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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2009, 3:49 PM
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Default Pro-197 reception problems

I recieved the 197 as a gift this Christmas and have been pulling my hair out dealing with the reception of the MSPCS APCO 25 channels here in southwestlower Michigan. Now I've done everything from lowering the antenna all the way down to improve reception , to purchasing the 800 mhz antenna from RS to not much prevail. What really has pushed me over the edge is I am running a friends 2096 side by side with the same programing for both and the 2096 comes in crystal clear while my 197 barely picks up. Now the 197 does pick up occasionally but not on a consistent basis. I've tried different locations throught the house but not a lot of change. The conventional channels pick up just fine. I Need some help with this.
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Old 01-03-2009, 4:49 PM
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Default reception problems

Though it is possible that your unit may be defective, before returning and exchanging it I would at least try the following.

First, on the system you are listening to, try programming in JUST ONE CONTROL CHANNEL. This would be the one you find that comes in the best for you at your location. Delete all other alternate and/or more distant site CC's and just have that one in. This is to make sure that the scanner is not locking on a weaker or poorer quality CC. This scanner has somewhat more capability in terms of its ability to accommodate multiple sites than the 96 but these settings can help or hurt depending on the situation. Entering only the best quality CC that you hear will make sure the scanner locks only on that CC regardless of the multi-site settings. Also, make sure you have set the scanner to the correct system type for your system (Motorola 3600, P25, etc.); check in your location's specific forum here on RR (the Michigan forum) and find other users to check this with).

Next, I would try listening to the CC and switching on and off the attenuator (large "A" in the display). If the CC sounds better with the attenuator on then try trunking with that setting. Of course, if you inadvertently had the attenuator on then make sure you understand how to control it according to your needs.

Finally, I would eliminate all programmed talk groups and just have a group wildcard talk group programmed in to test with. This should make it easy to test various settings such as multi-site, CC used, attenuator, etc. and not be concerned with any possible incorrect talk group programming issues.

I would try these first before returning the unit.

-Mike

Last edited by Mike_G_D; 01-03-2009 at 4:53 PM..
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Old 01-03-2009, 5:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randygolfin View Post
I recieved the 197 as a gift this Christmas and have been pulling my hair out dealing with the reception of the MSPCS APCO 25 channels here in southwestlower Michigan. Now I've done everything from lowering the antenna all the way down to improve reception , to purchasing the 800 mhz antenna from RS to not much prevail. What really has pushed me over the edge is I am running a friends 2096 side by side with the same programing for both and the 2096 comes in crystal clear while my 197 barely picks up. Now the 197 does pick up occasionally but not on a consistent basis. I've tried different locations throught the house but not a lot of change. The conventional channels pick up just fine. I Need some help with this.
I can understand your frustration.

What sites are you trying to listen to?

Mike
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Old 01-03-2009, 5:53 PM
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I can understand your frustration.

What sites are you trying to listen to?

Mike
Berrien and Van Buren county law enforcement talk groups.
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Old 01-03-2009, 7:17 PM
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Berrien and Van Buren county law enforcement talk groups.
Are you programming manually or with the computer and software? I know there are members of the board that live in those areas that would have working configurations.

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Old 01-03-2009, 7:44 PM
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I had most of the same problems and it took a lot of tweaking to get the 197 to work almost as well as the pro96 I had sitting on the desk.

I had to put the attenuator on conventional channels so that I could adjust the squelch level low enough so as not to hang up on the conv freqs.

I also had to use the att. on some of the control channels even though there seemed to be no difference in the signal strength of the cc coming into the scanner. If it was at 99% before some were 99% after the att.

I also removed the higher gain antenna in the attic and am using just the original telescopic antenna that came with the 197. I'm not sure how much this may impact on my fire conv. channels but the trunking reception has picked up. If I lose the fire freqs I'm not going to be happy with the 197.

If you have a priority channel set on any frequency, even a conv. one, you may want to disable that also as it adversly affects the trunking reception...
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Old 01-04-2009, 5:20 PM
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Are you programming manually or with the computer and software? I know there are members of the board that live in those areas that would have working configurations.

Mike
I'm programming with Win500.
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Old 01-04-2009, 5:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoofy View Post
I had most of the same problems and it took a lot of tweaking to get the 197 to work almost as well as the pro96 I had sitting on the desk.

I had to put the attenuator on conventional channels so that I could adjust the squelch level low enough so as not to hang up on the conv freqs.

I also had to use the att. on some of the control channels even though there seemed to be no difference in the signal strength of the cc coming into the scanner. If it was at 99% before some were 99% after the att.

I also removed the higher gain antenna in the attic and am using just the original telescopic antenna that came with the 197. I'm not sure how much this may impact on my fire conv. channels but the trunking reception has picked up. If I lose the fire freqs I'm not going to be happy with the 197.

If you have a priority channel set on any frequency, even a conv. one, you may want to disable that also as it adversly affects the trunking reception...

I'm sure I'm also going to have to tweak things to try to improve the trunking reception, but for what the 197 costs, it shouldn't need alot of tweaking!!
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Old 01-08-2009, 3:37 PM
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Default The Oddest Thing

I've tried all the different suggestions that were given to me to fix my reception problems with not much success. One night as a last resort, I thought I would try using my rubber duck antenna from my Pro 97 attached directly to the back of the 197 and the reception improved greatly. Although not as clear as the 2096 that I ran side by side but an improvement none the less. I'm scratching my head as to wonder why the 97 antenna works better than the new 800mhz antenna that I bought from RS?
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Old 01-08-2009, 3:51 PM
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Sounds like you are getting overload, which is why the ATT might be handy for you.
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Old 01-08-2009, 4:38 PM
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Are you next to any nextel or cell towers?
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Old 01-08-2009, 5:25 PM
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I'm really starting to think that instead of a really hot front end as some are saying about the 197 and 106 that it's a problem of such a wide front end that there is no rejection of unwanted signals.

