Couple of questions for you all?

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shootinnews

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Layton, Utah
Need some opinions from someone that probably knows a little more then I do about programming system and site frequencies. For instance, I want to monitor Utah County, is it wise and/or could it affect my monitoring by programing site 004 with site 011 or if monitoring Weber County with site 011 and site 001, or even Cache sites with Nelson. Basically I'm just wondering if most of you add site 011 Nelson with other counties.

I know counties such as Summit are heard off Nelson just wondering about the programing.

Also, I usually program all control and talk channels, does everyone else?


Thanks Everyone!
 

gldavis

KE7MQF
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Bountiful, UT
In the past I've set one site per each bank, with all the freqs that are used by that site. I've tried to have each bank focus on one area, ie Salt Lake County, Davis Co, UANG, HAFB, ect. The main concern I have is with the Talkgroups. If I have Davis Co turned on, I don't want to be listening to Salt Lake. However, I would assume that if the two sites are far enough apart, so that you would only hear one Control Channel, it should work if you have the TalkGroups from both systems/areas programmed in.
 

bchris

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Scanner Programming Theory 102

I agree completely w/ gldavis, but I have a lot more venting to do...

I want to monitor Utah County, is it wise and/or could it affect my monitoring by programing site 004 with site 011 or if monitoring Weber County with site 011 and site 001, or even Cache sites with Nelson.

Also, I usually program all control and talk channels, does everyone else?

Thanks Everyone!

Sites 004 & 011 are close enough to receive both at the same time from some locations. There would be no problem putting them in the same bank or system, but I would recommend only unlocking 1 at a time. That way you know for sure which one your scanner is choosing at any given time.

I started out programming all channels, but since I discovered that both my scanners have a 'Control Channel Only' mode, I have never looked back.

Now for some venting and the longer version........

This has always been a point of frustration for me, especially when traveling through different areas of the state. I have 2 trunking scanners. I use a BR330 handheld to carry with me and a BC780 on my computer desk at home. Shortly after wasting a lot of time programming audio channels into my first trunking scanner (the 780), I have used ‘CC Only Mode’ exclusively in both scanners. I know rebanding will affect all this, I just don’t yet know exactly how.

The 780 capacity is 10 banks w/ 50 frequencies each. I really only need 1 frequency per bank on this unit because it always stays in one place, but then the other 49 slots are just wasted. I go ahead and put 50 control channels in each bank, then lock all of them out except one on each bank. All banks are identical, except for which CC is unlocked. While experimenting, looking for new stuff, or if there is an incident near a site I have locked out, it is quick and easy to change to a different CC, which is the same as saying I want to monitor traffic from a certain (different than my normal) site for that bank.

Each bank is programmed with the max # of talkgroups, I think 100. The TG’s for each bank are mostly different, but some TG’s are duplicated in multiple banks. They are grouped according to whatever I named the bank, such as 'Local Emergency Only' or 'AllNorthUtahCounty' or 'UHP and Statewide'. The CC (site) used for each bank is whatever makes the most sense for those talkgroups, then the bank is set to Scan (not Search) so I only hear the TG's in the list. All 10 of my ‘default’ CC’s are pretty much chosen from one of the 5 Simulcast sites, NelsonPeak, and the closest site to where I live. In other words, site UC04, for example, will be the default for multiple banks.

Now lets say there is an incident near StrawberryPeak, which is not one of my defaults, but I can hear it with a directional antenna. The TG’s I want to hear might be spread out across multiple banks, such as Ut Cnty SAR, Wasatch SAR, UHP, Medical Air… So I would choose the banks which contain the TG’s of interest for this incident, then temporarily switch each of their CC’s to UC21. Or I might only change 1 bank to UC21, then set that bank to SEARCH (not Scan), so I will hear everything from the Strawberry site during this time, not just those on that bank’s TG list.

I would probably never set a busy site like UC03 or UC04 to SEARCH mode, because there is simply too much traffic to try to listen to everbody on that system all at once. But on a remote site like 21, the incident traffic will likely be the only thing on that site anyway.

Now for programming the 330. I am usually changing the format around once in a while because I am never quite happy with it. It uses Dynamic Memory Allocation, which means that there is not a fixed number of ‘banks’ and ‘channels’ anymore. Now I create something called a ‘system’, which contains a list of possible CC frequencies and a list of Talkgroups. So far this isn’t much different than the old way, but then things get a little crazy.


