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Alaska State Troopers ALMR talkgroup names

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inigo88

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#1
Hey guys,

Been a fan of the NatGeo Alaska State Troopers TV show for a while now, and got interested in their talkgroups on the ALMR P25 system. The current talkgroup descriptions in the database are pretty general, i.e. "E Detachment Dispatch Main", etc. But it's clear from watching the show that their actual talkgroup alpha tags follow a specific number-letter format. From what I can tell the number is the channel, and the letter is the detatchment (A-E). The show actually spends quite a bit of time focusing in on the mobile radios (ASTRO spectras and XTL5000s) and I've noticed the following channels:

8D DISP
14C DISP - Dispatch on Kodiak Island (talkgroup not currently in the database)
7B DISP - Dispatch in an episode on the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, mostly around Palmer ("MatCom")
31D DISP
33D NCIC
I've only watched a few episodes so I'm sure there are plenty more radio shots to be found. I think 8D DISP and 31D DISP are interior Alaska (D Detachment) talkgroups, and 31D is probably Fairbanks (since the show spends a lot of time there). The show also spends a lot of time on the Kenai Peninsula in recent episodes, and I believe I saw a dispatch talkgroup ending in "E" for Soldotna but will have to go back and confirm.

If anyone else is interested, some full episodes of the show are available free online. Post your findings here. :)
 

kikito

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#2
I think the number in front of the channel alias or alpha-tag i.e. 31D DISP, refers to the zone number as it's programmed into the radio. In this case, Zone 31. Why different radios would have the same channels or talkgroups programmed on different zones I can't answer but I'm guessing that maybe they either don't have a "global" codeplug or personality file for all their radios statewide or is a work in progress.

But maybe somebody knows or has ideas as to how they're setup.
 
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#3
I have also noticed a few times, the poor portable coverage (and on occasion mobile) they have in places. Depending on if those "high-power" XTLs, they could be TX 100w out to the tower, and still not working. The officers know the locations that don't work so its not a hit ot miss event, it's clearly just a miss. Locations that have power, they could use Microwave for data... I don't get it. Poor network design, I'm guessing?

Also, portables are XTS5000s model ll
 

inigo88

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#4
Confirmed from another episode, Soldotna dispatch is "33E DISP", and the troopers ID was "1E52."

It seems like the letter in the alpha tag definitely corresponds to the detachment letter, so my guess was that they grouped each zone by letter. But if the radio programming is non standard as you say, and the zone is actually the preceding number, then that would be pretty chaotic!
 

inigo88

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#5
"31D DISP" confirmed to be Fairbanks, so 33D NCIC should be the corresponding NCIC channel for that area.
 
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kikito

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#6
Yes, what you just mentioned it was like the channels and units were laid out when they were on analog conventional before ALMR.

Another guess is that the channels are grouped by radio zone as to how it made sense geographically and according to the shifts of officers and dispatchers. As in late at nights, weekends and holidays, for example, they migh consolidate dispatch operations like Delta/Tok area gets dispatched from Fairbanks. So they group the channels "geographically close" to each other in the same zone. Just a wild guess.....
 

inigo88

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#7
The nice feature about ALMR, and all other P25 trunking systems, is that when two or more channels need to be combined due to staffing, the dispatcher simply "patches" them together. The trunking system then automatically tells all radios on the affected talkgroups to redirect to one "supergroup" which carries the voice traffic for all the patched channels. Patching can be confusing to figure out by hand (especially with how much encryption the troopers seem to use), but with software like Unitrunker or Pro96Com it becomes much easier.

I suspect the detachment letter designates the zone, mainly because we've seen two 33's... The "33D NCIC" for Fairbanks and the "33E DISP" for Soldotna. I'd love to try to track it all down with a program like pro96com, but unfortunately I've never been to Alaska. :)

I'm just enjoying the show, and noticed the ALMR entry was incomplete for AST (no detachment C talkgroups yet for instance), so I figured starting this thread and comparing notes with those of you guys who do monitor the system might help.

Finally, do you know of any sources besides radioreference that have the old conventional frequencies used by the troopers? As you say, I think the ALMR talkgroups mirror what the conventional channels used to be, so that should make it easier to figure out. For example, the radioreference conventional frequencies for Fairbanks show that ch 1 was mutual aid, ch 2 was dispatch, ch 3 was NCIC, etc. I believe they kept this format, because in one episode when searching for a stabbing suspect they had all incoming units switch their portables to Ch 1 (for mutual aid).
 
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kikito

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#8
Yeah, I've been an user of Pro96Com and other software since the early days.

There wasn't that much more in the past for analog conventional that isn't in the database already. I'll dig up old notes and see what I can find.

One of the main reasons there's a lot of "missing" info on the database for ALMR and agencies is because of the size of the state and how few people might be using a scanner and care even less to submit anything. I would say there's far less than half of 1% of the population that might even have an inkling about using a scanner or use one regularly and yet that makes it the more ironic that they're encrypting so much up here, when they stand to benefit a lot more from the public listening. But whatever, government knows best, that's why this country keeps getting better every year lately! /heavy sarcasm. :roll:
 

ikarus280

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#9
Although I can see how having exact channel numbers may make the database seem complete, it's mostly futile, as most, if not all traffic is encrypted. Kodiak detachment is sometimes dispatched by Fairbanks, which is possible given ALMRs system capabilities. I've scanned and used unitrunker all around the state, and I rarely heard anything in the clear, so for now I think the channel names suffice.
 

inigo88

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#10
Although I can see how having exact channel numbers may make the database seem complete, it's mostly futile, as most, if not all traffic is encrypted. Kodiak detachment is sometimes dispatched by Fairbanks, which is possible given ALMRs system capabilities. I've scanned and used unitrunker all around the state, and I rarely heard anything in the clear, so for now I think the channel names suffice.
While I hear your point about the encryption, I think it's worth while to try and present the most accurate picture if the information is available. Considering all the ALMR talkgroups for Detachment C are completely missing, I think there's still a lot of work to be done...
 
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