Milestone for new levy-funded public-safety radio system, with one side effect

Back in 2019-2020, we reported on the construction of that public-safety radio tower in Myrtle Reservoir Park, built alongside the older one it replaced, which has since been removed. It’s part of a radio-network upgrade that dates back to a nine-year, quarter-billion-dollar levy passed by voters in 2015. Today brought a milestone for the system, known as the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network (PSERN) – Seattle Police and Fire radio communications made the analog-to-digital switch this morning. That caught some scanner listeners off guard (ourselves included, as well as at least some of the popular online services), when the usual channels suddenly went silent. We’re now in the process of upgrading our equipment – so for a few days, we REALLY appreciate texts about sightings of sizable SPD responses (206-293-6302). It’s not just SFD and SPD – other agencies around the county are using PSERN as well. PSERN’s website says the upgrade is intended to “provide improved coverage, capacity, and reliability, as well as incorporate limited conventional VHF and UHF interoperability capabilities, primarily in the mountains, for connection to other response agencies, such as search and rescue.” As we reported in 2019, the Myrtle Reservoir Park tower is one of more than 60 comprising the network; the old tower on the site was part of PSERN’s predecessor, the King County Emergency Communication System.

5 Replies to "Milestone for new levy-funded public-safety radio system, with one side effect"

  • Question Authority March 28, 2023 (9:19 pm)

    Moving on from the gizmo technology there’s also something cool about the tower itself, the ladder to the top is inside, not outside the column. 

  • kg March 29, 2023 (8:56 am)

    What brand and model scanner will you be upgrading to?We gizmo technologists are awaiting with bated breath.

    • WSB March 29, 2023 (9:18 am)

      After a frantic day of research, we discovered late last night that with a software download/upgrade, our 9-year-old Uniden Home Patrol II started picking up the most important frequency for us, Seattle Police Dispatch South (which handles both SW and South Precincts). But that was from a three-year-old software upgrade and we haven’t found anything newer yet, so we may have to buy new hardware just the same. The issue is that PSERN is a P25 Phase 2 system and our scanner may just be P25 Phase 1, so we’re still researching – TR

  • clinker March 30, 2023 (8:29 am)

    Time to ditch the old fashioned system and jump into SDR. Lots of great low cost options, but you’ll need to dedicate a windows computer to the task. Hopefully they haven’t encrypted everything.

  • March 30, 2023 (6:37 pm)

    Thank you so much for this article! We had kind of figured out what was going on but not how to solve the problem. I would love to know what kind of hardware you are upgrading to. I miss having a real table top scanner. It’s so much harder to follow things using the web-based scanners! – Silver

Sorry, comment time is over.