News article on Rockingham 800MHz plan

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musicman

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HARRISONBURG - For months, volunteer rescue squad members and firefighters, along with curious and concerned residents, have been stopping by the Radio Shack in the Valley Mall inquiring about the status of their current scanners. Within the next two months, Rockingham County plans to switch to an 800 MHz M/A-COM digital radio system for its emergency communications - a transition that has a lot of scanner enthusiasts scratching their heads.

"There's a lot up in the air," said Jack Boyle, assistant manager of the Radio Shack. "Normally, we have a lot of answers but there are a lot of unknowns." Boyle gets at least one customer a day asking whether their scanner will work following the change.

http://www.dailynews-record.com/news_details.php?AID=29900&CHID=1
 

W4UVV

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The name says it all

This is nothing new but a rehash of previous discussions on various internet forums regarding MA/COM trs. MA/COM's software is proprietary and probably will remain so indefinitely and not be licensed to any scanner manufacturer. No scanner currently available for public purchase can receive MA/COM encoded digital transmissions. Maybe some informed local monitor in the Harrisonburg area can educate Radio Shack personnel and those individuals who continue to cling to the false hope of possibly receiving decoded MA/COM digital trs transmissions to reality.

It is obvious that the users of the digital trs do not want the public to monitor their radio communications. Who do they think they are fooling? This is the real reason this system was chosen contrary to their denials of the obvious reason. APCO 25 inter operablity? They have it. It's called a telephone.
 

tglendye

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...It is obvious that the users of the digital trs do not want the public to monitor their radio communications. Who do they think they are fooling? This is the real reason this system was chosen contrary to their denials of the obvious reason. APCO 25 inter operablity? They have it. It's called a telephone.
Trust me on this one... the users had very little input on the type of system selected.

What struck me about the article is MA/Com's area sales manager claiming "There's nothing preventing them from producing a scanner,..." ... that is contrary to everything that I have been told from researching Provoice systems on this site. That comment should open a can of worms.
 

gcgrotz

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Well, I guess I have to get all nit-picky here:

If nobody can monitor the Pro-voice systems, why do they need encryption as stated in the article??. How would you even know? Maybe the sales guy just wanted to boost his commission and told them they had encryption.

Second, this article raises the same question I hear concerning digital TV: "Will my set (scanner) still work after the transition to digital (ProVoice)? Well, of course it will still work, there will be absolutely nothing wrong with your set (scanner), it will just not be able to demodulate a signal into something useful.

And I can't believe that sales manager (MANAGER???) who says the technology is available. M/A-Com should recall him for further product training.

If everyone of those radio Shack customers that come into that store had gone to Board meetings and complained about secrecy in government maybe they wouldn't be stuck that system, not to mention interoperability. And don't think telephones will substitute when a truck or train carrying some deadly brew overturns right on the border with Augusta County and thousands of homes need evacuating.

OK, rant over.
 

Stick0413

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Chris Sarantos, an area sales manager for M/A-COM, the system's manufacturer, said that although the technology is available, there are no scanners available.

"There's nothing preventing them from producing a scanner," Sarantos said. "It's supply and demand."

That is the part that got me.... He either doesn't know what he is talking about or is lying because we well know there are major problems with producing a ProVoice scanner and its not supply and demand (because in all reality there are more than enough people)
 
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tglendye

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Ya'll bring up some good points that I have been upset with.

1. Encryption... who cares- the whole thing is encrypted. Certain TG's are "technically encrypted (fire marshalls, SWAT, drug taskforce, gang taskforce, etc.), but that hardly makes a difference when the system is not monitor able. The others are in the open- Provoice, of course.

2. The system had been passed off as P25 compliant. Since it's Pro-voice, I still haven't got a good answer on that question. What's the P25 portion? In fact, the word "provoice" was never mentioned until training on the system (this was probably about a year ago... there have been considerable delays implementing the system since then).

3. Interoperability. That was one of the selling points to the public. "The responders need to communicate with each other". Duh... but we already could. Harrisonburg/ Rockingham and the surrounding cities and counties were all on UHF systems and had each other's channels. That's blown out of the water now. So it'll be replaced with patches. There will be uhf patches to the TRS. Should work, but expensive for the accomplishment.

3a. Law enforcement and Fire & Rescue need to communicate. Already could. The legacy UHF channels could be patched. The LE's could switch over to fire & rescue and talk. With the new system, the TG's can be patched or the LE's can switch to the fire rescue TG. What's the interoperability gain b/n responders?

In my mind the reason to switch to a new system was for the following reasons:

1. Coverage area. Hopefully this is the good part of the system. I think it will be, and hope it works. I'll miss listening in at home, though.

2. More channels. We need them.

I was an advocate for a new system. I tried pushing an updated uhf system. It made sense (to me) to stay on the band our surrounding counties (except for the state) were on. We were told by a frequency coordinator that there were no more uhf frequencies available.

It's too late to type anymore... I think I'll go to bed


-Todd
 
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