Orange County CCCS P25 Update

Markb

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Reversing encryption does not involve merely flipping a switch. Radio techs have to touch every....single....radio. That includes apparatus mobile and portable radios, cache radios, base stations at all fire stations, admin, HQ, etc etc...
OCFA and other allied FD's use the Sheriffs comm division to handle their reprogramming and that costs $$$ and time. Things like fire season get in the way of scheduling and timelines also.
Not to mention that reversing encryption is sort of uncharted territory. It's not done very often.

With that being said, I can see how once the scope of work and cost was defined that streaming has become a compromise at least in the short term and possibly the long term. It's easy for a Fire Chief to stand at a podium and say that they will reverse encryption without realizing how involved or expensive that process can be, so I don't think Chief Fenessy is lying or otherwise being intentionally deceptive. It's just the way things are going. I would love for them to be unencrypted as much as anyone, but if it does happen, it's gonna be a while.
 

maus92

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If you are looking to move to a scanner enthusiast friendly County, I'm sorry to tell you that you are about 20-years too late. Over the past twenty years Orange County has become a Secret Society (much like the old History Channel series). To answer your question more directly, the last discussion I'm aware of about un-encrypting the fire service radio was in October 2019. From the little bit of information I've been able to gather, there is no current plan to remove the encryption. In fact other city and county agencies have been considering adding encryption to there radio systems. Much of this is the result of vendors touting the advantages of encryption (this increases the price and thus the salesman's commission).

Sorry I don't have better news, but it is what it is!
It's not just the vendor; the DHS recommends encryption for police - not sure what organization recommends ENC for the fire service. This is really an effort by executive level chiefs and administrators to mitigate fallout from embarrassing - or worse - comms being overheard to the extent they cannot control the message. The Washington DC Fire Department had a scandal that was partially revealed by comms, then a few months later they announced that all comms would encrypted. This created chaos with the 8 surrounding jurisdictions that run mutual aid into the district, requiring them to purchase encryption capability and touch tens of thousands of radios. The decision was reversed a few months later.
 

PaulNDaOC

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Hi everyone just started scanning and I guess this is why I can’t get anything in Brea and surrounding cities. I picked up a Home Patrol 1 and I’m only receiving chatter from LA. Good thing I live in LB I’m able to listen in.
Is there anything I can listen to in the Brea area?
Emergency Ambulance perhaps and LA County Fire for La Habra. If you have any interest in diamond bar both LASD and Fire are in the clear still.
 

Randyk4661

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I'm not familiar with the home patrol scanners and their capability.
The OC Access channels are in the clear although not used much, mostly for the neighboring counties when they respond into the OC.
CHP is about the only law enforcement.
If we're lucky maybe by next year we will be able to hear the fire departments again, not holding my breath on that.
 

ed3750

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I understand that each portable and mobile needs to be reprogrammed to reverse it's encryption. But, not being a radio tech, don't understand why they can't begin by unencrypting the dispatch consoles. If that is possible, hearing the dispatcher side of the conversation would be a significant first step in the process.
 

avascan522

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If you are looking to move to a scanner enthusiast friendly County, I'm sorry to tell you that you are about 20-years too late. Over the past twenty years Orange County has become a Secret Society (much like the old History Channel series). To answer your question more directly, the last discussion I'm aware of about un-encrypting the fire service radio was in October 2019. From the little bit of information I've been able to gather, there is no current plan to remove the encryption. In fact other city and county agencies have been considering adding encryption to there radio systems. Much of this is the result of vendors touting the advantages of encryption (this increases the price and thus the salesman's commission).

Sorry I don't have better news, but it is what it is!
Is there any possibility that the vendors who sell the equipment don't necessarily care about not hearing comms? Are any of those employees scanner listeners themselves? Or perhaps do they have an inside scoop into how the radios are programmed, E-keys and all, and can just use a "real radio" to listen-in at their leisure? Kind of seems counter-active for a person who sells radios (and I would hope likes radios as a hobby) to cancel out their own chances of gathering real-time information. If they don't know anything about comms, ("I just work here") then I get it.
 
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What I have found out is that the encryption topic has been addressed through the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association as well as Orange County Consolidated Communications (OCC) which is part of the OC Sheriff’s Department. The challenge of removing encryption to fire service radios is a larger task than the fire agencies in Orange County were initially made aware of by Orange County Communication. The fire agencies within Orange County have been able to broadcast tactical radio frequencies un-encrypted through a web browser that can be accessed through broadcast. Although these frequencies are not available via scanner, these feeds are available today to the public via web browser or phone applications until a time in the future when we have a better option to remove encryption from all of the fire service radio channels in Orange County.

Currently, Orange County Communication is working with the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association to provide different options to remove encryption from the fire service radios without creating an unnecessary financial burden on all agencies that currently have fire frequencies loaded into their radios. Orange County Communication does not yet have a time frame in which this process would be complete.

Further, when Chief Fennessy originally made the decision and request to un-encrypt the OCFA radios he was unaware of the challenge to make this happen quickly.

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Hopefully this gives everybody an idea of the current challenges and the financial burdens during these times to remove the encryption from the fire radios for The County of Orange Fire Service Radios. It makes sense that when the higher up brass makes decisions they are just not aware of the technical challenges and the financial costs to remove encryption of thousands of radios by hand. I would be furious if I was the one that had to hand touch each radio if I was the comm tech assigned to reverse it. Time consuming and they are probably having a staffing issues too. I believe this is on the table but obviously its not a high priority as their system is functioning just fine in the encrypted mode. The "Over the Air" method is most likely has not been implemented as this point. Most likely once the backbone of the county system gets implemented and functioning then there will be no hand touching each radio. Bummer but o well. Hopefully this gives some insight for people that are wondering the status since people say its been almost a year in the making.
 

