Antennas, Digital, Rebranding, Macs and Florida

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Dbubs

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pasco, florida
Hi all,
Im thinking about getting back into scanning- Used to listen a while ago as a kid in a different state and now im getting the bug again after picking up some streams online.
I live in south western Pasco County Florida. Doing some quick research on this site it appears that Pasco is using a EDACS Standard system. The site also mentions that the system will be Re-branded in April of 2010. So before i go out and buy a $500 scanner I need to understand a few more things.

I guess being it is a EDACS system i will not need a digital scanner- But i cant help but wonder - Is there a good chance that this system could go digital in the next few years? So maybe its better to just spend the money now and get a digital- Is that the general consensus?

I am considering the BC15x and the BCD996XT from what i read these are both really good scanners - just analog vs digital. My problem here is that i only have a Mac. Is there any software that can program on a Mac and use the RR database? I havent found any. If not and I must install windows bootcamp for the mac (which i really don't want to do) Does the free scan software work with the premium RR database? Secondly in regards to these two scanners, will the rebranding be a pain to figure out the new frequencies? Am I going to be listening to dead air for a while until someone posts the new frequencies?

And Finally... Antennas. I live in extremely flat Florida in somewhat of a rural setting. There is a Sheriff Sub-station (West Pasco Sheriff) about 15 miles away- Are the chances good that the stock antenna will be able to pick up calls from the second story of my house? How about the aftermarket
800 MHz 2.5db Gain Base BNC Scanner Antenna? would this increase my range. If so, on average by how much? Im really not interested in listening to much outside the sheriff and EMS. I don't want to install an antenna on my roof and drill holes thru my siding.

Cheers!
Dbubs
 

sjlamb

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I guess being it is a EDACS system i will not need a digital scanner- But i cant help but wonder - Is there a good chance that this system could go digital in the next few years? So maybe its better to just spend the money now and get a digital- Is that the general consensus?
If they were to activate "Pro-Voice", you'd be screwed no matter what you bought.

Does the free scan software work with the premium RR database? Secondly in regards to these two scanners, will the rebranding be a pain to figure out the new frequencies? Am I going to be listening to dead air for a while until someone posts the new frequencies?
FreeScan works well with the RR Database but is not compatible with MAC. Since you don't want to use Windows Bootcamp; your remaining options are: (1) Manual Programming (which will likely result in suicide) (2) Have the scanner programmed by the dealer for your area and then make any desired changes manually (3) Pay someone locally who is both knowledgeable and willing to perform the task for you.

The term is REBANDING. When your local system rebands, the new information will quickly appear in the Florida section of this forum. In most cases, the trunk freqs. simply need to be re-entered 15 mHz lower than the original frequencies.

And Finally... Antennas. I live in extremely flat Florida in somewhat of a rural setting. There is a Sheriff Sub-station (West Pasco Sheriff) about 15 miles away- Are the chances good that the stock antenna will be able to pick up calls from the second story of my house? How about the aftermarket 800 MHz 2.5db Gain Base BNC Scanner Antenna? would this increase my range. If so, on average by how much? Im really not interested in listening to much outside the sheriff and EMS. I don't want to install an antenna on my roof and drill holes thru my siding.
It doesn't matter where the sub-station is. What matters is where the closest transmitter site is located in relation to where the scanner is located. That information can be found in the RR database. Typical range on 800 mHz trunked systems is approx. 12-15 miles depending on a number of external conditions. You will ALWAYS receive an 800 Trunked system better on an antenna designed specifically for that band compared to the "all-purpose" stock antenna. The down side is that reception in the VHF Lo-High bands will suffer. If you find that you have a tower site within "line of sight" (within the horizon), you may find that you do just fine with the stock antenna. Try it and see.

Click here for full detail on this system's sole tower site: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?action=siteInfo&siteId=844

Follow-up: A review of the Pasco system in the RR database shows this to be a rather small system with a single tower site loated in the Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area off of Five Cent Rd. Max. tower range quoted at 25 miles. Given the relatively limited numbers of frequencies and agencies using this system, total number of talkgroups and somewhat rural location; I would be very surpised if they were to ever go to the expense of using Pro-Voice. In all probability, a non-digital analog trunking scanner such as the 15X would serve you well for years to come.
 
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Astrak

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Mesa, AZ
On the computer side of things, you could pick up an older Windows machine off of eBay or somewhere locally for fairly cheap. I picked up an older Dell desktop 2.4ghz 1gig ram for about $30.00 on eBay, mine is used to run an FTP server and WIN500 audio recording and streaming one of my feeds to RR.
 

sjlamb

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On the computer side of things, you could pick up an older Windows machine off of eBay or somewhere locally for fairly cheap. I picked up an older Dell desktop 2.4ghz 1gig ram for about $30.00 on eBay, mine is used to run an FTP server and WIN500 audio recording and streaming one of my feeds to RR.
Excellent suggestion.... well played! Let's make that "Option 1".
 

Dbubs

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Mar 10, 2010
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pasco, florida
Thanks for the feedback guys! I checked your link on that tower and it looks like I'm about 12 miles- bird in flight. So I guess we'll see how it goes. Your right. I guess I would be S.O.L if they go to pro voice regardless!
 

DickH

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... In most cases, the trunk freqs. simply need to be re-entered 15 mHz lower than the original frequencies... .
That's not correct. If he subtracts 15MHz from that system's freqs. the resulting freqs. will be in the 840 to 845 range and he won't receive that system.
 

sjlamb

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That's not correct. If he subtracts 15MHz from that system's freqs. the resulting freqs. will be in the 840 to 845 range and he won't receive that system.
Correct you are. I didn't bother to look up the current freqs thus my caveat "in most cases". Regardless.... the OP can expect to find the re-banded freqs. to appear in the Florida section long before they actually go live.
 

sjlamb

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Sarasota County, FL
Thanks for the feedback guys! I checked your link on that tower and it looks like I'm about 12 miles- bird in flight. So I guess we'll see how it goes. Your right. I guess I would be S.O.L if they go to pro voice regardless!
As I said, I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about Pro-Voice on this small system. Either way it's beyond your control. The $20 for the RS800 antenna would be money well spent no matter which trunking radio you get.
 

hillscoflx49

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I live in south western Pasco County Florida. Doing some quick research on this site it appears that Pasco is using a EDACS Standard system. The site also mentions that the system will be Re-branded in April of 2010. So before i go out and buy a $500 scanner I need to understand a few more things.
Pasco uses EDACS Analog for now... There have been persistent rumors and discussions on Pasco converting to Motorola P25 every thing around them except HillsCO is Motorola and is moving to P25. Citrus -> P25, Hernando is in beginning of an upgrade.. Lake, Sumter and Polk are all P25 or in the process.

Only thing that could complicate EDACS is ProVoice (digital EDACS, unmonitorable)


And Finally... Antennas. I live in extremely flat Florida in somewhat of a rural setting. There is a Sheriff Sub-station (West Pasco Sheriff) about 15 miles away- Are the chances good that the stock antenna will be able to pick up calls from the second story of my house? How about the aftermarket
800 MHz 2.5db Gain Base BNC Scanner Antenna? would this increase my range. If so, on average by how much? Im really not interested in listening to much outside the sheriff and EMS. I don't want to install an antenna on my roof and drill holes thru my siding.
A good outside antenna and good quality coax, such as Belden 9913 or LMR 400 is the best route.. Depending on the system, terrain, and foliage in your area, along with house construction you may find that an good gain 800MHz antenna will work as well.

Trees and other foilage, along with metal siding, concrete [block] walls with rebar, metal roofs can all effect the ability to use an antenna inside.
 
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