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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 05-21-2017, 7:52 PM
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Default Progress!

Got the cabinets rebuilt this weekend. Cabinet 1 has 12 Uniden scanners (7 BCT15's, 4 BCT15X's and a BCD996XT) as well as 2 8-port Stridsberg multicouplers and 2 13-port USB hubs.

Cabinet #2 has a PSR600, PSR410 and PRO197 as well as the 12VDC power supply, the NUC computer, a 13-port USB hub and a 7-port USB hub. It also has 2 RTL SDR's.

Both cabinets are on casters so I can wheel them around to get at the back. (wife's idea...) They will be placed under the desk and the lighting turned off on them while connected. This reduces the heat and visibility of them.

The only radios on the desk are the HP1, HP2, R8500, IC746Pro, CDM1250, the head for the TM731A, the BCD536HP and TRX-2.

The monitor, KB and mouse are ready to go.

The USB/Serial cables are scheduled to arrive tomorrow as well as a couple SMA-BNC cables I ordered. Once these arrive I will finish the links between the cabinets and the final antenna connections. I am using a singe 30 amp power supply to cover the 15 scanners, the Kenwood and the Motorola in the cabinets and the 3 multicouplers. The rest of the desktop units all have independent supplies.

Each of the 12 Uniden radios in the one cabinet have colors assigned to them. I used 6 different color wire ties for the antenna, serial and audio cables for the radios. One column has one tie each, the other 2. This way of one of the cables go bad I can replace it.

Tomorrow or Tuesday after the serial cables arrive I will start setting up the com ports one by one. After I get those going I will set up the sound cards. I will add the serial port and audio card names to the radio list I already have.

I will be running the scanners in the Uniden cabinet with ProScan. The GRE/RS ones will be with the appropriate ARX-xx product. In addition I have the 2 SDR's (UniTrunker) and the ANRB, so the computer will be busy...

I will post photos in the Photos forum when done!
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2017, 8:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N9JIG View Post
CG: Do you need to unplug the rear serial port to program from the front?
No, no need to unplug the rear port.
I first download the configuration, then program with the new file and the old configuration to keep the SQKs as they are.
I can see the scanner on the EdgePort go into programming mode but then it gets no more data until I am done.

chris
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:24 PM
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A minor delay has caused me to rethink a couple things. The serial cables sent were the wrong ones, the correct ones will be here Friday.

While comtemplating things I decided to skip the second cabinet. I will use a single cabinet with the 12 Uniden scanners (7 BCT15's. 4 BCT15X's and a 996XT. Also in that cabinet will be the radio unit for the Kenwood dual bander and the 2 RTL-SDR's, two 13-port USB hubs and a 7-port one. The 7-port is a highly reliable Belkin I have had for years, the 2 13-ports will plug into that one along with the SDR's. This keeps the SDR's free from wiring and allows airflow around them since they tend to get warm.

The PSR600/PRO197's and the power supply will be on the shelf unit on the desk, this also allows more heat dissipation.

I have the cabinet built pending the serial cables. If you take a look at the antenna, audio and serial cables on the scanners you will see they are color coded. There are 6 colors, the scanners on the left (when looking at the rear) have 2 ties, the ones on the right one. The top two radios (on top of the case, it only has room for 5 rows) are tagged with yellow. (The color tapes on the power leads are from an older project and are no longer needed here.)

The sound cars are present but not plugged in to the USB hubs yet, I will do that later on. In the rear view you see two 8-port Stridsbergs ( there is a third not visible on the left side of the cabinet to be used for the GRE's, HomePatrols and other scanners on the desk). The 6 radios on the left are connected to the Green multicoupler and the ones on the right to the Blue. The serial cables will connect to the DB-9's on the rear of the radios, so far only the top left radio has one.

Hopefully I won't have any problem with the 2 13-port USB hubs being plugged into the 7-port Belkin and the Belkin connected to the computer. I only have 4 USB ports on the NUC computer so I hope this works. I do have an additional 13-port unit that probably will end up on the desk for the GRE's and other devices (AirNav box etc.).

On the front view of the cabinet you can see the radio layout. On the upper right of the front panel of each radio is it's number for my inventory system. I might try to key these numbers into the com port numbers if I can down the road.

