PSR500/PSR600: Settings for Harris P25 systems

wwhitby

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#1
I live near a Harris P25 system, and my PSR-500 really has a hard time receiving most transmissions. Its not the scanner, since it receives another P25 system perfectly fine.

I've been told that I need to tweek the digital settings to better receive Harris systems. Does anyone know which settings to tweek?
 

djeplett

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#2
I live near a Harris P25 system, and my PSR-500 really has a hard time receiving most transmissions. Its not the scanner, since it receives another P25 system perfectly fine.

I've been told that I need to tweek the digital settings to better receive Harris systems. Does anyone know which settings to tweek?
What's the name of the system you're having a hard time with? Can you give a link to the RadioReference listing? Let's start there.
 

budevans

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#4
Here's a link to the system - https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=2946.

Its a Phase I, P25 system. I'm scanning the simulcast system.

I've tried different antennas, but no luck.
Montgomery Metro Communications Cooperative District

You are trying to monitor a Simulcast system. Which means that every tower on that system handles all of the traffic on that system as one site. Since each tower is a different distance from your location, their transmissions arrive at different times. The audio is probably garbled.

Typically the best option is to get a directional antenna and point it at one of the towers. But, from your location it looks like their are two towers very close together. It may be tough to isolate one.

Here's a picture of what I am seeing. A directional antenna is your best bet. You will have to experiment to find a direction where it gets one tower stronger than the others. That should clean up your receive. But there are no guarantees.
 

Attachments

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#5
I live near a Harris P25 system, and my PSR-500 really has a hard time receiving most transmissions. Its not the scanner, since it receives another P25 system perfectly fine.

I've been told that I need to tweek the digital settings to better receive Harris systems. Does anyone know which settings to tweek?
I've tried tweaking all the various digital settings and nothing helps with simulcast distortion on the PSR-500/600 scanners. The best thing you can do is move the scanner around to find a better spot or use a directional antenna as suggested. Sometimes placing it off to one side of a metal object (computer tower, etc.) can help as well.

Shawn
 

djeplett

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#6
As the others stated, simulcast distortion is almost positively your problem.

I have a simulcast system near me. I tried changing settings on my PSR-500. No go. Tried using a beam antenna and tried pointing it in all 360 degrees. Some days I could get about 80% of the transmissions. Then changing absolutely nothing, the next day it would be worse than 25%. I bought a TRX-1 and experimented with the settings. Never got any better.

I finally gave up and learned how to program a Motorola XTS3000 for no affiliate scanning and now I have 100% decode all the time with just a stock rubber duck.

I hope you have better luck. The manufacturer of the system has absolutely nothing to do with your radio being able to decode it. A simulcast system is a simulcast system. Period.
 

budevans

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#7
All Harris Freq's are CC's

I live near a Harris P25 system, and my PSR-500 really has a hard time receiving most transmissions. Its not the scanner, since it receives another P25 system perfectly fine.

I've been told that I need to tweek the digital settings to better receive Harris systems. Does anyone know which settings to tweek?
There is one unique difference with Harris verses Motorola P25. You must enter all of the frequencies as Control Channels (CC's).
 

djeplett

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#8
my PSR-500 really has a hard time receiving most transmissions
If he isn't receiving anything at all or suddenly stops receiving anything then you are correct, budevans.

In this case, putting all the frequencies in as control channels won't help him.
 
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#9
Harris systems are notoriously hard to handle, this is a lsm system with all frequencies primary control channels (red) you will benefit from a unication g4 or a sds100 when it comes out. How old is this system? Im surprised its not p2
 
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#10
Another simulcast receive option

If you have an old desktop or laptop sitting around not doing much you could try your hand at a software program called OP-25. It requires a Linux operating system, but a lot of work has been done in the last couple of years to make installation easy and now even has a web front-end. It handles simulcast systems perfectly, both Phase 1 and 2. I've been using it for a few years on a 10-site P25 system with an omni-directional antenna. The latest version uses scripts to simplify the installation, taking only about 10 to 15 minutes to install. There's a very long discussion under the Software Defined Radio Section (running P25 in a virtual machine). It's best to start at the last page and work you way backwards to get the latest information. If you already have a computer to use your only cost would be for the SDR dongle ($25) and an adapter for your antenna ($10). The hardest part is tweaking the trunk.tsv file and developing a startup command with the appropriate parameters, but once it's working it will do what you need.

As the previous poster mentioned, your other option is to purchase a Unication G4 or G5. The G4 (700/800 MHz only) currently sells for $565 (current running an offer that includs phase 2 for free). The G5 runs about $100 more with the choice of VHF or UHF bands. The Unication is specifically designed to operate on simulcast systems so it also has perfect decodes. The Uniden SDS100 should be released this summer and claims to decode simulcast, but it will probably be the most expensive of your various options. Unlike OP-25 and Unication, the SDS100 is an actual scanner.
 
