OpenSky Is this the beginning of the end?

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FrequenC

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OpenSky is a digital radio system sold by a division of Harris (formerly a division of M/A-COM). It was introduced in 1999 as an expansion of the Monarch wireless voice and data system built for FedEx.
OpenSky uses a four-slot TDMA transmission method (four-level GFSK modulation) in 25 kHz bandwidth channels with an aggregate data rate of 19.2 kbps. The airlink protocols are based on modified CDPD and carry voice using DVSI's AMBE (Advanced MultiBand Excitation) vocoder.
Note that the older ProVoice on EDACS uses GFSK at 9.6 kbps and the IMBE vocoder.


I have not seen a lot about "OpenSky" on these Forum or others, perhaps I have not been looking in the right place. I just purchased a PSR-500 and was very excited about providing a feed covering White Lake Police and Fire as well as Milford and several other neighboring suburbs. I checked the RR database before purchasing the 500 and was glad to see that the frequencies I wanted to provide a feed for were listed as conventional. Only to find that after programming and many hours of listening "not a creature was stirring not even a mouse"

Folks on the Michigan Forum stated that Oakland County and surrounding cities in Michigan have gone to the OpenSky system. It seems an appropriate name because only the open sky is getting the signal. Am I overreacting, this seems to be a far more drastic change then when we went from VHF HI and LO to the addition of UHF there was still a lot to listen to.

The addition of analog trunking, digital trunking, multiple system types and now a green eyed monster called "Open Sky". Is it just me or I we quickly approaching the day when our beloved government will forbid us to hear public safety communications and or make it impossible for manufacturers to gain or use the technology to develop receivers that will keep open what appears to be the fast closing communication door.
They want to take our guns and our scanners, what’s next our freedom?
It’s a scary world out there.

I'm not suggesting that we all move the mountains and form a cult"
I am however wondering where this will end.
Just out of curiosity, I wonder what the annual revenue of the scanner and related industries is in this country and what effect it would have on our economy should it collapse? Here in Michigan everything is collapsing, there was once a time that those of us who were unemployed could find some solace listening to our scanners. Listening to the rants of politicians telling us how good things are with only 10% unemployment is not the same.

Will we baby boomers who grew up during the greatest time in America’s history adopt the 70's Simon and Garfunkel song "The Sound of Silence" as our anthem?
I appeal to scanner listeners everywhere, all those across the fruited plane that can still monitor your local police and fire please turn up the volume, maybe it will drowned out the sound of our state collapsing all around us.

"When Scanners are outlawed only outlaws will have scanners"
 

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newsphotog

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We, the general public, are not entitled to listen in on police and fire communications. It may hurt some people's feelings, but it's the truth. It's not in our constitution nor is it a god-given right.

No, there is no OpenSky-capable scanner. No, no manufacturers have announced that they are planning to make an OpenSky-capable scanner. Harris is very protective of who gets their hands on the OpenSky protocol. The money they make on selling an "unmonitorable" system is likely far more than they would earn on licensing an OpenSky-capable scanner.

OpenSky and similar concerns have been discussed on these forums at great length. I could repeat every argument that's ever been made about OpenSky implementations on this forum, but I'll leave it up to you to use the forum search feature. Ten bucks says this thread will eventually get locked anyways.

It's not going to do you any good to expend your energy flapping your arms up and down and shrieking that the sky is falling in a dramatic fashion. Instead, focus on what you can already scan. There are frequencies out there that aren't OpenSky.
 

KE4ZNR

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OpenSky and similar concerns have been discussed on these forums at great length. I could repeat every argument that's ever been made about OpenSky implementations on this forum, but I'll leave it up to you to use the forum search feature. Ten bucks says this thread will eventually get locked anyways.

It's not going to do you any good to expend your energy flapping your arms up and down and shrieking that the sky is falling in a dramatic fashion. Instead, focus on what you can already scan. There are frequencies out there that aren't OpenSky.
I agree 100%. OpenSky has been debated here at RR.com over and over again ad nauseum. A search would have shown the thread originator this.
Do we really need another "(Open) Sky is falling" thread?
Marshall KE4ZNR
 
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DaveNF2G

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OpenSky is falling. Harris is only working on such systems where required by contract. They are not promoting them as actively as their "real" P25 offerings. In fact, their current marketing focus seems to be on backend networking, such as their P25IP ("P25 to the Power of IP") line.
 

gpp10x

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"Folks on the Michigan Forum stated that Oakland County and surrounding cities in Michigan have gone to the OpenSky system"

Just to correct the above statement. Oakland County is the only county that has gone to OpenSky. Other counties/cities/townships have opted for the state's MPSCS, thier own 800 system or are still conventional vhf/uhf.
 
