Encrypted frequencies

vashooter

Newbie
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
4
Hi folks,

I'm new here and have some general questions. Thanks in advance for any advice provided to me.

1. I have no scanner other than the app on my phone. Id like to purchase a scanner to hear more public services than what is on the app (more agencies, tac channels, etc) but I don't want to spend the funds if certain frequencies will be encrypted.

Is there a way to find out if my local fire, police, etc frequencies are encrypted before I mak
 

Remington12G

Active Member
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Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
532
Location
Kentucky/Tennessee
Hi folks,

I'm new here and have some general questions. Thanks in advance for any advice provided to me.

1. I have no scanner other than the app on my phone. Id like to purchase a scanner to hear more public services than what is on the app (more agencies, tac channels, etc) but I don't want to spend the funds if certain frequencies will be encrypted.

Is there a way to find out if my local fire, police, etc frequencies are encrypted before I mak
What state and county are you located in? What department or agency do you desire to monitor? Budget?
 

rk911

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Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Messages
312
Location
Wheaton, IL
likely, yes. use the database at radioreference.com. you can drill down by state, county, city, agency. the database is maintained by volunteers who use information provided by listeners. post which agencies you are interested in a d we may be able to give you an idea.
 

vashooter

Newbie
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
4
Chesterfield County, VA - Fire and EMS. I get dispatch on the app but would love to hear some tac channels to hear what happens on scene.

Chesterfield Co. Police

Richmond, VA Fire and Police

VA State Police

Budget is really not known. I don't need anything very fancy but maybe something that I could grow into. Remember, I am a newbie so something easy to use would be great. Maybe 300-500 range???
 

Remington12G

Active Member
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Dec 20, 2018
Messages
532
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Kentucky/Tennessee
Chesterfield County, VA - Fire and EMS. I get dispatch on the app but would love to hear some tac channels to hear what happens on scene.

Chesterfield Co. Police

Richmond, VA Fire and Police

VA State Police

Budget is really not known. I don't need anything very fancy but maybe something that I could grow into. Remember, I am a newbie so something easy to use would be great. Maybe 300-500 range???
Chesterfield County Sheriff and Richmond PD are all encrypted P25. Fire & EMS are in the clear using digital P25. The system Chesterfield uses is in the 800MHz band while Virginia State Police use a statewide VHF system. VSP is also on P25 with some limited encryption use. I would recommend a Uniden Homepatrol Series. I'm not too familiar with your area so Im not sure if Simulcast Distortion is an issue.
 

vashooter

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Mar 12, 2014
Messages
4
Appreciate the response. What about Chesterfield County Police Department, if you have time and are willing to check it out. Thanks!
 

BoxAlarm187

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Mar 19, 2003
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Location
Old Dominion
Appreciate the response. What about Chesterfield County Police Department, if you have time and are willing to check it out. Thanks!
Shooter,

ALL law enforcement on the Richmond regional radio system is encrypted (Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond, and Colonial Heights; both the PD and SO for each jurisdiction). All fire/EMS is in the clear, so no worries there.

VSP is on STARS (VHF), you won't have any issues monitoring them.

The HP2 is a good "beginner" scanner (but still feature-packed), but the simulcast issue is alive and well here, so you may want to explore the SDS series, if you want to shell out the additional dollars for one.
 

vashooter

Newbie
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
4
Shooter,

ALL law enforcement on the Richmond regional radio system is encrypted (Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond, and Colonial Heights; both the PD and SO for each jurisdiction). All fire/EMS is in the clear, so no worries there.

VSP is on STARS (VHF), you won't have any issues monitoring them.

The HP2 is a good "beginner" scanner (but still feature-packed), but the simulcast issue is alive and well here, so you may want to explore the SDS series, if you want to shell out the additional dollars for one.
Thanks,. I really appreciate the info. I'm guessing there is no legal way to unlock the encryption? Not being able to monitor PD (aside from State PD) is a bummer. That really only leaves me primarily interested in addional Chesterfield Fire / EMS channels so I can hear what happens once they arrive on scene.

With that said, is there another scanner you'd recommend?

I'm not familiar with the simulcast issue that you mentioned. Again, brand new at this.
 

