Palmetto 800 Sites (Anderson-Greeville) offline???

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CaptDuck

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Anderson, SC (Centerville Area)
I'm in Anderson County, SC, about 5 mi. from the Palmetto 800 tower (site 042).

Why am I saying they are offline? Only having been at this a few months, there's a lot I don't know and I could be missing something important, but here is what I found...

All of the Site & Talk Group info for this can be seen at: Palmetto 800 Trunking System, Various, Multi-State - Scanner Frequencies

I have been trying to figure out for a couple of days why I, NO LONGER, was able to pick up the Anderson, SC area SCHP (Troop 3/Zone 3). Specifically TGID 21136 and other channels in that group.

It had been working fine previously. I had that Palmetto 800 system programed (using FreeScan). I had both the Anderson (042) and Grenville (035) P800 sites programmed into that system. There were no other sites programmed under this system.

When I put my BCD996T in "Hold" mode and tuned to the 21136 TGID, I got the "Finding CtrlChannel" on the display and it never found it.

Finally out of frustration, I Created a new test system named "P800 for SCHP" included the Anderson site, 042, and all of it's site neighbors (16,24,31,34,35,50). They were all set up using the exact same format, i.e., Site Type: Mot 800Mhz Standard (Type II), etc.

The only talk group I put in that system was the "SC Highway Patrol Troop 3 Talkgroup"

After uploading that system to the 996T, I found that P800 system to be picking RX on the SCHP TGID 21136 and some others in that group. 21136 is "Troop3Aanderson" from the Excel Spread sheet link and "SCHP 33 ANDS" from the RR page (see link above).
HOWEVER, it is only getting it via either the OCONEE (050) site ore the PICKEN (024) site. Nothing from the nearby ANDERS (042) site or the next closest GVL CO (035) sites.

So are the Anderson & Greenville P800 towers off line or what?? The signals from the distant PICKEN & OCONEE towers are much weaker than I was getting from the ANDERS & GVL CO towers.

I even programmed the ANDERS site control ch., alt. control ch. and other site freq's in as a group under a conventional system and I only pick up an intermittent (more like rare) digital noise from the control (860.96250Mhz).

Does this indicate the Anderson & Greenville, SC Palmetto 800 sites are not operating?. There's a lot of traffic on the SCHP TGID 21136 but I'm only getting it from the Oconee and Pickens County P800 towers.

Any comments, suggestions welcome.

We're having a rare winter storm here and it would be nice to here what the local SCHP is doing (with some decent local signals). As a matter of fact, I think this has happened before but, this time, since there was a winter storm coming, I put more effort into trying to get the local SCHP working.

Thanks,
Capt. Duck
 

LarrySC

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Feb 9, 2001
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Greenville, SC
Comms here in Grnvl are 100% so it must have been a problem with that one tower. Can you check % of data on the controller with a Uniden like you can on a GRE??
 

CaptDuck

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
20
Location
Anderson, SC (Centerville Area)
If % of data on the controller can be checked with the BCD996T, I'm not familiar with how to do it.

I have all the surrounding P800 sites added to this system and only the Oconee & Pickens sites are returning anything. The average RSSI from the Oconee site is 210 and the Pickens site is 292.

I am located right on the edge of the Oconee site's 20 mi. range and about 5 mi. outside of the Pickens towers 20 mi. range. (in Centerville area, which is just on the NW side of the city of Anderson)

I'm right on the edge of the Grenville Simulcast P800 system's 30 mi range and only 5 mi from the Anderson P800 tower. I'm not picking up anything from these two which are the closest sites and the ones I've used in the past.
I have five (5) talk groups (Anderson PD, SD, FD, EMS along with SCHP Troop 3) programmed in under another under my Anderson Co. P800 system. I am getting nothing on these either. Those are groups I created by splitting up "Anderson County Talkgroups" (listed on: Palmetto 800 Trunking System, Various, Multi-State - Scanner Frequencies )

I've even tried re-loading some older programs which I had marked as working with the SCHP groups and they used the And. & Gvl. sites but they got nothing and when lock on hold on these I also get the "Finding CtrlChannel" on display.

Maybe someone familiar with the 996T will read this and give some Ideas.

My experience is so limited, I wouldn't be surprised if it is my fault -- having something set incorrectly. But right now I just don't understand why I can get the distant sites and not the local ones.


!!!! ====== Problem just solved /with questiond remaining ======= !!!!
I'm using a magnetic base mobile type antenna. I had switched to a Radio Shack 20-032 moblie mount. I just now switched back to a high gain 800MHz (maybe a Maxrad MAX8055). I wish they would put the brand & model#'s on these antennas so you could tell what they are.

I'm going to get a good base antenna as soon as I determine the best one to get. I'm looking at maybe an "Antennacraft ST4 VHF/UHF discone. Any pro's cons on this or other antennas that can get the 100-900Mhz signals.

I'm getting the SCHP ok now from the Anderson P800 site using the narrower band antenna. I still don't understand why I was able to get the more distant P800 sites better than the local using the RS 20-032

Thanks for replying,
"Duck"
 

brian

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Messages
1,737
Location
South Carolina
My suggestion, when trying to troubleshoot tower sites like you were, is to do these things:
- program the control channel frequency in conventional mode, with no tone, and see if you can receive the control channel signal with the radio. The most common reason not to having trunking success is that a control channel changes, or for whatever reason you can't receive the control channel.
- then program that control channel frequency as an otherwise empty trunked system, by itself, and scan in search mode/open mode/with a wildcard. This will receive any active talkgroup on that tower site, and confirm that it's operating.
- then, add the talkgroup or groups you're interested in, or add other nearby sites to that system.

I used a 20-032 antenna for a while when I didn't know better, and later found that antenna to be a real dog, a poor performer. It's tuned as an amateur radio antenna (2M/70cm) and seems to have a very narrow bandwidth. Even on VHF, I found it to lack ears. But I would think, being as close as your are to the Anderson tower site, it would still pick up. A paper clip should work from that distance unless there is some sort of obstruction between you and it.

Lots of different factors can affect reception (location, nearby transmitters, radio performance, coax) and every antenna is a compromise. YMMV, meaning your experience will be different from mine. I find that a high-gain dedicated 800MHz antenna mounted as high as possible fed with LMR400 coax works great, and even does pretty well on VHF and UHF. Most VHF/UHF antennas are poor on 800MHz. I have never used a discone because of its lack of gain. A more broadband antenna will do okay across a broad spectrum, but won't be great on any. A dedicated band antenna will be better on that band and worse on others.

And too much antenna can also be a problem, espcially if you have a Nextel site close by, or a high powered paging or other FM/TV transmitter close by.
 
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