996P2 can't find control channel on NJICS

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W2IRT

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Hi all,
I have an odd problem on the BCD996p2 in my truck. It can't find the active control channel on the NJICS system. I'm in western Essex County and I have the West Orange simulcast site frequencies loaded, along with some local TGs. I have tried deleting and re-adding the codeplug and nothing changed. It also receives analog OK.

I have an identical 996p2 in the house, same firmware, same codeplug, and it's fine.

If I manually scroll to the active control channel (774.78125) it's full quieting and I can see a parade of TGIDs on the screen, but if I set it to scan then no TGs hit, and if I go into manual and select a TG it just says "finding control channel." Any thoughts here?

Please-n-thanks.
 

W2IRT

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It's permanently installed and the back is inaccessible. It's a gorgeous, clean install but beyond my ability to dismantle the entire console and check. It's receiving the analog channels (West Caldwell PD, Fairfield Fire, etc) all OK, so I'm guessing the antenna connection is OK.
 
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Read up on "System Hold", which keeps the scanner on one group.

That would cause what you're seeing.

If you press the silver knob in for more than 4 seconds, it will toggle "System Hold" off and on. (Pay attention to the display when toggling)
 

W2IRT

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Read up on "System Hold", which keeps the scanner on one group.
That would cause what you're seeing.

If you press the silver knob in for more than 4 seconds, it will toggle "System Hold" off and on. (Pay attention to the display when toggling)
I tried that on my inside scanner and all it did was toggle between ID scan and ID search. Am I missing something?

To clarify, Group Quick Keys 2 and 3 are assigned to the NJICS system, West Orange Simulcast site. QK2 is set to Fairfield, Verona, North Caldwell, and Atlantic EMS; QK3 is set to Newark Fire, Bloomfield and a few other less-used TGs. By all outward appearances when the radio is in scan mode it's scanning normally, but nothing is being received.

I have my SDS100 with me that's programmed for the same TGs. When the SDS stops on a TG and the 996p2 doesn't, as an experiment I will press the HOLD button and rotate the dial to the same TG. When I do that I'll see the "Looking for Control Channel" message. If the SDS stops on a conventional channel, the 996p2 will stop on it as well.
 
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NJEMT12982

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I was running into the same problem with my 996P2's for the longest time. I couldn't figure it out. I have my setup in my basement in North Newark. I was running after market external antennas that were more or less made for vehicle use. I figured if I ran them to the outside then I would increase my reception. I was sorely wrong. Once I attached the stock antennas I began receiving everything I wanted to scan even from the basement. I don't know how to tell you to do it since your antenna is not accessible with your install but I'm almost certain it's an antenna issue. Look into it ASAP otherwise you'll wind up like me not using your expensive scanner for almost a year because "finding control channel" kept you from enjoying it.
 

Skypilot007

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Try manually scrolling through the control channel frequencies and see if the active control channel is locked out. That happened to me once, don't ask me how but after a few days I figured it out.
 

markjrenna

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You only need the West Orange site for your location. No need to waste time scanning the other 30+ sites. West Orange site itself is mighty busy.

You can ass other sites later like Randolph and Long Branch that do carry some traffic.
 

W2IRT

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You only need the West Orange site for your location. No need to waste time scanning the other 30+ sites. West Orange site itself is mighty busy.
I'm only scanning West Orange. It's just not locking on properly.
Maybe the site is disabled via a system QK, or maybe it's locked out?
As I posted earlier, It's the exact same codeplug that's running perfectly on my identical 996p2 inside.

I was running into the same problem with my 996P2's for the longest time. I couldn't figure it out. I have my setup in my basement in North Newark. I was running after market external antennas that were more or less made for vehicle use. I figured if I ran them to the outside then I would increase my reception. I was sorely wrong. Once I attached the stock antennas I began receiving everything I wanted to scan even from the basement. I don't know how to tell you to do it since your antenna is not accessible with your install but I'm almost certain it's an antenna issue. Look into it ASAP otherwise you'll wind up like me not using your expensive scanner for almost a year because "finding control channel" kept you from enjoying it.
That made the most sense to me, too. Except I can receive the NJSP 800 MHz trunked system and all the local analog VHF/UHF agencies. From where I'm located, a wet noodle should pick up the control channel for that site. Plus when I manually select the control channel I get full signal showing.
 

markjrenna

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Maybe you are suffering from LSM Simulcast hell.. A Unication or Uniden SDS series may be needed.
 

W2IRT

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Maybe you are suffering from LSM Simulcast hell.. A Unication or Uniden SDS series may be needed.
Except it worked for a couple of years before this happened. It doesn't handle LSM issues as well as my SDS, but it's usable (when it finds the control channel).
 

wscranston

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OK, I'll give it a check. how would I do that?
Menu->Program System
Scroll to the system, hit enter
Scoll to Edit Site, hit enter
Scroll to the site, hit enter
Scroll to Set Lockout, hit enter, make sure it's set to Unlocked

If you assigned a system quick key, make sure that the quick key is enabled.
 

W2IRT

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Nothing doing. Everything looked OK. I then did the 2-9-HOLD reset, downloaded the codeplug from the inside radio, uploaded it into the truck and...nothing doing. Local analog stuff OK, heard a few calls on the NJSP 800 MHz system but NJICS has the same problem. I drove around a bit and it did lock in on Atlantic dispatch exactly twice, loud and clear. Meanwhile my SDS-100 was going non-stop on the same NJICS groups. I thing she's borked but good :(
 

W2IRT

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I can normally hear the Ramapo site on my SDS inside the house, so I'll try popping that site into the truck and see. It sure sounds like an antenna problem, but if it was, I wouldn't be receiving the NJSP 800 system nor my local PD/FD on VHF Hi. Very curious.

Any other systems receivable in the Caldwells that I should try? I'm using a small NMO mount scanner antenna on the truck that's always worked well in the past.
 

NParkNJ

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Sounds odd I’m sure, did you check the squelch settings.

I know you received other frequencies/systems.

I made the mistake of having the squelch way too high on Wayne years ago and completely blocked my reception. Lowered the squelch to 2, good as new.
 
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