Programming VA STARS by Division - Uniden SDS100

NS9710

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
293
Location
Dinwiddie, VA
I figured how to break down most TGRPS by Division, how would I go about breaking down organizations like the ABC, DCR, DOC, DEQ, etc which doesn't have a set divisional/regional breakdown that would make it easier to define which division they would be categorized under?
 

Mr_Boh

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2016
Messages
393
Location
The Land of Pleasant Living
Although some of those do have regional breakdown, the benefit to breaking down STARS by region is limiting the amount of scanning around on control channels is done. Once on a CC, adding a slew of TGs doesn't really harm the scanning performance until you get into the 100's (and even then people disagree on how much that hurts). Basically what I have done is added the same TG multiple times across the region if there's a potential to pick it up on that site (and if I would care enough if it did). Of course you can also add a department that is active regardless of where you are.

I guess all of it depends on how you like to manage and control your scanner through travels. I am definitely the guy who likes the GPS and does location-based so the location for the departments that cover the statewide stuff are large enough to cover the entire state, and then the sites themselves are set by expected reception, and then STARS TGs that are easier to group by region, like VSP stuff is in it's own groups with location sets.
 

NS9710

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
293
Location
Dinwiddie, VA
I basically want to hear something that's just in my division, I don't wanna be in Division 1 and be hearing stuff in 5, etc.

Although some of those do have regional breakdown, the benefit to breaking down STARS by region is limiting the amount of scanning around on control channels is done. Once on a CC, adding a slew of TGs doesn't really harm the scanning performance until you get into the 100's (and even then people disagree on how much that hurts). Basically what I have done is added the same TG multiple times across the region if there's a potential to pick it up on that site (and if I would care enough if it did). Of course you can also add a department that is active regardless of where you are.

I guess all of it depends on how you like to manage and control your scanner through travels. I am definitely the guy who likes the GPS and does location-based so the location for the departments that cover the statewide stuff are large enough to cover the entire state, and then the sites themselves are set by expected reception, and then STARS TGs that are easier to group by region, like VSP stuff is in it's own groups with location sets.
 

doctordialtone

Member
Timeout for bad behavior
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Messages
3,732
Location
CT
and even then people disagree on how much that hurts
The scanner scans control channels - not talk groups.- so it doesn't matter how many talk groups are programmed. It won't affect scan speed.

The Control Channel tells the scanner what to monitor.
 

Mr_Boh

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2016
Messages
393
Location
The Land of Pleasant Living
Yeah I have no engineering knowledge into how it opens up, but you would expect on some level that if you are doing an ID SCAN, wouldn't it take a couple extra processor cycles to validate if you want to listen to a TG on a list of 100 TGs vs a list of 10,000? I mean at that point you are probably going to have other factors that impact whether or not your scanner will unsquelch and start decoding.
 

doctordialtone

Member
Timeout for bad behavior
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Messages
3,732
Location
CT
The Control Channel tells the scanner what to monitor.
No. The control channel tells the scanner what to do. That's with 1 TG or 100 TG's.


Same scan time.

It's scanning CC frequencies - then listening to the active CC for instructions what to monitor.
 

tglendye

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2002
Messages
1,758
Location
Virginia
No engineering experience here, either. But Doc’s assessment seems right based on my experience and observation. I’ve always looked at it as we program the Hold Time, and that’s the particular time it checks the CC for TG activity. It doesn’t matter if one TG or 100. It is based on the timer you input for the Hold Time.
 

