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  #261 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 9:03 AM
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is the cc the same3 as it is listed in the db? i was trying to find the franklin county system and i had it parked on that cc and what very little bit i was picking up was what sounded like a vc
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  #262 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 10:29 AM
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Now, at my age I get confused easily. I think there are 4 cc's - 151.1525, 151.22, 151.28 and 155.43. Anyway, whatever is in the RR db is what I have programmed into the 396xt with only one change - I changed the audio from Digital to All. When the testing was going on and I was setting up the Yagi I didn't pay any attention to the screen except it said FC LAW if I remember right. When the guys were testing, the audio was so good I figured either the signal from the new Yagi was so strong to cause perfect digital audio or it was a vc. Wish I could go back in time and check it out more, but I was pretty busy working that day.

Yesterday I built another Yagi and got it set up in my shop last night. It's not perfect but I'll keep the log viewer on all day and see what if anything I hear from Zebulon - still may be nothing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but any of the channels can be switched from digital to analog in case of a digital system failure - I guess by the Sheriff's office.

One thing that I really find confusing is that the signals I get, even towards Louisburg, seem to be horizontally polarized rather than vertical. Is that just me or is that normal? I've got a lot to learn about this new system - sure nothing like when I took a ham radio class 50 years ago so I could use my dad's Gonset Communicator. If anyone can explain more how all this is supposed to work, would sure appreciate it. Thanks
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  #263 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFisherman View Post

Yesterday I built another Yagi and got it set up in my shop last night. It's not perfect but I'll keep the log viewer on all day and see what if anything I hear from Zebulon - still may be nothing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but any of the channels can be switched from digital to analog in case of a digital system failure - I guess by the Sheriff's office.
Negative, with these true P25 systems, it's all digital or nothing. Failsoft is digital, conventional backup is digital, normal trunked operation is digital. You'll be just fine with labeling everything digital instead of all.
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  #264 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 10:20 PM
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They have been adjusting antennas around the county. Not sure if they turn the tower "off" while they are up there to avoid being fried or not. I haven't heard much lately, except that "This is not the system you purchased and we are determined to make it contractually right."

At this time, 10:22pm the current CC is 155.4300, which happens to be the old sheriff's dispatch channel. This is likely to change often as they configure the system more and more.

Last edited by NCFire11; 12-02-2012 at 10:23 PM..
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  #265 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 7:02 AM
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Guess when I heard the testing it was all digital and sounded perfect, just like analog. Yesterday I put the Yagi vertical again and had it on all afternoon until 8PM with a recorder next to it. When I finally checked the recorder it could have been off for all that time - not one transmission from the Zebulon tower direction. If it's transmitting it's not toward my part of the county, but yet I see the cc is 155.43. Will wait for Harris to get things right, it's only about 2 months after the whole system was supposed to be up and running. All I know is a couple of weeks ago Zebulon seemed to be working good in my direction. From what I heard when they were testing, the system has some real hardware and maybe wiring issues. As a county taxpayer I'd sure like to know why we spent almost 50% more for this system rather than going with something like Viper that the Highway Patrol says works great - just my venting.
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  #266 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by OldFisherman View Post
As a county taxpayer I'd sure like to know why we spent almost 50% more for this system rather than going with something like Viper that the Highway Patrol says works great - just my venting.
Because VIPER was not meant to take on every person looking for an easy/cheap way out before narrowbanding comes around.

VIPER doesn't have the capacity to support that much more until the 7.X switch over.

Counties like to keep control of their equipment.

VIPER is not VHF, which seems to be what Franklin County was pushing for.

VIPER was not full P25 like the Franklin system, which may play into part of the decision.

There are several reasons why they didn't go VIPER.

Now...that being said....Why they didn't go to an updated conventional network however, is beyond me. Save the money on trunking and pass that back to the public safety agencies so everybody has a radio.
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  #267 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by trumpetman View Post
Because VIPER was not meant to take on every person looking for an easy/cheap way out before narrowbanding comes around.

