Strategies for handling trunked systems BCD396XT?

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Reflex439

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I'm struggling with a good way to setup state wide trunked systems so that I can easily activate or deactive them while on the road.

With conventional systems, I have quick keys setup for each system, with group keys within. This allows me to easily turn on and off scanning the system, or any group within.

Since you can not assign quick keys to a trunked system, this seems to make things much more difficult for a statewide trunked system. Or at least thats with I am struggling with while setting up Mass State Police system.
There seems to be a lot of crossover between talkgroups and sites, that I'm scratching my head on how to setup this up to allow easy activation and deactivation of talkgroups while mobile.

I've got about 15 trunked systems programmed, and many have multiple sites and talkgroups. Looking for a very fast way to activate or deactivate them on they fly while mobile. Pulling over to toggle 43 talkgroups and sites just to turn off the Mass State Police isn't going to work. Add in the other 14 sites, and it could take me 20 minutes to reconfigure a couple trunked systems. There has to be a better way that I'm just not seeing.

Does anyone have a good strategy they care to share? Is this any easier with the newer BCD436HP scanner?

What am I missing?

Thanks.
 

Reflex439

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Great thought, worth looking into for general use, and thanks for the info. But for the situation that I'm trying to address it doesn't really work for me. I'm more likely to be following communications other than my physical location.

Here is a situation as an example. I'm listing to the scanner and I hear of an accident on a specific police frequency (local or distant). I know EMS will be responding so I want to turn off most other systems, activate the EMS, ALS, and MedFlight channels. I can do this fairly quickly with SystemQuickKeys and GroupKeys for conventional systems.

With trunked systems such as the Mass State Police, I can't assign a QuickKey to deactivate the entire system from scanning due to all the sites. I'd need to deactivate each site independently for each trunked system. I'd be hitting 15-20+ quick keys just to turn off the State Police if active, and do the same for other trunked systems. Thats a whole lot of key entries just to turn off a few trunked systems.

Is it possible to just lump all the frequencies into one group, assign it a QuickKey, and use that to activate/deactivate the entire Trunk without ill effects? The RR database has the frequencies split by sites into multiple groups, which isn't important for me. I know it would be scanning frequencies well out of range at times and slowing down the scanning process, but are there other disadvantages to doing so. I think a single group with all frequencies assigned to a single quick key would be a good way to turn it on/off as needed. I'll setup a test and see what happens.
 

ka3jjz

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Unfortunately I think you're going to find the answer is no. The reason is that Unidens will grab the first active site it comes to, and hang onto it. Once the conversation ends, it will likely jump to the next available system. There is no multi site scanning like the RS and GRE radios have. Mike
 

kellykeeton

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or what about using the 'service types' for your own creative purpose.

If your on the move, then you need to look at GPS or what if you just replicate fav. lists for each site (not ideal)so the quick key entry is "faster" then sites in a system.

Also (not knowing anything about your system your monitoring) but it shows on this site its a SmartZone. I doubt your going to "out run/travel" a zone that a site services in quick manner. Also typically a stationary point can only reach 1-2 site-towers/Zones.

So unless departments are "locked to a zone" you wouldn't typically have a problem monitoring a moving EMS car for example. And even if the EMS car was brodcasting in a zone, typically a radio system would hold the traffic for that unit in the Zone for a period of time that most incidents would have wrapped up. Thus typically nullifying the need to "jump sites/towers/zones" with your scanner.

If you were traveling around with them "EMS chasing for news or whatever" then as mentioned before it would be highly recommended that you GPS enable your scanner to follow the SmartZone sites so that your always getting the traffic for the zone that your located in (since your scanner will likely be more sticky to the site/tower) then the user's radio.
 

ofd8001

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I think your answer is going to be found with a GPS unit connected to your scanner, unfortunately. From there you can assign specific disciplines (police, fire EMS) to group quick keys.

Another option is the temporary lock-out. Hitting L/O once puts a given talkgroup or channel in a lock-out state until the scanner is powered down.

Have you thought about breaking down the Mass State Police system into System Quick Keys based on a general area? From example the "stuff" up north would be on SQK 1, east is SQK 2, west SQK 3 and south SQK 4?
 

tkenny53

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Mark each system with a QK, dont mark anything else, then you can turn each one on and off by the fav number and the QK number, such as 1.3, 1.40.1.21 and so on, works faster this way. I found using QK on chanels is a waste.
 

freqhopping

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For my 396XT and the VA statewide system. I have multiple sites assigned to single quick keys. Sites are grouped together geographically.

I've also got it programmed in twice with the second system being for the sites in the southwestern part of the state where I might go only twice a year.
 

Reflex439

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I probably didn't describe my situation clearly. I don't want to track an agency per se, such as EMS, as it jumps from tower to tower. I'm more interested in tracking the event across multiple agencies. Ie, in the EMS example I gave, it would be tracking the call from the initial Police dispatch, then activating the appropriate EMS agency (fire, ambulance, etc), then through CMED or LifeFlight as they take over the patient, etc. Basically, in an ideal scenario, I'd like to set everything else I was listening to quiet, and activate the involved agencies as I hear the event progress.

The GPS won't solve this problem for me unfortunately, as I may be listening to calls outside the GPS area, or even when in the GPS area, I'd still have to deactivate the nearly 20 sites of the MSP to quiet them when listening to a local PD/EMS/CMED type call. Think more in terms of focusing in on an event, and easily being able to turn on or off agencies as needed to follow that event. Its not tied to my location, as much as it is tied to the ability to quiet all the other stuff I was listening to in an attempt to follow the event I heard.

Part of my problem was quieting the Mass State Police (MSP) since I couldn't assign a System Quick Key to the trunked system. Reading the posts here, and testing the method I suggested in my last post, I learned that I could combine multiple sites under one trunked system, and assign SQKs to those, thus reducing the MSP down to just a couple SQKs (Metro/Logan, West/South, Central, etc) for easily deactivating them from scanning, or the reverse. The way it was downloaded from RR, there were nearly 20 sites, which all would require a SQK to activate/deactivate the MSP. Now I've got 4, logically grouped by area not tower site. I also had to combine some sites and talkgroups, and now its quite manageable and fast using SQK to turn off areas, and GQKs for departments, along with Temp Lockouts.

I need to learn more about organizing and setting up a statewide multi-site trunked system such as the MSP, to minimize SQK use and reducing unnecessary scanning cycles. My solution works, but I'm sure I am wasting scanning cycles on frequencies I don't need to. Its still responsive, but if I start listening to many trunked systems together it probably won't be.

ka3jjz, actually, my Uniden does have multi-site scanning, and I think the new BCD436HP/BCD536HP do as well. Unless I don't understand the differences between the Uniden Multi-site scanning and that of the scanners you mention.

Thanks everyone for responding. Makes my listening much easier :)
 
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