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N4DES

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OpenSky is falling. Harris is only working on such systems where required by contract. They are not promoting them as actively as their "real" P25 offerings. In fact, their current marketing focus seems to be on backend networking, such as their P25IP ("P25 to the Power of IP") line.
I agree Dave. OpenScam doesn't fit into Harris' portfolio and they only inherited it when they purchased the two-way radio line from Tyco. I give the technology about 3 years before they announce the end of support/life of it and concentrate totally on the P25IP line.

Like /\/\, I can envision Harris offering a "lower cost" software based encryption for those who don't need an AES or DES protocol so they can keep up with the $10 encryption the competition is offering.

I don't have any proof on either, this is only a best guess.

Mark
 
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N_Jay

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. . . Harris is only working on such systems where required by contract. They are not promoting them as actively as their "real" P25 offerings. In fact, their current marketing focus seems to be on backend networking, such as their P25IP ("P25 to the Power of IP") line.
Actually if you look at the recent ads, they don't talk about any of their product lines (including P25ip).
\
However, that said, while P25 had a slightly larger place in their booth at IWCE, the OpenSky display was not significantly reduced.

You might be reading between the lines with some wishful thinking.
 

FrequenC

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Forum Administrator Please remove this thread

It is obvious that my post has offended, enraged, insulted and "nauseated" some of the seasoned and far better informed members of this excellent forum. I am sure the majority view this as an intentionally carried over whining rant from a previous posts and an effort to beat what I have since learned is a dead horse.
Your honor I plead guilty to the following charges
Count 1 - I am guilty of not researching the history of OpenSky on these forums as I should have, for that I apologize.
Count 2 - I misquoted the post on the Michigan Forum and failed to mention that some of this information was sent in the form of private messages which I did not mention.
Count 3 - I also confess that I am not a seasoned scanner enthusiast just an old "Police Calls" carry over from the era of tunable receivers.
Count 4 - I am a dinosaur from a bygone era, an 8 channel Regency with only one channel crystal in it was all I could afford and that was ok. At that time as now all I want to do is listen to our neighborhood police and fire departments. This was especially true in 1967 when our neighborhood was being burned to the ground during the 1967 Detroit riots. Thank God for our neighbors Patrolman VHF Hi band radio which kept us informed of the advancing looters and snipers.
Count 5- Posting a Photoshoped image of a funeral for my now useless (for my purpose) scanners

In conclusion I guess that I must confess that I am not well as informed or sophisticated enough to post on this topic in this forum category.
I grew up in a pre 911 society where we had respect for our country, our government and its leaders and we held and still do hold members of law enforcement in the highest regard. In my day "police radios" were not used in the commission of felonies and or terrorist acts. They were used solely as a form of entertainment and source of information about the going ons in our community.
I appreciate those who can monitor tens of thousands of frequencies from every conceivable source, with multiple banks and vast oriented objects at near light speed.
Shame on me for only being concerned about my neighborhood, I should consider Harris and his brilliant use of technology to lock out a segment of the population from what once was a pleasant past time.

You can find comfort in this
The baby boomers are getting older and will soon perish from the face of this earth leaving it in the capable hands of this generation.
You have helped me to accept the reality that I have no god given rights, not even life liberty and the pursuit of happiness or monitoring my neighborhood police.
Thank God we have such brilliant leaders today who have the wisdom to tell us when to come out of the rain.
Because after all the government truly knows what is best for us, just look at all of the great things that have been accomplished in the past 18 months.

My sentence
SILENCE
 
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Jim41

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From a scanning perspective Open Sky, ProVoice, and encryption all produce the same end result; they are currently unmonitorable with a scanner. All have been discussed at length in the forums.

Jim41
 

Citywide173

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We, the general public, are not entitled to listen in on police and fire communications. It may hurt some people's feelings, but it's the truth. It's not in our constitution nor is it a god-given right.
I still say that when the right person with the right amount of money starts making noise about not being able to monitor a system that their tax dollars paid for, you're gonna see a change in the attitudes. The media should be addressing this much more aggressively than they are, and I really wonder why news stories about firefighters using the apparatus to go to the store and buy food for the dinner at the station get huge promos, but the media has stuck their head in the sand about encryption, OpenSky and the like. The fact that the police are going to an "unmonitorable" system for all operations should have the media screaming "what are they trying to hide?" and flooding the agencies with FOIA requests (yes, I know they have to pay for the copying costs) which would bog the departments down to the point that they would have to hire someone just to fill the requests, or go back to transmissions "in the clear". I'm really starting to believe that the mainstream media are just sheep.
 
