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TRX-2 issues on Fairfax Co. P25 Phase II

lebrunmn

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Dec 19, 2002
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381
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Hamphire County, WV
Hi Folks-
Can I get a little local help for an ex-local who's back in town on business?

I used to live in the Merrilee / Vienna area of Fairfax County, and had very good success monitoring the system with my PSR-800 which I eventually had factory updated to a WS1080. So when I made the move to Wild & Wonderful West Virginia, I went out and bought a TRX-2--thinking this would my new mobile scanner. Whistler had converted me, along with my PSR-800, and I never has any issues with the unit.

Driving into Dunn Loring, I couldn't hear any comms--was not even seeing the little trunking T on my screen. Just to compare, I turned on my WS1080/PSR-800, and started receiving straight away. That handheld unit is only moderately affected by the local LSM issues, My TRX-2 just sat there with a screen comming up every once in a while, but no sound. It was so bad, I thought something must be broken. Thinking it was LSM, i turned on the attenuation, but that didn't really help much. I'll try swapping out the Larsen 150-400-800 antenna for something with less gain, to see if that might help. If LSM isn't the issue--are there any other ideas? Front end overload?

Does anyone have actual experience with the TRX-2 on this system? Would love to hear how you overcame any issues you may have had.

I'm grateful for any suggestions you may have.

Thanks,

-Mark
 

lebrunmn

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Hamphire County, WV
Time to do the forum reply of shame, and answer my own question.

There have been a fair amount of views, but zero replies to my original message... not certain if this topic has been beaten to death or if no one has any idea on how to how solve this issue. I'm going to chose to believe the latter.

Soooo, here's what I found out about my issue... first, the scanners I used for my experiment:

WS1095 - the original mobile scanner in my car (latest firmware loaded)
TRX-2 - the updated mobile scanner in my car--was expecting wonderful things. (latest firmware loaded)
G5 - VHF + 700/800

While living in Fairfax, I used the WS1095 for my mobile. It always worked pretty well--occasional distortion, but very acceptable. When I acquired a TRX-2, I just swapped out the WS1095 for the TRX-2. I mean the TRX-2 was newer, and had some extra system functionality. I was assured that they were essentially the same scanner. I can say with first hand knowledge that's not completely true.

After several trips to Fairfax, where the TRX-2 could not copy Fairfax Co. Simulcast, nor could it copy the Loudoun Co. Simulcast, I decided the scanners weren't all that similar under the skin.

I decided to swap the WS1095 back into my car--found out along the way the the removal face plates are interchangeble, but I actually like the limited keys found on the WS1095 for less driving distraction. Finally, I tested the WS1095 against my new G5, and found that it did a very respectable job with minimal garbled comms. The G5, of course, was flawless.

So my recommendation is that if you're attempting to copy a Simulcast system, you should most certainly not hang your hat on the TRX-2... of course, YMMV. Not to worry, the TRX-2 is now on my monitoring post--far, far away from any simulcast systems, and otherwise works very well--even with multi-site trunking.

Hope this helps someone.
 

Johnnydollar2

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Oct 31, 2007
Messages
1,119
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IL
Yes, sadly, the Whistlers are not doing what they were advertised for. Even when you show folks video proof like I have on my own and included other's videos vs (anything) they delete your comments and videos here for some reason. Your advice is correct. It's why after a 20 county trip TWICE* I gave up on Whistler "products" and got a G5 pager. Even my OLD Pro96 from 2004 beats the newer* Whistler 10 years newer* ALL you can do is shrug your shoulders as the Whistler reps did AT one befuddled owner at a recent Electronics show.
 

ResQguy

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Dec 19, 2002
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Just pointing out, Fairfax has NO Phase-2 talkgroups. I don't know why the database says that in the title.
 

lebrunmn

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Dec 19, 2002
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381
Location
Hamphire County, WV
You would not be the first person to report that his TRX radio struggled to pick up anything on a simulcast system.
Yes, I've read some of those reports. But "struggling" would have been an improvement... I thought that there was something amiss with the scanner itself. The scanner literally didn't pick up a single transmission, and never even registered that it was trunking. I wasn't prepared to see an earlier model scanner perform so much better.

I guess if there's a good outcome to all of this, it's knowing that I'm not alone.
 

gmclam

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Sep 15, 2006
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Fair Oaks, CA
The TRX-2 is the base version of the TRX-1 hand-held. I just wrote a lengthy review of EZ Scan and the TRX-1. I am in direct communication with Whistler on many of the issues, but the simulcast issue cannot be solved by hardware. There are lots of threads here on RR regarding these issues. It's sad.
 

lebrunmn

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Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
381
Location
Hamphire County, WV
The TRX-2 is the base version of the TRX-1 hand-held. I just wrote a lengthy review of EZ Scan and the TRX-1. I am in direct communication with Whistler on many of the issues, but the simulcast issue cannot be solved by hardware. There are lots of threads here on RR regarding these issues. It's sad.
Gmclam,

I read your review and found it to be excellent. It was spot on. I really appreciate the time and research you put into the article.

Thanks for helping the digitally challenged.
 

mejnetguru

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Mar 5, 2013
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NoVA
I monitor Fairfax County from not too far from your location and it never has worked right on my TRX. I don't believe it's the simulcast issue per-se (see my other posts), at least not entirely. I have major problems with many P25 systems on the TRX. STARS (VHF, non-simulcast) is just as bad, if not worse than, FC 800 simulcast. Analog systems work fine on the TRX. Now there are lots of variables but I pretty much gave up on the TRX for digital listening.

My 10xxx series (including converted PSR) Whistlers work perfectly on Fairfax county and on STARS and on pretty much everything else, so I use them most of the time.

Remember, while the internals of the TRX1/2 are different than the 10xx series devices, the only user-facing difference is NXDN. That's it. I can even share configs between my various Whistlers (including the TRX) without issues. I might even recommend to folks considering SDS's, to consider the older Whistlers too (but avoid the TRX)
 

gmclam

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Sep 15, 2006
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Fair Oaks, CA
I monitor Fairfax County from not too far from your location and it never has worked right on my TRX. I don't believe it's the simulcast issue per-se (see my other posts), at least not entirely. I have major problems with many P25 systems on the TRX. STARS (VHF, non-simulcast) is just as bad, if not worse than, FC 800 simulcast. Analog systems work fine on the TRX. Now there are lots of variables but I pretty much gave up on the TRX for digital listening.
Generally speaking I experienced the same thing. MOT II systems were OK (with low audio) but the TRX had significant issues with P25. At home there is a P25 multi-site system about 80 miles away and a VHF P25 trunked system about 15 miles away that my PSR-500 has no trouble with, but the TRX was deaf. Both running on the same distributed antenna system.

I believe one issue is that the TRX locks onto the wrong tower. Each of these systems have multiple sites within reception range and all it takes is locking onto a tower with good signal but lousy decode rate. The real issue for me is there's no Analyze function in the TRX so you can see the decode rate, although there are settings in EZ Scan which determine when to switch towers. If either of these systems was Phase II therefore requiring the TRX (over the PSR-500) then my next step would be to only program one site at a time until I figure out which works better.

Remember, while the internals of the TRX1/2 are different than the 10xx series devices, the only user-facing difference is NXDN. That's it. I can even share configs between my various Whistlers (including the TRX) without issues. I might even recommend to folks considering SDS's, to consider the older Whistlers too (but avoid the TRX)
The other difference is P25 Phase II. The SDS is looking real good right now.
 
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