• 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.

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las vegas scanning

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mikef1234

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Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
16
Location
toledo, ohio
#1
My brother lives in Las Vegas and would like to listen to police and fire calls. Can you tell me what type of scanner he would need?
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
1,568
Location
Springfield MO
#2
At this point there are two working solutions:

1) A handheld or mobile/desktop scanner from Uniden or Whistler that is capable of receiving/decoding P25 Phase I and Phase II communications. This requires an expense of a few hundred bucks at the cheapest (even if it's a used scanner or even one of those models from Radio Shack that were made by GRE/Whistler and sold off pretty cheaply when Radio Shack went out of business). The Las Vegas Metro PD uses P25 Phase II, and most other police departments are part of a system known as S.N.A.C.C. for short (the Southern Nevada Area Communications Council which is a very large communications network that has multiple users like the Clark County Fire Department, the Las Vegas Fired Dept, North Las Vegas Fire and PD, Boulder City PD, Henderson Fire and PD, McCarran Airport operations, and many others.

2) Using SDR (Software Defined Radio or radio hardware controlled by computers, basically, running software that makes use of the potential of the radio hardware) which typically means a "cheap USB TV tuner" aka RTL-SDR based USB stick that needs a computer to make use of the stick. Good aspect about this? It's incredibly cheap in cost, with prices ranging from $10 to about $30 for a functional stick. Bad aspect about this? It's not nearly as easy as having a scanner you can literally just turn on and go with because it takes effort, time, and patience to set everything up to be able to do the monitoring. There are more expensive SDR devices from $100 to $300 and even higher depending on what you actually require.

With what one might consider the most basic functional SDR setup, you'd need:

a) a desktop or laptop computer to run the software (runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux depending again on what you need to do - the most popular software for straight reception purposes is SDR# aka SDRSharp and it's a Windows program but there are many others including ones for OSX and Linux as well but not nearly as widespread as SDR# is)

b) an RTL-based stick or some other SDR device to work as the "tuner" to pull in the signals (and again, there are other SDR devices that work in a similar principle but cost significantly more)

c) a decent antenna as the one that comes with those RTL-sticks tends to be pretty lame and barely useful - it does work, it's just not very good for serious monitoring (personal opinion but I'm positive I'm not alone in saying that)

d) the software, almost all of which is completely free nowadays or at least offers free versions with limited functionality - DSD+ would be the software used to decode the P25 Phase I/II signals into something you can understand aka the voices of the people communicating. DSD+ itself is free and offers a more advanced version as part of the developer's "fast lane" which provides more functionality and more frequenty updates with new features than the publicly available version does.

Basic gist of this: you can spend a few hundred bucks and get a handheld/mobile/desktop scanner and turn it on and go (most come pre-programmed for major systems in the US nowadays so it usually requires you entering a Zip code or something and it'll load the necessary info to monitor the local systems, and they usually have a software based application to do other things as well as keep them updated too, Uniden provides a program called Sentinel, not sure if or what software Whistler has or might provide but that info is out there).

Or you can spend a mere handful of dollars and get an RTL stick which can do pretty much everything a modern handheld/desktop/mobile scanner can do and a lot more but again that depends on what you want to do.

Probably 99% of the people out there that want to "listen to the cops and fire and ambulances" will be fine with a physical scanner, just realize it's going to be expensive on the order of a few hundred bucks (meaning $200 plus for a digital scanner, certainly at least $250+ to get one that can do P25 Phase I and II - the Phase II is necessary for LVMPD and the only thing you can actually monitor are the Dispatch channels, about 10 of them and maybe some car-to-car chatter on one or two more but the majority of the system is encrypted).

If you or your brother has questions just ask, but I'm guessing he'dd be looking at a physical scanner first and foremost. If he has a computer already and wants to get into SDR we have a subforum here for that and for the voice-decoding software necessary. If he has the software necessary (again, it's free of cost and easy to download) and wants to purchase an RTL-based stick, literally in an hour it can be up and running just for straight monitoring purposes, it's not too terribly difficult to set up - if he needs help locally I and some other folks do live in Las Vegas ourselves (I'm in downtown) and might be able to help face-to-face depending.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
11
Location
las vegas, nevada
#3
Hi All,

Thanks for the thoughful and through reply. Those phase II scanners are rather expensive! I'm going to see how far I can get with DSD+ and other appropriate software applications. As I understand it, dsd+ doesn't work on linux and there's not another software package to decode phase II traffic on linux. Is that correct?

What's a common handheld scanner these days? I glossed over the phase II wiki, but didn't really absorb much with the first pass.

