• 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

In RR Reference News and Announcements

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brownlab

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In RR Reference News and Announcements today there is a very extensive article about various Fire Department around the country not wanting to switch over to TRS Digital Systems (or analog systems for that matter). I had no clue that these systems were so unreliable according to the article. It is certainly worth a read however for us in Virginia, I think the horse is already out of the barn since just about all of our major cities and counties have adopted these digital systems and some are moving to Phase 2 as I write this. I would paste the link but I think we are not supposed to do that. Anyway interesting reading if nothing else.
 
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fredva

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The performance of digital radios at fire scenes was questioned after a Prince William firefighter lost his life a few years ago. Right or wrong, other fire departments knew of these concerns and made the decision to go ahead and acquire digital systems.
 

c5corvette

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The noise cancelling capabilities in the microphone being deployed in the new digial radios are far superior to anything being referenced in that article. Additionally, big /V\ is committed to helping departments modify and tweek these settings and the noise cancelling when done correctly is far better than you can imagine.

(I am referring to public safety grade radios and OEM microphones and speaker mics - don't expect the same result from some DSTAR ham radio or MOTOTRBO radios, those too are digital but they are not what I consider public safety grade.)
 

JRayfield

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Your statement sounds like you're implying that DSTAR radios are in the same 'class' as MOTOTRBO radios. They're not even close.

MOTOTRBO radios meet the exact same MIL-STD's that the so-called "public safety grade" radios meet (such as the XTS series). In fact, the MOTOTRBO XPR series portables exceed the IP-rating of the 'standard' XTS series radios.

The audio noise reduction capabilities of MOTOTRBO aren't quite as good as the new APX series, but they're close. Which means that the MOTOTRBO XPR series of portables are going to be comparable, or better, than the XTS series in regards to background noise suppression. In fact, there hasn't been any need to 'tweak' any settings in MOTOTRBO radios to achieve the outstanding noise reduction that they provide.

Oh, and here's an interesting link to Motorola's website, where they make reference to a "public safety microphone" for MOTOTRBO:

PMAE4046 - UHF Public Safety Microphone Antenna (MOTOTRBO™) - Motorola Solutions USA

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma

The noise cancelling capabilities in the microphone being deployed in the new digial radios are far superior to anything being referenced in that article. Additionally, big /V\ is committed to helping departments modify and tweek these settings and the noise cancelling when done correctly is far better than you can imagine.

(I am referring to public safety grade radios and OEM microphones and speaker mics - don't expect the same result from some DSTAR ham radio or MOTOTRBO radios, those too are digital but they are not what I consider public safety grade.)
 

AES-256

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Your statement sounds like you're implying that DSTAR radios are in the same 'class' as MOTOTRBO radios. They're not even close.

MOTOTRBO radios meet the exact same MIL-STD's that the so-called "public safety grade" radios meet (such as the XTS series). In fact, the MOTOTRBO XPR series portables exceed the IP-rating of the 'standard' XTS series radios.

The audio noise reduction capabilities of MOTOTRBO aren't quite as good as the new APX series, but they're close. Which means that the MOTOTRBO XPR series of portables are going to be comparable, or better, than the XTS series in regards to background noise suppression. In fact, there hasn't been any need to 'tweak' any settings in MOTOTRBO radios to achieve the outstanding noise reduction that they provide.

Oh, and here's an interesting link to Motorola's website, where they make reference to a "public safety microphone" for MOTOTRBO:

url=http://www.motorola.com/Business/US-EN/Business+Product+and+Services/Accessories/Two-Way+Radio+Accessories/Antennas+and+Antenna+Accessories/Portable+Radio+Antenna
[s/PMAE4046_US-EN]PMAE4046 - UHF Public Safety Microphone Antenna (MOTOTRBO™) - Motorola Solutions USA[/url]

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma
MOTOTRBO is not public safety grade equipment, if it was, Shaumburg would have displayed that product line at APCO in Philadelphia. Shaumburg and Plantation never intended these radios to placed into public safety, everyone I talk to at both locations agree. MSS need to stop pushing this product line out to public safety.

