Baltimore County

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HoDo

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Baltimore, Maryland
So I have a question, I was going to buy a Uniden 396XT tomorrow but I am wondering if I should now that there is a new system I have read about. Will I be able to listen to Baltimore County or no? Sorry I am a bit of a newbie. I owned a 396T about 2 years ago, but now I have been reading about this new system and I am confused. Thanks!
 

ka3jjz

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Let's start from the beginning- the current county system is easy to hear, and you'll have no trouble with the XT to program it. However, if - and that's a big word here - if the new system will use the same modulation scheme as the Baltimore city system, along with multiple towers for simulcasting (last I heard there will be 2 zones...) none of the Unidens will work very well with it, the 396XT included. And as far as I can recall, the GRE/RS object oriented scanners (PSR-500, PSR-600, PRO-197 or PRO-106) haven't had all that much success with it either.

Evidently the GRE PSR-800 and the very old PRO-96 or PRO-2096 have had some success with the City system - and I'm sure others will chime in here - but those are the only 3 I know about that have. I have heard nothing about users of the Uniden HP1 and the City system, particularly with the recent upgrade to the firmware and support software.

I wish there were better news, but it appears the days of monitoring the County with easy to get digital trunktrackers are coming to a close, unless Uniden and GRE/RS improve their firmware - and at least so far, there doesn't seem to be anything on the horizon for it...best regards...Mike
 

ocguard

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Let's back up to a little more of a basic reply first here. HoDo, the 396XT does track decode the CURRENT and FUTURE Baltimore County radio systems, as will all of the most modern digital trunk-tracking scanners available. The point Mike is trying to make is that the style of modulation relating to how the newest Motorola systems handle their simulcasting make it difficult for some scanners to decode the audio. Simulcast distortion is nothing new, but it has been made worse by Motorola with their linear simulcast model.

I wouldn't recommend that you DON'T buy a scanner for just this reason. As I stated, the scanner and the systems are compatible. There may or may not be future upgrades of firmware or possible hardware (new scanner model) that will help to correct this problem, but I wouldn't sit on the purchase at this point waiting for it.

I can tell you this: The GRE/RS models, in my opinion, do handle the P25 decoding better than the Uniden models in Baltimore City and also in other P25 systems. For some reason, GRE just really has their finger on the P25 pulse. This is coming from someone who has owned and preferred Uniden scanner since I was still using a booster seat at the kitchen table.
 

HoDo

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May 11, 2004
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Thanks guys for helping a newbie. I looked at the GRE-PSR 800 and it seems pretty easy to program and use. I would consider buying it, but I feel that I may be limited to using it with no numeric keypad and buttons or is it fine to listen to Baltimore County police and NOAA? Thanks
 

ka3jjz

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You use the supplied EZ Scan software to program it. I would imagine that you could program a great deal more than just the county and NOAA....best regards...Mike
 

baloo

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Baltimore, MD
My Radio Shack PRO 107 was unusable for Baltimore City after the change. I put a homemade directional antenna on the roof and pointed it at the system antenna site which was isolated the most from any other sites. Problems solved. The PRO 197 is working great now on this system. The scanner just couldn't decode when it was picking up strong signals from multiple sites. With the back of the set antenna or my omni-directional the radio is just a big paper weight for the city. The directional antenna saved the day for me. I'm hoping there will be an isolated county site in line with the directional after their change so I'll still be able to listen to them.
 
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