NKNOC Labs - Pro96Com Page

- General information about the Pro96Com Software Program -

Used to decode the 9600 baud digital data stream from the newest trunked radio systems in use today

Including Westmoreland County's New 800Mhz Digital TRS

First, our official disclaimer:  The NKNOC Labs does NOT Produce, Distribute or Support the Pro96Com software...

but DOES highly recommend it..!

The Pro96Com software application is a FREE program, authored by Mike Vander Veer, and is based on a digital radio data stream decoding program originally developed by Rick Parish.  Pro96Com was made possible in part by GRE when they openly published the procedure for extracting this digital information from the Pro-96/Pro-2096 scanner line.

 

Pro96Com is primarily designed to decode the digital 9600 baud APCO-P25 control channel information using the Pro-96 & Pro-2096 scanners from Radio Shack (GRE manufactured), and is also capable of controlling other brands of scanners as well.  A special data interface cable is required to connect the scanner's PC/IF jack to the PC's COM PORT (the serial port, or a USB port).  The cables are available from Radio Shack or from other scanner dealers on the 'Net.

 

 

from       to:

 

             or     

Once the scanner has been programmed to received the active control channel frequency for the system being monitored, and it has been properly connected to the PC running Pro96Com, the digital content of the streaming data from that control channel is then decoded, separated by type, and presented on various tabs on the screen.  This makes it quite easy to simultaneously "see" what you're currently hearing on your scanner.  **NOTE: Due to the design of the Radio Shack scanners, it is NOT possible to use Pro96Com to see the data AND also listen to the scanner's audio at the same time.  Putting the scanner into the PC/IF mode silences the scanner audio completely.  Thus, two scanners are required, one connected to the PC running Pro96Com (with no audio), and one to receive the audio normally.  (...of course, Westmoreland County listeners with only one scanner can hear the live audio over the 'Net on our free, live streaming broadcast on IBN, while they watch Pro96Com on their screen!)

 

Using Pro96Com makes it possible to see which towers, frequencies, talkgroups and even which radios are being used at any given moment, as you watch the transmissions appear on the screen in real time.  The program offers the user the ability to custom color-code all talkgroups for easier tracking, and the results are impressive.  It is as close to sitting in front of a 911 Dispatcher's Console as you can get, without actually being there in the EOC.

Click on the following thumbnail screenshots below to view the full size images, and you will see how this all looks on a PC screen.

 

The first six images below are examples of the program's "Channel Grant" tab (our personal favorite..).  You can see that there are multiple columns of information for each transmission record (each row) that is displayed, making it easy to see "who is talking" at each press of a Mic button, anywhere on the system. This tab creates a running log of all radio transmissions on the system, which can be reviewed back 10,000 entries!  Includes the date/time, transmission type, frequency, talkgroup number & description, and the radio ID number & description.  The custom talkgroup and radio ID descriptions as seen in these examples must be initially entered manually by the user, by listening, watching and typing them in, or, for the WCDPS system, just download the NKNOC Labs' free Pro96Com ZIP file on the Scanner Page!  We did the work for you!

 

(By the way, these screenshots were taken on 25 February 2006, when the system was very busy during an unusual string of field & brush fires that erupted in various areas of the county, in part due to dry conditions and above average wind speeds caused by a passing weather front.)

(1)   (2)   (3)

 (4)   (5)   (6)

These next screen captures show the "System Activity" screen tab.  This tab displays the dynamic usage of each assigned frequency on the system.  The frequency, usage categories, type, priority, talkgroup numbers & descriptions, radio ID's & descriptions are all monitored here in real time.  This can be a very busy screen!  The frequency currently being used as the Control Channel is highlighted in yellow.  Notice that the WCDPS TRS is only using six frequencies on this Tower Site (T0102).

(7)   (8)   (9)

Below is a shot of the Usage Code Descriptions legend that is part of this tab:

(10)

Here are several views of the "Affiliations" screen tab.  This sections keeps track of every radio that affiliates or has unaffiliated with the Tower Site being monitored.  The pane on the left shows all radios currently affiliated, and which talkgroup they are on, while the right pane displays the history log of each affiliation (A)/unaffiliation (U).

(11)   (12)   (13)

This is what the "Site Information" screen tab looks like.  This is normally a static display, listing all of the Tower Site information.  Fairly self-explanatory.

(14)   (15)

These last two captures are of the "Patches" screen tab.  This part of the program shows which talkgroups are temporarily patched together by the Dispatcher at the EOC, so that users in different areas of the county using different talkgroups can communicate with each other.  The left side shows any patches currently active, while the right side keeps a log of all patches made on the system.

(16)   (17)

This page is meant only as an introduction to a very cool program, and is not intended as a technical reference on exactly how it works or what all it can do.  We do plan to add more info here as time permits.  If you are already a user of Pro96Com software, we would like to hear from you about your experiences with using the program.  Send us mail!  If you have questions regarding using Pro96Com, you are also welcomed to send them in here to the Labs, and we will do our best to try and answer them.  Please allow ample time for a response, as this would be on an "as time permits" basis.  Click the following link to send both your comments and/or inquiries:

 

NKNOC Labs Pro96Com Questions & Comments

 


Click here to visit the official Pro96Com Yahoo! Message Board Forum