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Looking for info on OLD G.E. Dispatch consoles

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dispatchgeek

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I am looking for any information I can find about 1970's vintage General Electric dispatch consoles. I haven't been able to find much on them at all, other than a scant few pictures of police departments that used them.

I would be interested to find additional pictures, brochures, manuals or even any personal anecdotes people have on this product. I've attached a couple of the photos I've found of these systems. I know the Black and white photo is from the Vernon, CT police department. I believe the color photo is a suburban Chicago police department, but I am not sure.

I am somewhat of an "old dispatch console" geek and historian. I am open to any information you have, even about other models of dispatch equipment.
 

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W8UU

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Those two photos are quite a find! Not only do you have some really nice vintage GE consoles, the top (color) photo features a Plectron tone encoder used to alert fire and ambulance crews, activate warning sirens, et al., and the bottom (black and white) photo has a GE Deskon II remote sitting on top the console, several old Bell System 1A2 rotary dial multi-line key phones (one extra rare model with a beehive light in place of the dial) and banks of old fire/security alarms mounted on the wall behind the console. You probably have an old AM radio CONELRAD receiver on top that console, too. If Ivan ever dropped the bomb on us, that comm center would have received their 15 minute warning.

I've attached the only two pics I have of those old workhorse consoles. I have no idea where they came from. Also attached is a close-up of the 1A2 phone (Model 564) from Ma Bell, two Plectron encoders (and a Motorola T1600 remote control unit), and an ancient dispatch center using desktop Motorola T1200 control units.

Ahhh ... the good old days!

Rick, W8UU
 

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dispatchgeek

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Found an additional picture I had saved, as well as some info.

The photo is a picture of Berrien County, MI Sherriff's dept dispatch in the late 1970's.

These consoles were called the "command control center" by GE, and were available in up to 20 channels. Berrien county looks like they have a 10 channel.

I love these old consoles, They just look elegant, at least compared to the Centracom II and Zetron stuff I'm accustomed to pounding on. (Don't even get me started on my feelings on computer based consoles)


P.S. That bottom picture from W8UU is the Kalamazoo, MI Police Department's radio room from the 1950's.
 

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KB1OQA

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Old G.E. Radio Dispatch Consoles

In checking the thread on old Harris/MA/Com/GE/Ericsson Dispatch Consoles, I was able to identify 2 of the pictures - The ones with male Police Oficers at the desk were from the former Metropolitan District Commission Police Dispatch Center, located in Boston, MA. I did note in at least one other picture a Dictaphone "Call-Check" Recorder Playback Unit - I worked for many years as a Public Safety Dispatcher in a community West of Boston, and we had General Electric consoles and radios until the early 80's when we transitioned to Zetron Consoles and Motorola mobiles.

Hope this helps you out with the picture ID's.

KB1OQA
 

gewecke

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Wow, those are great pics!
what a blast from the past! :)

73,
n9zas
 

elc32955

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Here's a few pics from the very early part of my career. I started with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office in Titusville, Florida in Nov, 1979 as an explorer in the Communications Center and ended up going full time 8 months later. When I started, the comm center's radio room had a GE Series 2500 Command Control Console (this unit was manufactured by Secode for GE), a Mastr Controller (tone remote) that had been removed from it's normal housing and placed into a console setting (very nice worksmanship BTW), and a GE TCC desktop remote hidden in the back of the large wood console which worked a old Motorola DC Motrac base on 155.370 (we had a speaker, footswitch to key, and a fixed Shure console mike on the console). We had a Motorola Moden 36 (later upgraded to Moden 100) paging encoder hooked to the 2500 console we used for administrative paging and SWAT callouts.

