Pro96 and an APCO-25 problem

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petey1

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My Pro96 Scanner all of a sudden has been taking a long time to decode the control channel on a local APCO-25 system. According to the Database on this site, the closest tower is less then 5 miles from my house that uses this control channel.

Whenever I turn on the scanner, I have to manually tune to the control channel and wait a few minutes for the signal strength percentage to show up then start scanning. Usually this procedure works fine.

Any ideas what could have happened in the programming or did my scanner just die. This scanner has always been finicky with the new digital system, but this is a new problem within the last 2 weeks.

Any ideas? I found that the v1.3 worked better then v1.4 but is there any work of a newer update coming?
 

N8IAA

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My Pro96 Scanner all of a sudden has been taking a long time to decode the control channel on a local APCO-25 system. According to the Database on this site, the closest tower is less then 5 miles from my house that uses this control channel.

Whenever I turn on the scanner, I have to manually tune to the control channel and wait a few minutes for the signal strength percentage to show up then start scanning. Usually this procedure works fine.

Any ideas what could have happened in the programming or did my scanner just die. This scanner has always been finicky with the new digital system, but this is a new problem within the last 2 weeks.

Any ideas? I found that the v1.3 worked better then v1.4 but is there any work of a newer update coming?
1.4 was to fix a problem with the TG's on the Ohio MARCS system. You can load 1.3 back into the radio. What antenna are you using? If it is the stock antenna, get the RS 800mhz antenna and see if it works. Also, check to make sure that the ATT (attenuator) isn't turned on. It could be where you are listening to the system, you may need to find a better location with which to pick up the signal. Lots of things get in the way of a 800mhz signal---trees, buildings. I know when the trees go into full leaf in my area, systems monitored in the winter and early spring go away.
Larry
 

n0lqt

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Another thought, if you are less than five miles from the tower site, you might be getting too much signal and the encoded information is distorted by overload. I assume, if you are that close, the decode % is 98%+ all the time? If that is the case, try turning the attenuate feature on for those frequencies.

I have a similar problem with one of my local conventional systems. I am close enough to the main transmitter site that the scanner doesn't always stop on a signal. I turned on the attenuator and now it works fine. Not positive this will work on a trunked system, but can't hurt to check.....
 
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petey1

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1.4 was to fix a problem with the TG's on the Ohio MARCS system. You can load 1.3 back into the radio. What antenna are you using? If it is the stock antenna, get the RS 800mhz antenna and see if it works. Also, check to make sure that the ATT (attenuator) isn't turned on. It could be where you are listening to the system, you may need to find a better location with which to pick up the signal. Lots of things get in the way of a 800mhz signal---trees, buildings. I know when the trees go into full leaf in my area, systems monitored in the winter and early spring go away.
Larry
I am using the 800mhz antenna and I did notice a difference, when the scanner was working, between the two. Currently the scanner is using v1.3.

Another thought, if you are less than five miles from the tower site, you might be getting too much signal and the encoded information is distorted by overload. I assume, if you are that close, the decode % is 98%+ all the time? If that is the case, try turning the attenuate feature on for those frequencies.

I have a similar problem with one of my local conventional systems. I am close enough to the main transmitter site that the scanner doesn't always stop on a signal. I turned on the attenuator and now it works fine. Not positive this will work on a trunked system, but can't hurt to check.....
I've tried with the ATT and without to no avail.

As for being this close to the tower is what confused me. If the scanner is in my basement I have to hang the antenna out the window to get a decode rate of 90%+ if not its at 0-60%. Outside its perfect reception.

Key thing that I noticed was "all of a sudden", yes try the ATT and new firmware and if nothing could be the digital decoder card could be going back in the scanner. Just an idea from past experience from the Pro 96
Im wondering about the digital decoder card. Would I have to send that back to Radio Shack for that or can I do that myself? Can they get over heated when you plug it in to recharge the battery? The scanner does get warm when I do that.
 

Skud

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My Pro96 Scanner all of a sudden has been taking a long time to decode the control channel on a local APCO-25 system. According to the Database on this site, the closest tower is less then 5 miles from my house that uses this control channel.

Whenever I turn on the scanner, I have to manually tune to the control channel and wait a few minutes for the signal strength percentage to show up then start scanning. Usually this procedure works fine.



Any ideas? I found that the v1.3 worked better then v1.4 but is there any work of a newer update coming?

I also live 3 miles from the nashville towr here in Michigan and do not even have to use an antenna but no matter what antenna I use I still have NO problems even without using the ATT. So I really think it is something hardware wise and even back to V1 of the firmware I still had no issues with the APCO-25 system here.
 

n0lqt

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Before sending it in, (I'm guessing that is what you will need to do) and assuming it is already out of warranty, CAREFULLY, remove the back panel and, using a magnifying glass and good light source, inspect the connection from the bottom of the BNC connector for the antenna down to the circuit board. The Pro-96 has a "feature" (that's a "Bug" with seniority) that allows the antenna to disconnect from the circuit board. If it appears that you have a cold solder joint or an actual break, if you feel comfortable with a soldering iron, you might be able to repair it yourself.

