996 & Dcfd

Status
Not open for further replies.

allen5565

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Messages
49
Location
Montgomery County, MD
I am at a loss and I hope someone here has an "Oh, that's easy" answer, please. As far as I can tell I've programmed DCFD correctly (all frequencies are correct and system is properly designated) but I can pick up almost nothing on this trunked system, even if I'm sitting at Wisconsin and Brandywine in upper Northwest. I keep getting a message saying the radio is searching for the system's control channel. MPD works okay -- not great; I only get about 2.5 bars in the same location, but at least it's working, despite my Microloss 900 coax and a Maxscan1000 trunk-mount -- but DCFD/DCFEMSwhatever just thumbs its nose at my radio. Is there something unique to this system that I missed? Like I say, every other jurisdiction, from Loudon to AA to Balto City seems to behave itself, but this one is driving me batty.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,059
Location
Bowie, Md.
There are numerous areas in the DC region which are so saturated with RF that a condition known as desense is almost a guarantee. Basically what this means is that the radio is so saturated with signal, it's locking on to some other signal you really don't want, and turning down the sensitivity on others. If everything else checks out (since you get other systems OK, I suspect this is true), that would be my guess. Getting only a couple of bars on the UHF side is additional circumstantial evidence of a desense issue

Don't feel bad - I understand DCFD has the same problem in certain areas...

73 Mike
 

Dewey

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
977
As Mike said, you might be experiencing desensing. Especially if you're literally sitting at Wisconsin & Brandywine... you should have two VERY LARGE transmitter towers right over your shoulder. Trying hitting the attenuator, or going down the street a couple blocks towards Tenley Circle, and see if that helps. BTW, you didn't say which radio you were using... a Uniden, which is pretty good at rejection, or a GRE (to include the 96/2096), which are so sensitive, they're known to overloaded very easily.

Dewey
 

allen5565

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Messages
49
Location
Montgomery County, MD
And here people have told me for years I was desensitized, but I just wouldn't listen. Mike and Dewey, thanks very much. I'll tinker with the attenuator this evening.
 

allen5565

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Messages
49
Location
Montgomery County, MD
Well...is there a chance it could be something else? I activated the attenuator for DFCD (and for MPD while I was at it) but there was no change. I have a 796 running off the same trunk-mounted antenna, split with a Stridsberg, and the 996 doesn't pick up anywhere near the number of transmissions as the other radio. Now, if I set it to a specific talk group -- fire's 02 Main or MPD 2-D, for example -- the 996 will follow all the transmissions, judging from the 796 I used as a control for this experiment. I assume this means the 996 is trunking properly -- i.e. that it is keeping up with the frequencies as they change from transmission to transmission within a specified TG. But if I hit 'scan' the radio falls almost totally silent. (Which reminds me of another frustration: external speaker volume is miserable compared to my 796s. Grrrrr...)

I went up to Howard County this evening and punched up their system for the first time. It blew me away for the high level of activity I was drawing in. Could this mean I should re-set DCFD and MPD's P25 to 'default' from 'auto'; that maybe the jurisdictions I have been listening to have had too high a threshhold set by the radio?

I have ben listening to scanners since 1980 and I have never been more confused and frustrated by a radio than I am with this 996.
 

Dewey

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
977
allen5565 said:
Well...is there a chance it could be something else? I activated the attenuator for DFCD (and for MPD while I was at it) but there was no change. I have a 796 running off the same trunk-mounted antenna, split with a Stridsberg, and the 996 doesn't pick up anywhere near the number of transmissions as the other radio. Now, if I set it to a specific talk group -- fire's 02 Main or MPD 2-D, for example -- the 996 will follow all the transmissions, judging from the 796 I used as a control for this experiment. I assume this means the 996 is trunking properly -- i.e. that it is keeping up with the frequencies as they change from transmission to transmission within a specified TG. But if I hit 'scan' the radio falls almost totally silent. (Which reminds me of another frustration: external speaker volume is miserable compared to my 796s. Grrrrr...)