My wife had a great idea. She saw some set-on caster sets at HomeDepot the other day and bought a set of 3 to go under the cabinet. With the extra row of radios and the casters the cabinet fits under the desk with about an inch to spare. The casters will allow me to roll the unit out to get at the rear easily. I built in enough slack on the external wiring to allow me to rotate it around as needed.

Once the serial cables are all set I will set up the sound cards and look for some sort of mixer application. If I can come up with a hardware solution I might do that as well. I could use both, use a mixer board to listen to the radios locally and an application to record and access the audio.

I figure after getting it all set up and optimized the way I like it I might actually tear it down and rebuild it, maybe a month or two down the road. This will allow me to clean up the wiring, remove stuff I really don't need or use and fix anything that could be done better.

I will re-evaluate the need for the second cabinet (I actually have 3 of these). I could fill the second cabinet with the R8500, Motorola, the 536, the 3 GRE/RS scanners and the power supply. I don't have a rack panel for the IC-746 and it would take 3u of space. If I did get a rack for that I would have to leave a pair of radios out of the rack and set them on top, it would likely be the 536 and the CDM. I will consider that later...

Below are pictures of the front and rear of the cabinet. Basically I need to install the serial cables, connect the antenna and power leads and plug in the USB hubs to the computer.

Once this is all done I will post it all to the Shack Pictures forum.
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Old 05-24-2017, 7:01 AM
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Nice! As far as mixing the audio, check out the Behringer X-air line - this might serve your needs perfectly and allow computer based (or iPad/tablet based) control of the mix. I actually use this in my shack (5 scanners and 2 radios) and it works great - some I pan left and some right so I can still hear them out of one speaker, if desired. I ran it to a set of powered studio monitors and there are several options along those lines. Depending on which model you get, you can either plug a USB thumb drive to it or connect via USB to the computer and, if something interesting started happening, you can hit record on the software and record your full mix of radio traffic going through the unit. Anyway, I'm rambling but check it out:

https://www.music-group.com/Categori...s/XR18/p/P0BI8

There are other similar options out there, this is just the one I'm most familiar with.
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Old 05-24-2017, 7:22 AM
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Lindsay is using a Behringer X32 Rack in his latest set-up:

https://forums.radioreference.com/pi...st-2017-a.html
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Old 05-24-2017, 7:48 AM
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I can't say enough positive things about the Behringer X32 platform for audio management. I've paired it with a Behringer S16 digital snake (which provides 16 additional inputs and 8 outputs all connected back to the X32 via Cat 5).

The flexibility and routing capabilities are amazing.

There are also PC Apps for all audio management for Mac/PC/Linux and even the Raspberry Pi. And you can even dedicate an old iPad or Tablet for audio management.
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Old 05-24-2017, 8:27 AM
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Yes, I remembered seeing Lindsay's setup - and that audio setup would certain work as well. Similar concept, the X-air is just a more economical line without as many features. Works much the same as far as interface - apps via computer (PC or Mac) as well as tablets (iOS or Android). I guess it comes down to the money - if it wasn't an object I'd go the same route as Lindsay. Want similar features but for less money, the X-air line will work just fine.
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Old 05-24-2017, 1:57 PM
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Rich, please straighten that CUB decal on the frig. ;-)

Greg
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Old 05-24-2017, 2:09 PM
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Quote:
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Rich, please straighten that CUB decal on the frig. ;-)

Greg
That is actually a flag on the wall of my garage!
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Old 05-24-2017, 2:39 PM
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I see that now, I put my glasses on!

Greg
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:48 AM
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Default Progress!

The USB-Serial Cables arrived yesterday from ScannerMaster and I got them up and running. I first labeled each with color ties that match those used on the audio and antenna leads for the 12 radios in the cabinet.

As I plugged each one in I watched the Device Manager and noted the Comm Port assigned. Windows found each one and self-assigned the next Comm Port number available so they are now all Comm 9 thru Comm 20. I then renamed the ProScan desktop icons and folders to match the Comm Port numbers.

I then set up ProScan for each of the scanners, this was basically setting the radio type and Comm Port to match. I realized that the rear serial ports were almost all set to 4800 baud so I had to go into the radio's menu settings and change it to 115,200, the assumption being faster is better.

