Virginia STARS Question

Status
Not open for further replies.

anelson5004

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
187
Location
Cedar Bluff, VA
When the STARS radio system was activated, I was for the most part receiving all 7 of the Virginia State Police Divisions. Now all that I can receive are Wytheville Channels 1-3, and Salem Channels 1-3 (Division 4 & 6). I was wanting to know if anyone knew of a way that I could receive all of the other divisions again, what the state did to prevent this from occurring, or a fix for the issue?

Thanks
anelson5004
 

smwincva

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2004
Messages
172
Location
Winchester VA
From what I know about STARS, the transmissions are kept to a regional basis. When STARS went online in NW VA, I could here Richmond easily for about a month. I saw a post here that the radio techs would be eliminating the Richmond area transmissions on the towers further north. Every once in a while I see the Richmond talkgroups on the towers I monitor.

FWIW, the trend is is for troopers to use their in car computers to communicate to dispatch.

My suggestion is to program each of the towers near you to see which you can receive. I pick up 3 towers, which provide coverage in the Shenandoah Valley & most of northern Virginia.

Steve
 

John

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
411
Location
Roanoke VA
STARS is a 'wide-area' system and is designed to transmit communications for a particular talkgroup only if there is a radio listening to that talkgroup on that specific tower. So in theory if there is a Richmond trooper in Wytheville with his radio on the Richmond channel then the Richmond transmission would be broadcast on that Wytheville tower. However if only Wytheville troopers are listening on that particualr tower than the Richmond channels will not be transmitted. This is done to reduce the use of frequencies in any particular area.

That being said, I have been told that the VSP channels have been setup so that they will not allow a unit to connect to their respective division channels except in immediately adjacent towers. Some other agencies such as VDEM have the same channels statewide so they will be broadcast on any tower in the system as long as one of their units are in the area.

I think when they first installed the system they had it configured differently.

There is nothing you can do from a scanner perspective except as was already suggested to scan as many tower sites as you can to get the most channels possible in your area. This still doesn't guarantee you will get them all. You will still likely not get transmissions from outside your area.

John
 

W4UVV

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2002
Messages
1,613
Location
Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
Here's another impacting reason

When the STARS radio system was activated, I was for the most part receiving all 7 of the Virginia State Police Divisions. Now all that I can receive are Wytheville Channels 1-3, and Salem Channels 1-3 (Division 4 & 6). I was wanting to know if anyone knew of a way that I could receive all of the other divisions again, what the state did to prevent this from occurring, or a fix for the issue?

Thanks
anelson5004
I agree with all the other posts with an addition. My experience monitoring not only STARS but other distant trs is digital scanners are less RF sensitive than analog scanners. Previously when VSP was analog I received Divs 1,2,3,5 dependably 24/7, Div 7 infrequently and on rare occasions Div 6. I used mast mounted pre-amped antennas tower mounted.

Unfortunately, one of the adverse impacts of digital scanners is they are less RF sensitive than analog scanners. I don't know the technical reasons but I suspect it mostly is related to additional internal filtering for RFI and the converting of analog to digital and digital to analog processes.

For my reception situation I have been about to overcome that problem to a certain extent meaning I can hear a few more STARS sites not than I previously could.

I use two methods. Both methods are more sensitive than my 996XT with the same antenna system.

My first method was configuring a DMR (DSD) receive system using a modified R7000 analog tunable receiver supporting offset frequency tuning, a Win 7 desktop, external audio system and DSD Plus software. The R7000 is a sensitive analog receiver. Although I cannot receive a trs I can receive the voice repeater frequencies from the monitored STARS site. For example, using my 996XT I cannot receive the Fork Mtn. STARS trs. However, monitoring 161.8375 mhz. I hear STARS comms fine. I now hear voice comms from Hampton, Leigh Mtn., Bear Den Mtn. and Thornburg. Regionally, I can hear Hanover Co. which previously had phased it antennas and dropped its' ERP well over half power.

My second method is using a Uniden 536 scanner. It does just about as well as method 1 and it definitely is more sensitive than my 396XT and 996XT.

Although not as optimum as my analog reception I am hearing more than I previously did using my 996XT and PSR600.

John
W4UVV
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top