PSR-500 Firmware Update

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dcam1075

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Anyone have the inside scoop on GRE possibly updating the firmware to better handle Project 25 systems? I recently purchased this unit and it is almost unusable with P25 systems (garbled transmissions). I know it is a slightly older model so I am curious if the popular thought is it will be abandoned and focus will be spent on the 800. Any thoughts?
 

rwier

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................................. it is almost unusable with P25 systems (garbled transmissions). .............................................................
No, better stated is "you can't use it". Mine works fantastically in an area that defies P-25 success.
 

John

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It seems to depend a lot on the nature of the P25 system. I have 2 PSR-600s and 1 PSR-500 and a PRO-197 and all work great on the statewide P25 system (STARS) but are less than satisfactory when trying to monitor the local P25 system. Both systems are trunking but the one that doesn't work is a simulcast system with 4 sites transmitting the same traffic on the same frequency all the time. Depending on where you are located it works which isn't very satisfactory for a mobile or handheld. If you are really close to one site or out of range of the other sites then it works fine. Otherwise forget it. The state system is always clear.

John
 

rwier

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I am in the middle of a 20+ site simulcast system. My home settings are identical to my around town (within 15 miles of home) settings for cruising in my truck. I have absolutely no degrading while cruising the City, except for short breaks when going between local small steep hills. At these same locations everyone I know gets dropped if on a cell phone. I don't want to blame that problem on a particular scanner brand/model.

I must add, that prior to acquiring the HP-1 (E), my results (for the last 10+ years) was the same as what you (and many others) are saying. The only differences between all the naysayers is the brand and model.

All of my seven active scanners are now identical in their unbelievable ability to master and control this RWC (wild beast) System. And they can prove it, operating up to 4 at a time, using a single antenna, at home or cruising the City.

If my radios are programmed the same (for testing), and the number TGIDs/channels are kept to a minimum (6 total, or less) the lights and alarms, coming on at virtually the same time, and shutting off at virtually the same time, while holding on long conversations without dropping out (I never have any delays set to on), is an unbelievable sight to behold.
 
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GrumpyAeroGuy

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No, better stated is "you can't use it". Mine works fantastically in an area that defies P-25 success.


I wouldn't generalize. I agree with John above. The state P25 system comes in just fine.(??)

The adjacent county from me uses a P25, and, it ranges from sketchy to good, usually fairly good.... but it IS a question of the scanner location and finding a sweet spot around the house.

Ideal? No.

But, I guess I have just resolved to accepting this over not listening at all.

The RS 800 antenna pushed me from "you can't use it" to my assessment above.

I understand that this is just my personal experience.

I am in the middle of a 20+ site simulcast system. My home settings are identical to my around town (within 15 miles of home) settings for cruising in my truck. I have absolutely no degrading while cruising the City, except for short breaks when going between local small steep hills. At these same locations everyone I know gets dropped if on a cell phone. I don't want to blame that problem on a particular scanner brand/model.

So, let me get this straight, are you saying that the HP1 does NOT suffer this issue over the others, or am I misunderstanding... are you saying all of your scanners operate equally well?
 

rwier

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............................................................So, let me get this straight, are you saying that the HP1 does NOT suffer this issue over the others, or am I misunderstanding... are you saying all of your scanners operate equally well?
Prior to owning the HP-1 (NO-E), I would cruise the City with two scanners programmed the same. This was to have each one's poor reception coverage (30%-60%) to overlap and give me , what sounded like 50%-75% coverage. This was while listening (trying) to the Phoenix, PD, being portions of the RWC System (Maricopa County, Arizona).

Some of the pair combinations that I recall having in the vehicle, over a 10+ year period are: 600/996(t), 500/396(t), 600/396(t), 500/996(t). My memory is not good on some subjects. If the Phoenix PD, went to the RWC (it was called something else back then) prior to the production of any of the above radios, then there are other similar combinations using radios I no longer have, or can remember.

When I received the HP-1 (NO-E), out of the box, using the included worthless antenna (lol), my reception success jumped to 85%-90% (one radio only). I was quite happy with this result for about six months (Hey, this was my first view of the sky outside of Scanner Hell since the Phoenix PD went digital). Then came the hints of the HP-1 (E)!!!! I awaited. Looking at the proposed features, and I recognized, a month prior to the release, that I should be able to answer certain questions objectively, as opposed to subjectively.

