MARCS towers question

Status
Not open for further replies.

magnumfan

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
35
Location
Richland County, OH
I thought I understood how the MARCS towers work but apparently not. I programmed in my Bcd396xt yesterday, a bunch of towers in southern Ohio because I am going on a backpacking trip this weekend at Wayne National Forest. Later on in the day I'm driving around and for the heck of it I turn on the SQK that I have all those towers on. I couldn't believe I was getting hits on Athens, Wolf Creek and Mclauren, and I mean like 3 or 4 bars. How is this possible when I can barely get a signal from the Mansfield tower in my county and from the next county over?
Very confused, can someone please explain? Thanks
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
Lead Database Admin
Joined
Sep 22, 2002
Messages
4,462
Location
Ohio
I thought I understood how the MARCS towers work but apparently not. I programmed in my Bcd396xt yesterday, a bunch of towers in southern Ohio because I am going on a backpacking trip this weekend at Wayne National Forest. Later on in the day I'm driving around and for the heck of it I turn on the SQK that I have all those towers on. I couldn't believe I was getting hits on Athens, Wolf Creek and Mclauren, and I mean like 3 or 4 bars. How is this possible when I can barely get a signal from the Mansfield tower in my county and from the next county over?
Very confused, can someone please explain? Thanks
I'm quite familiar with SE Ohio, but I'm not sure where "McLauren" is. Do you mean McArthur?

As to the rest, SE Ohio is loaded with sites (tall towers on tall hilltops, for the most part) due to the topography of the region, just to get >95% mobile coverage. Northern Ohio, on the other hand, has far fewer towers. I've found it not at all unusual when visiting relatives in Meigs County to be hearing at least three or four sites, some of them fairly distant.

Weather conditions right now also favor picking up more distant sites, with relatively cool mornings, pleasant days and no severe weather rambling around, plus there is little foliage to absorb signals. Give it two or three more weeks and I'd bet reception won't be quite as good due to foliage losses.

On the other hand, if you're still in the Mansfield area, you're probably picking up control channels from different sites and/or systems; various sites around the state share control channels due to the limited number of available frequencies. Keep more than a single site programmed in your scanners, and you'll probably be surprised at how much more stuff you'll hear.
 

magnumfan

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
35
Location
Richland County, OH
Yes sorry I meant McArthuer. I understand that I can pick up different control channels on different towers and that make sense about the atmospheric conditions and foilage affect, but I still can't understand how I can pick up a tower 120miles or more away but sometimes not get a good strong signal from the tower in my county.
For example today I was on a high hill (Hanley Rd.), directly above the Mansfield OSP Post 70 and I'm assuming, because I don't know the exact location, very close to the Mansfield tower and I only had 1-2to bars of signal on my BCD396xt.
 

WA0CBW

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2011
Messages
1,271
Location
Shawnee Kansas (Kansas City)
Were the frequencies of the 120 mile distant site the same as your local site? If they are your scanner was probably listening to the local site but displaying the distant site name. Happens all the time if the area re-uses frequencies and you are scanning distant sites that have the same frequencies as the local site.
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
Lead Database Admin
Joined
Sep 22, 2002
Messages
4,462
Location
Ohio
Yes sorry I meant McArthuer. I understand that I can pick up different control channels on different towers and that make sense about the atmospheric conditions and foilage affect, but I still can't understand how I can pick up a tower 120miles or more away but sometimes not get a good strong signal from the tower in my county.
For example today I was on a high hill (Hanley Rd.), directly above the Mansfield OSP Post 70 and I'm assuming, because I don't know the exact location, very close to the Mansfield tower and I only had 1-2to bars of signal on my BCD396xt.
You're not picking up sites that are 120 miles away; you're picking up closer sites which use the same frequencies, as I mentioned in my previous post. . .

Athens - 853.8875 (also Loudonville in Ashland County)
Wolf Creek - 853.9625 (also Clearfork in Morrow County)

As for why you can't pick up the Mansfield site very well, it's located near the prison, not at the post, and there are pretty good hills between you and the site. Try programming in all of the following sites (which are in and around Richland County):

Site 111 - Centerburg (Knox)
Site 112 - Clearfork (Morrow)
Site 115 - Brinkhaven (Knox)
Site 164 - Butler (Richland)
Site 203 - Mansfield (Richland)
Site 218 - Loudonville (Ashland)
Site 220 - Bucyrus (Crawford)

When I'm in that area I monitor those sites and it works quite well; you're already hearing at least two or three of those.
 
Last edited:

magnumfan

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
35
Location
Richland County, OH
wa8pyr, I think I get it now. I think what was confusing me was I thought that if I was picking up Athens system/site, it would say Ashland on the top line on my display and the lines below it would say the Athens talk group name and id number. Since the top line site/system said Athens I thought the signal was coming directly from the Athens tower.
I'm new to the scanning world and having a hard time picking up on all of this.
Those sites you suggested near me, should I put them all on one SQK or each have its own seperate key. All the towers I programmed in for SE Ohio I put on one SQK, not sure if thats the ideal way to do it or not. Thanks
 

magnumfan

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 22, 2014
Messages
35
Location
Richland County, OH
Ok figured it out (slow learner), I'm picking up on a seperate SQK Wolf Creek and Athens, but really what I am picking up is Clearfork and Loudonville, because they share the same frequency/control channel. Still would appreciate tour thoughts on best way to seperate the different towers into different or same SQK's.
 

W8RMH

Feed Provider Since 2012
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
7,993
Assign your SQKs to each county, or a group of adjacent counties.
 

WA0CBW

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2011
Messages
1,271
Location
Shawnee Kansas (Kansas City)
I would only enter sites (frequencies) that I can receive from where my scanner is located. If you never move your scanner from your house I would not enter any site that I cannot receive from my house especially if they use the same frequencies. For a mobile scanner I would give each site I may drive within range of a different SQK so I can turn them on or off as needed (BCD396XT).
 

W8RMH

Feed Provider Since 2012
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
7,993
I would only enter sites (frequencies) that I can receive from where my scanner is located. If you never move your scanner from your house I would not enter any site that I cannot receive from my house especially if they use the same frequencies. For a mobile scanner I would give each site I may drive within range of a different SQK so I can turn them on or off as needed (BCD396XT).
OP is using a BCD396XT going to multiple counties. This is the way I have mine set up and I also travel a bit. It has never been a problem.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top