system has to be programmed as a standalone system, because the 396T doesn't "take" multiple sub-systems.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:00 PM
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Thus with the ARMER system, particularly in the Twin Cities, one would miss out comms if all the sites in this area were programmed into one system.
WOW!

For once I am glad I live in the sticks! How does anyone keep track of whether they are listening to Hennipen North or Anoka South, or whatever? I can separate out my different local systems (DOT vs State Patrol vs County Sheriff). But w/ only one scanner I always miss something on the other system. Mainly because the State Patrol system has all the **catch-all** talkgroups.

I guess that is why I am still trying to "tweak" my scan list...
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Old 06-19-2013, 7:49 AM
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I'm still teaking and trying new things after 8 or so years. Lately I've had it locked down to just the stuff I'm really interested in.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:58 AM
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For my 396XT (500 TG/system limit), I've broken the state down into separate systems, based on the sites in each radio board region. The Central MN region I've had to split already, and it's only a matter of time before other regions follow in my file, as I hit the 500 talkgroup limit in each system.

The metro region is a different beast. I leave the radio in ID SCAN mode (vs search) and usually only monitor State Patrol, statewide TACs, EMSMRCC, and my home county (which adjoins the metro area). I do have most of the county law & fire mains programmed also, but usually leave them disabled as it's impossible to follow a conversation without holding it on talkgroup. There's just too much traffic.

Not a perfect system, but it works for me. I'm anxiously waiting for a refresh to the 396XT that shatters the talkgroups-per-system limit. I just don't like the form factor and controls on the Home Patrol...

I can share my file if anyone wants it, I try to keep it up to date with all of the outstate changes and copy TGs between regions as I discover where they tend to roam onto neighboring sites. The sites are also GPS enabled.


-Dave
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Old 06-20-2013, 7:54 AM
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The T has a 200 TG/system limit which makes the task even harder!
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:22 PM
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I stumbled across the following website a while back. It shows coverage areas for the various subsystems in the area that you will be visiting. The information might be dated, but may give you some ideas of what to (or not to) expect during your trip.

ARMER Coverage Maps
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Old 06-22-2013, 8:44 AM
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I am unsure if this will help you or not, but this is how I currently have my 396xt set up. One bank per county/agency so I can turn them off and on as needed. I know there is still work to do on this, so if anyone has suggestions, feel free to help. I am trying to figure out the best way t o get the most coverage on one unit here in the cities and be able to monitor where I am. I have not finished setting all banks up yet, but a good start. I also have my P25 adjust mode at 8 and P25 adjust level at 70 and so far that works well for me. I live 30 min N of cities and can get Mpls and St Paul easily on it as well as some further south. Hope this helps
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Old 06-22-2013, 8:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davef3138 View Post
For my 396XT (500 TG/system limit), I've broken the state down into separate systems, based on the sites in each radio board region. The Central MN region I've had to split already, and it's only a matter of time before other regions follow in my file, as I hit the 500 talkgroup limit in each system.

The metro region is a different beast. I leave the radio in ID SCAN mode (vs search) and usually only monitor State Patrol, statewide TACs, EMSMRCC, and my home county (which adjoins the metro area). I do have most of the county law & fire mains programmed also, but usually leave them disabled as it's impossible to follow a conversation without holding it on talkgroup. There's just too much traffic.

Not a perfect system, but it works for me. I'm anxiously waiting for a refresh to the 396XT that shatters the talkgroups-per-system limit. I just don't like the form factor and controls on the Home Patrol...

I can share my file if anyone wants it, I try to keep it up to date with all of the outstate changes and copy TGs between regions as I discover where they tend to roam onto neighboring sites. The sites are also GPS enabled.


-Dave
Dave, I would love to see a copy of how you have your system set up I am always looking for new ideas on what I think is th eright way, which has changed 3 times so far thanks to others input
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Talbarez View Post
Dave, I would love to see a copy of how you have your system set up I am always looking for new ideas on what I think is th eright way, which has changed 3 times so far thanks to others input
Sorry I didn't see your response here earlier. Attached is my current Freescan file.

-Dave
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Old 09-07-2013, 8:39 AM
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Default I got the 386xt talking to RR, thanks to ALL!!!!

Just need to do some tweaking of order, sites and agencies on the 1 system I uploaded. It is titled AnokaCoSimulcast on all freqs,, it must have been pilot error and missed a checked box.. I will get that fixed today, I forgot how great this scanner sounds. Using an MP Ultra Classic antenna on a magnetic base stuck to a small speaker grill. It's a Non-Line Of Sight ( NLOS ) multi-polarized, indoors. It's just sitting on top of a book case and I am getting great reception. Thanks for all the help, if you have a file ready made, I would like to see it if possible.

thanks again your help was greatly appreciated (Everyone)!
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