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TxWarn P25 Programming Preference

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Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
225
Location
Houston, Tx
#1
I have been trying to improve my reception of this particular system. I have tried several programming methods to try to keep from missing transmissions. . Right now I have all the frequencies programmed including voice channels. BTW I am using a BCD536HP with a procomm mobile antenna attached to my vehicles trunk. It seems that my signal will drop out from time to time and I will miss part of the transmissions coming through or they will drop out completely. I also noticed that if I hold on a talk group the signal stays at its max. Is there anyone on here that monitors this particular system that would like to share the way they have it setup? Would you recommend that I program only cc and alternate cc or is it better to program all like I have at the moment? Any advise is appreciated.


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Joined
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Messages
397
Location
Lafayette, LA
#2
Sounds like it might be cell site interference. Cell sites use 800 MHz for voice and 700 MHz for 4G LTE data. From what I have observed from the many miles I drive every year is that some sites seem to interfere with scanner reception very badly and some seem to have very little effect. Some of the sites in my home town that used to make my scanner go completely deaf if you were within about 2/3 of a mile of them now do not interfere with my scanner at all and they are still used by the A carrier like they were when they used to interfere. Makes me wonder if they installed better equipment or maybe filters. I have driven through the 40 mile or so wide Houston metro area on I-10 while monitoring the TX WARN system with very little cell site interference unless the site was right next to the side of the highway and I was within a few hundred feet of the site. There were only two sites that interfered with my BCD436HP while on I-10 in Houston and it was only for about 10-15 seconds or so per site. Surprised the hell out of me that I got over 95 percent good coverage there when you consider the dense RF environment in a crazy metro area like Houston. Conversely I have driven down TX Hwy 71 from Columbus to Palacios and down Hwy 36 from Sealy to Rosenberg both of which are very rural drives and I have had BAD cell site interference from those rural cell sites on very tall towers. I mean my scanner was deaf about 50% of the time while on that same TX WARN system and the S meter did this weird thing where it kept bouncing wildly from zero bars to five bars and back like a yo yo. So we are pretty much at the mercy of cellular companies as to whether they will install quality equipment or filters and we are at the mercy of scanner manufacturers as to the quality of the recievers they manufacture. What I want to know is if cell phone manfacturers can make cells phone that dont suffer from overload by frequencies that are adjacent to the ones they are using then why can't scanner manufacturers make a decent scanner that is not overloaded by adjacent frequencies. It can't be that hard to do.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
225
Location
Houston, Tx
#3
Sounds like it might be cell site interference. Cell sites use 800 MHz for voice and 700 MHz for 4G LTE data. From what I have observed from the many miles I drive every year is that some sites seem to interfere with scanner reception very badly and some seem to have very little effect. Some of the sites in my home town that used to make my scanner go completely deaf if you were within about 2/3 of a mile of them now do not interfere with my scanner at all and they are still used by the A carrier like they were when they used to interfere. Makes me wonder if they installed better equipment or maybe filters. I have driven through the 40 mile or so wide Houston metro area on I-10 while monitoring the TX WARN system with very little cell site interference unless the site was right next to the side of the highway and I was within a few hundred feet of the site. There were only two sites that interfered with my BCD436HP while on I-10 in Houston and it was only for about 10-15 seconds or so per site. Surprised the hell out of me that I got over 95 percent good coverage there when you consider the dense RF environment in a crazy metro area like Houston. Conversely I have driven down TX Hwy 71 from Columbus to Palacios and down Hwy 36 from Sealy to Rosenberg both of which are very rural drives and I have had BAD cell site interference from those rural cell sites on very tall towers. I mean my scanner was deaf about 50% of the time while on that same TX WARN system and the S meter did this weird thing where it kept bouncing wildly from zero bars to five bars and back like a yo yo. So we are pretty much at the mercy of cellular companies as to whether they will install quality equipment or filters and we are at the mercy of scanner manufacturers as to the quality of the recievers they manufacture. What I want to know is if cell phone manfacturers can make cells phone that dont suffer from overload by frequencies that are adjacent to the ones they are using then why can't scanner manufacturers make a decent scanner that is not overloaded by adjacent frequencies. It can't be that hard to do.
Most of the time I get great reception when I'm mobile but there are a few areas where the signal will do the yo yo thing. I just hate that I am missing some stuff.You know most the time the scanner drops out is when the dispatcher is giving the location of an incident. Drives me crazy!!! As far as when you programmed the system did you input all frequencies or just the active cc and alt?


