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StarCom21 P25 Resp Time/Ref Gain

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steve_eg

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This is a question for the folks that have a 396. What settings are you guys using for the St. Clair County P25 Response Time and Reference Gain, and what setting are you using for the AGC on the system itself, or do you have it turned off altogether?

Thanks,

Steve
 

cubn

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Great topic Steve!

My Current Starcom21 BCD396T settings:

I have tried many digital setting variations on the 396T while monitoring McLean County Starcom21 activity. As for my most recent settings: I’ve reverted back to firmware version 1_10_01. I turned AGC off. I set the P25 Decode Level to 6.

On the occasions when I did choose to use AGC, the settings I used were ones that other people around the country suggested:
P25 Ref Gain: +3
P25 Res Time: -7

I’m interested to hear what settings others have settled on using to monitor Starcom21. If you have BCD396T settings that sound good and/or better, please let us know.

Locking-out trunked sites on the 396T:

Something I noticed is that while monitoring a trunked system with frequencies for different sites entered, you can lockout the control channel frequency that the scanner is locked on to, causing the scanner to search the other freqs in the system for a valid control channel frequency.

While the scanner is scanning your Stacom21 system, hit hold and the scanner will hold on the control channel. Hit L/O to lockout that frequency if you no longer wish to hear traffic from that site. Then resume scanning and the scanner will lock-on to any control channel that it finds, but not the freq(s) that you have locked-out.

This is handy when traveling since you can put all the control channel freqs and talkgroups in one system and then lock and unlock freqs (sites) depending on which sites you wish to allow the scanner to monitor at a given time. For example, while in Bloomington-Normal, I only want to monitor the Watterson Tower (868.400), so I lock out the Congerville (866.850), Leroy (866.875) and Pontiac (867.325) control channel freqs to keep my scanner from accidentally switching to one of the rural towers. When I travel outside Bloomington-Normal, I unlock those freqs (sites) allowing the scanner to find one of the surrounding towers so I can be assured of following the McLean County Sheriff’s Dept talkgroup one of those sites. Unfortunately, this method does not solve the issue of being able to monitor multiple sites at the same time while utilizing one common set of talkgroups.

This trick works on P25 and regular Motorola systems on the 396T. I tried this same method on the 246T and it doesn’t work the same way.
 

RoninJoliet

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Here in Joliet im listening to a new comer to Starcom as the Village of Plainfield are using TO113 on the Starcom list in 700mgz.There coverage has been rough as far as drop outs...I have only had the 396 for a month but have been in scanning 35 years and learned the new system on my 246. I turned off the "Digital AGC cause of "audio blasting at the beginning of transmissions.I have not set anything and it sounds great. It shows im using out of the box="AUTO 8", err--goes from 22 down to 0....at that point it shows 1.38-1.60-1.82, now if it keeps showing these #s it sounds perfect plus the techs are still working daily on the system and the data channel is coming to them from D-5 on RT53. I set the radio near a window and get 4-bars on the signal which is very important.. When i see all these #s i mentioned how do i adjust it to maybe a 6, gotta learn just a little more about this area....Thank You PS: My PRO96 and 2096 also do excellent in conv-mode on 700 thanks to Win96
 

steve_eg

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Fairview Heights, IL
Cubn, RoninJoliet,

Thanks for the replies-I was beginning to wonder if this would be one of those threads that fades away unanswered!

Like Cubn, I've got mine set to 6 for the threshold level, and it seems to work pretty well for St. Clair County. I also used the AGC settings that were first mentioned by Shaun (despite his demeanor, he always provided some pretty good insight), and seconded by several others.

Still interested to hear what other folks around the state are using-

That's also a great tip about locking out the control frequency. I'd suggested that to someone awhile back, who was interested in multi-site monitoring, but didn't want to eat up his memory with all the redundant Groups/TGIDs.

Thanks, guys-

Steve
 

cubn

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Ron,

I too did not like the “pumping” caused by AGC. I like AGC off and P25 Error Rate 6 because it makes the signal sound the cleanest (less digital “pixilation”). What I’ve noticed is that it still sounds “pixely” when someone talks quietly or far away from the microphone, but when they speak directly into the microphone, it sounds pretty good (albeit more ‘robotic’ than analog’).

For setting the digital error rate, see page 102 in the manual. For setting the hidden AGC settings in the newest firmware, download this PDF file: http://www.uniden.com/files/BCD396T Firmware Revision Notes.pdf

I’m curious how Starcom21 sounds on the Pro96 compared to your Uniden 396. Are they comparable, or does the Pro96 sound noticeably better.
 

RoninJoliet

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The PRO96 audio is a "little"better on P25 than the 396 who's audio on trunking systems non P25 and some conventional freqys is raspy, i think the 396 is made more for Digital with its wierd hissy raspy backround. The PRO96 when taken to Michigan and Indiana was EXCELLENT on digital.. Its audio on trunking systems non digital and conv is outstanding. I been listening to this stuf for 35 years, im not perfect but i sure wish RS/GRE would bring out another winner like the PRO96/2096. Its gonna take time for Starcom perfection like Michigan . There having problems here with the Village of Plainfield IL on 700 and there down again and back to VHF. Also , with the PRO96 you just turn it on and the radio does all the rest in digital for you but i really like the features on the Uniden 396 which i have owned now for a month.....Thank You for asking my opinion....
 
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