Torn Over Decision For New Scanner

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dcisive

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I was very active in the scanner arena back in the 80's but strayed from it in the early 90's. I'm in the Salt Lake area where they are still largely analog but have indeed switched to Motorola trunking as well as there being a plethora of DMR systems out there. I was overloaded with folks that said emphatically how superior the Whistler TRX-2 is to the 536 Uniden. I'd have no problems considering the Uniden and even upgrading to the DMR download for it. The price isn't so much the issue.....more so the difficulty it will be to get it to respond to all I wish to hear.

I've very familiar with the HomePatrol 1 right now as that is what I've used since it first came out. However strangely enough, I have a old ICOM IC-R2 handheld that I programmed a half dozen of the newer frequencies used by the PD here on their trunking system for example. Can you believe the HP doesn't even get them or receive them it seems. The Icom when turned on with these frequencies that are loaded are continuously busy. So I'm not very happy about the HP at this point. But as I mentioned the dealers and others out there in other forums seem so pro Whistler for it's superior sound quality and added feature sets and technology. So what do you folks have to say to me that could possible persuade me to move towards the 536 instead.

I do kind of prefer what seems to be an easier to figure out Sentinel system of setting up the Favorites Lists as I'm familiar with that already. The one for the Whistler sure does seem at first a bit complicated, but I suppose once one becomes familiar is it more flexible or capable? I look forward to the feedback here as frankly I do like the layout of the Uniden but it's the performance I'm all about in the end.
 

UPMan

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Not sure why HP-1 won't pick up the channels you mention. But, your mention was not very specific (as to what channels), so I cannot really troubleshoot further other than to ask you to confirm that you are using the latest database and that any Favorites Lists you might have created based on old data have been updated to match the latest information.
 

dcisive

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I uploaded the latest database and it's running the current firmware now. I simply don't feel it's truly hearing all there is in the Salt Lake market. I have to believe a 436 would hear MORE than I'm getting currently, let alone the trunking PD and such. I'd add the DMR package for sure just to be most up to date. But I want to be sure I won't be utterly disappointed. The videos I've seen on the 436 so far are certainly getting my juices flowing
 

JStemann

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With the hp series of scanners, its very easy to scan too much. If you're trying to monitor a trunked system with a lot if sites and you aren't using location control or locking out the sites that are out of range, it'll scan every site until. You won't hear anything until it hits on one with an active control channel. If there no activity, it'll just keep on going.
I set up a couple of fixed locations (home & work) for example, turned on location control for the "home" favorites list & settled on a range of 5 miles. That locks out all of the distant trunking sites but, still gets the local stuff & greatly speeds up scan time. It also saves me from having to manually avoid ~ 100 sites, I can't hear anyway.

BTW, I also have a 436hp, I can't say it hears any more than the Hp1 at home. I don't have the favorites lists exactly the same between the two, but they are very close. Sitting next to each other, the 436 may latch onto a conversation slightly faster once in a while, but they are very close to equals at that location.


Jeff.
 
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IAmSixNine

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Send us a link to the system your trying to monitor. IT would help us greatly if we knew what frequencys your icom is getting that the HP is not. If its a trunked system, and its a large system, with multiple sites, as JStemann mentioned, make sure only the site or sites closest to you are enabled to prevent the scanner from scanning sites that are way to far away.
 

dcisive

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Thanks guys. I really like the idea of a 436. Was even considering the TRX-2 Whistler for it's exotic tech capabilities. I simply wanted to go with the top of the line unit for now. The portable nature isn't a deal breaker if the desktop model is going to be superior. But handheld is a nice feature.

So that said, I am going to be monitoring the Salt Lake County frequencies in Salt Lake City area of Utah. They have several trunked systems here, but are NOT digital from what I'm told. The are largely analog still. I would add the DMR package anyway as there are a number of DMR companies and such that are active in this area according to RadioReference. If you can advise on this I'd love it. I need some input at this point as I'm planning on pulling the trigger on some top of the line unit next Wednesday. So I'm wide open to advice. The Salt Lake County system as I say does have some trunking. The HP1 I've got is fairly lame regarding the pickup speeds of anything in my experience so far. Yes indeed I have some decent knowledge of custom programming and have put together specific Favorites lists for scanning. But it just seems like this unit isn't too great about keeping up with the busy aspects of all the channels I KNOW must surely have traffic. I have an old Icom IC-R2 with half a dozen 800mhz frequencies programmed in it for example, and while it's buzzing with activity the HP1 gets mayby 25% of what I hear off the Icom. I need and expect BETTER. I'm assuming the 436 WILL deliver. If not then perhaps I need to look elsewhere.
 

