Confused on P-25 and DMR, buying a scanner.

dkcorlfla

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Feb 12, 2023
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158
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Orlando
Hi all, I'm thinking of buying a new scanner. Almost bought a Uniden BCT15X, glad I did not. Turns out I have not found any analog trunking here in N.E. Orlando (Winter Park) area.

I have a nice discone up about 15 feet outside and when I use my SDR I can find lots of digital stuff around 463 Mhz and 852 Mhz there are continuous control channels and from what I can tell from the RF database DMR and P-25 phase 1 is used around here. My questions are does P-25 also use a continuous control channel? Will the Uniden BCD996P2 track and decode the P-25 stuff or does it need a $ firmware upgrade.

I would love to be able to get started trying to learn how to use and program the scanner and it sure would be nice if I could look forward to being able to receive some P-25

I'm also interested in scanning vhf and uhf ham as well as airband so I will have to be able to program the scanner myself.

Thanks for any help, Dale
 

AB4BF

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Apr 13, 2008
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EM93cs
Hi all, I'm thinking of buying a new scanner. Almost bought a Uniden BCT15X, glad I did not. Turns out I have not found any analog trunking here in N.E. Orlando (Winter Park) area.

I have a nice discone up about 15 feet outside and when I use my SDR I can find lots of digital stuff around 463 Mhz and 852 Mhz there are continuous control channels and from what I can tell from the RF database DMR and P-25 phase 1 is used around here. My questions are does P-25 also use a continuous control channel? Will the Uniden BCD996P2 track and decode the P-25 stuff or does it need a $ firmware upgrade.

I would love to be able to get started trying to learn how to use and program the scanner and it sure would be nice if I could look forward to being able to receive some P-25

I'm also interested in scanning vhf and uhf ham as well as airband so I will have to be able to program the scanner myself.

Thanks for any help, Dale
The 996P2 will decode and trunk track P25 phase 1 and phase 2. It will also decode DMR, NXDN, Mototrbo and one other I can't think of the name right now. The latter will have to have licenses from Uniden to open up the decode on the unit.
I prefer ARC XT Pro for programming. I have tried them all and I like this best.
 

N8IAA

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Dec 19, 2002
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7,243
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Fortunately, GA
Hi all, I'm thinking of buying a new scanner. Almost bought a Uniden BCT15X, glad I did not. Turns out I have not found any analog trunking here in N.E. Orlando (Winter Park) area.

I have a nice discone up about 15 feet outside and when I use my SDR I can find lots of digital stuff around 463 Mhz and 852 Mhz there are continuous control channels and from what I can tell from the RF database DMR and P-25 phase 1 is used around here. My questions are does P-25 also use a continuous control channel? Will the Uniden BCD996P2 track and decode the P-25 stuff or does it need a $ firmware upgrade.

I would love to be able to get started trying to learn how to use and program the scanner and it sure would be nice if I could look forward to being able to receive some P-25

I'm also interested in scanning vhf and uhf ham as well as airband so I will have to be able to program the scanner myself.

Thanks for any help, Dale
You're going to be disappointed in spending the money on the 996P2 for the DMR (it is an addon). Lots of encryption according to the database. The P-25 that is in your area is loaded with encryption also.
You might want to take a closer look at the database to see what you want to monitor. Anything with a 'E' is encrypted. Anything that is not, you will be able to hear.
The best way to find out is to click on the blue report button on the bottom left of your post and ask that it be moved to the Florida state forum for a more informed answer to your question.
Please don't be bullied into getting the SDS series scanner. Overkill for your needs.
 

fredva

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If you are in Orange County, look at this database listing before purchasing: Orange County Trunking System, Orlando, Florida It looks like just about all law enforcement is encrypted and therefore cannot be monitored. However, Fire-Rescue is largely in the clear. As best as I can tell, if you monitor the Winter Park site, you don't have to worry about digital simulcast. Digital simulcast can play havoc with many scanners.
 

dkcorlfla

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Feb 12, 2023
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Orlando
The 996P2 will decode and trunk track P25 phase 1 and phase 2. It will also decode DMR, NXDN, Mototrbo and one other I can't think of the name right now. The latter will have to have licenses from Uniden to open up the decode on the unit.
I prefer ARC XT Pro for programming. I have tried them all and I like this best.
Thanks for the info. It helps a lot knowing the scanner will do the P25 stuff out of the box. Being able to add the DMR later is also a big +

The ARC XT software is what I planed to use; however, was hoping to get by with the base version for now.

