Digital forcing us back to our analog roots?

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battleflag

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I'm wondering if anyone else feels this way.

I started my scanner hobby about 40 years ago with a Radio Shack Pro 12 4 channel VHF crystal scanner and have progressed through many models up to my current 800 analog trunk tracker scanners. My county public safety system has now gone digital which creates some barriers for me; the cost of digital scanners is prohibitive and even if I could buy one, it seems that they all have difficulties properly receiving and tracking digital systems.

I've about decided to simply go back to my roots and monitor only vhf/uhf analog railroad, aircraft, ambulance, and the few vhf public safety simulcast feeds which exist around here. So I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same way and is making a conscious decision to not chase the move into digital scanning?
 

lmrtek

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The ONLY reason they went to digital is because they were BRIBED to do so

This is what happens when you allow crooked county commissioners and 911 directors to decide what radios and companies to go with!

These elected officials are CLUELESS about radios and only do what their grants and bribes dictate

Analog easily outperforms digital and instead of 5 thousand dollars per hand held, you can use $200 dollar radios!

The deception campaigns concocted by radio manufacturers has taken advantage of the low IQ commissioners and directors

I simply listen to scanners online these days

I can pick up all the digital scanner traffic for free on my phone so no need to spend $600 on a scanner
 

Nasby

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Digital is here to stay. Like it or not.

If you want to hear the excitement then you have to embrace the modern, digital era.

I enjoy analog too. But listening to switching in a train yard, or a two second, mundane reply from a pilot doesn't do it for me.

I've found that digital scanners can be quite affordable. Especially in the used market.

In some areas they don't do well. So doing research for a particluar area is crucial.

I loved my rotary dial phone but times change and technology moves forward.
 

jonwienke

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So I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same way and is making a conscious decision to not chase the move into digital scanning?
No. Most localities are transitioning to digital trunked systems for a variety of reasons, most significantly the fact that more users sharing a pool of frequencies is a more sensible use of bandwidth than every user group having a separate frequency. Digital offers better range for a given power level, secured communication if needed, and a robust means for keeping unauthorized users from accessing the system. With analog, you can't stop anyone from jumping on your repeater if they know how to dial in the frequency an PL tone.

In many localities, some digital talkgroups are simulcast on legacy analog FM frequencies, but as older equipment is retired, even these are going by the wayside. You can either follow the technology, or eventually just listen to static,.
 

R8000

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The ONLY reason they went to digital is because they were BRIBED to do so

This is what happens when you allow crooked county commissioners and 911 directors to decide what radios and companies to go with!

These elected officials are CLUELESS about radios and only do what their grants and bribes dictate

Analog easily outperforms digital and instead of 5 thousand dollars per hand held, you can use $200 dollar radios!

The deception campaigns concocted by radio manufacturers has taken advantage of the low IQ commissioners and directors

I simply listen to scanners online these days

I can pick up all the digital scanner traffic for free on my phone so no need to spend $600 on a scanner
There is so much fail in the above comment, I don't know where to begin.
 

NathanJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOTEX View Post
The ONLY reason they went to digital is because they were BRIBED to do so

This is what happens when you allow crooked county commissioners and 911 directors to decide what radios and companies to go with!

These elected officials are CLUELESS about radios and only do what their grants and bribes dictate

Analog easily outperforms digital and instead of 5 thousand dollars per hand held, you can use $200 dollar radios!

The deception campaigns concocted by radio manufacturers has taken advantage of the low IQ commissioners and directors

I simply listen to scanners online these days

I can pick up all the digital scanner traffic for free on my phone so no need to spend $600 on a scanner


** There is so much fail in the above comment, I don't know where to begin. **
I agree, want to split lines and start responding?
 

battleflag

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I live in Portland, Oregon and most everyone I've talked to says the phase 2 systems here suffer from severe digital distortion so part of the reason behind my original post is that I can't see spending upwards of $500 for a phase 2 digital scanner when reception may be hampered from the outset.
 

RayAir

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Well, I got out of scanning for years except for every now and then, but digital is what got me back in.

In 2012-2013 most of the local LTR's switched to MotoTRBO Connect Plus and another went NXDN. Knowing nothing about DMR or Nexedge I started researching and learning about the systems at a base level then figured out how to monitor them.

Those earlier days were more enjoyable (fun) because monitoring those systems could not be done by scanners. Many entities using these technologies were told they could not be monitored (he he he). And in a sense, that was true at the time, no scanner could anyway.

Technology evolves. Go where the water takes you.

Always keep learning...
 

