Philadelphia FD from Bucks Co.

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Theo

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Looking for some help to get better reception or proper setttngs for my BCD396T for the Philly FD system. I am 32 miles from the Germantown site. I currently have in operation: Yagi antenna with 100' LMR 400 and a Stridsberg 800 Preamp. I get 5 bars with good reception then a short period later it goes to motorboating and sits there.
 

policefreak

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Did you install the new upgrades to your 396? That does seem to cut down on the motorboating. I'm guessing some of the voice channels come in alright, and some of them cut out? But it is a long ways from New Hope.
 

Theo

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Yes, I did the recent upgrade. I realize its 30+ miles but I'm using a 12 element yagi with 11 dBd gain. plus a 800 meg. pre amp. I get 5 bars but I still lose the signal somehow.
 

mlevin312

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Not that great in Bensalem either.

I live in Bensalem approx 4-5 miles from the site at Southampton & The Blvd and picking up the Philly Trunk System is a crap shoot. Some days it's great and on others it's well, crap.
 

Theo

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The cell phone site could be a possible problem. I'm one block from a water tower with a cell site on it. I have tried to point it towards other Repeater sites at Southampton Rd. and the Germantown Ave. one with same results. I guess thats as good as it gets. Unless some has a better idea.
 

sta18ff

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Quakertown PA
Just remember that their system was designed to keep the signal in the city. Theattennas along the border are not as omnidirectional as the rest but are designed to be aimed into the city instead. Also if you are listening to fire talkgroups I believe they are all on the south system so you may not hear them using the northernmost towers. Plus several of the talkgroups (particularly the fireground channels) are encrypted so even with a good antenna and 5 bars of signal you will never hear them. I think if you havent updated to the latest firmware you will just get static on those tgs (and if i remember a flahing e as well) but i think using the new firmware it will mute the encrypted channels ince you cant hear them anyway. Of course I havent been to the city for quite some time to listen so things may have changed a bit.
 

Theo

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Thanks for the info. Its to bad they have the antenna's like that I would like to listen all the time. Do they plan on a upgrade in the near future ? I did notice while driving around the signal is stronger to the South and East. You would think they would of designed it to work in the burbs too. Very disapointed, spent some good money. Oh well....
 

sta18ff

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I guess their theory is that the only people who need to hear is those that are authorized users on the system. I usually go down 309 through Cheltenham to get to Philly and I am often amazed by how close I have to get to the border before I can hear them. I imagine that as long as the radios work in the city they have no intention of changing things. I remember on good nights when I used to be able to hear Philly with my Scantenna on the old analog frequencies. Now I dont stand a change of picking them up.
 

kenisned

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I'm in Cherry Hill and get five bars, but the clicks are killing me!

Any suggestions?

I have all the frequencies programmed and I am not using CC only (I did that it and it was no better).

Crazy!
 

kenisned

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I'm in Cherry Hill and get five bars, but the clicks are killing me!

Any suggestions?

I have all the frequencies programmed and I am not using CC only (I did that it and it was no better).

Crazy!
Sorry it was on a 996. With latest upgrade.

I also turned on ATT and all that did was not let me hear anything.
 

PhilaPoliceRadio

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Philadelphia, PA
I am in Northeast Philadelphia and cannot receive the system sometimes - especially indoors.

Even if you have full-signal coming in on the control channel, that doesn't mean anything -- you also must keep in mind the data channels. If a unit is transmitting utilizing a site in another part of the city, then you are going to have trouble.

If you already have a Yagi for 867Mhz (take a look here: http://www.radioreference.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45999), then I am not sure what else you can do.

There are many other people with your same exact problem.
 

dasnps

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I am right across the border, in Cheltenham, and I can never pick up the system. It be nice to be able to pick up, but I can settle for just listening to montco right now.
 

policefreak

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Wow thats weird. Some people just over the border cannot receive the Philadelphia system. It does seem to be directional towards the east, however. I can receive the system from the top of Pine Hill, NJ gloucester twp, and deptford. I can receive it clearly from Cherry Hill, west of I-295 and even from Clementon (east of the main square because thats the valley). I can almost receive the control channel from my home which is almost 20 miles away from Center City. All this with an RS 800 duckie. I can't help but notice that on the PA turnpike just west of the Delaware Valley Interchange that I completely lose the Philadelphia system. And this is only a mile from the city line in the Northeast. So I wonder what coverage is like for the officers and firefighting units in that part of the city.

To answer your question, Rich250, on my 396 reception was slightly improved. I listened the other day from the Deptford area and slightly less motorboating, though I did hear a few of them. Thats not too great considering I noticed a huge improvement on Burlington County digital (even the West system which was just horrible), Bucks, and Montgomery Co. Fire. All of these systems I hardly hear any machinegunning. So how did you make out with the firmware upgrade?
 

dasnps

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Maybe it was just interference from something.... I'll keep trying. As far as the old VHF channels, are they still used at all for anything or have they completely abandoned that system in favor of the new one?
 

wnjl

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Jan 12, 2004
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Tabernacle, NJ
I was surprised too how bad the reception of the Philly system is north of the city. I was in Glenside a few days ago and the reception was terrible. Same thing riding the Turnpike through Montco. Yet here in Florence, while often times it's not listenable due to dropouts/clicks as others mentioned, there are many spots in my house where I can at least get a full signal from the control channel. Antennas definitely must be transmitting directionally.
 
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