"Affiliation" question(s)

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hanlonmi06

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I have a question about how to handle statewide/state police type TGID's.

Looking over the MPSCS there is a mix of stand alone towers and simulcast systems. I'm trying to decide how best to set up a statewide type scan list in my PSR 800 to capture any activities on those TGID's in SE Michigan specifically.

Would it matter if i included all towers that could be within receiving range, or perhaps just the stand alone towers? For example the G-Event01 TGID could be used for any number of purposes by any number of users, so if you wanted the best chances for receiving activity should i just hit up all towers, or is there a key point about how that TGID affiliates? I get how, for example, Livonia is going to adhere mostly to the Northville tower but i'm scratching my head on how the statewide capable stuff works.

if it were set up to do so, could a radio in dundee talk to a radio in copper harbor?
 

UPMan

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Generally, a TGID will be active on a tower if at least one system radio set for that TGID has affiliated on the tower. If no system radios that are set to a TGID have affiliated with a tower, then that tower will not carry any of that TGID's traffic (as there are theoretically no radios on the tower set to hear the comms, anyway).

In your example, if a radio set to a statewide channel is in Dundee and another radio set to the same statewide channel is in copper harbor, then, yes, they can communicate with each other and a scanner listener would hear the comms on those two sites. But, if either radio changed affiliations to another site (say, if they are driving east to west and drive out of one site and into another) the scanner listener will stop hearing the comms, even though the two units will be able to continue their comms without interruption.
 

wa8pyr

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I have a question about how to handle statewide/state police type TGID's.

Looking over the MPSCS there is a mix of stand alone towers and simulcast systems. I'm trying to decide how best to set up a statewide type scan list in my PSR 800 to capture any activities on those TGID's in SE Michigan specifically.

Would it matter if i included all towers that could be within receiving range, or perhaps just the stand alone towers? For example the G-Event01 TGID could be used for any number of purposes by any number of users, so if you wanted the best chances for receiving activity should i just hit up all towers, or is there a key point about how that TGID affiliates? I get how, for example, Livonia is going to adhere mostly to the Northville tower but i'm scratching my head on how the statewide capable stuff works.
Talkgroups can be set up in the system controller so that they're only allowed to operate on certain sites. If a radio attempts to affiliate to a certain site on Talkgroup X (which isn't permitted), it would be denied.

To add to the fun, radios can be programmed to "Always Prefer," "Prefer" and "Least Prefer" specific sites, or can have roaming turned off entirely (in the radio and/or in the system controller) so they'll only operate on a single site.

While there will always be a few wide-area-capable radios which insist on affiliating to a site 50 miles away from their actual location due to propagation or just sheer radio cussedness, system administrators can control roaming and thus site loading more or less as needed using a combination of these controller and radio settings.

MPSCS has specific policies about where certain talkgroups can roam, which if I recall correctly generally goes on a progression of "Home County" to "Home County + Adjacent Counties" to "Statewide." I forget exactly where, but it's on their web site somewhere.

For local agencies, I would recommend setting up your scanner so that you can scan the county site and the immediately surrounding sites. This should enable you to hear everything local. For example, if you're in Livonia, use that site and the immediately adjacent sites. I generally set up my local scanning profiles the same way for Ohio MARCS (and now MARCS-IP) and it works quite well.

if it were set up to do so, could a radio in dundee talk to a radio in copper harbor?
Yes, as long as they're both affiliated to the same talkgroup and that talkgroup is provisioned for wide area operation (or at least at the specific sites in use).
 

hanlonmi06

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Whoa, UpMan, Hi!

So, to clarify a little, it does in fact matter that the tower be within the scanner listeners range for everything to come together for hearing traffic in this example. your saying that radio A in dundee passes to another tower that scanner listener A cannot receive, scanner listener A no longer hears that specific traffic.

I guess my question still stands then, how are the affiliations developed or chosen.

the real example i'm basing this off of was when listening to a narcotics TGID doing their work. they then hurriedly switched to a statewide G-Event01 type ID and I lost them, so my curiosity about how the "system" is set up was piqued; that a user could travel between those ID's and the nuts and bolts in place to allow that user those tools to do their job is fascinating.

The long and short is, program the towers within range, set the TGID's how they make sense to me, and sit back and enjoy.
 

hanlonmi06

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WA8PYR-

i was typing my reply as you posted up- excellent info. You both clarified things immensely.

So the purposes of the RR database to present the info, the user needs to utilize it to their best ability meanwhile the radio sys-admins are clicking away at a screen 'managing the load'. There is a ton there, i was struggling with the shear size of the MPSCS lately and trying to guess where to find things.
 

smithken

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Livonia is primarily on the Wayne County Simulcast since one of the simulcast towers is at Livonia PD. I do hear a lot of Livonia traffic, maybe all Livonia traffic, on the Northville tower also.
 

drdispatch

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Not to confuse you further, but I have heard surveillance traffic from 2 counties away on a G-EVENT TG on my local tower. So that leads me to theorize that maybe when a statewide event TG is requested (To use a G-, H-, or I- EVENT TG, an agency must file a request with the NCC [Network Control Center], who then assigns them a specific TG.), perhaps the NCC can "program" that TG to be available on certain towers, depending on where the requesting agency thinks they will be using it. NCC asks for the location of the incident, so maybe they activate that TG on every tower which may "reasonably" be within range of the units working the incident, to make sure they have adequate coverage. I suppose they even apply the "what-if factor", so if a site goes down or goes into site trunking, there would be sufficient coverage from adjacent sites to support the incident. And surveillance would be a different animal, since it's location is fluid, maybe they give the agency access to a dozen or so towers so they don't get that annoying "Out Of Range" bonking noise (In the middle of tailing a suspect, that would ruin your day...).