RichardKramer

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Digital vs Analog

I program all the legacy freqs into my analog only scanners and even though I own 2 436's, the sound quality is much better on analog. I work in a very large warehouse in security; we tried digital radios on our uhf freqs and had many more dead spots and garbled comms than with the anlalog radios at the same power level. The only reason digital seems to outperform analog at the same power level is because you have 2 or 3 or 4 or more times as many towers for trunked systems than you need for analog to get the same coverage. In PA the State Police had a great VHF system in place statewide. They had mobile rptrs in the cars to retransmit the officers ht's. I heard of very few dead spots on that system compared to the Open JunkSky system they currently use which had 100's of towers plastered throughout the state. Heck, the OAG air/ground system with 10 towers across the state almost out performs the OJsky system. Yea, having the analog/digital 700/800 systems coverage being worse than the analog vhf/uhf systems really squashed the idea of freeing up frequencies; almost every pubic safety agency that went to 700/800MHz trunking whether it be analog or digital complained of dead spots they didn't have with analog legacy radios and petitioned the FCC to keep or get leagacy freqs back to use. While analog systems can be more easily hacked into; a smart techno geek can hack into an analog/digital trunked system also. Analog radios are not going away anytime soon; as an example, we have several medevac helos that operate here in Berks Co and they use analog legacy freqs for comms. It would be too cost prohibitive to buy every digital system radio for the areas they operate in. The kicker here in Berks is they encrypt the PD fulltime; but when there is a large op involving State Police or outside Co agencies they have to patch to legacy freqs in the clear; so much for the expense they put into their full time encryption. What a waste of money.
 

ChrisABQ

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Here in NM, my city of Albuquerque is on the aged EDACS/ProVoice system and no plans on replacing it. Most counties around me are on analog, fortunately.

Now that it's fire season, I consistently here the mutual aid calls for wild fires between the counties, but GUESS WHAT? Our county/city FD's cannot even communicate with the counties next door.

What I cannot understand, is our state police switching to a 700 mhz P25 conventional system, in a vast mountainous desert state with far and few between. 700/800 mhz for city, sure just fine, but for a huge empty desert? C'mon. In the Albuquerque area, there is already many instances of broken comms and digital issues.

The national forests and state parks have already started switching to P25 conventional, all with the same effect It's a sad waste of money for these agencies and people will eventually suffer because of it.
 
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jonwienke

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What I cannot understand, is our state police switching to a 700 mhz P25 conventional system, in a vast mountainous desert state with far and few between. 700/800 mhz for city, sure just fine, but for a huge empty desert? C'mon. In the Albuquerque area, there is already many instances of broken comms and digital issues.
That's a problem with the 700MHz band, not digital. P25 is a modulation scheme, and can be used on any frequency RF carrier.
 

ChrisABQ

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That is kind of my point to why things are just getting stupid. I'm not knocking digital, but why in the hell would they leave the VHF band and go to 700 mhz considering the terrain?
 

TDR-94

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The major reason for the shift to digital is it's spectrum efficiency.With so much information being transmitted wirelessly, RF spectrum is at a premium. Infotainment is requiring more and more spectrum and everything is being squeezed on the private, commercial and PS bands to better accommodate this continuously growing segment.
 

ButchGone

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Before and during the buildout of Tennessee's statewide P25 network, lots of people complained about how the system would never work in the mountainous areas. In their minds analog VHF is the only workable solution. Well, guess what? The system works better than anything the state and local agencies had on legacy networks. People have portable coverage in areas and in buildings that they never had before. Transmitter sites were carefully selected for mountain tops to cover the wildly fluctuating terrain. Is it 100% coverage? Of course not, no system is. The system includes 800, 700 and 150 MHz frequencies combining simulcast cells and independent sites. Mutual aid and interop talkgroups give anyone in the state access to communicate with anyone else no matter where they are, from Memphis to the Smoky Moutains.
Yes it's expensive and requires lots of towers and hardware. But the result is accomplishing the goal of reliable local, regional and statewide communications with plenty of talk groups and capacity.
BG..
 

NC1

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Once the scanner I have does not receive the new digital modes, I will put it on a shelf and not keep chasing the latest and greatest shiny new objects. Your new expensive machine will be outdated in a few years anyway.

I had a very sizable chunk of funds set aside for a couple new scanners (base, mobile, and HT), but when I see companies who won't support what they manufactured, can't get their latest scanners working right before releasing a new model, can't get the bugs worked out in the software, or just can't get their act together in general, I decided to find a new hobby and spend my money there - so I got my Amateur Radio License! I had one before, but decided to get back into it again after a long absence.

The scanner manufacturers got nothing, not a dime, and I now have a nice used HF rig that will not be outdated any time soon. I also bought a top of the line HF antenna with the best coax cable available to match the setup. Then I bought a VHF/UHF dual band radio along with a dual band base antenna, and again got very expensive low loss hardline to go between the two. I am probably 50 times happier and more content than if I had I bought some scanners.

