Newbie looking to listen to Pickerington PD/Fire/EMS not sure where to start.

Mdisbrow

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Sep 29, 2020
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There is an overwhelming amount of info out there. I have about $150 to buy a radio but I don’t know where to even begin. I would primarily like to listen in to Pickerington or Fairfield county police. I was going to get a dmr radio since this site lists Pickerington PD as conventional networked dmr but I’m concerned I’m not going to get the right device. Could someone please set me down the right path to getting a radio that I can get started with all of this for my area?
 

kf8yk

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May 3, 2003
Messages
400
Looks like Fairfied Co is on MARCS, you'll need a P25 digital capable scanner to listen.


There is a Broadcastify Calls feed available for the agencies you want to listen to. Go to the MARCS database page listed above and click on the blue number in the DEC column to listen to that channel.

Fairfield.jpg
 

wdz

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Columbus, Ohio
You well definitely need something that can do MARCS. The SO, PPD, and Violet Twp Fire (dispatched on MECC talk groups) are all on MARCS.
 

mike4nzix

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Apr 24, 2017
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Violet Township, Ohio
Hi, Mdisbrow.

Here's some advice from someone who learned the hard way: me.

I, too, live in Pickerington. I wasted money on units that could not properly receive MARCS from the Columbus site. The Whistler TRX-1 can do an OK job as long as you are only wanting Pickerington Police and Fairfield County Sherriff/Fire/EMS. This requires an antenna (I had to use a yagi) powerful enough to bring in the far away Lancaster site. I reside in Violet Township (Huntington Hills) and I cannot reliably pick up the Lancaster site with anything less than the yagi. Also, a TRX-1, even with the directional antenna, will struggle if you try to receive any simulcast sites from Columbus (in case your interest in the hobby increases to the point of wanting to listen to CPD, etc.)

If I were you, I would save up for either the Uniden SDS100 or Unication G5. Both units can easily receive anything you want to hear in Central Ohio with the stock antenna that ships with either unit. I have both and can confirm this. If you live anywhere near me, you'll have trouble with the Lancaster site with any of the radios listed above if you don't have a serious antenna solution. The Uniden SDS100 and Unication can monitor Pick PD, Fairfield County SO and MECC fire/EMC from the Columbus site. Some Eastern Fairfield County fire talkgroups may ONLY broadcast from the Lancaster site, but anything close to Pickerington will be on MECC.
 

Mdisbrow

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Sep 29, 2020
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Hi, Mdisbrow.

Here's some advice from someone who learned the hard way: me.

I, too, live in Pickerington. I wasted money on units that could not properly receive MARCS from the Columbus site. The Whistler TRX-1 can do an OK job as long as you are only wanting Pickerington Police and Fairfield County Sherriff/Fire/EMS. This requires an antenna (I had to use a yagi) powerful enough to bring in the far away Lancaster site. I reside in Violet Township (Huntington Hills) and I cannot reliably pick up the Lancaster site with anything less than the yagi. Also, a TRX-1, even with the directional antenna, will struggle if you try to receive any simulcast sites from Columbus (in case your interest in the hobby increases to the point of wanting to listen to CPD, etc.)

If I were you, I would save up for either the Uniden SDS100 or Unication G5. Both units can easily receive anything you want to hear in Central Ohio with the stock antenna that ships with either unit. I have both and can confirm this. If you live anywhere near me, you'll have trouble with the Lancaster site with any of the radios listed above if you don't have a serious antenna solution. The Uniden SDS100 and Unication can monitor Pick PD, Fairfield County SO and MECC fire/EMC from the Columbus site. Some Eastern Fairfield County fire talkgroups may ONLY broadcast from the Lancaster site, but anything close to Pickerington will be on MECC.
Thank you! This is the kind of answer I was looking for. Clear advice and recommendations on something that will work here. I’m going to take your advice and hold off until I can get one of the recommendations you mentioned.
 

WeldGuy

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mike4nzix and
Mdisbrow


You will be happy to know there is a new MARCS tower being constructed in Millersport specifically to improve communications for the Sheriff's Deputies working Violet Township and Lithopolis. I checked a couple weeks ago and the concrete was poured for the legs of the tower. Estimates of completion vary, but should be up and running by the end of the year for sure.
$750,000 for this project thanks to MARCS insisting on their own towers... no existing towers or water towers.
 

mike4nzix

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Apr 24, 2017
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Violet Township, Ohio
mike4nzix and
Mdisbrow


You will be happy to know there is a new MARCS tower being constructed in Millersport specifically to improve communications for the Sheriff's Deputies working Violet Township and Lithopolis. I checked a couple weeks ago and the concrete was poured for the legs of the tower. Estimates of completion vary, but should be up and running by the end of the year for sure.
$750,000 for this project thanks to MARCS insisting on their own towers... no existing towers or water towers.
That is a terrific update. Thank you Weldguy!

