HP-2: Living with encryption

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SCPD

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I hope this thread is in the right place. My first post.

I was a scanner fan until my AR8200 died a couple of years ago, and did not stay informed as to what was happening in NJ. After wrestling with setting up a AR8200, getting a HomePatrol-2 was a dream come true for ease of use. I was so excited when I opened it on Xmas day.

Due to total public safely encryption, most of South Jersey is now dark for those that choose to be an informed citizen.
I am frustrated, disgusted, and incredibly saddened that this very cool device is now off limits to public safety.
I understand all the arguments for and against it, and it's not the purpose of this thread.
I hope that the misguded blunt force of shutting out of citizens that support first responders will become apparent over time and a smarter use of this technology to create a balance between service personnel privacy and public personal safety can be reached. IMHO, In the era of "see something, say something" NJ has encryption duct tape wrapped across our ears.



But I digress:

What can I do with this scanner? Is anyone finding a meaningful scanning life after encryption? How?
I am going to have to program it and am looking for advice from other encryption sufferers and what they find as still valuable on the airwaves, and why they enjoy it. I am trying to make lemonade with what I am now seeing as a big lemon :) The device is scanning too many dark channels now, and would like to know your new favorite service types.

I can't see making any scanner recommendations to newbies in NJ anymore, the market is gone. But, I am too much of an airwave junkie to return it, as I also own a shortwave radio.

Thank you in advance.
Sad in NJ
 

SCPD

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Consider yourself lucky .. you live in the US, try Canada ... way more encryption for anything that matters, even EMS is encrypted here.

I know there are those that will say the sky is not falling .. but it is as encryption is the final straw with no fixing this one.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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I hope this thread is in the right place. My first post.

I was a scanner fan until my AR8200 died a couple of years ago, and did not stay informed as to what was happening in NJ. After wrestling with setting up a AR8200, getting a HomePatrol-2 was a dream come true for ease of use. I was so excited when I opened it on Xmas day.

Due to total public safely encryption, most of South Jersey is now dark for those that choose to be an informed citizen.
I am frustrated, disgusted, and incredibly saddened that this very cool device is now off limits to public safety.
I understand all the arguments for and against it, and it's not the purpose of this thread.
I hope that the misguded blunt force of shutting out of citizens that support first responders will become apparent over time and a smarter use of this technology to create a balance between service personnel privacy and public personal safety can be reached. IMHO, In the era of "see something, say something" NJ has encryption duct tape wrapped across our ears.



But I digress:

What can I do with this scanner? Is anyone finding a meaningful scanning life after encryption? How?
I am going to have to program it and am looking for advice from other encryption sufferers and what they find as still valuable on the airwaves, and why they enjoy it. I am trying to make lemonade with what I am now seeing as a big lemon :) The device is scanning too many dark channels now, and would like to know your new favorite service types.

I can't see making any scanner recommendations to newbies in NJ anymore, the market is gone. But, I am too much of an airwave junkie to return it, as I also own a shortwave radio.

Thank you in advance.
Sad in NJ
You did upgrade the firmware and database with Sentinel I assume? These radios don't work right out of the box without some tweaking.

When they finally encrypt everything in my area, I will go back to some simple analog scanners and scan for the local oscillator frequencies of the public safety radios. When I get a hit I will look down the block!
 

JStemann

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Just a quick look in the database shows most frequencies and talk groups being open. Is the database incorrect? What systems are you trying to monitor?

Jeff.
 

JamesO

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You also have to think outside the box a bit. While clear comms is ideal, sometimes you need to listen to other things as well.

Aircraft, traffic services (planes & cars), utilities, shopping malls and retail, apartment and condos, businesses and be believe it or not the local public school security and school buses.

Where I live the public school system has the largest school bus fleet in the country, more buses than Greyhound! The system also covers 400 square miles. So for traffic and weather/road condition updates, the school system and bus channels are a great resource.

Also monitor the Aircraft and Helicopter default frequencies, they can be a wealth of info.

:but do not give up yet, make sure you radio is properly configured.
 

rabrol

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You also have to think outside the box a bit. While clear comms is ideal, sometimes you need to listen to other things as well....

So for traffic and weather/road condition updates, the school system and bus channels are a great resource.

Also monitor the Aircraft and Helicopter default frequencies, they can be a wealth of info.

:but do not give up yet, make sure you radio is properly configured.
Agreed.
There is a lot of analog, and unencrypted DMR.
Your HP-2 is capable of monitoring a lot of traffic.

Although I can still monitor Public Safety, during big events, some interesting notifications get broadcast to buses, trains etc.

Personally I am a fan of airband and airport services. Aviation isn't going anywhere soon.
Then there's always the thrill of monitoring Military Air traffic.

Setting up a cheap dongle can also provide you with a lot of info, even on channels you cannot decode. The control channels are not encrypted. If you set it up correctly, you can see when any user turns on a radio, changes channels etc. Over the course of a few years you can identify different groups of radios as well as channels. So while you might not be able to listen to your local PD, you can "see" the traffic on a computer screen and know when things are busy. Many PDs may also have simplex unencrypted channels that get used, especially during major incidents.

It's all about the thrill of the chase!
 

SCPD

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Thanks for the replies. I did install Sentinel, and the device is current, per the instructions. I used to know the closest 10 police departments by frequency, and they are all listed as Deprecated in the RR database now. I am close to the Philly airport, so all that traffic is clear.
EMS dispatch is still open across all the encrypted counties, I think that may be due to the large number of volunteer firefighters that cannot, and should not be blocked out. Volunteer firefighting has a tradition in south jersey that goes back over a century. These people are true real life heroes.
There is something to be said about volunteering to save a stranger's life for nothing more than the feeling of accomplishment it provides.


What is a "dongle"?
Any links to explain?
 

JamesO

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Dongle is basically a USB plug in device. It could be a hardware key or hardware device.

Suggest you Google and and search SDR as well. SDR is a small, low cost, USB radio receiver., known as a Software Defined Radio.
 

wbswetnam

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One thing that you could certainly listen to is commercial airline intra-company communications on AM VHF frequencies. Many times when there is an incident on board, such as a sick passenger, mechanical problem, etc. you can hear discussions between the flight crew and ground. Check out frequencies in the database for the major airlines: Southwest, Delta, American, United, etc.

Another source of amusement is listening to school communications. Are you close to a school? It's very likely you can hear the assistant principals shouting "Fight in the cafeteria! Where's security??!!" on their channels.
 

JStemann

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Thanks for the replies. I did install Sentinel, and the device is current, per the instructions. I used to know the closest 10 police departments by frequency, and they are all listed as Deprecated in the RR database now. I am close to the Philly airport, so all that traffic is clear.
EMS dispatch is still open across all the encrypted counties, I think that may be due to the large number of volunteer firefighters that cannot, and should not be blocked out. Volunteer firefighting has a tradition in south jersey that goes back over a century. These people are true real life heroes.
There is something to be said about volunteering to save a stranger's life for nothing more than the feeling of accomplishment it provides.


What is a "dongle"?
Any links to explain?
Just because the channels are depreciated doesn't, necessarily, mean you can't listen to them. It's likely they've just moved to one of the trunked systems in the area. Are you monitoring any of the trunked systems around you?

Jeff
 
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