August 2020: Problematic simulcast issues resolved (Mostly)

billpritjr

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
162
Hello Folks

My scanner: WS-1098 Tabletop

I am listening to the (Texas) Denton County P-25 Phase II TDMA Motorola Simulcast system. Notoriously difficult to hear even with the TRX scanners. Recently, I was getting garbled digital "noise" on many receptions. I own a Unication G4 for the car, my TRX handheld will NOT work well when moving down the road listening to this system. But at home, the 1098 works fairly well if settings tweaked.

My location is probably 10 miles line of sight from the antenna sites. Upper room in two story house, flat terrain.

I have found the following settings to be useful. FYI

DSP/AGC Gain/DAC Gain: Factory defaults

Dwell: 25 seconds. I know, crazy

Delay: 3 seconds

Site Frequencies: All frequencies loaded from Radio Reference, then NON-control channels locked out. The "primary" (RED) control channel was moved up to position 1, then the other control channels (BLUE) were placed in #2 thru XXX positions in the order I believed they belonged. This is NOT how the default import will order them, I had to manually do this. Not sure if this even matters but it makes me think it helped the radio process things.

AGC Gain: OFF. I tried it with ON and it really had no change, so I left it off.

Data Decode Thresholds: Low: 65 High: 90

these seem to work. I am eager to hear what folks are using for these Motorola simulcast systems.

Antenna:

I am using this antenna from Amazon ($10): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R4PGZK3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

Daleb49

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
139
Location
Parma, Ohio
I have played with your exact settings on my WS-1098 and I changed the antenna to the factory antenna that came with my TRX-1 and lay it horizontal and it totally gets rid of the simulcast issues. I didn't have a horrible issue with simulcast but enough to try some settings .
It's a shame people don't try some settings changes and different antennas to try to solve a problem.
So many give up and just say Whistlers don't work. Just my 2 cents.
 

Johnnydollar2

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
1,320
Location
IL
With those old Whistlers, GRE-PSR800, Pro668s, WS1080s and their larger base brothers ... nothing you do with them regarding threshold or dwell or any (setting) will work long term to "fix" P25 Simulcast problems. Those were desperation band-aid attempts by Whistler as damage control. Only a Yagi would help them a bit, even then it's inconsistent at best. Forget them in the car/truck. They are simply not designed to recieve those systems. THAT is the shameful* part. Luckily you already mentioned the only TRUE fix ... you have a Unication G4. Only SDS100/200 and Unication Pagers are worth looking at when it comes to P25 Simulcast.
 

billpritjr

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
162
my gripe with the G4 is it does not record (not very user friendly) like the Whistlers. oh well
 

djeplett

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
812
Location
NE Wisconsin
It's a shame people don't try some settings changes and different antennas to try to solve a problem.
So many give up and just say Whistlers don't work. Just my 2 cents.
I'll see your 2 cents and raise you.

I had a TRX-1. I bought it hoping it would be better at simulcast reception than my PSR-500. It wasn't. I tried every freaking trick in the book. I bought a yagi and had it on a pole in my office so I could rotate it by hand through 360 degrees. Every day - sometimes multiple times a day - I would rotate it to improve my reception as much as I could. I would sometimes get 80%-90% decode of the system I was monitoring. Minutes later it would degrade and I'd be back to the rotating game. I played with settings. I played with paper clips. I played with wire antennas. One day a huge barn fire occurred with multiple agencies responding. I couldn't listen to it. That was the last straw.

I bought a Motorola XTS3000 and learned how to do no affiliate scanning. FINALLY I could listen in reliably. Only ten talkgroups at a time, but ten was better than none.

And then Uniden came out with the SDS series. My SDS100 followed the system as well as the XTS3000 and I had a proper scanner that could scan more than ten talkgroups and talkgroup hold and temporary avoid. The XTS got sold on eBay and I haven't had trouble since.

The TRX series are great radios. I hated to but I had to sell mine to fund the SDS purchase, but I would never go back to the constant struggle. I'm glad you got lucky and it works for you. But the bottom line is YOU GOT LUCKY. It can't be stated enough that the TRX will not work on simulcast systems UNLESS YOU ARE DAMNED LUCKY. For every success story such as yours there are several more like mine.

I also don't know about you, but I prefer having my radio's display at a readable angle. Not face up on a desk.
 

billpritjr

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
162
I'll see your 2 cents and raise you.

I had a TRX-1. I bought it hoping it would be better at simulcast reception than my PSR-500. It wasn't. I tried every freaking trick in the book. I bought a yagi and had it on a pole in my office so I could rotate it by hand through 360 degrees. Every day - sometimes multiple times a day - I would rotate it to improve my reception as much as I could. I would sometimes get 80%-90% decode of the system I was monitoring. Minutes later it would degrade and I'd be back to the rotating game. I played with settings. I played with paper clips. I played with wire antennas. One day a huge barn fire occurred with multiple agencies responding. I couldn't listen to it. That was the last straw.

I bought a Motorola XTS3000 and learned how to do no affiliate scanning. FINALLY I could listen in reliably. Only ten talkgroups at a time, but ten was better than none.

And then Uniden came out with the SDS series. My SDS100 followed the system as well as the XTS3000 and I had a proper scanner that could scan more than ten talkgroups and talkgroup hold and temporary avoid. The XTS got sold on eBay and I haven't had trouble since.

The TRX series are great radios. I hated to but I had to sell mine to fund the SDS purchase, but I would never go back to the constant struggle. I'm glad you got lucky and it works for you. But the bottom line is YOU GOT LUCKY. It can't be stated enough that the TRX will not work on simulcast systems UNLESS YOU ARE DAMNED LUCKY. For every success story such as yours there are several more like mine.

I also don't know about you, but I prefer having my radio's display at a readable angle. Not face up on a desk.
where did you buy the XTS3000 ? How did you get it programmed.

Thank you
 

djeplett

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
812
Location
NE Wisconsin
where did you buy the XTS3000 ? How did you get it programmed.

Thank you
eBay. And I did about 3 months of research teaching myself how to properly do it. Then I "obtained" the software and bought a programming cable off of eBay and did it myself. But only after I felt confident I could do it correctly.

I do not recommend taking on the project unless you are committed to learning the proper way it is done. This is not a one hour crack a beer project. You do it wrong and people's lives could be at risk.

If you are not committed, buy a Unication pager or a Uniden SDS.
 

Daleb49

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
139
Location
Parma, Ohio
As stated many times before location is a big factor in reception.
I guess I'm in the right location to handle the simulcast with some adjustments and changing the antenna.
The WS-1098 is a base radio and sits in a normal position which is very readable.
 

ngel

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
267
Location
SW Pasco County
@billpritjr I have TRX1. I monitor this system Site-005 Site Details (Pinellas County) from next county over about 5 miles from the nearest tower. I get about 95% of the traffic. Using AGC on, dwell auto, DSP set to 0 believe it or not , DAC -2, and ADC -3. I downgraded the firmware to 5.6 seems to work better for me. Using the factory short stubby antenna that came with it.

For some reason one frequency on this system 851.5875 MHz will not decode, no matter what I do. I tried the radio shack 800mhz and a 800/700 MHz professional Motorola 5000 portable antenna with sma to bnc adaptor and both actually overloaded the scanner in the 800mhz bands and made monitoring worse on that system. I think I have lost some sensitivity for some reason on the 851-855 MHz band. I used to be able to hear another local county but can no longer receive it.
 
Top