Robertolson

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I bet getting 50 volunteers from this Foruim on helping programming Radios will not be a problem. ......thanks for the update
 

marcotor

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I would be furious if I was the one that had to hand touch each radio if I was the comm tech assigned to reverse it.
Why would you be furious? If you were a tech at OC Comms, or one of the contract employees, you would be getting paid to complete tasks as assigned. Client says please do this, it's not YOUR job to make decisions or whine about it. Your job is to implement what the client wants.

And yes, this is not trivial as some posters seem to think it is, there is much more to a modern fleet than simply "flipping a switch".
 
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Why would you be furious? If you were a tech at OC Comms, or one of the contract employees, you would be getting paid to complete tasks as assigned. Client says please do this, it's not YOUR job to make decisions or whine about it. Your job is to implement what the client wants.

And yes, this is not trivial as some posters seem to think it is, there is much more to a modern fleet than simply "flipping a switch".
I am going to post only in this thread for positive news for the greater good of people that care. Any other posts that shows no positive intent then we just move on. Please only post if you have news from the source moving forward.
 

WX4JCW

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What I have found out is that the encryption topic has been addressed through the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association as well as Orange County Consolidated Communications (OCC) which is part of the OC Sheriff’s Department. The challenge of removing encryption to fire service radios is a larger task than the fire agencies in Orange County were initially made aware of by Orange County Communication. The fire agencies within Orange County have been able to broadcast tactical radio frequencies un-encrypted through a web browser that can be accessed through broadcast. Although these frequencies are not available via scanner, these feeds are available today to the public via web browser or phone applications until a time in the future when we have a better option to remove encryption from all of the fire service radio channels in Orange County.

Currently, Orange County Communication is working with the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association to provide different options to remove encryption from the fire service radios without creating an unnecessary financial burden on all agencies that currently have fire frequencies loaded into their radios. Orange County Communication does not yet have a time frame in which this process would be complete.

Further, when Chief Fennessy originally made the decision and request to un-encrypt the OCFA radios he was unaware of the challenge to make this happen quickly.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hopefully this gives everybody an idea of the current challenges and the financial burdens during these times to remove the encryption from the fire radios for The County of Orange Fire Service Radios. It makes sense that when the higher up brass makes decisions they are just not aware of the technical challenges and the financial costs to remove encryption of thousands of radios by hand. I would be furious if I was the one that had to hand touch each radio if I was the comm tech assigned to reverse it. Time consuming and they are probably having a staffing issues too. I believe this is on the table but obviously its not a high priority as their system is functioning just fine in the encrypted mode. The "Over the Air" method is most likely has not been implemented as this point. Most likely once the backbone of the county system gets implemented and functioning then there will be no hand touching each radio. Bummer but o well. Hopefully this gives some insight for people that are wondering the status since people say its been almost a year in the making.
Seriously, the only stumbling block would be to gather all the radios and uncheck the boot strapping on the radio, this is not rocket science, its a stall, maybe not by the chief but someone in the higher echelons. you make a bs post then want only positive responses? get real
 

PaulNDaOC

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I am going to post only in this thread for positive news for the greater good of people that care. Any other posts that shows no positive intent then we just move on. Please only post if you have news from the source moving forward.
That's a pretty strange directive coming from someone whose previous comment was a rant from the position of not an official source and is not a moderator nor owner of the site.
 
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I inquired last week about getting 4-A and 5-A added to Broadcastify since the rest of the talkgroups are open in the clear. Waiting to hear back to see if this could happen or not. If it gets added that would be great for now. If not, then at least I tried.
 

ScanFanEd

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Greetings All,

I know that OCFA had moved forward with encryption, and I guess then decided to not go with encryption. Can anyone confirm for me where that current stands? Are all OCFA talkgroups still encrypted or are any in the clear? If they are still encrypted, are we still hopeful that encryption will removed at some point?

Appreciate any insight!
 

MEDIC135

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Encryption is still enabled on all FD talkgroups
The decryption is still being followed through but at a very slow pace
Could be awhile before they are decrypted
 
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I wouldn't hold your breath for any decryption anytime soon. The more time that goes by and nothing happens then we won't see any changes happening. Anybody with any good thinking skills can really understand the logic as time flies by.
 

MEDIC135

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I wouldn't hold your breath for any decryption anytime soon. The more time that goes by and nothing happens then we won't see any changes happening. Anybody with any good thinking skills can really understand the logic as time flies by.
I wouldn’t be so negative about the topic just yet! I can understand your thinking but Metro Net has responded to an email stating they are still in the process of decryption. Only issue right now that’s keeping this train from moving faster is the OCSD who controls the radio system in the county. Unfortunately they are the ones controlling this timeline. Again, I really do believe it’s still gonna happen but it will be awhile before we see any changes. That’s my logical, positive thinking
 
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I wouldn’t be so negative about the topic just yet! I can understand your thinking but Metro Net has responded to an email stating they are still in the process of decryption. Only issue right now that’s keeping this train from moving faster is the OCSD who controls the radio system in the county. Unfortunately they are the ones controlling this timeline. Again, I really do believe it’s still gonna happen but it will be awhile before we see any changes. That’s my logical, positive thinking
Okay. I guess staying with positive thinking is the best course for now until otherwise. Let's just hope this does not take another few years for this to happen.
 
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