Strange Problem scanning a conv channel

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baayers

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I have had my PSR500 since February and aside from this one issue I love it. I have had a strange situation with one of my conv channels. All of my other channels are working properly so this is weird. I am trying to monitor the local fire dept 154.010 CT 82.5 however when I set the CT tone the scanner while scanning refuses to stop when this channel is transmitting. If I switch to Manual mode the scanner accepts the CT information and all transmitions are loud and clear. The only way I can get the scanner to stop on this channel properly is to reset the SQ Mode to none. I have also switched the modulation from auto to FM. I made sure that I have the correct frequency and tone information, and have also made sure that the channel is unlocked. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Benjamin
 

tommyscan

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are you using another scanner on manual mode to prove that channel isnt stopping during scan?? I havent had any problems like that. I found that on certain frequencies,especially in low band,that I get some overload where its 5 signal bars of noise!! Not sure if its my area or the receivers extra sensitivity on low band? I tried my 20 year old bc245xlt and have no problems on low band.
 

btritch

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I had this same problem last week, Contacted GRE and they told me to try the attenuator, I had the exact same problem, It wouldn't stop when it was scanning but would when the tone was reset or it was in manual mode, I turned on the Attenuator and it's working fine now, Fixed the problem, So you might try that...Just a suggestion..
 

baayers

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I have tested the frequency with my Pro96 and a friends BCD396T and had no problem. I tried the att function with no luck. I live about 1.5 miles from the repeater and even way the signal is clear. I have also tried it at work which is about 4 miles from the tower and have the same problem.
 

rdale

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When you change CTCSS to SEARCH instead of setting a tone - what does it show?
 

Mike_G_D

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CTCSS issue

Benjamin,

There are some special settings in the Expert settings menu which adjust how the CTCSS tones are dealt with. You could try playing with these but I would save your current file in a V-folder first then experiment with those settings and save as a separate file or number of files. It could simply be that that particular transmitter has a slightly noisy or ill-configured CTCSS encoder such that the scanner can't lock on quick enough when scanning but with the extra time given by manually holding on the frequency (time that wouldn't be apparent to you but might be huge to the scanner's CTCSS decoder) it can decode decently. Adjusting these settings MIGHT help by slowing down the wait time or decreasing the quality threshold enough to enable it to work better. Unfortunately, I am ignorant of exactly how to do this effectively - maybe someone else can chime in here and help you out with those CTCSS adjustments.

-Mike
 

baayers

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Thank you Mike I really appreciate it. I am hoping some one might have that answer as well but for now I took your advice and saved my information to VS so off I go to experiment with the settings.
 

Mike_G_D

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Conv problems

Benjamin,

Sorry this is giving you so much trouble! I still suspect that the problem signal probably has a poorly adjusted or slightly noisy and/or under or over deviated CTCSS encoder. The other scanners you tried might be set with a relatively "generous" decoder while the 500 by default may be set at a pretty "tight" or "picky" setting. The upshot is that while your 500, as it is currently set, may false less on undesired signals versus the other units you tried it also means that it may miss some signals with slightly less than optimally adjusted CTCSS encoding. The (hopefully) bright light at the end of this tunnel is that the 500 gives you so much to adjust so I THINK it should be possible to arrive at a setting or set of settings to decode that tone decently. Unfortunately, as I said before, I just don't know exactly how to do this which is why I suggested finding someone who has played with these settings and knows the best procedure to adjust them. I would start with one and adjust a bit up or down saving each in a V-folder then, if no joy, try the other and then, maybe, some combination, etc.. I would imagine at some point it should work - I would think that the settings shouldn't be too far off since the transmitter must still work with the associated receivers (I wonder if some of them are having problems too but just don't know what the issue is?).

I realize this is tedious especially if the signal is brief and seldom broadcasting but it's all I can think of. It's likely that GRE didn't know what to tell you (I assume by your last post that you either called them or wrote to them about this) because you probably got connected with a rep who only has basic knowledge of the overall operation of the scanner and this was outside of his/her understanding. What I might try in terms of talking or writing to GRE is to ask "How do I adjust the CTCSS decode settings to widen the acceptable quality in the decoder?" or something to that effect. It's best if you use specific references so I would find the exact names for these settings before contacting them. There is a wiki on this site which has a list of Expert settings not listed in the manual which includes the CTCSS settings. It has brief explanations of what each setting does. It's at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pJ4HPyKG38v1IamIGWMrKFw.

According to this I think the settings you need to adjust are one or more of the following:

ACSQ SrcInt,

ACSQ PolInt,

HD5 Fade,

HD2 Qualify,

and finally,

HD2 Holdoff.

So look at that Google doc spreadsheet and play with those. I don't think the first one, ACSQ SrcInt is applicable as you stated that you had the mode set to FM rather than "au". And the last two, HD2 Qualify and HD2 Holdoff are more about how long and under what conditions the decoder squelches the audio after the tone appears to end. So I would concentrate, at least initially, on ACSQ Pollnt and HD5 Fade. I would try increasing ACSQ Pollnt as well as HD5 Fade. As a start, try increasing ACSQ Pollnt to 500 (default is 100) and HD5 Fade to the maximum of 2500 (default is 2000). If that works then try reducing the times for both incrementally until it no longer works and then go back up slightly. If it doesn't work at ACSQ Pollnt set at 500 try increasing that in increments of 100 till maximum and then backing off back down as I previously said in smaller increments to "zero in" on the optimum setting. The idea is to "open" up the decoder's tolerance just enough to allow decoding of your errant signal while not causing the decoder to false too much on undesired "noise" or signals.

