Rankin county sporadic reception in metro Jackson

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scott

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My Uniden BCD996XT was receiving Rankin 800MHz county fine until a few weeks ago (stopped working right sometime between August 1 and September 1). Am I the only one having this problem?

FYI - I provide the Rankin county feed online and that BCT8 scanner receives fine BUT it is analog only as opposed to the 996 analog/digital. I have a theory but someone please prove me wrong. I came back from Birmingham the other day and my scanner started receiving Rankin fine about 30 miles out from Rankin county. Once in Jackson I stopped hearing Rankin again. I noticed a reband message on the Central MS feed (RR website) at July 30 with a control channel freq the same as Rankin (853.3125). Are these control channels overriding each other? I switched to search instead of scan mode and started hearing Jackson talking on Rankin frequencies. It may have always been that way but I don't remember it. My theory is that maybe driving back into Jackson I was too far away from the Central MS tower so Rankin was the only control channel my scanner was listening to, in effect, it worked fine. Once in Jackson I must be listening to the Central MS control channel.

BTW - I was running the latest firmware prior to this problem and I have reloaded fresh frequencies from the RR database multiple times but still have the problem.
 

KE5TLF

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Both of those systems sorely need to have T88 or UT run on them. Preferably for at least 24 hours(or more).

Looking at the licenses it looks like freqs from the CMRS got mixed into the Rankin system somehow.

The rebanding flag was set for both long ago. Like around a year or more.
 
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scott

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I will be glad to run a T88 or UT although I have no idea what those are. Can I use my BCD996XT for this or does it require special equipment?
 

KE5TLF

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Absolutely you can use you 996XT. It's a tad bit less elegant than using a GRE based scanner but works just fine. Give me a bit to gather some info for you and I'll post back.

T88 = Trunk88 and UT = UniTrunker if you want to search around a bit on your own while waiting.
Good place to start here
Trunked Radio Decoders - The RadioReference Wiki

I also just made a submission to extricate all of the long gone Madison County CMRS stuff so maybe that is some kind of start to whipping that one back into shape.
 
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KE5TLF

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Trunked Radio Decoders - The RadioReference Wiki

TRUNK88
This is the one I prefer for Motorola Type I/II systems. It is DOS based but fully Windows compatible. I like that this one uses simple text files for program options and creates individual text files for each system logged making it much easier to share info than UT does. There's a bit of a learning curve since most all operations are conducted via keyboard commands/shortcuts. But there is good help documentation and in program help too. Starting/Saving a logging session only really requires knowledge of a couple of commands.
TRUNK88 Yahoo Group
TRUNK88 Download page
Win32-TRUNK88-488K.zip is what you want. Unzip to it's own folder with a name of your own choosing
Open TRUNK88.CTL (go ahead and associatel Notepad as the program to use when opening .CTL files)
Set "CC Data Serial Port = 0" to whatever serial port number is assigned to your cable.
Save and close that. (that's it for configuration:))
On the scanner: MENU > SETTINGS
Set C-CH Ouput: On
Set Serial Port: Baud Rate 115200 (I assume you'll be using the front port)
HOLD (get out of MENU)
FUNC + SCROLL to your system
SCROLL to the active control channel
Double click TRUNK88.exe
Hit the Escape Key
Decode (hopefully)
Q then Y to save and exit the program. (ALWAYS!, never close it by using the X, unless it were to stop working or something.)

Other notes:
For control channel decoding on XT scanners the system has to be progarmmed into the scanner. (IOW you can't just HOLD then type in the freq.)
 
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scott

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I am a data analyst so you are speaking my native language. I plan to do this over the weekend unless you think I should run it during a weekday for whatever reason. I'll post again after I get some output. Thanks for your help!
 

KE5TLF

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UniTrunker
Full blown Windows program. A bit more intuitive to learn how to use but of course as any new program there is a bit a learning curve. UT stores everything in XML files and it is a PITA to extract that data to copy and paste in a submission or forums post for example. Easier to just re-type it all while reading it from the program.

UniTrunker - The RadioReference Wiki
Download link is there. This is a full on Windows installer. UniTrunker-1.0.25.12.msi is that latest as you can probably see.
Run the installer
Open the program
On the initial widow that opens select the receivers tab
Click the + sign to add a new receiver
Set the following in that new window
Type - Inline
Model - 996XT (obviously)
Role - Signal
Serial Port - Whatever serial port your programming cable is assigned.
Baud Rate - 115200
Data bits - 8
Stop bits - 1
Parity - None
Close that window
Setup the scanner same as above in the T88 instructions
Go to the first UT window
Select you newly added receiver
Hit the Play button. (2nd from right)

If everything is ok a new window should pop after a couple of seconds and start dispalying data. All frequencies should populate after a bit. If not closing and restarting the program usually does the trick. Exit the program as you would any other program to autosave you collected data.
 

