• 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

Scanner needs for Oklahoma City

fireguyokc

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
5
Location
Oklahoma City
This may have been asked somewhere else, but I haven't been able to locate an exact answer. I am looking to purchase a new scanner that will allow me to hear Oklahoma City Fire and Police. Can you guys give me your suggestions on what to purchase. I know the City of OKC is on the verge of making the cut over to Phase 2 and want to assure I am able to hear them.

Thanks in advance.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
6,117
Location
Dallas, TX
This may have been asked somewhere else, but I haven't been able to locate an exact answer. I am looking to purchase a new scanner that will allow me to hear Oklahoma City Fire and Police. Can you guys give me your suggestions on what to purchase. I know the City of OKC is on the verge of making the cut over to Phase 2 and want to assure I am able to hear them.

Thanks in advance.
There are a number of Phase II capable scanners available, both in database scanners as well as non-database.

Looking at your upcoming new system in the database, it is a simulcast system. See the linked article for a more complete explanation about simulcast issues, and what work-arounds may help to mitigate the problems. Unidens SDS series scanners (SDS100 handheld, SDS200 base/mobile) are generally the best choices if simulcast is an issue. Some people, instead, purchase one of the Unication pagers. These are not true scanners, in that they do not have all the features and capabilities of scanners, and can only monitor one site at a time. But they are reported to be almost 'simulcast proof' compared to most scanners.

You probably would get a better suggestion if you request that your thread to the Oklahoma forum. There, you'd more like hear from users in that area, as to what works, or does not work, for them. To do that, do not create a new thread. Instead, click on the Report in the lower left corner of one of your posts, and request that a moderator move your thread to the state forum. Someone in the area would be more likely to see it there.
 

N5XPM

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
37
Location
Marble Falls, Texas
There are a number of Phase II capable scanners available, both in database scanners as well as non-database.

Looking at your upcoming new system in the database, it is a simulcast system. See the linked article for a more complete explanation about simulcast issues, and what work-arounds may help to mitigate the problems. Unidens SDS series scanners (SDS100 handheld, SDS200 base/mobile) are generally the best choices if simulcast is an issue. Some people, instead, purchase one of the Unication pagers. These are not true scanners, in that they do not have all the features and capabilities of scanners, and can only monitor one site at a time. But they are reported to be almost 'simulcast proof' compared to most scanners.

You probably would get a better suggestion if you request that your thread to the Oklahoma forum. There, you'd more like hear from users in that area, as to what works, or does not work, for them. To do that, do not create a new thread. Instead, click on the Report in the lower left corner of one of your posts, and request that a moderator move your thread to the state forum. Someone in the area would be more likely to see it there.
Steve's (hiegtx) responses were spot on.
Feedback from the Oklahoma forum is the best source, but I would go with one of Steve's 3 recommendations (SDS 100, SDS 200 or Unicaiton G4/G5) at the beginning, rather than saving a few dollars now and being disappointed almost immediately.
 

IAmSixNine

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,519
Location
Dallas, TX
If money is not an issue the BK KNG2-P800 is a great radio as well. Not as much flexibility as the scanner but its capability to RX only via software (no worrying about system affiliation or bricking radios) makes it much better then an APX.
 

simpilo

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
504
Location
Oklahoma City,OK
Thanks for the feed back guys! I’ll also request to have it moved to the Oklahoma Forum.
I dont own one but based on other users I will have to recommend HomePatrol Series Scanner

It is all ready for Oklahoma City's new system being built by default without buying additional features. If you want to listen to the current EDACS Provoice system you will need to buy the additional Provoice add-on for it. Buying direct from Uniden is cheaper than Scannermaster.

If cost is a issue then use RTL-SDR
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
6,117
Location
Dallas, TX
I dont own one but based on other users I will have to recommend HomePatrol Series Scanner

It is all ready for Oklahoma City's new system being built by default without buying additional features. If you want to listen to the current EDACS Provoice system you will need to buy the additional Provoice add-on for it. Buying direct from Uniden is cheaper than Scannermaster.

