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Future of digital in Pierce and King? (which scanner should I buy?)

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kd7lxl

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I've been scanning conventional systems with my ham gear for a long time. Now that Tacoma has moved to a trunking system, I'm interested in purchasing a dedicated scanner.

I do most of my scanning mobile, and I'm really interested in location-based scanning, so I've been looking at the Uniden BCT15X or BCD996XT. I've got a free DIN slot and a NMEA GPS, so one with this form factor would work really well for me. (Don't try to persuade me to get a handheld, that's already next on my list!)

The question is, digital or analog? How many more years do you think services in Pierce and King counties will remain analog?

The only feature difference I see between the BCT15X and BCD996XT is digital receive. Is there another critical difference I should be aware of?
 

lowboy654

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#2
I've been scanning conventional systems with my ham gear for a long time. Now that Tacoma has moved to a trunking system, I'm interested in purchasing a dedicated scanner.

I do most of my scanning mobile, and I'm really interested in location-based scanning, so I've been looking at the Uniden BCT15X or BCD996XT. I've got a free DIN slot and a NMEA GPS, so one with this form factor would work really well for me. (Don't try to persuade me to get a handheld, that's already next on my list!)

The question is, digital or analog? How many more years do you think services in Pierce and King counties will remain analog?

The only feature difference I see between the BCT15X and BCD996XT is digital receive. Is there another critical difference I should be aware of?
I have three scanners that can do digital, A Pro-96, Gre-500 and a 600,
I live in the north end of Snohomish County and I can tell you that it is a waste of money, they are great scanners but, for our area there is not
a lot of use for them, almost anything digital in this area is encrypted.
 
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Depends primarily on what you listen to.

Will they all go digital? Eventually, yes. I doubt 2013 will be the final cut-over date, look at what happened with the TV channels.

In Pierce County, Bonney Lake PD is clear P25 digital, along with Fort Lewis/McChord (though McChord is mostly encrypted), the Navy Region NW multi-site system, the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, and Customs and Border Patrol on the IWN system (80/20 enc/clear).

Statewide, Benton County is all P-25 now, along with selected dispatch and tactical freqs in Grant, Pend Oreille and Columbia counties, with more to move soon.

Hell, even Pierce Transit is using a P25 700mhz trunked system.

It's the wave of the future AND a federal mandate. If you end up buying an analog scanner, you may as well be sticking your head in the sand.
 

lowboy654

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Brett "Wilobnson" would know more about your area then I do, like I said I live in the north end of Snohomish County on my end its a waste of cash.
 

kd7lxl

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I doubt 2013 will be the final cut-over date, look at what happened with the TV channels.
Is this the date for narrow-banding, or digital? NFM will fit in 12.5 KHz channels, but I think they'll all need to switch to digital when they go to 6.25 KHz.

In Pierce County, Bonney Lake PD is clear P25 digital, along with Fort Lewis/McChord (though McChord is mostly encrypted), the Navy Region NW multi-site system, the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, and Customs and Border Patrol on the IWN system (80/20 enc/clear).
I don't listen to any of these normally. I mostly listen to county sheriff because I do search and rescue with them (luckily PCSO is very simple to scan).

It's the wave of the future AND a federal mandate. If you end up buying an analog scanner, you may as well be sticking your head in the sand.
I know an analog scanner won't be future proof. My goal is to come out well economically while not missing out on much listening. If I can spend $200 for an analog scanner today, and wait 5-10 years for the price of digital scanners to drop to $200, I'll eventually have two scanners for a total of $400, instead of one digital scanner today for $500.

A more specific question... how long do you think it will be until Tacoma PD goes P25? Am I correct that their new/current system (including mobiles/portables) is "P25 upgradable" but not "P25 capable"?
 
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Is this the date for narrow-banding, or digital? NFM will fit in 12.5 KHz channels, but I think they'll all need to switch to digital when they go to 6.25 KHz.
Narrowbanding. The switch to digital should/would accompany 6.25 operations, but the P25 standard is being heavily pushed.

See also- http://www.imsasafety.org/PDFs/Narrowbanding V2 R2.pdf

I don't listen to any of these normally. I mostly listen to county sheriff because I do search and rescue with them (luckily PCSO is very simple to scan).
PCSO may be moving to the trunked system, and I hear it may even be a VHF/7/800 mulitband system, but it'll be awhile. Look how long it took for the WSP tower site and Graham Hill to come online. Money talks.

You should be fine for the forseeable future with PCSO. Only SWAT is using 800 and VHF simplex right now; everyone else is stuck on VHF (though some guys have more toys in their cars, I hear).

A more specific question... how long do you think it will be until Tacoma PD goes P25? Am I correct that their new/current system (including mobiles/portables) is "P25 upgradable" but not "P25 capable"?
Dunno. The encrypted stuff (which is almost everything) is P25 with DES or AES on top, I forget which. Until even dispatch goes P25? I have no clue. I think the best way to describe it is "Mixed Mode analog/P25".
 
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