PRO-96 ?s - P25 performance, CPU Vers, RS Repairs

Status
Not open for further replies.

brian

DB Administrator
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
1,646
Location
South Carolina
I have a multi-part question concerning the PRO-96 and its capabilities for P25 decoding.

Note: This question concerns the CPU version and its capability, not the DSP-App software version. I've tried the DSP-App upgrades from 1.2 to 1.3 and 1.4 with no success. Please don't reply about the DSP upgrade.
Equipment in consideration:
PRO-96, Datecode 06A04, CPU 1.3/DSP-App 1.4/DSP-Voc 1.0.
PRO-2096, Datecode 10A07, CPU 1.3/DSP-App 1.4/DSP-Voc 1.o

Scenario: I gave my old PRO-96 to a relative when I upgraded to a PRO-106. Her county uses a very new P25 Simulcast (9600bps CC) system. She reported that the PRO-96 was silent on the new system.
I finally visited her this weekend, and indeed, control channel decoding % was at most 06%, and it was not successful at tracking the system while located in the middle of the system's coverage area (signal strength is not an issue). Changing locations by going mobile to different areas of the system's coverage made no difference in performance. Likewise, it was not able to decode 2 control channels from other similar systems within receiving range. By the way, the PRO-106 tracks the systems like a champ.

I brought the PRO-96 home, and I have a P25 simulcast system within monitoring range here. Same results - control channel decoding 05% or less. Using the same antenna, my PRO-2096 is able to track the system with decoding above 60%. Audio decoding is poor (no surprise) but at least it's able to track the system at all.

Question #1 - what can other PRO-96 users report as far as tracking capabilities with P25 simulcast systems? Please list your CPU version and datecode for comparison purposes. Does anyone have any success? I'm guessing that the PRO-2096 has a different, more updated CPU (despite the identical version #s) that is better at decoding the 9600bps simulcast control channel.

Question #2 - Does anyone know if RadioShack still services PRO-96s? I know that the CPU upgrade requires a trip back to a service center and the CPU board to be replaced. Are replacement boards still available? How about an estimate on the repair cost? I'm thinking a repair/upgrade of the PRO-96 would be less expensive than a new radio, if reasonable success can be expected with a newer CPU.

Question #3 - what's the possibility of purchasing a replacement CPU board and installing it myself? Is the CPU board separate from the RF section, or does the upgrade require realignment of the RF section?
It would be great to get new rubber grips, a new BNC connector, a new button pad with legible labels, a new volume pot to eliminate the scratchiness. But if I could purchase the CPU board and save some $, I might take that option.

Any information regarding these questions is appreciated.
 

brian

DB Administrator
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
1,646
Location
South Carolina
A friendly bump to get this back on the main RS forum page.

48 hours and nothing but crickets? Is no one else trying to use a PRO-96 to monitor a P25 simulcast system? Maybe the lack of answers is an answer in itself.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

swstow

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
295
Location
Erlanger Ky
i have both the 2096 and a 96 i have 800 antennas on both i listen to hamilton county ohio ( cincinnati ) on both radio,i have done the updates on both and found that the 96 does a lot better on decoding and holding the talkgroup then the 2096 does
96 stamped 08A08
2096 if fixed mounted cant see date / but is about 1 year older then the 96
did the 96 work ok before you gave it on the system your testing with, if so i would say time for a trip to shack repair
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
You said you brought the PRO-96 back home, and have a P25 simulcast system within monitoring range, and have the same results - control channel decoding 05% or less.

So I gotta ask, what was this system like on the 96 before you gave it to her?

I know no one else is going to think of this, but is it possible that after you gave her the 96, she either dropped the radio, and now there is an intermittent, or the center connector on the bnc on the radio got spread open too far somehow? Program in something like the weather, and then with the antenna on, start tugging around at the base of the antenna. Is it cutting in and out?
 
Last edited:

mobile1

Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2008
Messages
357
Location
Sk
Explicit Mode P25 ?

It would help to know what P25 system you are having a problem with. I had a look at the DB for your state and there are only four P25 systems. Two are on 800 MHz. One is Astro, but the other should be no problem for the Pro96 to handle and the others are 300 and 400MHz. These UHF systems may be explicit mode P25 systems. The new VHF and UHF P25 systems are all explicit mode. The Pro96 will not decode the multi-packets that are sent out by these control channels. All the new P25 scanners will decode these multi-packets.
 
Last edited:

brian

DB Administrator
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
1,646
Location
South Carolina
Thanks for the replys.

My relative is in Atlanta, so I was attempting to monitor DeKalb County, Atlanta and Gwinnett County TRSs, all P25 800MHz.

At home, I'm attempting to monitor York County,SC and Cleveland County, NC TRSs, both 800MHz P25 systems.

I never tried the PRO-96 on a local P25 system before giving away the PRO-96.

Based on the date codes, my PRO-96 was made June 2004, and the PRO-2096 was made in Ocober 2007.

The antenna being used here at the house is a Yagi 6-element 800MHz antenna on a rotor 25' above ground. Antenna used in Atlanta was the RS 800MHz duck. Reception on conventional and analog TRSs is as I would expect it to be, so I doubt it's an antenna connection issue.

