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New Bedford NSTAR division switch to trbo????

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#1
While I was walking by the new Bedford facility I noticed a worker was carrying one of the models for the portable unit. I know the new Bedford division operates on lowband still on 37.54. However I haven't heard anything on the lowband in about a week. I also noticed a pending application with an emmisions designator asdede 3K00F2D on one of the licenses. Does that designator mean Trbo?
 
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#3
NSTAR on thee Cape has definitely gone TRBO. On 451.125 I hear the "motorboat" digital sound from time to time and that's it. You should be able to hear it frequently today as the wind picks up [g].

What they have gained in "privacy" they have given up in good PR. Listening to their crews during storms was much better evidence of how hard they work to restore power than all the press releases from company HQ combined.

-dan
 

KC1UA

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#4
I honestly doubt they were considering PR or looking for privacy. They were forced to update radios per the narrowbanding mandate and constructed a new DMR (MotoTrbo) system. I monitor them regularly, which is very easy to do with the right hardware/software combo (will cost you a whopping $40 between the dongle and a registered version of Virtual Audio Cable).

They are having growing pains with the system, to be certain. I hear many comments regarding it...mostly negative. From and end-user standpoint, by and large it sounds very good to me. I continue to be impressed by the voice quality of DMR systems.
 
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#5
Scott:

Thanks for your perspective - good to know.

There's no question they had been suffering with an outmoded, unreliable radio system, so in general terms the upgrade is indeed a good thing. What's too bad is that they also bought the typical Moto sales pitch which undoubtedly included assurances of "privacy."

What's also too bad is that it sounds like (correct me if I'm wrong) that with the need to run a computer and decoder software, it it is now harder to monitor NSTAR during a lengthy power outage, which of course is when it's most useful.

-dan
 
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#6
That's funny. I locked out the "buzzing sounds", thinking it was some kind of paging!

I'll have to look into the MOTOTRBO set up you mention. I am pretty sure there must be a thread about it on here somewhere. Thanks.
 

KC1UA

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#7
Oh there's a ton of info here, and another good reference is Ham Radio Science. You'll need the following components to get going on it:

1. Download the beta version of SDRSharp from SDR# | A Software Defined Radio in C#
2. Download Virtual Audio Cable. I don't have the link handy but a Google will easily produce it. There is a trial version but you'll want to register it for $25 for it to work properly.
3. Obtain an RTL2832U dongle, one reliable source is a company called Nooelec. Again a Google will get you there.$17 last I checked. Edit: Get the R820T version of the dongle.
4. Download the Windows version of DSD. Check the Wiki here for links. You'll want the absolute latest which is version 1.6.
 
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#8
Well thanks for jacking my post. Still no answer. Does anyone know what that designator means? I've looked everywhere online and couldn't find anything. I have never seen this designator before
 
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#9
Sorry if we jacked your post, but it does sound like they went TRBO, as they have here on the Cape, and we have been provided with the process of how to monitor them now.

Good luck.
 

KC1UA

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Well thanks for jacking my post. Still no answer. Does anyone know what that designator means? I've looked everywhere online and couldn't find anything. I have never seen this designator before
About 5 seconds of Google, which you seem to be absolutely incapable of doing, would have found you the answer. :roll:
 
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#11
From what I found over on Google it looks to be a telemetry system. The nstar electric trucks no longer have the lowband antennas and now have a VHF it looks like. There is a pending application to add 173.900. Is it possible they now use laptops for calls/dispatch????
 

KC1UA

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#12
From what I found over on Google it looks to be a telemetry system. The nstar electric trucks no longer have the lowband antennas and now have a VHF it looks like. There is a pending application to add 173.900. Is it possible they now use laptops for calls/dispatch????
So you looked everywhere but Google...sounds about right... :lol:

MotoTrbo is the Motorola brand name for DMR. If it's active out there it won't be at 37 MHz to be certain. Time to roll out the search feature of the scanner and listen for the buzzsaw. If you can hear the signal on 451.025 or 451.125 you'll have a reference as to what it sounds like. NStar is licensed for many of the same frequencies in the Bristol County area. Check them first. The emission designators for DMR start with 7. Anything ending in D is data.

DMR is a two slot system, meaning there are essentially two channels on the datastream. They can carry a combination of two voice channels, 2 data channels, or a mixture of data and voice, both at the same time. I have not seen the devices/radios used in an NStar truck so I don't know what they receive for data, only that I'm relatively sure that they are given the amount of non-voice traffic I see when I monitor them. It has been mentioned that some of the data may be GPS related.
 
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#14
I know what trbo is. And there is no buzz saw sound either or anything. I usually hear about 20-25 calls a day. And then starting 2 weeks ago nothing at all. I live less than a quarter mile from the facility.
 

zerg901

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#15
Maybe they are using mobile computers and cellphones. I think that is what the gas company trucks use up in the Boston area.
 

zerg901

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#20
From the FCC ULS

NStar UHF licenses in Bristol County

WQAY722 - 451.10 R - 451.125 R - 451.25 R - 6 repeaters on each freq - 11K3F9W is emission designator - New Bedford repeater site is at 175 MacArthur Drive

WQAS979 - 6 more repeater sites

WQAM351 - 484.90 R - 11K3F9W at Westport
 
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