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Question RE: CHP

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rananthony04

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Is it just me or is monitoring the California Highway Patrol not enjoyable? I'm sure we all have our favorite frequencies to monitor, and one of mine would like to be the C.H.P. From where I live, I can monitor Orange Co., Long Beach, All of LAPD and Sheriff, just about all of LA County-can't say that about the CHP. Why can't they get with the program already and switch over to a higher frequency band? I've read about talks about trunking, and using the 700 Mhz and so on. When I monitor the CHP, whether I am mobile or not, it seems as if any kind of movement whether its my mounted mobile in the truck or holding the handheld, affects the reception, usually for the worse. How come I can hear Simi Valley (from my home is about 1 hour and 10 mins), but can't hear CHP radio traffic that is less than 2 miles away!? I can however move the scanner around and hopefully catch a somewhat clear signal and carefully put the scanner down without losing the signal. Does anyone know of any possible changes that will hopefully occur regarding the CHP freqs?

-Robert
 

wolter

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rananthony04 said:
Why can't they get with the program already and switch over to a higher frequency band? I've read about talks about trunking, and using the 700 Mhz and so on.
There's several reasons. (1) Budget. Where will the money come from? (2) Coverage. Unless they plan on littering the landscape with hundreds of transmitters, much of the terrain of the state requires the long wavelength of low band.
rananthony04 said:
When I monitor the CHP, whether I am mobile or not, it seems as if any kind of movement whether its my mounted mobile in the truck or holding the handheld, affects the reception, usually for the worse. How come I can hear Simi Valley (from my home is about 1 hour and 10 mins), but can't hear CHP radio traffic that is less than 2 miles away!?
Likely because you are using the wrong antenna for low band. An antenna that is successful with Simi Valley likely will not be with CHP. Use a low band antenna tuned for CHP freqs, elevate it, and I'm sure you'll see an improvement. I monitor CHP all the time with great success, hearing base transmitters from over 40 miles away. I could hear further if the landscape is flat.
 
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BirkenVogt

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Low band frequencies are among the easiest to monitor because they are so much less affected by obstacles than higher freqs but you need to have a really big antenna to get good performance. 5'2" if you are using a whip. And forget about hand helds. Lowband is for communication between mobiles and mountaintops.

Birken
 

rananthony04

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I see. I have 2 glass mounted antenna's on my tahoe, both from the Shack, one of them I used when I had my bearcat mounted and the second one is the one I purchased with the 2096, which is in there now. Is there a way to use both antennas with the Pro-2096? Would that help CHP coverage? Or would buying a low band antenna be more useful? Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You.

-Robert
 

swest90

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A lowband antenna would help. Coupling two other antennas that are tuned for different bands will just give you worse results. Find a 10m Ham antenna or a CB antenna and cut it down a bit and you should be golden. With the right antenna the CHP is a blast to listen to. You will be suprised at far those lowband signals go. You just gotta have the right antenna to pick them up.
 

Cary

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Low band Antenna makes a huge difference!

I got a Larsen low band mobile nmo antenna. Huge improvement in the quality of low band reception. Picks up high band, uhf and 800, although not as well as dedicated antenna for the band. CB whip antenna are fun to experiment with as a low band antenna and seem to be better than high band antennas.

While not a great low band antenna, I have found a motorola style nmo high band 1/4 wave to be an excellent all band scanner, as is, without cutting. As is it is tuned for the lower end of the aviation band (about 118 mhz), and seems to be multiples of uhf (118 x 4 =472) and 800 mhz (118 x 7 = 826), where I need to listen. It also is not great but a good compromise for low band in the CHP Band (118 mhz divided by 3 equals 39.333 mhz).

While I have used on glass antennas at work and they have been good at times, they can be very touchy, not always work well and are very frequency band specific, better at filtering out of band traffic that trying to use as a scanner antenna.
 

Uplink

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rananthony04 said:
Is it just me or is monitoring the California Highway Patrol not enjoyable?
-Robert
I agree, not only does the signal always suck, I get tired or hearing mostly non-stop licence plates. I just tune in if there's a wreck on the freeway that's holding me up, or there's a high speed persuit.

:)
 
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RolnCode3

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When I use the low-band antenna, properly grounded, I get great reception. I can listen to San Jose from Sacramento.

