MECA Digital: reception issues and solutions

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AK9R

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Let's try to keep this thread focused on MECA Digital reception issues that people are experiencing and how they are solving them.

My personal experience remains the same as I've previously posted--From my first floor office at 12th and Senate with a BCD396T and a rubber duck, MECA Digital sounds fine about 90% of the time. From my house in Brownsburg near the high school, forget it. Am I too far out to get a strong enough signal that the scanner can decode? By my calculations, I am about 6.3 miles from the Traders Point tower. However, that path may be through the high school gymnasium, so that may be part of my problem. The downtown towers are less obstructed, but roughly twice as far away. I'm looking at 800MHz Yagi antennas, but I'm on the fence between the 3-element and 6-element designs. Decisions, decisions.
 

Viper43

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We already have 5 or 6 threads on this same subject... do we really need another?

Anyway, the # of elements you need deppends partly on the distance you are from the tower your trying to recieve, and in your case you need to really get higher up with a high gain antenna with more elements will be needed.

V
 

AK9R

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...and in your case you need to really get higher up with a high gain antenna with more elements will be needed.
I don't disagee that more antenna elevation would help things a lot. Howver, it may or may not be practical for me to achieve more elevation. It's not a life or death situation. I didn't listen to MECA that much before they went digital, so I don't anticipate putting forth a lot of effort to receive them now. If I can take some simple steps to improve my reception, I'll try them. ;)
 

AK9R

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Anyway, the # of elements you need deppends partly on the distance you are from the tower your trying to recieve...
Almost missed this. Just to make sure we are on the same page, more elements generally equals more gain and more directivity, thus making aiming the antenna a bit more difficult, though the antenna will pick up fewer interfering signals that are outside it's beam spread..
 

W9NES

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Hey Guys,I am posting this a a friend to all on both sides of the camp both pro and con.I do not know what happend last night on Weds July 16. but sounds like they have worked on the sytem on my side of town.I am now able to hear all the talkgroups and the audio is very clear.Glad I waited and did not spend a lot of money on a outside antenna with coax.I am now able to hear IMPD Northwest and IFD dispatch.I am also able to also hear Beech Grove and the Airport PD and Fire now with no problems.
 

W9NES

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Ok gentlemen.there is a problem in my area receiving the new MECA system.Thanks to W8FCC for his idea and that was to put Reynolds wrap foil around a long piece of cardbord and then putting this around the antenna.He came up with the idea and put this over his antenna in his attic.It cleared up his reception problems with the talkgroups and the garrbled voice quility.I tried this except instead of using the box idea I wraped the antenna with the foil and my reception cleared up along with the garrbled talkgroups.I would also check your settings on your scanner.Make sure that you set the band selector to NFM and not fm.Since using the Reynolds wrap alumium foil on my antenna I did not have to put up a outside antenna.Funny how you have somthing in the kithchen works well for a radio project.You might try this idea for our members who are having problems hearing MECA that have antennas that are extendable and this idea will not work on rubber ducks.Have to make sure that W8FCC gets a big thank you for comming up with this idea and it does work,Thanks W8FCC, Job well done!!!!!
 

rdale

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Ok gentlemen.there is a problem in my area receiving the new MECA system.
.I do not know what happend last night on Weds July 16. but sounds like they have worked on the sytem on my side of town.I am now able to hear all the talkgroups and the audio is very clear.Glad I waited and did not spend a lot of money on a outside antenna with coax.
There is - or there isn't? I think this is the eighth time you've posted conflicting reports on whether you hear it or not.
 

SCPD

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KG9QM came up with the Idea first and posted pics on it I tried it today with different antennas not wrapping the antenna but making a V shape out of cardboard and wrapping it in foil to act as a reflector and pointing it at a MECA tower and it worked good it is a cheap and real easy way to tune it in until you get something different. I used an old Dish network Dish No arm No LNB used it as a ground plane for the magnet then put a Mag Mount antenna on it with the V shape foil cardboard pointed at the 91st MECA tower and had it good. I tried this with out the cardboard foil and it did not even hold a CC but with the V shape it did great. Thanks to KG9QM for his idea's I just tried them when I had time and was board.
 