Over the years swapping and trading I actually acquired most of the old 2500 after it had been used for a dispatch simulator and was surplused as a hand-me-down from a local PD. I might still have it in storage along with the manuals and heavy metal turret. The individual channels were each modulized, there were little light bulbs behind most of the lit indicators which frequently burned out and were a pain to change (yes, I had that task many times). Our console had three tone remote modules, one DC module with a two-frequency adjustment, and a separate bay with the simul receiver for the DC module. We only used one line on the second receiver module (it had two lines) so we hooked a scanner to the second line with the audio coming from the local PD's primary dispatch channel. Came in handy a few times coordinating pursuits and other multiple-jurisdiction type incidents.

Our 2500 had an annoying quirk or two. One of note, there was a big red transmit bar that was on the bottom of the center part of the console for the dispatcher to use which activated channel(s) that were selected. Over years of use, the springs tended to wear out, allowing the microswitch to be activated with a very light touch. More then once some rather direct comments not intended for air were broadcast due to a bad switch :). Another was the repeat enable/disable commands for tone remote were not received at the repeater correctly all the time. We had a protocol called "10-55x" where the dispatcher would momentarily disable the repeater to receive sensitive information from a patrol unit on the input. You'd push the button and "REPEAT DISABLE" would illuminate, you'd tell the unit to go ahead, he'd tell you whatever secret squirrel information he wanted you to have, then he'd clear the 10-55x with you. At that point, you'd push the button to turn the repeater back on. Sounds good, except it was a crapshoot if the repeater would actually disable. We found out years later the repeat disable tone was slightly off frequency, probably just enough for the station to reject the function tone on a random basis. There were ten zillion adjustments on the old 2500, seems everything had a trim pot or two!

Just a note, Motorola used to have a console that looked similar to the old original GE CCC, it was pre-Modcom (1960's) vintage. Orlando Police Department used to have one for a dispatch simulator, but it was made away with many years ago.

Enjoy the pics!
Eric
 

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norcom911

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Old G.E. Dispatch Consoles

General Electric was the primary supplier of mobile radios and dispatch consoles during the 70's, to St. Louis County Police and its suburban departments in Missouri. The city of Richmond Heights comes to mind as one of them. You might want to check with some towns in the area to see if they collected any photos. If you are interested in the next-generation Series 2500 consoles (my favorite) I have tons of personal photos from the 80's, as well as G.E. sales brochures, of that equipment that I can scan. There is one photo of that design in the replies to your posting. Let me know if that interests you. -Matt
 

Thunderbolt

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I can just barely remember when Berrien County was on VHF-Low band using 39.14, 39.58, and 39.66 MHz. Then in the early-to-mid 1970s they migrated up to the UHF-band, because of the skip traffic they were receiving on low band. This sent a lot of scanner owners to their local electronics shops buying new radios that covered the 450-470 MHz band.

73's

Ron
 

mikegilbert

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General Electric was the primary supplier of mobile radios and dispatch consoles during the 70's, to St. Louis County Police and its suburban departments in Missouri. The city of Richmond Heights comes to mind as one of them. You might want to check with some towns in the area to see if they collected any photos. If you are interested in the next-generation Series 2500 consoles (my favorite) I have tons of personal photos from the 80's, as well as G.E. sales brochures, of that equipment that I can scan. There is one photo of that design in the replies to your posting. Let me know if that interests you. -Matt
I'd love to see those scans! Always interested in seeing consoles before the shift towards computer based systems.
 
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W5KVV

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I'll bring this one back to the top as I was just talking about these old radios in the Amateur general discussion section. My dad was a dispatcher for OHP for 30 years, 1976-2006. OHP Troop D in McAlester, OK was still using the radio pictured in post #3 of this thread up until 2004.

I spent many hours with my dad at headquarters when I was a kid & loved that old radio. I could play with anything but the red button labeled TRANSMIT. lol. Keep in mine this was on hoot owls or graveyard shifts when activity was minimal at best. You could always tell those old GE radios on the RX end, due to the built in clock. You could always hear it running in the background.

I have the clock out of the old OHP radio on the shelf in the shack. Right in front of me.
 

Thunderbolt

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Is this an old GE console? This is the Chicago Fire Dept., alarm office in 1965. I am thinking this is either a Collins or GE console.



73's

Ron
 
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