Here is what I want: Lets say UCAN has 42 sites and 2500 TalkGroups. Each site has it’s own Control Channel. Any TalkGroup COULD be heard from any site, and it’s name would be the same no matter which UCAN site I hear it on.
How about if I program a ‘SYSTEM’ named UCAN. It has 42 individual CC’s, one for each site, then my scanner only has to hold 1 big list of TG’s that all 42 sites can share. Each site will have it’s own settings to indicate which TG’s or even groups of TG’s will be scanned or locked out. My top-of-the-line scanner will do this, right? NOPE! Can’t do it.

OK, how about I just create 42 separate Systems, and they can each have a duplicate copy of my master list of TG’s. NOPE – not nearly enough memory.

Well then, I guess I’ll need to separate all the TG’s into smaller lists in the first place, then I will create a new ‘System’ for each list. Each System can only monitor 1 CC at a time, so I will have to choose one single site’s CC to monitor for each ‘List of TG’s’. I guess thats OK, but I expected more from a modern top of the line scanner.

Now what happens when I change my location? Well, it isnt pretty. This week was a good example. I have been driving from Payson to Magna every day this week. Needless to say I start losing CC’s as I drive away from my home area. Yesterday there was a Utah County SAR somewhere out north-west. What I want is to still use my Ut Cnty TG list, but now I want it to use Nelson’s CC. The incident was close enough that Nelson probably had most or all of the traffic, in addition to it being on site UC04. Luckily I had previously entered Nelson as a possible CC in my Ut Cnty ‘system’. Again, it is possible that I might hear Ut Cnty SAR on ANY UCAN site, so ideally I would enter every UCAN CC as alternates for Ut Cnty, and in fact ideally every ‘system’ would have all 42 CC’s, but again there isn't nearly enough memory.

Here’s where I’m at right now. I go through my master spreadsheet of TG’s and organize it into systems of related TG’s, such as Ut Cnty Emergency. Some TGs are contained in multiple systems, so they have to be entered multiple times, such as LZ1 & LZ2. Then I need to decide the default site for each system, and then include any other alternate sites that would be somewhat likely to ever have any traffic for any of the TG’s in that system.

When I drive to (or through) another area, my scanner is somewhat annoying in that it doesn’t let go of the old CC until long after it wasn’t useful anymore, then it just finds the very next CC in it’s list that isnt locked out, even if there is a much stronger or better signal to choose from. So I have to keep track of where I am relative to the UCAN sites surrounding me, and I have to lock out the old CC and choose a new one manually by unlocking it. If there is more than 1 unlocked at a time, I really cant predict which one I will end up on. Then I hope that I had the foresight to add it to this system, or I have to do even more programming by hand. All this while I am driving through SaltLake traffic or trying to watch my daughter’s ball game. Then I have to put everything back to normal when I head home. Sometimes it just isn’t worth it! Especially when just driving through an area and signal strengths are constantly changing.

There is a Uniden mobile newer than mine that has ‘location based scanning’. I think it is a BCT-15. This sounds like just what I want for some items on my gripe-list. I don’t know if it requires a separate GPS or what. Oddly enough, I have been waiting for years for a handheld to come out with the same features, but it never has. Wouldn’t a handheld be the best application for this feature? I would have bought one in a second.

The new GRE models handle some of my other gripes quite nicely, but I think they still don’t handle the location thing very well. By the time Uniden announces the scanner that I really want (if they ever do), I will for sure have already spent my money on a new GRE.
 

Utah_Viper

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North Muskegon, MI
Interesting topics and posts....

From my understanding the new GRE scanners make this all irrelevant. Maybe one of the GRE guys can give some input?
 

LGLHOOK

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Dec 19, 2002
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West Valley City, Utah
I have my Pro-96 and 2096's all programmed in the same way GLDAVIS does. One bank focus' on one county. However, I program ALL the towers in that area into that bank for better coverage. I just program all the TG's I want to listen to into one specific bank and then scan in closed mode for that area. This will make it so that if I want to listen to say "Tooele CO" off Nelson tower, I don't have to listen to ALL the traffic on this tower.
I also only program CC and Alt CC's in so I can fit more freqs in a bank. I lable them by name and not by number such as 011, etc. This way I know what tower I am recieving from. Unlocking a few towers in one area I have found helps with coverage. For instance, I want to listen to West Valley PD on my number 1 bank. I unlock the 'Neslon Peak' and 'Salt Lake County' towers and for some reason on I-215 on the south end around Redwood Road, Salt Lake simo gets real crappy reception so Nelson simo takes over. Hope this helps SHOOTIN.
 

qlajlu

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Jul 25, 2005
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Kearns, Utah
shootinnews, I think you have opened Pandora's Box with your question. There are as many ways to approach your "concerns" as there are people with scanners. I think that imagination coupled with the capability of the hardware you have access to will have the ability to give you what you are looking for.