Public Safety Mic's have always been called this because they were developed for Public Safety by Motorola 35+ years ago to get the RF away from the body to enhance the transmit and receive signals. Just because the accessory catalog has them, doesn't make the radio public safety grade.

Look at this link SAY IT LOUD AND CLEAR - Motorola USA and read the white papers on the right of the page. Decide for yourself.
 
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mikewazowski

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Motorola has always referred to TRBO as being Business Critical and suitable for small scale Public Safety agencies.

The P25 equipment is referred to as Mission Critical and suitable for all Public Safety agencies.
 

ResQguy

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The performance of digital radios at fire scenes was questioned after a Prince William firefighter lost his life a few years ago. Right or wrong, other fire departments knew of these concerns and made the decision to go ahead and acquire digital systems.
If you read the entire report, almost nowhere is digital modulation as a problem mentioned. Most of the issues were radio discipline related, and a few new features were requested from the manufacturers. Most of those new features are now available.
 

JRayfield

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No doubt, the MOTOTRBO line was targeted at business/industrial. That makes sense. But, that doesn't mean that it also isn't intended for use by public safety. And things change. Actually, at Motorola, this has changed over the last 4 years since MOTOTRBO was released into the marketplace.

Why would Motorola refer to a "public safety microhone for MOTOTRBO", if they didnt' intend for MOTOTRBO to be used for public safety? That wouldn't make sense.

As I stated, the MOTOTRBO radios meet (and actually exceed in one case) the exact same MIL-STD specs and IP-specs that the XTS series meets. I've personally asked Motorola about this and their reply was that if they meet these specs, then they're considered to be "public safety grade".

If they never intended for the XPR radios to be used in public safety, then why did they publish MOTOTRBO marketing material aimed at public safety? I have a 6 ft. banner that promotes MOTOTRBO for public safety. This came straight from Motorola.

Also, here's a link to a brochure produced by Motorola:

http://www.motorola.com/web/Business/Products/Two-way Radios/Mobile Radios/Wide Area Large Business Mobile Radios/XPR 4300/_Documents/Static Files/MOTOTRBO_Public_Safety_Brochure.pdf

If they never intended for MOTOTRBO to be used for public safety, then why did they produce a marketing brochure to promote it?

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma

MOTOTRBO is not public safety grade equipment, if it was, Shaumburg would have displayed that product line at APCO in Philadelphia. Shaumburg and Plantation never intended these radios to placed into public safety, everyone I talk to at both locations agree. MSS need to stop pushing this product line out to public safety.

Public Safety Mic's have always been called this because they were developed for Public Safety by Motorola 35+ years ago to get the RF away from the body to enhance the transmit and receive signals. Just because the accessory catalog has them, doesn't make the radio public safety grade.

Look at this link SAY IT LOUD AND CLEAR - Motorola USA and read the white papers on the right of the page. Decide for yourself.
 

JRayfield

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That's a good point, Mike. Motorola does not encourage the use of MOTOTRBO for large public safety systems. They feel that their Smartnet/SmartZone and Astro 25 systems are better suited for those types of systems. But, for smaller, especially rural, public safety agencies, that can't afford the expensive systems, then they do encourage the use of MOTOTRBO for those types of public safety systems.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma

Motorola has always referred to TRBO as being Business Critical and suitable for small scale Public Safety agencies.

The P25 equipment is referred to as Mission Critical and suitable for all Public Safety agencies.
 

c5corvette

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That's a good point, Mike. Motorola does not encourage the use of MOTOTRBO for large public safety systems. They feel that their Smartnet/SmartZone and Astro 25 systems are better suited for those types of systems. But, for smaller, especially rural, public safety agencies, that can't afford the expensive systems, then they do encourage the use of MOTOTRBO for those types of public safety systems.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma
Herein lies the problem. Motorola should not be encouraging the use of MOTOTRBO for public safety systems; but they just want the allmighty dollar!
 