VIPER doesn't have the capacity to support that much more until the 7.X switch over.

Counties like to keep control of their equipment.

VIPER is not VHF, which seems to be what Franklin County was pushing for.

VIPER was not full P25 like the Franklin system, which may play into part of the decision.

There are several reasons why they didn't go VIPER.

Now...that being said....Why they didn't go to an updated conventional network however, is beyond me. Save the money on trunking and pass that back to the public safety agencies so everybody has a radio.
Beat me to it
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  #268 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 1:37 PM
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Its actually sad. Before we planned to go to this system, everyone was using the Motorola M3 and M4 pagers, even some were using M2(which were and still are the best, imo). But with the Narrowband mandate and the new system, every had to switch to M5 pagers. Of course the county wasnt going to pay for this too, so it was up to the departments to provide them. Some still do not have them all. There are some departments in this county that cant afford to give every member a pager. Yet, we paid $11million for a system that still isnt (and I doubt will ever be) as good as the VHF we have.
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  #269 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 3:26 PM
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Got ya, great feedback. So, it's the US government mandating we all go digital. So, when I said "something like Viper" for a system, this is the only digital system available on the market right now - starting to make sense. Then Franklin County is at the mercy of whoever is setting the system up, we had no choice but to go with them which I guess is Harris (by the way, I have nothing against Harris). So much for my idea there might have been other digital systems out there that would have been better. Have to admit as far as Viper goes, I have no idea why it's limited - just don't understand all this stuff, but the Highway Patrol people I spoke to sure like it big time for their specific application.

Still trying to monitor Zebulon but nothing all day so far. Just changed my Yagi back to horizontally polarized to see if that works better.
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  #270 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 5:49 PM
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Originally Posted by OldFisherman View Post
Got ya, great feedback. So, it's the US government mandating we all go digital. So, when I said "something like Viper" for a system, this is the only digital system available on the market right now - starting to make sense. Then Franklin County is at the mercy of whoever is setting the system up, we had no choice but to go with them which I guess is Harris (by the way, I have nothing against Harris). So much for my idea there might have been other digital systems out there that would have been better. Have to admit as far as Viper goes, I have no idea why it's limited - just don't understand all this stuff, but the Highway Patrol people I spoke to sure like it big time for their specific application.

Still trying to monitor Zebulon but nothing all day so far. Just changed my Yagi back to horizontally polarized to see if that works better.
Negative, no digital mandate from the government. Or anyone for that matter. Rumors are out there that it'll be a mandate in a decade or so, but again, that's strictly rumors.

Motorola & EF Johnson are the only ones marketing Type II trunked systems (Like VIPER, Durham, Rocky Mount, Tarboro, etc). Now that P25 has become more popular and a common standard, more vendors are marketing these kinds of systems. Type II support will disappear in the coming years, so there's no since buying a system that will be EOL in a few years.

There is no "at the mercy of" issue either. I haven't really made an effort to look for the stuff on the web, but like any other high dollar government project, RFPs were put out, bids were placed, and Harris probably had the cheapest bid for providing a countywide system.

VIPER is limited in several ways. Firstly, it's an Interoperability platform. It is in use by the SHP, and to allow them to communicate with anyone in the state, no matter how small or large that agency is.

It's also only capable of 65,535ish? radio IDs. Which are quickly running out, that's why the 7.X upgrade is taking place (also goes back to the dropping of support for Type II systems in the coming years).

VIPER works great for highway patrol. That's what it was made for, that's why they manage it.

