26 July 2005

WCDPS LIVE! - Scanner Audio Feed Update

Well, it's been two weeks now since we moved the live scanner feed offsite and up onto the IBN TeamSpeak server, and so, time to post an update.

At first, we here at the Labs weren't really sure whether the feed's popularity was going to spike or plummet by making the move. We knew for a fact (from your numerous emails.... thanks!) that many listeners were not always able to tune in to the action of the original feed which was being streamed live from here in the Labs, due to the limited number of connection ports (only 15 max) being almost constantly full. As we mention on our Scanner Page, as much as we would have liked to do it, the cost of beefing up the hardware & Internet connectivity here at the NKNOC was determined to be beyond our current budget constraints. Thus, the decision was made to have the feed hosted offsite on the IBN server. A quick thank you here to Julian 'Officer' Kern (IBN02) and all of the IBN folks who helped make the transition possible, seamless and pain free! The IBN support was fantastic. The NKNOC Labs looks forward to a continued working relationship with IBN in bringing you our LIVE! Streaming Feed of the WCDPS 800Mhz TRS radio traffic.

Now, a little inside info regarding the feed, as to how it's set up & works, and some stats on it so far:

Technical (audio) -
The WCDPS LIVE! audio begins it's journey at the external speaker jack of one of our Radio Shack Pro-2096 digi-scanners here inside the Labs. The audio signal is split there, with half going to feed the amplified speaker set that we here in the NOC actually listen to, and the other half cabled into the Line-In jack on the audio card of the local server here that we use to uplink the feed to IBN via the TeamSpeak software. The mono-channeled feed currently runs at an audio bit rate of 16.3Kbps, which provides sufficient overhead for an output in the human voice audio range. Once we balanced out all of the volume & tone levels, which was a bit tricky with the digital TRS audio, the final product (in our humble opinion...) sounds pretty good. Feel free to send us your comments/opinions on it as well!

Technical (scanner setup) -
As mentioned above, the feed is produced here in the Labs by a Radio Shack Pro-2096 digital (APCO-25 @ 9600baud capable) scanning receiver, using only the stock metal telescoping antenna that came with the unit. Our location provides a good strong signal from the local WCDPS tower site (TO102) serving this area, and so reception is not problematic in any way. Bank 1 in the scanner is doing the work for the feed and is programmed with the three control channel frequencies of the new system, 859.9875Mhz (Primary) / 858.9875Mhz (Alternate 1) / 858.4375Mhz (Alternate 2), as well as the three PD, FD, & EMS non-trunked/repeated talk-around frequencies that you'll normally hear referred to as 'Channel 16' on the air. The other 9 banks of the 2096 are normally locked out, but are stuffed with about every other area (Western PA) public service frequency that we could think of, and can be pressed into service onto the feed should something big break.

Stats & TeamSpeak 2 Info -
In the two weeks that the feed has resided on the IBN server, its growth in popularity above and beyond what we experienced with the original feed has been a pleasant surprise. Not only have most of our original faithful listeners followed the WCDPS action to the feed's new home, but it seems that many other visitors using the IBN server have enjoyed listening as well. The 24x7x365 WCDPS LIVE! feed averages between 12-25 simultaneous listeners on most days, and has maxed out (to our knowledge so far...) at 26 users at one time. The total number of connections able to join the feed is now technically unlimited, with a current ceiling set at 100 simultaneous users. A couple of things now about the TeamSpeak client software that is needed, in order to listen. As with anything, there are some pros and cons. That said however, we feel that the many pros far outweigh the few cons. Cons we are presently aware of include a couple of folks having had trouble downloading and/or installing the TeamSpeak client software, and the fact that at this time no TeamSpeak 2 software is compatible with the MACintosh operating systems. This is really not so far out of the ordinary though and is similar to any software usage across a large cross-section. The TeamSpeak 2 client software program used for the feed now value-adds many new features not possible before when using the Windows Media Player as the audio interface. As mentioned, the number of listeners is unlimited. Also, there are multiple live scanner feeds from all over that are available on the IBN TeamSpeak server for your listening pleasure. The information window for each channel (top right pane) allows the channel administrator to present as much detailed info about the feed as they wish, giving listeners some insight and background on what they are hearing. And not least of all, the TeamSpeak 2 client includes a chat feature that can be used by the channel administrator, and all listeners, to text message other listeners on any live feed on the server. The channel admin can send out a text message broadcast of what is happening on the feed to let others know when there is a hot incident in progress. Users can also discuss the action with each other just as if they were all in the same room sitting around one scanner. We feel that this interactivity is a big part of creating an online hobbiest community centered around the subject of the new WCDPS 800Mhz trunked radio system, so don't be afraid to participate by typing in a couple of cents worth now & then.

As most of you know, and as we have pointed out numerous times, the digi-scanners required to receive this new TRS radio traffic for Westmoreland County are NOT cheap, averaging just under $500.00. The NKNOC Labs is pleased to be able to continue to provide a FREE means of tuning in to all of the action, from the comfort and convenience of your PC. As always, we thoroughly enjoy hearing from you listeners (pros or cons!), and we answer every email we receive. So, keep listening, keep enjoying the feed, and keep in touch! Drop us a line any time to let us know how we're doing, and what you think of the new feed. And don't forget to tell your friends to join us too!

Till next post,
Scan on...

09 July 2005

WCDPS 800Mhz Radio Newsletter Update

VOLUME 6, NUMBER 3, 08 JULY 2005


The countywide 800 MHz system continues
to expand at a very steady rate and continues
to function as expected.

