• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Cherokee and Clay County SO Using Encryption

Status
Not open for further replies.

Airboss

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 28, 2004
Messages
163
Location
Brasstown, NC
#1
As of noon today it appears that the Cherokee SO's dispatch repeater (158.970) is using NXDN encryption full time. As of yesterday their 159.105 tactical repeater has been using NXDN fulltime.

And the hits just keep on coming. The Clay county SO repeater (151.4375) is also using NXDN encryption. The dispatcher's comms remain analog but the mobile units are mostly NDXN.

According to one source Clay County SO will not be a part of the VIPER system but will instead go P25 sometime later this year.

More on this story on my personal blog at The Btown Monitoring Post
 

trumpetman

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
1,674
Location
Charlotte, NC
#2
Looks to me like WNC has got it's ducks in a row as far as a coordinated digital migration goes. Some key points here worth mentioning:

-- Swain, Cherokee, & Clay Sheriffs Offices are NXDN, meaning interop is more easily attained across the counties. I imagine the same vendor is providing service, so the information is there...it's whether or not the Sheriff wants neighboring agencies programmed in his radios or not. That is a problem that will exist regardless of mode or encryption. Many also fail to remember that all of these radios will do analog...at least they're staying VHF.

-- Mixed mode programming is in use, meaning analog users can talk to the sheriff units on the same frequency during incidents and be heard, and deputies can talk back by just by switching over to the analog mode.

-- Newer digital radio infrastructure makes networking repeaters much easier, which is a necessity in mountainous terrain where more than one repeater is needed to cover a county.

-- Western Carolina Communications & North Georgia Communications, among other vendors, have been expanding coverage of DMR & NXDN a lot recently, so they are gaining experience in supporting these new technologies.

-- Future 6.25 kHz compliance has already been met, so no need to worry about new radios in the next decade; just keep rotating out the radios that are broken/lost.

-- Price point. NXDN is a hell of a lot cheaper than 800 trunked, that's for sure. I imagine the county could have bought all new radios and infrastructure brand new and still had money left over compared to spending several thousand on VIPER portables. The County also maintains ownership of their own system, a huge selling point for those power-hungry officials that have everything to hide.

-- Encryption is standard in these radios, and it's law enforcement, why not use it? Personally, unless I'm talking on ham frequencies, all of my radios are set to Ø, it doesn't matter if I'm giving out my phone number over the air or discussing which place we're going to eat dinner; I have the ability to do it, so why not?

On a related note, are you sure your county is encrypted or just digital? Many people get the two mixed up; I notice you reference EDACS as being unmonitorable in your blog post which isn't the case.

As I hope you can see, very little of this has to do with paranoia. I'm proud of the mountain agencies keeping up with the newer technology and spending their money wisely; you know as well as I do that considering the terrain and population, the western counties have it quite a bit harder making things work compared to the larger cities towards the central part of the state.

Reference the Swain County migration:
http://forums.radioreference.com/no...267978-problem-swain-co-sheriff-dispatch.html
 

Airboss

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 28, 2004
Messages
163
Location
Brasstown, NC
#3
The EDACS I referred to was the ProVoice trunk system that was in place when Katrina struck.

And yes, it is NXDN verified by the Clay Co SO office and the vendor.

Around here things have been open for years. I can remember many a time dispatchers would announce over the air that schools were closing and parents come pick up the kids. There is zero need here in our area to encrypt dispatch channels. I will always agree about special ops and surveillance but anything else you are just cutting down the eyes and ears of the people in the county.

But what it is, it is. I'm sure the local newspapers are having a fit about now.
 

trumpetman

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
1,674
Location
Charlotte, NC
#4
Is it encrypted though? If it's not encrypted a simple $20 SDR can pipe that to a Windows program and you're back in business. It's also much easier to program a NXDN radio with just the frequency; leaving the RAN at 0 acts as CSQ and will still decode traffic (as long as it's not encrypted).

Confirm whether or not it's encrypted and we can go from there. NXDN radios aren't that expensive online, about the same you would pay for a digital scanner.

Seeing as how you seem fairly proficient with public safety comms in the area, I'd really like to work with you on getting the database up to date sometime soon if you're willing. Feel free to email me or we can handle it publicly on here.
 

