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Old 11-22-2010, 1:21 PM
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Question Need Help Please

I have been scanning for years, I thought I knew alot about it until coming across this site. WOW at the knowledge!
I currently have the PRO 528, which has worked just fine until about 3 weeks ago. Police/Fire/Ems for my area were 155.*** numbers. But the county is in transition to change of to the digital trunkin. Three weeks ago I noticed I am not getting fire. Being good friends with head of dispatchers, she told me that they are all equiped with it but only fire is comfortable so they are using it. I went to radio shack, was told that the 528 definately won't work. So I need a new handheld, salesperson is trying to talk me into a PRO 164, but isnt that scanner analog also, manual has voice:analog? I know the county is going digital and rebanded, so if the 164 with the right firmware will work is what I need to know.

Also, was reading about black friday sale, am I seeing it right that the PRO 164 is going to be $99/ hard to believe since its $199.99 right now. Sorry for the long post, all advice will be great!

Shane
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Old 11-22-2010, 8:21 PM
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The PRO 164 and the base version, PRO 163 are analog only scanners, the firmware updates will not make either digital capable.
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Last edited by FLA2760; 11-22-2010 at 8:26 PM..
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Old 11-22-2010, 9:22 PM
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Looks like you are in the market for a digital hand held unit. There are three hand held units currently being manufactured.

Uniden BCD396XT
GRE PSR-500
Radioshack Pro-106

The Radioshack Pro-106 is made by GRE, so the GRE and the Radioshack are functionally the same radio. They differ in style and accessories included. The GRE costs more but it includes a power adaptor and a USB data cable. The Radioshack has a printed manual. Also, firmware upgades must come from the original vendor. That means the firmware update downloaded from the GRE site will not work in the Radioshack and the Radioshack download will not work in the GRE. The most current firmware from both appear to be the same.

This is a good week to buy with Black Friday sales. Radioshack will have the Pro-106 for $299 with possible sales tax depending on your location. ScannerMaster price now on the GRE is $363 plus shipping. GRE sells the power adaptor for $20 and USB cable for $30 plus about $10 shipping. They work great on the Pro-106. Programming software is $35. You may be able to apply some additional discount coupons on the Radioshack unit.

ScannerMaster is selling the Uniden BCD396XT this week for $479 plus shipping. Uniden includes the power adaptor, NiMH batteries, a SMA/BNC adaptor and a serial cable. You may have to buy a USB/Serial converter for about 8 bucks or a USB cable for $30. FreeScan is an excellent piece of software for programming and it is available as shareware. (The author would appreciate a donation if you like it.)

When you add up all the costs for the not included accessories, the price of all three is closer than what initially appears.

The choice is really between two radios technologies, the Uniden and the GRE/Radioshack. The choice between the GRE and the Radioshack is basically a price and convenience issue. Do not expect to get much support from most local Radioshack stores on the Pro-106 because most of the employees are not trained on the unit.

Both the Uniden and the GRE designs are good radios. Each has their pros and cons. Here is a recent thread discussing both:

http://forums.radioreference.com/gen...gre-500-a.html

Edit: Be sure and find the systems you want to monitor in the Radio Reference database to confirm that the type of systems used in your area are compatible with the radio you choose.
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Last edited by BHinAZ; 11-22-2010 at 9:35 PM..
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Old 11-22-2010, 9:58 PM
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Thanks for the info, I had been leaning towards the pro 106. You mention that I need to know the systems I am going to scan. Thats the tricky part, radio reference aren't listing the new numbers yet. I was instructed by a friend to go to fcc.gov and search (spalding, county of) and it shows all of the 800 freqs, but thats all I know and the fire is operating on it already. Pretty sure the 106 will work fine, it used to not be offered in our store until this change come about, found that kinda odd.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:10 PM
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So let me get this straight, the firmware is to update for rebanding? And the software is to program freqs? I never have to update the 528 is why I ask. Thanks again guys!
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Old 11-23-2010, 9:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stgilmer View Post
So let me get this straight, the firmware is to update for rebanding? And the software is to program freqs? I never have to update the 528 is why I ask. Thanks again guys!
The firmware doesn't have anything to do with rebanding (at least from the upgrade standpoint) as the 106/500 support that already. However, to do the reband you must do it in software (Win 500, PSREdit, etc.) as you can't do it manually. That said, since your area is just now going to the 800 Mhz digital system, it's a good bet the frequencies they'll operate on will be in the new lower "reband". That is below 860 Mhz. Other than getting the proper TSYS control channels frequencies in the scanner, you won't have to do much of anything to be able to listen to them and shouldn't have to go through the reband. Just use the Wildcard option on the TGRPs part of the system and start noting what service is on what talkgroup.
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Old 11-23-2010, 9:55 AM
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Ok I have some new info that I was able to find out, it might help the more knowledgeable ones. Since I was hung between the 164 and 106. Just making double sure this system is truly digital before I spend the extra cash.
Anyways I found out :
Our system is a Harris Company (formerly Tyco or Erickson) and SUPPOSED to be a P25 system all digital except data is "open sky" which is a brand of Harris Company.

