Effective Jan 17 2013 citizens that want to monitor the city using their scanners will be out of luck. Most of them, anyway. The city of Philadelphia is switching to a new radio system and if you want to catch the action you are going to have to spend some time reading this article and spend money.
First, it is a phase 2 digital trunked system from Motorola. That means it is 9600 baud as opposed to 3600 baud for a control channel. Your old digital scanners that you bought in 2003 are now paper weights. The Uniden 250-d , 785-d and 796-d will not support this system. You have to buy a new scanner for about $400 or more.
If you have a Radio Shack Pro-96 or 2096 you may be able to monitor , however and engineer working for over two hours was unable to get those model radios to scan anything. A Pro 197 from Radio Shack was able to run flawless when tested.
The software, WIN-96 is difficult to use and to install. If you have the time to play with it, chances are you can get it running. It might be beneficial to use a professional service. Several outlets are backed up for quite a few days by people perplexed about their scanners.
The talkgroups are all different. NFar Northeast is 1 Northeast is 3 . You can get more programming help here.
For right now, your scanner must trunk 9600 baud ther frequencies set 15 megahertz lower that where they are now. Your offset needs to be 851.00626 . In the future, you may need to upgrade to a PSR 800 from GRE, as the city will switch to 700 MHZ. That will happen in the near future.
The city put their current system in place less than 10 years ago and had problems with it. This one has more moving parts and is more advanced. There needed to more more antenna sites closer to the border. Hopefully the city and Motorola worked out the bugs.
Police districts started switching over on Jan 16. By Friday, jan 19 the city will be completely using the new system. The old radios that cost upwards of $3000.00 will be scrapped. The new radios cost about $6000 each.