Question re PSR 800 Encrypted Digital Audio settings

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Pro94Pdx

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In the EZ Scan software (for programming the PSR 800 with a computer), there are three options for the Encrypted Digital Audio setting... which can be found in the "advanced features" section.

My understanding is that on encrypted radio systems, there are sometimes little bits of conversations that sneak through and can be heard as though they were not encrypted at all, so they can be heard and understood over the scanner. But I'm not sure how to set my scanner so that it will ONLY let me hear "those conversations" that slip through... and not all the indecipherable stuff that sounds like gibberish, or "noise," because of the encryption.

Having read through some forums, it looks like the three options in the Encrypted Digital Audio settings are as follows:

Digital Noise setting - for hearing the encrypted signals "just as they are," which will basically sound like static, or noise

Silence - where the scanner will play nothing, and ignore it, if it hits an encrypted signal

Audio Tone - where the scanner will play a "busy signal" sound, like you'd hear if you call someone on a telephone and the line is busy... whenever it hits an encrypted signal

The "digital noise" and "audio tone" settings seem to me like they would only serve the purpose of "letting me know there is an encrypted transmission coming through," without letting me hear what they are saying... and I'm not quite sure what good that will do me, if I can't understand it anyway. Whereas the "silent" mode - I'm guessing - either just skips over it entirely, or maybe just "broadcasts" silence, while showing me a frequency on the display, even though there is nothing to hear.

Those are the explanations that I'm assuming are correct, because I haven't been able to personally try any of them yet myself, because there isn't enough encrypted radio traffic where I am to "test these different options," one by one. None of the public safety radio systems here (in Portland, Oregon) are encrypted, except for the federal law enforcement frequencies (and the Portland Airbase), and we don't seem to get much federal law enforcement activity here to begin with.... so there isn't enough radio traffic on those signals anyway for me to "see what happens" with each of the three settings. Apparently, Portland will be going to encryption in 2015, but until then, I'm able to enjoy listening to pretty much everything.

However, I would like to program in the federal law enforcement channels anyway, just to see if anything comes through.... especially if it happens to come through un-encrypted, just by chance, or by accident. Having said that, my understanding is that even if the entire federal law enforcement system is encrypted, I may still be able to hear something un-encrypted once and a great while, if there happens to be an individual radio out there that isn't set properly to encrypt. In other words, if there are 100 radios in use (for example), and 99 of them are set to properly encrypt... that if someone happens to key up on the ONE radio that isn't set to encrypt, it will come through the scanner loud and clear. (Please correct me if I'm wrong on that)

In either case, does anyone know... which of the three Encrypted Digital Audio settings should I have it on, if I ONLY want to hear "the ones that slip past encryption (if and when it happens)," and not the garbled noise or static of the encrypted channels? In other words, how can I skip over the ones I won't be able to understand anyway... but still pick up the occasional ones I can?

Hope that all makes sense. I would appreciate any insight anyone can provide on this... or perhaps some further insight into what those three Encrypted Digital Audio settings mean. Thanks in advance for all your help. Happy scanning.

PS: For anyone living in an area where encryption is being considered - including Portland - I strongly encourage you to write to and call your local elected officials and urge them to consider encrypting ONLY the most sensitive and essential law enforcement channels, like vice, drugs, and undercover ops, for example. Otherwise by default, they end up encrypting the ENTIRE trunked system... including non-public-safety sensitive operations like Parks and Rec, transit, Bureau of Transportation, and so forth.

In my opinion, it's perfectly fine to encrypt sensitive channels, where being discreet and undercover is important. But to encrypt them ALL, across the board, is going too far. Instead, I would encourage everyone to urge the elected officials to consider a more reasonable approach: if they're worried about who's listening, simply require that all scanner listeners hold a HAM radio license, and undergo a background check. (I believe New York City already requires this) That way, law abiding citizens are still able to listen, and there will also be an enforcement mechanism for taking legal action against those who listen in without authorization.

