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    Default MSCommNet Thread II

    With MSCOMMNET now operational; and after nearly 5 years, 35 pages, 867 posts, and almost 52,000 views (!); it's time to start a new thread for this system. The next phase of this system for us is learning how it is going to be used by the various state agencies, the ongoing discovery of new talk groups and learning other details that will enhance our monitoring experience.

    I would advise those who are new to Scan New England to read through the original MSCOMMNET thread as there is tons of important information therein, as contributed by SNE's many highly dedicated members. A lot of the earlier posts can be skimmed; but you are urged to read more thoroughly more recent ones to get the full picture of what it has taken for this system to be created.

    A few points worth re-posting:

    1. Sites & Frequencies. Specifically licensed frequencies have been well verified, however, there are still Part 22 “mystery frequencies” that were reported but have not been located as to which site they belong. (See Wiki). I believe it is likely that additional Part 22 frequencies may be in use, particularly at some of the conventional sites, but have not yet been discovered or reported. Finding these will be a challenge and can probably be done only through checking those on the Part 22 frequency list at the Wiki page.

    Channel usage at all the trunking sites should be reconfirmed as there appears to have been numerous changes in the control channels (CCs) since these sites were first constructed and reported. This is really an on-going project; more important now as what sort of rotation of the CCs may be employed is not yet known.

    2. Talkgroups. New talk groups (TGs) are being discovered on a near-daily basis as usage expands, and, there are likely many more to follow. Finding these and properly identifying them is probably the most fascinating part of this whole deal. Catching the official TG name can be a real challenge unless you hear system users announce it prior to a channel change. During this early stage of the system implementation may be the best time to nail a lot of these down as there seems to be a lot of familiarization taking place. It is also very useful to know in which of the four SP zones a TG is normally heard, recognizing that any TG can theoretically pop up in any zone (if a TG user affiliates with a site in that zone). Like conventional channels, expect some TGs will be used on a regular basis; others very rarely.

    TGs will be added to the Wiki page when we have sufficient info to post them; i.e. mostly user agency and zone. If there is insufficient information on the official TG name or how it is used, question marks will be used to note this. Assume that any amplifying info on those TGs will be appreciated!

    3. Agencies, Callsigns, Radio IDs. There are lots of callsigns being heard and procedures being used with which we are unfamiliar. In order to make more sense of it all and assist in the identification of TGs, paying close attention to voice callsigns is really important. There is a separate sticky thread on callsigns, and some of the info there may be very old. Updates will be extremely useful, and will all wind up on the Wiki page when they have been verified.

    The subject of radio IDs (UIDs) has been confusing to some out there. These are NOT the voice callsigns heard on the air; they are unique digital identifiers associated with radios on a P25 digital system. They can be decoded by specific scanner models and software programs. Like voice callsigns, they are useful in helping to identify who is using a specific TG. Keeping track of maybe thousands of these is not going to happen here! There will be updates by agency and UID range as more is learned about them, definitely an ongoing project.

    However, there is a caution about UIDs. Specific UIDs may be discussed if they are sort of unique and not likely to change often, an example being a recent discussion of those associated with county EMA offices. However please be careful with UIDs relating to specific personnel, most importantly law enforcement officers. Posting something like “UID 1234567 is Trooper John Doe" or "Warden Unit 4321” is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN. The post and the poster will quickly disappear from this website. I don’t think I need to explain why based on current events. The preferred way to post a UID is to do so in a generic fashion such as: "UID 1234###". Also, please be sure to clearly state whether you may be reffering to a TG ID, UID or callsign to avoid confusion.

    4. The Old Conventional Channels. A common assumption has been that all the state’s legacy conventional channels have been recycled into the trunk system and will be going away. That’s really not at all the case. We know the CONOPS channels and their regular usage will continue. Also, DOT will continue on their low band system for a while, at least. It does seems highly likely that the SP zone systems and old Region Nets will be taken out of service. However, there are some channels that have little or no crossover with MSCOMMNET, and that may well be intentional. Most of the State Forestry repeaters don’t appear to be affected by MSCOMMNET, and even the MEMA repeater system could probably operate independently.


    And...

