BCD996P2 reception issues

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rk919

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Hi I have the above scanner and it seems I am missing a lot of p25 traffic. I would like someone to suggest a setting I could use to to help

My signal strength runs around 3. I have the p25 treshhold set around 7 which seems about the best. Auto was terrible. I have moved it to various spots in the house

I have just one p25 group set with 1 channel of conventional frequency

My signal comes from a tower about 20 miles away. It is the Northwest Ohio Regional Public Safety System

I set it up using the arc-xt pro program. I couldn't figure out how to post my set up

Also is there a indoor antenna that might be better the the one that shipped with the scanner?

Any help appreciated

Thanks in advance
 

JamesO

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McLean, VA
20 miles for 800 MHz P25 is a challenge. Chances are you just do not have enough signal to properly decode the traffic. 3 bars of signal is probably marginal.

Probably will need an exterior antenna and you could use the help of a Low Noise Pre-Amp.

A problem with many houses for RF signal penetration are use of the following:

1. Masonry walls
2. Aluminum siding
3. Foil faced insulation board behind siding or masonry exterior walls
4. Low E glass that has metal vapor deposited to help with energy efficiency
5. Aluminum mini blinds
6. Metal roofing materials

While all of this sounds like a handful, keep in mind you will be getting a LOT of suggestions and they WILL BE very different.

I have been dealing with RF systems of all types for many years. What I find is there are oten trade offs you need to make. I am not in a situation I can use large diameter, high cost, low loss coaxial cable. So I use affordable RG-6 cable and some affordable Low Noise Pre-Amps that at the end of the day outperform what very expensive low loss coax would provide in my installation.

See these threads for some ideas:

https://forums.radioreference.com/s...mp-10-off-december-other-useful-rx-items.html

https://forums.radioreference.com/general-scanning-discussion/337054-help-pre-amps.html

https://forums.radioreference.com/splitters-filters-multicouplers/338568-scanner-pre-amps.html
 

marksmith

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If you are not within the area that the p25 system serves, it is likely that the system is set up so you cannot receive it.

In other words, p25 systems are generally directional so their propogation map just can be heard in the service area, and not to interfere with neighboring jurisdictions, etc.

536/436/ws1095/996p2/996xt/325p2/396xt/psr800/396t/HP-1/HP-2 & others
 

rk919

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thanks for the suggestions

Thanks to both Mark and James for the replies. Some things to think about for sure.

I am definitely in the service area for our system. The county line from were I am at is about 2 miles to the North and 6 miles to the West. It looks like at this point I will need to figure out how to locate a outdoor antenna.

I was hoping there would be a setting in the scanner to make weaker signals decode. At times the unit works ok and other times not so much.
 

marksmith

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The other issue you may have is simulcast distortion. You will want to verify before antenna purchase.

Solutions include a worse antenna or turning attenuation on, or directional antenna.

It is somewhat odd for you to be getting a weak signal inside jurisdiction, however.

536/436/ws1095/996p2/996xt/325p2/396xt/psr800/396t/HP-1/HP-2 & others
 

JamesO

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McLean, VA
The first thing to do is play with the Attenator and then move the scanner around in the house.

Then move the scanner outside of the house and/or put it in the car and find a high location closer to the tower you are trying to receive and see what happens.

But I can tell you in the long run, you will want either an attic and/or outside antenna with a decent Low Noise Pre-Amp. As I mentioned there may be many negative comments on Pre-Amps, but I am located in a MAJOR RF busy location. I have my antenna in the attic at the moment, soon to move outside, with a FM Broadcast Band Filter and a good quality Low Noise Pre-Amp and I was missing ALL kinds of traffic before this set up. I have very few, if any Intermods and no overloading the way I have things set up. I am also feeding 8 scanners at the moment as well.

I gave up on the over price, hard to work with low loose coax cable, went with a decent RG-6 and have the "front end" of my radios effectively right at the base of the antenna with the LNA set up. I would put this up against any passive antenna and high quality coax configuration of even a very short connection less than 25 feet of cable and I would still beat the configuration hands down.

Yes it took me a lot of experimentation, many LNA configurations, a number of FM traps and a lot of time with the spectrum analyzer and radios, but this configuration works very well.
 
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Basement Dweller, Huntley IL
You can try buying the great Remtronix 800Mhz antenna which works better on that band than the stock antenna. You will need a BNC Right Angle adapter too. I use many of these and they often work as good as an attic/outdoor antennas for P-25 digital. If you can't get the signal with one of these, you probably won't be able to receive it enough to listen without an attic/outdoor antenna. (Try using that same antenna in the attic high up with RG-6 cable.) You can also get the scanner near a window facing the tower you want to receive. You can also try to see if you can find a closer tower site to listen to with a stronger signal. May not have the talkgroups you want though. You need to have a strong P-25 control signal to trunk properly, 3 bars is too weak. It is sporadic.

I have a post here about using the "Bandscope Mode" on a similar scanner, the Uniden 325P2 here. https://forums.radioreference.com/s...s/356452-another-stupid-antenna-question.html But the BCD996P2 has the same exact function. If you can try this mode out, look for a signal bar, you need to see at least a tiny signal bar show up when you "Hold" onto the P-25 Control Channel signal. If you can't see any signal bar on that control channel signal, your reception will be weak or not useable. You're in the fringe area now. Bandscope mode is a bit advanced. But it is a great tool to see how much/little RF signal you're getting with your antenna. Experiment, sometimes tilting the antenna a bit off true vertical either way gives you a bit more signal.
 
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