OK, for fun and because I had a three day weekend this past weekend (neener neener)
I decided to see if I could get my ancient BC895 with a discriminator tap up and running using the wonderful windows port of DSD. I'm pleased to report that my initial tinkerings resulted in a good degree of success! The program recognized the incoming signal and after adjustng my microphone input to a VERY low number, syllables, beeps and sometimes even actual voice comm's from our two scanner unfriendly digital simulcast systems could be heard from my laptop's tiny speakers, thereby turning my old analog dinosaur 895 into an (albeit crude and for the most part unreliable) conventional digital scanner. That, in a word or two, IS VERY COOL! Hats off to the DSD folks who made this all possible.
Now I'm looking for tips and tricks from hopefully another brave soul who has also attempted this sort of thing that could help improve the reception/decode rate. Right now I see lots of low %'s coming up in DSD, 2%, 3% sometimes I'll get really lucky and see 10% but regardless of that, for the most part the audio quality is quite low. I'm also running this on a very cheap laptop with no doubt a bargain basement sound card, so I'm also open to hardware suggestions also.
Here's what I have:
A discriminator tapped 895
DSD and Unitrunker
A control cable for the 895 (uhhh... somewhere...)
A RCA to 1/8" mono patch cord
An old unused WinXP machine that should run DSD and Unitrunker with no issues.
Here's what I need to know guys:
What soundcards should I get? Which ones give the best results?
What command line options seem to work the best on these systems? After some tinkering I found that the only command line option that seemed to help was -mq which limited the optimization to CQPSK only and even that was neglible.
I think the biggest source of my problem is the quality of the tap itself. It was done YEARS ago and it's just a straight tap, no capacitor or any of that. I'm thinking of redoing it and adding the capacitor - would that help at all?
Tips on Unitrunker - is it possible to run it on just one scanner and have it hop to the voice channels on it's own? Skip talkgroups I don't want to stop on? Etc? I think it's possible but I'm not sure. I know DSD has options for scanner control also but knowing Windows, only one program can grab the comm port at a time so Unitrunker will need to be able to find it's way back to the control channel on it's own.
Thanks for the tips and tricks guys... I'm enjoying having a "second" digital scanner to play with.