Collin County P25

mwjones

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After several years of build out and delays, I detected a control channel last night on the Collin County's new P25 system. Based on what was gathered in SDRTrunk, the new 9-site simulcast system is actually going to be Site 2 on the Plano, Allen, Wylie, Murphy (PAWM) system, and the primary control channel is currently 774.70625.

Thanks to the quick work of the database admins, all the site details are already listed on the PAWM system page.

Monitoring SDRTrunk, I've seen a lot of registration/de-registration of a few radios, and have seen a couple of talkgroups light up, but no audio yet, so this is likely still early in the testing stage. Last update in the Commissioners Court docket was that they are targeting acceptance of the system by end of August.
 

Blaine

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So do we need to program this as TWO SEPARATE SYSTEMS, or just add the extra four 700 mhz control channels to the 800mhz ones of the PAWM system?
 

hiegtx

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So do we need to program this as TWO SEPARATE SYSTEMS, or just add the extra four 700 mhz control channels to the 800mhz ones of the PAWM system?
You don't need "two separate systems". However, you do need to program the second site. The existing PAWM "layer" uses 800MHz frequencies. The new "Collin County" layer uses 700MHz, though that in itself is not a factor.

While with the original GRE design scanners, such as the PSR500/-600, or the RadioShack labeled (or later, Whistler) scanners allowed you to add frequencies for more than one site, then set multi-site options, that is not an option with the PSR800 and the later database versions released by Whistler. Those scanners. as well as the Uniden scanners, require the sites to be entered separately so that they will both be scanned correctly. Also, the earlier GRE-designed scanners such as the PSR500, & related models, are limited to P25 Phase I only. PAWM is beginning to convert more talkgroups to Phase II. Plano has converted most of their TGIDs. Allen & some of the other cities, such as Murphy & Wylie have switched many of their law enforcement talkgroups; others cities & agencies will be switched a well as equipment is upgraded. While I have no "inside" information, I suspect that most of the Collin County related users joining will either switch as Phase II when moving to PAWM, or perhaps shortly afterward.
 

Russell

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I'd be willing to bet that Collin County will come up as Phase II. Due to the number of users and the number of channels. The analog system is very busy with SO, local PDs and Fire Ops.

Additionally, I'd program each site as a separate system with ALL talkgroups in BOTH systems. Many users will have the ability roam between sites.

When all is said and done, only McKinney and Frisco will be outliers, it'd be interesting to see if they join later as their own sites.

We should also expect to see some InterOps channels for comms between separate systems and neighboring users.

Russell
 

mwjones

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@Russell you are likely correct on it being Phase II. When the radio tech was on talkgroup 1168 doing testing last week, it was a Phase 2 TDM call. I think the limitation might be some of the radios, because as I understand it, the radios capable of being upgraded to work on the system are being kept, only the older, end-of-life radios are being replaced, so we may still see some Phase I talkgroups as fallback for some of the older radios. They've added one more frequency than the old system, so they still could be 100% Phase I with one additional channel.

I agree, Frisco and McKinney might eventually join that PAWM/Collin County System for interoperability, but since Frisco (and Prosper) are in both Collin and Denton counties, they will likely be harder to pull in, that is until the price tag to keep their stand alone controller operating goes up, which would likely convince them to join the "network" (despite the cities spanning both counties, all 3 of the current simulcast sites are in Collin County).

That said, the Frisco and Prosper FDs have Collin and Denton County systems in their radios, so they already have interop today. There is channels on the Frisco System that are Mutual Aid Channels with Little Elm, McKinney, and Plano, with the Plano one being patched to both systems (there may also be a mutual aid for Prosper to work with Celina, but I've only heard it once and haven't been able to confirm, and Celina is pushing the limits of the Frisco Simulcast system's range). I've heard the other agencies on the Mutual Aid channels, and haven't looked to see if it is a patch or their radio on the Frisco system.
 

