Simulcast versus Stand alone towers

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hanlonmi06

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Hello,

I didn't want to high jack the other thread recently posted about the Washtenaw CO simulcast system but I had a lot of questions that would relate or be parallel topics. My challenge is that my daily commute, the time I do the most monitoring, is a drive from Pittsfield township to Nadeau Rd in Monroe. 3...different...simulcast counties, and I am going bonkers trying to get this to work.

My most direct question, as the title implies, is whether to go with simulcast tower channels, or the flatrock tower, or a combination of? Right now I have 1 trunked system labeled MPSCS with the 3 counties similcast control freqs as well as the flatrock tower control channel (as well as the alternate CC's).

what I get most confused about is "where to find the stuff" versus all of the affiliation's that are possible. For example, if you are a state police patrol unit buzzing through 275 in huron twp, are you going to come up on the flatrock tower or wayne co simulcast? and so depending, which should be in your setup?

It'd be a slam dunk for how to set up a scanner for the house, and recently i did that, and it was awesome listening to just one dang entity! For the ride home I am going to try just having the flatrock tower and washtenaw co CC's and see how we do. Those two "towers" would cover nearly the entire commute. this is all in reference to the PSR 800.
 

IAmSixNine

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This may be a but more work but what i have done in the past when encountering something similar was to program each site as its own individual system. and then copy the scan list (talk groups) to each system. So im essentially scanning the same talk groups but im able to select and hold on the site thats working best for me while im driving. Im basically taking away the possibility of the scanner locking onto the wrong site or not scanning properly if the system is programmed in with multiple sites.
 

troymail

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Not sure if the issue you are having is a "site" issue or perhaps a simulcast reception issue....

Typically, a unit/radio will affiliate with the closest site to that radio (not 100%). The question as to if other sites will carry that same traffic will depend on various factors - the two primary factors being (a) if another unit is affiliated with another site and switched onto the same talkgroup and/or (b) if the admins of the system configured any given talkgroup to be carried on multiple sites regardless of if any radios are affiliated on that site and switched to that talkgroup. Either way, you just don't know so it's going to be hit and miss - moreso if the talkgroup is really intended for a limited area like a small town, etc. Conversely, a state patrol talkgroup is likely to be carried on multiple sites during most/peak times (depending upon how large the 'district' is for that talkgroup).

Keep in mind that the GRE-800 and later models (WS-xxxx and TRX-x), a single system programmed with multiple sites will result in the radio making the decision for you which site will be locked onto. If in range, the radio is more likely to lock on and hold onto a stand-alone site. The simulcast sites, because of simulcast issues, will "come and go" even while in the footprint of any given simulcast site.

Here is what I'd recommend trying:

Create 3 different scanlists:
1 - Site A
2 - Site B
3 - Site C

Take your single 3 site system configuration, duplicate the entire thing 2 times and enable only one site in each copy of the configuration.

For each copy of the system (1 site enabled per copy), change the scanlist to match the above site A, B, or C.

Now, when you travel, you can control which site(s) - 1 or all 3 - the radio will try to monitor. This will help you to determine what is active on which site(s) or not...
 
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hanlonmi06

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Troymail,

In your example, whats the easiest way to execute that control? As far as I know the scan list selecting is a little clunky for the PSR 800.

I have a pro-197 in the car too, that one I can easily select from the numerical pad which scan lists are active. Is there a quick and easy way I missed for the 800?

Regardless, that is what I will try. I do realize the reception issues will always be present for simulcast but I really do think I can make this setup perform better. In the other thread, there was mention of having only the CC's programmed. Would that consist of all CC's and the alternates, or strictly CC's?

To me, this tinkering is part of the fun of it all!
 

WA0CBW

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Also in a multi-site simulcast system ALL the sites carry the same talk groups and have the same control channels. Individual (and linked) sites with different control channels may or may not carry a talk group depending on the aforementioned parameters (affiliation, system design etc).
BB
 

hanlonmi06

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I'm pretty much giving up on trying to figure out where said talk group is going to come up on what tower for entities such as state police.

got it on the CC's and alternates.

so it looks like we'll have 4 things here...take that existing MPSCS system, duplicate it to 4 systems:

MPSCS Washtenaw CO with only their channels
MPSCS Monroe CO with only their channels
MPSCS Wayne CO with only their channels
MPSCS Other with the Flatrock tower

All pretty much have identical TGID's...am I on the right track?