If that makes since to anybody and you can elaborate, it would be well appreciated.

If its not P25 then what would you trunk it under?
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stgilmer View Post
You mention that I need to know the systems I am going to scan.
The idea here is to find out the manufacturer and type of systems you plan to monitor rather than the specific frequencies they are using. The scanners are compatible with many of the systems being made but not all. For example, Pima County, AZ (Tucson) uses an EF Johnson MultiNet II. The GRE and Uniden scanners are not compatible with this system, so it can not be monitored by these radios. Anyone who spends four to five hundred dollars on a digital scanner to monitor the Pima County Sheriff is going to be in for a big disappointment.

As far as the specific frequencies, try posting a note in the appropriate state forum here on Radio Reference. Someone may have that information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stgilmer View Post
So let me get this straight, the firmware is to update for rebanding? And the software is to program freqs? I never have to update the 528 is why I ask. Thanks again guys!
Firmware is similar to a computer operating system. It provides the instructions that the hardware needs to function. It can be upgradeable as in the newer GRE and Uniden radios or it can be "hardwired" (not upgradeable) as in your 528. Upgradeable firmware is the way to go.

Programming software allows the use of your computer for managing the frequency and talk group data that you want to program into your scanner. It greatly simplifies the data entry function from having to manually enter all the data by manually pushing the scanner keyboard buttons.

Firmware comes from the manufacturer of the scanner and is absolutey required for the sanner to function. Programming software is an optional item that sreamlines the process of entering frequency and talk group data (programming) into the scanner. The programming software for the current Uniden and GRE/Radioshack handheld radios come from third party sources.

Firmware contains the instructions to determine the voice channels when tracking a trunk transmission. These instructions changed for some systems with the advent of rebanding. Since the Pro-528 does not allow the firmware to be upgraded, it will calculate the wrong voice channel on a rebanded system. That means it will not be able to follow trucked transmissions of that system. Not all systems were impacted by rebanding, so the Pro-528 may still work just fine on those.

Scanners with upgradeable firmware can be updated with new firmware instructions needed to track the rebanded systems. There is also table data that needs to entered into the radio in order to track rebanded systems. This data can be entered into the scanner manually or by using updated programming software. The Uniden BCD396XT came out after rebanding so the firmware on it is good to go out of the box. I believe the GRE PSR-500 and Pro-106 came out before the rebanding was finalized and so the early models require a firmware upgrade in order to track rebanded systems. The upgrade also has the benefit of providing bug fixes and adding any new firmware features.

Here is an article out of the Radio Reference Wiki discussing rebanding. Start at the section titled "Why Won't My Scanner Work After Rebanding" to read about the role of firmware and programming software in the rebanding change.

Rebanding - The RadioReference Wiki
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Last edited by BHinAZ; 11-23-2010 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:27 AM
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I think I found out the system for the county.

M/A-COM P25IP
P25IP technology used for voice communications, OpenSky for mobile data communications and NetworkFirst for interoperability with neighboring county and agency legacy systems

Will the Pro 106 do fine with that system?
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Old 11-24-2010, 4:50 AM
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What state/county system are you trying to hear? Go up to the Database link under the site title on the left in the toolbar, and use the pulldowns. Give us the URL for the system and we can answer the question. best regards...Mike
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Last edited by ka3jjz; 11-24-2010 at 4:52 AM..
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Old 11-24-2010, 5:38 AM
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Let me make it clear here as no one else has come forward and said anything. There is no scanner
on the market today that can listen to an "OPEN SKY" trunking system. If this is what your looking to
listen to, your SOL.

There have been some discussions on a way around this with some fancy computer software and
a radio, but not too many people have the talent or the programming to make it happen. If you do
a search on the subject, you should be able to obtain more current information on the topic. Please
do so before locking yourself into a new scanner with the "OPEN SKY" trunking system a main
point of interest.
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Old 11-24-2010, 9:36 AM
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:::ka3jjz:::What state/county system are you trying to hear? Go up to the Database link Give us the URL for the system and we can answer the question.:::

The new freqs aren't in there, but I found them on the fcc.gov site. And confirmed them to be accurate.

go to fcc.org
click efiling at the top
click Universal Licensing System at bottom of page
click licenses beside search
search by name - enter spalding, county of
freq tab for each call sign
These are the ones I got

822.2000
867.2000
821.0125
821.5125
866.0125
866.5125
821.2250
821.6000
822.9625
823.6375
866.2250
866.6000
867.9625
868.6375
822.7250
823.5875
867.7250
868.5875
821.3250
822.1000
822.3500
822.8125
866.3250
867.1000
867.3500
867.8125



:::jim202:::There is no scanner
on the market today that can listen to an "OPEN SKY" trunking system.:::

Maybe there is something I am missing, very possible, I am coming from a 528 into the digital world, but it seems as if the P25 is used for voice and digital scanners scan P25 then it should work by just programming the new 800 freqs in as P25 auto. I just didn't take it as the Open Sky being used for voice communications. If I am way off then please let me know, thats why I came here, to find the right answers and guidance.

