Benton County changing, maybe going digital? Also, "one-sided" signal reception

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tdnottingham

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Benton County changing, maybe going digital? Also, "one-sided" signal reception

First off, before I say anything else, I must apologize for any ignorance or lack of knowledge I may exhibit regarding scanning and whatnot, because even though I have had a scanner for 14 years, I am still extremely inexperienced and quite the "noob" when it comes to stuff like this.

Anyway...I recently had someone tell me that, quoting them word-for-word, "Benton county will be switching to all-digital sometime next year". No details, no exact timeline, just "sometime next year". Of course I'm skeptical about this...but considering my extreme lack of knowledge on scanning and the radio scene as a whole, I am unable to either confirm or deny this claim. I have already searched these forums and scoured Google backwards and forwards, and found nothing that supports an impending switch to all-digital for Benton County. BUT, taking into consideration that likely a bunch of new radio equipment was installed when the new LEC was built, plus actually seeing a bunch of new antennas being added to the tower behind the LEC, it makes me wonder...if not a switch to digital, then is SOMETHING about to change with the Benton County system?

Now that I think about it, a month or so ago I do recall hearing what sounded like transmission tests being performed, but I did not take note of the frequencies. They consisted of a guy slowly saying "1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1", followed by several long beeps slowly increasing in pitch, then bursts of what sounds like digital data kinda like an EAS test. Certainly sounds like they're preparing for something...but I figured it be best to ask the experts here rather than spread wild accusations. I am not claiming that they ARE going to change, and please do not take my word as implying such...merely I am expressing my confusion and uncertainty, and am asking if anyone else might know anything.


=======================


Secondly...I have an old Radio Shack Pro-2044 scanner from 1997. About as basic as basic can get even by mid-90s standards (Doesn't even support trunking). Anyway, I have it programmed for the various agencies and whatnot available in Benton County...well, the ones I can pick up anyway, what with Vinton PD being encrypted and the like. Long story short, one of the frequencies I have programmed in is 155.370MHz. From the research I have done, this is a statewide "point-to-point" frequency used by every county to, essentially, talk to each other.

Now, here's the problem. If this is a statewide frequency...then how come I can only hear Benton County talk on it? For example, earlier tonight I heard Benton County dispatch calling Linn County to send an ambulance from Center Point to Urbana. I hear traffic like this on an almost daily basis, with Benton County calling Linn County, or calling Tama County, etc. The thing is...I NEVER hear the other county respond. I always only hear one side of the call, the Benton County side, and based on what I do hear being said on there, it is obvious that the other county IS responding...but I just don't hear it! Is there perhaps a second "co-channel" frequency that I am missing, across which the response is being transmitted? Or, is it maybe something more mundane, like the signal from the other county is just too weak for my scanner to pick up? It does have an aftermarket antenna (The 20-006 from Radio Shack with a 90* BNC elbow) that seems to be a vast improvement over the wimpy thing it originally came with, but admittedly it's still an indoor antenna, so I imagine this likely cuts down on reception significantly. I'd put up an outdoor antenna...but I live near the Vinton airport, and there's height restrictions I have to obey on structures.

Thank you for your time, and again, please forgive my lack of knowledge and "noobness" in these regards.
 

W8RMH

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Can't answer your first question. It's a wait-and-see.
They have upgraded these frequencies for narrowband according to the FCC database: 155.8650 /158.9100, 453.325, 453.7375, 453.7875, 453.8625, and 453.8750.

155.370 is the nationwide police inter-system. It is usually simplex, which does not use a repeater. This is why you only hear the base.
 
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tdnottingham

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Joined
Dec 11, 2007
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Location
Vinton, IA
Again, please forgive my continued ignorance/lack of knowledge regarding this. But, by "upgrading to narrowband"...does this mean I will need a new scanner to continue receiving those frequencies, even if they never switch to digital or a "trunked system" (Which is also something I know absolutely nothing about, but that's best saved for another post)? Like I said before, the scanner I got now is perhaps the most basic model that could be had in 1997, which if I understand correctly is long before digital or narrowband started becoming the norm.

Thank you again.
 

timkilbride

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Iowa County, Iowa
First off, before I say anything else, I must apologize for any ignorance or lack of knowledge I may exhibit regarding scanning and whatnot, because even though I have had a scanner for 14 years, I am still extremely inexperienced and quite the "noob" when it comes to stuff like this.
That is what this forum is for.