Construction of the last two of
the 25 towers that comprise the system
infrastructure began at the end of June
and currently the towers are up and the
buildings are in place at both Scottdale
and North Huntingdon. Installation of
the T-1 and utilities will be accomplished
next week and then theinstallation and
testing of the radio equipment will take place.

We expect to complete these final sites by
the end of the month.

As soon as the tower sites are
fully installed, the Department of Public
Safety and Motorola will conduct the
final coverage/acceptance testing of the
system in the remaining areas of the

The fielding plan calls for the
fire departments in Zone 3 to be placed
on the air, followed by Greensburg and
Murrysville police departments. They
will be followed by the fire departments
in North Huntingdon Township and
District 6 police departments.
Staley Communications, the
radio maintenance provider for
Westmoreland County Department of
Public Safety, continues to install
mobile radios at a steady pace. Over
70% of the 900+ mobile radios have
been installed to date.

When the system is finally
completed later this year, over 3000
subscribers will be using the
countywide 800 MHz system on a daily


07 July 2005


The NKNOC Labs was stunned to hear the news that Arnold, PA EMS Station 101 has closed its doors for good. We thank all of the men & women who gave of their time and compassion to help others in need for all of those years. Good luck & God Speed to all. See related news story below.

Arnold Ambulance Service closes suddenly

Jason Walker
Wednesday, July 6, 2005

New Kensington Fire Chief Ed Saliba said New Kensington Ambulance Service will have no problem taking over calls for Arnold Ambulance Service, which closed its doors without advance notice Tuesday night.

Station 101 -- Arnold Ambulance Service -- signed off about 9 p.m. Tuesday, and New Kensington Ambulance took over all calls for the city.

It was unclear what prompted the closing. Several employees at the ambulance company's building in Arnold Tuesday night didn't want to comment. They referred questions to the ambulance company's attorney, Philip McCalister, who didn't return phone messages left at his office and his home.

The closure puts about 20 people out of work.

The closure came as a surprise to many as even Saliba said he never received any official notice that Arnold Ambulance was shutting down operations.

"I had heard they were having some problems, but I didn't kno what they were," Saliba said. "I'm surprised we were never notified officially about it."

Saliba said Westmoreland 911 dispatchers automatically know New Kensington's ambulance company is Arnold's backup.

He assured Arnold residents that their service won't suffer.

"We'll take care of the residents of Arnold as well as Arnold took care of them, if not better," Saliba said.

"We have enough resources to take care of Arnold."

Arnold Mayor John Campbell, who's also on the Arnold ambulance company's board of directors, couldn't be reached for comment late Tuesday. Arnold Councilman John Tedorski, another Arnold Ambulance director, also referred questions to McCalister.

"It would be in bad taste for me to say anything right now," Tedorski said.

It's no secret Arnold Ambulance was trying to cut costs by selling its building at the bottom of Drey Street. However, officials never indicated that they were going to close.

Officials said in April they wanted to build a new building on property the company owns at Constitution Boulevard and Moore Street.

Officials had said calls dropped dramatically when Citizens General Hospital in New Kensington closed several years ago.

City officials have expressed an interest in purchasing the seven-year-old building. Tedorski confirmed Tuesday that the city's interest in the building has not waned.

"We're negotiating with that," Tedorski said.

He said plans for the building are still open.

The state intended the 9,800-square-foot building to be a regional center for emissions testing, but when the emissions testing plan fell apart, the state sold the building to the ambulance company.

06 July 2005

WCDPS 800Mhz TRS Back Online

The WCDPS 800Mhz TRS signal began transmitting once again here at approximately 0335hrs, 06 July. Still not clear on exactly what happened, but we will post any details we learn about the outage here, so Stay Tuned!

The NKNOC Labs live scanner audio feed of this system has resumed normal broadcasting. Please see our Scanner Page for details on how to tune in.


05 July 2005

NOTICE - WCDPS Live Feed Interrupted !

The live streaming scanner audio feed of the WCDPS 800Mhz TRS is temporarily unavailable. At approximately 1645hrs this date a SEVERE thunderstorm passed thought the area, and reports have it that lightning strike damage has affected the system. We are not receiving any Control Channel data here at this location, therefore we are streaming Pittsburgh scanner frequencies over the feed temporarily until the 800Mhz traffic comes back online. We will cut over to the WCDPS stream once again as soon as it becomes available.

Thanks for your patience, and check the feed often for its return.


WCDPS Live Scanner Feed Has Moved!!

We interupt this program to bring you the following important announcement:

Would just like to post a quick notice concerning our live Westmoreland County scanner audio stream for those interested:

First, No...(to answer the question on the minds of many) the live scanner feed isn't gone...

Be advised that due to the overwhelming demand and its limited access, the live streaming scanner audio of the WCDPS 800Mhz Digital TRS that has been running directly from our web site has been moved to an offsite TeamSpeak server hosted by IBN. This new format now allows an UNLIMITED number of listeners so all of you WCDPS scanner enthusiasts can tune in! The new method is quite easy to set up and will have your virtual cyber-scanner monitoring the 800Mhz radio traffic in mere minutes!

Please visit our web site and check out the Scanner Page for complete details and instructions on where and how to connect.

Thanks to all of the faithful listeners that have stuck with the feed so far, you are largely responsible for keeping the feed alive and have given the Labs reason to take it to the next level.

Enjoy, and drop us an email to comment on the new feed!

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.....

Scan on...

01 July 2005

West. Co. 800Mhz Radio System Newsflash


Newly released, hot off the presses Motorola Brochure highlighting the new Westmoreland County 800Mhz TRS communication system. Nicely done full color e-pamphlet with local photos. Be sure to visit the NKNOC Labs Scanner page and use the link there to have a look!

(Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view)

or Quick Link from here: See Brochure

Scan on....