    This is a really good time to remind everyone of the Scan New England policy of not posting or listing TAC Team (SWAT) or surveillance frequencies, and certainly not posting any information about operations of this nature that are in progress. This policy is to protect law enforcement personnel and not inadvertently provide aid to bad guys. Users of this site include many public safety professionals who are often happy to exchange information that is valuable to us hobbyists. Please let's keep it that way! Generally, if you are not sure whether or not you should post something, enjoy what you are hearing, but don't post it!

    And don't forget the SNE MSCOMMNET Wiki Page, your ongoing source for all things MSCOMMNET!
    Dick
    Southern Maine

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    Not sure if this is off topic or not but I went out a scanning trip today down to Port Clyde, Maine. I was able to hear Zone 2A loud and clear all the way down there. Radio Coverage used be iffy so its a sign that this system is 1000x better than the conventional side where you could barely here Zone 2(154.650) Loud and clear in Thomaston.
    Eric H.
    Scanners:Whistler WS1040
    RRDB Admin for: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont

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    What is the status of 154.650 and 156.150?? The only reason I ask is because I have friends who don't have digital scanners and there still praying and hoping there gonna here3 something on them.
    Last edited by MaineRadioMan; 02-08-2015 at 19:54. Reason: spelling


    Up on a huge hill with a tower 100ft in the air!


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    Just noticed 168.6875 for Spruce is listed as "Voice" only in the wiki - it actually should be "CC/Voice" - the CC alternates between that and 171.975 (I don't think I've heard CC on 160.710 in months).

    The other day, the CC was alternating back and forth every minute or two. Maybe it's my own lack of knowledge of how the system works, but what's the purpose of the CC changing so frequently? Even if it's only changing every few days or even few weeks - why not stay on the same freq for a prolonged period of time?
    Chris
    Poland, ME

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    Quote Originally Posted by ME343 View Post
    Not sure if this is off topic or not ...
    Not at all! And, I would agree that the coverage and audio quality is excellent. I have read a lot of uninformed comments that this system was no good or not going to work simply because it is digital and digital isn't reliable, etc., etc. I have listened to the digital conventional system in NH, and the digital trunk systems in Mass., Rhode Island and Conn. MSCOMMNET compares very favorably with those, and may even have superior audio. So far, A+

    Quote Originally Posted by MaineRadioMan View Post
    What is the status of 154.650 and 156.150?? The only reason I ask is because I have friends who don't have digital scanners and there still praying and hoping there gonna here3 something on them.
    You can find that out yourself by listening to the old conventional frequencies. But what difference does it make? Most everyone will be in range of a RegionNet that will broadcast the primary zone TG traffic, in analog mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisP View Post
    168.6875 for Spruce is listed as "Voice" only in the wiki - it actually should be "CC/Voice" - the CC alternates between that and 171.975 (I don't think I've heard CC on 160.710 in months).

    The other day, the CC was alternating back and forth every minute or two. Maybe it's my own lack of knowledge of how the system works, but what's the purpose of the CC changing so frequently? Even if it's only changing every few days or even few weeks - why not stay on the same freq for a prolonged period of time?
    I am also no expert on the inner workings of P25 trunking. The old standard for Motorola trunking was to rotate the control channel daily to help save wear and tear on the repeaters as opposed to one being in constant transmit mode. With modern equipment that may be less significant. Rotating every minute sounds like a computer error or someone testing it. From a scanning point of view and not knowing what CC rotation they may employ, I would recommend programming all of a site's frequencies so as not to miss a surprise change. Thanks for the heads up on Spruce.
    Dick
    Southern Maine

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    Rather Odd, if the CC changed on a random basis, my initial thought would be interference that the Controller was seeing and decided to switch frequencies, however every minute ? Hmmmm

    Quote Originally Posted by Maine45 View Post
    I am also no expert on the inner workings of P25 trunking. The old standard for Motorola trunking was to rotate the control channel daily to help save wear and tear on the repeaters as opposed to one being in constant transmit mode. With modern equipment that may be less significant. Rotating every minute sounds like a computer error or someone testing it. From a scanning point of view and not knowing what CC rotation they may employ, I would recommend programming all of a site's frequencies so as not to miss a surprise change. Thanks for the heads up on Spruce.
    Bill Dunn N1KUG
    Cruise Ship Frequencies
    http://scanmaritime.com