JRayfield

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Ok. Now here's a good talking point.

1. Why should MOTOTRBO not be 'promoted' for public safety (by anyone, Motorola or dealers)?

2. If MOTOTRBO is not 'promoted' for public safety, then what should be 'promoted' for public safety?

3. If the answer to #2 is "P25", then should that be P25 conventional or trunking?

4. If the answer to #2 is "P25", then where is the money going to come from so that small rural agencies can purchase P25 radios AND infrastructure? (Keep in mind, expensive digital radios don't a rural sheriff's department any good, unless they also have a wide-area digital infrastructure. If they only use the P25 radios in analog mode, then they might as well have spent less money to get good analog-only radios).

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma

Herein lies the problem. Motorola should not be encouraging the use of MOTOTRBO for public safety systems; but they just want the allmighty dollar!
 

c5corvette

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Ok. Now here's a good talking point.

1. Why should MOTOTRBO not be 'promoted' for public safety (by anyone, Motorola or dealers)?

2. If MOTOTRBO is not 'promoted' for public safety, then what should be 'promoted' for public safety?

3. If the answer to #2 is "P25", then should that be P25 conventional or trunking?

4. If the answer to #2 is "P25", then where is the money going to come from so that small rural agencies can purchase P25 radios AND infrastructure? (Keep in mind, expensive digital radios don't a rural sheriff's department any good, unless they also have a wide-area digital infrastructure. If they only use the P25 radios in analog mode, then they might as well have spent less money to get good analog-only radios).

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma
1) Because 7K60FXE is not widely accepted in the public safety realm and is a hinderance to impromptu interoperability. And when these small departments are sold these radios, they are set up to operate using the 7K60FXE modulation.*

2) Any high quality FCC type accepted radios that are capable and will be programmed using modulation schemes acknowledged by APCO and the majority of public safety agencies in the United States of America. Not business / industry quality radios.

3) The answer to #2 is not strictly P25. There is no mandate for P25 by the FCC, APCO, or otherwise. The selection of Conventional or Trunking should really come into play with capacity requirements in relation to the number of frequencies available and licensed (or with personal preference.)

4) The answer to #2 is not strictly P25. There is no mandate for P25 by the FCC, APCO, or otherwise. A good commercial radio from ICOM, MOTOROLA, etc. like mentioned above in answer #2 is no more expensive than the MOTOTRBO radios you speak of and they will be able to communicate with all of the analog and P25 capable radios already out there when necessary.

* Note the MOTOTRBO radios will operate in the analog mode making them compatable with most other public saftey radios in use today but they are typically not used in that mode for normal operation and they are likely never programmed to operate in the analog mode - rendering them practically useless for stand alone interoperability requirements.
 

c5corvette

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Motorola has always referred to TRBO as being Business Critical and suitable for small scale Public Safety agencies.

The P25 equipment is referred to as Mission Critical and suitable for all Public Safety agencies.
This is why I have heartburn when it comes to this topic.

Like the common scanner geek, there is no scanner that will allow me to listen to MOTOTRBO yet. The response to that is tough crap or wait and pray someone comes out with it in the future.

Those may all be good answers to give the hobbyist. However, what do you tell someone like the DHS who just equipped a multi-billion dollar fleet of new law-enformcement and public saftey helecopters with the most advanced two-way communications radios out there and they cant talk to anyone and everyone like they need to because some small department decided to use a non standard modulation/emission type?

Before digital there was Wolfsburg - if you had one, you could talk to anyone, no question. Now we use the Technisonic TDFM-7300 - it a configurable multi band transceiver that supports operation on all APCO/P25 Digital/Analog general service bands (VHF Hi Band, UHF Lo Band, UHF Hi Band and / or 700/800 MHz) PLUS it contains an analog VHF Lo band module too. Military applications have SINGARS and all other band capabilities. Oh yeah, don't forget the aircraft bands.

