Scanner Programming Question...

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kzooman

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I've been given the task of programming multiple scanners to cover several counties in West Michigan. I'm looking at Kent, Ottawa, Allegan, Ionia, Barry, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon.

What's the best way to go about this. Several of those counties appear to still be on an analog system...should I program all the frequencies or would I get just as good coverage by programming the MPSCS system....do all of those counties dispatch over MPSCS talkgroups?

I'm kind of at a loss at where to get started. Most of the scanners are Uniden BC796D...any suggestions on which software to use to program these?
 

drdispatch

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Is each scanner going to have to cover every county you mentioned? If so, you can put a county in each bank. That's the way I have my PRO-96 set up. I also have the first bank as a "Statewide" bank; it includes all the MPSCS sites in each county in the area, the statewide talkgroups such as the G, H, & I EVENT's, and state fireground & other statewide frequencies.

Most of the counties you named run law enforcement on MPSCS & fire/EMS on VHF. The biggest exception being Allegan, which uses a Pro-Voice system for LE (which is not monitorable), but some of those TG's are patched to MPSCS TG's. Kent (except for MSP) is all VHF.

Designate a bank for each county, program every MPSCS site you need to cover that county (some sites overlap county boundaries), & you should be good.

Sorry I can't help with the software question, but I'm sure somebody on here can.
 

ka3jjz

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For the 796, ARC250 from BuTel (Scanner Master has it) or ProScan are the 2 big players. But since you said 'most of the scanners', this makes me think you've got others to play with too. If you have Uniden DMA scanners as well as the 796, ProScan would be a better choice since it supports almost all of them including the non-DMA 796.

You can get some ideas about popular software in our wiki - take a look at the main page, about 2/3 down for the yellow 'Popular Topics' section. You will find 3 articles there that will get you started

best regards..Mike
 

slash

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kzooman

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So I've actually pretty successfully programmed what I need. I used ScanControl...it was ok and much easier than programming manually, but wasn't as easy as I'd hoped...they sort of oversold the ease of use with RR.

I'm getting what almost sounds like encryption from Calhoun County dispatch and Kalamazoo Township over the MPSCS talkgroups. I believe I'm hearing the officer respond to the dispatcher, but when the dispatcher keys, it's very garbled. Is that normal or did I program something wrong.

I have the Allegan talkgroups on MPSCS programmed and am getting much better coverage than I was in the past.

Also, now that I have them programmed, any recommendations on antennas? The setup we have now is what I believe to be causing poor coverage...there's about a 100 foot run and then it's split three times. The 800 mhz antenna is an omnipole..that one I really need to upgrade.

Again, thanks for all your help.
 

N8DRC

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Calhoun Co is encrypted so it is not your radio.
 

drdispatch

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All law enforcement talkgroups for Calhoun County, Kalamazoo DPS, & Kalamazoo Township are encrypted. They will all sound garbled no matter what you do, so you might as well lock them out or not program them at all.
 

Skud

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Except for fire and EMS, Barry County Sheriff Dept is on the MPSCS system.

Except for drug stuff, Kent county is not on the MPSCS system except for MSP units on the highway.

Allegan is patched over the MPSCS system for police dispatch. EMS and Fire I cannot answer..

95% of Calhoun is yes encrypted on the states system.

Kalamazoo county is about 50 to 75% encrypted on the states system.

Ionia county Sheriff is patched over to the MPSCS system as most units still have old VHF radios and even fire has started to go over to the MPSCS system. I know Ionia city and Lake-o is already switched over.

(I have personally monitored the above ones myself)

Someone could correct me but I believe Ottawa and Muskegon are NOT on the MPSCS system.

I bet this what you are hearing Click here
 

kzooman

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yup. That's exactly what I'm hearing. I knew KDPS was encrypted, but I wasn't aware that Calhoun County was.
 

drdispatch

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Sometimes we get lucky and they forgot and broadcast in the clear but not often.
Sometimes you'll hear the Battle Creek Troopers on 13P911 transmitting in the clear. I was told that their radios aren't programmed to automatically turn on the encryption on the Calhoun County tg's, since the MPS tg's are in the clear. So if they don't switch it on, you'll hear them. But dispatch still hears them because their radios have the encryption key loaded in them. If a unit from another county tries to call Calhoun Central on 13P911, dispatch hears nothing, because they don't have the key loaded. I don't quite understand how that works, but it seems to make sense. (All the local departments programmed theirs to automatically turn encryption on or off depending on what tg they are on.)
 

mikey60

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It's actually the other way around.

Dispatch will hear any radio on the talkgroup, even if it is not encrypted. They probably wouldn't know the difference unless there's an indication on the console.

Now the field units, in this case the MSP car, will only hear the unencrypted units on the talkgroup unless their radio has the correct encryption key loaded. They would not be able to hear dispatch's response to them without the key, or having dispatch switch their encryption off.

Mike
 

drdispatch

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It's actually the other way around.

Dispatch will hear any radio on the talkgroup, even if it is not encrypted. They probably wouldn't know the difference unless there's an indication on the console.

Now the field units, in this case the MSP car, will only hear the unencrypted units on the talkgroup unless their radio has the correct encryption key loaded. They would not be able to hear dispatch's response to them without the key, or having dispatch switch their encryption off.

Mike
Then our radios are backwards.....
Shortly after we switched over to MPSCS & went encrypted, one of our troopers called us & said that a unit from an adjacent county was calling us on P911. We didn't hear a thing. We were told that it was because the other county didn't have our encryption key.
 

mikey60

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I suppose it might be a programming thing in the radio, but I don't see the difference between a trooper calling in the clear and a radio without the key calling in the clear.

The radios will typically have no problems hearing a transmission in the clear, regardless of the key being installed or not, but will not be able to hear an encrypted transmission without the correct key loaded.

MIke
 
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