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St. Charles County Fire/EMS

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nascarfan999

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#1
I recently returned to the St. Charles area and have been surprised by what I've heard thus far. Has anyone else noticed a large drop in the quality of the signal? In the short time I've monitored thus far, nearly all of the transmissions have been choppy and filled with static. I've noticed it most on the dispatch channel, 154.250, but I have also noticed it on some of the other channels used. I initially thought this may be caused to my setup (small antenna in the basement of a house), but I've tried 4 different antennas, 2 different scanners, and I have even noticed it while mobile in the county. Any ideas/suggestions?

PS On the subject of radio problems, I've also experienced problems with 155.370 (Point-2-Point). I've been experiencing what sounds like an open mic on the frequency. The transmission typically is CSQ, but will sometimes give a PL tone of 103.5. That said, I think this issue may be something within my house or neighborhood as I've only noticed this problem in or immediately around my house. If anyone has a suggestion on this issue as well, it would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Wentzville, Mo
#2
Im out in Wentzville and I pick up the Fire/EMS stuff clear as a bell. The point to point stuff is iffy depending on whos using it. Its quite possible you are getting interference where you are, there is a ton of xmiters around St. Charles.
 
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#3
The county ems/fire dispatch should come in just fine regardles of your setup. I can pick it up clear and static free from deep into saint louis county. A fix you may try, depending on your scanner model, is to set that frequency to "ct-search"(i believe that is what it is called on my pro96/2096) This will still allow you to hear the tone-outs if you desire, but should also improve the signal quality as your scanner will recognize the ctcss once there are voice transmissions.

There are definetely too many "other devices" out there transmitting for there to be very good signal quality within the county. As some of us discussed in an earlier thread, i have trouble picking up wentzville pd when i'm east of Hwy N on Hwy 40 as well as through a large portion of o'fallon. The signal is crystal clear when i'm as far away as 370 at 270 yet when i'm in LSL or O'Fallon it comes in with a great deal of static and distortion. I believe it was Shaft who figured out that something at a hospital was causing the interference.

I believe i've mentioned in the past, but there are several spots on Mexico Rd between Bryan and Hwy K where it is impossible to run police radar. There is so much interference in the air(probably due to that large cell-phone tower disguised as a flagpole by QT) that it jams and distorts the signal so bad that it won't measure speed.

The point to point issues are more than likely something in or around your home. Every dispatch center has to monitor/transmit on point to point so if there were truly an open mic it would be addressed quickly. My dispatchers go nuts when someone has an open mic on our primary channel, so imagine if everyone in saint charles, lincoln, jefferson, saint louis, warren, franklin, etc had to listen to that?? They would be going ballistic!

I would try playing around with your pl tones and see if that improves anything for you. Beware that programming a PL tone onto a channel which uses tone-outs will prevent you from hearing them as the tones are CSQ and the voice is usually ctcss/dpl.
 

nascarfan999

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#4
Thanks for the replies. As MJ suggested, I believe my P2P troubles are being caused by something either within my house or immediately around (eg within 1-2 houses) of my house, but thought I would see if anyone had a different opinion.

As for the Fire/EMS, I am pretty well stumped. I've monitored them off and on for 2+ years w/o major problems from this location with the same equipment. My two scanners that I use to monitor are a PRO-97 and a PRO-2052. I did have the PL tones locked into my PRO-97, and have taken them out due to mj's comment about it causing problems. However, the 2052 does not support PL tones and I have noticed the same problem on both scanners. My best guess is that there is something in the area similar to the problems experienced at N & 40 causing problems, but I'll keep investigating and see what I can come up with. One last note, as I mentioned in my first post I have tried a total of 4 different antennas with the same result. They include 2 telescopic/rubber duckies, 1 magnet mounted vehicle sized, and 1 TV antenna in the attic of the house. Thanks for the replies.
 

nascarfan999

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#6
I am on the north end of St. Charles, near 370 and 94, so I am a couple miles from St. Joseph East. I don't think my problem is caused by any hospital, but I could be a similar situation to the N & 40 problems where another transmitter is causing problems.
 
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#7
I don't frequent that area (370 at 94) much anymore, but i don't recall ever having any problems there. In fact i use to work off of Jefferson St. in Saint Charles several years ago and never had much issue. That was while using a BCT-8 and a 5/8wave VHF antenna on the car. I've got to say though the radio reception has deteriorated overall throughout the county for some unknown reason. I use a 2096 in my car now but have contemplated going back to the BCT-8 because it seemed to handle interference better. Of course it won't handle pl tones, so while i could more than likely get improvement on some signals, it would surely be worse on others.

It sounds like a filter between your scanner and antenna might be the answer, its possible there is a lot of paging or other sort of transmitting device in your area that is giving you problems. There isn't a cell-phone antenna in your area, namely a nextel tower is there? That could also be a cause of your problems.
 

nascarfan999

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St. Charles, MO
#8
I really wasn't sure who had towers in my area, so I did a quick antenna search through the FCC. Here are the towers within a couple miles of my location:

St. Charles City Tower (appears to be for their trunked system): ~1/2 mile
2 Unknown towers owned by tower companies: ~ 3/4 mile
Boeing's St. Charles plant tower: ~ 1 mile
Cingular/AT&T Tower: ~1 mile
Sprint tower (could be for Sprint, Nextel, or both): ~1 mile

Not sure if any of these could be contributing to my problems or not. I plan on making a trip to St. Peters tomorrow and will take my 97 with me to see how it sounds over there.
 
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Wentzville, Mo
#9
Dont forget you have the airport transmitters about 2 miles from that location as well. I dont know if it would cause the interference, but anythings possible.

I was in that area today and between close call, general scanning, and searching the various bands, I wasnt able to pickup the interference. I did however catch it for the first time exiting onto Wentzville Pkwy from 70. It was one of the County Fire/EMS freqs. Not sure which one as its tagged "unkn" on my scanner.
 
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