Just my .02 on the subject anyway.
 

ShyFlyer

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The advantage of digital over analog is superior voice quality. However, with analog you'll still be able to get your message across in fringe areas where digital will just garble.


Here in NM, my city of Albuquerque is on the aged EDACS/ProVoice system and no plans on replacing it.
Plans they got, money they don't. Well, BernCo doesn't anyway.
 

DJ11DLN

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I sometimes feel that the move away from analog repeaters to digital trunked systems is in some situations/agencies/localities an answer to a question that nobody asked. And to me, a good analog signal will always sound much better, clearer, and understandable than P25 digital.

That said, digital trunking is here to stay and if you want to hear what's going on, you have to come up with the coin to get the gear necessary to do that. Be it a scanner, the Unication G4/5 pager, or a re-purposed LMR radio. It is what it is.

Thankfully, my statewide TSYS doesn't present much of a challenge for a properly-programmed scanner. I do have sympathy for those who do not enjoy this advantage.
 
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That is kind of my point to why things are just getting stupid. I'm not knocking digital, but why in the hell would they leave the VHF band and go to 700 mhz considering the terrain?


Because they generally go where they can get spectrum. Say you are trying to build a VHF trunking system. It's not extremely common because it's not exactly easy to acquire the licensing. If you are a state entity building out a system for everyone to use, you've got to have the capacity to prevent an unacceptable amount of busies. You can't have existing licenses clear out for you, it's a first come first serve basis. There is adequate spectrum in 700/800 MHz and you don't deal with co-channel interference as most sites don't cover but a 10-15 mile radius. An example of an exception are between Austin and Houston where public safety literally acquired as much 800 MHz spectrum as possible to build out systems like GATRRS and TxWARN (making SMR licenses a premium commodity).

As for performance, it really depends on the situations. In testing, P25 didn't perform as well as wide band analog. It did however outperform narrow band analog. DMR can easily outperform wideband analog. (This is just assessing the modulation schemes.) Nowadays, digital radios can have much better sensitivity and selectivity when working with digital signals compared to any analog comparison.

Digital schemes can do things better and more reliably than analog. Analog can do things better than digital. It just depends on how and what is needed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

n1das

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The ONLY reason they went to digital is because they were BRIBED to do so

This is what happens when you allow crooked county commissioners and 911 directors to decide what radios and companies to go with!

These elected officials are CLUELESS about radios and only do what their grants and bribes dictate

Analog easily outperforms digital and instead of 5 thousand dollars per hand held, you can use $200 dollar radios!

The deception campaigns concocted by radio manufacturers has taken advantage of the low IQ commissioners and directors

I simply listen to scanners online these days

I can pick up all the digital scanner traffic for free on my phone so no need to spend $600 on a scanner
There is so much EPIC FAIL above that I don't know where to start and I won't go there.

Digital radios and the technology got me to upgrade my scanners and upgrade my 2-way radio capabilities too. Digital is here to stay whether we like it or not and I'm not about to be left out either. The more that digital radio technologies proliferate, the more likely it is that I will have the same capabilities too. I own P25 Phase 1, DMR, and NXDN radios that I use on the ham bands and listen to non-ham digital stuff too. The DMR radios also get used on a friend's UHF Part 90 business radio network of DMR repeaters. We use encryption there to keep the business stuff secure from unauthorized DMR radios and DMR-capable scanners.

My most recent addition is FHSS digital on 900MHz using Motorola DTR and DLR series radios. They work excellent for local on-site simplex type operations. It's a nice alternative to GMRS/FRS simplex operations and actually work better for that type of use. The DTRs and DLRs are not monitorable on any scanner and it's highly unlikely that they ever will be because of FHSS and VSELP digital. I programmed a private talk group in them so they only work with DTR radios that are a member of group and are unmonitorable by other DTRs and DLRs which are not a member of the group. It's very unlikely that any scanner will ever hear my wife and I when we are operating on 900MHz using DTRs. While not encrypted, the DTRs can be made VERY secure given how they operate.

In addition to owning digital scanners, I own digital radios for different purposes. Digital is here to stay and I'm not going to be left out.

Have fun! :)
 
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sparklehorse

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My county public safety system has now gone digital which creates some barriers for me; the cost of digital scanners is prohibitive and even if I could buy one, it seems that they all have difficulties properly receiving and tracking digital systems.

I've about decided to simply go back to my roots and monitor only vhf/uhf analog railroad, aircraft, ambulance, and the few vhf public safety simulcast feeds which exist around here. So I'm wondering if anyone else feels the same way and is making a conscious decision to not chase the move into digital scanning?

Your argument is as old as human kind. You can embrace change, or you can fight it. It's your choice. The relentless wheel of technology will roll on regardless.

.
 
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