Why are TETRA radios so popular with civilians?

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EmilyWolf

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Why are the motorola tetra radios so popular with radio enthusiasts in britain? I've seen a lot of people getting them for regular use and hear lots of stories of people being stopped by the police thinking the radio was stolen.

Also what frequencies do they even use it on? PMR446? 900mhz or something of the like?
 

balibago

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Have you been to England and more importantly have you spoken on a TETRA radio?
 

KF5YDR

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Don't they require access to a TETRA network? My understanding was that TETRA uses a cellular topology and needs to talk to a controller.
 

szron

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TETRAs can be operated DMO with no infrastrastructure. So you can use them for HAM stuff just like you use DMR. You just have 4 slots.

People are getting stopped because it's the UK. In the UK scanning has been outlawed for a very long time (I believe it dates back to WWII times), most of UK emergency services operate on a nationwide TETRA network, fully encrypted anyway so that hasn't been an issue. Also you have to understand that emergency services (especially Police) have a very different approach to HAMs in Europe. I actually wanted to go on a long rant here about it but it's not the place I will happily explain it in a proper forum (maybe the Europe section). I'll keep the Motorola section strictly technical.
 

MTS2000des

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TETRA terminals (subscriber units in USA speak) do require a network connection to function unless they support DMO.

That being said, there are private TETRA networks in the EU the same way there are private SMR owned TRBO and NXDN systems here in the states.

I suppose many enthusiasts like them for many reasons, maybe they want something other than a cellphone, maybe some of them are like this guy who want a cop radio with cop sounds coming out of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHiRC8Gpovw

Kinda funny how he has to pipe in US law enforcement, as the TETRA networks used by law enforcement are all encrypted and fully locked down.

I imagine many who carry "cop like radios" get questioned over there because only "TEH POLICE" are supposed to carry such expensive and sophisticated walkie-talkies.
 

EmilyWolf

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I suppose many enthusiasts like them for many reasons, maybe they want something other than a cellphone, maybe some of them are like this guy who want a cop radio with cop sounds coming out of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHiRC8Gpovw

Kinda funny how he has to pipe in US law enforcement, as the TETRA networks used by law enforcement are all encrypted and fully locked down.
Ha yeah probably i found a bunch of videos of videos of a guy playing the australia police feeds over all sorts of different tetra models.
 

Jay911

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Ha yeah probably i found a bunch of videos of videos of a guy playing the australia police feeds over all sorts of different tetra models.
That's interesting, considering Australian police are on a variety of Motorola Smartzone, Harris EDACS, and APCO P25 systems - no TETRA at all.
 

EmilyWolf

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That's interesting, considering Australian police are on a variety of Motorola Smartzone, Harris EDACS, and APCO P25 systems - no TETRA at all.
No its not. He doesnt use the radios to tune directly into the police frequencies. I said he played the feed over his radios. Broadcastify streamed through a signalink usb into a tetra mobile on a desktop and listened on various handhelds.
 

autovon

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TETRAs can be operated DMO with no infrastrastructure. So you can use them for HAM stuff just like you use DMR. You just have 4 slots.

People are getting stopped because it's the UK. In the UK scanning has been outlawed for a very long time (I believe it dates back to WWII times), most of UK emergency services operate on a nationwide TETRA network, fully encrypted anyway so that hasn't been an issue. Also you have to understand that emergency services (especially Police) have a very different approach to HAMs in Europe. I actually wanted to go on a long rant here about it but it's not the place I will happily explain it in a proper forum (maybe the Europe section). I'll keep the Motorola section strictly technical.
Scanning is not illegal in the UK.
 

szron

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Scanning is not illegal in the UK.
"It is only illegal to use scanners to listen to licensed private services such as the police and taxi radio transmissions and other prohibited or private broadcasts not intended for the public. Listening in on such broadcasts is an offence under Section 5(1) (b) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949."
 

autovon

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"It is only illegal to use scanners to listen to licensed private services such as the police and taxi radio transmissions and other prohibited or private broadcasts not intended for the public. Listening in on such broadcasts is an offence under Section 5(1) (b) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949."
Again, using a scanner is not illegal.
Ofcom | Guidance on Receive-Only Radio Scanners
 

EmilyWolf

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But scanning is. Listening to police, fire, taxi, all "private" communications. That's what scanning means.
Getting off topic but I saw somewhere on a scanner forum post it was legal long as you don't go and respond to the call like reporters in the usa do.
 

Jay911

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Geez, it's printed in black and white in that Ofcom link. Yes, you can own a scanner without breaking the law. No, you can't listen to anything you want. In the UK, you are only legally authoriz(s)ed to listen to broadcast stations (i.e. FM radio), amateur or CB radio, or "weather and navigation transmissions" (I'm not sure what a "navigation transmission" is unless it's aircraft directional beacons). You may only listen to other signals if you are permitted so by the originating party.

Further down the page it's expressly written that you are forbidden to listen to emergency services.
 

autovon

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You can legally scan the stuff listed above. So saying scanning is outlawed is incorrect. Some scanning is legal and some is not. Besides, most of the interesting stuff is on TETRA and can't be monitored anyways.
 

KF5YDR

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Besides the which the fuzz has no way of knowing if you're listening unless they're outside your house with an RF sniffer van.
 

KF5YDR

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It absolutely works in real life. In the UK, you used to (still do?) have to purchase a license to own a TV. They had vans equipped with extremely sensitive receivers that would drive around listening for the IF frequency (and probably the screen refresh frequency) of TV sets and cross-reference that against a list of addresses for which there was a TV license on file.

Quite a lot of money was put into the TEMPEST program in the 80s to shield computers so no one could eavesdrop by receiving the video signal from a CRT monitor and displaying it remotely. Anything that oscillates at RF frequencies can be detected/listened to with a sensitive and selective enough receiver and a directional enough antenna.
 

n1das

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I recall reading about the law several years ago in a PMR446 forum on another site. In the UK, the law prohibits you from monitoring communications on the PMR446 channels on your scanner. However at the same time you can legally monitor the the exact same communications on a PMR446 radio. Go figure....

Also IIRC according to the law, if you want to legally monitor a communication prohibited under the law, you need to get permission from the sender first. It's kind of interesting too because I've had a couple of situations over the years where I was listening to local PD and FD activity (in the USA of course) and I've had a person from the UK here in the USA ask me "Is that legal?". After answering YES, it's often followed by "Do they KNOW you're listening to them?" They're often a bit shocked and surprised when I tell them that in the USA they can be legally monitored without their knowledge or consent.
 
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