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GTO_04

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Ok gentlemen.there is a problem in my area receiving the new MECA system.Thanks to W8FCC for his idea and that was to put Reynolds wrap foil around a long piece of cardbord and then putting this around the antenna.He came up with the idea and put this over his antenna in his attic.It cleared up his reception problems with the talkgroups and the garrbled voice quility.I tried this except instead of using the box idea I wraped the antenna with the foil and my reception cleared up along with the garrbled talkgroups.I would also check your settings on your scanner.Make sure that you set the band selector to NFM and not fm. Since using the Reynolds wrap alumium foil on my antenna I did not have to put up a outside antenna.Funny how you have somthing in the kithchen works well for a radio project.You might try this idea for our members who are having problems hearing MECA that have antennas that are extendable and this idea will not work on rubber ducks.Have to make sure that W8FCC gets a big thank you for comming up with this idea and it does work,Thanks W8FCC, Job well done!!!!!
Hello To All of you.I received a e-mail from another member who let me know that he set is GRE radio in the FM Mode vs the NFM setting.I have tried this and IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.My voice has cleared up and I put up a antenna cut for 915Mhz and it has helped.I am now getting the data channel all the time and I am able to hear IMPD Northwest and IFD Fire.I am looking for a notch filter for the 800Mhz band to kill all my inteference form the nearby tv and radio transmittters getting into my scanner.If anyone can post your ideas here that would b great.Thanks Bob for understanding how I am feeling.
So which is it, FM or NFM?

GTO_04
 

Viper43

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So which is it, FM or NFM?

GTO_04
It should be NFM. After W9NES posted the "FM" posting I played a bit setting up the scanners (396, 996 and 600) with 3 duplicate MECA digital systems and set each up with Auto, NFM and FM and the NFM always sounded better wether at home, out and about in Hancock Co. or driving around Indy. I'm going to guess here but I think the Auto setting goes to FM and stays there as most of the comms on the Auto and FM settings sound the same, basically the scanner can't tell if the signal is FM or NFM.

V
 

GTO_04

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It should be NFM. After W9NES posted the "FM" posting I played a bit setting up the scanners (396, 996 and 600) with 3 duplicate MECA digital systems and set each up with Auto, NFM and FM and the NFM always sounded better wether at home, out and about in Hancock Co. or driving around Indy. I'm going to guess here but I think the Auto setting goes to FM and stays there as most of the comms on the Auto and FM settings sound the same, basically the scanner can't tell if the signal is FM or NFM.

V
Thanks. I'll switch back to NFM.

GTO_04
 

W9NES

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rdale and others,I tried this idea today with a cardboard box cut down to size and then I put the aluminum foil behind the antenna.This idea works great.I am now able to hear IMPD Northwest,IFD Fire, and with no problems and the talk groups are very clear with no garbble in the audio.If people are having problems hearin MECA I would recomend the aluminum foil behind the antenna trick.If this helps others in our area please post your findings here nad let us know if this works for you
 

pliquett

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Let me get this right, scanner $500, Software to program $40, Membership to RR $25, having to use cardboard and tin foil to pick up reception, bul*s**t. Grecom and Uniden better get on the ball quick or they are not going to continue to sell scanners in Indianapolis!!
 

rdale

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Grecom and Uniden better get on the ball quick or they are not going to continue to sell scanners in Indianapolis!!
Slow down and think for a second... Professional radios cost $2000+. Scanner costs $500. If you want near-perfect reception - you need to pay for it.
 

W9NES

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lets set the record stright here for both camps both pro and con.As I posted yes it is true if you will use the alumium foil method on a piece of cardboard behind the antenna it will make your scanner work great.If you will see W8FCC'S posting here with the picture.He got the idea from another source and that source was verified.W8FCC passed this idea down to me and I am glad he did.Now since I did this I do not have any more problems and now I do not have to worry about putting up a "NASA approved Yagi antenna pointed at a nearby tower site" Alumium foil has a new use in radio and electronics."improves antenna receiving of nearby signals" Make sure you have a roll of Alumium foil on hand for those antenna projects,Do not laugh, it works"
 

rdale

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Where did NASA come from? As a ham - you should realize that directional antennas are not out of this world.

It worked in your location for a reason. It will not work for all. There are not 'two camps' unless you consider those who want to help and those who are here just to increase their post count...
 

mcema699

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""Alumium foil has a new use in radio and electronics."improves antenna receiving of nearby signals" Make sure you have a roll of Alumium foil on hand for those antenna projects,Do not laugh, it works""

I hope you're joking about it being new.
This from WWW.KAKE.com Channel 10 somewhere. I can remember it being done too, but always glad to have a quotable source.

"Posted by: Jombi Location: Texas
Hey Jay Prater, When I was a boy... my daddy use to put some ole aluminum foil at the end of a clothes hanger tied together by a twistie tie and hung from the chimney using a bungee cord and he got all the channels including PBS. "
 
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