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San Francisco Bay Area Discussion - Local area specific discussion for the San Francisco Bay area including the North, East and South Bays.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2015, 9:36 PM
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Default Homepatrol 2 Question

I just purchased a Homepatrol 2, I downloaded the extreme software and have the latest sentinel loaded as well, I live in Sunnyvale, and not being able to pick up any traffic from the cars to the dispatcher, the same goes for the fire department, Is there a different sentinel for the HP2?
I hope I did not make a mistake buy this scanner. I really like the HP1, until Sunnyvale went to P25 Phase 2, any ideas would be welcome. Thanks
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 02-09-2015, 7:49 PM
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Ok, I just got the Uniden 436HP and uploaded my favorites list and am trying to scan SVRCS. I get almost nothing. One bar of reception on the control channels. All the correct data appears on the screen as far as System/Dept/Site. I'm sure I have the correct system.

So far a few random transmissions on ID 1751 which is Sunnyvale PD. It sounds TERRIBLE; basically unintelligible voice with dropouts.

The basics:

The database is updated. I switched to ID Search since Scan came up with zero. Switched back.

I have a Laird Antenex 800MHz rubber duck on it. It worked great on my 346XT. No issues whatsoever and I got all of Santa Clara/Sunnyvale/MV/PA/etc. no problem.

Not picking up Santa Clara City PD/FD well. Very few transmissions and they're all garbled. Never had any reception issues whatsoever pre-P25 - full strength on the control channels with the 436XT.

Really need help here...

I am near a window. Just a few miles from the closest tower.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 02-09-2015, 9:11 PM
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You probably need a better antenna. Something outside.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 02-09-2015, 9:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kma371 View Post
You probably need a better antenna. Something outside.
I appreciate your comment but I am not buying this.

I was receiving Santa Clara PD/FD just fine at the exact same location on analog 800MHz Mot II trunking with the 346XT and same antenna. Strong signal, full bars, crystal clear audio. Which I would expect since the tower is a few miles away in North Santa Clara, and I live in...North Santa Clara. I'm not out in the boonies 25 miles away.

Now, they are 700MHz P25, same towers a few miles away and I get 1-2 bars and choppy unintelligible digital audio, missing 99% of the calls...?

I wanted to put in the control freq (772.30625) into my 346XT just to see what the signal meter would show (I know this is digital data) so I could compare, but when I try Direct Entry it says "Out Of Band".

I have a feeling the sensitivity on this unit is abysmal, or there is a defect in this one.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:07 PM
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fmalloy, I have tried a diamond SRH789, and a diamond RH77CA, and now using a mobile antenna, approx. 7ft in the air in the house, and finally starting to pick up most of the Sunnyvale transmissions, the was the best improvement, using an oval piece of sheet metal with the mobile antenna mounted to it, facing the direction of the tower at headquarters, I`m looking to get something for outside, possibly a yagi for the 700 mhz. Still re-searching, Uniden told me to put the scanner in the car and see if the reception got better, it did, it`s an antenna issue. I`m still able to pick up Santa Clara, PD,FD,and SO.
Just need to find a good antenna for outside, I feel your frustration.
The scanner app on my phone sounds better, but is 2 minutes behind the real broadcast.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmalloy View Post
I appreciate your comment but I am not buying this.
Buy it. Analog signals are different than digital ones. Your scanner can't process it if it can't hear it well.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 02-09-2015, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kma371 View Post
Buy it. Analog signals are different than digital ones. Your scanner can't process it if it can't hear it well.
So why could the 346XT hear the signal at 4 bars but the 436HP gets one bar, when the transmitting antenna and my scanner and antenna are the same and in the same location in each case?

800MHz Mot II trunked - Strong signal, clear audio with no noise

700MHz P25 Phase II - Very weak signal, 99% missed calls, garbled P25 audio

I see lots of YouTube videos of 436HPs with duck antennas receiving P25. I'm in an urban area, 3 miles from the tower, and just want to hear my local city's PD/FD and I can't do that with P25?

If I can't figure out in the next couple of days why this radio cannot receive signals that should be strong and clear it's going back.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a4man4mbz View Post
fmalloy, I have tried a diamond SRH789, and a diamond RH77CA, and now using a mobile antenna, approx. 7ft in the air in the house, and finally starting to pick up most of the Sunnyvale transmissions, the was the best improvement, using an oval piece of sheet metal with the mobile antenna mounted to it, facing the direction of the tower at headquarters, I`m looking to get something for outside, possibly a yagi for the 700 mhz. Still re-searching, Uniden told me to put the scanner in the car and see if the reception got better, it did, it`s an antenna issue. I`m still able to pick up Santa Clara, PD,FD,and SO.
Just need to find a good antenna for outside, I feel your frustration.
So you live in Sunnyvale, trying to pick up your own city (and Sunnyvale is pretty small), and you need an antenna 7 feet in the air and looking for an outdoor Yagi? Just to pick up signals from a tower a few miles away?

It's strange - my digital satellite radio comes in loud and clear, my digital TV signal comes in sharp and clear with an antenna about a foot wide. But digital P25 everything goes to hell and you suddenly need an outdoor antenna and you have to worry about this simulcast nonsense when before my 6" rubber duck pulled in everything from South San Jose and Los Altos up to Milpitas.

