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Old 01-13-2013, 9:15 PM
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Default Duluth-Simulcast recieve issues all of a sudden

I have been monitoring the ARMER site in Duluth for a few weeks now (Duluth-Simulcast), when I first was able to setup my Pro-197 scanner and monitor the talkgroups at that site, it worked wonderfully now all of a sudden everything is garbled. Completely un-listenable unless I drive out of Morgan park on the western end of Duluth. I have tried everything I can think of to remedy this issue. From my location I cannot pick up any other sites (besides Carlton County which works great but not interested in listening to that county) I have 3 grecom family scanners and all 3 are doing the exact same thing. My question is if anyone has any ideas for a remedy, I tried attenuating and switching/moving antennas around. It seems I get the best possible reception with a rubber duck antenna in my basement of all places. But this last week something had to of changed on the ARMER site, as reception went from perfect to completely unlistenable in my home area. On the control channel the best I can get is 44% most of the time, other times the control channel is fine but then the voice channels all seem to be acting up. There has got to be a fix for this, I cant believe Police and Fire are not having issues here using their radios in Morgan Park.

Last edited by RickJF; 01-13-2013 at 9:18 PM..
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:43 PM
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Maybe they switched that mirror lake site over to 5-043 ?? Or another of the 5 sites came online....
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Old 01-14-2013, 7:12 AM
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You could do a search from 851 to 861 MHz and see if you find any new control channels. You have a tower pretty close to you. You are in Morgan Park and the tower is at N 100th Ave W just above West Skyline Parkway. I find it interesting you get Carlton Co just fine. I get Carlton Co too along with everything else through what I would assume is the same system you monitor CC of 856.4625 MHz). I wonder what CC you are getting Carlton Co on.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:56 AM
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I did the search, I get 2 cc's one from the Duluth simulcast site, and one from the Carlton Wrenchall site, both sites have different talk groups for the most part, Duluth police "law 1" is present on the Carlton tower when a voice channel is available to transmit it but a lot of content is missed. I wish I was receiving just the site at N 100 ave west, that site must be running on the same frees as the standard Duluth simulcast site and Morgan Park must be an overlap zone, because reception is impossible. The best I could do is run coax to my basement with a rubber duck with foil wraped around 3/4 of it as low in the basement as I could get it and place 15db of inline attenuator padding as well as the built in attenuator turned on. That gets my BER to about 48 percent sometimes. This is driving me nuts. I think I'm picking up both sites still.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:51 PM
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A BEAM USUALLY HELPS....
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Old 01-14-2013, 2:23 PM
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Default Duluth-Simulcast Recieve Issues All Of A Sudden

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Originally Posted by RickJF View Post
The best I could do is run coax to my basement with a rubber duck with foil wraped around 3/4 of it as low in the basement as I could get it and place 15db of inline attenuator padding as well as the built in attenuator turned on. .
Just out of curiosity, have you considered an in-line 0-20 dB variable attenuator?

Last edited by JASII; 01-14-2013 at 2:24 PM.. Reason: Details
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Old 01-14-2013, 3:18 PM
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Not yet, but I have every value of pad from 1 to 20 so I was playing around. Next step is to dig a hole and toss in my rubber duck, lol problem is whatever I try seems to work for an hour or two then right back at square 1 again. I can't even walk around the neighborhood with my handheld. I have been driving all over the city today and reception is flawless untill I get to Morgan park, then it's garbled
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Old 01-14-2013, 4:50 PM
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BEAM....
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:15 PM
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RickJF,