Thanks again guys for being so patient with me, wishing they had left the system alone right now!!

Last edited by stgilmer; 11-24-2010 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:04 PM
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Looks like you already got your answer

Spalding County New System

Best Regards..Mike
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:01 AM
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REBANDING is on its way for my county. I just bought the 106 on Black Friday. Up until now I have entered my freqs manually, it is working beautifully with the digital channels. Info I have gathered is reband for my county must be completed by March 2011. Can I manually reband or is it a must to have software to do that? I have been looking at FreeScan, doesn't seems that it supports the 106. If not is there a free software that will work for rebanding, not too interested in the programming part right now/all my moneys went into buying the 106. Do you wait til the P25 stops working to reband the scanner?

Also, being new to this site, I have the whole trunking system P25 for my county, is it my duty to add that into the database?? wasn't sure of the formalities.

The scanner came with 1.7 version, I see there is a 1.8 but does away with beeps, is it a must have right now? Do you have to have a software on the computer before downloading the firmwares?? Thats all for now, thanks guys!!

Last edited by stgilmer; 12-01-2010 at 11:45 AM..
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stgilmer View Post
REBANDING is on its way for my county. I just bought the 106 on Black Friday. Up until now I have entered my freqs manually, it is working beautifully with the digital channels. Info I have gathered is reband for my county must be completed by March 2011. Can I manually reband or is it a must to have software to do that? I have been looking at FreeScan, doesn't seems that it supports the 106. If not is there a free software that will work for rebanding, not too interested in the programming part right now/all my moneys went into buying the 106. Do you wait til the P25 stops working to reband the scanner?

Also, being new to this site, I have the whole trunking system P25 for my county, is it my duty to add that into the database?? wasn't sure of the formalities.

The scanner came with 1.7 version, I see there is a 1.8 but does away with beeps, is it a must have right now? Do you have to have a software on the computer before downloading the firmwares?? Thats all for now, thanks guys!!
IF the system you are listening to is a true P25 system you need only enter in the new rebanded frequencies into the scanner with no alterations to the trunking tables.

As far as the update for the scanner goes, you need to download the update. You will also need a scanner/PC cable. But your scanner should work OK with the firmware it was shipped with.

Frankly I am confused by this thread - if you have an OpenSky system it was my understanding that it cannot be monitored. Here is a city that just went to OpenSky and all scanners are now quiet that used to monitor them:

Naperville, IL - New Police Radio System Goes Live Today
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Old 12-02-2010, 5:25 PM
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I don't know what to say, I have read about OPEN SKY but really don't uderstand it too much. That was the exact system I was told they are using, and being it came from the head of dispatch, I trust it.

M/A-COM P25IP
P25IP technology used for voice communications, OpenSky for mobile data communications and NetworkFirst for interoperability with neighboring county and agency legacy systems

Got the 106 programmed the 800's in on P25 auto, scanned and got all id's, scannin happy ever since. They had just told me that the county had to be completed with reband by March so I just wanted to be sure what to do so I wouldn't have down time.

-15 down from what the freq is now is what I was told but some reason that didnt sound right. Seemed too easy.
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Old 12-03-2010, 9:53 AM
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Actually that is correct, 15MHZ down from existing frequency. Glad its working for you, it must not be OpenSky because if it was you would hear nothing. If your scanner goes quiet, you will know what happened. Notice the "IP" after P25.
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Old 12-03-2010, 1:26 PM
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Just checked and I am still being told that OPENSKY is being used for data, not voice. Is that possible? If so I guess thats how I am able to hear it. I thought maybe the system might not be finished also, so I checked on that to but was told it is all finalized as of now.


QUESTION: The frequencies that are here in the database, are those gathered by the members of the forum? Wanted to know before submitting these new one for my county into it. THANKS
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:08 AM
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If they were using OpenSky for voice you would not be able to monitor it. Glad it is working for you. I personally have trouble updating the database, you might contact one of the DB Admins on this site. The answer is yes they are updated by forum members.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:03 AM
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-15 down on the current frequency after reband is done, got that.
So if it is 867.2000
take 15 from 867 or 2000?? So new reband channel would be 852.2000 or 867.1985. Stupid question probably, knowledge is power!

I am also trunking a analog county nearby, when it locks in on the id I get VC left of the frequency, whats that stand for?

On the digital, I scan the talkgroup and everyonce in awhile I get what sounds like transformers signals, best I can describe it. It always does it on the 2 same id's everytime. What does that seem to be?

Last edited by stgilmer; 12-08-2010 at 11:05 AM..
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