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UNABLE to hear ANYTHING of Philadelphia Police or Fire on Pro-106 or Pro-197 WIN500

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SuperTracker

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#1
As far as I know of, being original owner of both a Radioshack Pro-106 and Pro-197, I've downloaded Philadelphia Police and Fire via WIN500 and uploaded them to both scanners and I hear absolutely nothing coming from those active selected lists.
I believe both scanners have latest firmware updates loaded. (we can discuss to verify that).
From what I have read these ARE compatible scanners.
Everything else in the area works, i.e. Montgomery, Bucks, etc.etc.
Could there be a problem in the database maintained by RadioReference or is WIN500 interpreting something wrong that needs tweeking.
Before Philadelphia upgraded, everything came booming in. Now....NOTHING....for months.
ps I've read other threads, even the one thats 20 pages and unless I missed something, the answer wasn't readily presented.
 

trap5858

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#2
How far from the city limits are you? Their antennas are turned to provide coverage pretty much within the city limits and not much else. When I travel toward the city on 309 with my pro 106 with an external antenna I do not start picking up Philly until I hit Paper Mill Road and Stenton Avenue.
 
Joined
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Fortunately, GA
#8
This other member from Colorado, says they went to Phase Two, whatever that spec is, yet you say via YOUR Pro-106 you get reception.
Just because it says the system is Phase II, doesn't necessarily mean it is. From what I see in the database are 'D'igital and 'E'ncrypted TGID's. There are no 'T'DMA TGID's suggesting Phase II is in effect.
Maybe checking to see if AUTO for P-25 is enabled in your software may make a difference.
What happens when they upgrade to Phase II type systems, is that the signal is degraded greatly. So, getting a burr under your saddle about the receive antenna will get you less people willing to help.
Maybe you might want to ask one of the Mods to transfer your question to the PA state forum by clicking on the red and white triangle.
Larry
 

jcardani

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#9
Supertracker,

First check if you have the correct control channels programmed and verify that you can receive the system control channel frequencies with a scanner programmed conventionally. You may be a victim of the dreaded LSM issue (linear simulcast modulation), which all scanners have problems with. Being that high, you will no doubt be receiving the system from multiple sites. The system is designed for in city only. So a highly directional antenna pointed to a single site (ignoring the other sites) would improve reception greatly. The farther away you are the worse things get. BTW this issue got much worse after the city moved to a pure Astro 25 system (9600 baud control channel) using CQPSK modulation. It was C4FM when they were Smartzone with 3600 baud control channel.

Good luck,

Joe

I'm at 440 feet above sea level. The highest point in Montgomery county.
The antenna cost $300 a few years ago and its mounted outside on a tower.
Any more questions necessary about reception?
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2004
Messages
3,675
#10
According to the RR Database, the Philly P-25 system the PD are on is a simulcast system. There are known issues with (and various solutions to) listening to a simulcast system, most boil down to the issue of Simulcast Distortion. A search on these forums will provide you with many threads on this issue and there's even an article in the RR Wiki on the subject (Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki).

Basically a simulcast system broadcasts the same signals on the same frequencies from various towers to improve coverage (especially for hand-held radios) in the prescribed coverage area. The expensive radios have special circuits to handle the multiple signals, while scanners do not. The multiple signals reaching your radio from the various towers cause multi-path signals (similar to the old TVs scrolling, flashing, or giving multiple images when a low flying plane flew over) giving you multipath distortion or what's often called simulcast distortion.

While it may look like you're having too little signal to properly decode the signal, most often the actual issue is too much signal reaching your scanner from too many towers at once. If you can configure your station so you only pick up the signal from a single tower, you'll generally eliminate the issues.

Things to try:
1. Turn on your attenuator (will reduce all signals and hopefully only the closest tower will be strong enough to decode on your radio).
2. Change to a very directional antenna (a yagi works for many folks) and point it at a tower that is isolated (this isn't always the closest, a nearby tower directly to your east with another one further east may not isolate the signals enough while a further away tower to your north that has no other towers in that direction may allow you to isolate the signal quite well).
3. Do something else that reduces the multipath signals (perhaps a mag-mount on your AC compressor vs. that $300 antenna on your tower) so only a single tower is received.

To help show you how weird solutions may work I'll tell you about how I'm able to pick up a local simulcast system on my Pro-197. I'm about 3 miles away from a tower for a local P-25 simulcast system (tower's to my north-northeast). There's another tower about 6 miles away to my east-southeast. Using my normal outside antenna I pick up very little on that system (generally just bits of a signal and some digital noise).

I was doing some cable management by rerouting some of the mass of coax in my monitoring position and when I powered my scanners back up I noticed that this system was all of a sudden fully receivable. I figured that I may have had a loose connection for that scanner (although this was checked and not found when diagnosing the reception issues) and gave it no further thought, but was happy that I could now listen to that system. Later on I added another scanner and when connecting it up to my splitter I noticed a coax that wasn't connected to anything. I traced this unconnected cable back to my now working scanner on the simulcast system. Turns out that the fix for this simulcast system for me was surprisingly to have no antenna connected to the scanner!
 

SuperTracker

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Messages
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Eastern Pa - Montgomery County
#11
Just because it says the system is Phase II, doesn't necessarily mean it is. From what I see in the database are 'D'igital and 'E'ncrypted TGID's. There are no 'T'DMA TGID's suggesting Phase II is in effect.
Maybe checking to see if AUTO for P-25 is enabled in your software may make a difference.
What happens when they upgrade to Phase II type systems, is that the signal is degraded greatly. So, getting a burr under your saddle about the receive antenna will get you less people willing to help.
Maybe you might want to ask one of the Mods to transfer your question to the PA state forum by clicking on the red and white triangle.
Larry
Indicated earlier that I am using WIN500 software and looking throughout cannot locate this AUTO option in the P-25 Trunking window under the Extended Settings tab.
Can you explain where it is????
 