    "The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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    As I mentioned before, I am monitoring only the voice channels remotely on my BC895xlt. I have noticed the CC on both Bald and Eaton keeps switching between the 2 available frequencies for each tower constantly, so I have to leave both locked out. I too assumed it was monitoring interference on the CC and when it got above a certain threshold it would automatically switch. I am thinking there is probably users of abutting frequencies close enough to these sites to cause bleed over. I haven't gone to the FCC to find out if there is or not.
    Jason
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    As I mentioned before, I am monitoring only the voice channels remotely on my BC895xlt. I have noticed the CC on both Bald and Eaton keeps switching between the 2 available frequencies for each tower constantly, so I have to leave both locked out. I too assumed it was monitoring interference on the CC and when it got above a certain threshold it would automatically switch. I am thinking there is probably users of abutting frequencies close enough to these sites to cause bleed over. I haven't gone to the FCC to find out if there is or not.

    I get traffic alternating all thee time from Pleasent, Spruce and Coggins Hill. not much from other sites.


    Up on a huge hill with a tower 100ft in the air!


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    Quote Originally Posted by ecps92 View Post
    Rather Odd, if the CC changed on a random basis, my initial thought would be interference that the Controller was seeing and decided to switch frequencies, however every minute ? Hmmmm
    Several sites, Spruce being one, are notoriously bad for intermod and adjacent channel interference, so that may be the culprit. However, Ossipee isn't all that great in that regard either, and I have not noticed CC changes there. If the CC changes were occurring only weekdays when other VHF users (eg. RCM's commercial VHF trunk system) were busiest, then that might be an indicator of an interference issue.

    Motorola (and maybe other) analog trunk systems have a "failsoft" mode which puts users onto one of the system's repeaters in conventional mode to allow continued operation should the trunking aspect of the system fail. Is there a comparable feature in P25 trunk systems? If so, I would imagine a process of checking for a useable CC would take place before that kicks in. And, with that speculation, I have found that I have exceeded my knowledge level on this topic and will defer to others!
    Dick
    Southern Maine

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    Sadly those Freqs are in the FEDERAL Band, so the FCC isn't going to help with finding adjacent users or even (band opening users)

    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    As I mentioned before, I am monitoring only the voice channels remotely on my BC895xlt. I have noticed the CC on both Bald and Eaton keeps switching between the 2 available frequencies for each tower constantly, so I have to leave both locked out. I too assumed it was monitoring interference on the CC and when it got above a certain threshold it would automatically switch. I am thinking there is probably users of abutting frequencies close enough to these sites to cause bleed over. I haven't gone to the FCC to find out if there is or not.
    Bill Dunn N1KUG
    Cruise Ship Frequencies
    http://scanmaritime.com

    "The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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    Traffic ? or the topic of Alternating Control channels

    Quote Originally Posted by MaineRadioMan View Post
    I get traffic alternating all thee time from Pleasent, Spruce and Coggins Hill. not much from other sites.
    Bill Dunn N1KUG
    Cruise Ship Frequencies
    http://scanmaritime.com

    "The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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    For those new to Trunking, Failsoft is a Failure of the the Trunking Software at the Master Controller.
    Generally the Voice and CC channels will become Open Carriers with a periodic BEEP

    I've only seen this with "M", not too familiar with EDACS and Harris will be an interesting learning experience

    The other item that might appear is "Site Trunking" Where the individual Site is trunking but not seeing it's neighbors
    So the only users heard will be those who are actually using that site and they will not be heard by the rest of the network.

    Again this is from "M", and our milage with Harris will definately Vary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maine45 View Post
    Several sites, Spruce being one, are notoriously bad for intermod and adjacent channel interference, so that may be the culprit. However, Ossipee isn't all that great in that regard either, and I have not noticed CC changes there. If the CC changes were occurring only weekdays when other VHF users (eg. RCM's commercial VHF trunk system) were busiest, then that might be an indicator of an interference issue.

    Motorola (and maybe other) analog trunk systems have a "failsoft" mode which puts users onto one of the system's repeaters in conventional mode to allow continued operation should the trunking aspect of the system fail. Is there a comparable feature in P25 trunk systems? If so, I would imagine a process of checking for a useable CC would take place before that kicks in. And, with that speculation, I have found that I have exceeded my knowledge level on this topic and will defer to others!
    Bill Dunn N1KUG
    Cruise Ship Frequencies
    http://scanmaritime.com

    "The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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    Another DMR Tac Channel: 1624.
    Eric H.
    Scanners:Whistler WS1040
    RRDB Admin for: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont

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    At times I have noticed I would get bits and pieces of conversations from TG 741 on the Moose site. I figured it was coming from another Zone 4 site and I can now confirm this. I am getting the CC from the Cyr Tower on 160.400 with the strong signal strength expected from the Moose site.
    Jason
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    Quote Originally Posted by ME343 View Post
    Another DMR Tac Channel: 1624.
    Marine Patrol is apparently competing with Forestry to see which agency can have the most TGs per person!

