Tracy and Manteca police go digital with dispatch radios

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Thunderbolt

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TRACY, Calif. — It's been years in the making, and they finally flipped the switch about a month ago, much to the dismay of many local residents who have made a hobby of listening to local police channels.

The Tracy Police Department has switched its dispatch frequency from an analog to a digital system, allowing for communication over greater distances and with more flexibility, Lt. Dave Sant said.

The decision to upgrade to digital signals was made several years ago, and equipment required to make the transition has been purchased as older equipment needed replacing. When the department added a second channel recently, requiring the reprogramming of all the radios in police vehicles, the call was made to switch to digital, Sant said.

"It was the perfect time to do it,'' Sant said. "This gives us a cleaner and stronger signal. You can do things you can't do with analog "... It can handle both voice and data on the same signal.''

He said the new system — capable of handling upwards of 16,000 channels — can still communicate with analog signals, allowing for communications with other jurisdictions.

He said the radios were programmed with frequencies from San Joaquin, Stanislaus, eastern Alameda and Contra Costa counties, in addition to several California Highway Patrol and local fire channels.

Sant said a department volunteer, on a trip to Auburn, was able to hear dispatchers, and officers from the Traffic Bureau were able to hear signals at a riding school in Carson City, Nev.

Rex Osborn, a spokesman for the Manteca Police Department, said that department switched to digital about six months ago.

He said the new system provides much greater clarity over greater distance and the opportunity to encrypt their communications.

"It's not encrypted all the time, only when we want it to be,'' Osborn said. "If we go out on a critical incident or a sensitive call where the criminal element might have a scanner, we can encrypt our communications.''

Sant and Osborn said anyone who wants to listen to their communications just needs to get a new scanner, which can be ordered at Radio Shack. The devices are not cheap, however.

"Quite a few people have come in asking about them,'' Krysta Page, an associate at the Tracy Radio Shack said. "Once they see the $499 (price), they walk away.''
 

Sac916

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TRACY, Calif.

Sant said a department volunteer, on a trip to Auburn, was able to hear dispatchers, and officers from the Traffic Bureau were able to hear signals at a riding school in Carson City, Nev.


Obviously they were not tranmissins from a Trunked radio system.
 

WayneH

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He said the new system — capable of handling upwards of 16,000 channels — can still communicate with analog signals, allowing for communications with other jurisdictions.
Evidently something was lost in translation since this clueless reporter didn't quote him verbatim. I'll try and give the LT some credit for being knowledgeable.

Sounds like they're putting out a little too much power also. Not a great idea where they're operating at.
 

mm

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Quote: "The Tracy Police Department has switched its dispatch frequency from an analog to a digital system, allowing for communication over greater distances and with more flexibility, Lt. Dave Sant said."


Over greater distances compared to what ?

Another politician trying to justify a multi million dollar system to the taxpayers that will most likely require a several tower upgrade within the next year or 2 once all the coverage dead zones are found.

It doesn't matter if they are using Analog or Digital talk-groups on this system, analog will still have better coverage when you factor in multi-path reflections, background noise etc.

When the tech's installing these new Digital systems do their coverage tests they do it in a sterile environment with no background noise, from stationary pre-selected test locations with no moving vehicles, anything to make the data look good.
 

wskrayen

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This is not a trunked radio system. They just switched their channels from analog to digital is all. I would have to agree they are running a bit of power. They come in, in North Stockton, quite loud and pretty clear. in fact they come in better than SO.

Bill
 

jim202

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This Tracy, CA to Carson City, NV must be some sort of wonder system. Was just there
last week in Carson City, NV. There is no way your going to hear anything from the outside
the area in Carson City. It is located in a low valley with mountains all around it. Unless
one of the hill top sites was repeating a signal, you will never hear anything from the
outside there.

If you look around from the city there, all you see is towers on many of the mountain tops.
If I wanted to have RF peace and quiet from the rest of the country, the valley floor there
would make an ideal spot. Satellite dishes and cable TV are a must in Carson City.

Jim



TRACY, Calif. — It's been years in the making, and they finally flipped the switch about a month ago, much to the dismay of many local residents who have made a hobby of listening to local police channels.

Sant said a department volunteer, on a trip to Auburn, was able to hear dispatchers, and officers from the Traffic Bureau were able to hear signals at a riding school in Carson City, Nev.
 

gusbuster1217

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What I find funny......

Is you have a reporter that doesn't have a clue what it means to for an agency to go digital.

You would think a newspaper organization would at least know something about scanners as most of the reporters own them. Does this mean that local news regarding local crime is down the drink so to speak.

Also, yes, the signal is clear but all the way up to Carson City??? Maybe a channel on the same frequency was heard that was local to the area like Douglas sheriff or Carson pd.
 

kma371

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probably becuase they are using encryption 99% of the time. does it say "ENC" on the display when there is a transmission?
 

gusbuster1217

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probably becuase they are using encryption 99% of the time. does it say "ENC" on the display when there is a transmission?
The problem most likely, specially if you're using software to program channels for Manteca is you have the ctcss/dcs blank. The 396 doesn't do n.a.c so there should not be any input there. Still the 396 will decode the p-25 signal and if not encrypted, you'll here them.

The patrol officers, most of them use encryption, however, dispatch does broadcast in the open most of the time.

Same thing goes for Ripon and Tracy, don't try to program the nac numbers and you'll here them fine. By the way, as a test, I would use the Tracy since they are out in the open all the time.
 
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