Type of Scanner Needed to listen to Pal800

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I am new to listening to scanners. I would like to be able to attempt to p/u MTC FlightComm dispatches for the 3 helo's. What scanner would ya'll recommend I purc hase? Secondly, if you don't live in Spartenburg, Greenville, or Anderson, with a good outside ariel antenna could I still pick up the freq? Thanks in advance.
 

LarrySC

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The GRE/Radio Shack are most popular on a ratio of 400:1 with the Uniden digital series. The PRO-106 portable or PRO-197 B/Mo. They operate on the PAL800 system. With 62 towers statewide you dont need any special antenna. Based on where the scanner travels, tower controllers would be required for those areas.
 

brian

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I agree with Larry that the GRE/Radio Shack models are popular around here. You can find the PRO-106 and PRO-197 on sale at RS from time to time for about $300 with coupons. If you need "extras" included in your purchase, the GRE radios might be a better choice.

Regarding Palmetto 800, currently it's a mixed-mode 3600bps Smartzone system, so any trunking scanner will technically work. With rebanding slated to occur soon, you'll certainly want a radio that supports rebanding. And a full migration to P25 is in the works, but who knows when it might actually occur. For that, you'll want a digital scanner.

Regarding Flightcomm, where you are listening fromwill determine what you'll hear. LifeFlight in Anderson is dispatched on the Palmetto P25 system from what I understand, but they'll occasionally be heard on the Flightcomm talkgroup on Palmetto 800. If you don't live in earshot of the Anderson PP25 sites, you're not going to hear their dispatches. GMH MedTrans is dispatched on 38352, and you'll hear that on the Site 35 Greenville Simulcast. I don't hear that talkgroup affliliated on Site 19 Spartanburg simulcast. Regional One is dispatched on 30064 Spartanburg Air-Ground, and you'll hear that on Site 19 but probably not on other tower sites.

So, unless you're in a particularly sweet spot where you can hear all of these tower sites simultaneously, you won't be hearing all of FlightComm's dispatches. Just be cause you can hear "a" Palmetto 800 tower site doesn't mean that the talkgroups you are hoping to hear will be afflilitated with that tower site. For example, in the Upstate we can't hear dispatches for the SC Lifenet helos. And folks in the Midlands and Lowcountry aren't going to hear Flightcomm.

I hope that helps explain things. I don't want you to spend $$$ and be disappointed that you can't hear what you're expecting.
 
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Thanks Brian. That really helps a lot. I am new to this & want to learn more about it. I've never went all digital with my scanner yet. However, with everyone. Going digital I guess I best upgrade. I am looking to possibly buy a home in Iva (South Anderson County). If I bought an antenna to raise on my property would that make any difference as gaining the ability to fully hear FlightComm? In Iva I ought to hear Flight Care get dispatched yes? I am possibility gonna get disabilty & need a hobby. I love helo's & use to be in EMS years ago. Flew with Care Force when it exsisted at Richland Memorial on occaison. Miss it! So looking to listen. Thanks again.
 

brian

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I think it's certainly reasonable to expect that you'll hear the Anderson Palmetto P25 system (there is a tower site located in Starr) and the Anderson Palmetto 800 site. Probably also the Due West site. So you'll hear whatever traffic is carried on those sites at the time. With an outdoor antenna you might be able to get the Greenville Co. Palmetto 800 simulcast site, which out increase the number of agencies you'll hear.

On the Palmetto 800 Wiki page (Palmetto 800 - The RadioReference Wiki) there is a link to a Google map that plots all of the Palmetto 800 and Palmetto P25 sites. You should zoom in on the Anderson area to see your proximity to the various tower sites.

With regards to the Anderson Palmetto P25 system, keep in mind that you will absolutely need a digital scanner to monitor that system. And scanner users have reported mixed results with just about any scanner trying to monitor a P25 simulcast system like this. Some folks have no trouble, others have nothing but trouble. Some people think Unidens are better (I believe a firmware/DSP update to address that issue was released recently by Uniden), while others will tell you the GRE-made radios are better. There's no way to know what will work best for you until you try it.

Good luck.
 

kamikaze1

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when i first started i got the pro- 163 and pro-164 worked great but a year ago i noticed p25 merging in on communications so a month ago i got pro-197 and ill tell u i missed alot of traffic with 163/164 but... most of the analog traffic is fine i have both scanners the 163/164 setup for analog pal800 only then my 197 is digital channels nothing else when i mean everything i mean everything where it says ctcss etc i set everything to p25 and ill tell u ive picked up stuff i thought was only an analog channel only other banks that are not set to p25 is AAR but i have another bank with AAR set for p25 hope this helps

by far the pro-197 is beter at p25 to other radios

there will be arguements about this but for me PRO-197 is the ticket
 
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Thank you. Like I said, I am new to this & want to make it a hobby. I am hoping to buy this home in Iva. Has a study that would be great for an office. I could set it up in there & purchase an apppropriate antenna (would an old tv antenna work? Or could someone recommend a good antenna.) I will soon start getting disability & when my big backtime check comes in this is when I plan on purchasing the correct equipment. Thanks again for all the help.
 

hawkeye10

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Asking a question like this is like going into a car mechanics forum and asking which is the best motor oil to use, or in a Corvette forum and asking which is the best car wax to use.

You are going to get alot of opinions and of course all are correct. So which ever one you pick has to be the one you think you can be happy with.

I have always owned Uniden scanners so this equipment works just fine for me.

Currently I listen to the Palmetto 800 system on my BC780 for the analog stuff like the SC Mutual Aid talkgroups, Highway Patrol and others, and I use my BCD996xt for the digital stuff.

I think what it comes down to is which brand you can understand how to program. This is not plug it in, turn it on and start listening right. You will have to learn a bunch about how to program whatever you buy.

Look at the user manuals for whatever you select and then you will have a feel for the scanner.
 

LarrySC

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I would not expect you to need an antenna for the Cola Metro area. Please dont connect it to a TV antenna. After all the coments it's down to two [2] choices. Uniden and GRE. Since R/Shack sells the GRE it's a good idea to do business with locals. The software used for GRE's seems a bit more user friendly. There are plenty of people in the area that will help you with a good program.
 

angelofwar

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I recently got my first "decent" scanner, and luckily, it was programmed by the guy I got it from. ANyways, this may help you. It's a Radio Shack Pro-160, which, while analog, and relatively cheap, can pick up most of the Palmetto 800 tx's. From what I gather, it's mostly the military, including where I work, that use the P25 system, which can not be picked up on the 160.
 
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Thank you for all your comments. They have ALL been very helpful & appreciated. I will certainly keep everything in mind & ask additional questions once I buy my scanner if I run into issues. I certainly found the correct forum for experienced help. Thanks again.
 
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