New PSR500--- Getting a little frustrated now...

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GrumpyAeroGuy

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I live near the county line (2-3 miles north of the line) of two distinct Counties--- I live in County "1"

County 1: Moto 800 Trunked System
County 2: (the further away of the 2): P25

County 1 comes in golden.

County 2 (P25) doesn't receive very well at all. Channels "float in and out", garbled, sounds like folks are transmitting out of a fish bowl. Transmissions cut out. Start out strong, then drop as though the dispatcher is in a mobile unit and driving out of range during transmissions. Also the trunking signal drops out for 5-6 secs at a time when I'm watching the display.

I have read all of the references available and have changed P25 SQ settings (and many others) to the values recommended in marksscanners easier to understand manual.......with a little improvement, but not much. I mean, I rarely, if ever, hear an entire dispatch w/o it cutting/garbling out, no matter the talk group.

What is puzzling to me is this. I have a Discone attenna on a mast on my roof, about 20-25 feet in the air, maybe a bit more. There appears to be no difference whether I am hooked up to the roof antenna or am using the supplied atenna (which I know aren't typically the best). If the roof antenna would improve things dramatically, then I would have a data point. But, this doesn't appear to be the case. (I used to use the discone for 2m, and I checked that all was OK there). Ex-HAM tech (expired ticket), so I am not exactly an idiot when it comes to radio/antenna topics.

I guess it IS possible that I am located in an unfortunate geographic area.

One of the reasons I upgraded to a digital scanner was to hear County 2 again, as they had gone digital some time ago. County 1 is analog and will reband soon, so I was on borrowed time there as well with the old BC235.

At this point, I am feeling that the crappy P25 reception I am getting for County 2 is such that I am wondering why I bothered.....wondering if it was money unwisely spent.

I love the scanner and its features......I would love for it to get county 2 better than it does.

Only thing I haven't investigated yet, is to take the scanner to work tomorrow (into the bowls of county 2) and see if it all is better. If that's the case, then I will chock it up to distance from the tower(s) and that I am on a fringe, and that is that.... victim of geography and circumstance.

My suspicion, however, is that something ain't quite right in the radio. Just my gut feeling. My BNC connector seems solid (I read those posts too).

At this point, it appears that there is no point in monitoring the P25 system, the reception is that bad--- roof antenna or not.

Any wisdom out there?

Is it possible that I got a defective unit? Or is this the nature of the beast? What am I missing?

I am not ready to pass judgement, but I am becoming unimpressed with the P25 capability of the PSR500, though I clearly understand that this may be an unfair assessment, given my situation at this moment.

Would love to have the opportunity to monitor side-by-side with someone with a Uniden, say, or even another PSR500, and see if there is a noticable difference.

I apologize if I am sounding a little frustrated, but, I was hoping for more, maybe unrealistically, I dunno...

EDIT: BTW, have upgraded to Firmware Ver. 2.1 as well.... if that makes any difference.
 
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GrumpyAeroGuy

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heh... didn't know my scanner purchase would also get me a free membership to a previously unknown, to ME, club.... LOL

Yeah.... several posts seem like they could have been written by me... (unfortuneately).

As a former fire fighter, I still know a few folks that are on the job. They also complain about their OWN radios on their OWN apparatus--- especially in fringe arteas. As a former FD Safety Officer, I have reservations about even analog 800 radios, as in a larger commercial structure, even calling back to the truck (maybe less than 50feet as the bee flies) can cause trouble, not a good thing, when you think about it. NEVER saw that problem when we were on the 400Mhz radios.....

Moving the scanner around the house does seem to identify some "sweet spots".

One poster indicated that he got improvement with the RS 800 antenna.... For $19, I'll shoot into the dark.....

Thanks for your response.

I assume the bearcat suffers from the same/similiar ailment as well?
 

N8IAA

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I live near the county line (2-3 miles north of the line) of two distinct Counties--- I live in County "1"

County 1: Moto 800 Trunked System
I'm guessing that this is an analog system.