Now what is going to happen when the DHS flys into an area just south of Charlottesville Virginia because of some catastrophe at some new super secure gov't facility (there on the northbound side of US29, you know the one) and they decide they need to immediately talk to lets say Green County, Madison County, etc for mutual aid or law enforcement assistance. As long as the little agencies they are calling are operating on any of the general public service bands (VHF Low Band, VHF Hi Band, UHF Lo Band, UHF Hi Band and / or 700/800 MHz) in any accepted mode P25 Digital/Analog they will be able to initiate communications.

Oh wait, by the time the above catastrophe happens... one of these little communities may be using MOTOTRBO and the big boys who need to talk to them won't be able to. Now the big boys have the same arguement as the scanner hobbyist. I can't hear (or talk to) them. So what is your answer now to law-enforcemeny, is it the same answer we gave to the hobbyist?

"Tough crap or wait and pray someone comes out with it in the future" is not an option for here, now, today law-enforcement. Especially when the communication that needed to get through was to tell the little agencies to initiate evacuations and send residents and first responders as far north as possible away from Green and Madison Counties.

While my example is harsh and would never likely happen, the reality of the lack of communication capablilites between MOTOTRBO and other radios is there.

This is where the heartburn comes from.
 

JRayfield

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1. The LTR trunking format was not 'widely accepted' as a trunking standard, at first, when it was new. However, in not-too-many-years, it became the 'defacto' standard for business/industrial trunking systems. This was due to market demand for a reasonable-cost trunking system (as compared to Motorola's Privacy Plus systems, which were many times more expensive. Sound familiar? As more and more public safety agencies make the decision to use MOTOTRBO, it becomes more and more widely accepted. Who's to say that DMR (MOTOTRBO) might end up the 'defacto' standard for public safety communications in this country? After all, just because the Federal Government says something, doesn't 'make it so'.

As to "impromptu interoperability", I understand what you're saying. But, consider "impromptu interoperability" with P25.

P25 conventional radios will not communicate with P25 trunked radios, unless the P25 trunked radios switch to conventional mode, or there is a 'bridge' between the P25 conventional system and the P25 trunked system. Therefore, just because two 'systems' or even two 'radios' are "P25", they won't necessarily have "impromptu interoperability".

Actually, the best way to get "impromptu interoperability" at this point in time, is for everyone to switch to analog when needed.

2. The XTS-series of radios are definitely built for 'ruggedness". The MOTOTRBO XPR-series of portables meet the same MIL-STD ratings that the XTS-series of "public safety quality" radios meet. The IP-rating of the XPR-series of MOTOTRBO portables exceeds the IP-rating of the 'standard' XTS-series of radios.

By the way, many thousands of HT1250 radios are currently in use in mission critical applications. Do you not consider the HT1250 to be a 'public safety quality' radio?

3. There are other differences between P25 trunking and P25 conventional systems, besides capacity, such as the lack of multisite roaming capability in P25 conventional systems. For rural agencies that need wide-area coverage, this means that conventional P25 systems must be built out as simulcast/voted systems, for wide-area coverage, which substanstially raises the cost of the infrastructure (as compared to conventional multisite roaming systems), and such simulcast/voted systems simply don't work as well as multisite roaming systems.

4. The MOTOTRBO radios work extremely well in analog mode. In fact, multiple agencies in our area that are using MOTOTRBO radios in analog mode, have reported that they are working much better than any of the other radios that they were previously using (that includes various models of various brands, including some other models from Motorola). The cost of an XPR-6550 portable is less than the cost of a comparably-equipped HT1250 portable.