Which one of the dozen (or so) antennas in my junk pile would actually perform the best? Which RWC Site/Tower should I be trying to monitor. Which brand/type of cable (70'+) should I use to get down from my house roof to my scanner indoors? And of course the UNIVERSAL BIGGIE question of all: How do my scanners (and any future scanners) stack up against each other?

Four events happened at roughly the same time. After some research I purchased another antenna (just grabbing at straws), I purchased an 800, and I purchased a booster/splitter (4 outputs from one antenna) (Reason for this purchase? Intuitive imagination?), and I purchased the paid (E) Upgrade for the HP-1 ($50/best deal I’ve gotten in a long time).

The new antenna: SENCOMM-NM0 part number 08-ANT-0890 (MP Antenna / Multi-Polarized Antennas For Public Safety / Indoor Networks / WISP / Home Wireless / Mining / Remote Monitoring / HAM and Scanner)

The new Booster/Splitter: PCT International part number PCT-MA2-4P (PCT International Official Website)

First, I went to antenna testing. Searching indoor rooms, the tool shed, the laundry room, the roof top, and my vehicle, I amassed a nasty looking pile of about 15 antennas. Out doors, In my carport, I set up the HP-1 (E) (using a randomly picked antenna) to analyze the signal strength, and signal quality, of a dozen, or so, “sites” in the RWC System. Three sites stood out above the rest. They were the A, B, and WTRP sites. I was stunned that the North Mountain site failed miserably, as I am two miles and a clean line of sight away. It appeared that the WTRP site had a slight edge (subjective). It is 20 miles away, also having a clean line of sight to the mountain peak. So I proceed with testing using the WTRP site. Antennas were all placed on the top/center of a Gas Smoker (ground plane?). I took stickies to attach to each antenna showing it’s results. It took a couple of hours, but the time was well spent. Using a strength scale of ten, One antenna scored 3.5, another scored 2.5, and the rest varied between .5 and 1.5. In doing this testing one automatically gas to do a little bit of actual monitoring, as a collateral experience. It was obvious that the 0.5 – 1.5 group were unlistenable.

The clear winner: SENCOMM-NM0

Clear second place: A common well known antenna, but I don’t know the name and must describe it. Magnetic base, 1 and 3/16th inch diameter. Wire Whip, 17 inches from bottom of the base to the tip. Black, both base and wire. Two coils in the whip. First coil begins 4 and 3/8ths inch up and ends 5 and 3/8ths inch up. Second coil begins 5 and 5/8ths inch up and ends 8 and 3/8th inch up. The coils are ½ inch in diameter. The tip has a 1/2 inch by 1/8th inch diameter tip protector, material unknown (to me). Many readers will recognize this antenna immediately. I purchased at least ten over many years. My subjective analysis of this antenna, over a period of years, was spot on.

My next move was to fill my refuse bin with a couple $K (new) worth of antennas that, respecting the hobby as I do, I wouldn’t give away to the worst of the Forum clowns. I kept #1 and #2, and ordered another #1 for my truck.

Wanted to get the #1 up on top of the house roof. Somewhere, in this time frame, after a little research (very amateurish), and some difficult (and dangerous) measuring, I ordered (internet) 100’of RG 8X (that’s what is printed along the cable, and is all I know about the cable). Put the #1 (no base included) on an NMO (?) Mag Base (I kept the bases, if the junk antennas were removable, lol) and put this combo on top of my rooftop refrigeration unit (high point). The refrigeration unit is apparently aluminum, so I obtained an 18”square piece of 1/8th inch steel armor plate, for a base. The supplied cord with the base was only 12-16 feet, so I had to do some cutting and crimping of adapters to connect to the RG 8X. Ran it down, and into, the house near my computer station. More cutting and crimping to connect to the PCT-MA2-4P. Much cutting, crimping to get four feeds from the PCT-MA2-4P to four (up to) scanners.

Next step, to use the HP-1 (E) to check signal strength, and signal quality, of the single cable feed from the roof. Not bad, about 4 strength and a solid, steady, 100% on the quality meter. Slightly better strength than the best I had seen before.

Next step, to hook this single feed up to the PCT-MA2-4P, and move the HP-1 (E) from feed to feed (4), checking for signal strength and signal quality. I don’t remember the order of the different 4 results. One was an unbelievable 8 strength, 100% quality, and the other 3 varied from zero to about 4 on the strength meter. Just like those on the Forums, my first thoughts jump to “faulty, worthless, un-reliable, over-priced, etc., PCT-MA2-4P. You all know the missing words in “etc.”, you’ve used them many times on the Forums about some make/model of something, and taken together covers all brands and models, lol.