Unlike bchris, I have two Uniden BC780XLTs, but like bchris, they have been stalwart workers for me. It is really too bad that they won't be able to travel into the new age of coming things. As bchris has pointed out, there are many shortcomings with the 780s created by the HUGE number of UCAN sites.

I am basically stationary, being partially disabled, so I have my 780s programmed one site per bank. There are 10 banks with 50 frequencies and 100 TGs allowed per bank. I have dedicated each bank to a separate site programming in ALL the frequencies used by that site (Some sites rotate CCs like the AC33 system and the Airport TRS so there are many CCs. Why take a chance if the CC should be moved?) and all the TGs that site handles that I'm interested in plus those TGs that will routinely affiliate with that site such as the LZ TGs. The UCAN SL County site 003 is so large in the amount of TGs that will hit it that I have two banks dedicated to it. Ya, there is, by default, a lot of duplication, i.e. the LZ TGs are in every bank as well as the UCAN Engineers.

More than one trunking system can be programed into each bank, but (and this is the BIG "BUT") only one TRS can be active at a time per bank. You can, however, mix conventional frequencies in with a trunking system in each bank and they will be scanned.

I have sites 001 (Weber County), 002 (Davis County), 003 (Salt Lake County), 011 (Nelson Peak), SLC (AC33) site 01 (SLC PD, FD, & some airport TGs), and the Airport's site along with stragglers such as Murray PD which uses 800 MHz frequencies albeit in a conventional way rather than being trunked. With my 780s set up like this I have been able to copy traffic from Cache Co SO, Box Elder SO, Weber County including Ogden, Davis County, Summit and Wasatch Counties, Morgan County, North Utah County, Tooele County all the way to Wendover, and, of course, Salt Lake County which I feel pretty darned good about seeing as how I'm stationary, using the approx 2 1/2 foot, OEM telescoping antennas that came with the scanners, and from inside my house.

But now to your situation, shootinnews. I would advise you to purchase a "new age" portable scanner such as the GRE PSR 500 or one of the new Uniden models. Yeah, they're pricey, but oh, so dynamic. You are pretty well only limited by the size of the memory in the unit. With a GRE PSR 500, for instance, you can program (downloaded directly from the Db using software and your computer...soooo easy) a grundle of CCs and the scanner will do the rest. By installing "Wild Card" scanning objects, you are not limited to any particular number of TGs to listen to. You can also cross-associate scan lists. You can dedicate scan lists to geographical areas. The possibilities are endless, only limited, again, by memory usage and your imagination...and with the changes coming you will be able to use a "new age" scanner well into the future. Many of the "older" models are capable of being flashed for the rebanding changes, but many of them do not have the dynamic capabilities of the newest models to hit the shelves. Another thing to consider is that the current generation of scanners most generally will be digital capable as well.
 

Junior1970

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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
618
Location
Western Utah
I have all my radios set up very simular to LGLHOOK. Nelson for Tooele Co but scan in closed mode. But also pull off of South Mountain and Delle sites as well. bchris does make some very interesting points regards to location. I still use a PRO-2067 in my truck and, because Utah County is Utah County, it ususally switches to West Mountain whle travelling west towards Saratoga Springs but i still get a strong data channel off of UC Simo. Same thing south of Payson on I-15. But it hangs on UC Simo in Provo Canyon until the signal on the data channel is gone usually at the Olmstead Diversion Dam a mile into the canyon. Wasatch Simo comes in there on the scanner but I have a strong data channel in the mouth of the canyon with my Maxrad setup.
Not to revert back to the GRE thread, but as stated earlier, LGLHOOK has his set up as bank x county x, etc. How are you GRE guys setting up your radios? In simular fashion? I AM getting a PSR-600 hopefully soon but I would like to set up my "objects" simular to the way it is now with banks but cutting out the non-used space like now in the older scanners. If I understand it I can do it that way.
I have my 2067 set up to scan for the entire state (bank 5 for example covers the I-15 corridor all the way to Mesquite, NV, bank 0 Utah County, bank 1, SL Count, etc) I would like to do the same with the PSR-600.

Any thoughts?
 

shootinnews

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Dec 14, 2004
Messages
108
Location
Layton, Utah
One system bank, multiple system sites, not good on 396?

So, Ive always placed for instance Weber County with Weber County sites, so this time I placed Weber County sites with Nelson using only CC's, it didn't work. So I'm not sure if its just the 396 or something else. I assume its because I need to create a system for each site and then I know it would work, but I placed them all in one like I have in the past when the counties are separated.

Any other suggestions, besides the obvious?
 
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