KE5TLF

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I am a data analyst so you are speaking my native language. I plan to do this over the weekend unless you think I should run it during a weekday for whatever reason. I'll post again after I get some output. Thanks for your help!
Awesome. I think you may find this a quite fun aspect of the hobby then :D

No rush. Running them for just the frequency info should be good anytime. Though weekdays tend to be busier and may, or may not, reveal some lesser used channels a tad faster. Some MOTO systems spill most of their "guts" almost immediately, and some take a little longer to catch every freq since they won't show up until they are actually used. Obvioulsy more users equals more channel grants at any given time.

There is also Pro96Com which is for P25 only systems. That one is real easy to learn how to use. Hope you can do some MSWIN logging with that one in the future too. :)
 
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scott

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Good point. I will be glad to do some MSWIN monitoring. I'll use TRUNK88 for Rankin since I'm already in the code but I'll play with Pro96Com next go around.
 

KE5TLF

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Thanks a lot man. Those two systems especially have been in need of a little TLC for a while. MSWIN is in good shape, but one never really can have enough toys in the toy box now can they?:lol:
 

scott

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So very true on the toys. I monitored overnight and will continue monitoring throughout the day so we can grab as much data as possible. I am sending you a private message now through radioreference so you can review the files and make sure I'm on the right track.
 

scott

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Update for RR viewers - There have been changes to the Rankin 800 system that affect older scanner models (like mine) that do not use the control channel only function. I also came across at least one control channel frequency that was not previously listed in the Radio Reference database so you'll need to add that to your frequency list or download an update from the members area. KE5TLF has been very helpful and is updating the Radio Reference database as we find changes.
 

KE5TLF

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Tremendous thanks to you Scott for taking the time to learn, and work on this stuff, and being such a great student of the craft. :D Those two systems were in pretty lousy shape, and have been for a while.

As it turned out, thanks to some seriously wicked ducting the other morning, I was even able to get good solid decodes on both systems too. :) (plus a whole lot more) (2 AWIN sites, a few LWIN sites, 1 Warren County site, St. Tammany Parish, Slidell, Jefferson Parish DPW, and Entergy sites out the wazoo. As well as the frequently easy ones like Lamar, Forrest, and Jones)
 

scott

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I'm loving it! I got my scanning start 24 years ago when conventional PL tones were the standard then got lazy when digital came along. The RadioReference website and the ease of FreeScan got me back in the game so thanks to all the techies involved for once again making it easy for lazy people like myself!

Your ducting reminds me of the hi-band days when Ridgeland PD and Lakeland, Florida SO shared the same conventional VHF frequency and tone. Each agency would key up the other's repeater during spring sunspot days, and I thought it was the greatest cause it sounded like the Florida dispatcher was sitting in Ridgeland. That sounds amateur now considering we can talk across the world on a single IP address. I love technology!
 

KE5TLF

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Ok folks. The Hinds and Rankin DB are now fully caught up with everyting I've submitted thus far. There may yet still be a Rankin control channel or two to find. They seem to make full and frequent use of the control channel rotation feature. hehe

They both are certainly in the best shape they've been frequency wise in a LONG time.

On another note, as far as Rankin County goes. There seems to be quite a few undocumented talkgroups on this system too. Scott's prelimanary findings indicate several of these are in use by the Rankin County School System. Anyone else in the area please try to help him out IDing them if possible.

4848, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:46, 0
4880, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 6:01, 1
4912, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:33, 0
4944, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:36, 0
4976, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 6:00, 1
5008, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:31, 0
5040, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:43, 0
5072, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 8:41, 2
5104, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:45, 0
5136, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:10, 0
5168, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:43, 0
5712, "", 50, 14, , U, 24-SEP-2012 5:08, 0

Another thing I saw was that the TG 912 (Pearl PD Car-Car) was in use. Pearl PD joined MSWIN a while back so I'm wondering if this TG has been assigned to someone else or if Pearl PD is using both systems.
 
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scott

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Yes, especially monitor 4880 and 5168. I hear Brandon school radio traffic in the morning then partial Brandon Police traffic in the afternoon meaning I capture the full conversation for school traffic but only partial conversation (1 frequency activation) for PD which makes me think these are overflow radio traffic channels for the PD if there is such a thing.
 

KE5TLF

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As far as the Brandon Schools vs PD thing goes could it be a PD unit on a school zone/crossing maybe? Maybe a channel dedicated just for school zone speed enforcement or traffic control? Since it seems to be afternoons only it would kind of fit. A flock of buses departing a school in the afternoon is much more of a traffic flow problem than them trickling in one at a time in the mornings. Just making some wild arse guesses.
 

scott

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You're welcome. I monitored frequencies long enough to cycle through all the control channels and scanning by ID is still successfully working for me based on recent changes. All frequencies listed on the RadioReference directory are correct now so we should be set for a while.

We're still monitoring the TGIDs KE5TLF mentioned earlier in this post so let us know if you have input.
 
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