If cost is a issue then use RTL-SDR
To be clear, while Uniden includes the database scanners in the BCDx36HP and SDS series as being in the 'Home Patrol series', most people take that to refer only to the HP-1 or HP-2. While I own both the HP-1 & HP-2, and use them daily, an HP-2 would not be a good choice if simulcast might be an issue. Also, in the OKC area, Midwest City is using NXDN. If that city is also an interest, neither 'original' Home Patrol model can be upgraded to the additional formats of the later series. While the 436HP or 536HP can be effective in some simulcast locations, if the issue is severe, then the better choices would be the SDS100 or SDS200. Or, one of the Unication pagers, but that would be limited to pretty much the new system, not agencies retaining Vhf or Uhf channel usage. Someone in the OKC metro area, closer to the OPs neighborhood, may have a better handle on how much simulcast impacts their monitoring.
 

simpilo

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
504
Location
Oklahoma City,OK
To be clear, while Uniden includes the database scanners in the BCDx36HP and SDS series as being in the 'Home Patrol series', most people take that to refer only to the HP-1 or HP-2. While I own both the HP-1 & HP-2, and use them daily, an HP-2 would not be a good choice if simulcast might be an issue. Also, in the OKC area, Midwest City is using NXDN. If that city is also an interest, neither 'original' Home Patrol model can be upgraded to the additional formats of the later series. While the 436HP or 536HP can be effective in some simulcast locations, if the issue is severe, then the better choices would be the SDS100 or SDS200. Or, one of the Unication pagers, but that would be limited to pretty much the new system, not agencies retaining Vhf or Uhf channel usage. Someone in the OKC metro area, closer to the OPs neighborhood, may have a better handle on how much simulcast impacts their monitoring.
I was educated to know the new system each frequency has it's own tower rather than one tower with multiple frequencies which causes simulcast distortion. Harris does that for various reasons. The ones I know is to reduce simulcast distortion and if one repeater has a problem then the redundancy kicks in and it's a fluid switch. All frequencies in the PII system have been setup as alternate control frequencies. Still will be some simulcast distortion but not as much. I dont feel its good to recommend a pricey radio if the lesser will work fine.
 

simpilo

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
504
Location
Oklahoma City,OK
Thanks. So you think the 536HP would be a sound choice?
That is subjective. APCO P25 PII will be new here in the metro. We don't know. I haven't heard any simulcast distortion on the test system. I am using 1 RTL-SDR dongle and DSDPlus Fastlane v2.186. I suggest you ask around in other forums with APCO P25 PII TDMA systems intact in use for a good time. Ask them about their experience in simulcast distortion. This seems like a case of "your mileage may vary". Don't rush to your decision in buying. Make sure you know what you want.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
6,117
Location
Dallas, TX
I was educated to know the new system each frequency has it's own tower rather than one tower with multiple frequencies which causes simulcast distortion. Harris does that for various reasons. The ones I know is to reduce simulcast distortion and if one repeater has a problem then the redundancy kicks in and it's a fluid switch. All frequencies in the PII system have been setup as alternate control frequencies. Still will be some simulcast distortion but not as much. I dont feel its good to recommend a pricey radio if the lesser will work fine.
"Each frequency using it own tower" is not an adequate explanation of a simulcast system. If that were the case, a frequency only inhabiting a tower on the east side of the county may not be accessible on the west side, or other sections. In order for a simulcast system to work as designed, to eliminate or at least reduce the number of dead spots, or areas with marginal coverage, the same signal is carried on the same frequency, spread across the simulcast system sites, at the same time. That's true for a simulcast system, regardless of manufacturer. One local, Harris, system, Metrocrest, had multiple issues in getting up and operating correctly. System users could not contact dispatch at times, or vice versa. The member cities were on the verge of cancelling the changeover, when, after meeting with senior Harris personnel, operation was brought to an acceptable level. I have not seen notes of any recent problems with the system, and another local, Harris built, system (Rockwall County) has not had any reported issues that I've seen noted locally.

Yes, Harris systems have long been noted as potentially using any of the system frequencies as control channels, not just the designated handful that Motorola systems use. But that has nothing to do with their approach to simulcast coverage.

Thanks. So you think the 536HP would be a sound choice?
As already noted, unless and until the system is fully operational, simulcast issues (if any) may not be apparent. My 436HP (the handheld sibling to the 536HP) works reasonably well in some of the more problematic simulcast areas here in the DFW Metro area, but the SDS series, or one of the Unication pagers, are the best choice for the worst areas. Simulcast issues can be unpredictable. In some cases, they can be addressed by simply moving the scanner to a slightly different location. In others, you may need to consider a directional antenna. Or, you may not have a problem at all. That's what can be frustrating.
 

