Salisbury / Rowan P25 Phase1 High BER

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KD4UXQ

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When Salisbury / Rowan went to P25 Phase 1, I have had since then high decode BER on my BCD396XT at times that I could not figure out why. With a full scale RSS this happens in various percentages of monitoring sessions from maybe 25% to 50% of transmission receptions and varying error rates. Sometimes it is garbled a little and other times too much to understand.

I have never been able to narrow it down to any single frequency in the system as it seems to happen on all of that at some point. I programmed the system from the RR database and currently have the latest programming from the RR database. This issue happens at home or away from home. I cannot find any interfering factor or error in the programming on the radio in reference to the RR database for this system.

Now that I have a BCD436HP, I am having the exact same issue. Has anyone else that monitors this system had the same issue. Have you discovered why or been able to resolve it? Maybe this issue will not exist when the system goes to P25 Phase 2.
 

milf

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If its an simulcast your sol. Multipath distortion. Depends all on location antenna settings and luck.

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KD4UXQ

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If its an simulcast your sol. Multipath distortion. Depends all on location antenna settings and luck.

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Well, I wish I had thought about simulcast. It is just one system and I recall reading something about another site somewhere in the county coming about, but I never did see any information about when or if it came about.

It is in fact listed as simulcast. Now the whole issue makes perfect sense.

Digging deeper into the RR database, I see the system now has 4 sites. Wow, that really stinks.

I wonder if 20db attenuation programmed for that system on my BCD436HP would work. It may be too much even from my house. I wish they gave us more options than 20db, that is a lot of attenuation. Would be nice if there was a 6db, 9db and 15 db.

Thanks!!!
 

CFP387

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You are for sure SOL using a scanner to monitor this system if you expect to hear it in the clear without any multipath distortion. BUT, if you purchase a G5 pager, like myself and Daniel did, you won't have a moment's trouble. You'll never want to use a scanner to monitor a simulcast system again.
 

drayd48

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Rowans System (on my scanner) has some multisite distortion, but never that bad as you were saying. I would say they have one of the best systems around. I can hear them just fine into Statesville, Mooresville and to the other side of Greensboro.
 

CFP387

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It actually depends on where you are and how often you listen. I have three radios and a G5 that monitor part or all of the system 24 / 7. We have an awesome system here, 800 & VHF. If you listen long enough, you'll notice a lot of distortion at different times of the day on different talk groups. It's not all the time, granted, but it's enough to be aggravating.
 

drayd48

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Rowan by far is the system that has the lease multisite distortion that I know of in all my years of scanning. Cabarrus is the absolute worst.
 

KD4UXQ

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You are for sure SOL using a scanner to monitor this system if you expect to hear it in the clear without any multipath distortion. BUT, if you purchase a G5 pager, like myself and Daniel did, you won't have a moment's trouble. You'll never want to use a scanner to monitor a simulcast system again.
Sometimes reception is pretty decent, other times a real mess.

I did see the G4 and G5 pagers. I would certainly consider one if it had VHF, UHF and 700-800 Mhz. Which version of G5 did you settle on? I would opt for VHF and supplement UHF with the scanner, especially since there are 4 UHF versions. How bad are they to program?

Another thought I have is trying to use a low gain antenna on my BCD396XT and see if it captures one site close to it without much multipath interference. Also at home maybe try a directional antenna pointed at a single site. From my location maybe I could point the antenna at the one on west 152 with Granite Quarry on the back side and Cleveland off the side. I may try that this weekend. I recently bought a 700 Mhz 11dB yagi off eBay, expecting that for receive it would still be good enough at 800 Mhz. I had the thought of putting it up high and trying to capture one of the Viper sites west of me to try and monitor SHP Troop F District 2.
 

drayd48

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Sometimes reception is pretty decent, other times a real mess.

I did see the G4 and G5 pagers. I would certainly consider one if it had VHF, UHF and 700-800 Mhz. Which version of G5 did you settle on? I would opt for VHF and supplement UHF with the scanner, especially since there are 4 UHF versions. How bad are they to program?

Another thought I have is trying to use a low gain antenna on my BCD396XT and see if it captures one site close to it without much multipath interference. Also at home maybe try a directional antenna pointed at a single site. From my location maybe I could point the antenna at the one on west 152 with Granite Quarry on the back side and Cleveland off the side. I may try that this weekend. I recently bought a 700 Mhz 11dB yagi off eBay, expecting that for receive it would still be good enough at 800 Mhz. I had the thought of putting it up high and trying to capture one of the Viper sites west of me to try and monitor SHP Troop F District 2.
A G4 would only work on 700/800, and if your just mainly monitoring trunked, that's all you need. Good luck trying to get TRPFDIST2 from you location. Those troops are about 70 miles away. Digital trunked does not travel that far and that good (even though I pick up virgina from my house in Statesville, about 70 miles away).
 