Either that or simply ban the smartphone scanner apps. With the exception of a handful of newer scanners (like the Home Patrol by Uniden, and yes, the PSR 800, which can be programmed by zip code), most of the scanners on the market require quite a bit of sophistication on the part of the user to program... even if you're using software. So if they were to get rid of the smartphone apps - which make it all too easy to listen in - I think we'd find in short order that most of the listening public would be primarily just the scanner enthusiasts (like those of us on these forums), who do it as a hobby, and are willing to take the time to learn the software. After all, in most cases, you can't "just turn on a scanner" and listen. You have to PROGRAM it to make it work. And that deters a lot of otherwise shady folks with ill intent as it is... as it should.

Surely, there is a solution somewhere in the middle - a happy medium- on the issue of encryption... where legitimate listeners can continue to enjoy the hobby, without being unduly penalized and being "locked out (via encryption)" of the whole thing, because of a few bad apples. And if we, as legitimate, law abiding citizens, do not speak out and make our opinions known to the elected officials on this.... the scanning hobby will go silent, and be gone forever... never to be the same again. It's a whole lot easier to change minds (against full encryption) in advance BEFORE it happens, then to get them to "change it back" once it occurs... because by then, it will be nearly impossible, and probably too expensive for them to consider "undoing" anyway. So please, speak up. Call your elected officials, and write to them. Let them know what you think. We can't just "give up" and let it happen without at least speaking up to voice our opinions.

But I digress.... :) Any help on the PSR 800 is greatly appreciated.
 

mancow

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There are no little snippets that aren't encrypted. It's all or nothing. If it's clear it's because someone turned it off accidentally or intentionally but it's due to user input one way or another.
 

jhal94

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There are no little snippets that aren't encrypted. It's all or nothing. If it's clear it's because someone turned it off accidentally or intentionally but it's due to user input one way or another.
Not if they strap the TG to encryption and mark the "Ignore sec/clr switch when strapped" box in the cps. Then the user is stuck with whatever encryption option is set for the channel, whether its clear or enc.
 

Pro94Pdx

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Thanks for the info, I appreciate it. Any suggestions on whether I should set the PSR 800 to Digital Noise, Silence, or Audio Tone for the Audio Mode on Encrypted Digital Audio?
 

jackj

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That is going to depend on what you want to hear, Pro94Pdx. If the traffic is encrypted then you will not hear any intelligible audio regardless of what setting you use. Personally I would prefer my 800 to not stop on encrypted channels.
 

IowaGuy1603

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Thanks for the info, I appreciate it. Any suggestions on whether I should set the PSR 800 to Digital Noise, Silence, or Audio Tone for the Audio Mode on Encrypted Digital Audio?
Set it to Digital noise

BUT expect to hear a lot of hissing because that I all you are going to get. IF you hear anything on that frequency it is going to be because they turned off the encryption for some reason.

Personally I have ONE federal frequency in my scanner and I keep forgetting to take it out until I hear the blasted thing hissing
 

N8IAA

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On my 800, it is set to silence. There is one TGID that I occasionally monitor. The dispatch is in the clear and the SO is encrypted. You may hear a very brief word, or digital noise, then nothing. The display will show ENC.
Larry
 

DaveIN

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I set mine to Tone. This morning I was able to see an undocumented TGID via the Wildcard and also the RID's involved. When certain radios were in the clear I was able to hear them and see the RID's also.
 

mancow

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Not if they strap the TG to encryption and mark the "Ignore sec/clr switch when strapped" box in the cps. Then the user is stuck with whatever encryption option is set for the channel, whether its clear or enc.
True but I was addressing what appeared to be the opinion that encryption can "false" at times with clear audio portions coming through. It's either a user initiated switch or talk group strapping or whatever but it doesn't just accidentally allow portions of clear data through. That's kind of what the original post seemed to indicate to me.
 

