Improving Reception of Dallas PD Channels from Collin County

TexTAC

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I'm looking for suggestions to improve reception of Dallas PD (frequencies range from about 460.0750 to 460.5000) from Collin County which is about 25 miles away from downtown Dallas. I recently bought a SDS100 with an upgraded Remtronix antenna and these Dallas PD channels have noticeably more static than my old Pro-106 with a radio shack rubber duck antenna.

I do not know much about antennas. I also have a "CB-like" magnetic mount car antenna which is about 3-feet tall but is made up of three sections that can be disconnected using allen head screws. I can improve reception by using this antenna and placing it very close to a window. However, I was surprised to learn yesterday that it makes absolutely no difference if I take off some of the sections to make it 3 feet tall, 2 feet tall, or even 1/2 feet tall, etc.. I still get the same RSSI values when receiving Dallas PD signals regardless of antenna length. Why is that?

Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

hiegtx

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I'm looking for suggestions to improve reception of Dallas PD (frequencies range from about 460.0750 to 460.5000) from Collin County which is about 25 miles away from downtown Dallas. I recently bought a SDS100 with an upgraded Remtronix antenna and these Dallas PD channels have noticeably more static than my old Pro-106 with a radio shack rubber duck antenna.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
Presuming that you are speaking about one of the Remtronics 800MHz antennas. those are optimized for 800MHz, and work well for the 700MHz band as well. While they often work fairly well on Uhf, they are not the best choice. For Vhf-high, unless you are dealing with reasonably close, or strong, signals, you may miss some conversations. See if Dallas PD sounds any better using the stock antenna. The one channel that, theoretically, you should receive best is North Central Patrol, which is carried on a tower on Frankford Rd, just east of Preston Rd.

I would suggest that you try changing the filter used for the Dallas PD channels. If you have them set as Normal for the default, try the other choices, such as Invert or Wide Invert. I have the display set for my SDS100 & SDS200 so that the Filter in use is shown on the display. You can go in through the menu and change filter by editing the department on the Favorites list, then go back to monitoring the system & see if you notice an improvement. Depending on your exact location, if your scanner is getting hammered by multiple business users on Uhf DMR channels, filtering may help.

You might also try setting the Mode to FM, instead of NFM (narrow). I find that reception on DMR channels seems to be better on FM than NFM, even though DMR is a narrow format.

I do not know much about antennas. I also have a "CB-like" magnetic mount car antenna which is about 3-feet tall but is made up of three sections that can be disconnected using allen head screws. I can improve reception by using this antenna and placing it very close to a window. However, I was surprised to learn yesterday that it makes absolutely no difference if I take off some of the sections to make it 3 feet tall, 2 feet tall, or even 1/2 feet tall, etc.. I still get the same RSSI values when receiving Dallas PD signals regardless of antenna length. Why is that?
That sounds like the antenna itself, is not what is giving you any signal. Instead, you might basically be listening with the coax only. I like the RH789 antenna when I'm trying to get better reception on signals other than 700/800MHz. It is a telescoping antenna, and markings on the antenna itself suggest how much it should be extended for various bands. You would need to use the SMA to BNC adapter for it. The SMA version of this antenna, SRH789, is not really compatible with the recessed SMA connector on the SDS100.
 

n5ims

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You might try to visit HRO in Plano to see what 70cm antennas they have in stock that will properly mate with your radio. While 70cm is the nearby ham band, that antenna will work much better than an 800 MHz antenna will on the DPD/DFR frequencies. The advantage of going there is that you can probably try several out and buy the one that works best for you. Since HRO is by 75 at Plano Parkway it is in Collin county and may give you some good comparisons with your location.
 

TexTAC

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Thanks. I really appreciate the reply. The Remtronix antenna I have is a REM-820S. It seems to work better than the stock antenna even on the Dallas PD channels. However, the CB-type magnetic mount antenna is still noticeably better on those Dallas PD channels.

I changed the global filters and didn't seem to notice any difference in the reception (although "auto" slows the scan time way down without any reception improvement). Changing the mode to "FM" helped reduced some of the static. I've also noticed reception is much better at night.

I'll look into buying the RH789 telescoping antenna. I spend most of my time listening to Dallas PD/FD since there is always something going on in Dallas but I also scan PAWM, Dallas P25, Dallas City Government, and Collin Public Safety as well as some of the surrounding cities. I was surprised to pick up Fort Worth Regional System where I live, but occasionally something comes through on that too.

Thanks again for your assistance.
 

TexTAC

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You might try to visit HRO in Plano to see what 70cm antennas they have in stock that will properly mate with your radio. While 70cm is the nearby ham band, that antenna will work much better than an 800 MHz antenna will on the DPD/DFR frequencies. The advantage of going there is that you can probably try several out and buy the one that works best for you. Since HRO is by 75 at Plano Parkway it is in Collin county and may give you some good comparisons with your location.
Thanks. I had no idea there was a store that close. I will definitely go there and try some out.
 

hiegtx

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Thanks. I really appreciate the reply. The Remtronix antenna I have is a REM-820S. It seems to work better than the stock antenna even on the Dallas PD channels. However, the CB-type magnetic mount antenna is still noticeably better on those Dallas PD channels.

