ICE MotoTRBO TRS Decoding Project

A forum for discussion of the many trunked radio systems in and around our listening area.
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garys
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#101 Post by garys » 08 Feb 2016 14:17

That makes sense. Most of what I'm hearing is on the "company channel" and not on the main AAA channels. I've locked most of them out in DSD+ once I've identified them. I'm listening to Quincy right now, and it's pretty busy. Which isn't a surprise.
disp617 wrote:The AAA contracted companies use it for interoperability purposes. They have their own company channel and they also have an AAA contractor channel. That way they can contact AAA via radio for information instead of calling on the phone and possibly being placed on hold. It also comes in handy if the contractor needs assistance if he is out of his home area.
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ecps92
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#102 Post by ecps92 » 19 Apr 2016 08:16

I've added some GOOD info sent to me, off line, from a South Coast Monitor.
Plenty of New TG's and Site updates

More to follow as, I get time to add the info
One Item of Note - is for Site 134-8 as reported the Freqs in the Wiki do show, but DSD+ reports ONLY 6 channels
Bill Dunn N1KUG
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garys
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#103 Post by garys » 19 Apr 2016 11:29

All of those additional frequencies are currently assigned to the Johnston analog system. They are programmed into the MotoTrbo radios, but are probably not active yet. 936.2125 was only recently activated on the MotoTrbo system, I expect the others will follow. The days of the analog system are numbered.

Did you mean to leave the dates incomplete or does that need to be fixed?
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#104 Post by ecps92 » 19 Apr 2016 11:49

Yes on the date. Since the Data was observed over the Month, from April 1 till last week, easier to leave as 2016.04 as they were all OVER that current period

Also, for one of your Road trips, try Site 50 as 40 Lone St (maybe a Built-Out location, similar to what Plantation FL has been for 'M')

And while browsing the 40 Lone St web pages, found this GEM
garys wrote:All of those additional frequencies are currently assigned to the Johnston analog system. They are programmed into the MotoTrbo radios, but are probably not active yet. 936.2125 was only recently activated on the MotoTrbo system, I expect the others will follow. The days of the analog system are numbered.

Did you mean to leave the dates incomplete or does that need to be fixed?
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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#105 Post by garys » 19 Apr 2016 16:20

Lone Street is a possibility, but I'm not sure about it since I can't usually get 900 sites in that area. The site website is interesting. I'm going to guess that they aren't all 900 Mhz sites. The Boston ones are really interesting because of the locations.

I'll be west of Boston sometime this week, so I'll try to listen to some of the sites that I can't get from home.
ecps92 wrote:Yes on the date. Since the Data was observed over the Month, from April 1 till last week, easier to leave as 2016.04 as they were all OVER that current period

Also, for one of your Road trips, try Site 50 as 40 Lone St (maybe a Built-Out location, similar to what Plantation FL has been for 'M')

And while browsing the 40 Lone St web pages, found this GEM
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#106 Post by ecps92 » 19 Apr 2016 18:21

Correct on the Site list, but it's good to know, for Close-Call/On-Site to narrow down some of the DMR
garys wrote:Lone Street is a possibility, but I'm not sure about it since I can't usually get 900 sites in that area. The site website is interesting. I'm going to guess that they aren't all 900 Mhz sites. The Boston ones are really interesting because of the locations.

I'll be west of Boston sometime this week, so I'll try to listen to some of the sites that I can't get from home.
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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#107 Post by ecps92 » 28 Apr 2016 12:31

With the number of newer sites, it was suggested to me, by an Trusted Observer who runs DSD monitoring software
that we might want to Revisit our Neighbor list, as they may have changed, with newer towers having come on-line.

