Palmetto 800 Missing Sites & Talkgroups

DanRollman

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Atlanta, GA
This past week I was in the Charleston area for vacation and spent some time monitoring the Charleston County simulcast site on the Palmetto 800 system (Site 10). The system sounded great where I was - on Isle of Palms. But I was surprised to find that perhaps 1/4 of the talkgroups my SDS100 stopped on (in search mode) are not listed in the database. Other than the Johns Island FD Ops channel (TG 2049) which I was quickly able to identify and add to the database, and the fact that Sullivan's Island PD is dispatched on Island Dispatch (along with IOP) which I added in a note in the database, I wasn't able to spend real time identifying these unidentified talkgroups (I was on vacation with the kids, after all).

This comes on the heels of my trip to the Clemson side of Lake Hartwell in June, where I discovered that the Palmetto 800 system has an entire site in Clemson that wasn't listed in the database, which I found by doing a quick frequency range search of the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands. I quickly added that Site to the database too (Site 104) and used it to monitor DNR while on the lake.

I don't say any of this to give grief to those who have done a great job documenting the sites and talkgroups on such a big system. It is a tremendous effort, and I am not local (live in Atlanta area) so I can't be of much help. I'm just not used to it - in metro Atlanta it is extremely rare to come across a talkgroup that isn't in the database on any of our metro area P25 trunked systems. Rather, I am noting this so that those of you who are local to SC and monitor Palmetto 800 don't assume that the RR DB entry for Palmetto 800 is complete. It is not. There are certainly many active talkgroups that are not listed in the database, and I have to believe Clemson wasn't the only active Site that was missing from the database until last month. So don't forget to use your ID Search mode, do some 700 MHz and 800 MHz frequency searches as you move around the state, and report what you find on RR. There is definitely a lot of information about the Palmetto 800 system not currently listed in the DB, and the RR DB is a volunteer effort that is dependent on user submissions.

Dan
 

brian

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Thanks for your contributions, Dan.

Unlike Metro Atlanta, there isn't a substantial density of scanner listeners that are of the type that search, identify and submit information. Many areas are rural, and while I think there is a decent number of scanner listeners in the state, most of them are the "set it and forget it" type that are in the hobby to listen, and not into the hobby to research systems. And that's perfectly fine - that's what RadioReference is all about, providing data to hobbyists for exactly that purpose.

For sure, there are many talkgroups that are unidentified. The P25 system is fairly new, having only been on the air for 2 years or so (it had been a P16 previously). Most of the commonly used talkgroups have been identified, but there are plenty of less frequently used talkgroups that are not. And the system is frequently changing - agencies migrate on and off the system regularly, with SC DNR being an example of an agency that just migrated on within the last few months.

And in the case of the Clemson site, that's a relatively new, maybe in the last 4 months or so. Without a substantial number of active hobbyists searching out new information, it's tough to stay on top of changes. Oh, how I wish I was in a position to retire from my "real" job and be a full-time radio researcher. Alas, I have people that depend on me for food, clothes, cars and education. One day....
 

DanRollman

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Thanks for your contributions, Dan.

Unlike Metro Atlanta, there isn't a substantial density of scanner listeners that are of the type that search, identify and submit information. Many areas are rural, and while I think there is a decent number of scanner listeners in the state, most of them are the "set it and forget it" type that are in the hobby to listen, and not into the hobby to research systems. And that's perfectly fine - that's what RadioReference is all about, providing data to hobbyists for exactly that purpose.

For sure, there are many talkgroups that are unidentified. The P25 system is fairly new, having only been on the air for 2 years or so (it had been a P16 previously). Most of the commonly used talkgroups have been identified, but there are plenty of less frequently used talkgroups that are not. And the system is frequently changing - agencies migrate on and off the system regularly, with SC DNR being an example of an agency that just migrated on within the last few months.

And in the case of the Clemson site, that's a relatively new, maybe in the last 4 months or so. Without a substantial number of active hobbyists searching out new information, it's tough to stay on top of changes. Oh, how I wish I was in a position to retire from my "real" job and be a full-time radio researcher. Alas, I have people that depend on me for food, clothes, cars and education. One day....
Hi Brian,

Thanks for all that background. That's great info. That also probably explains why DNR was heard on the Clemson site more than any other agency - since they just joined the system, perhaps they have the newest programming template in their radios and other area users don't yet have that site programmed.

