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STARS reorganization?

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#1
Recently, I've been noticing areas, particularly along the I-95 corridor between Richmond and Prince William where I was no longer receiving anything on STARS. After checking the STARS listings, it seems there are not as many sites and/or control freqs. For VSP division 2 area for example, I had 16 control freqs. Now, there are only 10 freqs listed in the RRDB, with 2 freqs that weren't on my list (Thornburg). In the Division 1 area, I had 30 control freqs, now there seems to be only 14 freqs as listed in the RRDB.

As I hadn't been north of Richmond in about 2 years; so this was a bit of a surprise.

PS.... I just remembered something about my previous programming, so part of the above may not be valid. It does seem there are fewer sites or is that my imagination?
 
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Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
#2
Don't always assume the RR database always is 100% correct

Recently, I've been noticing areas, particularly along the I-95 corridor between Richmond and Prince William where I was no longer receiving anything on STARS. After checking the STARS listings, it seems there are not as many sites and/or control freqs. For VSP division 2 area for example, I had 16 control freqs. Now, there are only 10 freqs listed in the RRDB, with 2 freqs that weren't on my list (Thornburg). In the Division 1 area, I had 30 control freqs, now there seems to be only 14 freqs as listed in the RRDB.

As I hadn't been north of Richmond in about 2 years; so this was a bit of a surprise.

PS.... I just remembered something about my previous programming, so part of the above may not be valid. It does seem there are fewer sites or is that my imagination?
-----------------------------------
kc4jgc,

Never always assume that all RR frequency database entries, including STARS, are 100% correct as you have just discovered the hard way. You also just reconfirmed my argument I have been making ever since STARS installations began approximately 15 years ago. It was and still is for one or more monitors in each division or part of one with fixed and/or mobile reception capability in all seven STARS division sites at least once annually to run PRO96COM. The purpose is to reconfirm the current control channels and voice frequencies configurations. I have been surprised on more than one occasion in selected Division 1 and Division 5 sites I can receive in the past noticing a new voice frequency or the absence of a previously listed one. There are a number of STARS monitors in all STARS Divisions who have PRO96COM analysis fixed and monitoring capability.

This past spring I drove to near Mooresville, NC for a few days and later north on I70 into VA via Fancy Gap. As a side note I also monitored the NC Viper system across much of the state and was not impressed and under whelmed. In my opinion STARS is far superior. I planned to do a PRO96COM analysis on the new Fancy Gap STARS "filler" site. I had pre programed my 536 with a FL just for that site based on the previously RR posted CC primary control channel.

I decided to get off I70 and select a discreet location. Forget that. It was Memorial Day weekend and the county and state police were out in force as I noticed when reaching the mountain top. A few more miles on I70 I exited on what I thought was a less traveled road and locate a side pull off. That didn't happen either. A few miles inland I found what barely could pass as a partial side pull off and hoped no citizen, county or state police vehicle would stop offering motorist assistance. I left my emergency flashers off hoping to try to hide as best as I could. My CB name is "Porcupine" which is sourced to my roof antennas configuration.

I managed to get maybe a 10 minute window and no CC reception nothing....the primary CC listed on RR was not detected. I thought the repeater would be at the top of Fancy Gap Mtn. but it may have been at the bottom or maybe low power possibly some other issue. I had to leave for Bristol and didn't have time to research as why no Fancy Gap CC reception. I had been receiving the Bull Mtn. STARS site great almost 35 miles south in NC on I70 so it had to be something else..

In Bristol for a few days and time permitted I ran PRO96COM and reconfirmed Brumley Mtn. Big A Mtn., Whitetop Mtn. and Keene Mtn. sites. Unfortunately for me, a week previously in NC, I had an accidental fall injury and was feeling yucky but not ER yucky but decided to return home early to see my doctor.

From Bristol to Petersburg via I81and then Rt. 460, STARS reception was excellent without a break in reception with at least one STARS site being constantly within my reception area. My 996XT and 536 both were interfaced with separate connected to separate vhf and uhf RF preamps and two separate antennas. Of course the mountaintop repeaters offered my best reception. Some Division 6 sites which previously were still being installed the last time I used I81 to Bristol like North Mtn now were operational. I noticed a couple of Division 6 sites additionally supported a number of Division 4 comms.

My 536 slightly outperformed my 996XT because it is noticeably more RF input sensitive and the audio quality was better, i.e, more "softer" to my ears. Often I got both scanners decoding the same talkgroup.

John
W4UVV
 
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Richmond, VA
#3
I keep one radio devoted to STARS and have search ranges programmed, which I resort to when coverage disappears. You never know when something's going to change, and Virginia's not the only place it's true of. West Virginia's state system requires even more frequent changes of CC. (there are three sites in Greenbrier County alone) In fact some of the WV control channels are on some pretty obscure frequencies.

I haven't coped that much with WVIRP but am also underwhelmed. I listened to it on my handheld during the NC QSO Party and it was so-so in the northeastern extreme of the state.

Am looking forward to trying out the TRX-1 on some of these systems in the spring.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 
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#4
Unfortunately, I'm usually unable to check control freqs with pro96com in that part of Virginia as I'm usually driving. As far as I know, the only (recent) trouble I've had has been that stretch of 95 between Hanover and Prince William counties.

Other than that, the only other changes I've noticed is reduced traffic, especially on holiday weekends. Seems Blue 5 has been largely silent on holiday weekends. Wonder if VSP is using MDT's more.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2005
Messages
368
Location
Newport News, Virginia
#6
Yeah, I'm pretty sure everything is done via MDC. Usually I'll just hear the dispatcher confirm the traffic stop via radio (i.e. 1899 Chesapeake confirm traffic stop I-64 eastbound at the 258.)
 
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