Anyway...I recently had someone tell me that, quoting them word-for-word, "Benton county will be switching to all-digital sometime next year". No details, no exact timeline, just "sometime next year". Of course I'm skeptical about this...but considering my extreme lack of knowledge on scanning and the radio scene as a whole, I am unable to either confirm or deny this claim. I have already searched these forums and scoured Google backwards and forwards, and found nothing that supports an impending switch to all-digital for Benton County. BUT, taking into consideration that likely a bunch of new radio equipment was installed when the new LEC was built, plus actually seeing a bunch of new antennas being added to the tower behind the LEC, it makes me wonder...if not a switch to digital, then is SOMETHING about to change with the Benton County system?
A lot of people get digital, encryption, and narrow banding all mixed up. Until it happens, we will not know for sure. One place to check is the city/county meeting minutes. I can tell you this, Benton County will have to narrowband. Its a FCC requirement. Benton County also has encryption channel which gets used frequently. I see no digital emissions on their FCC licenses, but I do see the narrow banding emission. The new equipment could have been just narrow band equipment replacing equipment that wasn't narrow band capable. The new antennas could have been for some RF links to remote sites??? New equipment and antenna's is no indication of "going digital".

Now that I think about it, a month or so ago I do recall hearing what sounded like transmission tests being performed, but I did not take note of the frequencies. They consisted of a guy slowly saying "1 2 3 4 5 5 4 3 2 1", followed by several long beeps slowly increasing in pitch, then bursts of what sounds like digital data kinda like an EAS test. Certainly sounds like they're preparing for something...but I figured it be best to ask the experts here rather than spread wild accusations. I am not claiming that they ARE going to change, and please do not take my word as implying such...merely I am expressing my confusion and uncertainty, and am asking if anyone else might know anything.
I have heard this off and on over the whole state. Its *usually* related to new equipment installed or making the switch to narrow band


=======================


Secondly...I have an old Radio Shack Pro-2044 scanner from 1997. About as basic as basic can get even by mid-90s standards (Doesn't even support trunking). Anyway, I have it programmed for the various agencies and whatnot available in Benton County...well, the ones I can pick up anyway, what with Vinton PD being encrypted and the like. Long story short, one of the frequencies I have programmed in is 155.370MHz. From the research I have done, this is a statewide "point-to-point" frequency used by every county to, essentially, talk to each other.

Now, here's the problem. If this is a statewide frequency...then how come I can only hear Benton County talk on it? For example, earlier tonight I heard Benton County dispatch calling Linn County to send an ambulance from Center Point to Urbana. I hear traffic like this on an almost daily basis, with Benton County calling Linn County, or calling Tama County, etc. The thing is...I NEVER hear the other county respond. I always only hear one side of the call, the Benton County side, and based on what I do hear being said on there, it is obvious that the other county IS responding...but I just don't hear it! Is there perhaps a second "co-channel" frequency that I am missing, across which the response is being transmitted? Or, is it maybe something more mundane, like the signal from the other county is just too weak for my scanner to pick up? It does have an aftermarket antenna (The 20-006 from Radio Shack with a 90* BNC elbow) that seems to be a vast improvement over the wimpy thing it originally came with, but admittedly it's still an indoor antenna, so I imagine this likely cuts down on reception significantly. I'd put up an outdoor antenna...but I live near the Vinton airport, and there's height restrictions I have to obey on structures.

Thank you for your time, and again, please forgive my lack of knowledge and "noobness" in these regards.
Point to Point is all simplex and designed to be heard by other base stations, not mobiles. I do know Linn County's point to point signal is weak for the mobile users. One thing to remember, the other base they are talking to has their antenna 100' or better in the air and can easily hear the signal.

I hope this clears some stuff up and welcome aboard.

Tim
 

mrdinks

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Iowa
They are preparing to narrow band but they have no plans to go digital that I know of and I am pretty sure I would know of such a move.
Narrow banding should have no effect on your scanner.

sent from my Thunderbolt using Tapatalk
 

timkilbride

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Location
Iowa County, Iowa
They are preparing to narrow band but they have no plans to go digital that I know of and I am pretty sure I would know of such a move.
Narrow banding should have no effect on your scanner.

sent from my Thunderbolt using Tapatalk
The only effect is the loudness out of audio listening to a NFM signal in FM(makes it softer) or FM in NFM mode(makes it louder).

Tim
 
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