KD4UXQ

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A G4 would only work on 700/800, and if your just mainly monitoring trunked, that's all you need. Good luck trying to get TRPFDIST2 from you location. Those troops are about 70 miles away. Digital trunked does not travel that far and that good (even though I pick up virgina from my house in Statesville, about 70 miles away).
I would also like to monitor P25 on VHF, so that would be the reason I would opt for G5. Just reading on their website they are developing firmware to support P25 Phase 2, but at a cost of $150.

As the crow flies, some of the F2 sites are about 40 miles away. I only invested $16 dollars into that yagi, so I thought I would try to capture at least one site.
 

GamecockSJ

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Digital trunking can travel far...

Sitting at an overlook on the BRP near Blowing Rock I got several sites from Palmetto 800. I was able to get the Harbison site in Richland County (Columbia) and it decoded. 145 miles.

With height just about anything is possible.
 

milf

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Digital trunking can travel far...

Sitting at an overlook on the BRP near Blowing Rock I got several sites from Palmetto 800. I was able to get the Harbison site in Richland County (Columbia) and it decoded. 145 miles.

With height just about anything is possible.
Um that was back on the legacy palmetto. Once its fully converted you won't get that reception without a band opening. P25 does not go that far unless its super high powered or ducting.

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GamecockSJ

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Um that was back on the legacy palmetto. Once its fully converted you won't get that reception without a band opening. P25 does not go that far unless its super high powered or ducting.

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It was a month ago and it was P25.

edit: Ducting and distance are the same thing. The transmission interface has absolutely nothing to do with that. Basic radio theory says the signal can travel. You may not be able to hit the tower and transmit at that distance because of timing issues, but reception can happen regardless.
 

milf

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You have no idea. The palmetto 800 is just now going p25. It was analog 3600 kbps with p25 tgs. The upgrade is to true p25 9600 kbps pure digital. Digital signal is very hard to properly decode at distance. It literally is you get it or no. Analog on the other hand.

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GamecockSJ

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You have no idea. The palmetto 800 is just now going p25. It was analog 3600 kbps with p25 tgs. The upgrade is to true p25 9600 kbps pure digital. Digital signal is very hard to properly decode at distance. It literally is you get it or no. Analog on the other hand.

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There have been P25 talk groups on Palmetto 800 for 2+ years. I know this first hand.

The baud rate on the control channel has nothing to do with decoding the voice channel.
 

milf

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If you do not get good decode on cc you don't get tg. The palmetto 800 is analog cc and has p25 tgs.. The palmetto p25. Is not. It is digital from ground up. Huge difference. You must not have truly been watching when VIPER did same thing? There is huge difference. Heck I was there when they started adding digital on VIPER before they converted it. They had far more difficulties on the digital tgs for quite some time. Digital is an whole other animal.

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milf

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The carrier signal is they key. Palmetto 800 is analog carrier. As was VIPER before conversion. Don't take my word for it do the research.

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GamecockSJ

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I'm not going to argue facts with you anymore. The person wants to know if they can get a VIPER site 40+ miles away. Yes, you can. I've done it many times.
 

KM4WLV

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A little late to the party...........

I'm a little late to the party on this one so my apologies...............

I've been using our system here in Rowan since 1996 when it was a single site Smartnet II system.

When we went to P25 the multipath distortion is horrible. My 396XT just wasn't cutting it. As Shannon said above I purchased a Unication G5 recently. On the VHF side the 2 tone paging is flawless so far, and the reception on the 7/800 side is on par if not sometimes better than the two XTS5000's I'm issued. I know a lot of people have a hard time with wanting to spend $5-650 on a G4 or G5. But a lot of times by the time you spend money on a scanner, antenna(s), batteries, possibly a yagi and coax for an outdoor antenna if needed, you could've bought one of the Unication devices. Yes, there are some limitations on what the G4/5 has scan wise but again if was designed to be a pager first and scanner second. However with some thinking and proper programming it works out just fine. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another G5, especially after some recent customer service I received from Unication. Shannon can testify to that.

If anyone here around Rowan County purchases a G4 or G5 I'd be happy to help with programming and such. Or if there is anyone around the Salisbury area that would like to see one in person and see how well it performs I'll be happy to meet up somewhere. But just like Shannon said above, once you use a G4/5 for the first time you won't go back to a scanner again.
 

reconrider8

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how do those pagers work like that?
like do you setup the different towers and then a list of tgids you want to monitor or can you minitor a full site like wildcard or what?
 
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