Texoma24

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Celina has like four talkgroups on Collin. Three for fire. It's a tossup whether McKinney would join in but I could see Frisco doing it. That whole side of the county is close to exploding like Melissa. You know Melissa has a BK at 121 and 545 now?

Buddy of mine is a PCT-1 Constable, he was saying the LE side is supposed to be ... oh what's that E word we aren't supposed to use, my memory is short but strange things are happening as Greenville PD is using less and less of it so who knows. I am getting 3 bars off Blue Ridge so it will be fun to watch this grow.
 

mwjones

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Celina has like four talkgroups on Collin. Three for fire. It's a tossup whether McKinney would join in but I could see Frisco doing it. That whole side of the county is close to exploding like Melissa. You know Melissa has a BK at 121 and 545 now?
You could be right, but until somebody decides to do something, its anybodys guess. I kinda hope Frisco holds out another couple of years so I can continue to use my BCT996T (the non-Phase 2 one) as a dedicated monitoring radio, at least until I move out of Frisco (I used to work from home, and then took a job in Coppell in 2016, and prior to the pandemic was considering moving closer to the office). As far as the area exploding, Frisco and Prosper both have been for the 9 years I've lived here. Even the fabled Brinkman (Box) Ranch is starting to be carved up for development, and they're finally starting to build the DNT extension North of 380.

Buddy of mine is a PCT-1 Constable, he was saying the LE side is supposed to be ... oh what's that E word we aren't supposed to use, my memory is short but strange things are happening as Greenville PD is using less and less of it so who knows. I am getting 3 bars off Blue Ridge so it will be fun to watch this grow.
I hope the 'E' word doesn't proliferate too deep across the system. It was bad when I was listening to a police chase recently on 380 and Frisco called off as they entered McKinney, of course I didn't hear if McKinney PD picked it up because they don't have any clear channels not even dispatch. Since the new system started coming online, I decided to dial up the PAWM Site 1 on my SDS200, which of course other than dispatch is pretty much locked down. I was surprised today when I actually heard a couple of officers calling in on the Plano NCIC channel, in the clear with no 'E' flag on the Phase 2 channel (albeit with some distortion, they were understandable, so they may of been having radio problems). Of course I didn't hear the response because the dispatcher was still sending the 'E' flag. The interesting thing I noted is that even with the dispatcher though, the 'E' flag was not in the initial setup on most transmissions, meaning my scanner would stop on the channel for up to second before it would decide to move on because the flag was late (and as I am typing this one of the Plano Talkaround channels lit up and I could hear the "garbled" audio, but there was no flag on that call either, so that continued until the radio in question stopped transmitting and the next person keyed up, and the scanner moved on). I think I need to set up SDRTrunk to watch the PAWM site for a few hours and can log what's happening.

Getting 3 bars at Blue Ridge isn't bad, since the nearest simulcast site is off of County Road 502 near County Road 573. I'm lucky I'm equal distance from two of the simulcast sites, the one on the water tower at Virginia and Custer and the one at Frisco PD on Parkwood near Stonebrook Pkwy, so I get 5 bars, even on a handheld indoors. I will just be glad to hear clean audio instead of the static filled audio on the current Motorola system (fire tone outs are painful because of the distortion over the tones, and having to run the volume at a higher than normal level to hear the voice comms). Based on the dispatchers and others reports, it appears the problem is apparent to them as well, because I've heard many asks for them to repeat their last transmission.

I guess its all a wait and see. I'm going to keep the SDRTrunk logger and recorder up on it during the day as they continue testing. I hope to get some call outs of the assignments by the techs, so even if they turn on the 'E' later, we'll have the talkgroups identified in the system.
 

mwjones

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Lots of testing today on the system, sounds like they were all over the Jail and Courthouse facilities on the North Side of McKinney. They also mentioned getting radios ready for training, so there could be live users soon.
 

mwjones

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Heard a few things during testing today (the testers on Talkgroup 1168 appear to be Collin County Radio techs, so this may be their "test" group, but we'll know more as users start coming on the system if this talkgroup has another purpose).

