• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Have I reached the end???

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NewSDScanner

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Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
135
Location
San Diego
So I love scanning and I do it pretty much every day. I've gotten to the point where I listen to all types of law enforcement, fire, and other public safety in my area and I have a house scanner and a car scanner. I recently bought a nice external antenna for my car and mounted it. The antenna is good and it does allow my scanner to pick up farther signals than it could before. Since it has gain, signals seems to be a bit louder and in some cases more real-sounding as well.

However, it also really hasn't improved things as much as I thought it would. In fact, I've noticed that while it has allowed me to pick up farther signals, it has also amplified radio noise. I feel like since the antenna is 3-4x as long, in some cases, there is 3-4x louder or more frequent radio noise.

Since I've installed the antenna, I've noticed numerous times when I've been driving and a transmission is garbled or choppy or even making a "white noise" type of sound like the old TVs when you turned them to a nonexistent channel. I don't want to make it seem like this is ALWAYS happening, because it's not, but I feel like with a bigger antenna for some reason it's actually made things MORE sensitive sometimes.

Having said this, I use a PRO-106 and a GRE PSR-500 (fundamentally the same scanner), is there anything that I can do on the scanner side of things to fix some of these issues other than use the attenuator? Have I reached the official limits of the scanner? Do the public safety radios also sometimes feature some reliability issues or is this just because I'm using a scanner? Thanks.
 

n5ims

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Joined
Jul 25, 2004
Messages
3,676
Scanners can actually have "too much" signal, where the scanner is overloaded and causes distortion and sound really bad. Switching to an antenna with less gain (or using the attenuator) can help. This is especially bad on systems that are setup with multiple towers sending out signals on the same frequencies (called simulcast systems). One of the quirks with picking up a simulcast system on scanners is when this happens it often appears that the issue is too little signal when it's actually too much signal.

You can think of what's happening somewhat like sticking a microphone on your car (one that's not at all directional, but picks up everything from all directions well, like the typical scanner antenna would radio signals) and trying to amplify the sound of folks talking 20 feet from your car. When it's real quiet (other than their conversation) you can hear better with the amp, but when a loud motorcycle drives by you can't hear them at all, just the motorcycle (and associated ringing in your ears from the excessive noise).

Your gain antenna is not only picking up the wanted signals, but also the unwanted ones, which may be overriding those you desire. With an antenna with less gain, you may get lower levels of your wanted signal, but also less on the unwanted ones so there's less chance of them overriding those you desire. (This is somewhat oversimplified, but can help explain what you're seeing.)
 

hertzian

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Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
There is always the chance that you are getting desense / overload / intermod etc while mobile.

You may want to check some of the more common problem areas like FM Broadcast overload, NOAA overload, or pager overload at your sites along the route. You might benefit from filters for those problem areas.

For me, I know that I need at least a PAR FM Broadcast filter in the mobile.

In lieu of filtering, you may also want to try changing your attenuation from "Global" to a "per-channel" basis on the 106/500. This way, you could set up identical scanlists with the same objects, say one for home, and one for mobile with different amounts of attenuation on problem frequencies/objects. You could have several identical scanlists with differing attenuation values - say one for downtown, one for the northern area, etc, and just toggle them as you move around to help combat the problem.

You'll be listening to the same thing if you are at home or while mobile, but just using different scanlists that have differing attenuation on/off for specific channels/objects. It is a little more work toggling the scanlists on and off while driving around, but it might do the trick.
 
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