Trenton Radio System Fails During Bank Robbery

trentbob

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
1,375
Location
Bristol, Pa.
I'm a retired newsman from Trenton. Ever since Trenton got the nxdn system it has been plagued with problems, I listened to it right from the beginning with DSD and a laptop mounted in the car. I listen to it on a regular basis now on SDSXXXs and x36s. The whistlers do not handle the two sites called State Street and Hoffman Avenue well on this nx48 system as whistlers don't trunk track nxdn.

Ever since this system came online you can hear every single day a cop saying the radios are terrible and they can't read each other, they can't read the dispatcher, garbled modulation, missed Transmissions, dead spots etc etc.

I have heard numerous times where officers were put in danger or response and actions were compromised by the poor radio system.

It's a shame, they could have really had a good p25 digital system with the money that they spent.

It is what it is.

It's also funny that they don't have availability of the SPEN system anymore, I've heard them working with NJSP air units and were unable to talk with them and needed a trooper present on the ground to communicate with the Helo.

I also don't think they have the Mercer County crime Network radios either 453.225 pl 103.5. I don't hear them on the Wednesday morning roll call.

Recently they have been re broadcasting dispatch 1 on the old fire F2 frequency 460.600 pl 103.5.

As I say I'm retired now, I do freelance work but not in the Trenton area anymore. I worked in the Hay Day's when Doug Palmer was the mayor and Trenton had somewhat of a resurgence as a city with the building of the Roebling Center, Waterfront Stadium, the NJT Riverline, the new train station, The Sovereign Bank Arena and the Marriott Convention Center. They had moved from their UHF conventional system to the now defunct 800 megahertz system. That was in 2000 and then in 2015 or so they went to the disasterous nxdn system they have now.

It is good listening and it gets very active at times, TPD does their best.
 
Last edited:

trentbob

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
1,375
Location
Bristol, Pa.
This is a perfect example of what happens when you cut corners. Lack of sites to cover the area, lack of interoperability, going NXDN instead of P25, acceptance of a system without proper coverage testing, etc etc etc.
Exactly! I don't know all the details but I remember City Council approving a bid from a local vendor MPS Communications.

System's pretty much been the same from the beginning. I wonder what the disposition will be.

If anybody hears anything let us know.
 

CaptDan

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Messages
183
Location
Ocala, Florida
This is a prime example of small minded thinking that different is better. In 1998 the City was licensed for 10 frequencies in the 500 mhz range. They were just about ready to sign on the dotted line when a change in the PD administration caused a change in the plans, if the last guy thought a system in the 500mhz range was good, then we have to change and they went to a state of the art 800 mhz trunk-ed system that worked extremely well. The 500 mhz radios would have allowed the city PD to communicate with every other PD in the county, when they went to 800 mhz the City PD was an island to itself, could not communicate with anyone else, in or out of the county.

One positive of the 800 mhz system, even with all the tech specs put in the contract by the highly paid system engineers, the FD and PD demanded a simple plain language performance spec, specifically if a hand held unit could communicate with a unit on the street in front of a building, then it had to be able to communicate with the city wide communications center. Motorola initially laughed as they agreed to that requirement. Once the system was installed to the tech specs, the FD & PD tested the system to the plain language specs. An additional transmitter site was added, many satellite receiver sites added around the city. The system pretty much worked perfectly.

2015 - there are lots of questions, why not just replace the 15 year old equipment ? why start over again ? At this point, 2019 I do not think the City is even the license holder for the frequencies they use now. They bought or leased equipment to work on MPS's frequencies and towers, except the system sucks.

Some agency needs to investigate ........
 

trentbob

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
1,375
Location
Bristol, Pa.
This is a prime example of small minded thinking that different is better. In 1998 the City was licensed for 10 frequencies in the 500 mhz range. They were just about ready to sign on the dotted line when a change in the PD administration caused a change in the plans, if the last guy thought a system in the 500mhz range was good, then we have to change and they went to a state of the art 800 mhz trunk-ed system that worked extremely well. The 500 mhz radios would have allowed the city PD to communicate with every other PD in the county, when they went to 800 mhz the City PD was an island to itself, could not communicate with anyone else, in or out of the county.

One positive of the 800 mhz system, even with all the tech specs put in the contract by the highly paid system engineers, the FD and PD demanded a simple plain language performance spec, specifically if a hand held unit could communicate with a unit on the street in front of a building, then it had to be able to communicate with the city wide communications center. Motorola initially laughed as they agreed to that requirement. Once the system was installed to the tech specs, the FD & PD tested the system to the plain language specs. An additional transmitter site was added, many satellite receiver sites added around the city. The system pretty much worked perfectly.

2015 - there are lots of questions, why not just replace the 15 year old equipment ? why start over again ? At this point, 2019 I do not think the City is even the license holder for the frequencies they use now. They bought or leased equipment to work on MPS's frequencies and towers, except the system sucks.

Some agency needs to investigate ........
When I started working in Trenton the chief of police was a policeman. After he left they went to police directors. There was always some kind of a scandal or questionable situation with officials, especially with the school district and the police.

The UHF system they were using along with all the other municipalities and Sheriff's Department allowed everybody to talk to everybody else in Mercer County.

When Trenton went to the 800 megahertz system in 2000 we could no longer pick up police on scanners but they continued to rebroadcast on their main UHF Channel for a while, then pulled the plug. The fire department also was rebroadcast on the original UHF F1 frequency and still is to this day.

That's when my good relationship with the mayor paid off, he had the police department give my newspaper one of their Motorola radios disabled for transmit, at that point I had been promoted to Chief photographer and was able to carry that radio. Bucks County had just gone over to their type II smartzone digital system and we had to use Motorola's for them too as digital scanners were not developed till 2003.

Mercer county was building their 500 megahertz digital system at that time and Trenton could have been part of that and although they were licensed for it, never got involved. Only two police departments in the county got involved with that system and all the other Department stayed on their UHF frequencies except for Ewing who went to a p25 encrypted system.

The county still maintains the Mercer County Crime Alert Channel on 453.225 pl 103.5 which Trenton doesn't have. They are also not on the State Police emergency Network which all police departments are on in the state.

Why Trenton got the nxdn system with MPS I have no idea. When the system went online we got the frequencies from public listings under the name of MPS Communications and the City of Trenton's name wasn't on any of it. We fed the frequencies into DSD and was able to pin the system down pretty quickly on laptops in the car and at home. That was around 2015.

I guess the point is in the last 30 years Mercer County went from a very compatible police radio network allowing direct communication between all departments to a mish-mosh of a various systems. Where was the planning? Obscene amounts of money spent.

And yes, why did Trenton go with MPS Communications? Who knows?

I smile when you say there should be an investigation by some agency and you are absolutely correct, exactly though, who would do that investigation? LOL.
 
Top