New Elbert County radio system

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nunyax

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Elbert County has 5 pending applications for microwave licenses. A search of their county board minutes finds the below from their September, 2016 meeting:

Discussion and approval of the Radio Communications project for all of the public safety agencies
in Elbert County.
This project was approved in the 2016 SPLOST ballot. Chuck Almond, EMS
Director came before the board at the worksession to discuss this project. As
has been discussed in previous meetings, it is imperative that we move forward with upgrading our communications county-
wide. There are some areas that have no radio access which makes it a safety issue.
With this updated communications, 95% of the county will be covered.
The total cost of the project is $746,667.00; with the City’s part being $77,487.00 and the Board of Education’s part being
$136.000.00. Mr. Thomas stated that he feels we should move forward with
the project contingent upon the City and the BOE approving funding on their end and will come back at the
October meeting with financing options for the balance of the project. Chairman Lyon asked for a
motion to approve the project subject to the approval of the City of Bowman, City of
Elberton, and the Board of Education. Commissioner Harper made a motion to approve the project.
Commissioner Jones seconded the motion. Upon voting the motion carried 5-0.
This 2015 link is for a proposed combination of the school, county and city radios into a new digital system:

Coordinated SPLOST | The Elberton Star
 

1268

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Judging by the cost and the fact it's M... It will be another mototrbo DMR system in the VHF hi range. That's the current flavor for small counties in NE GA.
 

jppayne

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I live in the Elberton area. Over the last few days I have been hearing a lot of testing, and chatter about the "digital" system. Also tone testing. I am a novice at this. Can anyone educate me? What is this digital system? Is it trunking? I currently have a Radio Shack (old) scanner. What do I need to buy to be able to continue listening?
 

N8IAA

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I live in the Elberton area. Over the last few days I have been hearing a lot of testing, and chatter about the "digital" system. Also tone testing. I am a novice at this. Can anyone educate me? What is this digital system? Is it trunking? I currently have a Radio Shack (old) scanner. What do I need to buy to be able to continue listening?
Won't know until the system starts building out. Can you hear the testing on the current frequencies?
If it is DMR, you will need a new scanner such as the Whistler 1080/1088/1098, or the TRX 1/2. They come with DMR for free. Uniden scanners require you to pay $50 to upgrade to DMR. All are $350 and up in price.
Larry
 

jppayne

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Based on zero voice traffic on my analog system today, and a convo with a volunteer fireman, I think it is totally live now, as of today.
 

jppayne

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Official County Announcement

Elbert County Emergency Services posted the following to their Facebook account.
(See my questions and plea for help below)

<quote>
We have been able to nearly complete this project. We cut over from our old analog system to this new digital system last Wednesday 5/10/17. The cut over went considerably well with very few issues. The weekend went flawlessly.

Our old analog system has been good to this community for a long time. Over the years we have upgraded and upgraded to the point there were no more upgrades to make this system work better for our personnel in the field. Prior to this project becoming a reality, safety for our public safety personnel, (police, sheriff, EMS, and fire) was becoming a huge problem. The critical state of safety of our officers and other personnel was the main reasoning for seeking out a better system. Personnel were unable to receive or transmit in a lot of areas in the county. And areas that does not have cell phone reception they were, in a sense, completely cut off from other resources while on calls. This has a very high potential to become deadly for an officer or a citizen who needs more help.

After consulting with radio professionals, digital was the best way to gain the coverage that we were needing, and put our personnel back into a level of safety we all were comfortable with. Elbert County EMS, Sheriff's Department, E911, Fire Department, City of Elberton Fire Department, Elberton Police Department, and the Board of Education teamed up to get the job done.

If your're wondering why your scanner is quiet these days, this system is why. You were simply able to program the "frequencies" in for the agency you wanted to listen to and you were good to go. Although you may hear some of the County Fire Department radio traffic, we retained some of our old analog equipment for this department to maintain their paging operations. This digital system works in a totally different way. The digital system works over a network, in simple terms it is completely computer driven. The system uses a trunking system to provide a large number of talk groups to share a small number of radio signals. Sure there are digital scanners out there to purchase but unless you have the information to program into it, it will not be able to find these signals. The system also has provided features that we have found useful, such as encryption. This gives us a little more freedom to plain talk instead of calling via telephone to relay sensitive information during a call. GPS is another capability that will be beneficial in location of units on foot pursuits, vehicles, and in searches. Right now we are still in the early stages of the use of the system, but as we continue to work with the system we hope to utilized many of the features as we can to further enhance communications, safety, and privacy of the citizens of this community.
<end quote>

Pictures of portable radios are identified as XPR 7550E
Pictures of vehicle radios are identified as XPR 5550E

QUESTIONS
1. Given the limited information above , can you advise if the Uniden BCD996P2 scanner will work? (I understand it won't if they use encryption full time.)
2. What is involved in programming the trunking? How do I get the info needed to do it?

