Want a new scanner (Nassau County) Digital vs Non Digital

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rswagerson

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Hello, I'm from Nassau and I am in a VFD, I started off a few years ago with a BC355C.... then with narrowbanding I "upgraded" to the BC355N, now I want something with alpha tagging. I generally listen to the ncpd 2/8 and 3/6 simulcast, most of the county's fire freq's and trooper dispatch and very rarely some FDNY. Once ncpd stops the simulcast of course no one can listen, digital or not so at this point there is nothing at all that I listen to that is digital, however, if firecom has plans to go digital (assuming un encrypted) with in the next two years or so I would not hesitate to get the BCD996XT over the 15x. Any advice and insight into whether or not FC will stay analog would also be a great help. Thanks!
 

LIScanner101

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Phil (w2lie) is my "go-to guy" when it comes to this stuff. Not to speak for him, but, sadly, it seems that every agency that joins the new 500MHz digital TRS eventually encrypts.
 

rswagerson

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Ok thanks, yeah I was hoping he would chime in Lol. I guess there really is no point of going digital if everyone who goes digital goes encrypted. I can listen to the FD on my pager but I will seriously miss PD like the rest of us, specifically because I could get a head start on my response to the FD. Thanks
 

LIScanner101

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Ok thanks, yeah I was hoping he would chime in Lol. I guess there really is no point of going digital if everyone who goes digital goes encrypted. I can listen to the FD on my pager but I will seriously miss PD like the rest of us, specifically because I could get a head start on my response to the FD. Thanks
No problem, glad to help in any way I can.

There ARE a very few digital SCPD talkgroups (unencrypted) so you WILL miss out on them w/o a digital scanner, but it's not enough to get me to make the switch just yet. To the best of my knowledge SCPD isn't going the way of the big bad "E" anytime soon.
 

w2lie

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Sorry I didn't see this thread for a few days, I have a 2 week old in the house now and neither she or the XYL are allowing me to play too much radio. (No Super Bowl monitoring for me this weekend either).


To answer some of the basic questions, FireCom does have plans to operate on the 500MHz system. In fact, they have been extremely active over the last two weeks. Fire Marshal talk group 4021 has been hopping with dispatches between FireCom and Fire Marshal, as well as FireCom and HazMat. See this thread: http://forums.radioreference.com/new-york-radio-discussion-forum/282130-nassau-county-fire-marshal-testing-ncpd-p25-trs.html

Embedded in that thread is a link over to my site which has an image of the Nassau County Public Safety Fact Sheet as of 2009. In it, it states that the entire system is going to be encrypted. We know this to be false, because the control channels are not encrypted. Here is the link to the Fact sheet: http://www.w2lie.net/apps/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?3890.30#post_4474 Maybe the just meant the Talk Groups would be encrypted. Learning from the past, I have heard multiple village police departments on the P25 system in the clear. Then, after some time, they turn on encryption.


Now, if you wanted to go digital, that is up to you. I have been slowly converting over to digital scanners, but I always buy the new toys. I am not your casual FD/PD scanner buff, but I try and monitor up and down the dial. To me, P25 is something I need, especially when it comes to monitoring some of the activity off the shores of LI. USCG uses P25 both encrypted and non encrypted. The NYC Metro-21 system is now P25, and renamed Metro-25. An anonymous donor gave me a list of p25 frequencies loaded into some FD radios. They have not been used as of yet, so I'm not added them into the RR Database until I can confirm use. Nassau Police also have access to the 400MHz UTAC Frequencies. They will probably be P25 if used, but can go back to analog as well.


If you wanted to see the current logs from the NCPD P25 system, I have about 28 pages of observations. The latest log is here: http://www.w2lie.net/apps/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?3890.270#post_12704 From that list, you can see just how much of the Nassau County Public Safety P25 system is encrypted, and how much is in the clear. Anything I can confirm to be a positive ID, I enter into the RR DB. If I am not sure of the use, I can't add it in.

Best of luck with whatever you purchase. At this point in the game, a BCT15X or BCD996XT will suit you just fine. IF you had the extra $$, go for the Digital. There isn't much here to listen to, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to hear either.
 

rswagerson

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No problem, glad to help in any way I can.

There ARE a very few digital SCPD talkgroups (unencrypted) so you WILL miss out on them w/o a digital scanner, but it's not enough to get me to make the switch just yet. To the best of my knowledge SCPD isn't going the way of the big bad "E" anytime soon.
Thanks but I don't listen to an scpd lol so that's not a big issue.
 

rswagerson

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Sorry I didn't see this thread for a few days, I have a 2 week old in the house now and neither she or the XYL are allowing me to play too much radio. (No Super Bowl monitoring for me this weekend either).


To answer some of the basic questions, FireCom does have plans to operate on the 500MHz system. In fact, they have been extremely active over the last two weeks. Fire Marshal talk group 4021 has been hopping with dispatches between FireCom and Fire Marshal, as well as FireCom and HazMat. See this thread: http://forums.radioreference.com/new-york-radio-discussion-forum/282130-nassau-county-fire-marshal-testing-ncpd-p25-trs.html

Embedded in that thread is a link over to my site which has an image of the Nassau County Public Safety Fact Sheet as of 2009. In it, it states that the entire system is going to be encrypted. We know this to be false, because the control channels are not encrypted. Here is the link to the Fact sheet: http://www.w2lie.net/apps/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?3890.30#post_4474 Maybe the just meant the Talk Groups would be encrypted. Learning from the past, I have heard multiple village police departments on the P25 system in the clear. Then, after some time, they turn on encryption.