County 2: (the further away of the 2): P25

County 2 (P25) doesn't receive very well at all. Channels "float in and out", garbled, sounds like folks are transmitting out of a fish bowl. Transmissions cut out. Start out strong, then drop as though the dispatcher is in a mobile unit and driving out of range during transmissions. Also the trunking signal drops out for 5-6 secs at a time when I'm watching the display.
A couple of things to understand, being digital, P-25 by design is lower power . This is how a typical P-25 system sounds. We are all suffering from poor decoding by the scanners. This includes Uniden also.
I had hoped that the PSR-800 I got would sound different/better. Not at all. There are times it comes in like we would expect digital to sound. Then it sounds like I'm listening to the soundtrack from Star Wars. Even my 396XT gets out of sync with the signal and receives another tower along with the closest to me. Until the manufacturers develop better decoding for the scanners, the digital TT'ers I have will have to do. One of the best digital, P-25 signals I monitor, is on my trips to NC. The Great Smokey Mtn NP has great conventional P-25.
HTH,
Larry
 
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GrumpyAeroGuy

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N8IAA,

Correct, county 1 is indeed analog...

"audio boost"??? I am assuming this a setting? (sorry if this is a dumb question).....

I'll search the settings....
 

troymail

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I use the RS 800 -- makes a big difference -- but some say it can make the effects of LSM worse - I think the best results suggest you want to limit your reception to a single tower vs. receiving more than one -- which apparently is the problem we're trying to overcome.

My 800, 500 and 396T work pretty well within the jurisdiction the signals are intended for but as soon as your cross over the County line, all bets are off.

You can find some "sweet spots" but what a pain--- I've decided I don't want to listen THAT badly.

Fingers crossed - GRE or Uniden will come out with a solution -- I hope.
 

GrumpyAeroGuy

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I use the RS 800 -- makes a big difference -- but some say it can make the effects of LSM worse - I think the best results suggest you want to limit your reception to a single tower vs. receiving more than one -- which apparently is the problem we're trying to overcome.

My 800, 500 and 396T work pretty well within the jurisdiction the signals are intended for but as soon as your cross over the County line, all bets are off.

You can find some "sweet spots" but what a pain--- I've decided I don't want to listen THAT badly.

Fingers crossed - GRE or Uniden will come out with a solution -- I hope.
yeah, I hear ya....I guess hearing something is better than nothing. If I lock out everything but those agencies close to me, it seems to make it more tolerable.... which is kinda what I want anyhow (neighboring FDs next to the one I used to run out of).

I guess I can live with the negatives over nothing at all. Shall we initiate a GRE "Firmware Dance"? Couldn't hurt, right?
 

hiegtx

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lol

...a pessimist is an optimist with experience...
You don't happen to have a nearby "forest" of cell towers, do you?

While the GRE scanners (including the PSR-500) are great radios, they are prone to overload, and thus desense, from too much signal, making the scanner less sensitive. This, of course, might not apply to your specific location, but it did to mine. I've got about eight of them within a few blocks of the house, probably twenty within less than a mile. What what ended up working better for me (which, again, may not for you) was to just use the standard duck antenna. If I ran a gain antenna, like the R/S 800MHz (I do on my 396XT), my reception was worse.

If you don't have close cell sites, then give that antenna a try. It does a good job on 800 & Uhf, and acceptable on Vhf-high, though when I get out of the metro area, where most everything is Vhf, I switch to something like this.
 

gewecke

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I live near the county line (2-3 miles north of the line) of two distinct Counties--- I live in County "1"

County 1: Moto 800 Trunked System
County 2: (the further away of the 2): P25

County 1 comes in golden.

County 2 (P25) doesn't receive very well at all. Channels "float in and out", garbled, sounds like folks are transmitting out of a fish bowl. Transmissions cut out. Start out strong, then drop as though the dispatcher is in a mobile unit and driving out of range during transmissions. Also the trunking signal drops out for 5-6 secs at a time when I'm watching the display.

I have read all of the references available and have changed P25 SQ settings (and many others) to the values recommended in marksscanners easier to understand manual.......with a little improvement, but not much. I mean, I rarely, if ever, hear an entire dispatch w/o it cutting/garbling out, no matter the talk group.

