Maritime Public Safety Radio Network and SDS100 Question

_DeS_

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I'm using a SDS100 fully updated and upgraded to monitor the MPSRN in the Cape Breton area with a upgrade Remtronix antenna. I have programmed all sites that are within the CBRM, but found that to be to slow and I was missing a lot of transmissions.
So, I trimmed it down to the two strongest sites based on where I am geographically. The sites would be Coxheath and Glace Bay. Even with the two sites, I still found I was missing transmissions.

I have a Fire Services radio on this network as well, so I know when I'm missing things. So perhaps someone can help me get my head around what I just experienced.

A call for Fire service for a department that basically has the Coxheath site in their backyard and the other station has the East Bay site in their back yard. I was under the impression that TMR2 radios for the most part, affiliate with the strongest site.

Sitting on the Coxheath site, I heard absolutely no transmissions on my SDS100, but my radio was clearly catching them. Checked my radio and it was affiliated to the Glace Bay site. I switched my SDS100 over to Glace Bay site and sure enough there were the communications. I didn't check the East Bay Site as I don't think I would geographically be able to hit it anyway.

Does this make sense ?

In retrospect, I believe I may have answered my own question now. EVERY Fire Dept radio issued is sitting on the E-DISPB Talkgroup, so this is why I would of heard on the Glace Bay site and potentially any other site that has a radio affiliated to it sitting on E-DISPB, but not sure why not on the Coxheath site.

Writing this half asleep, so I very well may be rambling and I'm not going to read over, but I'm sure someone will correct or confirm for me. Thanks all !
Also, anyone have suggestions on how they would program the SDS100 is you were in the general area of several sites, seems slow the more you add to it ?
 

Deziel0495

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I have found the best thing to do is to only scan control channels. I too experience the same thing as you with my 325P2 and also have a fire service radio on the network.

One thing to check off the top of my head is to ensure the site you were missing traffic on, may have switched control channels. Some sites alternate frequently, some not at all.

Also with TMR radios the closest site isn't always what the radio affiliates to first. Obviously this is highly dependent on how it's programmed but in my experience the radio won't affiliate with another site unless the signal drops below the threshold in the programming. So if you have multiple sites close by with strong signals, it just depends on what one the radio affiliates with first.

If multiple radios do this, it's possible for a site to miss traffic. Coverage areas are designed to overlap, so I would say this is normal. Your best solution is to monitor only the control channels of your closest sites.

Hope I explained this well.
 

ve1sef

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I had similar problems when I first got my 536. There are some possibilities, that come to mind:
1- Are you using the Full Database ?
If so, that database tends to give you everything in range of your scanner, which may include a lot of duplicate frequencies or system/networks that will take longer to scan.
It might be to your advantage to create your own favorites list.
2- Are your Services Types on?
3- Have you tried using the location based scanning feature?

There are YouTube videos by K4DPS that give better explanations for the above.
 

_DeS_

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I had similar problems when I first got my 536. There are some possibilities, that come to mind:
1- Are you using the Full Database ?
If so, that database tends to give you everything in range of your scanner, which may include a lot of duplicate frequencies or system/networks that will take longer to scan.
It might be to your advantage to create your own favorites list.
2- Are your Services Types on?
3- Have you tried using the location based scanning feature?

There are YouTube videos by K4DPS that give better explanations for the above.
Thanks for the reply. So just to confirm you mean Control Channel and Alt, or just the control channel ?

1- Not using Full Database. Personal Fave list created.
2- Service Types on.
3- Not tried location based yet,
 

ve1sef

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Regarding programming sites, to make a long story short I use both. I actually have all the frequencies for the site entered,
Tried control channel only at first, but it seemed to miss stuff compared to the 996 sitting beside it.

I believe the control channel only might apply to the non-database scanners (i.e. X15/996/396/325).
 

_DeS_

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To all of you that have responded, thanks. I find this all to be very disheartening after dropping so much money on what I thought was to be the latest greatest. It may be and perhaps user error. I appreciate your input so far !
 

Hit_Factor

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There is a lot of skill required in programming these scanners for optimal reception. The only way to monitor two sites and not miss and traffic, is two scanners. One dedicated to each site.

You only need the control channels, but you don't have to believe me. Try it with and without. If you put the other freqs in I think it's possible the scanner may waste time checking them, and there goes another bit of traffic you never hear.

