Friday, June 15, 2012


Local News

Going Digital 

Update on scanner radios



ast week, the Voice reported that local emergency services will be moving to a digitally trunked radio system and anyone trying to listen in on scanner radios would be cut out of the loop.


Since then, we've been in contact with Bill Tracey, P.Eng. from BCARCC and the following is what he has to say about the switch.

"Well first of all, the emergency services are not all going on digital frequencies. Police radio communications have gone digital, and some are encrypted as well, but ambulance and fire are still analogue (and will remain so for the foreseeable future). The common element is that many lower-mainland agencies are on the E-Comm trunked radio system."

"A trunked system is difficult to monitor without specialized equipment. However, it is also a much more efficient system, both in terms of utilization of scarce frequency resources and in terms of the potential for inter-agency communication. Those were the two prime drivers for E-Comm. The inability to monitor (scan) emergency communications was only incidental fall-out, and a small price to pay for the other gains."

"Trunked communications still can be monitored, but the equipment required is beyond the budget of most who want to do that. If you're really concerned, and your concerns are valid, you possibly could make an arrangement with the local emergency agencies to be informed of major incidents that might be newsworthy. If they don't think your concerns are valid, you'll have to find another way. Police will be most difficult to deal with. Fire probably the easiest."

According to our source, paramedics are already operating on digitally trunked radio frequencies, however contrary to that information, there are still come transmissions occurring on that frequency.

 This information is regarding the Abbotsford area and west of that. The information we have is that Chilliwack emergency radio systems, are independent of E-Comm and have a different operating system.

For the time being, people can still listen in on police chatter, but it's unclear for how long.


Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice