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BCD436 Choppy

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wfncnews

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#1
I've lurked for a long time and obtained a lot of good information from this forum but I think this is my first post asking for help so thank you in advance.

I received my new BCD436 last week and looked forward to upgrading from my trusty GRE PSR-500 which has served me very well all these years.

The 436 has a number of features I'm looking forward to using but a couple of bummers along the way. The tone out monitoring was a bit of a let down that it does not monitor and alert during regular favorite scanning with a tone and dispatch. But there are awesome iPhone apps I'm using for that now so not a huge loss.

CHOPPY

My biggest complaint at the moment is the choppiness of the 800 VIPER trunked channels. The only change I've made to the radio was to replace the original antenna. It was giving me the same choppy issue and was a bit to stiff to fit in the car mount without smashing against the windshield. So I replaced it with a highly recommended 800MHz Scanner Antenna Model: 20-283 from Radio Shack.

I've tried a number of different configurations but for the most part attenuator on or off and digital AGC on or off does not seem to fix/change the issue at all.

In fact I will admit to not really knowing if those settings do anything at all.

My scanner is not jammed with sites or talk groups. I'm only monitoring my local police and FD so thats two sites and about 40 TGs on four favorite lists.

It seems every transmission is broken up and choppy even though I live about 5 miles from one of the VIPER broadcast sites. The front of most conversations is clipped but there is almost not a single transmission which is not broken up.

I have the system squelch left on 2. When I tried 1 it was just too sensitive and gets stuck on a few of the VHF channels.

Does anyone have any suggestions I could try to get ride of the choppiness and make the unit useful?
 

NYPDAUX

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#4
Sorry to ask a question with a question first I need to ask you what state are you in would you recommend someone buying this scanner to monitor p25 digital frequency

Sent from my GT-P5113 using Tapatalk
 

wfncnews

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#5
I'n in Raleigh, NC and I've had no joy with my next county up VHF P25 system on the 436. But in fairness, in my priorities of troubleshooting it's lower on my list. It might be working because of something I've done or not done. Just not turnkey P25 joy.
 
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#6
Additional observation

Overall, the reception is not bad, but the signals are weaker than on the Pro-106. I believe with the ensuing upgrades that Uniden will bring the 436hp signal strength up to snuff like they did with the 396XT. Is it possible that these new radios receive better in the Home Patrol mode than the favorites lists? Also, what was the firmware on the 436hp out of the box before connecting to the Sentinel software?

When I first setup the radio and did a zip code search it seemed to really pull in distant signals. I do not remember if the firmware was upgraded the first time using the software, but the performance seems a little worse after creating and scanning a favorites list.



I've lurked for a long time and obtained a lot of good information from this forum but I think this is my first post asking for help so thank you in advance.

I received my new BCD436 last week and looked forward to upgrading from my trusty GRE PSR-500 which has served me very well all these years.

The 436 has a number of features I'm looking forward to using but a couple of bummers along the way. The tone out monitoring was a bit of a let down that it does not monitor and alert during regular favorite scanning with a tone and dispatch. But there are awesome iPhone apps I'm using for that now so not a huge loss.

CHOPPY

My biggest complaint at the moment is the choppiness of the 800 VIPER trunked channels. The only change I've made to the radio was to replace the original antenna. It was giving me the same choppy issue and was a bit to stiff to fit in the car mount without smashing against the windshield. So I replaced it with a highly recommended 800MHz Scanner Antenna Model: 20-283 from Radio Shack.

I've tried a number of different configurations but for the most part attenuator on or off and digital AGC on or off does not seem to fix/change the issue at all.

In fact I will admit to not really knowing if those settings do anything at all.

My scanner is not jammed with sites or talk groups. I'm only monitoring my local police and FD so thats two sites and about 40 TGs on four favorite lists.

It seems every transmission is broken up and choppy even though I live about 5 miles from one of the VIPER broadcast sites. The front of most conversations is clipped but there is almost not a single transmission which is not broken up.

I have the system squelch left on 2. When I tried 1 it was just too sensitive and gets stuck on a few of the VHF channels.

Does anyone have any suggestions I could try to get ride of the choppiness and make the unit useful?
 

N0UDG

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#7
Close call is not enabled. Since I have so few channels I'm monitoring and all all important I have none set as priority.
What about weather Priority?

How is the signal strength? Is it going up and down?

Did you update the Firmware?

By "choppy" audio do you mean it sounds "robotic" or broken? Often robotic is a signal strength problem and broken can be a problem decoding the signal. Of course there are many exceptions to this generalization and finding others with the 436 in your area will answer the question.

If you listen to some of these same channels from the Full Database does it act the same as it does when you listen to them using your favorite's Lists?
 

wfncnews

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#8
I don't know about the signal strength. Not sure how to visualize that.

I do have a weather SAME channel setup.

I have the latest firmware.

The audio is broken.

I'll have to listen to the full DB I've never done that since I setup the unit.
 
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#9
When I first listened to my 436hp I had not upgraded the firmware. Using the home patrol mode everything sounded just fine and received far off transmissions in my basement. After the firmware upgrade came the reception degradation. So I am wondering about the firmware. We are so anxious to get up and running that we jump right in and upgrade. Experience has taught me that firmware upgrades do not always make things better. All I can say is that the reception was crisp and clear before I upgraded. Unfortunately once you upgrade, there is usually no way of going back.



QUOTE=wfncnews;2122632]I don't know about the signal strength. Not sure how to visualize that.

I do have a weather SAME channel setup.

I have the latest firmware.

The audio is broken.

I'll have to listen to the full DB I've never done that since I setup the unit.[/QUOTE]
 

N0UDG

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#10
When I first listened to my 436hp I had not upgraded the firmware. Using the home patrol mode everything sounded just fine and received far off transmissions in my basement. After the firmware upgrade came the reception degradation. So I am wondering about the firmware. We are so anxious to get up and running that we jump right in and upgrade. Experience has taught me that firmware upgrades do not always make things better. All I can say is that the reception was crisp and clear before I upgraded. Unfortunately once you upgrade, there is usually no way of going back.



QUOTE=wfncnews;2122632]I don't know about the signal strength. Not sure how to visualize that.

I do have a weather SAME channel setup.

I have the latest firmware.

The audio is broken.

I'll have to listen to the full DB I've never done that since I setup the unit.
[/QUOTE]

Such things have happen to others with the HP-1 radios and like an idiot I did not even think to try and save the original Firmware on my 436 before updating it but that may not even be possible any more. You might check around to see if anyone who has not updated their firmware or has not received their radio yet could go to mass storage mode and see if they can save a copy of the Firmware (if it is even accessible) before they upgrade their firmware.

Below is what was done in the past to revert back to an older copy of the firmware on the HP-1. I have never needed to do it but to remind you of what all was involved (may not be possible today with the new radios however).

None of the following is from me it was copied in the past in case I needed it for my HP-1.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The following DOES NOT pertain to the x36HP radios!

"HP-1Reverting to previous Firmware
You should post this in the sticky for the HomePatrol-1 v2.4.01 released section. Click on the link to the last page of posts under that thread you will see a post from "wmlovell" that has a link to download the 2.03.01 version to your computer. You will need to do the following:

So extract the file HomePatrol-1_V2_03_01.scn from the zip file by right clicking on it and choosing extract all, then copy the resulting SCN file to the firmware folder on the homepatrol's drive using windows explorer while you are connected to the homepatrol via USB cable. After you copy it there, and disconnect the usb cable, the homepatrol will reboot and install the firmware back to 2.03.
HP Firmware 2.03

Thanks to the folks that helped me get my HP back to v2.03. I can now receive again.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, it would seem that something like this may be needed to get you back to the old firmware it you should wish to try and do so. However, because it was both doable in the past and seemed to work does not mean that with the x36HP radios you should do it even if we find a way. It could result in some very unexpected problems with the radio. Only UPMan could say if policy even allows him to talk about such things.
 
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#11
Signal Strength ..when the radio is receiving a transmission, look in the top upper right of the screen. You should see signal strength bars.

Greg
 

N0UDG

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#12
When I first listened to my 436hp I had not upgraded the firmware. Using the home patrol mode everything sounded just fine and received far off transmissions in my basement. After the firmware upgrade came the reception degradation. So I am wondering about the firmware. We are so anxious to get up and running that we jump right in and upgrade. Experience has taught me that firmware upgrades do not always make things better. All I can say is that the reception was crisp and clear before I upgraded. Unfortunately once you upgrade, there is usually no way of going back.



QUOTE=wfncnews;2122632]I don't know about the signal strength. Not sure how to visualize that.

I do have a weather SAME channel setup.

I have the latest firmware.

The audio is broken.

I'll have to listen to the full DB I've never done that since I setup the unit.
[/QUOTE]

If weather alert is on it will briefly interrupt the audio every five seconds regardless what you are listening to.

The signal strength indicator will be found in the upper right corner of the scanner's display. It consists of five vertical bars and the more bars seen the stronger the signal. If only one bar is showing it could be a signal strength problem or if while some one is talking and the number of bars displayed is increasing or decreasing rapidly this to can cause decode problems too.
 

wfncnews

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#13
If weather alert is on it will briefly interrupt the audio every five seconds regardless what you are listening to.

The signal strength indicator will be found in the upper right corner of the scanner's display. It consists of five vertical bars and the more bars seen the stronger the signal. If only one bar is showing it could be a signal strength problem or if while some one is talking and the number of bars displayed is increasing or decreasing rapidly this to can cause decode problems too.[/QUOTE]

I've turned WX off to check if that makes a difference.

Of course now that I'm watching, no transmissions to report on signal strength.
 

wfncnews

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#14
Signal Strength ..when the radio is receiving a transmission, look in the top upper right of the screen. You should see signal strength bars.

Greg
My 436 does not show any signal bars, at all, when receiving transmissions. The only thing in the top right display section is an upward pointing arrow.
 

wfncnews

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#15
When I first listened to my 436hp I had not upgraded the firmware. Using the home patrol mode everything sounded just fine and received far off transmissions in my basement. After the firmware upgrade came the reception degradation. So I am wondering about the firmware. We are so anxious to get up and running that we jump right in and upgrade. Experience has taught me that firmware upgrades do not always make things better. All I can say is that the reception was crisp and clear before I upgraded. Unfortunately once you upgrade, there is usually no way of going back.
Upgrading the firmware as a setup step seemed like a logical thing to do.
 
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#16
On the very top line of the display you should see a clock..the present time. Right next to that time should be signal bars when receiving a transmission.

If you do not see them...its one for the experts to answer. They are very small..but certainly you should see them.

Hope this helps.

Greg
 

wfncnews

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#17
On the very top line of the display you should see a clock..the present time. Right next to that time should be signal bars when receiving a transmission.

If you do not see them...its one for the experts to answer. They are very small..but certainly you should see them.

Hope this helps.

Greg
Ahh, well I setup my GRE PSR-500 and BCD436 side-by-side and the reason I didn't see them is because most of the time the signal bars on the 436 don't appear even though the GRE shows 5 bars. Once in awhile the 436 will show 1 or at the most 2 when the GRE is at 5.
 

troymail

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#18
Ahh, well I setup my GRE PSR-500 and BCD436 side-by-side and the reason I didn't see them is because most of the time the signal bars on the 436 don't appear even though the GRE shows 5 bars. Once in awhile the 436 will show 1 or at the most 2 when the GRE is at 5.
Very curious observation/comment concerning how well the radio worked before the firmware update - very curious.....

The differences in the "bars" displayed could be several different things so this is only one possibility -- do the GRE and Uniden radios both have the same system sites/frequencies programmed? If you haven't already, you may want to remove all sites/frequencies from your 436 programming except for the site (or two) that are closest to you and verify the programming contains the correct site frequencies. It's possible that the 436 is stopping on the same talkgroup that is transmitting on a different/remote site.

Note: I see 4-5 bars many times on the display wile the radio is scanning for activity and/or stopped on a talkgroup but don't always hear audio. On the other hand, some remote systems are showing barely 1 bar and I can hear audio. Sometimes the lack of audio is just that no one is speaking or the volume is low but other times I know there is voice activity because I can hear it on other radios.

Maybe you already mentioned it (these threads become a blur after a while) - what antenna is being used on the two radios?
 

wfncnews

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#19
Very curious observation/comment concerning how well the radio worked before the firmware update - very curious.....

The differences in the "bars" displayed could be several different things so this is only one possibility -- do the GRE and Uniden radios both have the same system sites/frequencies programmed? If you haven't already, you may want to remove all sites/frequencies from your 436 programming except for the site (or two) that are closest to you and verify the programming contains the correct site frequencies. It's possible that the 436 is stopping on the same talkgroup that is transmitting on a different/remote site.

Maybe you already mentioned it (these threads become a blur after a while) - what antenna is being used on the two radios?
Yes, both with same site and TGs programmed.

The 436 reception makes no difference with either the factory radio or the Radio Shack 800 antenna I purchased same result. It never displays any bars while scanning.

The GRE is using an aftermarket antenna which I unfortunately don't remember the name and it is not printed with any ID information.

I did consider the 436 is stopping on a more remote tower so I've turned the squelch up to try and filter out the weaker signals. Too early to tell on that.
 

wfncnews

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#20
Even after changing the squelch up to 7 the audio is still choppy even with using the antenna the GRE PSR-500 shows 5 bars with. The BCD436 never shows more than 1 bar and on a very rare occasion, maybe 2.
 
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