Once that is done, some of those UNKNOWNS might be easy to Triangulate on a Map just based on known 900 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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bfrederi
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134-4 (Medford)

#108 Post by bfrederi » 02 May 2016 08:00

Here is what I have found after about four days of monitoring site 134-4 (Medford), starting from the existing wiki page and some raw data from garys.
NOTES:
1. I have not yet reconfirmed 936.4125 as a rotating CC, but assume that it is still valid.
2. I'm leaving two neighbor sites as question marks because the site numbers I saw don't match the text labels in the existing wiki list.
3. One thing I learned from this exercise is that channels are assigned by the CC in a logical ascending order. I.e., if the last channel to be used was "3", the next one will be "4", then "5", etc. Maybe this is a well-known fact about these systems, but I always assumed active channels were assigned either randomly, or through some arcane algorithm taking into account factors such as signal strength, traffic load, proximity, etc. What this means is that it is relatively easy to track a TGID conversation manually, even if you do not having tracking set up. I watched the CC in one computer, and could easily anticipate where the Talk Group would pop up next on my second computer: if one transmission was ending on channel 7, for example, and other talk groups were already using 8 and 9, my targeted Talk Group would show up next on channel 10. Obviously this isn't going to be practical on a busy week-day where channels are being used up almost constantly by multiple TGIDs, but for a weekend session where only a handful of TGIDs are sharing the system, it's pretty easy to follow a conversation even without having set up configuration files for automatic tracking. (Again, maybe this is common knowledge to anybody who has spent time monitoring these systems, but it was a revelation to me.)
4. That said, my TGID observations are not yet ready for prime time. I have 22 that popped up quite a bit over the weekend, but no 100% identifications. At best, a few rate a speculative comment like "Airport shuttle bus?", "Towing company", "Taxi?". I'll append them if anybody thinks that the raw data of TGID use is worthwhile.

73,

Bruce
++++++++++++++++++++++++++

System ID: Network 134/Site 4 - Medford MA
Neighbor sites: 5 (Andover), 22 (Boston), 23 (South Boston), 31 (??), 32 (??) (See Note 2)


[TABLE="class: grid, width: 600, align: left"]
[TR]
[TD]Frequency [/TD]
[TD]Usage [/TD]
[TD]LCN [/TD]
[TD]OTA CH [/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]936.4125 [/TD]
[TD]Voice (and CC? See Note 1)[/TD]
[TD]1[/TD]
[TD]1,2[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]937.7250 [/TD]
[TD]Voice and CC[/TD]
[TD]2[/TD]
[TD]3,4[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]936.4000 [/TD]
[TD]Voice and CC[/TD]
[TD]3[/TD]
[TD]5,6[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]936.3875 [/TD]
[TD]Voice and CC[/TD]
[TD]4[/TD]
[TD]7,8[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]937.0000[/TD]
[TD]Voice [/TD]
[TD]5[/TD]
[TD]9,10[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]939.9125 [/TD]
[TD]Voice [/TD]
[TD]6[/TD]
[TD]11,12[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]939.2875 [/TD]
[TD]Voice [/TD]
[TD]7[/TD]
[TD]13,14[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]939.3000 [/TD]
[TD]Voice [/TD]
[TD]8[/TD]
[TD]15,16[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
Bruce
Burlington, MA

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garys
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#109 Post by garys » 02 May 2016 08:58

Good stuff, Bruce. Thanks for the effort. I think putting in partial TG IDs is good. Maybe someone else will listen to that TG and know who the user is.

The channel rotation stuff is very interesting. That might be helpful in trying to figure out OTA channels on other sites.

Finally, if the neighbor list info in the Wiki, doesn't match what you're seeing, that probably means that the Wiki needs updating.

I'll get this into the ICE MotoTrbo page this morning.

Oh, from looking at the information on the ICE website, the Boston sites are downtown on Whittier Place and off the Jamaica Way in Jamaica Plain. Those sites still need to be confirmed, so Boston and South Boston will work for now.
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#110 Post by wb1hbu » 02 May 2016 10:32

Hello,

I am reasonably sure that Site 23 is South Boston as the frequencies used are licensed for the location and I could hear the control channel strong with no antenna when I was in the area.