I've heard pursuits, foot pursuits, occupied 10851s, everything...they're a traffic agency, so I'd expect plate checks...but there's a lot more going on as well. Besides, it's good to know what's going on out there.
 

rananthony04

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San Jose from Sacramento, thats a long way, and I can't even hear radio traffic 2 miles away. I really want to monitor the CHP as pursuits are my favorite to monitor. Any info regarding antenna modification is appreciated. :)
 

scannerboy02

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Analysis of the 2006-07 Budget Bill

The California Highway Patrol’s (CHP’s) core mission is to ensure safety and enforce traffic laws on state highways and county roads in unincorporated areas. The department also promotes traffic safety by inspecting commercial vehicles, as well as inspecting and certifying school buses, ambulances, and other specialized vehicles. The CHP carries out a variety of other mandated tasks related to law enforcement, including investigating vehicular theft and providing backup to local law enforcement in criminal matters. In addition, the department provides protective services and security for state employees and property. Since September 11, 2001, CHP has played a major role in the state’s enhanced antiterror activities.

The CHP’s overall level of staffing is about 10,700 positions. The department is comprised of uniformed (sworn) and nonuniformed (nonsworn) personnel, with uniformed personnel accounting for approximately 7,300 positions, or 67 percent, of total staff.

The budget proposes nearly $1.6 billion in support for CHP in 2006-07, about $124 million (8.5 percent) above estimated current-year expenditures. The increase is primarily related to first-year funding ($57 million) of a multiyear radio system upgrade as well as staffing augmentations for patrol services and wireless 911 call handling ($40 million).

Most of CHP’s budget is funded from the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA), which derives its revenues primarily from vehicle registration and driver license fees. For 2006-07, MVA funds would comprise nearly 90 percent of CHP’s support costs.

Enhanced Radio System Proposed to Improve Communications
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) proposes to begin in 2006-07 a five-year, $491 million project to modernize its radio system. We concur that CHP’s radio system needs improving, however, it is not clear to what extent the proposed solution supports the state’s goal for interoperability among public safety agencies. We recommend that the Director of the Office of Emergency Services, in his role as chair of the Public Safety Radio Strategic Planning Committee, report to the Legislature at budget hearings on how CHP’s proposal supports the state’s goal.

Background. Immediate and reliable access to information is fundamental to public safety agencies’ ability to protect life and property. For CHP officers in the field, the radio system is the primary, and sometimes only, link to information and resources during both routine and emergency operations. To be effective, the system must allow officers to communicate without disruption from interference, lack of coverage, congestion, or equipment failure (collectively referred to as “operability”). In addition, the system must have the ability to communicate with other public safety agencies as needed (known as “interoperability”).

The CHP’s radio system consists of both mobile and fixed assets. The mobile component includes, for example, mobile and portable radios. The fixed component includes base stations (radio transmitters/receivers).

The CHP uses its radio system for department operations about 90 percent of the time. Roughly 10 percent of the system’s use is to provide interoperability with other public safety agencies. The existing radio system was designed in the early 1960s and operates primarily in low band frequencies, which accommodate a wider geographic area than high band frequencies. According to a performance review conducted by the Department of Finance in 2002, most of the CHP’s radio equipment is more than ten years old-beyond its useful life expectancy.

Existing Radio System Is Obsolete and Fails to Meet Department’s Needs. The CHP maintains that its public safety radio equipment is obsolete and the fixed infrastructure is failing. Based on our review, we concur with the department’s assessment. Documented problems include aging equipment, rising costs for maintenance and repair, and lack of functionality deemed critical by the department. For instance, officers are unable to communicate at a sufficient distance from their enforcement vehicles (the current 400 to 500 foot reach is too limiting), to broadcast over a wide area without assistance from a communications center, or to access different frequencies as needed for operability and interoperability. The department also notes deficiencies in its fixed equipment that limit dispatch capabilities.

The CHP is also experiencing problems with frequency congestion (too many users in the same frequency bands) and insufficient coverage (inability to use certain frequencies in some operational areas). To address these issues, CHP seeks a flexible system that allows officers access to multiple frequencies using the same mobile radio unit. Such a system would improve operability, particularly with respect to coverage issues. However, congestion problems are likely to continue among all public safety radio users unless additional frequencies are made available by the Federal Communications Commission.