Now, if you wanted to go digital, that is up to you. I have been slowly converting over to digital scanners, but I always buy the new toys. I am not your casual FD/PD scanner buff, but I try and monitor up and down the dial. To me, P25 is something I need, especially when it comes to monitoring some of the activity off the shores of LI. USCG uses P25 both encrypted and non encrypted. The NYC Metro-21 system is now P25, and renamed Metro-25. An anonymous donor gave me a list of p25 frequencies loaded into some FD radios. They have not been used as of yet, so I'm not added them into the RR Database until I can confirm use. Nassau Police also have access to the 400MHz UTAC Frequencies. They will probably be P25 if used, but can go back to analog as well.


If you wanted to see the current logs from the NCPD P25 system, I have about 28 pages of observations. The latest log is here: http://www.w2lie.net/apps/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?3890.270#post_12704 From that list, you can see just how much of the Nassau County Public Safety P25 system is encrypted, and how much is in the clear. Anything I can confirm to be a positive ID, I enter nto the RR DB. If I am not sure of the use, I can't add it in.

Best of luck with whatever you purchase. At this point in the game, a BCT15X or BCD996XT will suit you just fine. IF you had the extra $$, go for the Digital. There isn't much here to listen to, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to hear either.
Wow... First thank you for such a great response! So my question is does the 500 system automatically mean encryption or does it just mean digital? I'm not in an extreme rush to get any scanner and the money isn't a big deal because I have a seperate scanner fund that I have been putting money into every other week. So if I choose the 996 it's not a big deal just means I have to wait another few weeks. Again tbanks for your great response, I've been to your website a few times and it's great too! -Rob
 

w2lie

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In this case, the 500Mhz is a P25 Trunk System, which is digital. On this system, there are encrypted and unencrypted talk groups.

The System has Phase 1 talk groups on it, but it is upgraded to Phase 2. But, as long as it only has Phase 1 talk groups, you can hear any unencrypted Phase 1 talk group with the 996xt. Should there be phase 2 unencrypted talk groups, you would need one of the new Uniden Scanners or the GRE 800.

So, with the odds of that happening on this system, I would just go for the 996xt for now. But - with that said, and not to say anything further, I'm hearing rumors about this system, and that it might be some upgrades coming soon in the way of a newer 700Mhz system, with the 500MHz being removed from service. The new 700MHz system would most likely be a Phase 2 system with Phase 2 talk groups, but again - encrypted or not encrypted? Being that this P25 500MHz system has been in operation since 2009, and NCPD is still simulcasting, I would bet that you have quiet a while before a new replacement P25 system is put in place - and what, if anything, can monitor it. Again - this is all rumored, but I'm hearing the same rumor from several sources. That doesn't mean that there is any factual information behind this - until we see FCC applications or bids for venders to come in an demo a new system, again. Let me say this one more time.. RUMOR RUMOR RUMOR RUMOR RUMOR ;)
 

LIScanner101

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The System has Phase 1 talk groups on it, but it is upgraded to Phase 2.
Phil,

I know you're super busy with the little one (I remember those days :p ) so I want to really thank you for taking time out to respond to these threads.

I bolded the section above because I want to make sure I understand what you mean here. By "it is upgraded to Phase 2", do you mean that it IS Phase 2, or it only has the CAPABILITY of going Phase 2 and for now it's all just Phase 1? I recall you saying the latter last year, but has anything changed since then?
 

w2lie

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It is Phase 2, but only has Phase 1 talk groups.
So, the answer to your question is Yes ;)
 

n5ims

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Phil,

I know you're super busy with the little one (I remember those days :p ) so I want to really thank you for taking time out to respond to these threads.

I bolded the section above because I want to make sure I understand what you mean here. By "it is upgraded to Phase 2", do you mean that it IS Phase 2, or it only has the CAPABILITY of going Phase 2 and for now it's all just Phase 1? I recall you saying the latter last year, but has anything changed since then?
Often that just means they're currently only using Phase I and will only turn on Phase II once you buy a new scanner that won't do Phase II. At that time, the only talkgroups using Phase II will be, of course, the ones you're really interested in monitoring. The boring ones will remain Phase I.
 

w2lie

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You are forgetting about the "E"lephant in the room. On this particular system, you can't listen to anything worth listening to anyway.
 

LIScanner101

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Often that just means they're currently only using Phase I and will only turn on Phase II once you buy a new scanner that won't do Phase II. At that time, the only talkgroups using Phase II will be, of course, the ones you're really interested in monitoring. The boring ones will remain Phase I.

Welcome to my life - LOL!!
 

rswagerson

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Thanks for the replies guys sorry I haven't responded just been busy with all the snow and such. After hearing now that the 996xt can only do phase 1 and there could possibly be phase 2 activity within the near future, I may actually go with the 15x because I don't necessarily listen to anything that is phase 1 unencrypted anyway. So I may just grab a 15x for now and save my money for the next big scanner that comes out lol. I'm not anywhere near the level that most of you guys are at in terms of scanning... I just like to occasionally listen and know what's going on in the county and listen to fire grounds during major events, I have a pager for anything that is specific to me. Thanks a lot.
 
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