toad99

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
56
Location
Oklahoma City
I am in far NW Oklahoma City. At the present time, using my 436 and 536, they both work great, except the simulcast distortion on the analog OKWIN system OKC site is terrible. I use a directional yagi antenna to eliminate the simulcast distortion for this system. I have yet to hear any problems with the OKC Provoice system, even though it is also simulcast (other than the wild volume variations and the fire department dispatcher that thinks he is talking on a CB radio). My SDS100 is actually worse on the OKWIN system than the 436 as far as the simulcast distortion is concerned (I think it's mainly an audio frequency response issue in the 100). A lot of the time this system is almost unlistenable on the 100. No filter settings, modulation settings, ifx or any other thing helps. My SDS200 is also connected to the directional antenna. Maybe when everything goes digital, the yagi won't be needed. Also, my reception on OKWIN for the Guthrie site is always great (not simulcast).
 

simpilo

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
504
Location
Oklahoma City,OK
Some official confirmation from a official source with public domain documents. When to expect P25 PII to be online. Hoping Fire Station #4 tower build will complete in time or they lose the license.

I found something interesting under the callsign WPYJ314. A letter from Project Manager Jim Moore for the City of Oklahoma City. The letter states everything is done in the system except for Fire Station #4 tower build out. They have asked for a extension to Jul 15 , 2019. The document is available at https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/attachments/attachmentViewRD.jsp?applType=search&fileKey=1210842839&attachmentKey=20526547&attachmentInd=applAttach

Then the FCC sent them a reminder two months later
http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/letterPdf/LetterPdfController?licId=2542440&letterVersionId=74&autoLetterId=10312063&letterCode=CR&radioServiceCode=YE&op=LetterPdf&licSide=Y&archive=null&letterTo=L
 

fredva

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
1,388
Location
Virginia/West Virginia
I was educated to know the new system each frequency has it's own tower rather than one tower with multiple frequencies which causes simulcast distortion.
Um, I'm not sure that's the correct description of what distinguishes a simulcast system from a non-simulcast system.

Do you have a source which says each frequency will only be on one tower? The current FCC license which you cited doesn't show that, but perhaps that is because of the reuse of frequencies from the EDACS system. So I was just wondering if you had a reference showing the transition from EDACS to a non-simulcast P25 system.
 

simpilo

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
Messages
504
Location
Oklahoma City,OK
Um, I'm not sure that's the correct description of what distinguishes a simulcast system from a non-simulcast system.

Do you have a source which says each frequency will only be on one tower? The current FCC license which you cited doesn't show that, but perhaps that is because of the reuse of frequencies from the EDACS system. So I was just wondering if you had a reference showing the transition from EDACS to a non-simulcast P25 system.
I appreciate your doubt on this subject. I sometimes question what I read online. I mention it to see what is actually true or not. I am challenging my knowledge too. Usually helps if others who have experience in monitoring APCO P25 PII TDMA systems. It is possible I may have misread the articles at various Project 25 dedicated websites or misconstrued it. It seems that was the intention of a P25 PII TDMA system to try to mitigate distortion.
It will be hard to in OKC because many areas have rolling hills like downtown area. NW 6TH and Walker is on top of a hill. Move East on NW 6TH ST then your downhill to a small valley then you go uphill toward Broadway. How will that play out? Seems like some signal refraction issues in that area at 850mhz alone can't be mitigated very easily. Thick with buildings.

Part of the project plan was to build additional towers. It came in form of a pdf document. It was Harris Corporation's plan approved by the Project Manager (Jim Morris, phd) and City Council back in 2017. I think I posted it somewhere in "Future of OKC Radio" thread here in the Oklahoma section.
 

fredva

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
1,388
Location
Virginia/West Virginia
Thanks for responding. I certainly don't know all the details about the system being built in OKC. But as someone who has had at least one simulcast system in my area for eight years, here are a couple of points I would like to make:

The number of frequencies on a single tower doesn't determine whether there is simulcast distortion or not. There are lots of radio towers in the country which have multiple frequencies but which are not part of a simulcast system. Rather, simulcast distortion occurs on a digital trunking system when there are two or more towers in an area which all share the same set of frequencies. These towers transmit on the same frequency at the same time.

Simulcast distortion is primarily a problem for scanner owners listening to digital systems due to the need to decode those signals.

There is little incentive for providers of public safety radio systems to eliminate simulcast distortion because the commercial radios used on these systems are made to handle simulcast environments. Rather, there is an incentive to build a simulcast system because it reduces the number of frequencies the jurisdiction needs when frequencies may be hard to get while still providing significant capacity for multiple users to talk at the same time.

As far as buildings and hills and adding more towers, I'm guessing those are more related to coverage issues rather than the simulcast aspect.
 
Top