IAmSixNine

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Still waiting for you to provide us with the frequencys you are programming into your icom radio and missing rx on your HP unit.
You need to send us a link to the system they belong to or something.
have you edited the site list to scan only the site or sites near you?
 

dcisive

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OK the frequencies on my Icom are the following, and NO I don't have ANYTHING blocked out on my HP1 regarding these which are indeed PD frequences.

854.5875, 856.235, 857.935, 859.735, 859.960. Only ONE of these tends to get picked up on the HP1 I have. I have to believe having a 436HP would provide me with superior results to the HP1 no?
 

IAmSixNine

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All of these frequencies belong to one site in the Utah Communications authority Trunking system. Specific site is Salt Lake County Simulcast. The 859.960 doesnt show up in the trunking system or on the salt lake county page. so not sure where you got that.
Your statement of these which are indeed PD requencies has me puzzled. These feqs are part of a trunking system. So anybody on it can use them that are on the system.
Since your trying to monitor this rather large system have you locked out the non used sites (sites NOT close to you) so your scanner isnt spending time trying to find them?
Also if your concerned your scanner isnt receiving, try programming in just those frequencies and compare them on Hold with the icom.
So have just one channel on hold in each radio and compare traffic.That will give you a good RF comparison. My guess is you will hear the same traffic meaning the HP is picking up what you need it to and you have an error in your trunking programming.
 

JStemann

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Ok, here's the freqs for Utah Communication Authority System, Salt lake simulcast site>
853.0875a, 853.1125c, 853.4125, 853.5125a, [854.5875], 855.4625, [856.2375],
856.9875, 857.4625, [857.9375], 859.4625, 859.7375, 860.7125, 851.875,
852.150, 852.175, 852.400, 852.425, 852.6875, 852.725

And here are the ones for Salt lake city Public safety system>
855.2375, 857.2375, 858.2375, 859.2625, 860.2625c, 860.9625c, 856.4875, 856.9625,
857.4875, 858.9625, [859.9625], 860.2375, 860.4875c, 860.7625c, 857.9625, 859.2375
The ones with a ‘c’ beside them are control channels. The ones with an ‘a’ beside them are alternate control channels and the ones in [] are the ones that best correspond to what you’ve heard traffic on. I’d make sure both systems are active in your HP1 and that everything is current in your favorites list. It looks like most of what you're picking up is on the Utah system vs. the Salt Lake system. Also, don't forget, updating the HP database doesn't update the favorite lists.

One other thing, a lot of scanners have trouble with simulcast sites. In that respect, many people report having very good results with the 436 and 536 scanners.

Jeff
 
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goodmore

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The scanners I have are the 436 and 536. Both are very nice scanners. They seem to do everything as advertised except one thing. That is decode the P25 trunking systems with ease. I am no radio frequency expert and I never will be. I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys listening. I live in Lancaster County PA and have these scanners hooked to a discone in my attic at different times. I have the ability to listen to Lancaster, York, and Berks county repeaters for emergency ops. I have choppy audio on about 10 percent of all hits from the three counties. Dropping into 7 manual really did improve all three. They are all P25 systems either phase I or II. A hit can come in nice and clean and the reply from the same ID and same tower a couple seconds later will be choppy. The auto 8 setting is terrible. I have been everywhere on the settings from 5 to 12 in manual. AGC on and off. 7 manual with AGC on seems the best of it for all three counties. Like I said I just want to listen. I subscribe here to learn and I sure have. Great site! Great manufacturer.! Just wish trunking systems came in better. So as you look or shop for your new scanner please realize that perfection probably does not exist.
 

dcisive

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JStemann....The only way I can set up the channels is by choosing WHAT they are, NOT by frequency. The Sentinal program for the HP1 most often shows just what it is, NOT the frequency. I only wish they DID show the frequency. I don't know of another way to program off hand. I just grab and add the police locations I want (like Murray or Draper and Sandy and such) and hope for the best assuming indeed they may be trunked. But I don't believe there is a way with this software to load by frequency. Wish there was like the old days. Would sure make things more definite.
 