Previous Efforts to Implement a Statewide, Integrated System Failed. In 1994, CHP-along with nine other public safety agencies and the Department of General Services-initiated a process to build a statewide, integrated public safety radio system. After several years of planning, that effort culminated in a proposal to replace the entire state public safety radio infrastructure. Under the proposal-commonly known as the PRISM project-all state agencies would have operated in selected high frequency bands using the same type of equipment, thus facilitating direct interoperability. Plans called for a phased build-out beginning in 2001-02. However, the project did not proceed because of its high price tag ($3.5 billion over 15 years) and the state’s fiscal constraints. The CHP subsequently withdrew its participation in the project due, in part, to the projected costs to the MVA and the long implementation timeline.

Budget Proposes to Replace Radios and Selected Infrastructure. The Governor’s budget proposes to modernize CHP’s public safety radio system over a five-year period beginning in 2006-07. The proposal entails significant investments in new fixed and mobile equipment. Specifically, it would replace all mobile and portable radios, selected fixed radio equipment such as base stations and receivers, and upgrade other communications infrastructure. Under this proposal, CHP would continue to use its existing low frequency bands, but would possess the capability of switching to channels tuned to selected higher frequency bands as needed to achieve operability and interoperability. The success of this solution depends on the acquisition of additional low band radio frequencies and the negotiation of agreements between agencies on procedural guidelines that govern the linking and integration of systems. The proposal would mean that data (as opposed to voice) communications would continue to rely on in-vehicle computers, which are currently deployed in about 30 percent of patrol vehicles.

Five-Year Proposal Would Cost $491 Million. The total cost of the project is estimated at $491 million. The budget requests $57 million for 2006-07, the first year of project implementation. The projected lifespan of the purchased equipment is approximately ten years. Thus, once the initial commitment and associated investments are made, the direction is set for at least the next decade.

Proposal Justified, but Alignment With State Direction Unclear. Our review shows that improving CHP’s radio communications system is warranted. This is because the system is obsolete and fails to meet the department’s operational needs. While the proposed solution would satisfy CHP’s operational needs, it is unclear to what extent it achieves interoperability. Instead of a single, integrated statewide system, the proposed solution would result in the state having a number of communications systems among various public safety agencies for the next decade or longer. Thus, the key issue facing the state is how best to address the state’s interoperability needs while ensuring that CHP’s operational needs are met in a timely way.

Recommend PSRSPC Report at Budget Hearings. Chapter 1091, Statutes of 2002 (AB 2018, Nakano),-the Public Safety Communications Act-assigned the Public Safety Radio Strategic Planning Committee (PSRSPC) primary responsibility for developing and implementing a statewide radio system that facilitates interoperability among all of the state’s public safety departments, as well as assessing the need for new or upgraded equipment and establishing a program for equipment purchase. Given the PSRSPC’s statutory mandate to develop a public safety radio system that facilitates statewide interoperability as well as the scope and long-term nature of this project, we recommend that the Director of the Office of Emergency Services, who currently serves as chair of the PSRSPC, report at budget hearings on: (1) the extent to which the proposed project supports the state’s interoperability goals-without compromising CHP’s operational needs and (2) whether CHP’s proposal would hinder or complicate future development of other systems.
 

dangitdoug

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According to this report, CHP wants a "Magic Radio System". Radios that can talk to any agency anywhere in the state just by changing channels on the radio. This is just not feasible. They are going to have to break it down to separate regions throughout the state.

If they don't realize this soon, they will never have a decent system. Actually, they are going to have to view their communications needs as several diffrent systems rather than a single system. The goal is interoperability statewide. This can only be accomplished on a regional basis. California is too big, with too many different communications systems to handle as a single system plan. As long as CHP continues their current thought process, they will never improve communications.

Doug K
 

SCPD

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Amateur radio models include the FT-8900 which operates on 4 bands. 10 meters (29 MHz), 6 meters (54 MHz), 2 meters (146 MHz), and 70 cm (445 MHz). There is very little 33 cm (918 MHz) equipment due to very few users on that band and so there aren't any multi band radios that include the upper bands. If amateur radios can work multiple bands why can't law enforcement use something similar?