Soon, I calmed down, wondering what might cause these results, and how could I tell. I started wiggling connections (crimps). I soon determined that saying that I’m not a good crimper would be giving me too much credit. A lot of repeat, no fun, work lay ahead, with a lot more testing to be done. After a few weeks, I ended up with four feeds, all showing 8/10 strength and 100% quality. It should be noted that this is about 2.5 times as strong the strongest of the carport antenna tests. Time to listen to the radio.

The HP-1 went from being my best result to date (remember, out of the box) to an unbelievable OUT OF THIS WORLD experience. Forgive my hyperbolic enthusiasm, but remember, I was listening very successfully to the Phoenix PD for 30+ years before they went digital. This feeling has been a long time coming. Under these indoor conditions the HP-1 has negligible drop outs of long extended conversations.

This result developed into another question for me. I never set a delay, on any of my scanners. At the same time, there must be a dead zone between the end of one unit’s transmission, and the start of his transmission “target’s” response. This is obviously true until the extended conversation begins. Then the scanner (and later in the narrative, all of my scanners) stays with the back and forth, rarely dropping. Since the scanners are working so well now, that if there was a millisecond of a break between conversational transmissions, the scanners would start scanning and immediately lock on another unrelated transmission (very active RF environment). Must be something the RWC System is doing to stay there over the mike breaks.

Next (in my narrative of past events), I will hook up the new 800 (we are talking 6 months ago). It was unsatisfactory out of the box, and I have thought (in my mind) all of those bad words and phrases that dominate the Forum posts in a negative manner (I explained this earlier). Bad result. HP-1 (E) indicates the same superb RF signal at the end of the antenna feed, but the 800 is as bad as any scanner I have tried on the Phx, PD, portion of the RWC System. What a bummer. At this time I even came on the Forums and asked for assistance. Many ideas were offered, most indicating the responder didn’t understand the question, and/or the problem.

I started messing with the user controlled settings (of the radio) in the EZScan software. This has nothing to do with radio RF competence (which I admit to having none), but more to a study in cause and effect. The first breakthrough was when I tried experimenting with different setting on the Advanced Tab…Advanced DSP Settings:…DSP Level Adapt…(default 64)

I thought, imagined, that I was hearing a little more activity with settings in the 45-60 range. At this time I was also experimenting with changes to the Trunked Radio Systems (tab)…Select System…Down at low left..Multi-Site Settings (75-95 = default). It seemed that lowering the bottom number (75) had a possible benefit. I kept lowering, little by little. My reception kept getting better, little by little (almost not noticeable). When I got to 25, the scanner perked up to an obvious change. I kept going, and finally settled on 15. My 800 was now working better than any before except the HP-1 (E).

I went back to the DSP Level Adapt settings. For the next two weeks I tried many (hundreds) ofcombinations of DSP settings between 45 and 60, coupled with the bottom Multi-Site “low” settings, between 10 and 25. After many hours of experiment, I arrived at a conclusion of DSP Setting of 52, and a Multi-Site Bottom Number setting of 15.

This resulted in my unacceptable 800 suddenly performing at the same exact UNBELIEVABLE level as the HP-1 (E). Basically PERFECT!!! I immediately posted these results on these Forums, explaining the steps I took, just as I explained here. With a single exception, I was derided, insulted, and worse. Many talked to me like I was a child. “Don’t you know the Manual states that you shouldn’t change these numbers/settings without contacting GRE first”. I am 72 years old. I paid for my toys. If I want to ABUSE them, isn’t that my business? Do I really need to ask permission. What a bunch of totally incompetent and worthless clowns. The exception posted some days later, that he had changed his settings, as I posted, and his 800 reception of the RWC System increased remarkably. NO ONE even acknowledged his post! The clowns just couldn’t do it!

Now, I was in a head spin. I knew that I had a lock on something that seemed unique. I had a use for more scanners, so I ordered a second 800. While I was waiting for delivery, I got out my old scanners, and thought, lets see if I can get any of them to perform better than in the past (I was ready to toss them in the refuse bin.). To make a long story short, within thirty days they were performing at the same unbelievable level as the HP-1 (E) and the 800.

