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Are the Whistler/GRE scanners TOO sensitive?

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#1
I have two PRO-18, PSR-800 and RS PRO-668. None of them ever worked at all in the car. Tried different antenna stetups etc, lots of static and birdies and many missed transmissions (compared to home scanner streamed over phone).
So I tried the Home Patrol 1 in the car, using a remote antenna (800 MHZ) affixed next to the third row window in my SUV.
Works very nicely! Distant systems are received.

Now the GRE based scanners have way better ears at home, receiving transmissions loud and clear that the HP does not break squelch.

So I am guessing that the front ends are being overloaded by RFI from the engine and car electronics.

Did they do any better with the new TR series?
 
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#2
I have always had better luck with the Uniden scanners in the car. For me it wasn't the car causing the overload issue it was the cell towers with the GRE scanners I have tried. My trip to work takes me on the expressway and the cell towers are all up and down the expressway. The system I listen to is on 800MHz and so are the cell towers and they overload the front end in the GRE scanners. On the other hand I have a friend that uses the GRE scanners at home and he lives out in the country. He is twice as far from the nearest tower than I am and it really pulls in the signals very well for him. It all comes down to location.

I know another guy that has a cell tower in his back yard and none of the digital scanners he has tried work so he has to stream online feeds to listen.

Good luck!
 
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#3
I have driven the New Jersey Turnpike from the GW Bridge all the way down the exit 6 (Philadelphia - PA Turnpike) with a GRE based scanner and heard almost nothing, all the while streaming NJSP loud and clear from HOME!

The HP-1 setup seems to receive NJSP even on Long Island. Just weird. Has to be related to the front end of the scanners
 
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#5
I guess I would have to try one to see if they are better. Or maybe buy a HP-2 if phase 2 becomes an issue. Not much of interest on DMR around here anyway.
 
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#6
Hello,

There are reports that the TRX-1 and TRX-2 have improved RF Front Ends compared to earlier models.

73 Eric
I believe this to be true. Compared to my PSR-800, the TRX-1 is simply awesome. I've even been using an outdoor antenna with the TRX-1 with no overload issues.

While in a car, I believe it all depends on the car. My Honda does some horrible things to scanner reception while using a duck antenna. I need to use a mobile antenna with the Honda. You absolutely can't have the car stereo on if you want to use the scanner without the mobile antenna. The interference is awful.

While in my former Blazer and my current Trail Blazer, I have had no reception issues at all using just a duck.
 
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#7
I believe this to be true. Compared to my PSR-800, the TRX-1 is simply awesome. I've even been using an outdoor antenna with the TRX-1 with no overload issues.

While in a car, I believe it all depends on the car. My Honda does some horrible things to scanner reception while using a duck antenna. I need to use a mobile antenna with the Honda. You absolutely can't have the car stereo on if you want to use the scanner without the mobile antenna. The interference is awful.

While in my former Blazer and my current Trail Blazer, I have had no reception issues at all using just a duck.
I had a Sonata which was a no go even with an external antenna. Same with the Sorento. I did have some success in the Sonata with the Diamond 77 antenna, no idea why unless it was because there was less gain than with the RS 800 antenna

That being said, the HP1 works find with the "external" antenna stuck next to the third row window, which is heavily tinted, therefore "stealthy".
I do agree that it probably has a lot to do with the car, and those two probably put out a lot of RFI, to say nothing of radar (Blind spot detection).
 
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#8
I have the remote head for the Bearcats. So one of these days, just for fun, I may see if I can put the radio in the back and see how it sounds. I think the radio being near the dash has a lot to do with it, along with the antenna.
 
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#9
I had a Sonata which was a no go even with an external antenna. Same with the Sorento. I did have some success in the Sonata with the Diamond 77 antenna, no idea why unless it was because there was less gain than with the RS 800 antenna

That being said, the HP1 works find with the "external" antenna stuck next to the third row window, which is heavily tinted, therefore "stealthy".
I do agree that it probably has a lot to do with the car, and those two probably put out a lot of RFI, to say nothing of radar (Blind spot detection).
In the Honda I need to have the antenna mounted out side or no dice on reception. I use a mag mount, since I can just stick it to the trunk and take it off when I'm done. I usually use my HP2 in the car it works well with the antenna on the trunk.
 

ka3jjz

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#10
With the number of GRE owners (pre-Whistler) mentioning that adding a FM trap improved their reception makes me believe that the bandpass filters in the 800 stop at 90 Mhz.

Why is that significant? Easy. The Japanese FM band runs, if memory serves, between 76-90 Mhz or so. So our US band (88-108 Mhz) blows right into the front end, virtually unfiltered. Overload, noise and all that crap floods the front end. Undoubtedly, GRE Japan didn't want to redesign their radios just because of a filter change. Much too expensive.

Likely that's not the only reason, but I'm willing to bet it plays a big role, particularly in urban areas that have lots of powerhouse FM broadcast stations

Mike
 
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#11
Since Japan has freed up spectrum and is extending their FM band it would make sense that they would need to possibly alter their filtering at least up to 95Mhz now or provide better selectivity. It is quite possible they would now accommodate all the way to 108Mz although I don't know their plans for the spectrum between 95Mz and 108Mhz at this time, but it seems it is not initially allocated to FM broadcast since they now have 76Mz to 95Mhz and that's probably enough.
 

ka3jjz

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#12
Not even close - I used to do a little FM DXing when I was living in Illinois, and I believe the FCC (used to?) reserves up to 92 Mhz or so for the community and educational stations which are typically not quite as powerful as their cousins up the band. (it's been a long time since I've looked at this, so my memory isn't precise here). Besides our FM broadcast band is still wider than Japan's (even with the extension), so it's really no relief.

