WISCOM, COM Center and antenna ...

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rcpwisc

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Hi everybody! Ive got a GRE600 and have the WISCOM towers programmed that are in and around Madison where I live. On some days, I get lots of transmissions from Iowa County. Then, last week, I started getting transmissions from Fond du Lac Sheriff and local police there. It was great listening to these channels. The problem I'm having is that these transmissions are very sporadic. After listening to them one day, I had zippo for the next four days, and then for another day, I could hear them again. The transmissions are always crystal clear, and I have full bars when I can hear them.

If I have the WISCOM towers around me programmed, do they rebroadcast all the traffic from around the state? Or, does it depend on the day, the airwaves, etc that determine what I can and can't hear? Still trying to understand what I can hear and what I should be hearing on the WISCOM towers.

The other question I have is regarding pages from the Dane County Com Center. I used to be able to hear them crystal clear without issue. Since they've gone to the narrowbanding, I updated the frequencies on my scanner, but the reception is terrible no matter where I place the scanner. All of the other channels are fine, no problems. Should I just be happy with what I have and wait patiently for DaneCom?

Finally, what brand of antenna would you suggest for listening to WISCOM and DaneCom? I'm limited to keeping an antenna indoors, and was wondering what other people might suggest.

I really appreciate you reading this and your responses... thanks!!
 

R8000

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The reason you heard Fond du Lac transmissions in the Madison area is because a radio on the WISCOM system was listening to those talk groups. When a system radios is switched on, it tells WISCOM it is active and it tells WISCOM what channel or talk group it wants to hear. WISCOM will then drag that talk group to whatever tower is close to the radio.

Since a radio was in the Madison area monitoring Fond du Lac, you heard it in Madison. When the radio moved out of the area or was switched off or changed channels...you then heard no more FDL activity.

There is much more to it, but that's the simple plain English way of explaining it.

This activity when the radio is switched on or changes channels is called "affiliating" . There's info around the internet that can go into more detail about how that works.

As far as Dane County paging goes, you should monitor their analog paging frequency and not the P25 trunking talkgroup. Tones in general normally sound bad when vocoded. If you are listening to the analog simulcast channel, you may happen to be a in a interference zone. Some paging sites were moved around when DANECOM was being designed. When engineering a simulcast system, there will be interference zones. A properly engineered system can place these zones in areas where there is little or no population. Trust me on this one.

Any scanner antenna that is rated for VHF or more should be fine. WISCOM's system frequencies range from 139 MHZ to around 160 MHZ. DANECOM fall in between 150-160 MHZ. You can also experiment with VHF only antennas, but tuning will make your hair turn grey. You can ask 10 radio techs about a monitoring antenna and get 10 different answers. I say use what works best for you, and gives you acceptable results.
 

kb8zxe

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Good explanation R8000. This can be hard to understand at first.

"Roaming outside your County" can cause problems on a large system such as Michigan's MPSCS or WISCOM. For example say there is a Sheriff's convention in one location and you have several agencies from outside counties attending. If each agency is monitoring their home county the local tower may not have enough channels to handle all the traffic from such a wide area. Most systems such as WISCOM have travel talkgroups for this purpose.

One additional note I might add is that simulcast P25 systems such as Brown County's SIREN system do not rely on a radio to be listening to the tower to send the transmission out. All transmission will go out all towers. This makes listening with a scanner really nice. This is not practical on a large system though. However, large systems may have parts that are simulcast. An example would be the Detroit simulcast on the state wide MPSCS system.

I hope I didn't confuse things for anyone, but until I understood how it all worked I was wondering why I would miss transmissions and hear further away stations only sometimes.
 

kf9aq

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Site 224 madison 800

Hi..Am I right in assuming that the Madison 800 Site 224 is for any City of Madison public safety radio to be used to comm with WISCOM??

Thanks,

Kevin
KF9AQ
 

sfd119

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The Madison 800 site can be used by any WISCOM participating agency. It's the same as any other site that is VHF. If the radio can affiliate and has appropriate "permissions" to the TG, it'll hop on the 800 site.

So yes, the City could use it if it's setup, and the county, and the state, and federal...you get the point.
 

rcpwisc

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thanks for the replies everybody! i kind of understand what you're saying ... think i need to read up on wiscom some more .... it seems like quite the beast of radio systems! :D

as for the dane county com center, i am trying to monitor the analog channel. i did do the channel swap when they went to narrowbanding, but reception is horrible. i don't think i even heard them today. they used to come in crystal clear. if it were a reception issue, i would think that the other com channels (for fire and ems) would also be garbled, but they're crystal clear as they've always been. before the narrowbanding took place, i had no issues with the com center - now they're very hit and miss.

i may have to wait until they go digital before i can hear them again...
 

sfd119

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Channel swap? You shouldn't have had to do anything. Dane County SO1 is on 155.655, PL 167.9.
 

rcpwisc

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sheriff channel comes in great - no problems there. i'm having issues with DAPAG - 155.8245 and 158.770. sometimes I can make out a garbled page, but other times, it simply won't broadcast the channel at all. I've got a grecom psr600 and a radio shack pro197 in two different buildings, and neither one of them are able to pick up DAPAG very well - that's why i'm suspicious of interference as they both sound exactly the same. working channels from the COM center (a,b,c,d,e,f and h) are heard crystal clear. i'm stumped as to what the issue is.

is DAPAG broadcasting on the digital station yet? I've not programmed in the new talkgroups for DANECOM yet - would that be an alternative?
 

SB-Wi

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Eastern Dane Co
The new paging frequency is the only one that is narrowband. The county was granted a waiver from the FCC to continue operating the other frequencies wideband until DaneCom is up and running. Last I heard it was supposed to switch last month. I did hear them testing the analog tac channels yesterday so hopefully they're getting close to burn in.

The Dane County, Wisconsin (WI) Scanner Frequencies database shows the bandwidth of each frequency in the Mode column on the right. 158.775 is no longer used (deprecated) since the switch to 155.8425 for paging. You'll need a better antenna to receive the narrowband channel.
 

sixtytwo

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Narrowband can have disappointing coverage areas when compared to the footprints of sideband coverage.
 

sfd119

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Pages are simulcast on all the analog towers but I don't know if they're patched into DaneCom yet (if it is even broadcasting).
I'm just wondering if where he is at in relation to the simulcast paging is causing him to miss those pages. Obviously not being down there, I can't help out at all. Shot in the dark.
 

kf9aq

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Wiscom TG 8321

Hi..Was wondering if anyone knows what agency TG 8321 is associated with? Other TG's in that range are DCI..

Thanks,

Kevin G.
KF9AQ

SORRY, WRONG FORUM FOR THIS POST..SORRY..
Kevin
 
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