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Scanners for Loudoun County

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ka3jjz

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If you want to hear this...

Loudoun County Trunking System, Ashburn, Virginia - Scanner Frequencies

The PSR-800 from GRE is the only one currently able to do it; assuming Loudoun is using the X2 TDMA version much like PG county Maryland is. All the other trunktrackers will only hear on this system *if* a particular user affiliates with the system in FDMA mode; if they use TDMA, you simply won't hear it.

best regards..Mike
 

j2brown

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Be warned that even with the PSR-800 you won't be able to hear, or rather understand, a fair amount of radio traffic.

Listen to the LCSO feed - Loudoun County Sheriff's Dispatch Live Scanner Audio Feed (at least until they get it fixed) to hear what it could sound like.

That being said there are things you can do to improve the quality, but so far that has been location dependent. Browse around the forums for information from other folks who face the same issues, or ask questions here and see if the brain trust can help you out.

jeff
sdg
 

thefireguy07

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PSR 800/LCSO feed

The PSR-800 will work.But it will take some tinkering with settings. volumes, position, antenna, the list goes on. Unless you live near a site, it will take some work. I recommend it to anyone wanting to monitor TDMA or someone looking for a new scanner. It works very well for the surrounding jurisdictions and is easy to use if your new to the game.

Until now I had everything except positioning correct.(live between 2 towers)
I seem to be getting 95%+ of the traffic, but will know for sure when the system is being used.

Here are some things I have done so far:
-Deleted all but the control channel
-800 mhz antenna(radio shack)
-AGC/DAC adjustments
-decible adjustments for decoding

Also running it through digital voice filtering and equalizing software will do the trick with audio issues(last resort, this is cheating...)


***LCSO Dispatch Feed***

Waiting to see how well it receives today and will take it from there.
If it works I will gladly share a more specific list of what I did if your interested.
If not , I will keep going until it works.
Like stated in feed description, the active talkgroups are
-Dulles Dispatch
-Dulles Tac
-Sterling Dispatch(priority)
-Sterling Tac
 

brownlab

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Be warned that even with the PSR-800 you won't be able to hear, or rather understand, a fair amount of radio traffic.

Listen to the LCSO feed - Loudoun County Sheriff's Dispatch Live Scanner Audio Feed (at least until they get it fixed) to hear what it could sound like.

That being said there are things you can do to improve the quality, but so far that has been location dependent. Browse around the forums for information from other folks who face the same issues, or ask questions here and see if the brain trust can help you out.

jeff
sdg
I think the trick for Loudoun reception (at least for me) is to get a 800 MHz Antenna with an adjustable elbow that allows you to adjust the angle of the antenna 90 degrees. When I get a gabled transmission, slighly adjusting the angle of the attenna seems to take care of that issue. I had my PRS 800 running from 5 AM to 11 PM yesterday and I would say that 98% of the traffic was clear. However some days I have to adjust the angle of the antenna serveal times, other days none at all.
 

gcgrotz

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Sounds like multipath, remember analog tv with shadows and ghosts? Same thing but it distorts digital signals to the point of degraded decoding, there can only be a certain error rate before it gives up.

At 800 MHz and above, changing polarization can make a big difference, maybe as much as 20 db. Since the base station antenna is vertical, by tilting the antenna you reduce the signal, and also the level of the reflections. Most cellular and PCS directional antennas now use a cross polarized 45 degree tilt antenna to compromise between vertical and horizontal signals coming from those little tiny transmitters known as phones. Public safety users are generally vertical and omnidirectional.
 

j2brown

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Yes, it's multipath exacerbated by the strong signal strength overwhelming the scanner.

jeff
sdg
 

n4knw

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Loudoun County, VA
Thanks for all of the advice. I do have a couple of questions.

(1) Where are towers located for the county system (I'm fairly close to the interchange of Cascades Pkwy/Route 7)? Am I near anything?

(2) I listen to the LCFR feed here, it appears its getting a lot of the traffic (if not all), is that correct?

(3) Assume most of the comments are valid for listening mobile as well (already have an antenna mount on the car for this)?

Thanks again for the comments.
 

c5corvette

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Sounds like multipath, remember analog tv with shadows and ghosts? Same thing but it distorts digital signals to the point of degraded decoding, there can only be a certain error rate before it gives up.

At 800 MHz and above, changing polarization can make a big difference, maybe as much as 20 db. Since the base station antenna is vertical, by tilting the antenna you reduce the signal, and also the level of the reflections. Most cellular and PCS directional antennas now use a cross polarized 45 degree tilt antenna to compromise between vertical and horizontal signals coming from those little tiny transmitters known as phones. Public safety users are generally vertical and omnidirectional.
Loudoun is now TDMA, LSM, CQPSK - three 'bad words' that make multipath a horrible nightmare for scanners.

Also, before they upgraded to the new system, Loudoun was one the few counties in the area using directional antennas. If they are still using the same antennas on the new system, that just makes it more difficult for the hobbyist.

I have actually had a yagi pointed in the opposite direction of the tower give me best reception on this system.
 

c5corvette

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Thanks for all of the advice. I do have a couple of questions.