Not sure what the issue is with the Franklin system. If you're hearing a control channel from the Zebulon site, then it's still an active part of the simulcast, they may have just moved to backup channels until things are ironed out. There is no limiting who uses what tower in a simulcast system, if anyone is talking anywhere on that system, it'll come across all towers at once.
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  #271 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2012, 7:57 AM
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Thanks Chris for setting me straight on all this, you can tell I was to the point of not knowing what questions to ask. What I did yesterday was set the Yagi back to horizontal and then aim it at the Louisburg tower since Zebulon direction was quiet. Can get most of the transmissions ok, once in a while they're still garbled. All I can figure is my house is in a real 'dead zone', hopefully the guys working on the system will figure out the problems. What I'll try today is 'fine tuning' the direction of the antenna, maybe it will come in better. One thing I'd sure love to try here is one of those GRE-800 scanners, would be interesting how much better they receive based on reading it decodes better than the 396xt. Would be nice to get one for Christmas but for $392 ---
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  #272 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2012, 8:27 AM
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Well, by aiming the yagi at the T Kemp tower from your location you have the White Level and the Hosley tower in the background. Probably causing the distortion. Your best shots are going to be the Franklinton or Pilot towers.
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  #273 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2012, 12:54 PM
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I'm aware of the two towers being almost inline but distortion is negligible, just get a little of the audio garbled when aimed towards Louisburg - most of it is understandable. I have never been able to get a signal from the Franklinton tower (unless I was parked in front of it) even though that's the closest one to my house. The Zebulon direction used to work great but now is silent.

Today I put connectors on a brand new length of Belden 9913 coax just for another check - same results. Checked the attenuator (for about the 30'th time on the scanner) and it's off. Tried putting my other MURS Yagi on my old wooden clothes line frame way out in the yard away from the house - same results. Adjusted the big Yagi for both vertical and horizontal polarization - horizontal still works best.

Either one of three things: I'm in a dead zone, or the new XT just doesn't work good for the Franklin County system even though it seems to pick up all other counties good, or the Harris system is still not right providing coverage this way.

Good thing I don't have enough hair to pull out trying to get this going. By the way, just tried to justify a GRE-800 with the wife - went over like a rock - the XT was my Christmas present!

The piece that's missing is the 'inside story' where the Harris Engineers are in terms of fixing specific problems. Unless someone has some ideas what else I can try, I'm going to sit back and have a cold beverage.
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  #274 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2012, 1:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldFisherman View Post
Thanks Chris for setting me straight on all this, you can tell I was to the point of not knowing what questions to ask. What I did yesterday was set the Yagi back to horizontal and then aim it at the Louisburg tower since Zebulon direction was quiet. Can get most of the transmissions ok, once in a while they're still garbled. All I can figure is my house is in a real 'dead zone', hopefully the guys working on the system will figure out the problems. What I'll try today is 'fine tuning' the direction of the antenna, maybe it will come in better. One thing I'd sure love to try here is one of those GRE-800 scanners, would be interesting how much better they receive based on reading it decodes better than the 396xt. Would be nice to get one for Christmas but for $392 ---
Hey, get up with me at nccar91@gmail.com. I tried to send you a pm but couldn't. I have a PSR-800 and we can discuss further.
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Old 12-08-2012, 9:49 AM
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They have been adjusting antennas around the county. Not sure if they turn the tower "off" while they are up there to avoid being fried or not. I haven't heard much lately, except that "This is not the system you purchased and we are determined to make it contractually right."
Hope yall have better luck than we are having in Wayne County. The fuss has died down because I think the majority of us have given up on ever having a reliable radio system. It's still hit and miss, may work may not, stop complaining we are working on it, use your cell phone, you know it doesn't work at .......(whichever of the many places)- so don't even complain, blah blah blah. However, the newly installed (this week) county commissioners have mentioned the radio system and its problems already as something they are looking into, so maybe we will end up with some type of better solution. Hopefully Franklin County will luck out better than we did.
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  #276 (permalink)  
Old 12-10-2012, 8:40 AM
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Radiostrobe, I'll give you my perspective on the new digital system living in the Southwest corner of the Franklin County in Youngsville - the system doesn't see to be working good at all yet. I heard testing last week when all of a sudden the whole system was 'perfect' for both dispatch and mobile units - then when the testing was over, so was the signal. Myself and other scanners have heard things like 'the frequency appears to be drifting, there are problems initializing the DAC cards, whoever did the soldering must have worn boxing gloves, this switch seems to be missing a wire', etc from the Harris technicians 'on the radio'. Even when able to listen enough to dispatch and the sheriffs responding, dispatch will sometimes tell them they're 'garbled and please repeat'. Guess Harris just needs a little more time to get it right, has only been 3 months since the switchover.

