Washburn County switched to digital?

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box23

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It seems as if Washburn County has now switched almost completely to digital.

I know over the last week or so I have heard more and more testing on digital, but they always went back to analog at some point in the day. Now today they were doing a lot more testing.

Throughout the day I heard more and more normal traffic on digital and less traffic over all on analog. As I write this now, I haven't heard anything on analog for quite some time. For a while now they have been testing radio ID's, and are getting them sorted out slowly.

So unless they happen to switch back to analog later, I'm guessing they are staying on digital for good. I even heard the dispatcher testing with and without a headset, to which the officers replied the headset was going to be it.

Looks like I'm going to have to start playing with the one frequency trunk on my 396XT.:lol:
 

sfd119

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Yep. Washburn switched to full-time digital today, one unit at a time. Around lunch time, most squads were and dispatch were on digital.

There goes the analog Washburn feed here..
 

box23

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I am using one frequency trunk to be able to see radio ID's. Because I had to create a new Washburn County system to do this, other than making system, site, and channel naming very interesting it seems to be working OK.

So far I have figured out the sheriff deputy's ID's follow the state plan, with just there number in the last 3 digits.

801 > i6600801
822 > i6600822

Dispatch uses radio ID i5.

I haven't been able to catch any of the other units yet.

I also see that dispatch is talking on TG 660, while the officers are talking on TG 1. Some more display name fun.:roll: I haven't been able to confirm it yet, but I think because of this that if dispatch talks it will cut off any immediate reply by a car because it is holding on the first talkgroup, and vice versa.
 

sfd119

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What I find interesting is their NAC code of 801. I find it funny that it directly correlates with the Sheriff's number.
 

box23

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Yeah, haha, I noticed that also. From listening today I'm sure that with the different talkgroups it misses a lot of information. I've went back to just the conventional channel with the NAC and it's a lot easier listening. As far as I could tell there were also some radio ID's that were incorrect.

Oh, well, it's fun listening to full-time digital around here now.
 

sfd119

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I hate digital, I have one scanner in my car that picks it up, but my hand held radio, mobile radio, and scanners at home are all analog. Unless I'm in my car, I can't hear Washburn any more.
 

lifsvr25

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What a nightmare

The whole idea is totally unecessary. It has completely put all other agencies in the dark as far as being able to function safely and effectively. None of the other surrounding counties can any longer monitor what is going on should mutual aid be needed, let alone fire and ems within the county. In addition, i also understand the at this point even state patrol cannot monitor what is going on in the county. They do not have a digital scanner, or the capability in their own system.
 

sfd119

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The sad part of it all is it's unlikely they'll go back. Maybe if a new sheriff gets elected he'll put it back. It could be one of his strong points of his election.
 

box23

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In addition, i also understand the at this point even state patrol cannot monitor what is going on in the county. They do not have a digital scanner, or the capability in their own system.
If you mean their dispatch system, it is irrelevant. All that matters to talk to or hear Washburn is the troopers' radios. From the State Patrol's website, "Project 25 standard digital radios are being installed in squads to allow communications with new county digital radio systems." Also from the wiki, "Each State Patrol cruiser assigned to field personnel comes equipped with a 110w P25-compliant Kenwood VHF radio..."

So if they do not have the correct radios, they will soon be getting them. And if they do it would only take a quick programming change to allow them to hear and talk.

I also heard 7700, which is a Spooner Post radio technician, testing with Washburn the other day on digital. So I'm sure they have digital radios which are already programmed or will be shortly.

But even if no one has digital radios, for mutual aid Washburn could always just switch back to analog for the duration of an incident and everything would be back to the way it was before. Or if an officer requested dispatch to contact another unit, they could call on analog, or an officer could directly.

I don't mean to sound like I'm supporting the switch, I'm just trying to point out that since the switch has been made it's not the end of the world, it can still work, it just takes a little thinking and a different way of doing things.
 

sfd119

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If you mean their dispatch system, it is irrelevant. All that matters to talk to or hear Washburn is the troopers' radios. From the State Patrol's website, "Project 25 standard digital radios are being installed in squads to allow communications with new county digital radio systems." Also from the wiki, "Each State Patrol cruiser assigned to field personnel comes equipped with a 110w P25-compliant Kenwood VHF radio..."

So if they do not have the correct radios, they will soon be getting them. And if they do it would only take a quick programming change to allow them to hear and talk.

I also heard 7700, which is a Spooner Post radio technician, testing with Washburn the other day on digital. So I'm sure they have digital radios which are already programmed or will be shortly.

But even if no one has digital radios, for mutual aid Washburn could always just switch back to analog for the duration of an incident and everything would be back to the way it was before. Or if an officer requested dispatch to contact another unit, they could call on analog, or an officer could directly.

I don't mean to sound like I'm supporting the switch, I'm just trying to point out that since the switch has been made it's not the end of the world, it can still work, it just takes a little thinking and a different way of doing things.
The fact that Washburn pulled the trigger and really didn't tell anyone caught people off guard. Most of the state squads are still not programed along with other counties hearing the garbled digital on analog will now need their squads reprogrammed too.

Another problem is when someone talks on digital or analog, no one knows the difference on the radios. A unit could be calling on analog, Washburn and/or a Deputy answer on digital leaving the other person still out. I've heard it happen several times during testing and months ago when they had digital, just not using it full time.

