Hard to receive Petersburg anymore.

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xstr

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Just wondering if after they got the system in place running did they cut the power back? About 6 months ago I got calls from several people claiming they couldn't hear Petersburg system anymore on their PRO-96. I live almost within eyesight of the Wagner Rd tower and the signal varies from 0-40% if I am lucky. Live further away from Colonial Heights and hear them fine. If I drive up to the tower all is fine in and Arlington St tower seems to be good in the West End. I know it is a simulcast system.
 

Stick0413

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Yeah Petersburg is better listened to from a distance. Sounds like you are assuming that the problem is related to it being a simucast system and you are right on that. Also the Pro-96 has never been that good to me on Petersburg as the newer digitals are (both Uniden and GRE/RS).
 

W4UVV

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"Pure" APCO P25 TRS

Yeah Petersburg is better listened to from a distance. Sounds like you are assuming that the problem is related to it being a simucast system and you are right on that. Also the Pro-96 has never been that good to me on Petersburg as the newer digitals are (both Uniden and GRE/RS).

That's probably because Petersburg is a "pure" APCO P25 trs and not a Motorola APCO P25 version.
 

xstr

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Problem really started when they did the software upgrade and added laptops in the cars. Before that, I could take the antenna off and still hear them fine.
 

W4UVV

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Poor Petersburg trs reception

Just wondering if after they got the system in place running did they cut the power back? About 6 months ago I got calls from several people claiming they couldn't hear Petersburg system anymore on their PRO-96. I live almost within eyesight of the Wagner Rd tower and the signal varies from 0-40% if I am lucky. Live further away from Colonial Heights and hear them fine. If I drive up to the tower all is fine in and Arlington St tower seems to be good in the West End. I know it is a simulcast system.
I live about 3 air miles east of the Wagner Rd./I95 tower. I did some testing on my base scanners/antennas. Previously my PSR600 with the telescoping whip antenna inside gave a 80% reception confidence level. Today it barely detected a P25 signal and "0" for a reception confidence level. Connected to the same outdoor antenna as my Uniden 996T and 996XT, the PSR600 still did not detect or decode the Petersburg trs. Previously it would give a 90% reception confidence level on the outside antennas. However, the 996T and 996XT decoded Petersburg fine with 5 bars reception. I tried a combination of antennas with the same results for all three scanners.

My conclusion is that the Petersburg trs now has a reduced ERP of 50-75% at the Wagner Rd./I95 site.
 

KE4NYV

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I drove through that area on 460 a couple of weeks ago and my PRO-106 seemed to be trunking the site fine. Then again, I don't have much to compare it to, since I don't regularly go through there.
 

n4jri

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I drove through that area on 460 a couple of weeks ago and my PRO-106 seemed to be trunking the site fine. Then again, I don't have much to compare it to, since I don't regularly go through there.
I think it really helps to listen to them with a handheld inside a vehicle and NO outside antenna. Even then, it gets pretty rough downtown.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

xstr

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I live about 3 air miles east of the Wagner Rd./I95 tower. I did some testing on my base scanners/antennas. Previously my PSR600 with the telescoping whip antenna inside gave a 80% reception confidence level. Today it barely detected a P25 signal and "0" for a reception confidence level. Connected to the same outdoor antenna as my Uniden 996T and 996XT, the PSR600 still did not detect or decode the Petersburg trs. Previously it would give a 90% reception confidence level on the outside antennas. However, the 996T and 996XT decoded Petersburg fine with 5 bars reception. I tried a combination of antennas with the same results for all three scanners.

My conclusion is that the Petersburg trs now has a reduced ERP of 50-75% at the Wagner Rd./I95 site.
I drove right to the base of the tower off Wagner Rd. and got 00% reception confidence level walking all around it and even a block away. Gradually increased the distance and found if I go to the southwest 3/4 to 1 mile, the signal would hit spots of 88-90 but moving the radio an inch or so to the left or right or up and down was a huge variation. The loss of signal was a gradual process which took about 6 months for it to finally get so bad I could not decode. Like I said before, I could take the antenna off and still hear them fine. Not sure Comtronics is even aware of the problem but, I think the PAs just wore slam out and the radios the units are using have enough gain to hit the 2 other towers and the weak one. Any ideas?
 