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IAmSixNine

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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,439
Location
Dallas, TX
#4
Do you have all the sites programmed in as well? If you hold on a talk group and your signal stays solid the entire time then you should be holding on a single site as well. (someone chime in with that)
If it was me, I would program in CC and Alternate CC channels. Then program in only the site or sites closest to you.
If you travel between many sites perhaps set up a separate scan list with just those sites so your not scanning for a site your not close to.

If you hold on a TG does it follow the conversation all the time? What COULD be happening is that your scanning all the sites and your seeing your signal fluxuate / transmissions drop out because its scanning for sites that are to far away and may pick up briefly on a weaker neighboring site causing you to miss stuff. Then when the closest strongest CC is picked up your then hearing traffic.

Just my guess.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
225
Location
Houston, Tx
#5
Do you have all the sites programmed in as well? If you hold on a talk group and your signal stays solid the entire time then you should be holding on a single site as well. (someone chime in with that)
If it was me, I would program in CC and Alternate CC channels. Then program in only the site or sites closest to you.
If you travel between many sites perhaps set up a separate scan list with just those sites so your not scanning for a site your not close to.

If you hold on a TG does it follow the conversation all the time? What COULD be happening is that your scanning all the sites and your seeing your signal fluxuate / transmissions drop out because its scanning for sites that are to far away and may pick up briefly on a weaker neighboring site causing you to miss stuff. Then when the closest strongest CC is picked up your then hearing traffic.

Just my guess.


I have a scan list for each site. I mainly on use 1 site for where I travel. I usually only monitor 1 scan list at a time to avoid signal dropout. I will try just programming primary and alt cc's instead of vc channels as well.


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Joined
Nov 17, 2016
Messages
397
Location
Lafayette, LA
#6
What I did was take the existing TX WARN from the global database that Uniden made from the RR database and I did change the way the sites are done. The way they have it set up you either have to input your location or use GPS or set some sites to avoid so the scanner does not waste a lot of time searching every known frequency of every known site for active control channels. What I did instead was to make a list of all the active control channels shown in red and the alternate control channels shown in blue in the RR database and I used only the sites in the counties that I will be working in or have to travel to which is about a dozen or so counties. I deleted all the sites that Uniden had programmed and using the control channel info I spoke of above I was able get it down to only four sites with the max allowed 28 control channel and alternate frequencies in each. Now, one other issue. If you don't set a system delay time then the scanner will keep trying to cycle through all sites looking for control channels and this wastes time and cuts off the beginning of some transmissions. So all I had to do was set the longest delay time allowed, 255 seconds, so the scanner will park itself on one good control channel and stay there and only cycle through the others evey 255 seconds (4 minutes 15 seconds). With the way I have it set up it will cycle quickly through the other three sites I programmed and not find an active control channel and come back to its good active control channel that it was using. THis make the minimum possible missed beginnings of transmission or missed transmissions from having to cycle through multiple sites. This method works good on the road. When I get too far from the site the scanner has been using it drops that control channel and finds another one and stays on that one until it checks the others every 4 min and 15 sec. This method keeps me free from having to use GPS and from having to enter a zip code. If you use the GPS or Zip code method there is another drawback. If want to make the scanner only check close sites for active control channels and set your range for say 10 or 15 miles or so then it will also only monitor those agencies which are within 10 or 15 miles if there is a location set for them. I want to hear ALL active law enf, fire and EMS talkgroups on the site the scanner is using no matter how far away they are. That way I know what is going on ahead of me on the highway. I like my method much better but YMMV. Some people like the GPS better. To each his own. My method leave the scanner free from being bound to a peripheral device so I hop in and out of the car with it in my pocket and take it into the hotel or other buildings without having a GPS dangling from it.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
225
Location
Houston, Tx
#7
Those are some great tips. I will definitely try them out. Another issue that is off topic is that I notice my local fire department will broadcast on on site but not the other. For example I will hear it dispatch on the Harris county central simulcast but on another scanner set up the same way it won't broadcast on the Harris county east simulcast site. And sometimes the site will carry certain talk group traffic and sometimes it won't. Not sure if you experienced this or know of why talk groups jump site to site.