5109/5108 (ambulances) have analog only and it's coming a crossed the analog channels with the digital garbled, not only is it annoying, it's also going to be a while before they reprogram the radios they have. Not to mention their portables are in the same boat.

It's unnecessary for this area. There was no reason to go to it, the only reason they did was because the local sheriff was sick of people "listening in." T

There's been quite a few times where I have actually heard Washburn talking about a reported fire where I have been able to get ready and respond to the hall because I had a heads up.

Finally, they also have screwed up the paging system. There's a few departments and the ambulances that haven't been getting pages lately ever since they switched. It's pretty sad when people's lives depend on those pages, and they are just not getting through.
 

box23

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Ok, I see now. They really went about this the wrong way. I assumed they would at least have told everyone that they were switching so they could have reprogrammed their radios, or at least know they wouldn't be able to hear anymore.

I thought that a radio user would be able to know the difference. I guess that's not the case, though.

I know it's nice to know beforehand that you're going to get paged. I've been at the garage sitting in the ambulance by the time we got paged a couple times.

Speaking of pages, I remember hearing them having troubles when they were testing a couple weeks ago. I assumed that since they had switched that everything was working well, otherwise I didn't think they would have continued to move over.

I guess it's the same mentality as Milwaukee: we bought it, we don't want anyone to hear us or talk to us, and we're going to use it whether it works right or not.
 

sfd119

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Yep. A couple new EMS radios have digital capabilities, however, they didn't come with Washburn programed in because there was no need, until now. The sheriff is treating the channel as his own private channel and doesn't want anyone involved in it.

As for the pages, an EMT was telling me that Washburn tried paging them several times in the night and their pagers never went off (they got the texts from a TwoToneDetect.exe setup) but their pagers never tripped.

Then, the other day, Shell Lake Fire got paged but their pages never went past Spooner's south side. There's still paging issues, but the sheriff is still saying there's not.

Finally, I discovered this afternoon that Washburn also has a new Fire Repeater. My radio is set to CSQ in my car, and scanner was on Washburn County only. My radio heard the page loud and clear, but it didn't come acrossed with the Fire North or Fire South repeaters with the PL tones programmed in. I got a recording of it and am in the process of figuring out what the PL tone is with WinTone.

I'm hoping that if enough people raise the issue, they might go back and use Digital for sensitive stuff, but with each day going by, I doubt it will happen.
 

box23

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What do you have programmed for CTCSS?

I have found it to be 114.8. It's been this way for a while. I have been hearing the north tower with no problem.
 

sfd119

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I have my scanner with 114.8 for North, and 151.4 for South, but neither picked up what Washburn was transmitting. My radio with CSQ did. I noticed it when they paged Shell Lake the other night, it wasn't coming off North or South towers.

In other news, Washburn's dispatch switched to analog for a short time today (might still be this way) after a major accident and no one could hear them.
 

box23

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Hmmm, are you sure the South tower broadcasts 151.4? If so I'll have to fix that because I'm only using 114.8.

From the license there are 3 tower locations: Lampson, Shell Lake, and Birchwood. I know Lampson is north, but which is south?

Were you able to figure out the tone from the recording?

I was listening all afternoon and heard that accident. I never heard anyone on analog, only digital. I did see someone had keyed on analog once, but never heard anything and there wasn't anymore key ups after that.
 

sfd119

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Yep. South uses 151.4 and North 114.8. The south tower is Birchwood and the only department that uses south is Birchwood. South tower is pretty hard to pickup, I doubt you'll pick it up anywhere north of the county (unless you have a huge antenna). The Lampson & Shell Lake towers have the same rx pl tones of 114.8.

I didn't figure out the tone from the recording, i'll have to wait until they page Shell Lake again.

Yeah, they used digital on the accident for a while, but later in the evening (around 6-630pm) dispatch was using analog and squads digital. I'll check it out and see if they still are today.
 

sjgostovich

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Well now I'm bummed out! I camp in Trego and love to listen in on the local action up there. I'm shopping around for a digital scanner so I guess I'll need to bring it with on camping trips. As soon as you guys get updated programming info for the digital scanners, can you share it here?
 

kb9tyc

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Well now I'm bummed out! I camp in Trego and love to listen in on the local action up there. I'm shopping around for a digital scanner so I guess I'll need to bring it with on camping trips. As soon as you guys get updated programming info for the digital scanners, can you share it here?
Washburn is digital on 155.730 with a NAC of 801.
 

sfd119

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Hmmm, are you sure the South tower broadcasts 151.4? If so I'll have to fix that because I'm only using 114.8.

From the license there are 3 tower locations: Lampson, Shell Lake, and Birchwood. I know Lampson is north, but which is south?

Were you able to figure out the tone from the recording?

I was listening all afternoon and heard that accident. I never heard anyone on analog, only digital. I did see someone had keyed on analog once, but never heard anything and there wasn't anymore key ups after that.
Shell Lake got paged again off a different repeater than North or South. It had no RX PL tone, and I heard a guard tone (aka they are using a tone remote). It appears as if it was never relayed off the North tower like it normally is.
 

box23

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That seems kinda weird. Shell Lake just uses the North or South towers for voice, correct?

I saw in the license they have the frequency licensed for direct at dispatch, with paging. I haven't seen the frequency licensed for direct before, usually just the input for using the repeaters.

I'm wondering if they just page them on direct instead of using the repeater since it is right there. I'm still curious why there is a Shell Lake tower in the license.
 
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