W4UVV

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I agree

I decided to do another Wagner Road tower test today using one of my 996XTs (I just sold my 996T) and my GRE PSR600. Both scanners via a RF splitter were using the same mast mount preamped tower mounted Scantenna oriented to maximize reception which is about 2-3 air miles from my location. The good news is the 996XT received a solid 4-5 bar signal strength level and excellent reception. The bad news is the PSR600 could not lock on the control channel because it never detected it. This is not surprising news. All digital scanners are relatively insensitive compared to analog scanners. My experience with the PSR600 has been it is noticeably more insensitive compared to the 396T, 996T and 996XT but very susceptible to front end signal overload which is ironic for an insensitive scanner. The GRE/RS scanners are the only models with which I have ever had front end signal overload problems and have to try different external attenuation values the PSR600 likes...20 db on average works ok but may vary and is a time consuming exercise sometimes to find the right combination.

I did a TUNE test on 856.4875 mhz. CC and data audio was discernible mixed with white noise but that was all. Curious again using the same antenna I tuned 856.4875 mhz. on my R7000 to obtain a relative signal strength level. The lowest meter reading was S8 and "wandered" up to a maximum of S15 and then down again to about S8. Normally it would be +/-S40.

I agree with you that the PA configuration at the Wagner Road site has been operating at a reduced power level and is in the process of failing. Actually total failure would be the best scenario for scanner listeners as that would be a 911 type maintenance response from Commtronics. Home and business users in that area to Rt. 460 are not large in numbers. There are Berkeley Estates, a few businesses and lots of NS owned property to Wagner Road/Rt. 460. Until PBPD complains to Commtronics about comm problems in that area it is doubtful the situation will change.
 

xstr

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I noticed the signal varies up and down with very wide swings. I thought it was just me. Will contact a buddy of mine in communications at the department and see what happens. It's a shame they talked them into 3 towers when they could have done the entire city from the Union St tower.
 

W4UVV

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It's slowly dying

I noticed the signal varies up and down with very wide swings. I thought it was just me. Will contact a buddy of mine in communications at the department and see what happens. It's a shame they talked them into 3 towers when they could have done the entire city from the Union St tower.
The wide signal strength variations are the result of the power amplifier module in the process of failing. Previously the Johnston Road site was the superior site when analog. Somebody in management from the Petersburg PD or FD should contact Commtronics before it completely fails and there is a comm crisis.
 

xstr

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The wide signal strength variations are the result of the power amplifier module in the process of failing. Previously the Johnston Road site was the superior site when analog. Somebody in management from the Petersburg PD or FD should contact Commtronics before it completely fails and there is a comm crisis.
Sad thing is that nobody from either dept is aware of the problem and they don't want to hear from a scanner listener. Signal is almost completely gone from the Wagner Rd tower.
 

W4UVV

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Still Sick

Just wondering if after they got the system in place running did they cut the power back? About 6 months ago I got calls from several people claiming they couldn't hear Petersburg system anymore on their PRO-96. I live almost within eyesight of the Wagner Rd tower and the signal varies from 0-40% if I am lucky. Live further away from Colonial Heights and hear them fine. If I drive up to the tower all is fine in and Arlington St tower seems to be good in the West End. I know it is a simulcast system.
I receive Petersburg fine from the Wagner Road tower but as previously posted I have tower mounted preamped antennas. Curious to know if the situation had improved over the past six months I just did some checking. Using the same antenna for all radios my R7000 showed a signal strength signal level cycling from approximately S4 to S20. My GRE PSR600 in the TUNE selection feature detected 2-3 dots of signal strength and not enough to decode as a P25 signal. In the scan mode the PSR600 was so insensitive it did not detect enough signal strength of the Petersburg TRS to decode. However, my Uniden 996XT receivsd a 5 bar signal strength level and decoded it fine. So when I say the GRE PSR600 is "deaf" that is a classic example of what I mean. The same comparison applies to the same GRE radios made for Radio Shack.

So nothing has changed except the calendar.
 

xstr

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Just a shame when you live within eyesight of the tower and could remove the antenna and still get 99%. I had to at times even kick the attention button on. I hear every jurisdiction in the tri-cities area except Petersburg :(
 
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