I'm going to run some searches and try to find some audio samples of P-25 vs DMR so I can tell what I'm looking at when I run the SDR.
 

dkcorlfla

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Feb 12, 2023
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158
Location
Orlando
You're going to be disappointed in spending the money on the 996P2 for the DMR (it is an addon). Lots of encryption according to the database. The P-25 that is in your area is loaded with encryption also.
You might want to take a closer look at the database to see what you want to monitor. Anything with a 'E' is encrypted. Anything that is not, you will be able to hear.
The best way to find out is to click on the blue report button on the bottom left of your post and ask that it be moved to the Florida state forum for a more informed answer to your question.
Please don't be bullied into getting the SDS series scanner. Overkill for your needs.
Thanks for the info. The FD is my main interest for now as I live close to the station and hear them running out on calls all the time. There is also a lot of DMR commercial around here and also a couple of DMR ham repeaters that are very active.
 

CanesFan95

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FL
You're going to be disappointed in spending the money on the 996P2 for the DMR (it is an addon). Lots of encryption according to the database. The P-25 that is in your area is loaded with encryption also.
You might want to take a closer look at the database to see what you want to monitor. Anything with a 'E' is encrypted. Anything that is not, you will be able to hear.
The best way to find out is to click on the blue report button on the bottom left of your post and ask that it be moved to the Florida state forum for a more informed answer to your question.
Please don't be bullied into getting the SDS series scanner. Overkill for your needs.

But the 996P2 will not properly decode simulcast P25 systems. You will have missed or garbled transmissions and it might not even lock on to the control channel.
 

dkcorlfla

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Orlando
But the 996P2 will not properly decode simulcast P25 systems. You will have missed or garbled transmissions and it might not even lock on to the control channel.
Would a medium gain directional antenna help with the simulcast? Seems like nulling out the weaker and pointing at the strongest control channel should help. A little yagi might be a fun project to try and build. The elements for 851 Mhz would be less then 4 inches long. It would almost fit in a shirt pocket ;-)
 

N8IAA

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Would a medium gain directional antenna help with the simulcast? Seems like nulling out the weaker and pointing at the strongest control channel should help. A little yagi might be a fun project to try and build. The elements for 851 Mhz would be less then 4 inches long. It would almost fit in a shirt pocket ;-)
Less antenna is better for simulcast.
 

CanesFan95

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I think there's been different approaches with trying different antennas for simulcast. There's no harm in trying. But until you've spent the $$$ money on the radio and try it out, it's hard to know if it'll will work.
 

fredva

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The problem with a yagi is that it isn't a laser beam. It can still receive signals from more than one tower. Attempts to use a yagi do not always yield perfect results.

I'm hoping somebody from your area can chime in and let us know whether the Winter Park site is a non-simulcast site that would allow you to monitor your items of interest. It appears that there is an Orange County Simulcast site that covers a large area, and then the Winter Park site within that coverage area.
 

tvengr

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Baltimore County, MD
Hi all, I'm thinking of buying a new scanner. Almost bought a Uniden BCT15X, glad I did not. Turns out I have not found any analog trunking here in N.E. Orlando (Winter Park) area.
You will be able to receive Fire, EMS, Public Works, and Schools in Orange County. All law enforcement is encrypted. The Orange County site is simulcast which most likely will give you issues with simulcast distortion which results in missed transmissions, dropouts, and garbled audio. The only scanners specifically designed to receive simulcast systems are the Uniden SDS100 handheld and SDS200 base/mobile. The Unication G4 and G5 pagers are excellent but have limited scanning capabilities. Here is a link to the Orange County trunked system: Orange County Trunking System, Orlando, Florida The talkgroups with DE in the Mode column are fully encrypted and cannot be received by any scanner.
 

maus92

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The OP
The Winter Park site is a multicast / standalone site so no issues with simulcast distortion. However, the wide area Orange County Simulcast site also provides coverage in Winter Park, thus my recommendation is to purchase a scanner specifically designed to receive simulcast signaling aka SDS 100 / 200. DMR / NXDN / Provoice upgrades can be purchased for the radio, and the programming software is free. Everything Public Safety in my region is simulcast; people have learned not to fool around with kludgy solutions. Buy the right tool for the job.
 
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