Calgary Digital Radio need some help

Status
Not open for further replies.

omrail

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
469
Location
Leduc Alberta
I am programming my 396 and have some questions about the radio system.

1.which site is the many site?
2. from what i read the banker hall and Forest Lawn sites are just Backup. yes or no?
3. and the Backup Talkgroups are only on that site that is the same?
4.also when i import the system using ARC396 it is just giving me the Primary Control and alternate control channels. do I not need all the Frequencies?

if there is any thing more I need to know pleas let me know.

thank you for any help.
 

Jay911

.
Feed Provider
Joined
Feb 15, 2002
Messages
9,292
Location
Bragg Creek, Alberta
Let me see if I can answer your questions and others I think you might have later on.

1. Banker's Hall is the main site, site #1. It is the one that will carry the most traffic.
2. No, Banker's and Forest Lawn are not only backup sites - they carry regular traffic as well. However...
3. Yes, the backup talkgroups are only heard on these sites. I'll explain that in a moment.
4. If you set your 396 to Control Channel Only mode and load only the CC's and alt CC's, your radio will work just fine.

Now ... to talk to some points.

The backup stuff: Each agency has a handful of channels that only work on certain sites (by design - the radios are programmed to use only that specific site when a user switches to that channel on his channel list). As I write this, I'm not 100% sure if a console user (dispatcher) originating a call might be able to transmit a backup talkgroup on all sites.. but anyway, the two backup sites are Banker's Hall and Forest Lawn. I'm not sure why Forest Lawn was picked - maybe because the lion's share of Calgary's residential population is concentrated in the NE - but the Banker's site is the primary backup because it is the tallest and most central site in the city. The idea behind having backup comms only on one site is so that if one (or more) of the towers gets isolated from the main system - a situation known as "site trunking", where a tower is still operating but not communicating its transmissions to the other towers/sites - then with the backup comms only on one site, you will not have to worry about other outages/problems screwing you up even further.

Another thing to remember for those who haven't monitored a Smartzone system before is that not every talkgroup is active on every site, for every transmission. To reduce the amount of frequencies and radio signals used, only towers which have radios affiliated to specific talkgroups will hear/transmit that talkgroup's comms. The exception is as mentioned Banker's Hall, and as well, some talkgroups can be (and have been) programmed to transmit on all sites all the time. Anyway.. for example, if I am on C16 in my fire truck in Redwood Meadows, hitting the TransAlta tower on Broadcast Hill, and talking to 71 Pump who is in Springbank, hitting the Spy Hill tower, and nobody in the south half of the city has C16 turned on on their radio, the Fish Creek tower will not broadcast C16. Now, if 26 Pump suddenly pulls out a portable and tunes it to C16, then you will hear those comms on the Fish Creek tower as well. There has to be a radio tuned in to that talkgroup in order for a site to receive it. Like I said, it's especially useful for limiting the amount of resources (frequencies and airtime) used - the less the Fish Creek tower is transmitting, for example, the Airport Authority parking garage channel, the more resources are available on FC for other talkgroups. What does that mean to a scanner user? If you know something is going on on the other side of the city and you can't hear anything on that channel, try switching to another tower site closer to the incident (if you can). If you can't, you may be SOL, unless someone with a 'real' radio tunes in in your zone.

If you choose to put all six sites into one system on your 396, be aware that it will not automatically switch to the strongest site every time the scanner hits that system. Once the 396 is turned on and captures a good CC for a system, it will always go back to that CC unless it completely loses the signal for a certain amount of time, or is turned off and then on again. So if you start out downtown and lock on to Banker's Hall, then move south into Fish Creek's territory, your scanner will still weakly get BH's signal - and your reception will be crap. What I do in that case is turn the radio off, try and shield it from receiving Banker's somehow (usually standing between the antenna and the tower is a good way), and turn the radio back on. Then it should capture FC properly and your signal will be decent again.

Why would you bother putting all six sites in one system, you ask? Mainly so you don't have to fart around with six sets of talkgroups. I tried that (putting each tower in as a separate site) for about 2 days when I first got my 396 and it drove me up the wall - if I wanted to switch Police on, or lock out a CFD tactical talkgroup, or whatever, I had to do it six times in a row! Think about doing it on some of those ridiculously huge systems like Ontario's FleetNet or the Nevada Shared Radio System.

Last but not least - if you have not done the firmware upgrade from this past spring for your 396, I strongly urge you to do it if you intend to listen to Calgary DRS. The P25 (digital) audio on 753f is much, MUCH improved after the firmware upgrade than with the v1 396.
 

omrail

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
469
Location
Leduc Alberta
ok I get most of it. A little confused with the 2nd to last paragraph so just to clarify you just have one site in your scanner Jay911? I take it to be Banker's Hall site? thank you for your help.
 

Jay911

.
Feed Provider
Joined
Feb 15, 2002
Messages
9,292
Location
Bragg Creek, Alberta
I have one system set up in my scanner with all the control channels of all the sites. That way I can avoid having to set 6 different sets of talkgroups.
 

omrail

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
469
Location
Leduc Alberta
awesome Jay911 that is what i was looking for. now to get to Calgary to have a listen to it. also have fun on the train and enjoy the race.
 

mark2117

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
232
Location
Medicine Hat, Alberta
Why would you bother putting all six sites in one system, you ask? Mainly so you don't have to fart around with six sets of talkgroups.
I have one system set up in my scanner with all the control channels of all the sites. That way I can avoid having to set 6 different sets of talkgroups.
I'm not sure if I understand as well, are you putting JUST the control channels into one system or are you putting every frequency from every site into one system?
 

smason

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2006
Messages
1,017
Location
Alberta Canada, Eh!
Thanks, Jay for the detailed explanation.. I'm waiting for my GRE 600 to arrive, and having never done any trunked monitoring except for hitting the scan button when I hear the GE song :)

I have pre-loaded Win500 with the Calgary system, and some of my favorite conventional freqs.

I loaded everything as one system, and created my scan groups.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "If you set your 396 to Control Channel Only mode "

Thanks,

Steve
 

yyc_tbird_sc

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
81
Location
Calgary Ab.
Jay...I've been screwing around and I think I've got it setup like you've described. Here goes:

System: Calgary Digital
-----Sites:
---------Bankers Hall
---------Forest Lawn
---------TransAlta
---------Spy Hill
---------Fish Creek
---------Airport
-----Groups:
---------CPS (all the TGID's)
---------CFD (all the TGID's)
---------Airport (all the TGID's)
---------EMS
System: RCMP
-----Groups:
---------Alberta
---------BC
etc etc.



Now....like this, as far as I understand I should just be able to go in and lock out whichever sites I don't want to listen to. right? It's for a BCD996
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top