Re: crypto comm


Paul seemed to miss the point regarding the necessity for training and practising.  Deploying first responders with any tool or piece of equipment without proper knowledge and training is dangerous and could lead to someone getting injured or worse killed. Not just radios but any tool.


I don’t totally disagree with the “press to talk-release to listen” mentality.  The radio is a communication tool that should be second nature for the user. Yes radios are far more feature packed today compared to the 1974 era radio. However the basics remain unchanged. In my area the radios were deliberately made simple and most of the “advanced” user features were disabled. The user simply selects their channel/talkgroup, adjust the volume and “press to talk-release to listen”. The magic goes on behind the scene, transparent to the user.


  • Every time the user transmits, the GPS coordinates of the portable or mobile radio is sent to dispatch.
  • The users signals are received at 4 different receive sites and the beast quality signal is sent to dispatch and repeated via the repeaters.
  • The radio ID or an alias shows up on the dispatch screen so that source of a transmission can be identified, even if the user can not talk.
  • The trunked system prevents other users from transmitting over top of the first person talking.
  • The users can activate an “emergency” button if required. This will activate the microphone on the radio, send the gps location, and notify the dispatcher that the user requires priority assistance.
  • The dispatcher can override a long winded talker to voice a message that may be time sensitive.
  • The dispatcher can broadcast messages on multiple channels simultaneously.
  • Channels can be patched together to bring users from different areas or agencies all together on one channel.
  • Portable radio Battery time is vastly improved on the new digital platform.
  • Portable radios are smaller, lighter and more reliable than their previous devices.
  • All communications are encrypted,


Yes the new systems  are complex. But when designed with multiple redundancies, no single point of failures, the end result is a more reliable system than the old 1974 era platform. 


The end user still has pretty much the same experience. “press to talk-release to listen”


The training I referred to was knowing what channel/talkgroup  to use during an interagency event or how/when to activate their “emergency” button. Proper communication protocol, use of phonetics, etc. Also learning about the radio system they are using and any potential weakness or features can only help the end user.


Whether the radios are trunked, or conventional, analog or digital,  encrypted or clear, should all be immaterial to the end user. All they care is that it must be reliable. All communication systems marketed for public safety are designed to be more reliable, safer and feature rich than those even 10 years ago. The actual implementation of these systems is where the problem start.  Usually because of cost cutting.


On the other hand, acceptance of defective product or substandard radio network performance should not be tolerated. Engineers, manufacturers and state  or local officials that permit this to occur must be held accountable.


Change is not always good, not always welcome, but it is inevitable.


Paul, I am glad you were able to retire, hopefully safely and in good health. Thank you for your public service. BTW, my comments are based on spending 20+ years working with police, fire and ems field staff and listening to what they want and need. Thousands of years of real world experiences in our community. Our needs may be different than yours, but they are sound and valid.




From: <> On Behalf Of Paul Valeriani via Groups.Io
Sent: November 12, 2019 8:16 AM
Subject: Re: [Uniden] crypto comm


As a retired Police Officer, and former administrative communications officer for the department, I can tell you it's the Radio Manufacturers, sales people, and communications engineers that are going to get Police Officers, Firefighters, and other public safety personnel injured and killed.  It's not "hogwash",

"poor training" and "improper implementation" that are the culprits.

To blame training and procedures, practice, and drills as the culprit, is just wrong.  It's obvious that richardson_ed was never a Public Safety officer, working in the field, under high stress, dangerous conditions, and circumstances, but has come up with his observations from books, corporate guidelines, and his ivory tower.  
We need to get back to basics.  When I started on the job in 1974, the only thing you had to know about radios, was push the button to talk, release the button to listen.  We didn't have to be some sort of quasi engineers, on top of being Police Officers, and social workers, in order to do our job.  Drive the car, or walk the beat, enforce the laws, and push the button to talk, release the button to listen.  That's what we need to get back to.  Not trunked, encrypted, multi channel, computer controlled gadgets, that have too many moving parts, all subject to break down or fail, and leave the cop on the street, or the firefighter inside the burning building, alone, with their ass hanging out, with no communications, because this multi million dollar fiasco they have created, failed again.  But it's not the damn engineers fault, or the manufacturers fault who is pushing this agenda, making tons of money, on the backs of the street cops and firefighters who have to deal with their messed up radio systems during life and death situations.
Go into a Police station after a cop is killed and make the comments you made in your statement on this thread, and I can guarantee you won't walk out of that station in the same condition you walked in.
Push the button to talk.....release the button to listen!


On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 02:40:55 AM EST, Joe M. <mch@...> wrote:



What is your professional solution to the following:

Agency A has encryption. Agency B does not. The system operator will not
program agency B's radios with agency A's channels. The operator's
argument is that there are common channels for interoperability, but
these channels do not carry the dispatch traffic for either agency.

How does agency B monitor agency A for interoperability? They used to be
able to use scanners, but scanners do not support decryption.

BTW, these are all LEO channels. In some cases, there are overlapping
coverage areas.

How do you solve this for interoperability? (and no, changing the system
operator's mind is not an option)

Joe M.

On 11/11/2019 9:00 PM, richardson_ed wrote:
> As a public safety communication engineer, I am sick of the erroneous
> claims that encryption causes delays and barriers to interoperability.
> Total hogwash in these days. Poor training and improper implementation
> are the culprits.
> Every officer, firefighter or paramedic needs to be thoroughly trained
> on the use of their communication equipment. Especially when it comes to
> interoperability. Not only should they be trained, they should drill and
> practise the procedures frequently.
> The system planners will designate either common channels or talkgroups.
> These can either be encrypted or clear. If the interoperability plan
> calls for accessing the encrypted talkgroup of another agency, then the
> key for that radio better be in your radio.  The radio user should not
> care whether it is encrypted or clear, they simply switch to the
> designated channel/talkgroup and communicate as trained.

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