If you work four scanners at a time, off a single antenna feed, and they are all close together physically, it is very difficult to tell which scanner is receiving. Light settings, and alert/alarm settings, resolve this issue. As a test, with four (diverse/brand/model) scanners, scanning a small (6-10) identical group of RWC TGIDs, and a couple of analogue/conventional frequencies, the visual is mindboggling! You stand back and stare in wonder. All those lights and beeps, coming on at once, and going “lights out” at once. While ALL are performing better than I would have thought possible (for a single scanner) prior to acquiring the (E) part of the HP-1.

I then set up my Ram Truck the same way. If I stay within 15 miles of home, the in-the-vehicle results are the same as above. Up to (ANY) four of my seven scanners, side-by-side, all receiving transmissions of the RWC Phoenix PD Groups, better than any scanner that I owned prior to acquiring the HP-1 (E). And I would describe the worst of the group at 98% coverage, it’s mindboggling.

Why take the time and energy to make a rambling response such as this. Every single word and idea I have typed here is a repeat of a previous posts that I have made on these Forums. They are located somewhere in the RR Achieves (last 8 months). Will I have to type any of this again? Probably. Why? When I see my perception of reality, conflicting so heavily with the Forum’s idea of Conventional Wisdom, I can not remain silent.

I have no need to “prove” any thing that I have stated above. I can go on my way and enjoy listening, for the rest of my life, in a manner that I did not think that I would live long enough to see. For me (as you can see from the above rant), the HP-1 (E) is a dues-ex-machine. Which scanner is best for P-25? I have 7 equals working every day.

However, recently someone on these posts indicated an interest in my ideas, without showing a hint of an adversarial attitude. I have sent that person a file for use with an 800. It is hard to get it right when the other person is at another location. I have offered to go to that person’s area and attempt to fine tune his operation. He probably will not be using the equipment that I use, but if I hook him up along with three of my radios, using my equipment, and bring his scanner up to being an equal, I guarantee he will be purchasing some new equipment, lol!

Maybe, if that should happen, he will come on the Forum and report his experience. I would make this same offer to anyone in the Phoenix area that has suffered for a long time (this subject). Only their “attitude” is important. I can’t imagine engaging in any adversarial type demonstration. I want to help, not to prove.

Think of a story (fiction or fact) of three convicted criminals facing execution. #1 doomed criminal mocks and derides #2, inquiring “If you are so great (paraphrasing), why don’t you save yourself?” #3 pleads to #2, “Remember me (paraphrasing) when you get there”.

True event, or children’s tale? Doesn’t matter. The philosophical concepts cannot be denied. A snarling dog and a tail wagger. The “good” dog gets the steak, and the other dog (quite justifiably) gets the bone, lol. My personal experience on these Forums? Only about 5% of those having questions (or answers) deserve to be validated for continued interaction. The attitudes of the 95% are unbelievable! To the 5%, let's clean this place up with real knowledge, based upon non-subjective data and upon real life experience, lol!!!

Rob
 
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DaveNF2G

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I applaud both your methodology and your attitude. The only advice I would offer for future testing is to change only one variable at a time. Maybe you did that and it wasn't clear from your description. It might lead to even faster results.
 

rwier

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Thanks Dave, I really appreciate the comment, I was apprehensive about coming back here, lol.
 

rwier

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.................................... The only advice I would offer for future testing is to change only one variable at a time. Maybe you did that and it wasn't clear from your description. ....................................
Initially I did that to find the range of any possible sweet spot. When I was satisfied that the peak combination was within the two ranges, I went to the hammer and tongs method. Like "how many pairs can you get combining the numbers in the left column with those in the right column? So I made a list and noted the results using each combo in turn (very subjective). The sweet spot turned out to be obvious and extremely focused. A spike on a graph, so to speak. The 800 started a constant babbling, along with various flashing colors, and sound affects. My home is a dark environment (Bat Cave). Not sure, but I think I went to the far side of the room and just stared incredulously. Might even have shed a tear or two.
 
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pratzert

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rwier,

Rob... do you use a Pro-106 ?

That's what I have and am using in the Balto, MD area which just switched over to P25.

So far.... we are trying to hone the reception with various settings.

So far... no one has had much success.

So if you have or use a Pro-106, perhaps I could try your settings.

Thanks, Tim
 

rwier

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rwier,

Rob... do you use a Pro-106 ?

That's what I have and am using in the Balto, MD area which just switched over to P25.

So far.... we are trying to hone the reception with various settings.

So far... no one has had much success.

So if you have or use a Pro-106, perhaps I could try your settings.