That's just my guess as to how to do it based on reading the spreadsheet descriptions. That sheet also describes what the names are for those settings in both WIN500 and PSREdit so if you are using either of those two programs you can find where to change those values in the software which is probably easier then doing it manually.

Hope this helps! Good luck and let me know what your progress is, if any.

-Mike
 
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baayers

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I have tried adjusting the advanced settings with no luck. I saw the 1.6 update on the GRE website and installed it Friday but I have been in LA this week and will be heading home today and will get a chance to see how it responds with the new CPU software installed. It seems to have had better responsiveness here since installing the update so maybe I will get lucky. I also absolutely love having my scan list names displayed. It has made assigning alpha tags for my channels a much simpler process. I'll let everyone know if I have any luck.
 

DonS

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The PSR-500 is a little more "stingy" about CTCSS/DCS/NAC when it's actually looking for a particular tone or code as compared to when Sq Mode is set to "Search" or "None".

If "None", the scanner is only looking for open RF Squelch. If "Search", the scanner is looking for RF Squelch, but will also try to decode the various coded-squelch modes. In both cases, open RF Squelch will give you audio.

If you have a particular CTCSS/DCS/NAC value programmed, the scanner is looking ONLY for that value. The steps go something like this when checking such a CONV object in Scan mode:
1. Tune to frequency
2. Look for RF Squelch - if not present, continue scanning
3. Look for programmed CTCSS/DCS/NAC value - if not present, continue scanning
4. Unmute audio

In step 3, you only get one shot within a small timing window. If the CTCSS tone is "overmodulated" or otherwise "corrupted", the scanner won't see it - and it will continue scanning.

Here, I have a related problem with the Santa Clara County Sheriff on 156.210000. They use a CTCSS tone of 179.9 Hz. The scanner never has a problem "locking onto" the transmission in Scan mode. However, there is a particular female dispatcher whose voice patterns seem to nuke the tone. The scanner, losing the tone for brief periods, will mute audio once in a while. My solution is to set that CONV object's Sq Mode to "CTCSS", but leave "CTCSS Hz" set to "Search". This forces the scanner to analog mode for that CONV object (eliminating any "wait for digital" delay), but also immunizes me against that dispatcher's voice. This only works for me because there are no other users of that frequency nearby.

If nobody else uses the frequency with which you're having problems, I'd recommend setting up that CONV object like I have:
Sq Mode: CTCSS
CTCSS Hz: Search
 
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Mike_G_D

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CTCSS issue

Benjamin,

How and what did you adjust in the advanced settings? I'd like to know specifics so that I can evaluate and maybe use the process of elimination. Did you try the settings I mentioned in my last:

ACSQ Pollnt: 500

HD5 Fade: 2500

?

I still think it's possible. I still believe it's a matter of a corrupted CTCSS and needing a wider window to decode. We just may have to spend some time zeroing in on the correct value. I'd still start with those settings I noted above.

-Mike
 

tglendye

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I've noticed I am having the same problem on a uhf frequency (453.3125). I am receiving transmissions one scanner and not the 500 while running it in the SQ "search" mode. I haven't had time to experiment with it, but I'll try the above as well.

Thanks,
Todd
 

baayers

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I am not for sure if it was the CPU update or if there was an error in the repeater I was listening to that was addressed but I got home to find it working like it was suppose to. Now if only my problems at work could go away this easy.
 

wabc770

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Newbie user here -- I'm wondering if there've been any updates on this problem?

I've discovered my rig is doing the same thing with my local PD with a 167.9 PL.
PL on - it scans past it. PL off - it seems okay.

It's also occurred on my local hospital security channel which is also CONV.

I A-B it with my GRE-made Pro 96/2096 and they never have this glitch.
 

sopranosno1

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same problem here in sidney oh. i have noticed this with our fire repeater on 158.7525. the 2006 had traffic on it but the psr-600 passed on the transmission. only happens once in a while.
 

w8eh

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Middletown, OH
PSR600 conv channel problem

We are having the problem with just ONE of our four PSR600 units at my employer. We did a side by side comparison with the 4 we have (and a real radio) on several VHF PD/FD channels. This one unit is the only one that has trouble opening up on conventional channels with a CTCSS decode tone programmed. It happens most of the time.

All four are brand new. They have the same memory file uploaded to memory using WIN500. They have the same firmware 1.6 and DSP 1.3 update versions.

I communicated with GRE and may be sending this one back for repair.

I'll post again if we get a definitive answer on this problem.

My bet is there is a DSP hardware problem.
 

wabc770

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We are having the problem with just ONE of our four PSR600 units at my employer.....
Please let us know if you hear anything from GRE. Are you having this problem on
just one or two channels, or is it a problem on most/all CTCSS programmed channels?
 
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