GRE Japan would have to change the bandpass filter in all of its US based models, and the cost of doing that would be prohibitive, at best. Perhaps this is one of the improvements made with the TRX1 and 2. Mike
 
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#13
Not even close - I used to do a little FM DXing when I was living in Illinois, and I believe the FCC (used to?) reserves up to 92 Mhz or so for the community and educational stations which are typically not quite as powerful as their cousins up the band. (it's been a long time since I've looked at this, so my memory isn't precise here). Besides our FM broadcast band is still wider than Japan's (even with the extension), so it's really no relief.

GRE Japan would have to change the bandpass filter in all of its US based models, and the cost of doing that would be prohibitive, at best. Perhaps this is one of the improvements made with the TRX1 and 2. Mike
I did not say 95Mhz was sufficient I only pointed out Japan is making changes in their FM spectrum and as a result they will likely be changing their radios for the domestic market and that those changes will likely help NA; nothing more than that.

Of course while they have the hood open they "may" also adjust for NA. They did free up all the spectrum space to 108Mz. So if they wanted to, Whistler could accommodate NA allocations without removing spectrum that is key to the local Japanese market as before. Just don't know if eventually 95-108Mhz will be key for Japan or not.

Technologically a static band pass filter is a poor solution since scanners are suppose to have wide coverage, they can either make a better more selective front end by other means, or they can can a switched filter which would work in either country if it could be switched fast enough including settling time, However many would not care if their scanners would not receive FM with the same sensitivity, then you just move on to the next high powered signal or overloading based on location.

The good thing is they seemed to have made some improvements so that's good.
 

UPMan

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#14
TRX-1/2 have no current tie to Japan. Whistler is based in Bentonville, Arkansas and the factory is (IIRC) in the Philippines. The base design, granted, is from GRE's 2008/2009 models, but any changes made for the TRX-1 and 2 would be from Whistler's engineers, not GRE's.
 

AggieCon

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#15
Someone posted awhile back that there was something done to affect "FM Filtering." I have no clue if it was in the front end or intermediate stages. At any rate, I suspect it is FCC scanner approval that would be the biggest roadblock to substantial hardware changes.

Any changes were minor. The main upgrade was a CPU with more memory (so I assume -- can't get anyone to open the shields for me). If anyone wants to look for me, this will be the big TI integrated circuit.

But I really haven't experienced what you are describing. I mostly use a 1080 in the truck and I receive tons of stuff. I can reliably get C4FM Project 25 twenty to thirty miles from the transmitter. And that's with the radio sitting on the console directly above several of the vehicle's computer systems, including the radio. I use just a $10 800mHz antenna. Nothing external (new truck is aluminum); nothing fancy.

Of course, reception of marginal systems for the location or of simulcast can vary by location. I can't reliably receive some systems that I can at home; on the other hand, in certain spots I pickup systems that don't work well in the apartment.

Another consideration is programming. Are you scanning too many objects? If your scan takes over a minute to complete, that's going to cut down on what you hear (on the basis that much of that scan is looking for frequencies out of range). It's certainly going to cut down whether you hear the more interesting traffic. How do you have your scanners programmed for the road tests?

Finally, what types of systems aren't working? Is this really about simulcast problems?

If you take apart the scanners, you'll find that all of the modern ones are all very similar. That's why this reception battle is really interesting to me. I think it's more related to execution (i.e. good shielding) and programming.

The main differences between the major models (i.e. Whistler vs. 536 vs. HP vs. 996 and variants) are the processors, software, user interface, display, and appearance. The software and user experience is probably the most substantial difference between any model line and certainly what most people notice and complain about. The rest is pretty much the same. Even UPMan said awhile back that ~90% of the components are the same (referring to his company repairing scanners of other makes).

How many American engineers are actually working on scanners? Is any of the engineering done in our country?

I'm not sure there is such thing as "too sensitive." Perhaps what you are really looking for is higher specificity (i.e. rejecting unwanted emissions). Many folks on here wish their Whistler had better sensitivity, and their radios of other makes receive traffic that Uniden and Whistler fail to bring in. Certainly, though, Whistler and Uniden are at a severe disadvantage due to federal regulations. And I'm not sure if anyone other than UPMan has actually taken any action to eliminate the asinine regulations.
 

kikito

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#16
I get the best results using the stock stubby antenna that came with the TRX. Is very simple.

We don't always need an external/gain antenna for everything but as usual: YMMV.
 
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#17
This has gotten pretty far afield.
The HP-1 works in the car. The PRO-18, PSR 800., PRO 668 do not.
 
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#18
This has gotten pretty far afield.
The HP-1 works in the car. The PRO-18, PSR 800., PRO 668 do not.
It depends on location. For you the above may be true. It's not true for everyone. I have used the PSR-800 successfully while in the car. I have had issues at times with both the 800 and the HP2. It depends on location and antenna type.
 

buddrousa

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#19
The old Whistler built RS PRO668 is but the new TRX-2 does not seem to suffer from frontend OVERLOAD going to get a TRX-1 also to play with to compare to my 668 and my Uniden BCD436HP.
 
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#20
This has gotten pretty far afield.
The HP-1 works in the car. The PRO-18, PSR 800., PRO 668 do not.
There are many cars, many locations, many frequencies, many transmissions, and many antenna. It's great the HP1 is working well for you, and it's also useful to know the ones that didn't work for your circumstance.

Too sensitivity and selectivity work together for a radio to properly demodulate a signal. Dynamic range of the receiver is also important when dealing with signals of vastly different power levels. It's a balaning act that is complicated in wideband receivers. Attenuators and pre-selectors can help in some circumstances by reducing the variables at play.
 
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