Pro-96 222 MHz reception?

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fred_dot_u

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I've searched the forum for any reference, but came up empty. That's not surprising, since this particular band isn't likely to be of much interest to many people.

I've recently tested for and passed my amateur technician class license exam. The primary purpose of this is to be a legal operator of a locator beacon for a radio control aircraft (RC PLANE, Communications Specialists Inc., RC Plane, Model Airplane Tracking, Model Rocketry Tracking, ELT) which operates between 222.xxx and 223.xxx MHz with some missing channels here and there. The manual for the beacon lists the precise frequencies:
http://www.com-spec.com/rcplane/manual/at_2b_transmitter_manual.pdf

The Pro-96 in combination with Win96 software allowed me to enter all the possible frequencies, which I've entered as conventional, in banks 3 and 4, with nothing else in either bank. When I turn on the scanner, I drop banks 0-2 as I am currently only interested in determining if there are other users on the locator frequencies.

I have to crank up the squelch, as expected, and it's set right on the edge of breaking, if there's even the slightest transmission. The speed of the scan is impressive, in that it does all of them in about one second tops.

The question lies in the lack of any local transmission, at least from the point of view of picking up any sounds on the scanner. I've set the frequencies correctly, and the type column is all set to FM and Conv. Are there any other parameters within Win96 that have to be changed from the default, in order to be assured that all these frequencies are quiet?

I'm not sure what other information I should be providing, but will be happy to append to this thread once anything missing is determined.

Is it possible that an entire band of channels are dead silent?
Is it more likely that I have the entire band set incorrectly?
I've read some of the stickies for this particular segment of the forum and none of them appear to apply here.

I've found this reference:
Modulation

Like the 6 metre and 2 metre bands, operation is typically CW and SSB in the lower band and FM in the upper band.

What field would I set in Win96 to determine if CW and SSB transmissions are being performed within these channels?

Additional research indicates that the 1.25 meter band is not popular or commonly used, and equipment with which to transmit in these bands are not easily found, due to geographic restriction.

thanks for your consideration
 

ka3jjz

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Well there are a couple of issues here; you didn't say much about what kind of modulation this beacon uses. The other one is easier to solve - a better antenna. That duckie is probably not all that efficient at 222 Mhz, so you hearing anything at all would have to mean that the signal was pretty close geographically to you. You also haven't said anything about where you are, but if memory serves there are a few 224 Mhz ham repeater inputs at 222-223 Mhz (assuming a 1.6 Mhz split) - again, you would need to be close, and have a better antenna to even have a chance of hearing them. However, as you correctly said, this band is not used a lot (depending on where you are, of course). Ham repeaters are much more likely to be used during weekday rush hours...and of course, the PRO-96 can't hear SSB or CW (well, it could hear CW but as a bunch of pulsing noises...)

HTH...Mike
 
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nanZor

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Like Mike mentioned, a dedicated 220 mhz amateur antenna is the first point I'd start with. The oem duck is not very efficient on that band. My 96 wasn't all that sensitive on 220 either. I only listened to strong local repeaters.

Although the 96 won't do cw or ssb, you can use it to watch for 6M/2M band openings by hearing the garble when they come up since you are in FM, (if you are sitting on ssb/cw freqs) and then turn on your other radio that will do am/ssb/cw...
 

fred_dot_u

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The beacon modulation won't be a problem for my reception of it, as I'll be purchasing the directional receiver with the crystal or frequency management to match the beacon transmitter.

I had considered that the antenna wasn't going to be very strong, and your replies confirm that for me, thanks.

One of the local amateur operators told me that even if someone else is using the frequency, a 25 microsecond pulse from the beacon isn't likely to cause him problems. I've been told that I could have gotten away without an amateur license, but I don't like the structures of the fines that can be applied to such things.

The same local amateur operator suggested that I use 223.810 for the selected channel but provided no reason and I am awaiting his answer. If there is no transmission of note on any of the channels, why pick one over the other?
 

fineshot1

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Some scanners are also not very sensitive in that region of the vhf
spectrum even though they cover it.