It's nice to see quite a few streams on broadcasify.com so thanks to whomever is providing the streams.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
464
Location
Indiana
#4
At this point there are two working solutions:

1) A handheld or mobile/desktop scanner from Uniden or Whistler that is capable of receiving/decoding P25 Phase I and Phase II communications. This requires an expense of a few hundred bucks at the cheapest (even if it's a used scanner or even one of those models from Radio Shack that were made by GRE/Whistler and sold off pretty cheaply when Radio Shack went out of business). The Las Vegas Metro PD uses P25 Phase II, and most other police departments are part of a system known as S.N.A.C.C. for short (the Southern Nevada Area Communications Council which is a very large communications network that has multiple users like the Clark County Fire Department, the Las Vegas Fired Dept, North Las Vegas Fire and PD, Boulder City PD, Henderson Fire and PD, McCarran Airport operations, and many others.

2) Using SDR (Software Defined Radio or radio hardware controlled by computers, basically, running software that makes use of the potential of the radio hardware) which typically means a "cheap USB TV tuner" aka RTL-SDR based USB stick that needs a computer to make use of the stick. Good aspect about this? It's incredibly cheap in cost, with prices ranging from $10 to about $30 for a functional stick. Bad aspect about this? It's not nearly as easy as having a scanner you can literally just turn on and go with because it takes effort, time, and patience to set everything up to be able to do the monitoring. There are more expensive SDR devices from $100 to $300 and even higher depending on what you actually require.

With what one might consider the most basic functional SDR setup, you'd need:

a) a desktop or laptop computer to run the software (runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux depending again on what you need to do - the most popular software for straight reception purposes is SDR# aka SDRSharp and it's a Windows program but there are many others including ones for OSX and Linux as well but not nearly as widespread as SDR# is)

b) an RTL-based stick or some other SDR device to work as the "tuner" to pull in the signals (and again, there are other SDR devices that work in a similar principle but cost significantly more)

c) a decent antenna as the one that comes with those RTL-sticks tends to be pretty lame and barely useful - it does work, it's just not very good for serious monitoring (personal opinion but I'm positive I'm not alone in saying that)

d) the software, almost all of which is completely free nowadays or at least offers free versions with limited functionality - DSD+ would be the software used to decode the P25 Phase I/II signals into something you can understand aka the voices of the people communicating. DSD+ itself is free and offers a more advanced version as part of the developer's "fast lane" which provides more functionality and more frequenty updates with new features than the publicly available version does.

Basic gist of this: you can spend a few hundred bucks and get a handheld/mobile/desktop scanner and turn it on and go (most come pre-programmed for major systems in the US nowadays so it usually requires you entering a Zip code or something and it'll load the necessary info to monitor the local systems, and they usually have a software based application to do other things as well as keep them updated too, Uniden provides a program called Sentinel, not sure if or what software Whistler has or might provide but that info is out there).

Or you can spend a mere handful of dollars and get an RTL stick which can do pretty much everything a modern handheld/desktop/mobile scanner can do and a lot more but again that depends on what you want to do.

Probably 99% of the people out there that want to "listen to the cops and fire and ambulances" will be fine with a physical scanner, just realize it's going to be expensive on the order of a few hundred bucks (meaning $200 plus for a digital scanner, certainly at least $250+ to get one that can do P25 Phase I and II - the Phase II is necessary for LVMPD and the only thing you can actually monitor are the Dispatch channels, about 10 of them and maybe some car-to-car chatter on one or two more but the majority of the system is encrypted).

If you or your brother has questions just ask, but I'm guessing he'dd be looking at a physical scanner first and foremost. If he has a computer already and wants to get into SDR we have a subforum here for that and for the voice-decoding software necessary. If he has the software necessary (again, it's free of cost and easy to download) and wants to purchase an RTL-based stick, literally in an hour it can be up and running just for straight monitoring purposes, it's not too terribly difficult to set up - if he needs help locally I and some other folks do live in Las Vegas ourselves (I'm in downtown) and might be able to help face-to-face depending.
Is this info still current as far as monitoring Fire and other PD's on SNACC?
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
1,568
Location
Springfield MO
#5
S.N.A.C.C. uses P25 Phase I (not Phase II, that's LVMPD only so far in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, and as I understand it DSD+ still has no capability for decoding Phase II but might someday) and yes using DSD+ still allows for fairly easy monitoring of that content along with one of the cheap RTL-based USB sticks. One could also use OP25 which is Linux-based software to do the same thing and there's an entire thread with tons of info about that application here:

https://forums.radioreference.com/s...-virtualbox-project-run-op25-windows-7-a.html
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
464
Location
Indiana
#6
My more general question is what system or channels do I program to listen to Fire, EMS and other PD's in Clark Co besides Metro? SNACC is listed as depreciated so I wasn't sure what to program.
 
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