Newbie SDS100 & WMATA Issues

boxxer13

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The SDS100 is my second scanner and I'm getting the hang of it but for the life of me, I can only listen in to WMATA if I run the frequencies on a custom search. Originally I programmed it through Sentinel, and tried programming it both as Motorola and P25 Trunk systems. Not sure if I should be using another system since it's WMATA is Motorola Type 2. I put the DECs in the TGIDs column. But using the custom search, the TGIDs that popped up don't match any of the DECs that's on the DB. Does the DB need updating or am I missing something? Thanks!
 

hiegtx

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The SDS100 is my second scanner and I'm getting the hang of it but for the life of me, I can only listen in to WMATA if I run the frequencies on a custom search. Originally I programmed it through Sentinel, and tried programming it both as Motorola and P25 Trunk systems. Not sure if I should be using another system since it's WMATA is Motorola Type 2. I put the DECs in the TGIDs column. But using the custom search, the TGIDs that popped up don't match any of the DECs that's on the DB. Does the DB need updating or am I missing something? Thanks!
Did you append the system from the main database? If so, then the needed trunking information should be there.

But look at the system in the database:
1605391414847.png
More specifically, look at the service type- Transportation.
Be sure that you have that enabled in your Sentinel profile as well as on the scanner itself.
1605391520887.png
By default, when your scanner is shipped, and also when you first install Sentinel, only Public Safety Dispatch service types are enabled:
Law Dispatch, Fore Dispatch, EMS Dispatch, & Multi-Dispatch.
You also need to enable the Tac & Talk service types for these categories- Law Talk, Fire Tac, EMS Tac, etc.

Additionally, if you are programming businesses or agencies other than Public Safety, make sure that the service types they use are also enabled,
 

boxxer13

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Just my luck that I start picking up some traffic right after I saw your reply. I get all my info from the RR database and the service types are enabled and match with that's in the database. I'm well aware of enabling service types; they are easy to overlook!

Perhaps I had the scanner searching too many talkgroups; had it scanning every WMATA system talkgroup that's listed on the database. Plus I'm between Falls Church and Fairfax, so I suppose what I can pick up of WMATA isn't that much or WMATA doesn't have that much traffic to begin with or a combination of each.
 

Mr_Boh

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What specifically are you trying to listen to? There's a lot going on with them, mostly because of their transition to P25 system. The PD has gone encrypted already.
 

boxxer13

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I was trying to listening to everything, really to hear anything about yesterday's march. Not a lot I could listen to since most places transmit encrypted. I suppose if I did the nxdn update, I might have heard some traffic. So I focused on all of WMATA. Right now I only have Rail Ops programmed in and heard some chatter from the operators but it's mostly quiet which is probably expected for a Sunday.
 

Mr_Boh

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You should still be able to hear plenty of the operations though. Load the system from Sentinel and do ID Search. Even though it's slow on Sunday, they are doing a drill on the Orange Line and their system is one large simulcast so if nothing else you should be able to hear buses and MetroAccess chit chat. Compare what you are picking up with what's coming through on OpenMHz: https://openmhz.com/system/wmata
 

boxxer13

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I'm hearing absolutely nothing on the SDS100! I loaded it from Sentinel, did the ID Search and nothing. I even tried it from the main database and turned off all services except for Transportation. But I'm hearing a lot on openmhm.com. Is it a range issue? I hope it isn't a hardware issue.
 

Mr_Boh

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Not from Falls Church. The current SmartZone system BOOMS. It can be picked up well away from DC. Can you hold on the site, and use the detailed view to make sure you have good decode (low BER, good reception on control channel). This seems odd.
 

boxxer13

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I'm holding Ops 2, since I'm only a mile from an orange line stop. RSSI and signal strength bars flash intermittently, mostly stay on. Bars are at full strength and RSSI is -60dBm. And that's when it's on a control frequency. It bounces around to the alternate control channels when that happens, signal strength and RSSI go blank. I programmed it in Sentinel as Motorola, i'm assuming that's the right one to use.
 