Experiment with just the main control freq, don't put in the alts. It will just take a few moments to make all these different FLs. But the results should speak for themselves.

Be sure to limit the number of TGs you monitor, sounds like you might be interested in just one anyway.
 

_DeS_

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There is a lot of skill required in programming these scanners for optimal reception. The only way to monitor two sites and not miss and traffic, is two scanners. One dedicated to each site.

You only need the control channels, but you don't have to believe me. Try it with and without. If you put the other freqs in I think it's possible the scanner may waste time checking them, and there goes another bit of traffic you never hear.

Experiment with just the main control freq, don't put in the alts. It will just take a few moments to make all these different FLs. But the results should speak for themselves.

Be sure to limit the number of TGs you monitor, sounds like you might be interested in just one anyway.
I can't say I disagree with you regarding any of your comments.

What I find hard to believe is that coming from my PSR500, that I didn't have to worry about "overworking" it. With multiple sites and a TON of talk groups it seems to perform faster. Time and time I read posts about doing less with a higher end device, just seems counter intuitive is all.
I will certainly trim down everything and see how it performs. Thank again for your reply !
 

RMason

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For the SDS series, it may take 1 to 1.5 seconds to evaluate a site's control data, and check for activity. Once the scanner identifies a control channel for a site, it remembers the control channel and does not need to search all of the frequencies for that site unless the control channel is lost. If a site is out of range, the scanner has to waste time searching each programmed frequency looking for a control channel.

The number of Talk Groups programmed does not affect scan speed.
 

_DeS_

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For the SDS series, it may take 1 to 1.5 seconds to evaluate a site's control data, and check for activity. Once the scanner identifies a control channel for a site, it remembers the control channel and does not need to search all of the frequencies for that site unless the control channel is lost. If a site is out of range, the scanner has to waste time searching each programmed frequency looking for a control channel.

The number of Talk Groups programmed does not affect scan speed.
Well that’s interesting. I thought that the amount of TGIDS didn’t slow down scanning but I’m no pro. Thanks for the info. I’m going to sit down some evening and give everyone’s advice a go.

reading a lot about filters now and how they may effect scanning.
 

RMason

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As you optimize your programming, here are a couple of tips:
  1. Do not program sites that are out of range
  2. Do not scan the same site more than once. That is, do not use multiple instances of the same site for different departments. Include all departments (and talk groups) in the same instance of the site. Otherwise, you will only be searching for a subset of TGs each time the site is scanned.
  3. Do not use the auto filter setting.
Note that having a large number of Talk Groups programmed can cause you to miss interesting traffic. If the scanner stops on a TG that is of little interest, it will miss traffic of other Talk Groups while that transmission is in progress. But the number of talk groups programmed does not slow down the scan speed.
 

_DeS_

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As you optimize your programming, here are a couple of tips:
  1. Do not program sites that are out of range
  2. Do not scan the same site more than once. That is, do not use multiple instances of the same site for different departments. Include all departments (and talk groups) in the same instance of the site. Otherwise, you will only be searching for a subset of TGs each time the site is scanned.
  3. Do not use the auto filter setting.
Note that having a large number of Talk Groups programmed can cause you to miss interesting traffic. If the scanner stops on a TG that is of little interest, it will miss traffic of other Talk Groups while that transmission is in progress. But the number of talk groups programmed does not slow down the scan speed.
Awesome thanks !
I’m using Auto filter now as I’m not sure what the differences are. Any insight or is it in the manual? lol I haven’t looked there yet.
 

RMason

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The reason to avoid Auto filters it that with this setting each filter is applied to each object every time it is scanned. This slows scanning down significantly.

Filters were discussed in a recent thread. You may have to wade through some of the material to find the gold nuggets.
 

ve1sef

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Rmason's post mentions repeating sites. This was the problem I ran into when learning to use the 536.

I discovered after downloading the MPSRN from the database, the control channels were repeated through out the system, which covers NS,NB, and PEI. My first solution to remove any site that where repeated, slimmed it down to 34 sets of site frequencies. It improved the scanning but still not the best.

Then I found a bunch of YouTube videos, one of which was on location based scanning without a GPS, I gave that a try and it's worked great. Since then purchased a GPS and mobile use improved as well.
 
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