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PSR 500 scanning/receiving strangely

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rawman

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Jan 24, 2008
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Hi, Never posted here before, and I am pretty new to scanners. I've wanted one since I was in Jr High, and finally got around to buying. I planned to get it for scanning air traffic for mil air and air shows. I got a Radio Shack Pro 97 from Scanners Unlimited before Glen announced the closing. I used it for a few weeks, but was reading a lot and really liked a lot of the PSR 500 features, such as the LED, options for the backlighting, different memory structiore, and virtual scanner memory.

So I was going to trade my Pro 97 up to the PSR 500, but then found out that Glen was closing. Long story short I ended up with the floor model of the PSR 500, serial number 1007. I like the radio, but it seems to be behaving differently from the Pro 97 in a few ways.

Randomly, for some reason the scanner just locks on to a random frequency and stays there. It makes a hissing sound, as if the squelch is totall open. I try to adjust the squelch, but it has no effect. The sound persists. I even checked the manual and where it says to select the "tune" and try to adjust the squelch but it still persisted when I turned the squelch all the way clockwise to all the way counter clockwise. If I hit the up arrow, to make it continue scanning, it just locks onto another frequency. The signal is usually very low, like 1 bar when it locks in.

At first I couldn't figure out what was causing it. I turned off the scanner, left it for a while and turned it on again and it was fine. After some testing, I was able to narrow down when the scanner does it.

1. Whenever the scanner is near my laptop or desktop computer (which is where I work, and where I want to be listening to it.) When I walk away the scanner starts behaving normally, although sometimes I have to hit the up arrow to get it scanning again.

2. Whenever it is connected to the PC via the USB cable it does it. When the cable is removed it stops

3. Whenever it's plugged into the charger, (in the car or in the house) it does it.

Other times the scanner is fine, and actually does a very good job. It picks up my local mil air traffic that the Pro 97 didn't. But the problems mentioned above make it kind of hard to really get what I had hoped for out of the scanner.

I had thought maybe the problems were due to older firmware, so I went to the GRE website and per the instructions upgraded the CPU and DSP to the latest release. This didn't help it.

I also completely reset the scanner to the factory defaults, using both of the methods in the manual. Still does the same thing.

Has anyone seen anything like this? Is this normal for this scanner? Any suggestions on how to fix it? I am wondering if the older models had some kind of issue that may have been fixed in later versions of the scanner.

Thanks in advance for your assistance..

Jon
 

LEH

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Jon,

One of the issues some of us have with the 500 is it's overly sensitive front end.

What this does is allow RF radiation from outside sources to cause the scanner to lock up. All the sources you named emit some form of this radiation.

Best solution is to find a location away from the source of the radiation. This could be difficult for the USB and the charger, but with a little perservernce it can be done. Normally moving the scanner as far away from the computer or power source can help.

Nearly all scanners will lock up near strong sources of radiated energy. The 500 just seems more susceptible to it.

Mine tends to lock up in the car near the other scanner I run. But this ceases if I hook the 500 up to one of the external antennae I have on the car.

Another possibility, but in this case less likely, is you may have a birdie frequency loaded in. Actually, I'll say 0% possiblity. A birdie frequency will stop on that frequency all the time regardless of anything else. A birdie is when internal RF from the radio causes the radio to stop scanning. All scanners have some birdies.
 

rawman

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Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
13
Lynn,

Thanks for the info. I had read about overly sensitive front end on the PSR 500, but wasn't sure exactly what that means.

I don't think it's the birdie scenerio since it happens on multiple frequencies, not just one. And these frequencies are the actual frequencies I listen to when the scanner is working.

I've done some more testing. While I am working on my computer, the scanner has to be far enough away that I can not hear what is being scanned, unless it's so loud that it disturbs my neighbors in their cubes at work, or disturbs my family, when I'm working at home.

So basically I can't use my scanner near the computer, which is where I am 9-10 hours a day, or while it's on the charger, or while the USB cable is plugged in, as in for remote monitoring. If the software for remote monitoring was written, I can only assume that some of these work with the USB cable plugged in. Would you know? Could it be that mine is just more sensitive and I should get it checked? I am only about 20-30 miles from GRE America.

Thanks again, I do appreciate the information
 

RogerH11

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Mar 6, 2008
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Location
16866
rawman said:
Lynn,

So basically I can't use my scanner near the computer, which is where I am 9-10 hours a day, or while it's on the charger, or while the USB cable is plugged in, as in for remote monitoring. If the software for remote monitoring was written, I can only assume that some of these work with the USB cable plugged in. Would you know? Could it be that mine is just more sensitive and I should get it checked? I am only about 20-30 miles from GRE America.
Interference near a PC or other electronic sources is perfectly normal. Some scanners are better than others near PCs. The worst ever has to be Yupiteru. Your radio doesn't need checked, what you could do is set the Attenuator on the channels that are acting up until you move away from the PC.

As for charging your radio, buy a Maha or other fast charger to charge your radio. I never use a scanner to charge my batteries because I deem it not to be safe and too slow in charging them.
 

rawman

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Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
13
Hi Roger,

Thanks for the reply. I tried global attenuator when initially testing. It didn't make a difference whether it was on or off, the scanner behaved the same. As for using the AC adapter, I do have MAHA and several fast chargers, as well as Eneloop batteries. (I assume you meant battery charger not radio charger.) I don't use the radio to charge the batteries, what I want to do was operate the radio on the AC or DC adapters and only use the batteries when I am out. But, whenever I even plug the adapter in, it immediately causes the scanner to stop scanning and lock onto a random frequency and stay there, with noise only coming out of the speaker.

Also, I had planned to try and set up remote monitoring. However as soon as I plug in the USB cable (the one supplied with the radio) it does the same.