And no doubt the 'most important' stuff is in the DB. For sure most of the unidentified talkgroups I've heard sound like the 'less interesting' variety anyway.

In Atlanta we also have the advantage of most of our area systems being simulcasts. As such, if you can hear any tower, you can hear the whole system and every talkgroup on it from where you are. That makes hearing and identifying new talkgroups easier too. On Palmetto 800, you'd actually have to move around to discover unidentified talkgroups that are in use elsewhere.

Speaking of discover - the Discovery Mode on the Uniden scanners is a huge help for this stuff. Without quitting my job, I often just let my SDS100 (which is actually a secondary radio to me - I primarily use my Unication G5 and my BKRadio KNG radios) sit on a system for a few days and find and record any unidentified talkgroups. A couple times a week I just take a quick spin through my recordings of unidentified talkgroups and see if I can identify them easily.
 
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mrat1234

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SC
Does anybody have info on Aiken county because it appears that the Aiken site (2) is a county 2 site simulcast site. I believe this to be the case because the licenses for the site show 2 sites. One located at INT HAMPTON AVE & YORK ST AIKEN, SC AIKEN County and the other at 342 PINE LOG RD BEACH ISLAND, SC AIKEN County. After looking at the 2 locations it appears that they have 1 site at each end of the county. Any help is appreciated.
 

mrat1234

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After looking at the other licenses WPNT492 show 2 sites while WPVS654 is showing 1 site. Most of the site frequencies are from the 2 site license and all frequencies show 8K70D1W P25 Linear Simulcast Modulation ASTRO (9.6 kbps in 12.5 kHz channelspace) .
 
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shajoe44

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I am able to monitor the Aiken site as well as the North Augusta site. As far as I know Aiken County is not simulcast. I have a TRX1 scanner as well as other scanners monitoring Aiken County and I have no problems in reception. Hope this helps.
 

mrat1234

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SC
I would monitor the site and see if i could get any additional info but im in the irmo area to far to listen to the site even if it is/was a simulcast site.
Im almost 90% certain it's most likely simulcast as big as Aiken county is. All the 100% verified standalone sites have 1 site on the fcc website while all simulcast sites show multiple sites like the Aiken site. I dont have any plans to travel to the Aiken area so possibly you could monitor and see if it is indeed simulcast. You never know you may be in the perfect location were if it is a 2 site simulcast site simulcast distortion is not happening to you. this page shows 2 sites but may be incorrect. Im not trying to say your wrong or i know everything just curious about the site.
 

brian

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Does anybody have info on Aiken county because it appears that the Aiken site (2) is a county 2 site simulcast site. I believe this to be the case because the licenses for the site show 2 sites. One located at INT HAMPTON AVE & YORK ST AIKEN, SC AIKEN County and the other at 342 PINE LOG RD BEACH ISLAND, SC AIKEN County. After looking at the 2 locations it appears that they have 1 site at each end of the county. Any help is appreciated.
It's very possible, even likely, that the Aiken site is a 2-site simulcast site. It's common for Palmetto 800 to add additional sites in the more urban counties that have "bought in" to Palmetto 800. These are the locations where agencies want and expect full portable coverage outdoors and reasonably good signal penetration indoors. Adding simulcast sites improves coverage (and expands it to a wider area) without requiring additional licensing, radio reprogramming and other challenges.

From a scanner hobbyist's point of view, the fact that it's simulcast (or not) is really trivial. There's no way that I'm aware of to monitor a site and/or decode control channel data and know definitively that it's simulcast. And there's no difference in the way scanners are programmed for single site vs simulcast. There are no differences from a hobbyist's point of view, other than potentially poorer decoding performance.

From a database standpoint, yeah, I'd like to include the word "simulcast" in the site description if that's the case, but that's the only change I would make. It's cosmetic. So it's not critical to know either way.