I changed the global filters and didn't seem to notice any difference in the reception (although "auto" slows the scan time way down without any reception improvement). Changing the mode to "FM" helped reduced some of the static. I've also noticed reception is much better at night.

I'll look into buying the RH789 telescoping antenna. I spend most of my time listening to Dallas PD/FD since there is always something going on in Dallas but I also scan PAWM, Dallas P25, Dallas City Government, and Collin Public Safety as well as some of the surrounding cities. I was surprised to pick up Fort Worth Regional System where I live, but occasionally something comes through on that too.

Thanks again for your assistance.
You should be close enough to the various trunked systems near you (PAWM, Frisco, Collin County (which will be migrating to PAWM), Denton, GMRS, and the northern site for the Dallas P25 layer of the Dallas P25/NCTCOG system, and Richardson that you don't really need the 820S in order to hear them. (I have one on my SDS100 as I'm farther away from most of them than you are.) Once Dallas finally makes their move to P25, the Uhf systems will fade away from active use.

You're probably catching one of the FWRRS sites in the northeast corner of the county, or at Texas Motor Speedway. The Northeast Tarrant layer (NETCO) has a site in Grapevine,

The "Auto" setting on the filter slows things down since it tries each and every filter setting to see which works best. I leave my Global setting as "Normal", but use something different on a few of the systems I monitor.
 

prcguy

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Can you put up a small outside antenna or are you limited to an indoor antenna?

I'm looking for suggestions to improve reception of Dallas PD (frequencies range from about 460.0750 to 460.5000) from Collin County which is about 25 miles away from downtown Dallas. I recently bought a SDS100 with an upgraded Remtronix antenna and these Dallas PD channels have noticeably more static than my old Pro-106 with a radio shack rubber duck antenna.

I do not know much about antennas. I also have a "CB-like" magnetic mount car antenna which is about 3-feet tall but is made up of three sections that can be disconnected using allen head screws. I can improve reception by using this antenna and placing it very close to a window. However, I was surprised to learn yesterday that it makes absolutely no difference if I take off some of the sections to make it 3 feet tall, 2 feet tall, or even 1/2 feet tall, etc.. I still get the same RSSI values when receiving Dallas PD signals regardless of antenna length. Why is that?

Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

IAmSixNine

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Another option is to buy a cheap chinese radio. I did cringe a tad bit when i wrote that as i dont like them, but VHF and UHF conventional channels are what they are designed for and they do have better reception that some scanners.
Remember the more you scan the less you hear. That really applies to 1 device trying to monitor a lot of stuff. The SDS100 is geared toward Trunking systems with an emphasis on P25 LSM. So with that said you could spend a small amount of money on a UHF radio and dedicate it to Dallas PD/FD and remove those from your SDS scan list and let the SDS do all the trunking stuff.
Im not a fan of Baofeng but i do like Wouxun radios.
Also not sure when i got it but the radioddity rd-331 is what i have on my SDS100. Its a VHF/UHF high gain antenna and has been working great for me. I also feel it works well on 700/800 channels.
I live near down town dallas and work in SE collin county so i sort of understand what your going through with proper antenna selection.
 

TexTAC

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Lots of good suggestions here. I am not opposed to putting up a small outdoor antenna but prefer an indoor antenna (and portable) if possible. Also, I still have the Pro-106 which picks up Dallas PD better in my area so maybe two scanner scanning is a better option.
 

Russell

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I am a long time fan of the Larsen NMO150-450-800 Tri-Band NMO Antenna. This works great on the many DFW systems including Dallas PD. If you need to stick with the mag mount then use a NMO Round Mag-mount base with the BNC connector. Obviously, you'll need an adapter for the SDS-100. I have several of these antennas and I'm very happy.

Pulse/Larsen NMO150-450-800 Tri-Band NMO on Amazon, Antenna Farm, HRO
Pulse/Larsen NMO Magmount w/BNC at Amazon, Antenna Farm, HRO

Looks like HRO has the best prices and are IN STOCK at the Plano store.

The SDS-100 is geared toward the 700/800 MHZ digital/trunked systems, especially simulcast, and the Pro 106 is probably better for VHF/UHF.

Advice: more scanners is always better.

Russell
 
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IAmSixNine

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I have 2 of those larsen tri band antennas in my tool box of my truck. I kept them when i went from my Dodge to my Ford and never drilled holes in the new truck. So they have been sitting in the tool box for a couple of years.
Ill sell them to you if you are interested. PM me and we can work out the details.
 

TexTAC

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I think I solved the problem temporarily. I reprogrammed the SDS-100 and the Pro-106 pretty much exactly the same way (same favorite list structure and objects) but I am scanning only "systems" on the SDS and only "conventional" on the Pro-106. It is working out pretty well with each scanner playing to their own strengths. I never realized how much radio traffic I was missing with just one scanner. Going to do some more research on antennas before I buy another one.
 
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