Now, assuming no Harris changes, both Mike (nccar91) and I are doing some serious testing for those of us having problems monitoring. So far, it's looking fairly good but we want to finish our analysis before posting any results - at best it will be a Band-Aid fix. Part of our testing includes a 1 to 1 comparison of the GRE-800 and the Uniden 396XT with what antennas work best under current conditions. Will post our results in a few days when finished - unless of course Harris fixes their problems first.
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  #277 (permalink)  
Old 12-10-2012, 8:47 AM
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Got word today, Fire and EMS is set to switch January 3rd.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:21 PM
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Wow! At first I thought of it as a possible disaster for obvious reasons but then, maybe this is good. As long as Fire and EMS have signed off based on input from Harris that they know the problem, or problems, and will have all fixed in plenty of time to have it checked out, this will turn out good. Got my fingers crossed big time - lives are on the line with this decision!
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  #279 (permalink)  
Old 12-10-2012, 6:42 PM
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On another note, I've done some tweaking to my PRO197 that I keep at home. I manage to get 99% cc decode 90% of the time. Needless to say this is working pretty much perfectly now. I used a RS vhf antenna that cost me about $20. I have Multisite to OFF. CC dwell at 5ms. Attenuator and NFM are ON.

Anyone know why RadioIDs aren't showing up? It just says "RadioID: 0"

Could it be that they are too long? Because i think they are 8-9 digits, and it does not look like the scanner has room.
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Old 12-12-2012, 1:27 PM
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Yesterday and today I'm hearing testing (even from the young lady dispatcher) going on with Franklin County system so maybe all the system problems will be fixed by the time you read this. On Sunday Mike (NC Car91) brought his GRE-500 and GRE-800 over to my place to find out why I'm get such poor reception from my Uniden 396XT on either of my MURS yagis or my 17' vertical. Thankfully the 500 has a built in RSSI meter which turned out to be interesting.

First we tried the 500 on each of my antennas and even when there was a strong signal - total distortion. Then, almost by accident, when Mike was walking with just his 800Mhz duck antenna on the 500, there was a totally readable transmission. OK for how all this started but here are our observations from that point on in my area which is west of Rt 1 on Hwy 96. (By the way, Mike lent me his 800 for a few days for a GRE vs Uniden scanner comparison - thanks Mike!)

* Only certain signal 'hot spots' get normal voice transmissions
- Just getting a good signal does not make it a 'hot spot'

* Only the small duck type antennas seem to work - forget a big antenna, directional or not
- No difference in using any duck antenna - 800 Mhz, 2M, 2M/440 or stock XT antenna

* Audio quality may get worse (garbling) over time with scanner fixed at a 'hot spot', it's like the towers are moving
- Hot spots can apparently move a couple of feet during the day

* A 'hot spot' is 4 dimensional: X, Y, Z and P where P is the antenna polarization
- found one good signal with the 800 that would only give a garbled voice, turned the scanner on it's side for horizontal polarization and garbling was totally gone

* The GRE-800 is slightly more sensitive to receiving at signal locations than the Uniden, but not significantly different

* Neither the 800 or 396XT gets more than 90% of the transmissions no matter what the hot spot we found


All this makes no sense but take it for what it's worth based on how the system was operating at the time. If you have problems like this, just try a duck type antenna and find 'hot spots' but don't give up if one or more are garbled. I've only found one 'hot spot' in my house that works almost perfect, guess you could call it a 'super hot spot', same thing in my shop - just one.

Those of you getting good signals no matter where, your one of the lucky folks
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