Mystery reception

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Patch42

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The other day I was monitoring the local sheriff's office. It was in the background as I was busy with some other things, but I heard mention of SWAT and evacuating people so I knew something big was up. I then heard a call from a deputy who'd been injured and was clearly in distress. I had to go off and do some other things for a while. When I got back to the radio there was no further communication concerning the SWAT situation or the injured deputy.

I mentioned this incident to a friend who's a former deputy and still has a lot of friends there. He called someone who still worked in the sector where these calls originated and was told there was nothing like that had gone on that day. I've seen no mention of any of this in the local news.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't hallucinating. So, here's my question to the group. Is it even remotely possible that a PSR-500 could pick up a ducted signal from a distant source and somehow think it was from a local 800MHz Motorola Type II system?

I know broadcast FM signals are subject to sometimes being carried great distances, but I have no idea if signals in the 800MHz range can be similarly carried by the atmosphere. The odds for that to happen on exactly the right frequency at the precise moment the local system indicates there's a broadcast on that voice channel seem astronomical. And for it to happen on multiple transmissions seems virtually impossible.

Sound like the hallucination scenario is more likely. <g>
 

zz0468

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It could have been an exercise that your friend's friend wasn't aware of.
 

Patch42

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I suggested the exercise scenario. My friend said they NEVER do exercises that elaborate. And even if they did, they'd never use the regular frequencies for it. They'd use the training freqs.

The call from the injured deputy was either an Oscar-caliber performance or it was real. In my opinion, it was a call from someone in distress and genuinely afraid they could very well be dying.
 

chrismol1

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probably just something that the department wanted to keep quite about
 

SAR923

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Regardless of what your friend said, I'll bet this was an exercise. Things like this don't get missed by the media. They violated good radio protocol by not using the word "Exercise" after each transmission but I'll still bet this is what it was.
 

kb2vxa

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While ducting or even E skip can last quite a while likely it was a local drill. The only agency I have heard say "this is a drill, this is a drill" at the end of each transmission or even mention it is the Coast Guard and I've heard plenty of drills over the years. If it's a major one it MAY get news coverage long after the fact IF it's considered newsworthy (ratings you know) but in any case the last thing they want is newsies crawling all over them while the event is in progress so it's never published in advance.

For what it's worth the State Police SWAT team held a drill in a house across the street slated for demolition and I heard nothing on the scanner, I only knew about it from sitting on the porch watching. Maybe because there is no need for radio comms during a raid? When have you seen them on "Reality TV" chattering away? Each man knows just what to do and the only thing you hear is GET ON THE GROUND so what you were listening to was the regular PD calling for SWAT and not the team itself.

Outside interference isn't likely with a Moto Type II Smart System so my guess is it was a drill conducted on a little used talk group and you did say you weren't paying attention. So what do you get when you don't pay attention? Confused maybe? (;->)
 

PFCCooper

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I have a friend who is a Fire Chief for a local volunteer fire dept. and one day I was talking to him about their new 800MHZ radios about what he thought of them and the recpt. and all and he told me that once in a while he got trans. from another VFD member that lived next state over that said he was going on break for dinner over his radio this guy was a long ways away. I thought it was weird that he could pick up from a very long range like that but he did.
 

KB9NLL

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I'd say search local newspaper websites the date and the day after and swat or similiar and see what comes up. Do it for a bit like someone said here it might not get reported for a while. All this is your best bet. If not do a frequency search and see who else there is and then search their local paper sites.
 

w0fg

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I'm not familiar with how SmartZone trunked systems work, but if it's anything like EDACS it's possible that a car from a distant area was in your vicinity and had affiliated with your system and therefore you were hearing traffic from a distant department.
 

ecps92

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Might they still hvae a VHF or UHF Channel patched into the 800 Trunk ?

That would explain it. Manytimes these patched channels are there 24/7 and altho
he heard it via the 800 Radio, the transmission came via the VHF or UHF Patch ?

I have a friend who is a Fire Chief for a local volunteer fire dept. and one day I was talking to him about their new 800MHZ radios about what he thought of them and the recpt. and all and he told me that once in a while he got trans. from another VFD member that lived next state over that said he was going on break for dinner over his radio this guy was a long ways away. I thought it was weird that he could pick up from a very long range like that but he did.
 

subclavius

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Does your state make heavy use of microwave relays or any type of repeaters? In Ohio almost all the public safety groups use a system called MARCS, and it's not too uncommon to hear a drill or a real emergency going on in a different part of the state being carried over the system, in what would normally be way past normal receiving range.
 

Patch42

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I'm not familiar with how SmartZone trunked systems work, but if it's anything like EDACS it's possible that a car from a distant area was in your vicinity and had affiliated with your system and therefore you were hearing traffic from a distant department.
It is a multi-site system, but it only covers this county. The county has just one major metro area.

Unknown if this is in any way related, but this weekend I heard a call from the same agency saying the sheriff had requested a moment of silence for a fallen comrade. There was no further detail.

I've continued searching the web but have come up empty.

As for those suggesting this must have been an exercise, I have a couple things. First, I'm afraid I have to lean in favor of my friend who spent ten years on the force in question as to the type of training they do and how they do it.

Second, calls that involve SWAT or "hostages" are not at all a rare occurrence around here. Over the weekend I heard two separate calls involving "hostages". I put it in quotes because their definition of hostage is not quite what the average person has in mind when they hear the term. In this situation, "hostage" is simply someone other than a person of interest who is in the same building. I guess you could call them potential hostages. Being referred to as a "hostage" on one of these calls does not mean someone has a gun to your head or is even holding you against your will. It just means they have the potential to do so.

I will continue to check the news in case anything surfaces about any of this.
 
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