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Programming Multi-Site Systems

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ScanFanEd

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#1
Just curious, in general, how most of us program large multi-site systems. Do you generally just select the site or two that you are mostly in the area of, or do you select all sites so that they should come into play in the event that you are in another area? Examples would be the ARMER system in MN, the San Diego County System and CCCS System in Orange County. Generally best to just select a couple of sites or is there an advantage/disadvantage to selecting all?

Thanks!
 

troymail

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#2
Might depend on which radio you have/are using and/or configuration.

For my home area/county, the system has 4 sites. I typically program all of them so when I travel around the area, I can use the best site.

In some cases, you could potentially hear additional/different activity on other sites.

In other cases, there are sites that carry little or no voice traffic.

For my Whistlers (which tend to select the best site of what you have programmed for you), I tend to import a system, lockout all but one site of that system, and assign the talkgroups to a scanlist. Then, I'll duplicate the system - one time for each site - and assign the talkgroups to a different scanlist. This way, I can decide which site (or sites) I want to monitor at any given time.

For some Whistlers (and GRE models), you can program multiple sites and tell the radio to check each site as if they are different systems.

For newer Unidens like the 436 and 536, the scanner will try to scan all of the sites you have programmed unless you take steps to control that (i.e. location control with zip code or GPS, create separate favorites lists, etc.).
 

ShyFlyer

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#3
What I did, back in those dark times before I had integrated GPS, was split up a multi-site statewide system by county, creating little "mini-systems."

For example, I split up the Colorado DTRS system by including only the sites that served a particular county. "Pueblo DTRS" as I called it would only include sites within the county.

The disadvantage of this, of course, was that at any given time, I was not in reception range of all the sties, so the scanner wasted time listening for a site that was too far away.
 

troymail

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#4
What I did, back in those dark times before I had integrated GPS, was split up a multi-site statewide system by county, creating little "mini-systems."

For example, I split up the Colorado DTRS system by including only the sites that served a particular county. "Pueblo DTRS" as I called it would only include sites within the county.

The disadvantage of this, of course, was that at any given time, I was not in reception range of all the sties, so the scanner wasted time listening for a site that was too far away.
Even with GPS, I find many times the radio trying to scan sites it can't receive (even with valid/reasonable site range values and a radio range of 0.0) - of course, that varies depending upon the system(s) you monitor.
 

ShyFlyer

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#5
That is largely going to depend upon your antenna, geography, and the ranges in the RR database. The default 25 mile range for sites in the RR database are sometimes too much, and occasionally too little.

I've had to reduce the those values for many of the CO-DTRS sites in the Denver Metro
 

troymail

Silent Key
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#6
That is largely going to depend upon your antenna, geography, and the ranges in the RR database. The default 25 mile range for sites in the RR database are sometimes too much, and occasionally too little.

I've had to reduce the those values for many of the CO-DTRS sites in the Denver Metro
Agree - and there's lots of issues like that (or worse). I found a DOD system on a trip last week that the 436 was trying to scan but it didn't make sense -- I got home and researched and found several sites site to a range of 1600 miles (this was a good reminder to submit a problem report/correction for that system!).... Most times I check this before my trips but obviously, not always.

However, we're a bit off the original topic/question -- I think the point is - it depends -- you really have to experiment for the system you are monitoring.
 

ofd8001

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#7
As a frequent visitor to Minnesota (two different areas), here is how I do it. I only listen to the sites that are in and immediately adjacent to, the county where I am. Attempting to listen to the many other sites is horribly inefficient and many transmissions will be missed.


ARMER has some 280 sites and assume an average of 5 frequencies per site, it would be similar to monitoring 1,400 conventional frequencies (probably more) that are not transmitting.


Before GPS or zip code scanning, I would set each of the two areas I visited on their own Quick Keys, so just the relevant sites would be scanned.
 
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PA
#8
With location control properly configured (correct location an service range set for each system site), the best approach is to program the entire system, and give the scanner an accurate notion of your location, preferably via GPS. It eliminates the need to program multiple instances of large systems, which need to be updated separately. That gets cumbersome quickly.
 
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