Any scanlist enabling short cuts for the 800?
 

troymail

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Also in a multi-site simulcast system ALL the sites carry the same talk groups and have the same control channels. Individual (and linked) sites with different control channels may or may not carry a talk group depending on the aforementioned parameters (affiliation, system design etc).
BB
This comment will be a bit confusing to many people --

I think you are trying to say to "all the tower sites carry the same talk groups and have the same control channels". It's important to distinguish between a "tower (site)" and a "simulcast site" - that later off which consists of multiple towers in a single simulcast site - all of which use the same control channels/frequencies.

Each system "site" (not to be confused with a "tower") has it's own set of frequencies.
 

troymail

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Troymail,

In your example, whats the easiest way to execute that control? As far as I know the scan list selecting is a little clunky for the PSR 800.
GRE took away the ability to toggle scanlists from a keypad with the PSR-800. Whistler returned the keypad when they took over.

However, you can still enable and disable scanlists on the PSR-800. Simply press the MENU key and then scroll to the "Scanlists" selection option. It's not as easy as pressing buttons on the keypad but it does the job. Initially, you'll want to just leave all 3 scanlists that I previously mentioned enabled.
In the other thread, there was mention of having only the CC's programmed. Would that consist of all CC's and the alternates, or strictly CC's?
As with many things, the answer is "it depends".

If you are certain that any site's control channel frequency nearly never changes and always quickly returns to that frequency, then programming only the primary might work - but I don't recommend this. There's a good chance the CC frequency will switch to an alternate frequency and the radio will go silent for that site.

The best middle ground is to program all of the primary and alternate control channel frequencies. However, keep in mind that the data on RRDB isn't always 100% and is subject to change. I've found many cases where the CC frequencies for various system sites have changed but no one had updated the information.

If you experience problems, you'll probably want to program ALL of the site frequencies but I'd hold this as a last resort and/or for troubleshooting.
 

mikey60

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Duplicating the system and assigning a different site to each copy will force the scanner to scan each site, which will increase your chances of hearing what you want to hear.

If you want control of which tower sites are being scanned, you would have to move all of the talkgroups in that copy of the system to it's own scanlist. If any talkgroup is a member of an enabled scanlist, that site/system will be scanned. There is no option to assign a site to a specific scanlist.

Mike
 

hanlonmi06

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Well is sounds like getting the 4 "systems" going will be a large step in the right direction. that's about the only thing i haven't really tried so far.

Having alternates, and CC's together against what may or may not be updated database info, so on and so on, caveat here, exception there, to me are all accepted nuances of trying to make a square peg fit a round hole in terms of scanner manufacturers trying to produce products to scan these systems. my how i miss when there were two frequencies to cover 1 police and 1 fire....
 
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This comment will be a bit confusing to many people --

I think you are trying to say to "all the tower sites carry the same talk groups and have the same control channels". It's important to distinguish between a "tower (site)" and a "simulcast site" - that later off which consists of multiple towers in a single simulcast site - all of which use the same control channels/frequencies.

Each system "site" (not to be confused with a "tower") has it's own set of frequencies.
Quite confusing without understanding how simulcast systems/sites work. I say that as a system utilizing simulcast can still be multi-site in the sense of wide-area trunking. There are some great examples of this in central Texas right now where select counties have simulcast prime sites (and multiple sub sites) while other's have more traditionally setup sites. All tied into the same system/core.
 

hanlonmi06

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Well, positive progress.

Things did not get any worse, and anecdotally they seemed to get better.

I did note that the "tower" being received seemed to more closely match where I was geographically at. As I left work, most everything was coming in via the "MPSCS Monroe" and similarly for Wayne and Washtenaw- and in between was flat rock popping in as I was closest to that tower for a portion of the drive. Before it was simply chaos for what tower was being shown on the display.

I created a map with pin dots showing each actual towers location and it is simply a mess, the amount of overlap between each simulcast tower location, and the flat rock, northville towers. I had thought that it wasn't as important to consider this. That just loading a bunch of towers in and letting the scanner do the work was the right way to go. I had experimented with some variations of this, but never to such an extent as literally one "tower" per trunk system. And I do realize when I say one tower for a simulcast site, that it is one set of frequencies for a set of towers, but non-the-less, things are starting to finally gain traction!
 
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