I went up to Howard County this evening and punched up their system for the first time. It blew me away for the high level of activity I was drawing in. Could this mean I should re-set DCFD and MPD's P25 to 'default' from 'auto'; that maybe the jurisdictions I have been listening to have had too high a threshhold set by the radio?

I have ben listening to scanners since 1980 and I have never been more confused and frustrated by a radio than I am with this 996.
Sorry to hear that it is still not going well for you. The 996 is really a great radio once you learn it, but for us "old dogs", the new tricks of dynamic memory can be quite intimidating. Since you are going from the bank concept (796) to dynamic memory (996), let me ask one thing. Do you have FD & PD programmed as separate systems? They can share the same System Quick Key (SQK) if you so desire, BUT, they MUST be programmed as separate systems to work correctly. If that's not the problem, I'm sure we'll keep working you until either you or us gets it right.

Dewey
 

LEH

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
1,416
Location
Yorktown, Virginia
when you go into manual mode, can you find an active control channel? If you get that and it still isn't working, then there are other issues.
 

allen5565

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Messages
49
Location
Montgomery County, MD
Hi Dewey. Yes, I have MPD in one system and DCFD in another, and have them sharing a system quick key with a third system that holds all the conventional freq. in the jurisdiction.

Lynn, in manual mode sometimes I get the "can not find control channel" message, while other times I do not. When I do not have the message the radio seems to follow conversations on the selected TG as you would expect.

I'm starting to get paranoid: I think the 996 is doing this just to taunt me.
 

jerk

Active Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
2,446
Location
jerkville
Are you using software to program.

I did it with my BCD396t and 246t and using a "popular" program, it did not correctly take/add one of the needed offsets. I had to go in manually and verify my settings.

So that's the suggestion I have is that you manually recheck you settings.
 

Dewey

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
977
allen5565 said:
Hi Dewey. Yes, I have MPD in one system and DCFD in another, and have them sharing a system quick key with a third system that holds all the conventional freq. in the jurisdiction.

Lynn, in manual mode sometimes I get the "can not find control channel" message, while other times I do not. When I do not have the message the radio seems to follow conversations on the selected TG as you would expect.

I'm starting to get paranoid: I think the 996 is doing this just to taunt me.
Ok then, while 460.025 and 460.100 are the control channels used the most, ensure that you have all four of the control channels in the database programmed. Also, don't forget that there are two custom tables. If all you have entered is the first table (453.450/12.5/380), you're going to miss the majority of the transmissions since that table only concerns one voice frequency (453.450). Conversly, if you only have the 460.025/12.5/480 table entered, you're going to miss all conversations that trunk to voice frequency 453.450. If that doesn't do it, time to look at other things.

Dewey
 

jerk

Active Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
2,446
Location
jerkville
Dewey said:
Ok then, while 460.025 and 460.100 are the control channels used the most, ensure that you have all four of the control channels in the database programmed. Also, don't forget that there are two custom tables. If all you have entered is the first table (453.450/12.5/380), you're going to miss the majority of the transmissions since that table only concerns one voice frequency (453.450). Conversly, if you only have the 460.025/12.5/480 table entered, you're going to miss all conversations that trunk to voice frequency 453.450. If that doesn't do it, time to look at other things.

Dewey
You know that's what I was trying to say. I didn't come near saying any of that. ;)
And I hope it's that simple for him. Also I attached my BCD396T files, which will work in the 996
 
Last edited:

allen5565

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Messages
49
Location
Montgomery County, MD
SUCCESS!!! It's amazing what a little thing like electricity will do for a setup. I ripped open my console and discovered that --lo!-- the MilSpec Stridsberg blew a fuse. No wonder the 996 wasn't pulling in anything: It was starved for signal strength, the trunk-mounted NMO (already losing 2.1 db off the bat because of mounting location) feeding an unpowered multicoupler that can do nothing but slice the antenna signal into thirds and pipe the diminished results to the trio of scanners. (Of course, it doesn't explain why the 796s still sucked in transmissions, but what the heck...) A new fuse and all my toys are pulling in 4-5 bars all over town.