Time and time again on different threads the old pros have consistently out performed the newer pros. and when these comparisons come out it is always called an unfair test and that if you just do a lot of tweaking eventually you may get better reception. But they keep giving the new ones high marks.

Those guys have got to be tweaker geeks..........................
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Old 01-09-2009, 1:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoofy View Post
I'm really starting to think that instead of a really hot front end as some are saying about the 197 and 106 that it's a problem of such a wide front end that there is no rejection of unwanted signals.

Time and time again on different threads the old pros have consistently out performed the newer pros. and when these comparisons come out it is always called an unfair test and that if you just do a lot of tweaking eventually you may get better reception. But they keep giving the new ones high marks.

Those guys have got to be tweaker geeks..........................
To me it just means results vary. Different people, different methods, different conditions, mean different results.

I have tested the 2096 on my local simulcast system and found that it was completely confused and was simply awful, the worst of all digital scanners I have tried. I am saying HORRIBLE.

Then, thank GOD I bought a BCD996 which blew it away and did a much much much better job on this simulcast P25 system.

Eventually, in side by side testing, I determined that the PSR-600 handled the system a little better than the Uniden, and it took over the PRWN monitoring post.

Time rolled on, and when the chance to test the new 197 vs. the 600 came along, I jumped, despite the fact that they are "the same radio" (actually different firmware and different DSP to me means they are not identical, but anyway...)....

Side by side, after hours of testing with various identical antenna setups, the 197 emerged the winner.

Now, if I weren't objective, I would have a pretty hardy laugh at anyone telling me that a 2096 is outperforming a 197, and would love to be present for the testing. And it might ruffle my feathers that some seem to imply that those of us giving the 197 good review simply need to take the rose colored glasses off and get real.

But I know very intelligent people with as many years using scanners as I have under the belt that have found that scanner xxxxx (you fill in the model number) works better in THEIR situation than scanners yyyyy or zzzzzz. And it is all over the board. There is no universal consensus, because conditions and methodology vary.

Is it likely / possible that a 2096 outperformed a 197? How about a 996 outperforming a 2096? Sure.

The same way a Prius can outperform a chevy truck for some people, and vice-versa for others. It's a question of conditions, and what one is trying to accomplish, and how they are trying to do so.

There is no one scanner that is superior to the others under all conditions.

.....Mileage may vary.....
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Last edited by PHOENIX_SCANNER; 01-09-2009 at 2:01 AM..
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Old 01-09-2009, 7:56 AM
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Are you next to any nextel or cell towers?
In a 2 1/2 mile radius there are 3 towers, but none directly next door.
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Old 01-09-2009, 7:58 AM
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Sounds like you are getting overload, which is why the ATT might be handy for you.
But when I apply the ATT to the trunking channels, I get no reception at all. I'm I just not using the ATT properly?
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Old 01-09-2009, 10:35 AM
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Phoenix,

I agree with what you're saying but the people that are giving the 197 high marks don't say what they are comparing it to or how they are using it. You give it high marks because it works very well on the simulcast system but you didn't mention how it worked other than that.

I have air AM, vhf high FM, uhf FM, and 800 digital trunking in my area. Compared to no other scanner the 197 is great.

My 2096 came out of the box, was programed and put on the shelf to scan. Compared to no other scanner it was great.

Compared to the new 197 in my area the 2096 has superior reception across the range.

Having said that, my main use is for the MPSCS digital system and a few vhf freqs. which means the 2096 is a better performer.
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Old 01-09-2009, 2:22 PM
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Here in my area south of Chicago on both my 2096 and RS197 i must use on "VHF" only the "A" as other wise you hear alot of static on the 5-10 mile away deptments, the "A" on VHF clears this up....This is only when im using a OUTSIDE ANTENNA...On 700/800/UHF i cannot use the "A" or i loose the signal....This is the way RS/GRE models mostly have operated...
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Old 01-09-2009, 4:33 PM
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Default CC's

Check your control channels for decode rate; when scanning the system push F2 when you stop on a TG and then F3 to analyze. If you are not getting that far, just push manual and then F2,F3. You can then arrow up and down to scroll through your CC's and be able to see the decode rate as well as hear if you have interference on a specific CC. Strength meter is a liar, don't believe it.
Decode rates of <80% will probably lead to garbled or drop outs.
Just waving the scanner around can improve or kill decode when using a duck.
Here in Indianapolis, we have a simulcast system with 4 CC and it can be a royal pain for some depending on their proximity to towers. They are often required to block the antenna on one side with foil or run a beam. Fortunately, I get one CC with 99% at my main post.

I hate using ATT period, but find the "object scanners" are pretty lame at VHF PS and air even with a discone and good coax. Comparing to a 2045 on the same antenna at the same time. Plus, you can usually run the squelch wide open if you have no conv. to keep it open.

Last edited by ind224; 01-09-2009 at 4:41 PM..
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Old 01-10-2009, 5:20 AM
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As far as VHF and UHF I will say the 197 does well, but isn't as good as some others. If you can filter out the sources of interference, it is outstanding, as many savvy owners have already found out. Do a search on 197 / notch filters.

And, proper antenna setup, attenuation, and settings (advanced settings in WIN500 or PSREdit), can make all the difference in the world, I will add that as well.

But I still say, if the 2096 works best without tweaking it, maybe you could find a better home for the 197, it would be snatched up quick on ebay.
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Old 01-10-2009, 3:07 PM
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Quote:
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I Need some help with this.
I know you have tried this and that, that were suggested, but please post a copy of your WIN500 programming file. Perhaps someone can see something in the programming that is causing your troubles.
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