Does anyone know why I am unable to pick up anything on the south tower in Johnston Co.? I don't hear a control channel or any transmissions. I know everything is rebanded but everything works except the south tower.
While I never used JoCo's trunked system personally (back then EMS and Fire was on a VHF system in JoCo, only LEOs were on the EDAC system).
The south tower was out for LONG periods of at the time...while the main tower was on WRAL's transmitter tower. I can personally relate that one Friday around 5:15, the trunked system went down completely on WRAL's tower. JoCo's contract with WRAL had a really restrictive provision that allowed them to put an engineer on the tower betweek 8am-5pm Monday-Friday...and no other time. Even though I was on EMS at the time, I would often do ride alongs with Kenly PD. That was one weekend that all the LEOs were hiding in their offices. To be dispatched, central had to phone the police station. The officer's didn't want to respond or perform traffic stops because they had no way to call for backup or communicate with central. I even remember one officer telling me that if he really had to, he could dial 911 if he got into trouble. Long story short, the EDACS system was offline for an entire weekend.
It didn't affect anyone on the VHF system, because our tower was out at the landfill.
I've been wanting to share this story for a while but never got around to it, but Marshall's comment about the lack of interoperability changed my mind!
A few notes from my experience:
1) I have no problem that Johnston County originally chose analog EDACS years ago. They decided to go EDACS/Ma-Com long before anyone else decided to go 800Mhz. They apparently felt the system worked for them.
2) I have had issue with their take on interoperability and not making the system available to not only surrounding public safety but also the media and the general public. This type of attitude never works in the long run.
I do understand the need to encrypt certain channels for special operations safety but everyday routine operations need to be in the clear for the general public to be able to monitor.
Seems the folks in JoCo are of the mindset that "anyone that has a scanner is a criminal". Sad this is the case.
If there is someone in Public Safety in Johnston Co that reads this and wishes to discuss this further I am always available.
Happy Monitoring elsewhere in NC!
Marshall, I wasn't implying anything when I referenced your comment and I hope you didn't take it that way. I agree completely that JoCo's system doesn't fit with current interop goals or standards. Your statement just reminded me of the incident with the weekend long outage, and JoCo's short sightedness on the matter.
JoCo's TRS was the first trunked radio system I had any experience with. I remember being amazed with features such as officer's having one-on-one encrypted communications between cars (i-call). However, I can tell you that most of the officer's in Kenly (the extreme north end of the county) at the time secretly hated the radio system with a passion. They couldn't reach the south tower, even with the GE in-car radios. They were often plagued with a tone when they keyed up that apparently meant either no channel available or can't reach the tower. Their portables (which were Ericsson I believe) often had to go through several batteries during a single shift.
In relation to encrypted communications, I have no problem with certain encrypted communications. In narco, undercover, and stings; encrypted and unmonitored communications are a must. Also, as a former EMT and stringent requirements medical providers must go through to protect a patient's privacy, I can understand the argument that calls from the ambulance to ER (which often contain specific patient data) should be encrypted.
However, I believe encryption is a two edged sword. It limits interoperability, and during a emergency or outage...it could potentially block or prevent vital communications.
Lastly, what good is it to have an encrypted trunk id (such as EMS dispatch) that at the same time is simulcast over a VHF channel (which I believe JoCo does currently with Statewide Rescue TAC).
Again, my comments and what I know about JoCo's TRS are out of date by close to 10 years. I would love to hear some new information or experiences.
Have no fear my comments were not directed towards you
Just directed at those in Johnston County who have the outlook that they need to hide all communications from those that paid for those communications in the first place. This unneeded veil of secrecy is a shame.
Marshall, for what its worth, Johnston County did make a significant effort to improving interoperability on the law enforcement side during its rebanding effort. Jason Barbour, the 911 Director made the decision to create a new law enforcement talk group that if I am not mistaken is the highest scan list priority member in the EDACS Pro-Voice radios. This talk group is permanently console patched to the standard VIPER Law Enforcement talk group that we create for each county as part of their basic talk group assignment, however the talk group was renamed JC LAW. This talk group is programmed into VIPER radios and provides excellent interoperability since the traffic is bi-directional and includes the Johnston County 911 Center. It is often very difficult when a unit of government has a different technology but there are ways around it. Wayne County is likely to remain a similar island since it appears that the county has voted to build out a new VHF and UHF P25 conventional system.