Odd Reception Problem

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W2SY

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I have a new BCD536HP scanner. Live half way between Atlantic City NJ and Philadelphia Pa. I used sentinel software to program scanner, stock antenna. I live on the western edge of Atlantic County NJ and get all my county systems and channels all the way to Atlantic City. All of these towns are to my east.

I programmed Vineland and Winslow which are to my west and a lot closer than some of the towns to my east but can't receive anything even upstairs. I also programmed Philadelphia which is 40 air miles to my NW and can't get that either. I understand Philly is pushing it but the other two have me baffled.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
 

marksmith

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If P25 or even recently new systems, this would not be unusual. The norm has been to keep signals directional within jurisdiction.

Mark
WS1095/536/436/996P2/HP1e/HP2e/996XT/325P2/396XT/PRO668/PSR800/PRO652
 

Ubbe

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You could always try and look in the database for a system you think would be reasonable to receive and note a control channel or digital frequency to enter manually, CHANNEL-frequency-CHANNEL.
Open the squelch fully and listen from different position in the house and angle/lenght of antenna. The noise sound mutes as soon as you receive a valid datasignal.

If you manage to get a mute and still doesn't hear anything during normal scan, then it is a problem with the database or some settings.

/Ubbe
 

ofd8001

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Also the database sets ranges for departments based on their geographic service area. So if you are 10 miles from a city, but that city has an area of 5 miles, then it is "turned off" in the scanner.

You can get around this by either increasin the Range for those departments in your Sentinel created Favorites List(s) (better option) or by increasing the scanner's range value.
 

marksmith

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If you programmed these in a favorites list without location control on, then the range the scanner is set at is meaningless. You should still receive if within listening range regardless of the range setting on the scanner.

Sent from my LG-V410 using Tapatalk
 

ansky

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Are you able to pick up Vineland with a different scanner? Vineland is analog and that area is all flat terrain so that shouldn't be the issue.
 

W2SY

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Well guys I check everything suggested and still nothing from Vineland. I went through every setting manually and all the numbers are correct. I also manually turned on location control and increased range.

To test analog receiving capabilities I programmed in the WX channel 162.400 which is the one for my area. With squelch all the way open I get noise and faintly hear a voice. If I move the radio 4 feet I get the Philadelphia WX station but nothing on 162.400. I can get these WX stations better with a cheap walkie talkie.

Vineland is an analog trunking system. I'm beginning to think this radio is just not good at receiving analog signals. Maybe Uniden didn't care too much about analog reception when designing it since everything is going digital.

What do you guys think?
 

jonwienke

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All reception starts out as analog, and then is converted to bits. The bits are then decoded into voice.

You can't get digital reception if the receiver is deaf.

Turn OFF location control in your Vineland favorites list. Make sure you have everything in the Vineland favorites list tagged with the appropriate Service Type, and that those Service Types are enabled in the scanner.

Also, the stock rubber duck antenna doesn't pick up VHF all that well. This one does a much better job: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M1X73EA/
 

ofd8001

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Have you ruled out things that might be de-sensing your scanner? That moving radio 4 feet to hear Philly weather causes me to think along that line.

If it isn't too much trouble, I suggest you move the scanner outside your house to see what happens.

There are a lot of electronics in homes that could produce RF that adversely affects scanners.
 

W2SY

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I took the radio outside and I got reception from Vineland. It was a very weak signal and barely audible but I could hear voice. The WX channel came in better then Vineland did but down in the noise. Tried location control on and off and there was no difference.

Years ago before trunking and digital systems my scanners picked up Vineland and distant towns loud and clear. After the change I got out of the hobby so this is my first modern digital scanner. It leads me to believe that something changed in either signal strength from the source or scanner reception ability. Again I'm still learning this new scanner technology and could be missing something. Looks like I need an antenna on the roof for these new scanners. If so any suggestions.

I appreciate you guys working with me.
 

Ubbe

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There's a telescope antenna included with the 536. Fully extended it's a 1/4 wave for 120Mhz and fully collapsed for 470Mhz. Radio propagation can be unpredictable, especially inside a building.

The best reception are always with an outside antenna, as high as possible. Even a simple coax antenna on the roof top, even tuned to the wrong frequency band, will usually outperform an in house antenna.

/Ubbe
 

marksmith

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If the old days you refer to were analog, and the current situation is P25 digital, as I said earlier, they are often direction to their jurisdiction, and designed not to be picked up outside of that jurisdiction. Part of it is the number of competing systems and frequencies, part is band reallocation, etc.

I live where there is a mix of old Motorola systems and new P25 systems. The old Motorola systems go 40-50 miles out of their jurisdiction. The new p25 systems often cannot be heard within a mile outside jurisdiction in some places. They are especially touchy indoors and movement of a few inches can make a big difference.

This sounds like what you describe as long as that weather channel is coming in strong.

Mark
WS1095/536/436/996P2/HP1e/HP2e/996XT/325P2/396XT/PRO668/PSR800/PRO652
 

ofd8001

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That Vineland analog trunked system you mention shows a Range of 15 miles (see: Primary Site Details (Vineland City)). So depending whether you are within that 15 miles (or how much farther away) will impact your reception potential.

An outside antenna as mentioned above should improve reception. A wide band is preferable. I have three wide band discone antennas that serve me well. Rooftop Wide-Band Antennas for Police Scanner Radios | ScannerMaster.com

As those years have progressed there is a lot more Radio Frequency energy floating around that can mess with existing signals. Plus some taller buildings could have been built between you and the transmitter blocking signals. And there could be how well the system is performing - as in are antennas at transmitters, cables/connections getting a little weak? There isn't much "forgiveness" when it comes to 800 Mhz propogation as compared to VHF.

The only other things I can think for you to check is that the Globabl Attenuation hasn't been inadvertently turned on (Edit Profile>Miscellaneous tab) and check each site to confirm the Attenuator for the site is Off.
 

W2SY

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According to the link you sent with the 15 mile range circle I'm about 10 to 12 miles from the center. So I'm within the range. Vineland is a Motorola system. I also checked the Global Attenuation and it is off.

Could you explain what these are and should they be programmed into the scanner.

Site Number: Decimal: 001 / Hex: 1
Site Unique DB ID: 768
Site Connect Tone: 116.13
 

ofd8001

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I'm not completely sure about these and if I'm wrong, hopefully others will correct me.

Site Number has something to do with the with an ID number programmed into the site/system. More or less an identifying number that is shown on the scanner (depending on the scanner display capabilities).

Site Unique Number: This is part of the RR database, kind of like a social security number for the given site.

Site connect tones: see Motorola - The RadioReference Wiki
 

nr2d

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1st just about everything in Camden County is APCO P25 Phase II.

Here is the link for Camden County Public Safety. This is where Fire/rescue on the south side of the county will be:

Camden County Public Safety Trunking System, Camden County, New Jersey - Scanner Frequencies

If you scroll down on this next link you will see Winslow Twp. PD From this I am guessing they are not on the County wide system yet. I know that the PDs in my area of Camden County are encrypted.

As for picking up Philly from your location good luck. I'm near the end of the Highspeed line and I can't receive Philly.

I would say anything beyond 5 miles you will need an external antenna. As the frequency goes higher the shorter your reception distance will be for the most part.

You can click on the licenses that listed in this page to see the transmitter locations for the county system:

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?siteId=20334

What I did was I found the site closest to my location and programed in only the frequencies at that site and that helped quite a bit.

BTW there is the New Jersey RR section that you can get more info on Atlantic and Camden Counties:

http://forums.radioreference.com/new-jersey-radio-discussion-forum/


Good luck.
 
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