(1) Where are towers located for the county system (I'm fairly close to the interchange of Cascades Pkwy/Route 7)? Am I near anything?

(2) I listen to the LCFR feed here, it appears its getting a lot of the traffic (if not all), is that correct?

(3) Assume most of the comments are valid for listening mobile as well (already have an antenna mount on the car for this)?

Thanks again for the comments.
You can research the locations online -- I'd say you are sort of between two of them -- the one at the firehouse at Cascades and the one just south west of Claude Moore Farm Park. Note that "fairly close" can make a difference. The interchage you mention is iff-y but two blocks west near the movie theatre is a perfect location for good reception.

Suffice to say, the LCFR feed is in a location that is not subject to multipath - you are hearing everything on that feed.

Listening mobile varies as you drive around - but if you have a PSR-800 you drive around with, the best suggestion I can offer is hook it up to an old glass mount cellular antenna and thats about the best reception possible!!!
 

brownlab

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Sounds like multipath, remember analog tv with shadows and ghosts? Same thing but it distorts digital signals to the point of degraded decoding, there can only be a certain error rate before it gives up.

At 800 MHz and above, changing polarization can make a big difference, maybe as much as 20 db. Since the base station antenna is vertical, by tilting the antenna you reduce the signal, and also the level of the reflections. Most cellular and PCS directional antennas now use a cross polarized 45 degree tilt antenna to compromise between vertical and horizontal signals coming from those little tiny transmitters known as phones. Public safety users are generally vertical and omnidirectional.
I have been meaning to thank you and everybody else for the explanation. Yes just a slight titlt of the antenna makes a big difference
 

thefireguy07

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Sheriff Scanner Feed

I am going out tonight to get 2 different antennas to try. I have been unable to play with it lately due to work and other commitments. I am hoping within the next week or even tonight to have it up and running. Until then I have VA Local stars talk groups up. Fairfax(66 95 and 495 as well) and all of Loudoun and Prince William. You occasionally hear Richmond and other random area in the states as well. It is a great way to monitor the traffic for rush hour LOL.

It may not be possible to broadcast the Loudoun feed from my house due to the location, but I have a few ideas and possibly another location to run the feed from.

The most success ive had is actually bending the 800 mhz antenna slightly to resolve the signal issue. Thanks Jeff. But depending on the weather and other things(even sitting at my computer) play a factor on me. Most of the times i am only decoding 70-80 percent of the audio. Which is not good at all. Cant wait until Rosetta stone comes out with how to speak p25 phase 2. Then this wont be a problem :).
 

thefireguy07

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Scanner for loudoun

Using an 800mhz miniature cellular antenna, it seems that the signalling issues have been dealt with. I'm going to leave my house now. It usually stops working when I do that, so i'm keeping my fingers crossed. It started working the moment I connected the antenna. This may be the way to go, at least if your having issues in the sterling park area.

-Ronnie
 

brownlab

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I had to send my 800 to GRE because the USB port is not working so I really appreciate that the LCSO site is up and running (that was the one thing that I did not like about the 800, the fact that you program and power through the same port). That said I never thought that I was getting all of the traffic either. Right now I am using the 996XT in conjunction with the live feeds. On most days I can usually pick up Fire 6A and 6D and the Dulles LCSO dispatch on the XT. I am out in the woods and reception is always an issue with me. I am ready to try one of the Diamond Antennas but have not got around to ordering one yet.
 

c5corvette

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I had to send my 800 to GRE because the USB port is not working so I really appreciate that the LCSO site is up and running (that was the one thing that I did not like about the 800, the fact that you program and power through the same port). That said I never thought that I was getting all of the traffic either. Right now I am using the 996XT in conjunction with the live feeds. On most days I can usually pick up Fire 6A and 6D and the Dulles LCSO dispatch on the XT. I am out in the woods and reception is always an issue with me. I am ready to try one of the Diamond Antennas but have not got around to ordering one yet.
I haven't been able to pick up any of the FDMA transmissions on my Uniden's since I upgraded from the T to the XT models.
 

BushDoctor

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Lcfd

I am hearing 46.38 on my desk top scanner in Strasburg U might try to see if any other freq are in use there on low-band for the fire dept to supplement ur PSR800 scanner
 

brownlab

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I haven't been able to pick up any of the FDMA transmissions on my Uniden's since I upgraded from the T to the XT models.
Really? That's interesting. If I recall you are on the other side of the mountain and have a Yagi pointed up this direction. You should get somthing. I am surprised I am picking up as much as I am on the XT. Dulles LCSO dispatch is receiving today plus I was even hearing the Sterling dispatch for a little while. Fairfax Co Fire ran a mutual aid call early this morning so the FDMA kicked in and I was receiving Fire 6B but I think everything has gone back to TDMA.
 

brownlab

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I am hearing 46.38 on my desk top scanner in Strasburg U might try to see if any other freq are in use there on low-band for the fire dept to supplement ur PSR800 scanner
Yes the old reliable 46.380. Comes in on all of my scanners. Acutally, they put out a lot of information on the LCFR dispatch channel and I pretty much also have it programed.
 
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