    Seriously though, the TG situation was getting out of hand, so I have added most of reported but not really confirmed as to use type TGs to the Wiki page listing. Listing them may be the only way we can remember what has been heard previously and obtain more information about them. Also, in the case of Forestry at least, there is a real pattern to the groups that is shaping up. Still not sure where they're going with these, but it will all become clear eventually. Maybe. I went back to the first of the year to try and identify who reported some of these TGs. Some I could not readily find, so my apologies for that.

    Generally, any TG listed that has a "?" in the name field means we don't yet know the official name for it, as well as any additional information on usage and zones.

    The following TGs are still not listed as they were only reported once and we really know nothing about them at all:

    99
    111
    112
    131
    132
    133
    185

    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    At times I have noticed I would get bits and pieces of conversations from TG 741 on the Moose site. I figured it was coming from another Zone 4 site and I can now confirm this. I am getting the CC from the Cyr Tower on 160.400 with the strong signal strength expected from the Moose site.
    Are you able to confirm the Big Moose frequencies and that they are using a 293 NAC up there? We have had very limited reports on the conventional sites. Actually, we don't know very much about how they operate at all, so it will be interesting to learn more.
    Dick
    Southern Maine

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    Comparing the TG list in the Wiki to mine, I noticed a new user/tg that I hadn't noticed:

    2451 a few calls starting on 2/2 by ids 1111114 1111116 1112115

    Add Zone 3 to usage of 2301 as used by OAG when they were going to Bangor the other day.


    and then the other additions I have, no information on usage:

    MFS/DACF
    1075
    1310
    1367
    1374
    1412
    1430

    IFW
    1510
    1516


    2353 Fire Marshall
    Jason
    Plymouth, ME (SW Penobscot Co.)

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    TG: 1350 Probably MFS. Had a MFS UID attached to it.
    Eric H.
    Scanners:Whistler WS1040
    RRDB Admin for: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maine45 View Post
    Marine Patrol is apparently competing with Forestry to see which agency can have the most TGs per person!
    Seems like at this point every state park could have its own TG.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maine45 View Post
    Are you able to confirm the Big Moose frequencies and that they are using a 293 NAC up there? We have had very limited reports on the conventional sites. Actually, we don't know very much about how they operate at all, so it will be interesting to learn more.
    The only NAC I have seen is 80E and I just checked on some traffic on Zone 3 and it was 80E. I really don't know how they have it set up. Seems as though each 'out' has its own 'in' like a normal repeater so the radio chooses which frequency to use. I see the radio id and tg the same as I do from the voice channels of the trunked frequencies. I still would think it would have to get information from the controller to know what to do (Where am I? What site do I use?).
    Jason
    Plymouth, ME (SW Penobscot Co.)

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    Ossipee Mtn Regionnet has Zone 1A traffic on it today, audio is a little weak.
    Jacob
    KB1VLA

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    I've noticed a few different region nets carrying zone 1A traffic, but they're all so week I can't hear them at the normal volume I have it at for everything else.


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    Thomas
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    ...new user/tg that I hadn't noticed:

    2451 a few calls starting on 2/2 by ids 1111114 1111116 1112115...
    Who the heck are these guys? A DPS agency certainly...Capital Police? Maine EMS staff? Three guys from accounting who said "We want radios, too!"

    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    ...and then the other additions I have...

    MFS/DACF
    1075
    1310
    1367
    1374
    1412
    1430

    IFW
    1510
    1516

    2353 Fire Marshall
    Oh, more Forestry TGs. A shocker there.
    And Warden Service getting into the TG game; may be too late to catch Forestry!

    Quote Originally Posted by ME343 View Post
    TG: 1350 Probably MFS. Had a MFS UID attached to it.
    Make it stop!