PM me if you get a chance. I am also in Duluth.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:33 AM
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Thanks n0elb, pm sent
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Old 01-22-2013, 5:11 PM
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Well, after a couple of weeks of listening to completely garbled audio on all my scanners, all of a sudden the problem seems to be fixed as of today. This morning it was terrible, now it's perfect. I found out I can actually see the ARMER tower from my house and I believe my issue was multipath distortion from 2 different tower sites. Now either someone fixed something or one of the interfering towers is down. I'll stay tuned and find out. I tried everything on my end to resolve this issue including spending 2 bills on antennas (discone and a yagi) only to get the same results. Now even my rubber ducks work like a champ! I'm a happy camper I just hopes it lasts! :-)
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:41 AM
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Spoke too soon, I had exactly 1 week of perfect reception and yesterday it all fell apart, back to multipath hell. They must be tweaking the Duluth simulcast system. From my backyard I can see the top of the armor repeater tower, so I picked up a yagi 800 mhz antenna and going to do a temp mount near ground level for the remainder of winter untill I can get up on the roof, anyway do I mount this antenna with the elements pointing vertically or horizontally? Or am I wasting my time with this yagi antenna with the tower so close to me? All I want to do is try to null the signal of the offending tower to reduce the multipath. Listening to ARMER is next to impossible in Morgan Park.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:21 AM
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Vertical with the smaller elements pointing at the closest tower...
Being that close it seems odd that you would be having any trouble unless the twr near you is not on the air ?? Is that possible ??
Once you have it hooked up you can try several directions to get the best signal...
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:43 PM
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Well, I'm not sure if its on or not, I am assuming it is. But something is up because I am getting a lot of signal over 40 dB of in line attenuation and still get a full 5 bars on each voice channel, and my antenna is currently a 2 inch stripped piece of coax on the back of the pro 197. I have tried all sorts of antenna options and so far this setup is the best I can do. I still miss about 60% of radio traffic though. I just want to know why it worked great for a week then now it's back to this again. While it was good last week I was able to actually use my handheld outside and used the RS 800 mhz rubber ducky without any attenuators. Came home yesterday and I knew something was up when reception started getting choppy on my handheld around 80th ave west, by the time I got home I was no longer hearing any audio, just the scanner stopping on various talkgroups. The "DG" on the display constantly flickers from "DG" to "VC" All 5 of the voice channels are unlistenable.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:58 PM
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Do u know haw far the next closest site is ?? If you have one within a few blocks of you it should totally drown out the rest of them...pretty screwey situation....
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Old 01-29-2013, 1:24 PM
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Next closest is the antenna farm according to the RR database, unless there is something missing from that list.
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Old 01-30-2013, 9:30 AM
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I took a drive up to the ARMER west side simulcast tower and cannot get much audible content from there either. I'm starting to think this issue is not multipath but possibly a modulation scheme it is using compared to the main tower at the antenna farm from which I recieve perfect audio from. All my issues begin when I'm in the footprint of the west tower. Could it be a modulation issue with the tower or my scanner isn't compatable with what's coming off that tower? I have the latest firmware for all my scanners. Could I purchase a p25 radio and program it to recieve better than a scanner? I pretty desparate to get things working.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:30 PM
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I decided to bring my scanner and drive to the woodland repeater tower and I had a little trouble recieving like the west tower, but not bad at all. Nothing like the mess in the west. I noticed two St. Louis county SUV's parked outside along with a vehicle marked with a "structual services" logo. county guys working in the building, and other guys on working on the tower. Hope they fix something, I'm going nuts not being able to listen to my scanner at home :-)
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Old 01-30-2013, 9:49 PM
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I have been looking at this thread for the last couple of days.

Now I know my area does not have the traffic that Duluth does... I looked at the siting on the ARMER map for the Duluth area, those sites appear closer together than mine are, yet there seems to be problems.

I am thinking it must be topography that is restricting your reception. I live in flat-to-rolling hills in the south-central part of the state. On average I can listen to 8 different tower sites. I can hear 4 of them (Fairmont, Blue Earth, Mapleton, Walters) rather easy, 100% copy. None of them are "simulcast" sites. Could that be the issue?

I wish I could afford the time and money to drive up there and see what I could receive on my 996XT.
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Old 01-31-2013, 9:37 AM
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Me too, my units are all the GRE family radios. I have thrown down some serious cash for scanner reception with no luck, even the yagi kind of works but can only clearly get two of the five voice channels at a time no matter how I turn it. But still working on it. After more review I'm back to believing it is multipath. I probably going to buy the best Uniden handheld I can find today to see if its any better. I might also pick up a mobile p25 radio after I find out if it can be programmed like a scanner for monitoring by the end user. I noticed the techs are still working on the ARMER simulcast tower in Woodland, I was thinking of talking to them, I know A casual scanner fan is the last person they want to talk to but you never know. I'll post whatever I find out
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