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Help with new BCD396XT

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tvsteve

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Greetings, new member here but lurking for years. Posted this in the NY Forum but that might be the wrong place for this help. Since then I have made some progress. I an trying to receive the SaratogaCntyPubl P25 system. I downloaded SaratogaCntyPubl into Freescan, set and enabled quick keys and uploaded to radio. Type is P25 Standard (Digital XT). I Over an hour scanning I did get a garbled partial transmission. When scanning I get 2-3 bars on control channels. Also I set CC output on and tried Pro96Com, after setting the baud rate to 115200 I was able to receive data and indicated multiple hits to many talkgroups. While scanning I can see it stop on a group and it gives a " finding ctrl chan" and still no audio. Other settings are, P25 adjust mode-3, Adjust Level-50. Location is Ballston Lake, NY. Any help would be appreciated.
 

ka3jjz

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Without seeing the programming it's impossible to say whether there's an issue, but the low signal strength is not helping matters. At least with my 396T (yes, older model), you're going to find you need at least 3 bars (or better) to even begin to get a reliable decode.

Time for a better antenna - and I would also consider trying to use a site that's geographically closer to you. How are you using the scanner - indoors, outdoors, in a car, can you put up antennas, etc. -

Much more information needed. best regards..Mike
 

tvsteve

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Without seeing the programming it's impossible to say whether there's an issue, but the low signal strength is not helping matters. At least with my 396T (yes, older model), you're going to find you need at least 3 bars (or better) to even begin to get a reliable decode.

Time for a better antenna - and I would also consider trying to use a site that's geographically closer to you. How are you using the scanner - indoors, outdoors, in a car, can you put up antennas, etc. -

Much more information needed. best regards..Mike
Mike, thanks for the reply. I have the closest 2 sites programmed in ( aprox 5-10 miles away) and finding the best spot in the house I can get 3-4 bars fading down to 1 at times. I wanted to use this as a portable with a duck antenna. I don't have any 800Mhz outdoor antennas and my old discone can only produce 2 bars. I did get some traffic at 3 bars so I don't think it's a programming issue. Also Pro96Com receive rate is 5-15%. I'm going to a local Hamfest Saturday and hope someone has a radio I can compare it to.

Steve
N2PTJ
 

hertzian

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Also doublecheck your squelch setting to see if it has been accidentally set too high.

I hate to admit it, but when I first got my 396, I got into a frenzied state of exploration, and when trying to adjust the volume, ended up cranking up the squelch instead since the function key was active from my previous playing around. Problem was, I realized my mistake and got the volume to work, but forgot to crank the squelch back down properly.

Days later when I was about to return the unit, did I realize my mistake. :)
 

ka3jjz

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Comparing it to a 'real radio' is an unreliable method to debug anything in this case. Moto radios have tuned front ends and are usually better performers than any scanner, no matter how good.

Since you said you get some traffic at a 3-bar strength, and the fact that Pro96Com is getting such a low signal rate, clearly a better antenna is needed, assuming that you aren't too far away from a site to get a good signal. Discones generally don't do well on 800 mhz anyway. As a portable, I would look at a tuned duckie such as the RS 800 mhz model, which I understand works very well. As a base, it might well be that a little beam is called for here.

I don't know much about the Saratoga system, but if they are running low power and/or concentrating their signal in a specific direction (the system in Philadelphia is a case in point), you're going to have problems getting them reliably if you're outside their coverage window. Another factor that may hit you is simulcast distortion; an article that describes the issue is below...

Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

Finally, if this is one of those newer systems that Moto is using LSM modulation, the Unidens simply don't do well with this. Here in Maryland, Baltimore city is using it and folks are having a good deal of trouble with it. Baltimore county is going in that direction in a year or two, and I understand that Moto is using this modulation scheme on a number of their new systems.

Just for winks and grins, try finding a spot - maybe in town - where you get a better signal strength and see what happens.

73 Mike
 
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ka3jjz

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Another oft-underused tool to finding a site that has coverage in your area is the database itself. Click on the site name, and you should go to another form that has a coverage map that, I think, is based on FCC data (not as good as a plotted map with signal levels, I know, but hey it's something). If none of the sites show a coverage area that includes yours, you know where your problem lies without further investigation

best regards..Mike
 

tvsteve

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Aug 17, 2003
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Location
Ballston Lake, NY
Another oft-underused tool to finding a site that has coverage in your area is the database itself. Click on the site name, and you should go to another form that has a coverage map that, I think, is based on FCC data (not as good as a plotted map with signal levels, I know, but hey it's something). If none of the sites show a coverage area that includes yours, you know where your problem lies without further investigation

best regards..Mike
I'll take a look at that. I'm in the center of a county wide system. I put up a roof antenna and with 4-5 bars still garbled and missing 75% of the traffic.
 

UPMan

Uniden Representative
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Actually, with that Yagi, you'd do better to keep it horizontal and aim it at the nearest tower (to minimize multipath). Also, if you are really in Albany (your location setting), you are well outside the system's intended coverage, which could contribute to reception challenges.
 
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tvsteve

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Ballston Lake, NY
Actually, with that Yagi, you'd do better to keep it horizontal and aim it at the nearest tower (to minimize multipath). Also, if you are really in Albany (your location setting), you are well outside the system's intended coverage, which could contribute to reception challenges.
I'm in Ballston Lake, just off exit10. I can flip it back to horizontal an give it a try. I have 4-5 bars and in an hour I heard 2 messages. Pro96Com sees a ton of talk group hits. Will change the profile.
 

tvsteve

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Ballston Lake, NY
Actually, with that Yagi, you'd do better to keep it horizontal and aim it at the nearest tower (to minimize multipath). Also, if you are really in Albany (your location setting), you are well outside the system's intended coverage, which could contribute to reception challenges.
Changed to H and only got 3 bars. Will find out tomorrow just what sites are working. Thanks for the help.
 

tvsteve

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Ballston Lake, NY
At my location, on a scale of 0-100 the 396XT gives a 10, the RS 106 gives a 0. Looks like I'm at a dead end trying to receive this system at my location. A combination of multi path and the trees surrounding my location kill a usable signal. Looks like a return is in order and I'll stick to analog for as long as it's transmitted.
 

Viper43

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also might have better luck when the leaves fall....unless of course they are pine trees, not much you can do then other than get the chain saw out and momma and/or the neighbors might get upset about that.
 

tvsteve

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Ballston Lake, NY
also might have better luck when the leaves fall....unless of course they are pine trees, not much you can do then other than get the chain saw out and momma and/or the neighbors might get upset about that.
Lots of pine, 120ft pine, 10 of those helped keep me warm last winter and 5 cord seasoning for next year. I burn pine during the day saving the hard wood for overnight. Properly seasoned and burnt hot theres no creosote buildup. Still trying to get this digital to work. Looks like multipath is my biggest problem. In located 5 miles north of the CP tower and 21 miles south of Spruce Mountain and a bunch of trees to mix it all up.
 
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