73 Eric

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garys
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#111 Post by garys » 02 May 2016 11:52

If you look at post #104 and follow the link posted by Bill, you'll see that they list Boston I at Whittier Place in downtown Boston and Boston II at Jamaicaway Towers on Perkins Street in Boston. There is nothing else in Boston listed. Maybe that list is incomplete and they have other sites that they don't show. It bears more investigation, i guess.
wb1hbu wrote:Hello,

I am reasonably sure that Site 23 is South Boston as the frequencies used are licensed for the location and I could hear the control channel strong with no antenna when I was in the area.

73 Eric
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bfrederi
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#112 Post by bfrederi » 06 May 2016 21:27

I took some quick field trips to three ICE tower sites this week, to confirm activity (or lack thereof) and see if I could find anything interesting.

This was prompted when I searched through 935.0000 - 940.0000 at my work location in Concord at lunchtime and was surprised to pick up activity even in the RF hell that is my office. Three frequencies came through relatively consistently: 935.8125, 935.8625, and 935.8375. A check of the Scan NE wiki showed that these were all the known frequencies for site 134-26. This is identified on our wiki as "Westford", but the ICE Tower location page (http://www.induscom.com/tower-site-locations) indicates that this site is actually located at 90 Central St., Boxborough, MA.

A continuing search also brought up a couple of frequencies listed in our wiki as belonging to site 134-6, Sudbury (a tower site which doesn't even show up on the ICE list). I was also intrigued by a tower listed on the ICE page at 40 Hartwell Ave. in Lexington, a very accessible location easily visited during my commute home.

So during lunch on Tuesday, I parked myself under the Boxborough tower at 90 Central St.; on Wednesday evening I parked under the Lexington tower at 40 Hartwell Ave.; and yesterday (Friday) at lunchtime, I parked a few hundred yards below the Sudbury tower on Brimstone Lane. In each case, I was running a BCD-396XT with no antenna connected, just to see what Trbo signals would break squelch. I made no attempt to actually decode the channels. I was only able to spend a few minutes at each location, so the results are not comprehensive. But I can make the following general observations:

1. At these short wavelengths, it's amazing what will get picked up with just an empty SMA or BNC antenna socket.

2. Lexington apparently is not running ANY 935-950 channels. I was hoping to put a location against one of the un-id'd sites, but apparently Lexington is not in the game.

3. MOST of the activity I saw at Boxborough (not Westford) and Sudbury was what I would have expected: the strong signals were previously-id'd frequencies for those sites, EXCEPT:

4. At both sites, I got a strong hit on 935.25, previously id'd as site 134-34, unknown location. Weird.

5. At both sites, I got a strong hit on 938.5125, previously id'd as site 134-6, Sudbury. In fact, the signal appeared to be stronger in Boxborough than in Sudbury. Again: weird.

6. At Sudbury, I got weak hits from most of the Boxborough frequencies, and at Boxborough, I got (mostly) weak hits from most of the Sudbury frequencies. And at Sudbury, I got weak hits from most of the Paxton (134-13) frequencies.

7. At Sudbury, I also got weak hits from at least one frequency from site 134-32 (unknown location) and 134-29 (unknown location).

8. Oh, and at Sudbury, I heard a CW ID on 935.5125. I don't recall ever hearing a CW ID on an ICE trunked frequency before. But maybe I've just missed it or didn't pay any attention.


Here's the raw data. There are enough oddities here that I want to pay some return visits and verify my results.