NS9710

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Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
307
Location
Petersburg, VA
Richmond Sheriff and Henrico Sheriff isn't fully encrypted, I know the jail/court talkgroups aren't, however Chesterfield county PD, SO, Richmond PD, Colonial Heights PD and SO and Henrico PD are full encrypted.

Shooter,

ALL law enforcement on the Richmond regional radio system is encrypted (Chesterfield, Henrico, Richmond, and Colonial Heights; both the PD and SO for each jurisdiction). All fire/EMS is in the clear, so no worries there.

VSP is on STARS (VHF), you won't have any issues monitoring them.

The HP2 is a good "beginner" scanner (but still feature-packed), but the simulcast issue is alive and well here, so you may want to explore the SDS series, if you want to shell out the additional dollars for one.
 

fredva

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Mar 19, 2007
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1,613
Location
Virginia/West Virginia
With that said, is there another scanner you'd recommend?

I'm not familiar with the simulcast issue that you mentioned. Again, brand new at this.
Simulcast distortion is the result of radio systems that broadcast digital transmissions from several transmitters simultaneously on the same frequency. These signals coming from different locations on the same frequency will usually arrive at your radio out of sync with each other because they travel different distances to get there. The out-of-sync signals will produce a garbling effect when a transmission is received, or will result in the digital transmission to not be decoded at all (silence). It can be very frustrating for owners of scanners that do not have the hardware to deal with simulcast.

The SDS scanners are built to handle simulcast. Unication pagers are also used like scanners on simulcast systems, but they have some limitations. Another option is to turn a computer into a scanner - Software Defined Radio. For example, I use the OP25 software program along with a USB receiver dongle. SDR can be the cheaper option, but usually requires more setup work.


To answer your earlier question about encryption, there's no legal or technical way to overcome encryption. You would have to have the encryption keys, and those are only provided to authorized radios on the system. And they are too complicated to guess - the keys are long and have too many possible combinations.
 

jonwienke

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VA
The HomePatrols are the worst Uniden option for receiving simulcast. They choke badly in simulcast conditions where the 436 and 536 receive about 80% of traffic.
 

markrob7000

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Joined
Apr 4, 2004
Messages
32
Location
Powhatan, VA
I would second the recommendation to wait until you can afford an SDS100 or 200 if you want to monitor Chesterfield Fire&EMS tac channels. Once they switch over from Motorola Smartnet to a true P25 Phase 2 system you could also use some SDR dongles and SDRTrunk or similar programs to monitor Chesterfield for less money. I've used SDRTrunk to monitor Hanover Fire/EMS with no problems.
 

Ovi8caps

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May 24, 2020
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Powhatan Virginia
so im quite new as well and im actually listening to the same channels as @vashooter. i have bought the sds100 and love it but i feel like i should be able to listen to so much more than i actually am. i dont quite understand the p25 system ive used sentinal software to load channels but again not sure if im using the full capabilities of the radio.
 

fredva

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Mar 19, 2007
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Location
Virginia/West Virginia
so im quite new as well and im actually listening to the same channels as @vashooter. i have bought the sds100 and love it but i feel like i should be able to listen to so much more than i actually am. i dont quite understand the p25 system ive used sentinal software to load channels but again not sure if im using the full capabilities of the radio.
We might need more specific info from you to help. What are you receiving, and what do you feel that you are missing?
 

K3QQN

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Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
8
Location
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Hi folks,

I'm new here and have some general questions. Thanks in advance for any advice provided to me.

1. I have no scanner other than the app on my phone. Id like to purchase a scanner to hear more public services than what is on the app (more agencies, tac channels, etc) but I don't want to spend the funds if certain frequencies will be encrypted.

Is there a way to find out if my local fire, police, etc frequencies are encrypted before I mak
Yes, there is. Go into the database for the area you live in. Open up the frequency listings for the trunking systems used by you local agencies. Next to the mode letter indicator by each talkgroup there will be either a big E or a small e. Big is full time the small one indicates some transmissions will be encrypted. 73 Jim
 

BoxAlarm187

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Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
1,553
Location
Old Dominion
We might need more specific info from you to help. What are you receiving, and what do you feel that you are missing?
In addition to what Fred said, where you're located in Powhatan can potentially have some effect on reception (ie: the need for an outdoor antenna).
 
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