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Unication G4 Problems

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klokewd

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I just unboxed my new G4 and I seemed to have traded one problem for another. I live in Kansas City and have been battling simulcast distortion since I moved here a year ago. So based on reviews and comments here, I dropped the money for a G4. The simulcast distortion is fixed, but now I have this annoying encryption like noise on some talkgroups. The problem is, they are not using encryption on those talkgroups. During conversations one of the radios will be in the clear and the other garbled. I've even had some conversations where the garbled transmissions bounce around the parties of the conversation. In some instances the transmission starts garbled and switches to clear during transmission.

So I'm at a loss to what the problem could be. My first thought was decode issue, but I seem to be the only one with this problem.
 

Johnnydollar2

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G4 Problem?

Make sure you're not in "MONITOR MODE" where all talk-groups get scanned. That's like a wildcard* with the Whistler Scanners or Uniden. YOU'll hear mostly encryption if it's in your area along with clear transmissions. IF those talk-groups you are monitoring ARE encrypted? there's nothing you can do about those.
 
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Johnnydollar2

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With Monitor Mode it may SOUND that way with encrypted and clear real close together since there's no real "delay" on these. The transmissions come fast and furious. It IS possible to have encrypted and clear with P25 Conventional channels like those in Federal use, but you have the Single-band G4 so who knows what it could be? Maybe make a video like ecarvalho said?
 

ecarvalho

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Is it possible to have one radio encrypted and one clear and still have a conversation?
Yes it is. At times I will hear someone talking in the clear in a known clear talkgroup and someone else probably forgetting to turn encryption off transmit and be actually understood by the other one in the clear.
 

county

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Is it possible to have one radio encrypted and one clear and still have a conversation?
Yep. I have experienced exactly this issue where one radio on a talkgroup is encrypted and the other isn't. . yet the conversation can still happen so long as everyone is encrypt/decrypt capable. The G4/5 doesn't disregard the encrypted radio's traffic, and you hear the loud warbling garble digitized sound that is encrypted. I know this happens from hearing a group of P25 users discuss this very issue. The non capable users in the clear complained they weren't hearing a particular (encrypted) user . . finally they figured it out and an encryption-capable/encryption-off user told the capable/on user to switch off encryption, then everyone was happy, including me for not hearing the loud garbled audio anymore!
 

ecarvalho

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Not sure what a wildcard just in the setup would do.
So you aren't in Monitor mode... you don't have a wildcard tg in the zone/knob you are using... and you havent programmed any known encrypted talkgroup right?
Do you have Full Spectrum Scan disabled in the system setup?


the only other thing I can think of is perhaps your previous receiver ignored / skipped encrypted transmissions so you never knew they were there... and now you are seeing what all you "missed" before. maybe this is what happened?
 

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klokewd

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Kansas City, MO
None of the talkgroups are listed as encrypted and I have Full Spectrum Scan turned OFF. My previous scanner was a Uniden handheld so I'm sure your right it skipped the noise. I noticed tonight that a radio that has been broadcasting all evening in the clear had two transmissions that were garbled and then resumed clear transmissions. Kinda weird.

Mike seems familiar with this problem so maybe it's just not me.
 

county

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None of the talkgroups are listed as encrypted and I have Full Spectrum Scan turned OFF. My previous scanner was a Uniden handheld so I'm sure your right it skipped the noise. I noticed tonight that a radio that has been broadcasting all evening in the clear had two transmissions that were garbled and then resumed clear transmissions. Kinda weird.

Mike seems familiar with this problem so maybe it's just not me.
I have seen this happen on a talkgroup not listed as encrypted . .

I agree it's rather odd if you saw the same user ID alternating between clear and garbled though. . any chance the user could be occasionally needing to pass sensitive info?
 

troymail

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Dec 19, 2002
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Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
None of the talkgroups are listed as encrypted and I have Full Spectrum Scan turned OFF. My previous scanner was a Uniden handheld so I'm sure your right it skipped the noise. I noticed tonight that a radio that has been broadcasting all evening in the clear had two transmissions that were garbled and then resumed clear transmissions. Kinda weird.

Mike seems familiar with this problem so maybe it's just not me.
Clearly seems like one-sided (possibly user enabled) encryption. While not on the Unication, I used to see this alot on a federal fire department talkgroup - the dispatcher would tell the user they've enabled encryption - probably by accident.

On a non-P25 system back in Maryland I monitored daily, there were some law enforcement talkgroups that were always believed to be full time encryption and were listed as such. However, occasionally, the dispatcher was in the clear and the cars on the street remained in encrypted mode. However, most times, the talkgroups were fully encrypted.

I was briefly (like < 5 minutes) listening to the Horry County SC system yesterday and heard some one-sided encryption which surprised me. I am pretty much on the fringe of that system (actually about 27 miles ENE of the closet tower but along the water). I know they use some encryption on the system but I have none of those programmed into the G4. The comments regarding weak/fringe coverage and sounding like encryption are curious so I'll have to do a bit ore close watching and see.

As far as "None of the talkgroups are listed as encrypted" -- if you're basing this on the RRDB, it isn't necessarily basing it on factual information. Primarily, I've found lots of talkgroups that are partially or full time encrypted that are not listed as such on RRDB. This could be simply because the submitter didn't provide that info, or because the TG is "capable" (user driven) to encrypt (even one-sided), and/or has changed over time.

Funny thing about most of these new systems and they way various things are handled - between systems being broken down from large "countywide simulcast" coverage (you'd hear everything everywhere) into some cases that I am very familiar with multiple "cells" over the same area of coverage (which may only carry activity on some talkgroups when a user is affiliated and on that talkgroup), and partial or "on-demand" user riven encryption capabilities, there are many many opportunities for users to believe that their radio (Unication, Whistler, Uniden, etc.) is not function properly. Not a whole lot you can do about the "cell" aspects - if the talkgroup isn't being carried on your local site and you aren't receiving others, there ain't much you can do about it. However, having the option to enable or disable your radio to receive encrypted (garbled or otherwise) transmissions goes a long way to helping to troubleshoot and learn what is really happening.

EDIT: one last item I forgot to mention -- the information displayed on my G4 isn't always 100% accurate - sometimes the radio ID doesn't appear, other times the radio ID doesn't change (fast responses). I've even seen cases where the G4 gets "overwhelmed" with what I'll call "screen updates" and the screen refreshes lag behind the actual voice calls. In a case last month while monitoring the Philadelphia PA system, the radio fell so far behind because there was so much activity that it essentially locked the G4 up for a couple of hours (probably partially caused by me trying to program too much into the radio).
 
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klokewd

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Apr 4, 2013
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Kansas City, MO
Unication G4

Thanks everyone for your help. I live about 1/4 mile from the closest tower so I get a good solid signal. My confusion comes from ignorance of encrypted systems. I assumed that both parties need to be encrypt ON to have a conversation. I was just concerned that I had a bad radio, which seems not the case. My encryption noise only happens on the city PD zones and most often from the dispatch consoles. City Fire is always clear. That being said, I am ecstatic not to have any simulcast distortion anymore. And despite the naysayers this is a great little radio.
 
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