Once I got the baud rates and other settings going I connected each scanner to ProScan and got them running. I used ProScan to program the Custom Search limits for the 10 BCT15/BCT15X's I al going to dedicate to MilAir searching. Each radio has the same limits set up so if I need to reassign a radio for something else I can just set another radio to handle 2 or 3 sets of 15 MHz. I also programmed each radio with identical Systems of local and nationwide channels, such as rail, aviation, MilAir stuff I already have etc. This allows me to re-task a radio for that as needed. Some of this programming was done with ARC-XT or ARC-15 since i am more familiar with the operation of that for programming purposes.

I also connected my 536 to ProScan with the WiFi dongle, for a total of 13 radios with ProScan. Since I do my Sentinel work on my Mac I suspect I can just leave it connected to ProScan on the Windows machine for control.

The PC seems to be well capable of handling the load. According to Task Manager it is using about 17% of the resources with 13 instances of ProScan, my RadarBox and UniTrunker.

Next is to get Pro96Com going for the PRO197/PSR600's. That will happen later tonight I hope, after that I will start setting up the sound cards. I am still debating an audio archiving solution... Then it is cleanup of the wiring. Once all that is done pics will go up.

I am already thinking of a second monitor for this setup. I can easily fit the 13 instances of ProScan and the one of Unitrunker on the single 32" display. I can also reduce the UniTrunker window to make room for another instance but I cannot see the Radar Box and Pro96Com. The monitor is $350 and I already am working on the CFO/wife on getting 2 more to replace the 2 27's on my Mac so I might try to squeeze another to put 2 on the Windows machine.

The wife seems to love the idea of monitor arms. This allows the monitors to be lifted off the desktop and be in a better position for viewing. I might be able to use that to get her to allow the purchase of additional monitors. She also likes the standing desks, and I might be able to work that into the solution as well down the road a piece.

Right now the 12 Unidens are in a rack under the desk on casters. The additional radios (536, TRX2, PSR600, PRO197, R8500, IC746, TM-f700 and CDM1250) are on a shelf unit on the desk and the HP1 and HP2 are in front of the monitor. I might rearrange some of these this weekend, we will see how it works out.
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Old 05-27-2017, 11:09 AM
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I've thought about doing something similar to this in the past. I could really improve my set up by moving the scanners to the attic and using an antenna up there. Then use Proscan to remote control all of them. With the software it would be easy, and I could set them up for access from anywhere with the Web Server function.

I was tossing around the idea of using a touch screen monitor or an All-in-One type PC. Then you could manipulate the scanners almost like they were in front of you.
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:47 PM
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Here is the results of all the work:

https://forums.radioreference.com/pi...ml#post2770640
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:22 AM
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For Mil-Air scanning, you should consider purchasing a Winradio G39DDC "EXCELSIOR" receiver. It can sweep the entire 225-380 MHz spectrum 5 times a second and present the results in a table.

I just ran a sweep, on a Sunday, and low and behold caught a US Navy TACAMO in the area broadcasting it's WBFM analog orderwire downlink.

See: https://youtu.be/v_TdcEr8-1g

I installed the PCI card in a Dell Windows 10 machine I purchased at Costco. It sits in the closet and I simply remote desktop to it.
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Old 05-28-2017, 8:52 PM
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For Mil-Air scanning, you should consider purchasing a Winradio G39DDC "EXCELSIOR" receiver. It can sweep the entire 225-380 MHz spectrum 5 times a second and present the results in a table.

I just ran a sweep, on a Sunday, and low and behold caught a US Navy TACAMO in the area broadcasting it's WBFM analog orderwire downlink.

See: https://youtu.be/v_TdcEr8-1g

I installed the PCI card in a Dell Windows 10 machine I purchased at Costco. It sits in the closet and I simply remote desktop to it.
I have drooled over the WinRadio's several times, even bought one at Dayton years ago but resold it to someone else the next day after they sold out and he offered me way too much money to turn down.

I will have to add this to my wish list and we will see what the wife will let me get away with!

In the mean time I will try using my existing SDR's to search out channels. While I doubt they will come anywhere close to the WinRadio it will be fun trying!
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