    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    Seems like at this point every state park could have its own TG...
    At least one, plus maybe an encrypted "Talk" group.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    The only NAC I have seen is 80E and I just checked on some traffic on Zone 3 and it was 80E. I really don't know how they have it set up. Seems as though each 'out' has its own 'in' like a normal repeater so the radio chooses which frequency to use. I see the radio id and tg the same as I do from the voice channels of the trunked frequencies. I still would think it would have to get information from the controller to know what to do (Where am I? What site do I use?).
    In Uniden scanner language, it sounds like the channels at the conventional sites operate as a set of "single frequency trunk systems". We appear to have been wrong about them using a 293 NAC. Since they are relaying traffic from the trunk system, it would make sense for them to use the 80E NAC. At that point, it is like listening to the trunk channels in manual mode. Sort of.

    TG 2351 reconfirmed today as "Fire Marshal South".

    Encryption heard today on TG 1507; possibly a Warden Service "Talk" channel.

    The TG 711 rebroadcast on Ossippe RN is really weak, but the audio quality is very good if you crank it up. Very clear for a digital to analog conversion.
    Last edited by Maine45; 02-10-2015 at 18:03.
    Dick
    Southern Maine

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    Suddenly tonight, Zone 4A 741 traffic is all coming in on 35192.....must be some sort of patch, all suddden that was all I was hearing without hearing anyone telling people to switch channels

    Curious about these tg's, certianly seems to be somehow related to the RegioNets, wonder if when these patches are on if the Troopers side of the audio is broadcast over the RegionNet

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    Quote Originally Posted by MFR334 View Post
    Suddenly tonight, Zone 4A 741 traffic is all coming in on 35192.....must be some sort of patch, all suddden that was all I was hearing without hearing anyone telling people to switch channels

    Curious about these tg's, certianly seems to be somehow related to the RegioNets, wonder if when these patches are on if the Troopers side of the audio is broadcast over the RegionNet
    Interesting, A little while ago I logged a Houlton Console along with a couple other ids on TG 35194. I didn't notice which site it was from but the only freq I ever see zone 4 traffic on (other than the occasional traffic on Moose) is 161.04 which I assume is coming from Fish and not Granite, though I do get Zone 1 on Granite. I haven't been paying attention but in the last few minutes I have not logged anything from Zone 4. Wonder if these TGs change with the site?
    Jason
    Plymouth, ME (SW Penobscot Co.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MFR334 View Post
    ...Zone 4A 741 traffic is all coming in on 35192.....certianly seems to be somehow related to the RegioNets, wonder if when these patches are on if the Troopers side of the audio is broadcast over the RegionNet
    Quote Originally Posted by jlf001 View Post
    ... a Houlton Console along with a couple other ids on TG 35194. ... Wonder if these TGs change with the site?
    The 35### TGs are a big mystery and have been discussed before with no conclusion. They were in use a lot by Harris/OIT techs during the system set-up, with occasional mention of "patches" and reference to RegionNets. Recent use of these has been temporary and seamless; with no mention of changing channels. The radio users apparently are unaware of anything changing, but during their use the traffic on whatever TG they were on initially does seem to go away. There are also a large number of these groups (see Wiki), certainly enough for each site and/or RegionNet.

    My best guess is that they are pre-programmed and kick in under specific circumstances or when activated by a dispatcher. Maybe patching to a RN or sending that TG's traffic onto a site that might not be presently carrying it. Any other theories? Anyone with P25 trunking experience able to illuminate us? Anyone from OIT or Harris out there? (Dear OIT and/or Harris, if you are reading this, we love your system!)

    I have continued to monitor the system in "ID Search Mode" (Uniden) or with a "Wildcard TG" (GRE/RS), so these will be heard/logged. I assume that monitoring in closed mode means these would not be heard.
    Dick
    Southern Maine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maine45 View Post
    I have continued to monitor the system in "ID Search Mode" (Uniden) or with a "Wildcard TG" (GRE/RS), so these will be heard/logged. I assume that monitoring in closed mode means these would not be heard.
    You are correct on the closed mode, at least from the GRE/RS standpoint. Which begs the question (I assume this hasn't been answered yet), about hearing SP Zone 1 traffic on Zone 2, and vice versa. I had to put in 711, and 712 on Zone 2, and 721 and 722 on Zone 1.
    Mark, W1MTW
    Windham, ME
    PRO-106

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