As shajoe44 pointed out, 2-site simulcast sites don't seem to pose as many problems with decoding success for the "non-simulcast-optimized" scanners. Certainly not as much as simulcast site with many towers. That's been my same experience in the upstate with a 2-site simulcast system.
 

mrat1234

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Is anybody else having trouble receiving the system or receiving very bad gargled audio on the system. I am currently listening to Lexington county law enforcement and all are coming in gargled. It's not as bad as it was an hour ago. having the same issue with Columbia pd. Tried multiple locations as well as on the way to the store no difference.
 

mrat1234

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Lexington county sheriff is 100% encrypted but municipal LE (city) is in the clear
 

mrat1234

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SC
I have a few questions and new info.
--------------------------------------------------
BPS Info = WNGF914 - RM - 156.7 - BPS Back-Up

The frequency labeled BPS ch.2 is not a active frequency and should be removed.
---------------------------------------------------------------
I have discovered today that SC has a state guard in addition to the air/army national guard and have found a license for them. It's WQMXG41.
Here are the frequencies.

453.8625 - BM - Columbia

151.1225 - M
155.7075 - M
453.3875 - M
453.4125 - M
453.8625 - M
460.1125 - M
460.1875 - M
460.3375 - M
-----------------------------------------------------
My question is does anybody know where these frequencies/licenses are use on the palmetto 800 system. WPMV859,WQGL879,WQSE320,WPUR551. Some of these are being used for the Columbia site that Brian took out the database as it was not being used but is an active site with an active control channel. I cant remember what the site id was.
 

mrat1234

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SC
Im also wondering if anybody can help with richland county public works as they use the palmetto 800 system. richland and lexington county tg arrangements are similar and following this would put richland county public works useing 2559X talkgroups.
 

mrat1234

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May 13, 2016
Messages
314
Location
SC
Hi all here is a list of almost all Palmetto 800 control channels. There is a total of 128 control channels in this list. Currently only 76 sites have been identified and are in the database. So that leaves about 52 unidentified sites. Wanted to put this list here for anyone who would like to help identify the remaining sites.

852.35000
857.93750
858.48750
857.48750
854.41250
854.38750
860.38750
860.46250
859.38750
858.76250
853.77500
852.92500
853.18750
853.92500
774.58125
774.83125
851.62500
851.82500
851.95000
851.96250
852.17500
852.42500
852.47500
852.53750
852.57500
852.60000
852.61250
852.62500
852.67500
852.71250
852.86250
852.87500
852.90000
852.93750
852.95000
852.96250
853.03750
853.05000
853.07500
853.10000
853.12500
853.15000
853.16250
853.17500
853.20000
853.21250
853.23750
853.25000
853.26250
853.27500
853.28750
853.31250
853.32500
853.35000
853.36250
853.40000
853.41250
853.42500
853.45000
853.46250
853.47500
853.50000
853.51250
853.52500
853.53750
853.56250
853.60000
853.61250
853.62500
853.66250
853.67500
853.68750
853.70000
853.71250
853.73750
853.75000
853.78750
853.80000
853.81250
853.83750
853.86250
853.90000
853.91250
853.95000
853.96250
853.98750
854.73750
854.86250
855.03750
855.31250
855.43750
855.46250
855.51250
855.63750
855.66250
855.78750
856.33750
856.46250
856.48750
856.58750
856.68750
856.86250
856.91250
857.21250
857.26250
857.43750
857.46250
857.91250
858.26250
858.28750
858.46250
858.68750
858.71250
858.83750
858.93750
858.96250
859.26250
859.46250
859.48750
859.68750
859.83750
859.86250
859.88750
860.23750
860.48750
860.73750
860.93750
856.93750
 

jonwienke

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Frequencies can be used as control channels or voice channels. And frequencies can be reused for either purpose in sites that are out of range from each other. Having a list of 100 frequencies doesn't mean there are 100 sites, especially since there are multiple frequencies used by each site.
 

mrat1234

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May 13, 2016
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Location
SC
These are active/reserved control channels as all of them were pulled from an active radio on palmetto 800 being used by an agency that only put the control channels in. I have also verified with some sources that all of these are control channels.
 

trumpetman

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That list contains both primary and alternate control channels. Stand-alone ASRs typically have 2 control channels provisioned and simulcasts have 4. Pal8 puts out a list of 128 and 250 control channels to accommodate radios that have different CC capacities. Last I checked the system was supposed to come out to around 80 or so sites so 76 ID'd out of 80 isn't bad when they're still building the system out.
 

mrat1234

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May 13, 2016
Messages
314
Location
SC
The sites in the database is actually 77 the site called Columbia was removed by admin Brian as it was not being used for any voice comms but had an active control channels. I believed the control channel was 853.1125 .
 
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