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N_Jay

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I still say that when the right person with the right amount of money starts making noise about not being able to monitor a system that their tax dollars paid for, you're gonna see a change in the attitudes. . . . .

Nope, sorry, no way.

Unless you are going to also declare the mayor's chair and private bathroom as "public" also.

You are just barking up the wrong tree.

You ABSOLUTELY do NOT have the right to any property or system just because it is paid for with tax dollars.

Go try to "borrow" a school bus for a weekend camping trip, or a patrol car to go shopping and see what the answer is.
 

tes151

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I figure that eventually one of those radios will fall off a truck and someone will make a scanner that will be able to monitor Open Sky. Secondly, where have you been? The media has had their own agenda for years.
 

FrequenC

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Sheep

baaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

and like "sheep" they are led to the slaughter

I really do apologize for posting my initial not so well informed post
 

mrkelso

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"You have helped me to accept the reality that I have no god given rights, not even life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness or monitoring my neighborhood police.
Thank God we have such brilliant leaders today who have the wisdom to tell us when to come out of the rain.
Because after all the government truly knows what is best for us, just look at all of the great things that have been accomplished in the past 18 months.

My sentence
SILENCE"

No to SILENCE!!

Speak up and be heard.
 
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N_Jay

Guest
I figure that eventually one of those radios will fall off a truck and someone will make a scanner that will be able to monitor Open Sky. . . . .
Maybe you need to make (even a casual) review of the technology to understand the issues.

Getting a radio is trivial, but you don't need one to reverse engineer the protocol.

Licensing the vocoder is probably not even a significant issue (beyond the cost).

Getting a usable consumer product is a whole 'nother thing.

And the fact that there is almost no market for it, takes the desirability of trying to build/sell the product to near zero.
 

RayAir

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Yes, scanners will become more and more useless as more and more systems such as Nexedge, TRBO, OpenSky, ProVoice, etc are sold.

Numerous agencies are being sold these digital systems as an "upgrade" and due to the nature of these systems it is not feasible to make a commercial scanner to monitor them.

I ran into a whacker and we got to talking about Open Sky. He was real adamant that they would make a scanner for it. He got mad when I told him it wasn't going to happen.

There will never be an Open Sky capable scanner- ever.

OpenSky:
VOIP (more computer less radio)
End-to-end 192-bit AES encryption
All radios must be authenticated to the system to be sent traffic
 
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N_Jay

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. . .Numerous agencies are being sold these digital systems as an "upgrade" and due to the nature of these systems it is not feasible to make a commercial scanner to monitor them. . . .
Maybe a secondary concern, but very rarely the main issue in a system upgrade program.

OpenSky:
VOIP (more computer less radio)
End-to-end 192-bit AES encryption
All radios must be authenticated to the system to be sent traffic
Close:

Not VoIP, (Slotted TDMA)
End-to-End encryption is available, but have seen little indication that it is used by default.
 

RoninJoliet

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AND, to top things off a PD in my area here in ILL will be rebanding there system with whats called the Motorola Shuffle which will screw things up royally till its new process is figured out by the scanner folks.....
 

RayAir

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Maybe a secondary concern, but very rarely the main issue in a system upgrade program.


Close:

Not VoIP, (Slotted TDMA)
End-to-End encryption is available, but have seen little indication that it is used by default.
Advanced Security Standards (from RF Harris)
OpenSky offers end-to-end Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption for maximum security.
AES is the U.S. government standard that replaces the data encryption standard, and rekeying is
executed automatically over the radio channel.
In addition, all radios are password protected to prevent unauthorized use. If a radio is stolen while
a user is already logged in, remote activation/deactivation is available at the network level. System
security is further enhanced by a wide range of Information Assurance services and options focusing
on Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) IP-based products.


Just click this link and read.
SOURCE (actual manufacturer literature):
http://www.bultronic.net/documents/VIDA/OpenSky_VIDA.pdf
It says right in this Open Sky system brochure that it "USES" AES encryption for maximum security. It doesn't say it's optional or user selectable. It is part of the system set up. I was told this was due mostly to the calls going over computer network equipment. The encryption is end-to-end meaning there's no way to listen in, not for you.
 
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