This might not mean much to anyone who doesn’t tune in to a scanner on a regular basis, but Lowell Police switched over to a digital signal for police radio broadcasts today.
If you’re using an analog scanner, you probably have a headache from the loud static noise that is now all you can hear.
We’ve got a rather expensive digital scanner here in The Sun newsroom, so I’ll still be stalking the cops, but regular scanners and most internet feeds won’t be working anymore.
Officer Mark Trudel, the department’s administrative officer, has been working on this project for over two years, overseeing the installation of new transmitters, repeaters, new equipment in the 911 center, and the distribution of new digital portable radios for officers, and new digital radios in cruisers.
He said the digital system will provide a stronger signal for officers, and eliminate the scratchy “white noise” from radio transmissions.
I asked if this means an end to the days of dispatchers telling officers they’re “unreadable,” and Trudel responded with a “hopefully.”
“We already had full coverage in the city, but if there are certain conditions, or weather, things could interfere,” Trudel said. “This will definitely maintain a stronger signal.”
And for those who love their scanners, take solace that the fire department is still using analog. You’ll still have a pretty good idea when things go wrong here in Lowell.