What is puzzling to me is this. I have a Discone attenna on a mast on my roof, about 20-25 feet in the air, maybe a bit more. There appears to be no difference whether I am hooked up to the roof antenna or am using the supplied atenna (which I know aren't typically the best). If the roof antenna would improve things dramatically, then I would have a data point. But, this doesn't appear to be the case. (I used to use the discone for 2m, and I checked that all was OK there). Ex-HAM tech (expired ticket), so I am not exactly an idiot when it comes to radio/antenna topics.

I guess it IS possible that I am located in an unfortunate geographic area.

One of the reasons I upgraded to a digital scanner was to hear County 2 again, as they had gone digital some time ago. County 1 is analog and will reband soon, so I was on borrowed time there as well with the old BC235.

At this point, I am feeling that the crappy P25 reception I am getting for County 2 is such that I am wondering why I bothered.....wondering if it was money unwisely spent.

I love the scanner and its features......I would love for it to get county 2 better than it does.

Only thing I haven't investigated yet, is to take the scanner to work tomorrow (into the bowls of county 2) and see if it all is better. If that's the case, then I will chock it up to distance from the tower(s) and that I am on a fringe, and that is that.... victim of geography and circumstance.

My suspicion, however, is that something ain't quite right in the radio. Just my gut feeling. My BNC connector seems solid (I read those posts too).

At this point, it appears that there is no point in monitoring the P25 system, the reception is that bad--- roof antenna or not.

Any wisdom out there?

Is it possible that I got a defective unit? Or is this the nature of the beast? What am I missing?

I am not ready to pass judgement, but I am becoming unimpressed with the P25 capability of the PSR500, though I clearly understand that this may be an unfair assessment, given my situation at this moment.

Would love to have the opportunity to monitor side-by-side with someone with a Uniden, say, or even another PSR500, and see if there is a noticable difference.

I apologize if I am sounding a little frustrated, but, I was hoping for more, maybe unrealistically, I dunno...

EDIT: BTW, have upgraded to Firmware Ver. 2.1 as well.... if that makes any difference.


Hey grumpy what are you using on your discone for coaxial cable? Please tell me you're not using rg58 or rg59 for your feedline?
Belden 9913flex works very well for trunking systems as well as conventional, and is 1.2db loss per 100foot which is a great low loss figure.

73,
n9zas
 

GrumpyAeroGuy

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You don't happen to have a nearby "forest" of cell towers, do you?

While the GRE scanners (including the PSR-500) are great radios, they are prone to overload, and thus desense, from too much signal, making the scanner less sensitive. This, of course, might not apply to your specific location, but it did to mine. I've got about eight of them within a few blocks of the house, probably twenty within less than a mile. What what ended up working better for me (which, again, may not for you) was to just use the standard duck antenna. If I ran a gain antenna, like the R/S 800MHz (I do on my 396XT), my reception was worse.

If you don't have close cell sites, then give that antenna a try. It does a good job on 800 & Uhf, and acceptable on Vhf-high, though when I get out of the metro area, where most everything is Vhf, I switch to something like this.
no cell phone tower jungle.....yeah, I am flopping between antennas as well, and, some are working better than others. The supplied rubber duck is not the worst performer at all now that I have been fiddling with the antenna question.

The roof discone is a little worse on the garbling. But, i am picking up more distant mobile units than with the duck-- which is interesting but not too surprising --- remember, I am NOT in the county I am trying to listen to by a few miles.

I will get an RS 800 today and try that. Also going to try the telescoping antenna I found yestgerday from my Kenwood TH225 2m handheld, just for giggles.

Of course, I am not hooked in to any insturmentation, so my "results" are all going to be subjective.

Geez, been finding all of my old 2m stuff in this process. I need to check if that ARRL Tech book came in today at my not-too-local HAM store. Ready to brush up and restore my License. This is all bringing back (very fond) memories.:cool:
 
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GrumpyAeroGuy

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Hey grumpy what are you using on your discone for coaxial cable? Please tell me you're not using rg58 or rg59 for your feedline?
Belden 9913flex works very well for trunking systems as well as conventional, and is 1.2db loss per 100foot which is a great low loss figure.

73,
n9zas
I am embarassed to admit that I am positive that I have no earthly clue anymore...:lol:. I looked at the cable to see if it had any imprints on the sheathing, and, there is none. Either long vaporized, or it wasn't there to begin with.