I have an approved application to put this feed online, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

jppayne

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UPDATE
I have the frequencies.
Can anyone give me some bullet points on how to discover the control channel, talk groups, etc?
I hear there is software that will work with scanners or SDR's to assist with this. I'm ready to start, but I am a newbie when it comes to stuff like this.
 

N8IAA

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UPDATE
I have the frequencies.
Can anyone give me some bullet points on how to discover the control channel, talk groups, etc?
I hear there is software that will work with scanners or SDR's to assist with this. I'm ready to start, but I am a newbie when it comes to stuff like this.
Upgrade your 996P2 with DMR. You should be able to hear them then.
Larry
 

jppayne

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I "thought" I had the frequencies, but I was apparently looking at new licenses they obtained for microwave links, presumably to connect the various towers for the new digital system. Could the digital frequencies be the same as the old analog ones, in the 158 range?
 

AggieCon

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If your're wondering why your scanner is quiet these days, this system is why.You were simply able to program the "frequencies" in for the agency you wanted to listen to and you were good to go. Although you may hear some of the County Fire Department radio traffic, we retained some of our old analog equipment for this department to maintain their paging operations. This digital system works in a totally different way. The digital system works over a network, in simple terms it is completely computer driven. The system uses a trunking system to provide a large number of talk groups to share a small number of radio signals. Sure there are digital scanners out there to purchase but unless you have the information to program into it, it will not be able to find these signals. The system also has provided features that we have found useful, such as encryption.
And their true intentions shine through. Hold them accountable. Don't let them put citizens in the dark as they operate in the shadows.
 

AggieCon

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Your county is trying to be very sneaky with their radio system.

WQYH596
WQYH597
WQYH598
WQYH600
WQYH601
 

N8IAA

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Your county is trying to be very sneaky with their radio system.

WQYH596
WQYH597
WQYH598
WQYH600
WQYH601
Not very sneaky. All are for pagers. He really needs to search what is right in front of his face. There are new frequencies out there. But, that won't work unless there is a DMR scanner searching for them.
 

AggieCon

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In the spirit of progress, perhaps you could share the information?
 

jppayne

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I don't know what is "right in front of my face". I am willing to invest the money and the time, but I am an extreme novice. I need a helping hand. I have a SDR dongle and am willing to get a second one which I understand may be needed to decipher the secrets of trunking. I have a UNIDEN trunking scanner (see signature), but I need professional assistance to get this up and running. I think I have all the appropriate hardware, and I am willing to get more if needed. If anyone more knowledgeable than I is willing to guide me, I am willing to compensate you for your time.
 

1268

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I don't know what is "right in front of my face". I am willing to invest the money and the time, but I am an extreme novice. I need a helping hand. I have a SDR dongle and am willing to get a second one which I understand may be needed to decipher the secrets of trunking. I have a UNIDEN trunking scanner (see signature), but I need professional assistance to get this up and running. I think I have all the appropriate hardware, and I am willing to get more if needed. If anyone more knowledgeable than I is willing to guide me, I am willing to compensate you for your time.
OK after looking further... it's a Gunby project in the 400 mhz UHF range. It's not DMR but a Kenwood nexedge system. At this time Uniden won't work on that system. Whistler is your best bet.

This looks like a mirror to the Banks county work Gunby did in 2016.
 

N8IAA

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OK after looking further... it's a Gunby project in the 400 mhz UHF range. It's not DMR but a Kenwood nexedge system. At this time Uniden won't work on that system. Whistler is your best bet.

This looks like a mirror to the Banks county work Gunby did in 2016.
How does that account for five new VHF frequencies that are not tied to the pager frequencies? And the fact they were showing XPR radios?
 

ki4bst

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This is not a Gunby Nexedge system but is indeed a VHF DMR system that was installed by a Motorola Dealer out of Athens. If anyone should have any information please post it.

I wonder what talk groups they have assigned to each agency? Any info would be appreciated.

Submit a Freedom of Information Act request to the agency that runs the system asking for frequencies and talkgoups. Someone in the county/city has the job of FOIA request processing. They will probably charge you, but are required to give it to you. Then submit the results to RR so they may update the DB.
 
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ki4bst

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Here are the documents where Elbert County purchased the paging frequencies for use as a FM two way radio system for their emergency services. The frequencies of the above licenses are the frequencies used by Elbert County. They are using IP Site Connect, Capacity Plus, Enhanced Privacy, Etc.

Attached are the purchase and waiver documents.
 

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N8IAA

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Here are the documents where Elbert County purchased the paging frequencies for use as a FM two way radio system for their emergency services. The frequencies of the above licenses are the frequencies used by Elbert County. They are using IP Site Connect, Capacity Plus, Enhanced Privacy, Etc.

Attached are the purchase and waiver documents.
Do you have the call sign/signs for the new systems?
Larry
 
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