Many thanks for your collective ears and brains, folks. I am also grateful to you for your patience and interest, too.

Be safe. Have fun.
 

jerk

Active Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
2,446
Location
jerkville
allen5565 said:
SUCCESS!!! It's amazing what a little thing like electricity will do for a setup. I ripped open my console and discovered that --lo!-- the MilSpec Stridsberg blew a fuse. No wonder the 996 wasn't pulling in anything: It was starved for signal strength, the trunk-mounted NMO (already losing 2.1 db off the bat because of mounting location) feeding an unpowered multicoupler that can do nothing but slice the antenna signal into thirds and pipe the diminished results to the trio of scanners. (Of course, it doesn't explain why the 796s still sucked in transmissions, but what the heck...) A new fuse and all my toys are pulling in 4-5 bars all over town.

Many thanks for your collective ears and brains, folks. I am also grateful to you for your patience and interest, too.

Be safe. Have fun.
Hey, it could have easily been one of us... glad it's working for you.
 

Dewey

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
977
allen5565 said:
SUCCESS!!! It's amazing what a little thing like electricity will do for a setup. I ripped open my console and discovered that --lo!-- the MilSpec Stridsberg blew a fuse. No wonder the 996 wasn't pulling in anything: It was starved for signal strength, the trunk-mounted NMO (already losing 2.1 db off the bat because of mounting location) feeding an unpowered multicoupler that can do nothing but slice the antenna signal into thirds and pipe the diminished results to the trio of scanners. (Of course, it doesn't explain why the 796s still sucked in transmissions, but what the heck...) A new fuse and all my toys are pulling in 4-5 bars all over town.

Many thanks for your collective ears and brains, folks. I am also grateful to you for your patience and interest, too.

Be safe. Have fun.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Dewey
 

ipweston

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
0
Dcfd & Bct-15

Since it seems like some of you know these scanners very well i thought you might be able to help me. I just purchased a BCT15 and am new to the Uniden dynamic scanning setup. I am using ARC-15 to program the scanner. I downloaded the frequencies directly from RadioReference into the ARC-15 programming system for DCFD but i haven't had any luck with hearing any transmissions. The system is setup with 2 sites - the 800 and the 400, including all of the DCFD talk-groups (from what i understand you need to program both in, just hear DCFD). The control channels are correct and the custom tables seem to be consistent. Any suggestions?
 

jerk

Active Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
2,446
Location
jerkville
ipweston said:
Since it seems like some of you know these scanners very well i thought you might be able to help me. I just purchased a BCT15 and am new to the Uniden dynamic scanning setup. I am using ARC-15 to program the scanner. I downloaded the frequencies directly from RadioReference into the ARC-15 programming system for DCFD but i haven't had any luck with hearing any transmissions. The system is setup with 2 sites - the 800 and the 400, including all of the DCFD talk-groups (from what i understand you need to program both in, just hear DCFD). The control channels are correct and the custom tables seem to be consistent. Any suggestions?
Double check the off-set to what is in RR, that's one of the problems I had with Butel when I tried it last. Don't use it anymore.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,059
Location
Bowie, Md.
As written before, the DCFD is all digital - the BCT15 won't do this. You would need one of the digital trunktrackers.

73 Mike
 

jerk

Active Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
2,446
Location
jerkville
ka3jjz said:
As written before, the DCFD is all digital - the BCT15 won't do this. You would need one of the digital trunktrackers.

73 Mike
Oops, should have paid more attention, I know this...
Time for a cup of coffee
 

newsnick175

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 4, 2006
Messages
637
Location
Denver, North Carolina
Covered the Pope

Spent last week in DC covering the Popes comings and goings for my job {camerman} at WCBS-TV in NYC. Got very busey programing my 396 and 785d to monitor the PD and FD. The only hitch in my efforts was to mistakenly Iding the 850 FD system as a "P-25" system. Once I changed that every thing went swimmingly! Got that "Command Bus" action on a TG in the 59000s and manny Ems Tac Ops in the 2100s. Very entertaining. We don't have much call for "digital" here in NYC, so the experance was well worth the time spent.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top