Ohio MARCS towers

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gabie

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Meigs County,OH
The county I monitor uses 4 towers on MARCS for the SO. I will refer to the towers as A B C D.I'm using 800mhz outdoor antenna on a BCD996T scanner.

A- This tower is the closest to the SO dispatch, I get no signal bars from this tower but I do hear traffic on it but sometimes it is just control noise.( this tower stays on the scanner screen while scanning longer than the other towers)
B- I have never heard anything on this one, no signal bars either(if u watch the towers scan on the screen of the scanner this tower just zings on by). It is on the otherside of the county from me, I locked this one out.
C- 2-3 signal bars on this tower, hear traffic from SO
D- 1-2 signal bars, hear traffic from SO but not alot, this one is on otherside of the county from SO dispatch.
Here's the question...
If I only use towers C and D will I hear all the SO traffic in the county? By the way, the outdoor antenna is not grounded, it's on the porch that is about 14' off the ground, does it need to be grounded for better receiption?
 

mtindor

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Carroll Co OH / EN90LN
In no particular order:

1. Please tell us what county you are in? Terrain, active sites, etc. make a difference, and without us knowing the county we have to play a lot of guessing games.

2. If you only use towers C and D (when towers A and B are also currently functioning towers), you will not hear all communication in your county. Each tower does not broadcast all traffic from other towers automatically. There are only certain instances where you'll hear the same traffic on multiple towers

The exception to #2 is if you lived in Franklin Co, in which case the Franklin Co sites combined form a simulcast site - where all traffic on a particular site in Franklin is heard on all other sites in Franklin.

What county are you in, and in what part of your county are you? Then one of us can look at a map of MARCS towers and give you a better idea of which ones you are likely to hear from your particular location.

Mike


The county I monitor uses 4 towers on MARCS for the SO. I will refer to the towers as A B C D.I'm using 800mhz outdoor antenna on a BCD996T scanner.

A- This tower is the closest to the SO dispatch, I get no signal bars from this tower but I do hear traffic on it but sometimes it is just control noise.( this tower stays on the scanner screen while scanning longer than the other towers)
B- I have never heard anything on this one, no signal bars either(if u watch the towers scan on the screen of the scanner this tower just zings on by). It is on the otherside of the county from me, I locked this one out.
C- 2-3 signal bars on this tower, hear traffic from SO
D- 1-2 signal bars, hear traffic from SO but not alot, this one is on otherside of the county from SO dispatch.
Here's the question...
If I only use towers C and D will I hear all the SO traffic in the county? By the way, the outdoor antenna is not grounded, it's on the porch that is about 14' off the ground, does it need to be grounded for better receiption?
 

gabie

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Meigs County,OH
Sorry, I live in Meigs Co. on the river rite above the Apple Grove area ST RT 124, around 11 or so miles from Racine( in the arch of the boot on the map).
A Pomeroy
B Wilksville
C Racine
D Portland
Pretty much open fields on the riverside but alot of hilly terrain across the road. We get the Portland tower in Reedsville way better than the Pomeroy one.
 

gabie

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Meigs County,OH
The SO office is in Pomeroy. I heard that the Pomeroy tower was the most powerful and like the main one. We also monitor the EMS on these towers.
 

mtindor

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I'm only vaguely familiar with your area, but familiar enough to understand the hilly terrain. If you are unable to hear Pomeroy well or Wilksville, I wouldn't be extremely concerned.

Yes, you will miss activity that may happen on the Wilksville and Pomeroy sites, but I'm betting there is probably more traffic on the two sites close to you since they are "river sites"

Also, if there is a Meigs Co SO/Fire/EMS unit or an OSP unit in the area of the Racine or Reedsville tower and they are on a talkgroup which has activity happening on the other side fo the county, you will hear that activity on a local site.

Ex: An OSP unit is on the P27 GALLIPOLIS talkgroup on the other side of the county or even down in Gallipolis. An OSP unit is on P27 GALLIPOLIS up in the Racine/Reedsville area. If the OSP unit down in Gallipolis talks on P27 GALLIPOLIS while a local OSP is affiliated with Racine/Reedsville tower, you'll hear that traffic.

I see Meigs SO and Fire/EMS have talkgroups on MARCS. Not sure how often you hear things on them. Not sure if any of those agencies actually have 800 Mhz equipment at this time or if those are just patches to their other systems. But, if there was a Meigs Co SO unit over in Pomeroy talking on TG 47840 (MEIGS CO SO DISP) and there was a Meigs Co SO unit (with a MARCS radio) affiliated with Reedsville or Racine, then you'd hear any traffic occurring on TG 47840 by virtue of that local Meigs unit being affiliated with a local tower you are monitoring.

And I don' tknow if OSP in your area does consolidated dispatching or not . if they do, then it's posssible that any time an OSP unit is up in the Racine/Reedsville area you may hear the P27 Gallipolis talkgroup even if the actual unit talking is somewhere else in the coverage area of Meigs/Gallia.

