City of Albany P25

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Rmarte

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Im new to scanning i am trying to monitor the city of Albany P.D./F.D. i can hear transmission but they are very garbled. is there any way to receive a clearer signal?
 

62Truck

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What are you using to monitor Albany? What kind of antenna set up do you have? Have you checked to see if you have any local interference?
 

Rmarte

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using HP.2 with a radio shack center loaded telescopic antenna. the only thing i can think of for local interference is im not far from power lines. Some other services on the system come in clearly.
 

62Truck

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Okay, so you're using a HP2. What do you mean by garbled exactly, can you make out any words when the transmissions are garbled? I see some PD and FD talkgroups have encryption capability.

If its not encryption, then you might be experiencing simulcast distortion, or there is some kind of interference/noise showing up on the voice channels. What you can try to due is use a directional antenna like a yagi and aim it at the closest site to you.
 

Rmarte

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Okay, so you're using a HP2. What do you mean by garbled exactly, can you make out any words when the transmissions are garbled? I see some PD and FD talkgroups have encryption capability.

If its not encryption, then you might be experiencing simulcast distortion, or there is some kind of interference/noise showing up on the voice channels. What you can try to due is use a directional antenna like a yagi and aim it at the closest site to you.
definitely not encrypted i am retired from there . its probably interference like you said. im going to try moving it around .
 

62Truck

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definitely not encrypted i am retired from there . its probably interference like you said. im going to try moving it around .
There are a few locations where I experience noise on the 700 band that affects how my scanner decodes.
 

bob550

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The first thing you can do is to experiment with retracting your antenna to different lengths to see if that improves intelligibility. Secondly, you could consider using the highly-regarded Remtronix 800MHz antenna, but that would not provide optimum coverage on other bands. (However, that my tend to reduce out-of-band power line interference.) I've experimented with attaching rubber duck antennas to a nearby window, and found that to be the best option for monitoring both the Metro and County Cell sites in Albany County. However, doing that requires that you find the "sweet spot" on the window as reception can vary with small adjustments in location. The directional yagi that @62Truck mentions is also worthy of consideration. A small-enough antenna could be mounted indoors or in an attic. Just be mindful of the fact that an 800MHz yagi would pretty much only allow you to receive signals in that band from a very specific direction. Of course, neither the window mount or yagi will allow you the portability you're looking for.
 

Thunderknight

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It's a definite possibility it's simulcast distortion, the 3 Metro cell sites all put a lot of signal into Albany. If you just are interested in City of Albany traffic (PD, FD), then only scan the Metro cell. Don't scan the County cell...there is no Albany City traffic on that and it would just interrupt your scanner by switching between cells.
A directional antenna can help. Depending on signal strengths from the other sites, sometimes you want to point it at a site, other times away from all the sites and try to reduce the signal.
Or reducing the antenna can help...even a paperclip can make a good antenna when dealing with simulcast issues...sometimes less signal is better...because (with a scanner) you are trying to just hear ONE site out of the simulcast.
Basically experiment. Or if it's in the budget, buy a Unication G4 or G5. They work very well on the Albany system.
 

Rmarte

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the other night i moved the scanner outside and all P25 transmissions were very clear. the only changes were to move outside and set squelch to 1.
 

bob550

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I've found there to be variability in the quality of reception among the various agencies on the Metro Cell. This was especially obvious on my 996xt, where I could find a good location for my window-mounted 800MHz antenna to monitor Albany City, while receiving Colonie on the same site gave me trouble. I spent so much effort moving the antenna on a suction-cup mount around the window that it appeared as if I was attacked by a mad octopus. That said, different scanner radios have varying degrees of sensitivity too. I had originally purchased a RadioShack PRO-651 to portably monitor the Albany County system. In my aluminum-sided house, this model was virtually useless. But also inside my house, the professional-grade G5 receives all agencies on this system without fail. Keep in mind too that 800MHz can be negatively affected by various obstructions that other lower frequencies may not. Signal levels can fluctuate when passing through trees on a windy day, and leaves can reduce signal strength as well.
 

sallen07

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the other night i moved the scanner outside and all P25 transmissions were very clear. the only changes were to move outside and set squelch to 1.
Simulcast.

Other than a commercial radio, the only options for listening to a simulcast system like this one are the Uniden SDS100/200 or the Unication G4/G5 pagers. No other scanners were designed to handle simulcast, so your results will vary from 'decent' to 'nothing'.

That's why bob550's G5 works great, and his Pro-651 caused octopus markings on his window.

I used to visit Albany a couple times a month and my SDS100 worked great on that system. No other scanner I owned worked at all.
 

bob550

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Actually, my 536 will handle the Albany County system fairly well for the most part, but I experience too much distortion on the Rensselaer County system. Only my G5 will perform well without simulcast distortion on the Rensselaer County system.
 

k2hz

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I'm not gonna lie. :) But even though it's not perfect, the 536 does much better on the Albany system than it does on the Rensselaer system.
The 436/536 seem to be better than the average scanner for most systems and locations but still have the simulcast issues. It is all about the proverbial "location, location, location"! If you are fortunate to live very close to a tower it may work. Otherwise you are at the mercy of out of phase signals and, while you may find a "sweet spot" that works one day, it may not last. Some systems definitely have more issues than others for many reasons.
 
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