But it also brings up another interesting point: Since the system only sends the TG to towers where there are affiliated radios on that TG, why would I hear surveillance activity on the Marshall tower, when all the units involved are in Lansing? They can't be affiliated with the Marshall tower, and nobody here would have any reason to turn their radio to an EVENT TG "out of the blue"; so NCC overrides that for the statewide EVENT TG's?

FInally, (sorry this is so long) local TG's, as we were told in our training, will only work on towers in & immediately around your county. {insert loud buzzer sound here} We have had officers tell us that they took their radios up north & listened to us. A Police Chief's convention in Grand Rapids a few years back severely taxed the system, because all the chiefs continued to listen to their home TG's. This is something that the NCC can enable or disable in the system; It's defaulted to "disabled".

P.S. Don't feel bad; I've had the training, the "trainer's training", & have been using the system since 2006; I'm STILL learning stuff about it every day!
 

szron

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and nobody here would have any reason to turn their radio to an EVENT TG "out of the blue"
I think here's a problem with your post :)

I listened to a very serious sounding SWAT operation in the UP on the G-Events... The casual listener strikes again.
 

hanlonmi06

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Well, i cant speak to the details of the agencies and prior planning before they embarked on whatever it was that day they planned to do in the G-event example. what i was trying to gain knowledge of was a general sense of how to organize a modern scanner on a modern system- specifically MPSCS. Its big, i like to listen to a lotta stuff and i'm inquisitive by nature.

the best thing i have found so far is experimentation. i am not an end user within the system, i'm out side the fish bowl looking in, so i'm going to keep experimenting with setups until i achieve what i like. based on what I've experienced, there is the "intended" way for it work by the engineers and the real way things work. they don't always add up. like, encrypted channels regularly in the clear? hearing traffic counties away?

maybe, just maybe, someday, Livonia will be in the clear!
 

UPMan

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Start with the general outline I provided, which applies (generally) to all systems. Then, apply intel about the specific system regarding what groups are restricted in their affiliations to certain sites or zones (as provided by Tom). Site restriction is not used on all systems, but where it is used it can help to guide you in which sites to enable or disable to get the best chance of catching comms on your target TGIDs.
 

PMSCAN

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Event TG's NCC Request

Not to confuse you further, but I have heard surveillance traffic from 2 counties away on a G-EVENT TG on my local tower. So that leads me to theorize that maybe when a statewide event TG is requested (To use a G-, H-, or I- EVENT TG, an agency must file a request with the NCC [Network Control Center], who then assigns them a specific TG.), perhaps the NCC can "program" that TG to be available on certain towers, depending on where the requesting agency thinks they will be using it. NCC asks for the location of the incident, so maybe they activate that TG on every tower which may "reasonably" be within range of the units working the incident, to make sure they have adequate coverage. I suppose they even apply the "what-if factor", so if a site goes down or goes into site trunking, there would be sufficient coverage from adjacent sites to support the incident. And surveillance would be a different animal, since it's location is fluid, maybe they give the agency access to a dozen or so towers so they don't get that annoying "Out Of Range" bonking noise (In the middle of tailing a suspect, that would ruin your day...).

But it also brings up another interesting point: Since the system only sends the TG to towers where there are affiliated radios on that TG, why would I hear surveillance activity on the Marshall tower, when all the units involved are in Lansing? They can't be affiliated with the Marshall tower, and nobody here would have any reason to turn their radio to an EVENT TG "out of the blue"; so NCC overrides that for the statewide EVENT TG's?

FInally, (sorry this is so long) local TG's, as we were told in our training, will only work on towers in & immediately around your county. {insert loud buzzer sound here} We have had officers tell us that they took their radios up north & listened to us. A Police Chief's convention in Grand Rapids a few years back severely taxed the system, because all the chiefs continued to listen to their home TG's. This is something that the NCC can enable or disable in the system; It's defaulted to "disabled".

P.S. Don't feel bad; I've had the training, the "trainer's training", & have been using the system since 2006; I'm STILL learning stuff about it every day!

You are correct when requesting Special Event TG's from NCC they inquire which surrounding counties you want covered for your request.
 

drdispatch

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Radio Affilliation

I think here's a problem with your post :)

I listened to a very serious sounding SWAT operation in the UP on the G-Events... The casual listener strikes again.
What I was saying was that an officer would have no reason to arbitrarily turn his radio (mobile or portable) to a statewide event TG. Therefore, it is reasonable that there would be NO MPSCS radios affiliated with G-EVENT xx on the tower in my area at any given time; Therefore, in order for me to hear (on a scanner) SWAT or surveillance activities on G-EVENT xx, which are occuring in a city several counties away, NCC would have to turn on the TG on that tower, so that it would transit regardless of whether a radio was affilliated there or not.

