Lindsay Blanton, CEO of Broadcastify.com and RadioReference.com announced Tuesday morning, February 22, 2022 on the websites’ Chicago Metro Area Discussion forum that the police department will be broadcasting their 13 encrypted zones officially on Broadcastify. Currently there are 13 official zones available on the old (current) radio system. Apparently the official broadcasts from the City of Chicago recently appeared before a member on the forum posted, “wow 13 official live scanner audio feeds on Broadcastify (referring to Chicago). Most of the feeds on Broadcastify in the United States are available from unofficial volunteers who use radio scanners to provide and upload of local police and/or fire communications. TV news stations frequently use audio recordings from Broadcastify to support their news reports.
Citizens and even city aldermen also monitor police and fire communications to keep aware of their surroundings in their communities. Many have argued that open police communications are important for government transparency and even public safety awareness.
The Chicago Police Department is planning a switch to a new radio system in 2022. The radio system will switch from the old UHF system that assigns each police zone to a frequency, to a new system that uses zones assigned to talk groups in a system known as 800 MHz P25 (Project 25 Phase). The system uses digital radio technology that is more efficient than older radio systems. The system finds an open frequency for each talk group, which helps prevent police units from talking over each other in a manner that neither police unit can be understood. The new system will likely eliminate a soft hissing background noise that is heard on unofficial feeds and on the new official feeds before the transition. On some feeds the dispatcher sounds digital and clearer, while the mobile units still have the hiss.
The new system also has the capability of highly secure encryption, which prevents people with radio scanners from listening to sensitive communications. The Chicago police zones will be encrypted, and Blanton wrote, “Thus the reason why they are putting 13 official feeds online. They will be broadcasting their 13 encrypted zones officially on Broadcastify.” There are many other Talk Groups, such as tactical channels that will be encrypted and not broadcast on Broadcastify, and therefore will not be available to the general public.
Blanton also wrote on the forum, “I’ve worked closely with the city on this rollout and their reasoning is openness on the part of the City and CPD. That’s all I can really say at this point. More news and official details will be provided by the City of Chicago once they transition to encryption. But it is great news for the citizens of Chicago that the department and leadership recognize the benefits of openness of the general routine dispatch operations of CPD being made available to the general public.”
Lindsay C. Blanton III is the CEO and Founder of Broadcastify and RadioReference.com LLC, the world’s largest radio communications data and live audio provider provider for radio communications enthusiasts and professionals.
In 1998, Lindsay founded RadioReference.com by recognizing the need for a dynamic, collaborative solution for collecting and disseminating radio communications data for public safety and hobbyist users. His team has since grown the community to over 680,000 members, resulting in the RadioReference platform becoming the definitive worldwide source for radio communications data.
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