Thanks, Tim
Hi Tim,

No, I do not have access to a Pro-106. However, that radio is reported to have vary similar guts and features as my PSR-500 (which, do to much recent Forum activity, is hooked up nearby, and ready to rumble). Also, I am in the process of purchasing the ARC500PRO software (for similar reasons). This means that I can soon make attempts to assist others, if they use PSREdit, WIN500, ARC500, or ARC500PRO, taken together with the PSR500/600 and the two Pro (RS) cousins, lol..

With this in mind, what is your software of choice for your Pro-106, and what is your normal listening location (with 3 miles)?

Thanks, Rob
 

pratzert

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Hi Tim,

No, I do not have access to a Pro-106. However, that radio is reported to have vary similar guts and features as my PSR-500 (which, do to much recent Forum activity, is hooked up nearby, and ready to rumble). Also, I am in the process of purchasing the ARC500PRO software (for similar reasons). This means that I can soon make attempts to assist others, if they use PSREdit, WIN500, ARC500, or ARC500PRO, taken together with the PSR500/600 and the two Pro (RS) cousins, lol..

With this in mind, what is your software of choice for your Pro-106, and what is your normal listening location (with 3 miles)?

Thanks, Rob
Hi Rob,

I have pretty much all of the softwar eprograms compatiuble wiht the Pro-106.

I have Win500, Arc500 and Arc500Pro and PSREDIT.

So far, I have had more luck using PSREDIT, but it seems th majority of people prefer Win500.

I live in Kingsville, MD zip code 21087 which is in the Northest portion of Baltimore County so I listen to the White Marsh and Parkville Precincts and I work at the Edge of Dundalk so I listen to the NOrthPoint cars while at work.

Regards, Tim
 

rwier

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PSREdit is good, I'll play with this for a day or so and get back,

Thanks
Rob
 

rwier

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PSREdit is good, I'll play with this for a day or so and get back,

Thanks
Rob
Also, if you know someones with a HP-1 (E), that can go to your regular listening spot for testing, it would show if you are getting a satisfactory signal where the antenna feed meets the radio.

Rob
 

W6KRU

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Also, if you know someones with a HP-1 (E), that can go to your regular listening spot for testing, it would show if you are getting a satisfactory signal where the antenna feed meets the radio.

Rob
Or he could use the features of his 106 to check the decoding percentage on the control channel.
 

rwier

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Or he could use the features of his 106 to check the decoding percentage on the control channel.
Sounds fantastic, but I know nothing of this, and I've had my 500 for years. Is there a step by step in the wiki, or the pdf manual?

Thanks,
Rob
 

rwier

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Hi Rob,

I have pretty much all of the softwar eprograms compatiuble wiht the Pro-106.

I have Win500, Arc500 and Arc500Pro and PSREDIT.

So far, I have had more luck using PSREDIT, but it seems th majority of people prefer Win500.

I live in Kingsville, MD zip code 21087 which is in the Northest portion of Baltimore County so I listen to the White Marsh and Parkville Precincts and I work at the Edge of Dundalk so I listen to the NOrthPoint cars while at work.

Regards, Tim
Hi Tim,

I have attached a file (just for laughs). Unzipped it should work with PSREdit. Probably put some FD on PD ScanLists and PD in FD's. The Tags don't mean much from out here. Just get it into PSREdit and then into the radio, and see if it works for better, or for worse.

Thanks,

Rob
 

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W6KRU

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Sounds fantastic, but I know nothing of this, and I've had my 500 for years. Is there a step by step in the wiki, or the pdf manual?

Thanks,
Rob
I used it to determine the correct bearing for my Yagi antenna. I have also used it for judging between portable antennas. It's really quick and convenient. Decoding quality is the relevant statistic.Here is the link for it in the easier to read manual:
Easier to Read Pro-106/197/PSR500/600 Digital Scanner Manual
 

rwier

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I used it to determine the correct bearing for my Yagi antenna. I have also used it for judging between portable antennas. It's really quick and convenient. Decoding quality is the relevant statistic.Here is the link for it in the easier to read manual:
Easier to Read Pro-106/197/PSR500/600 Digital Scanner Manual
Thank you Sir, I'm about out of study strength tonight, but I'll dig into it tomorrow. I know I have read many posts stating disappointment (or worse) over bad decode rates, and it always sounded like it was something that was showing in the radio screen. It may have been in my screen before, but it certainly never got my attention, lol.

Thanks again
Rob
 
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