  1. One of the techs lives in Johnson County, and he was testing a handheld on his drive across the metroplex this afternoon. He was still getting a strong signal even around the North entry to DFW, and could still be heard clear from 121/183 and Downtown Fort Worth (although both locations with dropouts). He said he would be interested in seeing what a mobile radio could do.
  2. They are planning on turning on roaming with the system, so users will be able to affiliate with either simulcast site, further increasing their coverage.
  3. Another of the techs said that Motorola messed up programming several radios "code plug" that were going to have to be reprogrammed, along with full testing of the system, so the target for users to start going live is October 1, one month later than the original target.
So it looks like we're in for 60 more days of testing (and maybe some training users) before the real traffic starts.
 

TomOrtiz

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Hi y'all. Although I have been listening to scanners since the days of crystals.....I guess I am still a novice. I apologize if this is not the place to ask but I am having trouble picking up Plano for the last week or so. I am definitely not in the know. I use a BCD325P2 and a BCD996P2, have reprogrammed both and still very little communications heard. I found this thread tonight. Is/has something changed?
Thanks.....Tom
 

mwjones

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Does anyone know if the Fire Departments are moving over as well? Or is it just the Law Enforcement side?
The system is intended to replace everything on the existing Motorola system, so the Sherriff, Fire, County Services and Jail talkgroups will all eventually be on this system, and the old Motorola system shut down.
 

mwjones

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Hi y'all. Although I have been listening to scanners since the days of crystals.....I guess I am still a novice. I apologize if this is not the place to ask but I am having trouble picking up Plano for the last week or so. I am definitely not in the know. I use a BCD325P2 and a BCD996P2, have reprogrammed both and still very little communications heard. I found this thread tonight. Is/has something changed?
Thanks.....Tom
Nothing has changed on the system other than the activation of Site 2 for the Collin County Simulcast, and as others told you in your post in the General Scanning thread:
I live in Allen,TX, the issue is the BCD325P2 and BCD996P2 doesn’t handle the multi site system Plano PD has very well. I solved the issue here by buying a small 800 MHz yagi and pointing it at one of the sites...
I'm fortunate that I have an SDS100 and SDS200, both of which handle the multi-site systems very well. I also have two SDR radio dongles, and SDRTrunk (the software for decoding Trunked P25 systems) handles multi-site as well.

Also, make sure when you reprogrammed you didn't mix in the Collin County Simulcast site (the 700Mhz frequencies for Site 2), as that site is still very much in test and will not have the traffic from the PAWM Simulcast (the 800Mhz frequencies) on it, which would give you a whole lot of dead air (I am running a logger on the Collin County Simulcast site, and can tell you that there's been all of 30 some transmissions all day today, all of them consisting of "radio check"
 

TomOrtiz

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Thanks for the info. I have never had an issue using either of these radios before. Odd that it is happening now with no changes on their side. I guess I will be upgrading to the SDS100 and 200.
 

mwjones

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Collin County may be getting close to going live. It sounds like re-programmed radios are getting in the field. Heard several Blue Ridge fire units acknowledge on Talk Group 1242, so that could be Dispatch 1 or their Tac channel (Earlier in the testing I heard Farmersville Fire on that channel which leads me to believe it is Dispatch 1, with 1243 being Dispatch 2/EMS).

Of course I'm monitoring the old system as well, and likely missed the alert, since I'm also scanning the Sherriff.

Let the monitoring continue...
 

mwjones

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Lots of testing today, with teams operating on two talkgroups doing drive and walk tests talking to the dispatch consoles.

1171 - "Dispatch 2"
1172 - "Ops 1"
 

txscum

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something has changed on the system- driving from farmersville to mckinney today my xts in the car showed out of range the entire time- my xtl at the office works but shows an ID number for each call instead of the talkgroup.

update- dispatch made a call saying the radio system was back up- went and checked my xts and its working again- must have just been an outage or maintenance
 
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