Active frequencies found at two ICE tower sites:

[HTML]
<PRE>
Frequency System(1) Boxborough(2) Sudbury(3)
==============================================================
935.1000 134-32 UNK weak
935.2500 134-34 UNK STRONG STRONG
935.5125 134-6 SUD weak STRONG;CWID??
935.5375 134-6 SUD weak STRONG
935.7500 134-6 SUD weak STRONG
935.8125 134-26 BOX weak
935.8375 134-26 BOX STRONG weak - intermediate
935.8625 134-26 BOX weak

936.2000 134-6 SUD weak STRONG
936.4875 134-13 PAX weak
936.5000 134-29 UNK weak
936.5750 134-13 PAX weak
936.5875 134-13 PAX weak
936.6000 134-13 PAX weak

937.3875 134-13 PAX weak
937.4000 134-13 PAX weak

938.5125 134-6 SUD STRONG intermediate -STRONG
</PRE>
[/HTML]
NOTES:
(1) As Identified at http://scan-ne.net/wiki/index.php?title ... bo_Systems
(2) At tower base at 90 Central St., Boxborough, MA (not Westford)
(3) At Conservation Parking area on Brimstone Lane, a couple of hundred yards below the tower sites.
Bruce
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#113 Post by garys » 06 May 2016 22:04

I'm up in the Sudbury area fairly frequently and will be there next week. If I get time, I'll listen to Sudbury again to reconfirm my prior observations.
There seems to be a fair amount of overlap between sites. On more than one occasion I've disconnected the mag mount antenna and used a portable antenna plugged into my set up to filter out signals I didn't want to hear.
I've discovered a few instances where frequencies are used on more than one site. There seems to be enough distance separation to make that possible in some cases.
I'm also up in the Concord/Bedford/Burlington area and will try to listen for activity on Boxboro. I don't get out to Worcester all that much, but next time I do, I'll try to listen to Paxton. On my last trip out there I only had time to listen to Commtronics Paxton system.
ICE has both conventional and trunked systems. The analog 900 sites are being phased out, but there are some that are still quite active. I suspect that the Johnston, RI analog site is still carrying a fair amount of traffic. Something to investigate next time I'm down south.
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#114 Post by trp » 08 May 2016 18:34

garys wrote:...The analog 900 sites are being phased out, but there are some that are still quite active. I suspect that the Johnston, RI analog site is still carrying a fair amount of traffic. Something to investigate next time I'm down south.
I believe that the ICE site in Johnston, RI (System ID 5B1D) is no longer carrying analog traffic. Since your posting two days ago, I have been scanning the Johnston site and have heard NO analog traffic whatsoever. I am receiving the site with a 5-bar signal strength on my 996XT and I used to hear A LOT of analog traffic on this system in the past (ambulance companies, oil companies, towing companies, security companies, etc.).

I have also been scanning the ICE site in Fall River, MA (System ID 9014) for the last two days and again there has been NO analog traffic at all. I am also receiving that site with a 5-bar signal strength on my 996XT. I believe the analog has been phased out there also.
trp

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#115 Post by garys » 08 May 2016 19:17

That's good to know. I see that New England Ambulance is out of business. I wonder which companies picked up the slack. Alert is on the MotoTrbo system, as is Coastline. MedTech Ambulance was on the Johnston analog tower. Last time I was down that way and listened to the Johnston MotoTrbo site, I didn't hear anything that sounded like ambulance traffic that I hadn't already logged. Maybe I just didn't sit and listen long enough. Next time, I'll try to sit longer and see what I hear.

It looks like it's safe to remove Universal and Med Tech from the RI Private Ambulance Wiki page.
trp wrote:I believe that the ICE site in Johnston, RI (System ID 5B1D) is no longer carrying analog traffic. Since your posting two days ago, I have been scanning the Johnston site and have heard NO analog traffic whatsoever. I am receiving the site with a 5-bar signal strength on my 996XT and I used to hear A LOT of analog traffic on this system in the past (ambulance companies, oil companies, towing companies, security companies, etc.).

I have also been scanning the ICE site in Fall River, MA (System ID 9014) for the last two days and again there has been NO analog traffic at all. I am also receiving that site with a 5-bar signal strength on my 996XT. I believe the analog has been phased out there also.
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#116 Post by disp617 » 01 Jun 2016 03:31

So I've upgraded my 536 with the dmr firmware and key. I was concerned about programming the ice system by hand. It actually wasn't that bad. About 5 hours for sites, talk groups and some radio ids, all with alpha tags. Works as advertised.