SuperTracker

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
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Location
Eastern Pa - Montgomery County
#12
According to the RR Database, the Philly P-25 system the PD are on is a simulcast system. There are known issues with (and various solutions to) listening to a simulcast system, most boil down to the issue of Simulcast Distortion. A search on these forums will provide you with many threads on this issue and there's even an article in the RR Wiki on the subject (Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki).

Basically a simulcast system broadcasts the same signals on the same frequencies from various towers to improve coverage (especially for hand-held radios) in the prescribed coverage area. The expensive radios have special circuits to handle the multiple signals, while scanners do not. The multiple signals reaching your radio from the various towers cause multi-path signals (similar to the old TVs scrolling, flashing, or giving multiple images when a low flying plane flew over) giving you multipath distortion or what's often called simulcast distortion.

While it may look like you're having too little signal to properly decode the signal, most often the actual issue is too much signal reaching your scanner from too many towers at once. If you can configure your station so you only pick up the signal from a single tower, you'll generally eliminate the issues.

Things to try:
1. Turn on your attenuator (will reduce all signals and hopefully only the closest tower will be strong enough to decode on your radio).
2. Change to a very directional antenna (a yagi works for many folks) and point it at a tower that is isolated (this isn't always the closest, a nearby tower directly to your east with another one further east may not isolate the signals enough while a further away tower to your north that has no other towers in that direction may allow you to isolate the signal quite well).
3. Do something else that reduces the multipath signals (perhaps a mag-mount on your AC compressor vs. that $300 antenna on your tower) so only a single tower is received.

To help show you how weird solutions may work I'll tell you about how I'm able to pick up a local simulcast system on my Pro-197. I'm about 3 miles away from a tower for a local P-25 simulcast system (tower's to my north-northeast). There's another tower about 6 miles away to my east-southeast. Using my normal outside antenna I pick up very little on that system (generally just bits of a signal and some digital noise).

I was doing some cable management by rerouting some of the mass of coax in my monitoring position and when I powered my scanners back up I noticed that this system was all of a sudden fully receivable. I figured that I may have had a loose connection for that scanner (although this was checked and not found when diagnosing the reception issues) and gave it no further thought, but was happy that I could now listen to that system. Later on I added another scanner and when connecting it up to my splitter I noticed a coax that wasn't connected to anything. I traced this unconnected cable back to my now working scanner on the simulcast system. Turns out that the fix for this simulcast system for me was surprisingly to have no antenna connected to the scanner!
I actually don't see any reception via signal strength indicator which initially makes me think or believe that no signals are being received.
When WIN500 imports from database it brings across both simulcasting system.
I have tried using only one or the other with negative results.
Don't know how they're managing it, but they are still using multiple towers and are not operating on only two.i.e. one per system.
The attenuation settings could be the answer which I will try tomorrow and hope for better results.
What did you you mean by 'some of the mass' ?
 

hiegtx

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#13
Indicated earlier that I am using WIN500 software and looking throughout cannot locate this AUTO option in the P-25 Trunking window under the Extended Settings tab.
Can you explain where it is????
That's on the TSYS objects tab in WIN500.
For the system in question, the 'system type' should show P25 Auto. That's the field just to the right of the system name, in the upper pane, where all yuor various trunked systems are listed.
 

SuperTracker

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#14
That's on the TSYS objects tab in WIN500.
For the system in question, the 'system type' should show P25 Auto. That's the field just to the right of the system name, in the upper pane, where all yuor various trunked systems are listed.
Well it WASN'T showing P25 Auto.
Changed it, uploaded and now some reception is coming thru.
Some is clear and some is slightly garbled.
I don't know why the Web Import from RR database caused it NOT to have P25 Auto selected.
Using WIN500 version 2.06 although I just checked starrsoft site and v2.07 came available in April but this issue was not posted as a change in this version.
MUCH THANKS.
 
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Messages
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#15
What did you you mean by 'some of the mass' ?
The numerous jumpers between the multi-couplers, antenna feed coax runs, and radios. There are so many that they got wrapped around each other and made impossible to find which one went where and the shear mass of them started to weigh down the scanners and move them around on my shelves. Once I removed them all and rerouted them (along with labels, tie-wrap, and some other cable organization items things not only look neater, but I can move one radio without the others moving due to the coax/power cable pulling on the others.
 

SuperTracker

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#16
The numerous jumpers between the multi-couplers, antenna feed coax runs, and radios. There are so many that they got wrapped around each other and made impossible to find which one went where and the shear mass of them started to weigh down the scanners and move them around on my shelves. Once I removed them all and rerouted them (along with labels, tie-wrap, and some other cable organization items things not only look neater, but I can move one radio without the others moving due to the coax/power cable pulling on the others.
Thank you for that enlightening and entertaining answer.
That made our day.
When that occurs at my house, we call it a mess.
 
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#18
Good luck picking them up clearly. I've spent countless dollars and hours trying and still can't get it right. That LSM is a biotch!
 

soberbyker

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#19
Well it WASN'T showing P25 Auto.
Changed it, uploaded and now some reception is coming thru.
Some is clear and some is slightly garbled.
I don't know why the Web Import from RR database caused it NOT to have P25 Auto selected.
Using WIN500 version 2.06 although I just checked starrsoft site and v2.07 came available in April but this issue was not posted as a change in this version.
MUCH THANKS.
I'm using Using WIN500 version 2.06 on a Pro-197, imported the Philly zone 2 (P25 Auto was provided) back when they first switched to it and have no problems except a slight garble. I'm using a simple RS magnetic base mobile antenna. Of course I'm in Eastern DELCO not far from the city.
 
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