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Joined
Nov 17, 2016
Messages
397
Location
Lafayette, LA
#8
On a smartzone system any given site will only transmit the audio of the talkgroups that are being used on the radios that are tuned to the control channel of that site. When a user's radio is turned on it looks for an active control channel and when it finds one it identifies itself to that site and part of the information it gives that site is what talkgroup it is currently on. This is called affiliation. The site will transmit the audio for every takgroup that the radios affiliated with it are on. If there are no user's radios for your local FD affiliated with a particular site then the site will not transmit the audio for that talkgroup. The whole idea behind trunking being used in radio systems is to have a large number of channels that only need a few frequencies to cover them because most channels are silent most of the time. The smartzone concept takes it a step further by only transmitting those talkgroups that are being used by the radios affiliated with that site. This is what causes you to only hear the agencies in the particular area you are in as you travel down a long highway. That is sort of an advantage as it filters out those that are farther away on a large system. It also has the advantage of allowing the implementation of a large system covering many counties with hundreds or thousands of talkgroups for dozens of agencies but only needing a small number of frequencies per site.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
225
Location
Houston, Tx
#9
On a smartzone system any given site will only transmit the audio of the talkgroups that are being used on the radios that are tuned to the control channel of that site. When a user's radio is turned on it looks for an active control channel and when it finds one it identifies itself to that site and part of the information it gives that site is what talkgroup it is currently on. This is called affiliation. The site will transmit the audio for every takgroup that the radios affiliated with it are on. If there are no user's radios for your local FD affiliated with a particular site then the site will not transmit the audio for that talkgroup. The whole idea behind trunking being used in radio systems is to have a large number of channels that only need a few frequencies to cover them because most channels are silent most of the time. The smartzone concept takes it a step further by only transmitting those talkgroups that are being used by the radios affiliated with that site. This is what causes you to only hear the agencies in the particular area you are in as you travel down a long highway. That is sort of an advantage as it filters out those that are farther away on a large system. It also has the advantage of allowing the implementation of a large system covering many counties with hundreds or thousands of talkgroups for dozens of agencies but only needing a small number of frequencies per site.


I've been trying to learn as much as I can about my scanner and every bit of your info will help me. That is why I love these forums.


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Joined
Nov 17, 2016
Messages
397
Location
Lafayette, LA
#10
Glad I could be of help. This is my humble setup in a Honda Accord. I have a wire from the headphone jack of the scanner to the aux input of my car's radio so I can hear the scanner over the car's radio. The holder that it is in is a Radio Shack cell phone holder that clips onto the air conditioner vents.

 
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
225
Location
Houston, Tx
#11
Glad I could be of help. This is my humble setup in a Honda Accord. I have a wire from the headphone jack of the scanner to the aux input of my car's radio so I can hear the scanner over the car's radio. The holder that it is in is a Radio Shack cell phone holder that clips onto the air conditioner vents.



What type of antenna is that. It looks nice. Nice setup too.


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Joined
Nov 17, 2016
Messages
397
Location
Lafayette, LA
#12
That antenna is identical to the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna except that is has an SMA connector so I don't have to use the adaptor that comes with the scanner. It make the antenna a little shorter that way. It is manufactured by a company called Remtronix who also makes the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna. You can get them from Scanner Master or theantennafarm.com or a few other sources. It works much better than the scanner's stock antenna on 700 and 800 MHz.
 

AggieCon

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Nov 25, 2015
Messages
1,444
Location
Texas
#14
What site? It's going to depend on if it's simulcast and if you are in rural areas or not. Listening to Washington County is completely different than being in Houston listening to a Simulcast Layer.

Regarding the control channel, I strongly suggest programming the active control channel only.

If it is a simulcast site, especially, you might try it with the squelch all the way down. Drawback to that is that sometimes it takes awhile to get off of calls after they are over.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Messages
225
Location
Houston, Tx
#15
I did some tweaking and it seems to work pretty good now. I also got a new diamond antenna which is pretty long. I am listening in houston on a simulcast system


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