Your statement that MOTOTRBO radios "are typically not used in that mode for normal operation and they are likely never programmed to operate in the analog mode" is an assumption. It is very likely that MOTOTRBO radios, used in public safety systems, would be programmed for analog channels (or at least should be), even if they are being used primarily in digital mode. At the very least, this should include the VCALL and VTAC interoperability channels.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma


1) Because 7K60FXE is not widely accepted in the public safety realm and is a hinderance to impromptu interoperability. And when these small departments are sold these radios, they are set up to operate using the 7K60FXE modulation.*

2) Any high quality FCC type accepted radios that are capable and will be programmed using modulation schemes acknowledged by APCO and the majority of public safety agencies in the United States of America. Not business / industry quality radios.

3) The answer to #2 is not strictly P25. There is no mandate for P25 by the FCC, APCO, or otherwise. The selection of Conventional or Trunking should really come into play with capacity requirements in relation to the number of frequencies available and licensed (or with personal preference.)

4) The answer to #2 is not strictly P25. There is no mandate for P25 by the FCC, APCO, or otherwise. A good commercial radio from ICOM, MOTOROLA, etc. like mentioned above in answer #2 is no more expensive than the MOTOTRBO radios you speak of and they will be able to communicate with all of the analog and P25 capable radios already out there when necessary.

* Note the MOTOTRBO radios will operate in the analog mode making them compatable with most other public saftey radios in use today but they are typically not used in that mode for normal operation and they are likely never programmed to operate in the analog mode - rendering them practically useless for stand alone interoperability requirements.
 

c5corvette

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1. The LTR trunking format was not 'widely accepted' as a trunking standard, at first, when it was new. However, in not-too-many-years, it became the 'defacto' standard for business/industrial trunking systems. This was due to market demand for a reasonable-cost trunking system (as compared to Motorola's Privacy Plus systems, which were many times more expensive. Sound familiar? As more and more public safety agencies make the decision to use MOTOTRBO, it becomes more and more widely accepted. Who's to say that DMR (MOTOTRBO) might end up the 'defacto' standard for public safety communications in this country? After all, just because the Federal Government says something, doesn't 'make it so'.

As to "impromptu interoperability", I understand what you're saying. But, consider "impromptu interoperability" with P25.

P25 conventional radios will not communicate with P25 trunked radios, unless the P25 trunked radios switch to conventional mode, or there is a 'bridge' between the P25 conventional system and the P25 trunked system. Therefore, just because two 'systems' or even two 'radios' are "P25", they won't necessarily have "impromptu interoperability".

Actually, the best way to get "impromptu interoperability" at this point in time, is for everyone to switch to analog when needed.

2. The XTS-series of radios are definitely built for 'ruggedness". The MOTOTRBO XPR-series of portables meet the same MIL-STD ratings that the XTS-series of "public safety quality" radios meet. The IP-rating of the XPR-series of MOTOTRBO portables exceeds the IP-rating of the 'standard' XTS-series of radios.

By the way, many thousands of HT1250 radios are currently in use in mission critical applications. Do you not consider the HT1250 to be a 'public safety quality' radio?

3. There are other differences between P25 trunking and P25 conventional systems, besides capacity, such as the lack of multisite roaming capability in P25 conventional systems. For rural agencies that need wide-area coverage, this means that conventional P25 systems must be built out as simulcast/voted systems, for wide-area coverage, which substanstially raises the cost of the infrastructure (as compared to conventional multisite roaming systems), and such simulcast/voted systems simply don't work as well as multisite roaming systems.

4. The MOTOTRBO radios work extremely well in analog mode. In fact, multiple agencies in our area that are using MOTOTRBO radios in analog mode, have reported that they are working much better than any of the other radios that they were previously using (that includes various models of various brands, including some other models from Motorola). The cost of an XPR-6550 portable is less than the cost of a comparably-equipped HT1250 portable.

Your statement that MOTOTRBO radios "are typically not used in that mode for normal operation and they are likely never programmed to operate in the analog mode" is an assumption. It is very likely that MOTOTRBO radios, used in public safety systems, would be programmed for analog channels (or at least should be), even if they are being used primarily in digital mode. At the very least, this should include the VCALL and VTAC interoperability channels.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma
I guess when they make a FPP radio for the federal govt to be able to talk on MOTOTRBO channels or capacity plus systems, I will be satisfied.
 

gcgrotz

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Not to jump on this discussion--- I am enjoying it but it is mostly out of my jurisdiction.