Airboss

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 28, 2004
Messages
163
Location
Brasstown, NC
#5
Well this is interesting. The Clay system is definitely NXDN but I'm not so sure about Cherokee. A quick check on the FCC website for their 158.970 license shows a 7K60FXE emission code. That isn't NXDN but MOTOTRBO 7K60FXE (voice). That is definitely an interesting development.

Chief Larry
 

trumpetman

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
1,674
Location
Charlotte, NC
#6
TRBO Sample: http://www.kb9ukd.com/digital/TRBO.mp3

NXDN Sample: http://www.kb9ukd.com/digital/nxdn_raw_625.mp3

Take a listen to these and see if you can make sense of the signals. You have to be careful with FCC licensing. Most agencies do a blanket authorization to cover any potential upgrades. Some folks on seem to think that the second an agency upgrades their emission designators it means they HAVE to be going to a new modulation...that's not always the case.
 

ZapZ

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
20
#7
I talked to a W.C.C radio Tech that said that Swain is NXDN and Encrypted. All 14 radios. It is full time encrypted. He expects all Radio comms in WNC to be encrypted within a year. The town of Cherokee is using digital for fire and most medical. Jackson SO is using part time digital using NXDN. Won't be much left shortly. I've always used my radio's to stay away from problem areas, never to "rubberneck".
 

Airboss

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 28, 2004
Messages
163
Location
Brasstown, NC
#8
That is pretty much what we heard from the Clay County SO office. The one twist to all that was that they would be using P25 but not VIPER at some point down the road according to the tech we talked with. I have a query out to some friends in the Cherokee County 911 office so this will prove interesting. Glad I like to do Milair stuff and we still have North GA and East TN to monitor.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
653
Location
Charleston, SC
#9
I talked to a W.C.C radio Tech that said that Swain is NXDN and Encrypted.
Not to get to involved in the encryption discussion as it is pretty much pointless and people are really passionate about it, but I do have a minor point.

You have to be careful what a vendor, tech, system admin or anyone else tells you. A lot of times misinformation is passed even though it's unintentional. A lot of well educated people and tech savvy people will tell you something is encrypted even though it just "not easily monitored". There is a huge difference. Even the ones that know it's not encrypted will not always tell you because it's a selling point OR they don't want to explain that you can not monitor it with fresh out of the box scanners.

I guess my overall point is that if I really wanted to monitor a specific agency that I would try what trumpetman suggested before I totally gave up. You may be surprised at what not actually encrypted and if it is you are only out a small amount of money.

Draf
 

trumpetman

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
1,674
Location
Charlotte, NC
#10
Yep, Draf makes a very good point.

The new UNCC TRBO system is "encrypted" too from what the system manager told me. Luckily we're on friendly enough terms that I showed him how easily I could pick it up in a few minutes. Now my TRBO portable has more to listen to than just the DMR-MARC chatter :D

I just ordered an SDR to play with. Next time I'm in the area I'll run DSD on the frequencies in question and get a final answer if no one else can do it beforehand.
 

Vern

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
106
Location
Union County, GA
#12
So, what you all are saying, that if I take a trip to the flea markets in Murphy, there's nothing to monitor?
Larry
Larry,
I don't know what's "officially" going on in Cherokee County, but I have yet to hear any digital traffic on the SO's VHF net.
I live just "south of the border" in GA and listen to Cherokee SO often and as of this morning when I was out in the car I could hear them "in the clear" on their VHF just like always. A few days ago I did hear a deputy tell the dispatcher to 'switch to digital' but I never heard any digital traffic on my HP1. I have their main dispatch channel and tac's programmed as they're listed in the RR database.
Maybe what the original poster monitored was a testing phase.
Enjoy the flea markets...
73's
Vern
 

Vern

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
106
Location
Union County, GA
#13
Update on Cherokee SO's digital traffic on their main channel 158.970.
Last night I posted that I had not heard any digital traffic and of course it came across today loud and clear. {wink}
Apparently they use it selectively as I was monitoring for about 30 minutes and heard both the dispatcher and field units in the clear. Then the digital traffic started & stopped and then a few minutes later there was another 30-40 second digital session.

