ARMER Setup Questions

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KeithBogut

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I'm brand new to scanning and I'm trying to think through how best to set up my Systems/Sites/Groups in my BCD325P2 before I actually create anything. I plan on using FreeScan, although I still haven't gotten past the driver setup issue.

My initial thought is to set up separate systems for each county in the metro area (I live near Stillwater). My sites would be Police, Fire, EMS, State Agencies, etc. and Groups would be for individual cities within each site. Does this seem reasonable in terms of efficiency? I know there are pros and cons to any organization system, what are cons I should be considering?

Are there other structures I should consider? I would appreciate any constructive feedback you could offer.
 

troymail

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There are many ways to arrange your programming - mostly likely you'll program things one way and later decide to do it another way. It's pretty much only limited by your radio and your imagination.

The most important part to programming a scanner - particularly for multi-site systems like ARMER (or pretty much any large system like that) - is to only program (or use) the site or sites that are closest to you. Importing or programming every site/all frequencies for large systems can reduce performance. After that, it's down to what you want to listen to - police, fire, etc. and how you want those talkgroups/channels grouped for ease of enabled/disabled on the scanner.

Experimentation is the only way to both learn the radio and figure out hat works for you (verses someone else).
 

KeithBogut

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Thanks Troymail, I hear you on limiting it to the closest sites. Hopefully, I won't need to change it much.
 

ofd8001

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The ARMER system is a pretty complicated system to understand in the first place. Then programming a scanner to efficiently receive it is another learning curve.

The ARMER system is a "conglomeration" of a lot of sub-systems working in concert to provide a communications system for first responders. The thinking is that a responder from one place could travel to a major incident elsewhere and can easily communicate with other responders. For example, last summer when they had the protesters blocking interstates and the numerous agencies involved.

Because of the way communications are handed off during this "roaming" situation, most of those sub-systems, particularly in the metro area, are designed to cover just one county. Thus you probably would not be in range of the Hennepin County sub-system.

So with that in mind, here is my recommendation: For Sites, I suggest Washington County Simulcast, Dakota Simulcast, Ramsey Simulcast and Minneapolis City Center. (It's possible you may not receive Dakota/Ramsey/City Center, but worth trying).

For Groups I'd recommend one for Washington County Talkgroups, another for Dakota County TGs, a third for Ramsey, a fourth for State Patrol (the 2400 district and Flight Section) and a fifth for the interoperability talkgroups (ME_Tacs, L_Tacs and S_Tacs). A lot of interesting stuff happens on those interoperability talkgroups, for example if a pursuit happens, there is usually a patch set up between the involved Police Main and L_TAC_1.

You could probably further refine these groups into something like Washington Law Enforcement and another for Washington Fire. Unfortunately this model scanner is limited to 20 groups, so you'll have to do some careful planning.

(Even though I'm in Louisville, I'm a Minneapolis native and travel up there regularly. So I try to keep up with this system.)
 
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