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maus92

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I'm holding Ops 2, since I'm only a mile from an orange line stop. RSSI and signal strength bars flash intermittently, mostly stay on. Bars are at full strength and RSSI is -60dBm. And that's when it's on a control frequency. It bounces around to the alternate control channels when that happens, signal strength and RSSI go blank. I programmed it in Sentinel as Motorola, i'm assuming that's the right one to use.
You might want to post the behavior in the Uniden tech forum, but the SDS100 does some background housekeeping and breaks off a control channel momentarily even when holding on a system. When this happens, you will see the bars / RSSI values shift around. You can also try removing the alternate cchs from the list. I'd also check the band plan in the radio to see if it corresponds to what is in the RRDB.
 

n3obl

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You might want to post the behavior in the Uniden tech forum, but the SDS100 does some background housekeeping and breaks off a control channel momentarily even when holding on a system. When this happens, you will see the bars / RSSI values shift around. You can also try removing the alternate cchs from the list. I'd also check the band plan in the radio to see if it corresponds to what is in the RRDB.
Ive had that happen on other systems so that is normal. Never had that response to it.
 

hiegtx

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What system are you trying to scan? Also have you selected the service types you want to scan?
Note: This quote is from the post in the Uniden Forum,
In an earlier thread, he was asking about this system:
Okay, is the SDS100 not compatible with Motorola type 2 smartnet? Database is updated, loaded the system from the database, verified the info with what's on RR and I can hear more traffic when I run a custom search than I can when listening to the programmed system. Oh yeah, I'm trying to listen to a place broadcasting 2 miles away. I checked the service types and the bands too. Is it a hardware issue or does the scanner need to be reset?
In your other thread, you indicated you had programmed the system "in Sentinel".
I'm holding Ops 2, since I'm only a mile from an orange line stop. RSSI and signal strength bars flash intermittently, mostly stay on. Bars are at full strength and RSSI is -60dBm. And that's when it's on a control frequency. It bounces around to the alternate control channels when that happens, signal strength and RSSI go blank. I programmed it in Sentinel as Motorola, i'm assuming that's the right one to use.
Your statement, in the other thread, that you programmed it as "Motorola" implies that you manually entered the system into a Favorites list. Since you indicate that you are hearing some activity using a search indicates that very likely, some information needed for the system was not included in your list. Also, are you sure that the system 'is broadcasting 2 miles away'? If that "two miles" is to the nearest station, then your actual range may be different unless a site is co-located at the station.

I would suggest that you do one, preferably both. of these two things:
1. Post your Favorites list programming file. To do that, export it as an *.hpe file. That function is in the drop-down Files menu. Once you exprt to an *.hpe file, you will need to compress the file so that you can attach it to a post. To do that, using Windows Explorer, <right><click> on the file you exported.
You will get a pop-up menu after the right-click.
One of the options towards the bottom of that menu is Send To.
Choose the option to send it to a compressed folder,
View attachment 94266

You'll have a file with the same name as what you exported, but instead of having the *.hpe file extention, it will have *.zip, The zipped file can be attached to a post; the *.hpe cannot, as *.hpe is not a valid file type in the forums.
and/or
2. Using the main database in Sentinel, click on the plus sign besides USA
That expands the list of US States.
Scroll down to "District of Columbia & expand that.
Now, click on Washington DC City to expand that folder.
Click to expand the folder labeled as "County"

In the right side window of Sentinel, you will see the system.
1605819563091.png
Now, <right><click> on the system's name.
You'll get another pop-up menu.
Click to select "Append to Favorites List"
1605819749321.png

That will add the entire system, along with the correct settings for the site, to the list you appended to. You can either delete the departments and talkgroups not of interest, or simply set them as
"Avoid"
Be sure that you do not delete the Site, which is listed as 'Simulcast'.
1605819944125.png

With the system appended, you will have everything needed for the scanner to hear the system.
 

maus92

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I did notice a location circle error in the RRDB for this system. It was set to describe the boundaries of DC proper, and did not extend out into suburban areas that are part of the footprint of this system. This would affect scanners that are using location control, and could be at least part of the issue for the OP's SDS100 not receiving at his location. I was in Burtonsville and the SDS200 was not receiving WMATA until I extended the range circle to 30 miles, now I am receiving WMATA traffic.

Has anyone verified the band plan for this system? Unitrunker is dumping when trying to log this system, and is calculating freqs that are not part of this system. It is also showing two sites. I've manually entered the Band Plan as published in the RRDB, as well as using the RRDB download service, but no joy.
 

maus92

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OK, user error on the band plan - I was using narrowband channel spacing, lol. Got it running.
 

maus92

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A few more notes: the OP needs to double check Service Types, and make sure Transportation is selected. I did not have this selected on the SDS200, and was missing most traffic since LE is encrypted, and Public Works tgs were not very active. Once I enabled Transportation, the system was very busy. So to recap, the range setting for the Simulcast site needs to be increased from 9 miles to something like 30, and check Service types.

As far as Unitrunker is concerned, once I corrected the channel spacing from 12.5 to 25.0, the extra site disappeared, freqs were properly calculated, and the program worked as expected.
 
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