I guess I'm most interested to know if anyone is having success on P25 simulcast systems with a PRO-96 with a higher version CPU, or if anyone found improvement with P25 simulcast decoding after a CPU upgrade.

swstow, could you please provide CPU versions of your radios, by pressing 3 when the start-up screen appears?

Thanks
 

rmiller818

Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2003
Messages
506
Location
Marietta GA
I use a Pro-96 for one of my feeds monitoring the Cobb county P25 system (just north of Atlanta)

The 106 is clearly better at it but my 96 using DSP Version 1.4 does okay.

If it was really doing that poorly of a job decoding the control channel, I would think that it is an issue like Wyandotte mentioned.

Will it receive anything? If not probably the BNC connection needs to be resoldered (have had that happen a few times).

I had the digital board replaced on my Pro-96 a few years ago and it was in the $230 range.
 

mciupa

DB Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
6,892
..the center connector on the BNC on the radio got spread open too far somehow?
This is an astute observation as it can be easily overlooked and can cause poor reception. How do I know? I'm a victim of this from repeated antenna switching. The BNC appears to be a b*gger to replace with casings and so forth next to its mount.

I hope that is not your problem, brian :(
 

W4EMS

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
585
Location
Middle Tennessee
I may have missed this but does it trunk track non-9600 systems ok?
What type reception do you get on NOAA Weather Radio? If this is significantly attenuated I would consider that bnc problem first. It is a big pain to remove the shielding but with good soldering skills and patience aand caution it can be done.
I have used both 1.3 and 1.4 versions on Franklin TN 9600 with reasonable success. My biggest obstacle are the hills in between since when I am in the city I usually need the ATT on.

My 96 is different in that it is nearly deaf on VHF and UHF, allegedly from having the mobile antenna too close to the 2 meter antenna. Que sera. Too cheap to send it in.
Randy
 

torontokris

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
1,625
Location
Toronto Canada
If its only getting 06% on the control channel (with the same setup you can get 60% on) then something is wrong

Even if you had all the latest versions of everything - if your only getting 6% any scanner will have problems.

Your case sounds like it has nothing to do with the DSP version or CPU version... something sounds to be wrong with the unit. The 2096 is more likely decoding better because its getting a stronger signal.

Possibly a loose BNC connection or something similar.

I believe Radio Shack will do repair on the unit (take it to any store).. the price may not be worth it but I believe they can give you an estimate (possibly paid) before doing any work and waive the fee if you choose to repair it.
 
Last edited:

brian

DB Administrator
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 10, 2000
Messages
1,646
Location
South Carolina
Thanks for all the replies, guys.

I'm finding it difficult to believe it's a signal strength issue.
- with the 800MHz duck, I get 1 NOAA station with marginal signal. With my outdoor VHF/UHF antenna, I get 5channels, 4 with very strong signal (no hiss). This is consistent with my PRO-106 and PRO-2096.
- with the 800MHz duck, I can pull in numerous 800MHz sites with no problem, which is also consistent with my PRO-106 and 2096.

I've worked with the BNC connector as far as the spread of the contacts that touch the center pin of the antenna. The BNC connector does not have any "give" to it, it's not at all loose from the case. I don't get much change in reception by pushing on the antenna one way or another while attached to the radio.

I would think that a mechanical problem with the antenna connection would cause problems with all of my antennas and that there wouldn't be a noticable change in reception when using different antennas. I would also think that it would not be consistent in performance with my other radios.

Regardless of that, if $200+ is the cost for a CPU upgrade, even if it's still possible (parts availability), it's not worth that expense. If anyone else can confirm that price point for an upgrade, we can drop this discussion.

rmiller, can you receive DeKalb, City of Atlanta, or Gwinnett from your location in Cobb with your PRO-96? If so would you be willing to report your decoding percentages?

Thanks again for the replies.
 

hoser147

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2005
Messages
4,439
Location
Grand Lake St. Marys Ohio
Brian, on the repair end, I recently sent one of my 96s in. Wasn't working at all, had to pay the local shack $20 up front got it back in a couple of weeks total bill including the original 20 was $49. When you take it in ask for an estimate of repairs and go from there, even the older digitals are holding there value quite well.
 

torontokris

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2008
Messages
1,625
Location
Toronto Canada
If both your CPU are 1.3 then they are the same,
there is no reason the 2096 is handling it and not the 96 that can be explained (if programmer the same).
 

rmiller818

Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2003
Messages
506
Location
Marietta GA
rmiller, can you receive DeKalb, City of Atlanta, or Gwinnett from your location in Cobb with your PRO-96? If so would you be willing to report your decoding percentages?

Thanks again for the replies.
Not really, I can marginally decode Atlanta with my Pro-106 and 396XT but they seem more sensitive and better at decoding a marginal signal. But I know it should be pretty good if you were actually in the city of Atlanta or near DeKalb or Gwinnett. Here in Cobb, my 96 fluctuates and occasionally the number on the screen is 00 but for the most part it fluctuates from 86-99.

I cannot find one of my repair slips off hand, but on them they have a number to contact the repair center directly, if someone could find that number you could try calling the center and asking if they have the parts or could get them and how much. You may have to ask for a person that actually works on them.
 

command_z

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
118
I'm having the same problem with my Pro 96.

Datecode: 08A08
DSP: V1.4

I can't get the Baltimore City (MD), Arlington County (VA) or Fairfax County (VA) P25 System.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top