Baltimore County P-25 monitoring with bcd436hp

Status
Not open for further replies.

Mirrah

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
3
Location
West Baltimore
So I just got my new toy and programmed the Baltimore County P-25 system and I have no problem with police or main dispatch (fire side) but for some reason I can't hear anything on the ops talk groups for fire. Like central, east and west or the fire ground talk groups. Any ideas?
 

k3ygc

Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2011
Messages
90
Location
essex, md
baco with 536

so how does balto county sound on the 536? my 396xt gives fairly good reception but sometimes sounds bad on mobiles hitting multiple receive sites.
 

casey_bennett

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Catonsville, MD
My 436 does a much better job then my old PSR-500 on the baltimore county system. I still have some issues with the stock antenna so I just hock my mini antenna and everything sounds great.
 

maus92

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
5,451
Location
Annapolis
My 436 does a much better job then my old PSR-500 on the baltimore county system. I still have some issues with the stock antenna so I just hock my mini antenna and everything sounds great.
What brand/model is your "mini antenna," or is it something you built?
 

casey_bennett

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
13
Location
Catonsville, MD
What brand/model is your "mini antenna," or is it something you built?
It wasn't something I built. I believe it was Radio Shack or GRE but I can't remember which one. Sorry I can't remember. It works very well with the Baltimore County system since it can limit the reception to one tower.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
24
Question

I am in the Eastwood area and have nothing but problems receiving Baltimore County on my 436. I have even bought a gre amplifier and it has gotten a little better but I didn't pay $500 for poor quality. Any suggestions? Maybe something in the programming.... Thanks!
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
23,810
Location
Bowie, Md.
We used to have a VERY long thread on receiving Baltimore county - to put it simply, you don't need more signal, you need less. Counter intuitive, I know, but it's true.

At least part of your problem is that you're receiving signals from more than one tower at a time, and none of the current crop of scanners is very good at dealing with that.

Here are a couple of articles that should help describe the problem in more detail (links are always blue)

Baltimore County (P25) System Information - The RadioReference Wiki

Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

There are a couple of things you can do - use the attenuator on that system to reduce the amount of signal you get, use a very small antenna or use a yagi to point at one specific tower. Yagis on these frequencies are very small and inexpensive. There is, unfortunately, not one solution for every area in this case

Mike
 

troymail

Silent Key
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
9,982
Location
Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
Mike is right but I agree with you -- we all really want to see a scanner that works with this simulcast issue but we're just not there yet. The x36 radios do work better on some systems for some folks in some locations under certain conditions. Still, it is well known it doesn't work in all cases. And all of these antenna suggestions and other ideas are not really the solution - particularly for a handheld radio.

Having said that, I've found that the best things to try are:
A. Load only the site for your location (yours is probably the South site)
B. load only the active control channel frequency (keep in mind that if they change CC frequencies, you won't hear anything)
C. Location makes a lot of difference...even a couple of inches or feet in a room can make a difference
D. Stick with the stock antenna and at most try a Radio Shack 800 MHz duck (but given you are in the County you shouldn't need a special antenna)
E. HOLD on just that system to see if things are any better. The x36 radios seem to sometimes struggle to lock on a control channel and detect and decode activity when scanning multiple systems/system types.

There really isn't a silver bullet solution short of buying a commercial radio or keep hoping for scanner makers to develop a radio designed to handle simulcast.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
23,810
Location
Bowie, Md.
Actually Troy I'd disagree on these points - driving to Baltimore county, I had to put the attenuator on the system and use a smaller antenna to get readable copy on the South zone. I worked in the Woodlawn area for almost 8 years, so I knew the differences between the old and new P25 system.

I can say without hesitation that without these little 'adjustments' I could not copy the county at all - and this was using a 396T with updated firmware.

Like I said earlier, each situation is different - so one solution may not work for someone else. But generally speaking, adding attenuation and/or a shorter (non gain) antenna are 2 steps in the right direction. There might well be others for each situation that would work better.

Mike
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top