Now to work on id'ing users.

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#117 Post by garys » 06 Jun 2016 16:41

I've built Systems for both ICE and Comtronics in the updated ARC536. I just have to wait for the production version of the upgrade.

Also, I got to do some mobile monitoring of both systems today using my laptop and portable monitoring set up. Lots of updates to both in the Wiki, as you all probably noted. I drove up into the Blue Hills Reservation and parked at the outlook. Great line of sight to ICE Boston, South Boston, Andover, and Medford as well as Comtronics Boston and Needham sites. I was able to fill in some of the blanks for both systems.

When I have a chance, I'll have to head over towards the Plymouth area and see if I can figure out some of the stuff over there.
disp617 wrote:So I've upgraded my 536 with the dmr firmware and key. I was concerned about programming the ice system by hand. It actually wasn't that bad. About 5 hours for sites, talk groups and some radio ids, all with alpha tags. Works as advertised.

Now to work on id'ing users.
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#118 Post by N1ZZN » 13 Jun 2016 19:02

I'm curious how it was determined that the site we have as "Duxbury" Site 15 was in Duxbury. I found that I'm hearing the control channel for it without an antenna when I pass by the Marshfield tower (the one behind their headquarters near exit 12 on route 3)
Jeff Lehmann - N1ZZN WQDJ863
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#119 Post by N1ZZN » 13 Jun 2016 19:51

Also, Steve Johnson just confirmed that site 50 is on the Kingston tower, same location as site 1, but has not heard any activity on it.
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Hanson, MA

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#120 Post by garys » 13 Jun 2016 21:38

It seems just to sit there with the same control channel. Maybe it's a test system.
N1ZZN wrote:Also, Steve Johnson just confirmed that site 50 is on the Kingston tower, same location as site 1, but has not heard any activity on it.
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#121 Post by ecps92 » 14 Jun 2016 05:53

50 is from the HQ (Marshfield/Kingston) office, likely used to Build-out systems/zones before full deployment
garys wrote:It seems just to sit there with the same control channel. Maybe it's a test system.
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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#122 Post by ecps92 » 14 Jun 2016 05:56

Info that was shared in 2013,
http://scan-ne.net/wiki/index.php?title ... ldid=30454
now could they have moved it in 3 years? Could be...
N1ZZN wrote:I'm curious how it was determined that the site we have as "Duxbury" Site 15 was in Duxbury. I found that I'm hearing the control channel for it without an antenna when I pass by the Marshfield tower (the one behind their headquarters near exit 12 on route 3)
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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#123 Post by N1ZZN » 14 Jun 2016 08:26

ecps92 wrote:50 is from the HQ (Marshfield/Kingston) office, likely used to Build-out systems/zones before full deployment
The HQ is in Marshfield, not Kingston. He found it to be on the Kingston tower.
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#124 Post by garys » 14 Jun 2016 08:34

Which doesn't answer the question of how the information was developed or where it came from. Some of the sites are pretty well known due to the towers dominating the landscape. Others are probably harder to find. Kingston makes more sense than Duxbury as it's on Route 3. Most of the ICE towers (Quincy, W. Bridgewater, Foxboro for example) seem to be along highways.

I'm not sure it matters if we know the exact location of the towers as long as we know the general area.
ecps92 wrote:Info that was shared in 2013,
http://scan-ne.net/wiki/index.php?title ... ldid=30454
now could they have moved it in 3 years? Could be...
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#125 Post by N1ZZN » 20 Jun 2016 12:07

I'm currently right under the ICE site in Plymouth (pine hills) and there's a site here. CC is 935.950 Color Code 0. Another freq is 935.175. Not sure how to figure out LCNs, etc., but it's another one to look out for.
Jeff Lehmann - N1ZZN WQDJ863
Hanson, MA

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