NS9710

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
293
Location
Dinwiddie, VA
Again, my issue is not timing of scanning the system, it's setting up for traffic relevant to me, having to go through and lockout 90% of a system isn't really logical to me, either.
 

fredva

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
1,593
Location
Virginia/West Virginia
Again, my issue is not timing of scanning the system, it's setting up for traffic relevant to me, having to go through and lockout 90% of a system isn't really logical to me, either.
Unless those other state agencies have talkgroups associated with certain regions, then there isn't a way to do what you are asking. Presumably you could hear somebody from the Eastern Shore on a particular DEQ talkgroup, or hear somebody in Southwest Virginia on that same talkgroup. However, my experience is that the State Police and VDOT Safety Service Patrols are the major users of the STARS network statewide. If that is the case where you live too, that means you aren't going to get bombarded with traffic from somebody affiliated with those other state agencies regardless of where the transmissions come from.

If you are interested in hearing from those other state agencies at all, I would just leave them in, unless you find that you're getting more traffic than you want. Then it's a binary choice - either on or off.
 

Webodisk

Mike
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
896
Location
Virginia Beach,VA
it is all dependent on how the system is set up, some Tg's will require system wide access no matter where they are, others are set to a certain area
 

BigLebowski

Member
Joined
May 5, 2004
Messages
513
Location
Piedmont NC
Seeing as how VSP doesn't normally allow users to roam across divisions on the radio, unless you are sitting right on the border you won't hear other divisions anyway. I'm not sure other agencies are limited geographically like VSP is, but the other agencies you mention have much larger "divisions" (Some are East/Central/West like DOC) so you might hear them across large areas or statewide. IMO theres not enough traffic on STARS to worry about it.
 

BoxAlarm187

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
1,545
Location
Old Dominion
By far, VSP is the largest user of STARS, don't be surprised if you hear little to nothing from a majority of the other agencies on the system.
 

KC4ASF

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 27, 2002
Messages
345
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
My ProScan automatically records and keeps account of actual mike key down times on STARS and VDOT with their SSP (safety service patrols) blows away the VSP now. Richmond normally wins each day and NVA is normally 2nd. VSP and their terminals would be the biggest data users.
 

LEH

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
1,441
Location
Yorktown, Virginia
To try and answer the OP's question. I would look at some of the explanations in each departments "description column". Some, like the Dept of Forestry, say 'east or a city region like Salem'. Try to correspond those to VSP divisions (Forestry's East might encompass Div 1 and 5). Others, like DOT seem to correspond to VSP divisional districts (so the safety patrols and VSP cover the same roads).

Where the real fun begins is trying to associate STARS tower sites to geographical divisions and put control channels to those areas. Really difficult near boundaries (e.g., the Williamsburg site [1/12] is almost to the Div 1 and 5 boundary). As I've traveled 64 from Williamsburg to Richmond, and switched from Div 5 to Div 1 crossing into New Kent County. The CC for Div 1 is still on the Williamsburg tower until I get closer to Richmond.

Too many entered control channels will slow the scanning down trying to find the active one, not having the correct sites programmed for a zone may cause you to miss transmissions.

During my 'stay at home', I played with multi site systems and how to more easily monitor them. Some like NC VIPER or Ohio MARC (where I used to live) with over 200 unique CC's are huge regardless of what I do. However, STARS is pretty easy in the long run.

STARS has 66 sites utilizing around 310 frequencies on those sites. Only 140 or so are designated control channels. 74 of those are duplicates leaving 66 unique CC's to work with. I put those into a single list (csv file) and it has worked reasonably well as I go between VSP divisions. 66 is still a pretty goodly number to deal with and some would not go this route but setup each site (another challenge in doing that) or try to merge some sites to a division.

For my 'home' area, I have a separate STARS system with just local CC's to shorten search time for a control channel. Traveling out of Div 5, I have a statewide FL scanning all 66 control channels for a signal. Drove to Woodbridge last week with no appreciable issues on finding a CC. Ran a Unication G2 and my 436. The Unication fared slightly better reception wise, even with it not switching towers until the current tower signal is gone.

I monitor primarily VSP and the VDOT safety patrols on STARS. Safety, with what seems like a single active TG per division (at least in Div 5) is much more active than VSP, getting calls for flats, debris, as well as providing lane protection at accident scenes.
 
Top