In the spirit of keeping everything accurate c5, the facility you referred to is just north of Charlottesville but it is very near the Greene County line which would make the hypothetical situation entirely possible. Not to mention that the nearby county's fire and rescue might still be VHF analog but Albemarle is 800 P25 and who knows what the gov't is using up there (380 MHz?) and suddenly it is a real pea soup.
 

JRayfield

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I think that is a great idea.

How about if the APX-series of radios could do analog, P25 conventional, P25 trunking, and DMR (MOTOTRBO)? That would allow some (those who could afford them) non-federal agencies to have direct interoperability with MOTOTRBO systems. Some agencies that use MOTOTRBO might even want APX units.

I guess the main point that I always to to make is that the P25 standard does not fit everyone. It has some serious 'holes' in it, especially for small rural agencies that need wide-area coverage (sheriff's departments in large, rural counties, that have small populations, for example.) DMR/MOTOTRBO fits those needs much better (and I'm not even talking about the pricing - that also has to come into the picture). I think having two standards, one for larger agencies and one for smaller agencies, would work quite well, especially if there were subscriber units (mobiles and portables) that could operate on both standards.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma


I guess when they make a FPP radio for the federal govt to be able to talk on MOTOTRBO channels or capacity plus systems, I will be satisfied.
 

c5corvette

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...the facility you referred to is just north of Charlottesville but it is very near the Greene County line which would make the hypothetical situation entirely possible. Not to mention that the nearby county's fire and rescue might still be VHF analog but Albemarle is 800 P25 and who knows what the gov't is using up there (380 MHz?) and suddenly it is a real pea soup.
The hypothetical I presented was chosen because its realistic and relevant to the recent talks of Madison county switching to MOTOTRBO. My whole point is that when the big three letter agency type boys in blue (the guys who show up and say we're from the gov't and we're here to help) arrive, they will be able to talk to any county fire/recuse on VHF analog and to Albemarle on 800 P25 if they want to and to the "facility" on UHF... but they wont be able to talk to Madison County (or anyone else who has made the mistake of purchasing a radio that doesn't use a commonly acceptable emmission type such as MOTOTRBO for routine radio calls.
 

c5corvette

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How about if the APX-series of radios could do analog, P25 conventional, P25 trunking, and DMR (MOTOTRBO)? That would allow some (those who could afford them) non-federal agencies to have direct interoperability with MOTOTRBO systems. Some agencies that use MOTOTRBO might even want APX units.
That would solve MOTOTRBO, now can you get them to shove LTR and the various EDACS flavors in there too. Point being, I dont want you to think I am just picking on DMR - in federal interop, I am looking for some basic standards (doesnt necessarily translate to P25) so I can talk to everyone! For example, in 7.5% of the counties in MARYLAND and VIRGINIA you (any outside agency) can't talk to the locals on their native ops channels because of LTR, EDACS or MOTOTRBO. Add in the state of PENN and you can't talk to most of the state or a good percentage of the locals.
 

gcgrotz

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The hypothetical I presented was chosen because its realistic and relevant to the recent talks of Madison county switching to MOTOTRBO. My whole point is that when the big three letter agency type boys in blue (the guys who show up and say we're from the gov't and we're here to help) arrive, they will be able to talk to any county fire/recuse on VHF analog and to Albemarle on 800 P25 if they want to and to the "facility" on UHF... but they wont be able to talk to Madison County (or anyone else who has made the mistake of purchasing a radio that doesn't use a commonly acceptable emmission type such as MOTOTRBO for routine radio calls.
Don't worry, I'm with you all the way on this, you know that!

I have been hearing that our neighbors south and west; Nelson and Augusta; are looking to do a joint system so look out there too.
 
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