I was looking at the starsoft webpage and notice there is a PSR500 set up to monitor remotely. I was able to use the win500 remote monitoring client and connect to that one and that one seems to be working just fine. I am assuming he must have an A/C adapter plugged in, and some kind of PC/IF cable.

Oh, I also tried the antenna from my Pro-97 and the PSR 500 behaves the same. The PRO-97 however works just fine when plugged into the AC adapter, when right next to the PC, and works just fine when using the (same) USB cable.
 

RogerH11

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Messages
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Location
16866
rawman said:
Thanks for the reply. I tried global attenuator when initially testing. It didn't make a difference whether it was on or off, the scanner behaved the same.
That's too bad because the attenuator usually does the job for me. There has been talk about your radio having overload problems because of being too sensitive.
 

FerretDriver

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Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
7
Location
Ostrander, Ohio
PSR500 Problems

I have a PSR serial #1791 and have none of those problems. Has the firmware been updated in your radio? That might be a start.
I leave my radio plugged into external power all the time when at my computer desk, and often have the USB cable connected for long periods of time. I also plug in my computers' LINE IN audio so I can hear the sound through the computer speakers. none of these configurations cause interference. I'm using a Radio Shack 800 MHz duck antenna, but sometimes attach my roof antenna for the 150 MHz band reception. Again, no problems.
If the radio still acts up after the firmware upgrade(s) I would guess there might be a problem you can't fix, and it should go for service or evaluation to GRE. I am very pleased with my radio and have had no problems at all.
 

DaveIN

Founders Curmudgen
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Jan 5, 2003
Messages
6,508
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It sounds like you have a bad squelch control to me. Does this also happen on the NOAA WX channel?

rawman said:
Hi, Never posted here before, and I am pretty new to scanners. I've wanted one since I was in Jr High, and finally got around to buying. I planned to get it for scanning air traffic for mil air and air shows. I got a Radio Shack Pro 97 from Scanners Unlimited before Glen announced the closing. I used it for a few weeks, but was reading a lot and really liked a lot of the PSR 500 features, such as the LED, options for the backlighting, different memory structiore, and virtual scanner memory.

So I was going to trade my Pro 97 up to the PSR 500, but then found out that Glen was closing. Long story short I ended up with the floor model of the PSR 500, serial number 1007. I like the radio, but it seems to be behaving differently from the Pro 97 in a few ways.

Randomly, for some reason the scanner just locks on to a random frequency and stays there. It makes a hissing sound, as if the squelch is totall open. I try to adjust the squelch, but it has no effect. The sound persists. I even checked the manual and where it says to select the "tune" and try to adjust the squelch but it still persisted when I turned the squelch all the way clockwise to all the way counter clockwise. If I hit the up arrow, to make it continue scanning, it just locks onto another frequency. The signal is usually very low, like 1 bar when it locks in.

At first I couldn't figure out what was causing it. I turned off the scanner, left it for a while and turned it on again and it was fine. After some testing, I was able to narrow down when the scanner does it.

1. Whenever the scanner is near my laptop or desktop computer (which is where I work, and where I want to be listening to it.) When I walk away the scanner starts behaving normally, although sometimes I have to hit the up arrow to get it scanning again.

2. Whenever it is connected to the PC via the USB cable it does it. When the cable is removed it stops

3. Whenever it's plugged into the charger, (in the car or in the house) it does it.

Other times the scanner is fine, and actually does a very good job. It picks up my local mil air traffic that the Pro 97 didn't. But the problems mentioned above make it kind of hard to really get what I had hoped for out of the scanner.

I had thought maybe the problems were due to older firmware, so I went to the GRE website and per the instructions upgraded the CPU and DSP to the latest release. This didn't help it.

I also completely reset the scanner to the factory defaults, using both of the methods in the manual. Still does the same thing.

Has anyone seen anything like this? Is this normal for this scanner? Any suggestions on how to fix it? I am wondering if the older models had some kind of issue that may have been fixed in later versions of the scanner.

Thanks in advance for your assistance..

Jon
 

rawman

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
13
Thanks again for the replies. First of all, the squelch is working, since it behaves normally when I'm outside away from the PC and have nothing plugged into the scanner.

Second of all, I realized after re reading the manual that I was setting the global attenuation incorrectly. I was settingAttenMode:Global, but had Global Atten: Off. I would think it may make a bit more sense if they made the AttenMode: have 3 options: GlobalOn, GlobalOff, and Normal, and then take out the Global Atten: out. Just a suggestion though. So I am now testing with Global Attenuation on, and things seem better so far. I'll do some more testing.
 

rawman

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
13
So after some more time testing, I see that global attenuation mode helped somewhat but really didn't fix the problem. I still see the problem on a few frequencies, (It seems most of the digital ones are still effected). Also, obviously the scanner doesn't pick up as many frequencies as it does without the Attenuate mode. Also I've gotten a few PMs with suggestions, which I appreciate very much, however let me try to explain the full details of the problem, just to clarify. The problem happens whenever I am either at work or at home too close to basically any PC. When I am a good distance away from my computer at home and nothing is plugged into the scanner it works great. If I am outside or in the car the scanner works great, as long as nothing is plugged into it. However, no matter whether I am at home, or in my car or at work, whenever I try to plug in the power adapter, (either the AC adapter, or a DC adapter through the cig lighter type of plug in the car) the scanner starts having the problem. Whenever I plug the PC/IF cable into the scanner the problem happens, even if the scanner is far away from any other equipment. Also whenever I try to use a headphones, the problem happens. I can't help but think that I should be able to use the scanner with headphones without rendering the scanner largely unusable.
 
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