Mdisbrow: This is significant news that could potentially and most likely put scanners such as the Uniden BCD436HP on your budget radar. Assuming the new site mentioned above is not simulcast, a cheaper scanner will handle anything you wanted to monitor in Fairfield County. I could be very wrong and there are much more knowledgeable people than me browsing these threads, but I think it will just be another tower broadcasting in the county.

This is good news for the hobby and the first responders serving the area.
 

wa8pyr

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Mdisbrow: This is significant news that could potentially and most likely put scanners such as the Uniden BCD436HP on your budget radar. Assuming the new site mentioned above is not simulcast, a cheaper scanner will handle anything you wanted to monitor in Fairfield County. I could be very wrong and there are much more knowledgeable people than me browsing these threads, but I think it will just be another tower broadcasting in the county.
Mostly true if Pickerington PD, Fairfield SO and Fairfield Co Fire are your primary monitoring targets, but not for Violet Twp FD on their normal MEC Center talkgroups, which are 99.999% of the time only going to be found on the Columbus City simulcast site.
 

WeldGuy

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Millersport (Fairfield County) MARCS tower update: I cruised by the Millersport tower site today. Still only concrete pads, but a couple workers talked with us. The tower sections are being delivered next week. There will be some pre-assembly, then a crane will begin building the tower the following week. The tower will be 375 feet tall when completed.
 

mike4nzix

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Millersport (Fairfield County) MARCS tower update: I cruised by the Millersport tower site today. Still only concrete pads, but a couple workers talked with us. The tower sections are being delivered next week. There will be some pre-assembly, then a crane will begin building the tower the following week. The tower will be 375 feet tall when completed.
That's magnificent news. Thanks for the update!
 

amcferrin90

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I'd be pretty certain that tower won't help Pickerington or Violet Twp and certainly not Lithopolis. MARCS doesn't run a lot of power on their towers. I'd venture a good guess that it won't cover any farther than 204 and provide fill in coverage for the flat lands of northeast Fairfield county and southeast Licking county. To do this county justice they would need tower coverage like that of Licking county probably on the magnitude of 5 towers. Even when Fairfield county had their DMR simulcast system there was huge coverage gaps for portables. It would be neat to build a hybrid VHF/700/800 system. VHF would kick butt in the rural areas and it's practically abandoned. But I digress going off topic.
 

gtaman

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I was gonna say. That Millersport site won’t help Violet or Pickerington. Those agencies either roam to Columbus MARCS or Fairfield county MARCS for coverage. You can pick up all Fairfield County transmissions on the Columbus site.
 

WeldGuy

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I was gonna say. That Millersport site won’t help Violet or Pickerington. Those agencies either roam to Columbus MARCS or Fairfield county MARCS for coverage. You can pick up all Fairfield County transmissions on the Columbus site.
$750,000 is being spent SPECIFICALLY to improve signal in those areas. There's more to the problem than power. The new tower will help with coverage in dips and valleys. MARCS doesn't just erect a tower and hope it helps.
 

wa8pyr

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$750,000 is being spent SPECIFICALLY to improve signal in those areas. There's more to the problem than power. The new tower will help with coverage in dips and valleys. MARCS doesn't just erect a tower and hope it helps.
Not holding my breath as regards Pickerington, especially with in-building coverage; that's where the greatest need is for that area. There is a need for additional coverage in northeastern Fairfield County, which this tower should help with a great deal.
 

gtaman

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$750,000 is being spent SPECIFICALLY to improve signal in those areas. There's more to the problem than power. The new tower will help with coverage in dips and valleys. MARCS doesn't just erect a tower and hope it helps.
Just look at the map though. How far away Pickerington is it really won’t help a lot. As Tom said it’s for the northern part of the county. If they slapped a lower power site like Bixby road on the Pickerington PD station it would for sure help. I have a friend who works for Bloom TWP. His radio roams for pickaway county most of the time.
 

amcferrin90

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What helps Pickerington vastly is the new Columbus transmitter on east Broad.

There has been much angst among county PS entities around jumping to MARCS because the 1 tower at SEOCF does not cover the county well. It was put in for ODRC. MARCS was designed originally for mobile coverage. It would take a system 10 times the size of what they have now to attain portable coverage. They admittedly know this. It's a step in the right direction and it's mostly funded by Fed dollars. As a part of my job I know coverage between these systems. I love me some MARCS because that means I'm selling PS BDA's. There's a major difference between Columbus' system and MARCS even in Franklin county. They will tell you that too. Until then it's mobile repeaters and convertacoms galore.
 
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