JStemann

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JStemann....The only way I can set up the channels is by choosing WHAT they are, NOT by frequency. The Sentinal program for the HP1 most often shows just what it is, NOT the frequency. I only wish they DID show the frequency. I don't know of another way to program off hand. I just grab and add the police locations I want (like Murray or Draper and Sandy and such) and hope for the best assuming indeed they may be trunked. But I don't believe there is a way with this software to load by frequency. Wish there was like the old days. Would sure make things more definite.
You should be able to edit your favorite list in sentinel. All of those should already be in the Hp1 database. But my main point was to just make sure you're listening to the "correct" system. For example, if you're monitoring the Salt Lake system on the HP1, but most of the traffic is on the Utah system. It might be a good idea to check n the Utah section to see for sure what systems are in use, if you haven't already.

Jeff.
 

dcisive

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All of the police in question I've been monitoring now (after re doing the Favorites list) are located in the "Utah Communications Authority". This is where all the familiar police I was looking for seem to be broadcasting. Does the UID mean it's trunked or is it still "conventional"? When I check the "INFO" it say they are a "talk group". I assume that means they are part of the trunking system....no? I'm still convinced I'd get even more with a 436 or better yet a 536. I'll be thinking about it
 

jonwienke

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UID and talkgroup indicates a digital trunking system. An x36 is going to pick up more flavors of digital (P25 Phase II, DMR and ProVoice), but if you don't have those type systems in your area, upgrading won't do much for you.
 

JStemann

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dcisive, the UID is a unique radio id assigned to each radio in the system. It's possible a newer scanner will do better than your Hp1, especially since you're trying to monitor a simulcast system. An important thing to keep in mind, though, because the programming & function of the Hp1 is very similar to the 436 & 536, any errors in setting up the Hp1 will likely be repeated with either of the newer scanners. By 'errors' I mean service types, range, too many systems or sites being scanned, etc...

Jeff.
 

dcisive

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Thank You JStemann

as well as several others that worked with me on this encouraging me to re visit my programming. I've had the HP1 since it came out all these years, and never really heard that much. I "thought" I had it programmed correctly. But in some manner I never really investigated all the in's and out's of proper programming, nor doing the "Favorites". I had just selected the PD and Law stuff for listening.

So here's the good news. I finally went in and did as even some of the video's I've watched regarding proper programming of the Sentinal software. Man I gotta tell you this thing is rocking and rolling now with tons of trunked programming. The ID's come up and in most cases I can easily see who and what it is regarding what city's PD. About the ONLY thing that has me a bit confused is a plethora of the channels come up as "Unknown" but they DO so their channel ID. When I refer to the Sentinal I see they are connected with various outlying cities from Salt Lake proper (such as West Valley City, Sandy and so forth). Is there a reason for that. Did I do some minor thing wrong? Or is that perfectly fine and normal. As I say on occasion I won't immediately KNOW who it is as the ID in the center bar just says "Unknown". I'm not going to get to bent out with that as the activity now is non stop and superb. I can't help but wonder if I had a 536 if it would be even MORE revealing. Just let me know if you have the answer for this "Unknown" thing. Hopefully that's an ok thing to be doing and normal.

I have to mention that when I was doing the programming at the bottom of it's listing it had a TON of listings of various mountains (many I knew of throughout the State) that are FAR from where I am and would NOT have anything to do with the transmissions in my area (they are hundreds of miles away). So I deleted them. It hasn't effected my ability to get the plethora of stuff I programmed so I assume I did right. I can't imagine THAT would cause this "unknown" thing going on in some of the receptions. Just let me know if you know. thanks again big time!!!
 

phask

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Sounds like you have ID search ON. That will show all the TG it receives but only ID the ones programmed.


- setting is in Sentinel -

All those mountains sound like sites in a trunk system. You only need the 1 or 2 sites closest to you.
 

dcisive

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Yup indeed I chose ONLY those mountain sites I know are nearby and not elsewhere in the State. As for ID search I'll have to investigate that. I'd prefer to have their actual name instead of just "Unknown".
 

dcisive

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Ahh thanks for that tip. I turned OFF the ID Search and now everything has a associated name given. I do like to KNOW what the heck I'm listening to :)
 
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