Personally, I always scan every tower that I can get a decent signal on, & I have all the G-, H-, & I- EVENT TG's programmed in "just in case". Because you just never know......
 

szron

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I get what you are saying but I still don't think a tower would broadcast unless there is an affiliated subscriber. What I'm saying that there always is one. Maybe it's somebody from this same agency that knows that there is an operation going on, or maybe some people just randomly turn their radios on the G/H/I Events because they know something is going on. The most commonly used TG is G-Events 10 so I'm not surprised if there is a radio set on that TG permanently.

What I'm trying to say is that we're not the only people that like to listen to stuff and there is a lot of subscribers on this system. Some of them also like to listen :)
 

m297

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The system is affiliation based period. Someone has to have a radio tuned to the tower in question.

Encrypted channels are programmed 1 of 2 ways. "Strapped or Select". If your hearing radio channels in the clear and there suppose to be Encrypted the user hasn't flipped the switch. Strapped encryption is when the user tunes to that channel the radio automatically places it in encryption. Livonia radio are programmed to strapped, it will never be in the clear.
 

hanlonmi06

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so, to further my original thought process for posting, i recently did an A/B type comparison, albeit with anecdotal conclusions.

i built my mega organized by tower by city by user by scan list by trunk system: for example i took Wayne counties simulcast freqs, made it its own trunked system and dumped Wayne CO stuff into it; did that for monroe, macomb, detroit, so on.

then i let, in this case, EzScan do a by county import, and then utilized those default scan lists.

the radio traffic i picked up i terms of volume of hits seemed to favor the latter, where there was one MPSCS system with a few local single tower and simulcast systems. now i was somewhat deliberate in my regimented approach on my 'single county, single tower setup' approach however i had the same towers being scanned in both cases, just instead of one large regional MPSCS, i had broken it down into a few more local MPSCS systems.

was it luck, my own biasing, or is there something to this?
 

SCPD

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What I was saying was that an officer would have no reason to arbitrarily turn his radio (mobile or portable) to a statewide event TG. Therefore, it is reasonable that there would be NO MPSCS radios affiliated with G-EVENT xx on the tower in my area at any given time; Therefore, in order for me to hear (on a scanner) SWAT or surveillance activities on G-EVENT xx, which are occuring in a city several counties away, NCC would have to turn on the TG on that tower, so that it would transit regardless of whether a radio was affilliated there or not.

Personally, I always scan every tower that I can get a decent signal on, & I have all the G-, H-, & I- EVENT TG's programmed in "just in case". Because you just never know......
However that happens. There is always some curious officer to hear the event that has nothing to do with that officer/agency/ If it's bad enough and ties up system resources for that tower, there are procedures to get that radio to un-affiliate with that talkgroup off the local system. This very thing happened when the 35W bridge collapsed 7 years ago here. Officers a couple of hundred miles away were switching to the statewide event TG's to listen which would bring up all that traffic to their small site. Due to that there were some times when a channel grant would not happen and the radio "bonked" out. New training was imposed that basically said don't do that anymore. I like how the state mandated if they could not reach the user to get off that TG, they would at last resort kill the radio off the system.
 

detroit780

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MPSCS Roaming

Tom,

Here is the MPSCS roaming policy.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/4_1_3_Roaming_163733_7.pdf?20140805082055



Talkgroups can be set up in the system controller so that they're only allowed to operate on certain sites. If a radio attempts to affiliate to a certain site on Talkgroup X (which isn't permitted), it would be denied.

To add to the fun, radios can be programmed to "Always Prefer," "Prefer" and "Least Prefer" specific sites, or can have roaming turned off entirely (in the radio and/or in the system controller) so they'll only operate on a single site.

While there will always be a few wide-area-capable radios which insist on affiliating to a site 50 miles away from their actual location due to propagation or just sheer radio cussedness, system administrators can control roaming and thus site loading more or less as needed using a combination of these controller and radio settings.

MPSCS has specific policies about where certain talkgroups can roam, which if I recall correctly generally goes on a progression of "Home County" to "Home County + Adjacent Counties" to "Statewide." I forget exactly where, but it's on their web site somewhere.

For local agencies, I would recommend setting up your scanner so that you can scan the county site and the immediately surrounding sites. This should enable you to hear everything local. For example, if you're in Livonia, use that site and the immediately adjacent sites. I generally set up my local scanning profiles the same way for Ohio MARCS (and now MARCS-IP) and it works quite well.



Yes, as long as they're both affiliated to the same talkgroup and that talkgroup is provisioned for wide area operation (or at least at the specific sites in use).
 

ffexpCP

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Site trunking is when the tower looses connection to the rest of network. Usually a microwave or controller dies for this to happen.

Basically, A radio affiliated on a tower in site trunking can only communicate with others on that same tower. Can cause issues when a portable radio can only see the bad site while mobiles on the same tg can find and affiliate with a working one.
 
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