The county sheriffs department where I live use VHF high/UHF dual band Kenwood handhelds so they can work their extenders using UHF, but also have the capability of using VHF High frequencies directly without having to go back to the vehicle to switch to those channels.

I don't quite understand why multi-band radios are not more widespread in public safety. If they can be used, what is unrealistic about the CHP's plans? I realize that having one radio that works on 800 MHz trunked systems and low band is probably asking too much for one radio, however, the development of some interesting radios could result as the California contract is a fairly large one and could develop some interest.
 

BirkenVogt

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Well we have found that using ham radios in the commercial world (and this is just for techs not out in the trenches) that they do three things:

1. break
2. break
3. break

The higher price tag of commercial radios is due to their reliability. Therefore in order to have 3 times the bands you need to pay roughly 3 times for the radio since the only thing in common is the control head, if that.

Also when you start lumping different bands into one radio it makes things easier for the average Joe, but limits his options. The thing I like about having different radios for different bands is that if traffic comes over another frequency while you are talking, you might still hear it.

Birken
 

RolnCode3

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I think he was suggesting companies would be willing to R&D and produce commercial grade, multi-band equipment. He did not seem to be suggesting using HAM gear in a LE environment.
 

Kirk

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Exsmokey said:
The county sheriffs department where I live use VHF high/UHF dual band Kenwood handhelds so they can work their extenders using UHF, but also have the capability of using VHF High frequencies directly without having to go back to the vehicle to switch to those channels.
Uh, as far as I know, Kenwood doesn't make a dual-band handheld other than ham stuff. The last type-accepted for LMR dual-band handheld I remember was the Vertex brick. It's been long since discontinued.

Is the SO using ham stuff?

For the price of a dual-band Kenwood mobile (which is actually two radios wired to one head, saves a bit of space and money), I could see many agencies going this route. Even with two complete radios it's gotta be cheaper than one Spectra (or whatever the current Moto gear is, I've been out of the biz for a while now).
 

WayneH

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Kirk said:
Uh, as far as I know, Kenwood doesn't make a dual-band handheld other than ham stuff. The last type-accepted for LMR dual-band handheld I remember was the Vertex brick. It's been long since discontinued.
Yeah, as close as you get is the Kenwood x90 series with the option of running a single head with multiple radios (two only). Nice rig, especially with the option to do low-band and either UHF or VHF. I should have bought into them instead of going the Moto route.

-Wayne
 

iepoker

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How about replacing the obselete equipment and leaving the system (that works REALLY, REALLY well according to most CHP guys) in place.

As a citizen, I want what works, and it is not the BAND that is not working.

For their dept. the band they are on is PERFECT!

My $0.02
 

1979lee

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iepoker said:
How about replacing the obselete equipment and leaving the system (that works REALLY, REALLY well according to most CHP guys) in place.

As a citizen, I want what works, and it is not the BAND that is not working.

For their dept. the band they are on is PERFECT!

My $0.02
i quite agree , i enjoy listening to the chp lowband , it goes forever!!!
 

Tweekerbob

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rananthony04,

You definitely need a low band antenna to monitor CHP well. Here is a link to a page you may find useful http://www.radialllarsen.com/docfiles/ASB7/LowMidBand.pdf (look for the 40-50 MHz range antennas)

The drawback? For good reception, you will probably have to drill a hole in the top of your Tahoe to mount the antenna (and it's about 4 ft tall on top of that). Find someone you know or you can hire that knows what they're doing and hang on tight...the band will come alive!!

You could try a mag-mount. For reception ONLY, the most important thing is to put a good ground plane under the antenna (like the top of your truck). This is the next best option and will, in my experience, be just about as good as drilling a hole in the truck.

There is a reason why there are little, probably no, low band glass mount antennas. It creates such a directional pattern off your vehicle that it becomes worthless for mobile use. I would advise that whether you try a mag mount or dive right into a permanent mount antenna that you mount it as close to the center of your roof as possible.

*BREAK*

As for the other comments made...I agree...don't fix what ain't broke; especially if it will cost me 500 million smackers. I live in the Sierras and the only thing that works well up here is low band. Up higher, we have canyons that are 5000 feet below the peaks that are 11,000 feet high. Explain to me how an 800 MHz signal is gonna get around that, especially when those mountains are littered with trees with foilage that is resonant at those frequencies. Heavens to Betsy it might rain!
 
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