Before the switch I got transmissions loud and clear from Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. 4 bars everywhere in the house. P25 has taken a clean, strong signal and and made it sound like it's 50 miles away. Wow, awesome, thanks APCO! Go Digital! This is progress?

I don't know how the police and fire deal with this nonsense. Do they get signals in their cars, or only when they have 6 foot Yagis on the roof parked next to the tower?
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 2:37 PM
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Scanners are not the same as commercial radios. They don't have the same issues we do. A lot of it has to do with simulcasting from multiple antennas. The scanner can't quite deal with it.
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Old 02-10-2015, 2:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kma371 View Post
Scanners are not the same as commercial radios. They don't have the same issues we do. A lot of it has to do with simulcasting from multiple antennas. The scanner can't quite deal with it.
Thanks for the info.

Looks like there are too many issues with P25 and simulcasting in my area, so the radio has to go back, and I'm stuck with monitoring analog areas, like San Jose and Milpitas. Can't even listen to my own local police.
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 4:51 PM
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Just a thought before you return the BCD436HP: maybe your receiver has too much signal and you could try turning on scan attenuation (see: Easier to Read BCD436/536HP Digital Scanner Manual).

The currently active west cell of SVRCS puts out a pretty big signal. Last December, I heard someone running a mobile test up 280 nearly all the way to into San Francisco. I don't know what kind of setup they had, but they sounded nearly perfect to about 380 and the SFO.
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Old 02-10-2015, 5:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jland138 View Post
Just a thought before you return the BCD436HP: maybe your receiver has too much signal and you could try turning on scan attenuation
. . .
The currently active west cell of SVRCS puts out a pretty big signal. Last December, I heard someone running a mobile test up 280 nearly all the way to into San Francisco. I don't know what kind of setup they had, but they sounded nearly perfect to about 380 and the SFO.
Thank you!

Someone else had mentioned about attenuation and I will definitely try it! I'd think if it was overloading it would show full strength bars, but it's easy to try but will do!

I have a Laird 2.5dB gain 800MHz Antenex and the stock duck. Neither helps. I've got the RS 800 antenna coming tomorrow, which I heard good things about.

You have a good point - people are almost getting to SFO and can receive, but I'm 3 miles from the Martin Ave. tower and can't. I'm going to spend some time trying attenuation and P25 settings, also driving around the city to see what it sounds like. Maybe my house is just at this awful null point...
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 7:24 PM
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Fmalloy I have a hard time picking up the new p25 signal in my home as well. I have to fish around for it . I only get a signal when I place my unit on the arm of my couch and have it at an horizontal angel. If I move it just an inch I'll lose the signal.but when I find that sweet spot I'll hear every thing loud and clear. I'm in a dead zone I think it's called a null. Every thing that I have read about digital seems that it can be touchy. Ive noticed that when it rains I'll lose the signal as well and as soon as the rain stops I'll pick it up again. I have climb on the roof to see if being higher off the ground would help, no dice with that experiment so I don't know if an exterior antenna would help. So perhaps this is what you are experiencing aswell.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 8:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jland138 View Post
Just a thought before you return the BCD436HP: maybe your receiver has too much signal and you could try turning on scan attenuation.
Tried it, no-go. Lost the "DAT" indicator and no calls heard.

I walked around the neighborhood, and once I got a block away or so I got much more signal and more intelligible audio, but still not very good.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 9:25 PM
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Hmm,this is definitely a head scratcher.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 10:56 PM
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I've got the WS1080 and have discovered the reception is inconsistent. I am 4-5 blocks from PD HQ.
I mainly operate the scanner from one location in our house but am amazed how poor the reception and sound are compared to the old analog, I think I'm missing about 50% of transmissions on the new digital system.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 02-10-2015, 11:53 PM
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Interesting. I'm close to the old Sunnyvale Fire Station 9 and I can get the signal with an antenna and even without an antenna attached to the 436hp. The only "dead" area I have encountered so far is in the area of Wolfe Rd & Evelyn Ave. I consistently miss transmissions in that area. Also the new EMS tone always seems to come in kind of funky. I miss the old DTMF EMS tone.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2015, 11:59 AM
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Hi Stealthguy05

Just wondering how far away you are from DPS HQ?

Did you have to tweak your 436 to get reception or were you good to go out of the box? Do you use the 436 in the car, or something different? How is reception while mobile?

I'm still trying to decide which model scanner to purchase. From reading your posts it sounds like you don't have any issues receiving the SVRCS system.

Thanks!
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2015, 12:00 PM
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Well, I'm starting to find I'm experiencing this location sensitivity issue. The spot I sit the scanner on next to the bed (only a few feet from a window) gives terrible reception. I moved it less than a foot, but starting hearing more calls and the calls are a bit more intelligible.

Also find that the signal strength meter doesn't seem to have much correlation to the readability.

Need to do more experimenting with location - you all are right, it's very sensitive to the spot you park it.

Also have the RS 800 antenna coming in the next day or so, excited to try that.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-2015, 5:29 PM
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Another question - "Digital AGC" is off. Should I try turning it on?
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