Butler County Police appear to have switched radios

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nvycat14

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I had the Butler County Police North and South bands on my scanner and they have been dead silent since either Thanksgiving or the day before. I had noticed quite a few "radio service radio checks" in the past several weeks leading up to this. I am still picking up Fire and EMS on their old bands.

Can someone help me understand the radio switch? My RadioShack PRO-433 from the 90s is supposed to be capable of Motorola I/II/IIi trunking; does this mean I should be able to program it to pick up traffic on the new frequencies? I have seen the word "encryption" tossed around these forums a lot, and there's some clear misunderstanding of how encrypted voice actually works (relevant: I have a background in Naval Cryptography). If the comms are encrypted, no one will be able to listen without the encryption keys. But if it's just trunking, I get the feeling I should be able to pick it up.

Thanks in advance.
 

nvycat14

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I assume so. I'm trying to make sure it's possible to monitor the new channels before I put money into an upgrade. I have a RS PRO-433 from 2005-2006 time frame that can only handle analog trunking. I was looking at this one: https://www.amazon.com/Whistler-WS1065-Desktop-Digital-Scanner/dp/B00IID3OLI/. It states, "Scans most common trunked radio system signaling formats, including Motorola, EDACS, LTR and P25 trunked radio networks." It does specify "digital" as well. So if that's all ICORRS uses, it should be fine, but some people are talking about encryption, which would be impossible to monitor without the encryption keys.
 

u2brent

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The new system is Project 25 Phase II TDMA. So make sure the new radio can do PH2/TDMA (not just P25, which is plain old PH1 or FDMA)
If it does not specifically say P25 phase 2(II) or TDMA I'd double check some resources before buying..
It looks like you need at least a 1080 or newer series from the whistler line. :unsure:
 

nvycat14

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You are definitely right. I was missing the Phase II monkey wrench. I'm also looking into software alternatives, as the Phase II scanners are pretty pricey.
 

n3obl

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Police channels are to be encrypted on the new trunk system.
 

u2brent

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SDR's and software are definitely the cheapest way to go, providing you have a computer and a bit of patience getting it up and running, won't help with the encryption booger though.. ;)
 

jeffm77

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The rumor I heard was, they were leaving the old system patched in with the new system until the 1st of the year. Then a full switch over to the digital and all police were to be encrypted.
 
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I'm able to pick up Butler Police 1 & 2 on ICORRS as of a few minutes ago. It sounds like a mix of encrypted and unencrypted, dispatch being broadcast in the clear and the portable radios possibly being encrypted. Audio attached.

ICORRS (Inter County Regional Radio System)
Butler Co Law Enforcement - Police Dispatch 2
TGID 1752 Freq 858.012500

ICORRS (Inter County Regional Radio System)
Butler Co Law Enforcement - Police Dispatch 1
TGID 1751 Freq 858.562500
 

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rolesnevich

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Butler County, PA
I'm able to pick up Butler Police 1 & 2 on ICORRS as of a few minutes ago. It sounds like a mix of encrypted and unencrypted, dispatch being broadcast in the clear and the portable radios possibly being encrypted. Audio attached.

ICORRS (Inter County Regional Radio System)
Butler Co Law Enforcement - Police Dispatch 2
TGID 1752 Freq 858.012500

ICORRS (Inter County Regional Radio System)
Butler Co Law Enforcement - Police Dispatch 1
TGID 1751 Freq 858.562500
Dispatch and some cops where in clear. But I think most I heard in clear where still using old radio as no talk id was coming thru. I have not been monitoring them since fire switch to new channel. As i been working on getting the unit id for the fire and ems units.
 

ffemt134

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Some observations....

--I've noticed that Butler is actually sending paging tones over the dispatch talkgroups on the P25 system as well as the analog UHF channel.

--Much to my surprise, I've also found that my PRO-96 scanner can sometimes track/monitor it quite well, despite it not being Phase 2 capable. It's not 24/7 that it's able to, but it seems like more often than not. Can anyone provide any insight why this is?
 

u2brent

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Likely they are testing in FDMA (P25 PH1) temporarily. This too shall pass and the radio will become silent when they really go 100% TDMA (PH2)
 

talviar

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Likely they are testing in FDMA (P25 PH1) temporarily. This too shall pass and the radio will become silent when they really go 100% TDMA (PH2)
More likely a radio on the talkgroup was down in the Armstrong County system coverage area which is FDMA Only and talkgroup reverted to FDMA......
 
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