If the connection looks good, then the problem lies deeper. As a last ditch thing, you might even try reinializing the scanner to factory and then reload the desired DSP upgrade. Reload your frequencies (after checking that something didn't get changed with those by accident along the line) using WIN96 if you have it. If you don't have it now, you will likely want to get it anyway.

If the scanner is still in warranty or you bought a service plan, forget all of the above and take your receipt, box, and packing and go back to Radio Shack and get a new unit.....
 

fmon

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IC-3 is part of the AM/FM/Digital audio circuit and is also clamped (via C32 & R29) to pin 9 of IC-2 which is also the famous discriminator out (TP-4). That circuit line is also tied to squelch circuit. Try adjusting squelch to mid turn. Also, try toggling AGC which is two stages earlier then IC-3.

This scanner doesn't have a "digital card" but does have an AGC circuit which does deal directly with digital decoding.
 

DonS

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Franktown, CO
This scanner doesn't have a "digital card" but does have an AGC circuit which does deal directly with digital decoding.
I'm pretty sure the AGC that's associated with "digital decoding" is in software, completely within the DSP.
 

petey1

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Dec 24, 2005
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Before sending it in, (I'm guessing that is what you will need to do) and assuming it is already out of warranty, CAREFULLY, remove the back panel and, using a magnifying glass and good light source, inspect the connection from the bottom of the BNC connector for the antenna down to the circuit board. The Pro-96 has a "feature" (that's a "Bug" with seniority) that allows the antenna to disconnect from the circuit board. If it appears that you have a cold solder joint or an actual break, if you feel comfortable with a soldering iron, you might be able to repair it yourself.

If the connection looks good, then the problem lies deeper. As a last ditch thing, you might even try reinializing the scanner to factory and then reload the desired DSP upgrade. Reload your frequencies (after checking that something didn't get changed with those by accident along the line) using WIN96 if you have it. If you don't have it now, you will likely want to get it anyway.

If the scanner is still in warranty or you bought a service plan, forget all of the above and take your receipt, box, and packing and go back to Radio Shack and get a new unit.....

No, it’s out of warranty so the repair will be out of pocket. I Hope it will not be more then getting a new one.

I took the case apart but I could not see where the BNC connector attached to the circuit board, as there was a metal shield around that area. The antenna seems loose but scanner does pick up local non-digital 100 MHz channels with not problem at all and no drops.

I used the trial 3 months of WIN96 when I got the scanner 2 years ago but have not needed it sense. I may do a reinitializing and buy my own license for WIN 96 (if you think that may work)
 

n0lqt

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Newton, KS
If I remember correctly, it is $59 flat rate labor plus parts. (I retired from RS earlier this year)
Usually, if parts are going to be more than twice the labor or more than half the cost of a new unit, the Repair Depot will call you first. That's why they usually ask for two phone numbers on repairs.....

As far as WIN96, I have found it to be a very useful program. I bought a key from Starrsoft even before my 30 day trial was used up. I like to program my scanners for vacations and business trips so I can listen to different agencies along the route. WIN96 (and WIN95 for one of my other radios) have been WONDERFUL. I load up the virtual folders with different parts of the trip and it's like having 11 different scanners to take along. We drove up to Alberta from Kansas several years ago and I programmed three scanners with just about every agency I could find along the route. It was really fun to watch VULCAN AB PD show up on the screen. (before they switched to iDEN and ruined it all...) Unfortunately, WIN96 didn't exist then. If it had, I could have programmed my scanner in a fraction of the time. We took a similar trip to east coast last summer and I did use the program and ran out of channels on two different scanners!.... What really made it easy is that you can download data directly from RR into WIN96. Plus the program gives you access to parts of the scanner's programming that is not available or very difficult to perform thru the keypad. (OK, I'd better stop here or the mods will think I advertising for Don...)
 

petey1

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Dec 24, 2005
Messages
17
Well I think I found my problem. I think it was a bad cable (explanation below)

Today when I was out cleaning up the boat, the scanner locked onto and held the digital signal. When I brought it back inside to the lower level, it lost it again. When I first bought the scanner the decode rate would just drop to 30% or less (when in the lower level), but it still would show that it’s a digital system on the control channel. I fixed that problem by just hanging the 800 MHz antenna out the window with an extension BNC cable and a female-to-female adaptor. Most of the time, with this setup, I could receive good reception.

Now when it was connected to this antenna setup I saw that the scanner was not showing me the decode percentage and in the top right was showing a Dg (whatever that means) not the MO. It was doing this even when the antenna was attached directly to the scanner though. Tonight I noticed that the BNC connector on the cable was broken.

Any suggestions on a better antenna setup? I don’t really want a gigantic one for outside though. The local RS shop is no help.


However, the scanner still takes a little bit to get and decode the digital signal after a boot up.
 
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