BCD996XT: P25 Only Works Sometimes

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mi75

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Hello

I am a new 996XT owner and new to P25 scanning altogether. I have programmed in our statewide system and I've been having an issue I hope someone can help with.

I've noticed that the ability to listen to this system is not consistent. Sometimes it picks everything up just fine, and other times it will sit there silent for hours. I programmed it in all from scratch and like I said, sometimes it works perfectly. It is the only system I am monitoring and it is only scanning the closest local site. When it works, the audio is crystal clear. There is no distortion or garbled audio. However it will randomly stop outputting radio traffic on all talkgroups anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours.

I can verify this because our county operates on all VHF frequencies and our state police units are on a patch to the P25 system. So if I monitor both my VHF radio and the 996XT I can tell when the talkgroup is not supposed to be silent. (And the patch is not at fault because when it's silent it won't even pick up the state units talking on the P25 end of the patch, and other talkgroups which are straight P25 will stay silent during these times as well)

I used all of the frequencies listed for the site in the RR database. Is it possible there are more frequencies for this system that's not in the RR database and that's why I'm not receiving the radio traffic sometimes? I don't think the frequencies would change very often.

All I know is when it works, it works perfect. But sometimes at the same signal strength at random times it won't do anything but sit there... and when I do receive traffic on a talkgroup the signal strength shows full signal.

Please let me know if there's anything I can do to fix this. I've wanted one of these for years and finally got one, but it's not functioning properly.

Also, what should I have the P25 adjust level and P25 mode set to? I believe I have them both on default right now. I have tweaked them before but had no luck.
 

WA0CBW

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I don't know what statewide system you are trying to monitor but in most statewide systems talk groups are only sent to sites that have a unit affiliated (registered and listening to that talk group) with that site and listening to that talk group. It may be that you don't hear some talk groups because their talk group isn't sent to the particular site you are listening to.
BB
 

UPMan

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As alluded to by WA0CBW, you left critical info out of your post: What system are you trying to monitor?

However, I'll also ask, did you create each site in the dB for the system as a separate site in the scanner?
 

ofd8001

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Location
Louisville, KY
Then the next questions are, did you program this manually versus using a computer program, if you did it via computer program, can you post a copy of your data file so we can look at it?

There are numerous settings in scanners and any one that isn't set correctly can create the problem you describe. Additional sets of eyes could help discover the issue.

Here's but one example of the many potential problems. You may have a nearby site that may be locked out for some reason or another. The unit you want to listen to has affiliated with that site, but because it is locked out, you don't hear the site.

The good news is that you are getting something. So that means its probably a small problem. Once the problem is uncovered, smooth sailing is ahead.
 

mi75

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I appreciate the quick response and apologize for the lack of information. I'll try give as much information as possible.

I am monitoring the MPSCS system: Michigan's Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS) Trunking System, Statewide, Multi-State - Scanner Frequencies
I am using the site in Leonidas, MI: Leonidas Site Details (Michigan's Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS))

I just purchased this scanner used and it did not come with a USB cable, and I programmed the entire system including the site manually. I programmed in 3 sites however I only get a strong enough signal to receive anything off of the Leonidas tower. The scanner is stationary and recieves 4-5 bars from the closest site. The talkgroups I monitor are ones I KNOW are used by units in the area.


Scanner Information....................
Scanner Firmware: 1.04.00
P25 Adjust Mode: 8
P25 Adjust Level: 50

System Information.....................
- ID Scan/Search: ID Scan
- Delay Time: 1 Sec
- Priority ID Scan: Off
- ID Format: Decimal

Site Information............................
- All frequencies listed in RR database are programmed in and double checked
- Band plan was left blank and automatically filled in by the scanner
- Attenuator: Off
- Lockout: Unlocked
- Location Info left blank

When scanning and switching to the P25 display mode the following information is displayed while sitting silent on the control channel:

ERR:--- 10 AUTO
T 1.39 1.65 1.91


The "10" value above varies between 9 and 11
The three numbers at the bottom all fluctuate about 0.03 numbers

Also note that this system has already undergone rebanding however I was told that on this particular system as long as the frequencies were up to date it would not be an issue.
 

mi75

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Apr 7, 2014
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Ok... another stupid newbie mistake. So it turns out that there's more than 1 site that covers our area, and I neglected to put it in. Which is why I was only picking up the TGs 1/4 of the time... believe it or not most of our counties radio traffic goes through the county next to us, not the one in our own county. So I scan both and I pick up all of the radio traffic I was looking for now. I'm very happy.

Thanks for everyone's reply....
 

ofd8001

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Messages
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Louisville, KY
Always good to hear a success story!

Just a suggestion but you may want to post a question in the Michigan forum asking which sites someone in your county may expect to receive.

Here in Louisville KY I can receive at least three and sometimes five of the Indiana statewide trunking system. So its possible that you could receive even more sites than you have programmed.

Statewide trunked systems are a real bear to learn. As you've found, the closest tower may be not the one your local users regularly transmit on.

You may want to visit the following page for some additional information on how statewide radio systems work. While it is for the Minnesota statewide radio system, the "how it works" concepts are quite similar.

How does it all work
 

mi75

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Apr 7, 2014
Messages
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Well I had already added the other two counties surrounding mine, and both were way too far away to pick up, so with my stupid logic I didn't even bother trying the tower in the county west of ours, until now.

I am literally 2 miles north of Indiana so I can definitely add their system in as well and monitor a few local sheriff departments and ISP. That's a project for a different day though, I'm just happy to be finally listening to my own region without issues. I've been listening steadily now for about 6 hours with absolutely no problems, and 99% of the traffic is coming from the site that I had failed to program in.

Thanks for everyone's help!
 
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