Scanners are often used by the media, off-duty public safety personnel and enthusiasts to monitor activity in their local area.
Our office receives many inquiries and requests for assistance with setting up these scanners.
Since we don’t have the resources to respond to these requests individually, we’ve decided to centralize the information here.
Can the BRICS system be monitored by scanners?
Yes. BRICS is a P25 digital, trunked 800MHz radio system. There are only a few scanners capable of monitoring P25 digital, trunked 800MHz radio systems and they are fairly expensive. An example is the Radio Shack PRO-2096 or PRO-197.
The BRICS system interconnected with the State of Ohio in 2014, becoming Zone 4 of the statewide MARCS-IP system. The BRICS simulcast is Site 1 of Zone 4. In the eyes of a scanner, BRICS and MARCS-IP are one and the same. Most Butler County talkgroups, however, will only be heard on the BRICS simulcast.
Will I be able to hear all talkgroups on BRICS?
A properly equipped scanner can monitor unencrypted (or “clear”) talkgroups on our system. Encrypted (or “secure”) talkgroups can not be monitored by a scanner. Secure talkgroups are provided for sensitive operations where outside monitoring may compromise the safety of first responders.
We started out with all clear talkgroups and then, on a case by case basis, evaluated each talkgroup to determine if the nature of its use necessitated encryption. All main dispatch talkgroups for law enforcement and fire / EMS are clear, so you will be able to hear the majority of public safety responses.
Where can I find the frequencies and talkgroups to program?
Our website is geared towards supporting the users of our radio system, and doesn’t include the specific information you will need to program a scanner.
Other websites, maintained by scanner enthusiasts, list the frequency and talkgroup information they have collected to monitor local systems. One example is the page for the MARCS-IP system on RadioReference.com. The Butler County simulcast site’s channels are listed (zone 4, site 1) along with a section on Butler County talkgroups.
Who can help me program my scanner?
Unfortunately, our expertise is with radios and radio systems. We’re not very scanner savvy.
One local group, the MONIX Radio Club, meets regularly and has a Yahoo discussion group where you will find information on scanner programming. Search their forum; your question may already be answered. If it isn’t, someone will likely be willing to help you.
I hear distortion. Why is that?
BRICS is a simulcast radio system, meaning all fourteen towers transmit simultaneously. Current scanners don’t do a very good job of decoding a simulcast signal when you’re in range of multiple towers. See this explanation on RadioReference for more information. Some people have reported that a directional antenna pointed towards a particular tower helps or, in some cases, using a less sensitive antenna. The MONIX discussion group may provide more tips and information.
The links provided on this page are external, and the information on these linked pages is not provided or maintained by BRICS staff.