What I DO remember though, is that back in the day I checked the SWR via my TH225 back then, and it was almost perfect on 2m.:eek: Found my (low budget) SWR meter yesterday as well. This is evoking a lot of fond memories.

I put up that discone antenna 25+ years ago when I originally got my 2m ticket. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that, back then, my budget wasn't exactly what it may be today, and I was probably driven more by cost and availability back than, then by what works "best" --- I was learning :).
 

detroit780

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Reception

What coax and what length are you using? A discone antenna is a wideband antenna however it has No Gain at all. So the longer the coax and the lower the quality you may actually have much lower signal than the rubber duck.

Take a look at this chart and look at attenuation at 1000Mhz that will be close.
Coaxial Cable Attenuation Chart

Les





no cell phone tower jungle.....yeah, I am flopping between antennas as well, and, some are working better than others. The supplied rubber duck is not the worst performer at all now that I have been fiddling with the antenna question.

The roof discone is a little worse on the garbling. But, i am picking up more distant mobile units than with the duck-- which is interesting but not too surprising --- remember, I am NOT in the county I am trying to listen to by a few miles.

I will get an RS 800 today and try that. Also going to try the telescoping antenna I found yestgerday from my Kenwood TH225 2m handheld, just for giggles.

Of course, I am not hooked in to any insturmentation, so my "results" are all going to be subjective.

Geez, been finding all of my old 2m stuff in this process. I need to check if that ARRL Tech book came in today at my not-too-local HAM store. Ready to brush up and restore my License. This is all bringing back (very fond) memories.:cool:
 

N8IAA

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I put up that discone antenna 25+ years ago when I originally got my 2m ticket.
Grumpy, Dude:lol: 25+ years ago:confused: Does it still have a center conductor???? The connectors are corroded. The shielding has vaporized along with the type of coax:D Get yourself some RG-6 for the scanner. Or, some mini-8 if you want to transmit on the antenna.
Larry
 

N8IAA

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Oh, and do get the RS 800MHz antenna. You might be surprised that you don't need the outside antenna. The duck that came with the radio is pitiful on 800. If you have a 'G' on the screen, press FUNC, then ATT. It will give you better signal readings for the two trunked systems. I got rid of that on my 106, 197, and 800. Makes a world of difference.
Larry
 

N8IAA

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Since you show Cincy is home, Hamilton County is P-25. What counties are you actually monitoring? What is the analog system?
Larry
 

GrumpyAeroGuy

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Since you show Cincy is home, Hamilton County is P-25. What counties are you actually monitoring? What is the analog system?
Larry
Hamilton Cty is very problematic for me.

Warren Cty is the analog 800 system and gets golden reception with the PSR500.

I have no clue what's going on with Butler county. Hardly ever hear anything on their 800 system. Not sure if agencies aren't still on the VHF side. Completely unsure on that one.

I happen to work near the geographic center of Hamilton county. I must tell you, it is no better there than it is on the fringe with the duck.

Oh, and do get the RS 800MHz antenna.
Happening in about an hour ... LOL

You might be surprised that you don't need the outside antenna. The duck that came with the radio is pitiful on 800. If you have a 'G' on the screen, press FUNC, then ATT. It will give you better signal readings for the two trunked systems. I got rid of that on my 106, 197, and 800. Makes a world of difference.
Larry
Good to know. I will get the RS 800 and report back. I appreciate all of your input.
 
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N8IAA

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Hamilton Cty is very problematic for me.

Warren Cty is the analog 800 system and gets golden reception with the PSR500.

I have no clue what's going on with Butler county. Hardly ever hear anything on their 800 system. Not sure if agencies aren't still on the VHF side. Completely unsure on that one.

I happen to work near the geographic center of Hamilton county. I must tell you, it is no better there than it is on the fringe with the duck.



Happening in about an hour ... LOL



Good to know. I will get the RS 800 and report back. I appreciate all of your input.
You will probably get better answers in the Ohio state forum further down the forums page. Lots of good guys to help there. Where is the Warren City system located? I can't seem to find here in the RR database.
Larry
 
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