Bucks County PA with the Uniden SDS200 Scanner

pastormg2

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I currently have the new Uniden SDS200 with a base antenna mounted on a Rohn tower at 30 feet. I live in Collegeville PA, and yet cannot pick up one word on the Bucks County System. Are they transmitting that low in power that I can't pick them up? Or is it that there is a special setting or two to
 

Whiskey3JMC

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The Bucks County system (as with any simulcast system) can be difficult to pick up from outside the county. When monitoring from Audubon If I point my SDS100's telescopic antenna to the northeast and find that sweet spot, I can pick up the southernmost tower (Feasterville?), but the moment I move the radio even just a few inches I lose the signal altogether. Same with the Berks system
 

GTR8000

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I thought i heard their new system was going to be totally encrypted, however ive been wrong before.
The Bucks County system has been on the air for a number of years now, and the majority of talkgroups are in the clear. Perhaps you're thinking of a different system.
 

Whiskey3JMC

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I currently have the new Uniden SDS200 with a base antenna mounted on a Rohn tower at 30 feet.
Unlike height being key with VHF/UHF, direction is a greater key with 700/800, especially simulcast systems where more than one tower utilizes the same frequency map. This is why directional antennas, Yagis, bring the most optimal results

Here's a quote from trentbob regarding encryption in Bucks, full thread is here
Again, I listen all day everyday, I monitor Zones 1, 2, 3, 5 + 8. Tac channels 1 through 5 are in the clear and are never encrypted. When the system started, SWAT team channels were encrypted exclusively and still are.

Later the Ops channels were added, each Zone has their own Ops Channel which is fully encrypted.

Again, other than officers now being allowed to encrypt a transmission if they feel they want to there really isn't any changes coming to Bucks County according to the last time I spoke with someone who's very close to the system and that was recently. When I started hearing encryption on the Zone channels intermittently he was the first one I went to to ask what was going on. LOL

The bottom line is no worries in Bucks County other than an occasional transmission that the officer feels is too sensitive and doesn't want the public to hear. I've noticed it's often S units which makes sense.
 
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trentbob

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Thanks for the quote JMC... Just want to clarify a few things, that was what I said quite a while ago and I must admit I was wrong and so was my source who is just as surprised as I was. Things have changed in Bucks County.

Presently now we are mostly in the clear. Officers can choose to encrypt their Transmissions if they feel that it is of a sensitive nature, someone told me they heard on a morning safety announcement that if they don't return to normal operation the dispatcher was supposed to remind them that they are still encrypted. I have heard officers go through an entire shift encrypted and I've heard them make very routine Transmissions as determined by the dispatchers reply while they were encrypted.

In the weeks after I made that above statement Bucks County conducted testing for several hours at a time encrypting Zone dispatch talk groups. They are apparently ready to throw the switch at any moment if they determine an incident warrants it. No confusion of switching over to Ops channels.

Again I listen everyday all day, I'm a retired newspaper man but still do part-time with a news service.

Not sure why the county changed their standard operating procedure but we do now have extensive streaming of Bucks County on phone apps, I might also add the incident where six officers were shot in Philadelphia during a hostage crisis was broadcast in the clear on J band at the beginning of the incident for the whole world to hear. This did happen right before the encryption testing was conducted on Zone talk groups. I have no idea what Bucks County is thinking and this is scuttlebutt and what I pick up from others.

Not sure why the change in Bucks County but it's happened. For the most part routine stuff is in the clear with just annoying encryption sprinkled in.

If it means anything, there have been some pretty interesting events happened in the lower part of the county where you would have thought they would have thrown the switch, murders and such, especially overnight, and they didn't. I just don't think they thought of it at the moment LOL.

As far as the topic of the thread, to the o p. You may just be too far away from the nearest Tower. It's a simulcast system and the same thing transmits from every tower that your radio is calling for so moving the antenna around could certainly help or having a rooftop or directional antenna could help.

The Bucks County system is a very strong system, maybe the scanners do drop off but I've heard them loud and clear in the eastern part of Mercer County New Jersey, Philadelphia and Montgomery County with my apx 7000.

I also find my SDS's keep right up with the mot gear sans the volume punch, maybe not the distance but certainly performance.

Bucks County makes for great listening, especially Bristol, Falls and Bensalem, never a dull moment.
 
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trentbob

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To the o p, sorry that I missed the fact you said you did have a rooftop antenna or I wouldn't have suggested it. I would say you are just too far away but keep trying. Try invert or wide invert.
 

pastormg2

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I tried something that I don't understand what is going on here. I pressed the menu button and went down to analyze. And it seems that if you want to analyze a system you must type it in. But when I pushed the menu button again the scanner returns to scanning. When it got to the Bucks County System I pressed the System Button on the display and it was just scanning the Bucks County System. And lo and behold I was picking up their broadcasts. I tried it with Chester County and it did the same thing. But yet if I go back to regular scan it just quickly bypasses Bucks and Chester County. I don't understand what I did. Please help.
Mark Griffin KB3Z
 

pastormg2

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I have been having problems receiving 2 systems that I have programmed into my sds 200.. One is the Bucks County PA and Chester County PA Radio Systems. When I just use normal scan it just goes over these 2 systems very quickly and doesn't seem to be receiving any traffic. Yet it does receive Montgomery County PA with no difficulties.
I noticed that when it got to Bucks County I pressed the System Button on the display and it seems that it is only scanning the Bucks County System. Lo and behold I am picking up traffic. And I tried it with the Chester County Radio System and it did the same thing.

I don't understand why this now works. Because I know if I push the System Button off it will go back to normal scan and I'm sure I will not pick up any traffic on Bucks County or Chester County. How can I get the scanner to do this with a normal scan?