As far as your antenna, it depends on the kind of antenna you have. It probably doesn' thtough. What is important, when monitoring 800 Mhz, is that you are using quality coax if you have a cable run over 50 feet. Even if your cable run is under 50 feet, make sure you are using good coax. You can easily see a lot of signal loss on 800 Mhz if you are using typical "CB" coax.... usually you want something better than RG8/RG58. I have a feeling your cable run isn't too long though.

You may be doing the best you can wtih what you have and given your location. But there are probably ways to improve your setup, although this time of year is a horrible time to try. I hate nothing more than going out and adjusting antennas in 10 degree weather :)


Mike
 

gabie

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Meigs County,OH
Running about 40' of RG58. What kind of coax do u recommend?
We do listen to P27 some, but they step on the SO to much.
 

gabie

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Meigs County,OH
The SO has gone mostly MARCS. They use the old freq. some, which I had trouble getting it also. EMS isn't all the way there yet.
 

gabie

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Antenna is a Outdoor Scanner/Ham Discone 25-1300MHz coverage, from the Shack. We took the transmitting whip off the top of it.
 

mtindor

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Running about 40' of RG58. What kind of coax do u recommend?
We do listen to P27 some, but they step on the SO to much.
Has the SO gone completely to MARCS for communication, or do they still have VHF activity (perhaps a patch between VHF and MARCS)? if they still have VHF active as a patch, maybe you coudl monitor that.

So P27 is pretty chatty? I like listening to OSP, but of course that's because my local agencies aren't on MARCS. I suppose if they were, I'd probably feel the same as you.

I can only recommend what i use, and that's LMR-400. It's not cheap compared to RG58, but you can often get a "deal" on it on ebay from people selling 50' sections of it that were intended for wireless access point installs. I only have 50', but i can tell a significant difference between 50' of LMR-400 vs 50' of RG58 hooked to the same antenna, at least when listening on 800 Mhz. I'd hate to tell you to bite the bullet and get something like that, and then hear that you didn't see any improvement.

Any particular reason why you removed the whip?

Mike
 

Bucko

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Meigs Co SO still will on an occasion use their 460.050 UHF but do use the MARCS, at least where I am listening from..
 

gabie

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Meigs County,OH
mtindor, we took the whip off cuz we were told we really didn't need it. Besides it kinda stuck up to close to the digital tv antenna. We put the scanner antenna over top of the tv ant. the other day(made it alot higher but not better), it was only about 18" above the tv ant. so that mite be messing with it. We ended up putting it back where we had it, off by itself.
Bucko, Thats great, u can monitor the SO here from where u r better than we can and we live here. We have problems getting the 460.050 freq. also.
 

Bucko

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gabie
I have an advantage of a hill this way so I hear a lot and sometimes too much, meaning the PL tones have to be used sometimes. Your antenna you use is a big factor ( including the type of coax ) on what you are going hear and of course the terrain. Like mtindor stated that RG58 can be a killer of 800mz area, even RG6 would a big help.
 

RadioTech19

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Pomeroy, OH
Hello Gabie. Sorry that I haven't returned your call yet. The Meigs County Sheriffs Office is 100% on MARCS. They only use the old frequencies when they need to team with the other agencies in the local area. Meigs EMS is only using MARCS as an alternative (private) way of talking between dispatch and the field units. They use the old 453.100 for primary dispatch options. As for your signal issue to the Pomeroy MARCS tower I am not really sure what you do need to do to improve that. You do need to connect with a decent signal to that tower as it is the tower that ALL the traffic is being broadcast on, I know that for sure. I also know that each individual cruiser has their very own repeater and amplifier system to take care of any gaps that occur. I am getting the feeling that you are getting some major interference somewhere. I can move my portable an inch and it makes a huge difference. The wonderful digital at work.
 

gabie

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Meigs County,OH
Just wanted to say thanks for all the suggestions and help. We purchased 50' of the LMR-400 and let me tell you,WOW! Worth ever penny! The weather has been sucky since we got it, but still has made a BIG signal difference. Throw away the RG58! We never even got a signal bar on Pomeroy site, but now we get 1 to 2. Can't wait for better weather.
Boy she's really stiff cable, wants to pull the scanner off the table, but get over it, it works to well for any complaining. Thanks alot everyone, we are very happy campers!
 

gabie

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Meigs County,OH
Hello, Austink
Just wanted to ask about the cable but it's all good now. Just waiting on better weather for a even better signal.
 

mtindor

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the suggestions and help. We purchased 50' of the LMR-400 and let me tell you,WOW! Worth ever penny! The weather has been sucky since we got it, but still has made a BIG signal difference. Throw away the RG58! We never even got a signal bar on Pomeroy site, but now we get 1 to 2. Can't wait for better weather.
Boy she's really stiff cable, wants to pull the scanner off the table, but get over it, it works to well for any complaining. Thanks alot everyone, we are very happy campers!
That's awesome news. The difference for me, when I switched, was just as noticeable. Yes, it is quite stiff. I also plug mine directly into the scanner (using a BNC elbow to allow it to come in from the side). Really you [and I] should consider having a small jumper of more flexible coax a few feet long so that the connector doesn't have the strain of the LMR400 on it. But, considering how much better only 50 ft of LMR-400 did for my reception, I didn't want to substitute _any_ of the length with lesser cable.

Mike
 
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