Anybody in our area with a Pro-668 or a Whistler 1080?

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br0adband

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Need some advice, I suppose, as this is my first actual physical digital scanner and the first physical scanner I've owned since about 2005 or so. The last one I had was the trusty stable Uniden BC246T but I finally did get a Radio Shack Pro-668, and I've done the mod to convert it into a Whistler 1080 facsimile so far. Can't really afford the current pricing on the "official" upgrade path Whistler is offering but maybe in the future depending on how things go. So it's working, and I of course preferring Uniden's DMA scanner memory programming system am having a tough time wrapping my now half-century old head around some of this stuff with the EZ-Scan software (I did use the older iScan for a short time long ago with a borrowed Pro-107 but only for a few days).

I get most of it, and as I screw around with it I'm getting more familiar with the methods, but yes I'm an old purist and I really do hate this design of not having a proper keyboard for input, no dedicated backlight key, no instant audio record key, etc, I could complain for days but I won't.

So the reason for this thread: as a resident in downtown Las Vegas I'm in a tricky spot considering the simulcast nature of not only the LVMPD but also the very large SNACC system too so, as most people that have been using digital scanners longer than I have know they're all basically "teh suck" for LSM reception.

I'm wondering if anyone else with either a stock Pro-668 or a modded one to convert it to a 1080 can offer any tips on their own usage to improve P25 Phase I and II reception in our rather signal heavy area and maybe even some tips on DMR reception at this point. I haven't really dug into the DMR capability of this scanner (I have with using RTL sticks and SDR apps on my laptop for quite some time now so I'm pretty well versed in that side of things).

In fact at the moment the only DMR channel I monitor really is the Fremont Street Experience security at 464.1000 MHz because it can get pretty interesting during the evening hours, especially in the summer time. :D

Anyway, any tips from you digital "old timers" would be greatly appreciated, especially any of the nuts and bolts settings like the AGC levels, DSP Level Adapt stuff (I altered the default from 64 to 52, can't say it makes any difference that I can actually notice), or anything else that any of you might have found to make monitoring some of these systems in Las Vegas more... I don't know how to say it, monitorable? :)

Admins/Mods: I decided to make this post here because it's directly related to radio systems here in the Las Vegas metropolitan area and not specifically about the scanner hardware itself which would usually mean posting it in the Radio Shack or perhaps the Whistler subforums, hope that makes sense but if the localization aspect isn't relevant then I suppose deleting it might be the best solution overall, it's up to you folks.

Thanks for any advice, suggestions, or tips to make the most of my "new" but used and now no longer officially supported since Radio Shack is now truly dead digital scanner. :D

Have fun, always...
 

DJ11DLN

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I'm obviously not from the area but if your area is truly that "signal heavy," then less antenna will work better than more. Also, moving the scanner, even a few inches, can sometimes make a huge difference. Some people have reported success using a straightened paperclip in the center socket of the BNC connector. Play with the AGC, it may help or it may not.

I feel your pain in re E-Z Scan...I got back into scanning several years ago and my first computer-programmable scanner was a Pro-18. Now I'm trying to get my head around Sentinel. I'd set up a couple of X36's for people a couple of years back, but hadn't fussed with it since. I'm finding it much less intuitive than iScan/E-Z Scan.

I guess it's all about what you learned on. I am also well into my fifth decade and getting my head around new ideas sure ain't as easy as it once was.:(
 

br0adband

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Well by signal heavy or that reference I was referring to the multiple LSM simulcast systems and sites here using P25 Phase I and II these days, and yes I realize that using a different antenna can actually help (by reducing the strength of some of the sites on the given system) the simple fact of the matter is no scanners available today really handle LSM that well.

I use OP25 sometimes for P25 Phase I and II and that's using an old Dell Latitude E6400 laptop + a $9 RTL stick along with Ubuntu and the same RS800 antenna I use now with this Pro-668 and OP25 does LSM the right way, everything works better with that software but it's impractical for being truly mobile I suppose. A physical scanner does still have some benefits but then again using RTL sticks and SDR software applications with a laptop can do more than any scanners can regardless of their retail pricing.

Regarding the software side of digital and computer controlled scanners these days I myself prefer Uniden's DMA way of doing things, I learned that very well when I had that BC246T so long ago and bought the Butel software for that scanner as well. But this GRE/Whistler/Radio Shack stuff, the iScan/EZ-Scan software, ugh, I just haven't gotten a firm grasp on it yet and I haven't even touched on most of it yet. Was thinking earlier about the V-Scanner side of things and I haven't got a clue about that aspect of it all yet, that can wait. ;)

I was simply looking for some tips on improving reception overall but again I'm fairly certain a lot of the issues I'm noticing more than likely area because of LSM and how things are set up here in this area. I can live with it, I mean I can hear most every broadcast without any issues - digital is far far from perfect but at least they are making some improvements. Someday we'll have Star Trek like communicators on our shirts or even better no devices at all and we can just speak and reach out to whoever anytime anywhere as needed or desired.

But then again that could be problematic in and of itself I suppose. :D
 

DJ11DLN

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I understand. I do not -- yet at least, and hopefully never -- have much in the way of LSM to deal with here at home. Only when I travel. But I do have a mess when the band is open; the frequencies on the sites are recycled many times and sometimes I have to resort to the paperclip; the scanner just goes deaf, the front end gets overloaded to a fare-thee-well. I long ago gave up on an outdoor antenna for the TSYS. It has really great coverage, but when the band opens up...ugh. Thankfully, 700/800 MHz band openings aren't terribly common.

I'm sure that if I had gotten back into it with a Uniden, I'd be fully agreeing with you. I just learned on the Whistler (well, GRE/Radio shack) system and now I'm kind of stuck in a rut. Even though that was a big jump from a direct-entry scanner with no alpha tag or PL tone support, LOL. I did get my shiny new 436 going, and it's working fairly well -- tweaking is still needed, of course -- but there was a good bit of Advil popped in the process. I even at one point considered applying some intoxicating liquid, but decided against that as probably counterproductive.:cool:

Best of luck dealing with your LSM issues and figuring out the whole Object Oriented thing.
 

coolrich55

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I have a 668 and it works fine for Metro. Only thing I had to do was turn the squelch all the way up. Otherwise all I was hearing was a word here and there.
 

br0adband

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Yah, I noticed that as well, but I actually just sold the Pro-668 so I suppose now it won't be an issue for me any longer. :)

Moving to Missouri in a few weeks so, after I get settled in there I'll be on the lookout for another one for the future but the less I have to pack for the journey the better.

Thanks for the input, folks.

Have fun, always...
 
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