====
Further update... I realize now that I didn't hear any of Cherokee's digital traffic on my HP-1 because it's programmed to only pass audio that has the CTCSS tone of 88.5 and when Cherokee's digital traffic comes on the air there is NO CTCSS tone. My BCD996T in the house did NOT have any tones programmed and was picking up the digital traffic. When I added the CTCSS tone to Cherokee's freq's the digital buzz goes away.
So if you want to monitor Cherokee's comm's and NOT hear the digital buzz, then be sure to program in the CTCSS of 88.5 on both the main channel (158.970) and at least one of the TAC's (159.105) and it will skip over it.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
61
Location
Murphy, NC
#14
Dear Vern, you will be happy to know that Cherokee County is not encrypted, nor are they using NXDN. You can demodulate their digital transmission with dsdwin ver 1.60 set for DMR/MOTOTRBO inverted C4FM and, of course, you need a scanner with a data line out (which an HP-1 is) or a discriminator tap. I receive them out in Hothouse full quieting using Dell computer with a Realtek sound card...input through front mic at about 30 pct volume level. I do use an outdoor antenna. I cannot speak for Clay County because I have not spent enough time monitoring them. From what I have heard on my HP-1, Murphy PD is still analog when on their own frequency, as is fire dispatch.

Oh, I forgot to mention...as you said, the digital transmission does not use CTCSS, so you must used advance edit in your HP-1 to switch the frequency from 'Analog" to "All" to receive the digital transmission.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
61
Location
Murphy, NC
#15
I live just up the road a piece in Hothouse, near Ranger, NC. I will create a Clay County one channel P25 group on 151.4375. If it is just P25 digital and not encrypted, an HP-1 will demodulate that.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
61
Location
Murphy, NC
#16
Of course there are things to monitor in the Murphy area. SHP is on VIPER with the Murphy site coming in at 4 to 5 bars, FD dispatch on 154.995 is still analog, as is EMS on 155.160 but the PL is 151.4. Murphy PD is on 156.2125 analog except overnight and weekends when the ECC dispatches them. Georgia State Patrol still uses 154.680 in North Georgia and Fannin County GA SO is on 158.730 analog....just to mention a few. Happy Listening...sorry I have been away from the forum so long, I could have answered many questions.
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
61
Location
Murphy, NC
#17
Clay County Update

Okay, I have been monitoring Clay County for the past 24 hours. Unfortunately, they do not have a large department or a large amount of activity. This is further complicated in that my old RS PRO-2026 into which I have attached a discrimator tap cannot center on their split frequency of 151.4375.

However, as best as I can tell, they are still using a combination of analog and digital. The dispatchers are still on analog. The digital signal is -NXDN96 GFSK modulation and it is not encrypted, although I am still "tweaking" the settings on DSDWIN for precise reception. Using NEXGEN makes sense because you can combine digital and analog on the same frequency, just like you can with DMR/MOTOTRBO.

In listening to the traffic, from my many years of law enforcement experience, I would say that the in-car radios have been converted to digital but their portable radios have not yet been replaced. I base this on what the deputy is doing at the time of transmission. It seems when they are likely out of the car, the transmission is still clear voice analog. This also explains why the dispatchers are still in the clear.

The interesting thing is that since Cherokee County and Clay County chose different digital modes, they will have to talk on analog for mutual aid.

I have no way of knowing if they intend to encrypt their radios at some point in the future, or if the radios they purchased have encryption capability.

PS, I am also receiving a whole bunch of either tropo ducting or E-skip today, so that is not helping.

Further updates as I obtain them.
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
61
Location
Murphy, NC
#19
Update on Clay and Cherokee Counties....Cherokee County SO is back on analog right now, apparently, they have had some problems with their DMR/TRBO digital. This has given me time to monitor Clay County SO...The settings that work for DSDWIN ver 1.60 on my Realtek sound card and scanner discriminator feed are dsd160 -u4 -v1 -fn. The result is -NXDN96 GFSK modulation. The frequency is 151.4375 NFM for Clay County SO.

PS. I use the Task Manager in Windows to set the priority of DSD160 to "AboveNormal" which allows my 1.8 GHz processors to devote more time to that process.
 

trumpetman

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
1,674
Location
Charlotte, NC
#20
Has anyone been able to decode the info on the TRBO stuff in use out that way? I'm reprogramming my XPR and would like to throw some DMR stuff in to monitor next time I'm out west.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top