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Old 05-18-2017, 10:02 PM
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mmckenna mmckenna is offline
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Originally Posted by allend View Post
Yes the new ATT&T LTE cellular system being built out for Public Safety and Encryption is killing the scanner hobby and the desire to buy scanners at this point. There is no way of gaining speed again with sells of these radios. This is why you see Amazon and other retailers dropping their prices. When product does not sale then prices have to drop. So the direction of this hobby is not looking good. DMR and NXDN is really not going to keep this hobby together and turn this the sale of these radios in the right direction again.

I don't think you are fully understanding what the FirstNet system will be.

1. It hasn't been built, so it isn't "killing" anything yet.
2. It's intended primarily for data communications. While there is talk of PTT over LTE, FirstNet isn't intended to necessarily replace two way radios. PTT over LTE is still a ways off.
3. FirstNet is intended for public safety users. There -may- be some use by "critical infrastructure" users, but that isn't a done deal yet. There are still a lot of non-public safety users of two way radio systems.
4. FirstNet will not be free, so there is no guarantee that any agency will start using it for voice communications "when" it becomes available. Handsets will not be free either, so the cost of those will need to be weighed against the cost of a two way radio -if- voice over FirstNet becomes available.

Officers are already using cell phones for sensitive traffic. This is nothing new.

Most smaller agencies will stick with their existing radio systems for many years to come. There's too much money invested and they make a lot of sense for many agencies. Since PTT over LTE isn't here yet, and there are still some obstacles, agencies are still investing heavily in two way radio systems. I have not heard of any agencies or read of any agencies in the trade magazines that are ready to dump their radios. In fact, there are still large P25 systems being built out.

Not everyone has or will go encrypted. Analog is still very popular in many parts of the country. The CalFire systems are all VHF analog, you can easily listen in with a scanner from the 1980's if you wanted to. No plans for them to go P25 and no plans to go encrypted. In my county, -every- public safety agency is VHF analog. None of the agencies have the budgets to go to P25 or anything else. Still a lot of investment going on here building out the existing VHF analog systems, and no plans to change.

Non-public safety users will not qualify for FirstNet. The are still going to be using the same gear for decades to come.

Originally Posted by allend View Post
Uniden made that big push a couple of years ago and had wind in their sails with the BCD436HP and the BCD536HP models and it took somewhat of a flop with the hardware related issues from the beginning and the siren app that is pretty much a waste of time and has never really worked that great. Plus Uniden has run reports off of and they see the encryption trend and the drop of sales. This is no mystery to them.
You may very well be on to something there. Maybe. You could just be frustrated with local agencies switching to systems that you cannot listen in on. I suspect Uniden/Whistler will be around for a while. Like I said above, FirstNet is primarily data and not everyone is going to be using it.
Also, hobbyists tend to impulse buy. When a new radio comes out people with disposable income run out and buy them without waiting for reviews. The desire to be "first" or get the latest toy is what drives sales. The rest wait, save up cash, look at reviews and buy a bit slower. But after a while sales start to drop off. The people that want them buy them. It's not a disposable commodity where they need to be replaced every few months. Uniden knows this. They try to keep money flowing in by lowering the prices and getting more buyers. Maybe people waiting for the prices to drop, who knows.

Originally Posted by allend View Post
Honestly in my opinion the scanner market will not recover at this point. There is too much encryption being implemented at a high alarming rate nationwide. I have already heard and seen a slight amount of the fire service starting to encrypt and this is a horrible sign of the times.
Well, opinion. Yes. A lot of agencies are going to encrypted for many different reasons. I don't think hobbyists should be patting themselves on the back for causing the migration to encryption. Hobby/casual listeners are not what encryption is about.
It's important to realize that technology marches on and doesn't wait for hobbyists to catch up. Hobby users tend to lag behind in technology. P16 trunked system were out for quite some time before capable scanners showed up on the market. Many were talking the same gloom and doom that I see on this website. Took a while, but the hobby industry caught up. Then it was P25, gloom and doom all over again. P25 phase 2, gloom and doom again, but the industry caught up.
True, you probably are not ever going to be able to eavesdrop on FirstNet systems, at least not with consumer gear. But since it's for data use, what would you expect to find on there anyway? I'm a firm believer that some things need to remain private. Patient info, financial info, personal identity information, all good reasons for a secure data system for public safety.

No public safety agency that knows what it is doing is going to sink all their communications into a single system, especially one managed and maintained by a consumer cellular company. I'm 100% sure some agencies will. I remember agencies jumping into NexTel for their radio needs. That didn't last too long.
But still, P25, encryption, yeah, there's going to be more and more stuff you cannot listen to. That's just technology. Encryption/scrambling is nothing new, it's been around in one way, shape or form for a very long time. It's just becoming more popular. This isn't the fault of the scanner manufacturers, they have no control over it. It's caused by a change in attitudes. Encryption isn't something that should be used in every case, but there are plenty of cases where it should be.

Originally Posted by allend View Post
There will never be a radio that will be-able to tune in LTE and Encryption for Public Safety. It's a lost cause at this point. Technology is not our friend in this community anymore
Of course there won't. That's why there are laws against decrypting traffic that is not intended for your use. Thats also a reason why encryption technology keeps advancing, and encryption keys are frequently changed by agencies that understand the risks. If consumer radios could decrypt traffic, agencies would just go to a different encryption scheme, or change their keys more frequently.
As for LTE, yes, encryption is part of it, always will be. Its not intended for public consumption. If you think it is, then think about your own cellular phone use, and how you would feel if everyone within a few miles could easily listen in on all your phone calls, all your web surfing, read all your e-mails, read all your text messages and rummage through the personal photos on your phone.
Expecting public safety agencies to open up all their internal and private communications to hobby listeners is like expecting your neighbors to let you break into their house whenever you want and rummage through all their belongings, just because you might find something interesting.

Technology changes and hobby users get left behind. That's always been the case. Always will be.
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