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wwhitby

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#11
Harris systems are notoriously hard to handle, this is a lsm system with all frequencies primary control channels (red) you will benefit from a unication g4 or a sds100 when it comes out. How old is this system? Im surprised its not p2
It was partially converted to P25 Phase I system from a mixed analog and ProVoice EDACS system several years ago. I say partially because part of the original EDACS system is still up and running - I heard that some users didn't have the funds to convert to P25.

I want to thank everyone that responded. I do have the dreaded LSM/simulcast issue. Unfortunately, I do not have the money for a Unication or for the new Uniden SDS scanner. The last 10 years have not been good financially and money for scanners is non existant.... I did think of getting a used Kenwood P25 Phase I radio and programming in the site frequencies in conventional mode and scanning them manually like I did 25 years ago to listen to trunked systems.

If you have an old desktop or laptop sitting around not doing much you could try your hand at a software program called OP-25. It requires a Linux operating system, but a lot of work has been done in the last couple of years to make installation easy and now even has a web front-end.
I may have to give that a try. Its not a portable solution, but its better than nothing. My son has a spare SDR dongle sitting around that he doesn't use. I'll take a look at that thread - thanks!!
 

djeplett

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#12
I did think of getting a used Kenwood P25 Phase I radio and programming in the site frequencies in conventional mode and scanning them manually like I did 25 years ago to listen to trunked systems.
This won't work well either since the voice channels are simulcast as well as the control channel. It's not that the radio can't follow the control channel well... it can't follow any of it well.

I recommend the SDR route. Your least cost and best chance for success.
 

djeplett

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#13
Actually, I take that back IF the Kenwood radio is capable of LSM. If it can only do C4FM then you're probably out of luck.

I'm not familiar with Kenwood's P25 radio lineup to tell you which ones can do both.
 
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#14
SDR dongle

Quote:
I may have to give that a try. Its not a portable solution, but its better than nothing. My son has a spare SDR dongle sitting around that he doesn't use. I'll take a look at that thread - thanks!!

If you're going to try OP-25 my recommendation is to avoid using an old SDR stick. You would have better results by purchasing a new one with a 0.5 PPM TCXO spec Otherwise, you'll have an uphill battle trying to get it to work since the PPM of a non-TXCO dongle can run +- 60 PPM. I have two of the TXCO versions and I don't have to adjust the PPM setting on either one of them. They only cost about $25 on Amazon. I also bought a cheap $10 omni-directional antenna with a SMA connector and magnetic base. In my house, I put the antenna on an old cookie baking sheet to provide a usable ground plane. It works well enough for the system I monitor.
 
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#15
As the previous poster mentioned, your other option is to purchase a Unication G4 or G5. The G4 (700/800 MHz only) currently sells for $565 (current running an offer that includs phase 2 for free). The G5 runs about $100 more with the choice of VHF or UHF bands. The Unication is specifically designed to operate on simulcast systems so it also has perfect decodes. The Uniden SDS100 should be released this summer and claims to decode simulcast, but it will probably be the most expensive of your various options. Unlike OP-25 and Unication, the SDS100 is an actual scanner.[/QUOTE]

Hmm, I called Scanner Master to order me a G5 to receive a Harris / GE system and was told it will not work. I am having the same trouble also. If the G5 will receive A harris 800 system I will order me one. Can some one verify.

Amos
 
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#16
i use a G5 VHF on the Parma Ohio Harris P-25 Phase-1 800 MHZ System works just fine BETTER than my TRX-2 Scanner just enter all the Channels because a Harris System is STRANGE the Control Channel can be any one of them.
 

Thunderknight

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#17
Hmm, I called Scanner Master to order me a G5 to receive a Harris / GE system and was told it will not work. I am having the same trouble also. If the G5 will receive A harris 800 system I will order me one. Can some one verify.
Was it a Harris P25 system or a Harris EDACS system? It will NOT do EDACS.
But have a G5 monitoring a single site (non-simulcast) Harris P25 system and it works fine on that particular system.
 

Spitfire8520

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#19
Hmm, I called Scanner Master to order me a G5 to receive a Harris / GE system and was told it will not work. I am having the same trouble also. If the G5 will receive A harris 800 system I will order me one. Can some one verify.
Since you said "Harris / GE system", I assume you're talking about Denver EDACS. The G5 will not work with Denver right now, but it will work with Denver sometime late this year or early next year when they move to a Motorola P25 system. It would require Phase 2 and DPD likely can't be monitored.
 
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