DaveIN

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The "in the clear" should be the same for all no matter what the setting. GRE gave us the option of block all encryption noise silently, with a busy tone, or allow all encryption sound. In my case I hear the side of the conversation that is clear voice and only the busy tone when encryption is in use.
 

fire701

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I just purchased a PSR 800 Refurbished and cannot get it to receive the P 25 Phase II. Is their something that I need to turn on. I have downloaded all the TGID and the sites.
 

SCPD

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Yes!

when you receive a Phase 2 signal it will then display D2.

How did it work for you?
 

fire701

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I can get it to receive Conventional Frequency with no problem. It will just not receive the UNITS now we have in MS on MSWIN 700 mhz.. I have all the MSWIN info downloaded.
 

fire701

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I now have it stopping on the Phase 2 Channels but no sound. It also a T instead of a D2. I know this is not encrypted because my BCD 536 Scanner receives the audio. I also checked my firmware it is 1.08.
Help Needed
fire 701
 

davewhall29

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I would appreciate any insight anyone can provide on this... or perhaps some further insight into what those three Encrypted Digital Audio settings mean. Thanks in advance for all your help. Happy scanning.
I have used all three and I prefer the Silence.


My understanding is that on encrypted radio systems, there are sometimes little bits of conversations that sneak through and can be heard as though they were not encrypted at all, so they can be heard and understood over the scanner.
In digital encryption there is no "slipping through". As others have said, if it is encrypted, it is encrypted. The only time you will hear clear transmissions on and encrypted frequency/TG is when the person operating the radio either accidentally turns off encryption or forgets to hit the "button."


But I'm not sure how to set my scanner so that it will ONLY let me hear "those conversations" that slip through... and not all the indecipherable stuff that sounds like gibberish, or "noise," because of the encryption.
There is no way to just hear "those conversations" without all the "indecipherable stuff."


I monitor several encrypted TGIDs and from time to time I hear in the clear transmissions. I also monitor several mixed encrypted TGIDs where one side (dispatch) is in the clear and the other side is encrypted.

Digital Noise setting: You will hear a digital noise sound when the scanner stops on and encrypted transmission.

Silence: When the scanner picks up an encrypted transmission, it will stop, and you will hear a brief (1-2 second) burst of digital noise, then silence, On the top of the screen you will see an "E" displayed.

Audio Tone: You will hear a "busy signal" sound when the scanner stops on and encrypted transmission.

The only way to not hear any noise from encrypted transmissions, you will have to lock them out. But you will not hear any transmissions in the clear if you lock them out.

I prefer the silence setting because the others just annoy me. That way I can hear any in the clear transmissions without having to listen to unnecessary noise.
 

davewhall29

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I now have it stopping on the Phase 2 Channels but no sound. It also a T instead of a D2. I know this is not encrypted because my BCD 536 Scanner receives the audio. I also checked my firmware it is 1.08.
Help Needed
fire 701
I just checked the MSWIN system and the only P2 talkgroups on the system are Jones County. You can tell whether the talkgroups are P1 or P2 by looking at the Mode column. D=digital (P1), T=Phase 2 (P2), E=encrypted. So you may not have any P2 talkgroups to monitor in your particular area.

Just because the System Type at the top says Phase 2, does not mean all the talkgroups are Phase 2. All that means is the system is Phase 2 capable, which means it was set up to be able to handle P2 transmissions, but not everyone is transmitting in Phase 2.

As long as you have the most recent firmware updated then you should be able to hear the P2 TG. You said it is 1.08, is that your "CPU firmware"? I have updated my 800 & can hear P2 TG with no problem.
 

fire701

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I am in Grenada County MS so I am seeing the T which by what you say above is Phase 2. I can hear everything in the regular frequencies but not these. When I first got the scanner I did hear one on the MHP that is in MSWIN but after I updated the firm ware I cannot hear anything. You think I need to get another SD card and start over completely.
 

fire701

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I am in Grenada County MS so I am seeing the T which by what you say above is Phase 2. I can hear everything in the regular frequencies but not these. When I first got the scanner I did hear one on the MHP that is in MSWIN but after I updated the firm ware I cannot hear anything. You think I need to get another SD card and start over completely.
 
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