My RS Pro2006 and Pro2042 both need a little help in the way of
better antenna and preamp for 220-225 weak signal reception.

For the local fm repeater and simplex stations they do just fine.
 

nanZor

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One of the local amateur operators told me that even if someone else is using the frequency, a 25 microsecond pulse from the beacon isn't likely to cause him problems. I've been told that I could have gotten away without an amateur license, but I don't like the structures of the fines that can be applied to such things.
Maybe take a different outlook and become one of your local amateur operators yourself! You've reached out to them for assistance already and sounds like you have the background to get a license without any problems. Now you won't have to worry about fines etc, and have someone to test with. They might even have all the gear necessary for your project, and would be willing to help you install, test and maintain it. I think you'd have a blast getting a ticket.

BUT, remember - while some people may only have handhelds, other amateurs might have mountaintop repeaters, very sensitive monitoring, data logging equipment etc, not to mention the FCC, and could detect and triangulate your pulse. Don't take the chance. See the forum here for the shack-pics, and note the increasing use of SDR receivers.
 
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fred_dot_u

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Thanks for the suggestions about the receiver sensitivity.

Once my call sign appears in the federal database, I'm a licensed amateur, so the resources I have there are quite large. I have membership in the local club as part of passing the test, so the monthly meetings should prove helpful and entertaining.

It's flat here in Florida, so no mountain top repeaters. I'll bet line-of-sight isn't all that good either! The fellow who has been answering my questions has been a ham for almost more years than I've been alive (47 for him) and is a well-known and respected member of the amateur radio community.

I suppose I can consider that I have the scanner properly configured, and will listen in as much as possible during the weekdays. If nothing else, I'll take the advisement of ch 381 and run with that.
 

N8IAA

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Flat land is great for line of sight. The only thing better is water. Even though the radio receives there, doesn't mean the sensitivity will be good enough. The antenna that comes with that scanner is next to useless for those bands. You'll want a gain antenna to monitor the frequencies.
HTH,
Larry
Oh, congratulations on getting your license.
 

SCPD

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Regardless of what the manual says the CWID is hardly optional according to FCC rules, so you should have them program your callsign when you order it. As far as frequencies are concerned I would opt for something between 222.060 and 222.100 but not 222.100(Calling frequency) as those frequencies are set aside for weak signal and experimental modes, more in line with what you are doing and no wide band FM signals to wipe your rcvr out, but those are only available on the PR-300. http://florida-repeaters.org/222listing.pdf is some further guidance on frequency usage in your area.
 
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fred_dot_u

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Larry, I've not heard the expression "gain antenna" nor seen it in a product reference. Is this a generic antenna that will work with my Pro-96 or a Radio Shack specific product?

I have an omni-directional antenna mounted in my attic connected wth coax, and I've noticed that it worked well with an older analog scanner, but does very poorly with the Pro-96 on the public safety and police channels. I'll try it with the 222Mhz scan to see if there's any activity.

NC4DX, that document is quite enlightening. Quite a bit of population in the southern part of Florida, so there's a lot of repeaters there. Not so many in the east central part of the state, to my advantage. According to the technician class test material, a transmitter for a radio control aircraft does not have to broadcast an ID if name, address and phone number are on a label. I plan to have my call sign programmed, just in case I need help from the local ham community, or just in case someone comes across it during a scan. The PR-300 is my choice of receiver, at this point.
 

ka3jjz

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A 'gain antenna', as Larry rightly points out, is one that has a bit of gain within a specific freq range. To find them, you need to do some digging, and I would expect finding some on 220 mhz is going to prove a bit tough.

Now as you may have learned (at least I hope you did), gain is usually measured in decibels - however it must be stated against some source or standard, or it might be overstated (or downright wrong). dbi (decibels over an isotropic source) is a pretty good place to start.

Here are a couple of examples for a handheld...

Comet HT-224 Amateur HT Antenna HT224

Maldol MH-610 TriBand HT Antenna

HTH...Mike
 
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