Please help!
Mark Griffin, KB3Z
 

tvengr

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Can you export a hpe file including the Bucks and Chester Co systems so that I can take a look at it. You will have to send it to a compressed (zipped) folder to be able to attach it. Are you using ID Search or ID Scan?
 

pastormg2

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Trevor,
Do I have to connect my scanner to my computer or can I just go into the Sentinel program and do it that way? Both Chester County and Bucks County are in the USA/Pennsylvania Database. Sorry for the confusion regarding this.
Mark
 

hiegtx

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I tried something that I don't understand what is going on here. I pressed the menu button and went down to analyze. And it seems that if you want to analyze a system you must type it in. But when I pushed the menu button again the scanner returns to scanning. When it got to the Bucks County System I pressed the System Button on the display and it was just scanning the Bucks County System. And lo and behold I was picking up their broadcasts. I tried it with Chester County and it did the same thing. But yet if I go back to regular scan it just quickly bypasses Bucks and Chester County. I don't understand what I did. Please help.
Mark Griffin KB3Z
You don't actually "type in" the name of the system you want to analyze. Instead, you use the scroll knob to enter the name of the system, one letter at a time.
Scroll to the first letter of the system's name, then use the arrows to move to the next space, and scroll to select the right letter. Then scroll right again, and select the third letter. You don't actually have to enter all of the letters in the system's name. Just the first one or two, then hit the Enter key, which will bring up a list of all the systems that start with the letters you have selected so far. Highlight the system of interest, and press E (yes) to select it. Then you'll see a list of sites for the system (if there are more than one). Select the site & let Analyze see what it can find.

When you were at the Analyze screen, and seeing a prompt to enter the system, when you hit Menu, the scanner thought you had changed your mind & wanted to resume scanning.

Analyze will show you details such as system ID & site # being received, plus three bars representing signal strentgh, the decode quality of the signal you're hearing, and the third bar representing how much activity is going on at the time.
 

u2brent

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The system(s) you want to analyze must be in an FL and enabled before you'll see it in the menu of available systems.

If I had to take a guess.. I'd say your scanning the full db based on a range and location you selected, If so, It's likely you're missing transmissions because the scanner is busy scanning a lot of other stuff. When you hold on the system, Then it stops missing as much because it's not busy looking at other stuff. :unsure:

If not already done, I'd create a separate FL for each TRS System you want to monitor, then turn off the full DB and just scan those specific systems, increasing the system hold time can help as well. Missed calls can be reduced further by avoiding sites that are out of range. And then there's the filters that can be experimented with..
 

trentbob

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Keep in mind Mark that Bucks County is a TDMA p2 simulcast system. It has one site only that you can manipulate in the radio. The site is called simulcast. There are multiple Towers simultaneously transmitting what your radio is calling for and you can't turn those Towers on and off individually... From Collegeville you have to latch onto one of them.

In the lower part of the county the towers are very close to each other and in the upper part of the county they are more spread out.

Bucks County's is over 625 square miles. Like I say it's a strong system but I just don't know if you're going to be able to pick it up from Collegeville PA.

It does help to keep the system on its own favorites list and you can go into site options and try invert filter first, then wide invert on that one site called simulcast. That might make all the difference with the sds200.
 

pastormg2

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OK, I did find out that when I pushed the button on the left side of the scanner for analyze twice that all of my systems showed up. That I understand now.

But my main issue is this, When during a general scan when I see Bucks County or Chester County come up and I push the button on the screen which is for system, it will only scan that one system. I pick up Bucks County and Chester County when highlighted.

But if I am doing a universal or scan of all of my channels, and I see Bucks or Chester come up it just quickly blows by those two. And it could be for others also. It seems to do a more detailed scan in System than it does in the general scan. Why, I have no idea.

That needless to say is my dilemma, of which I don't know how to solve.
Mark Griffin, KB3Z
 

sonm10

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If I understand your situation correctly, do you hear traffic? If it's a trunk system, check rssi levels and signal strength bars in detail mode. If it is decoding right its just the scan speed. For a trunk system, it has to sit on the control
channel for 1.5 seconds to decode properly.
If it is not decoding properly, make sure your system is programmed properly
I am not from that specific area so someone else may be more familiar with the systems you're using
 

trentbob

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Hey Mark, it looks like your thread has been moved to Uniden tech support and renamed. You were on the PA forum asking about picking up Bucks County. I'm from Bucks County and I know everything there is to know about the system and told you everything you can possibly do to pick up the system from Collegeville.

I didn't reply to your last post because I didn't understand it. I was under the impression you could not hear Bucks County because I feel you're too far away.

As I say I don't understand your scanning question now but perhaps someone here on Uniden Tech can help you on the Bucks County tdma Phase 2 system with one site called simulcast and over 25 Towers in a 625 square mile County simultaneously broadcasting what your radio is calling for. The only site that can be manipulated on your radio is simulcast and you can't turn on or off any particular Tower.

You are quite a distance from the Bucks County system but if you can latch onto one of the towers you should be able to pick them up.

I also recommended applying invert or wide invert filters in site options to the one site called simulcast and to make sure the system is programmed alone on a favorites list.

I believe you said you're using an external antenna but I recommended a directional or yagi antenna that you can focus your reception to one particular direction.

I hope this gives some background information to people here on this thread so they don't have to ask so many questions. Again I did not understand your scanning question so maybe someone can help you here. Good luck.
 

pastormg2

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Trent, thanks for the reply. I have no idea on how to apply the filters. The instructions don't get down to a precise push this button, than this and then that. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say. So if I read your posting correctly, the only site that I need to have programmed is the simulcast frequency or frequencies. If I have that, than no need for all the other ones? Am I correct in my assumption.
Mark KB3Z
 
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