Uniden BCDx36HP-FM/NFM

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JoeyC

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I hate making yet another thread about these scanners but since my original question went unanswered in a somewhat restricted thread, I will ask again as I am trying to understand better.

UPMan: Does making a change to the Band Default to FM on the scanner have the same effect as changing the site modulation (in a Motorola Type II system) to FM in the Sentinel software?
 

whsbuss

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I hate making yet another thread about these scanners but since my original question went unanswered in a somewhat restricted thread, I will ask again as I am trying to understand better.

UPMan: Does making a change to the Band Default to FM on the scanner have the same effect as changing the site modulation (in a Motorola Type II system) to FM in the Sentinel software?
Good question. I see you have issues with Motorola SmartZone II as I do.
 

JoeyC

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Good question. I see you have issues with Motorola SmartZone II as I do.
Yes, and after reviewing the results in the other thread (and my own personal experience with the P25 systems in the area), it would appear that for the most part, the scanners were 'tuned' to receive Phase I/II systems optimally and as the type II SmartZone is nearing its end-of-life, it was not considered.
 

AZScanner

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Give a listen - left channel is 536HP.

Montgomery County Fire
Well, I don't know if it's this particular computer or the web player or what but I'm hearing the same scanners on both left and right channels, so that doesn't help me much. Clue me in, what am I listening for? Digital dropouts, squelch tails, motorboating, something else? So far both your scanners sound fine to me, but I'm not sure what the problem is so I'm not sure what to listen for as an example of the issue. I heard some clicking, was that it? Again, just not sure what I'm listening for.

-AZ
 

whsbuss

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Well, I don't know if it's this particular computer or the web player or what but I'm hearing the same scanners on both left and right channels, so that doesn't help me much. Clue me in, what am I listening for? Digital dropouts, squelch tails, motorboating, something else? So far both your scanners sound fine to me, but I'm not sure what the problem is so I'm not sure what to listen for as an example of the issue. I heard some clicking, was that it? Again, just not sure what I'm listening for.

-AZ
First, not much traffic today. Left channel is the 536HP monitoring Fire (digital TGIDs). Basically garbled transmissions, missed beginnings, poor decoding. Check the feed details for more info.
 

AZScanner

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First, not much traffic today. Left channel is the 536HP monitoring Fire (digital TGIDs). Basically garbled transmissions, missed beginnings, poor decoding. Check the feed details for more info.
Ah, gotcha. I'm perusing the site options I have for our Smartzone system. Here's a few settings I'd recommend tweaking (read this whole post first, then play with things):

1. P25 waiting time: If you're missing the beginning of transmissions, try adjusting that to a lower value.

2. Set Modulation: I'm not sure if this would make any difference or not because of the band level settings, but I'd set this to FM also just to see if that helps. Mine is set to Auto, which should use the band level settings (UPMan please correct me if this is wrong). You might have it forced to NFM which will override whatever the bandlevel setting is, most likely.

3. P25 Threshold mode and level: Change the mode to manual and try adjusting the level setting to a higher or lower number - you'll want to experiment here or use the P25 Adjustment Mode (pg 59 of the manual) to determine the optimal value. I will confess that I've played with adjustment mode but don't yet fully grasp how it works or where to look for the "optimal value" the manual talks about. I set it to 7 for all the sites used by the troublesome RWC system we have out here and it seemed to help a bit. I'm going to experiment more with this myself this weekend to try and squeeze every last ounce of performance I can out of the scanner.

4. Edit Band Plan: You might need to tinker in here a bit if you're missing transmissions altogether as the scanner may be tuning to the wrong frequency. I didn't have to mess with it, but you might need to depending on how your area's SmartZone system is set up. I don't know.

Your mileage may vary - this might help or it might make things worse. No idea. I would make note of what settings you have now first before messing with any of this stuff, just in case you need to revert back to what you had before.

Good luck!
-AZ

.
 

whsbuss

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Ah, gotcha. I'm perusing the site options I have for our Smartzone system. Here's a few settings I'd recommend tweaking (read this whole post first, then play with things):

1. P25 waiting time: If you're missing the beginning of transmissions, try adjusting that to a lower value.

2. Set Modulation: I'm not sure if this would make any difference or not because of the band level settings, but I'd set this to FM also just to see if that helps. Mine is set to Auto, which should use the band level settings (UPMan please correct me if this is wrong). You might have it forced to NFM which will override whatever the bandlevel setting is, most likely.

3. P25 Threshold mode and level: Change the mode to manual and try adjusting the level setting to a higher or lower number - you'll want to experiment here or use the P25 Adjustment Mode (pg 59 of the manual) to determine the optimal value. I will confess that I've played with adjustment mode but don't yet fully grasp how it works or where to look for the "optimal value" the manual talks about. I set it to 7 for all the sites used by the troublesome RWC system we have out here and it seemed to help a bit. I'm going to experiment more with this myself this weekend to try and squeeze every last ounce of performance I can out of the scanner.

4. Edit Band Plan: You might need to tinker in here a bit if you're missing transmissions altogether as the scanner may be tuning to the wrong frequency. I didn't have to mess with it, but you might need to depending on how your area's SmartZone system is set up. I don't know.

Your mileage may vary - this might help or it might make things worse. No idea. I would make note of what settings you have now first before messing with any of this stuff, just in case you need to revert back to what you had before.

Good luck!
-AZ

.
Thanks for the tips. Will give it a go over the weekend.
 

JoeyC

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1. P25 waiting time has no bearing on the ability of my scanner to start decoding what the 796 decodes immediately. I have it set to 0ms which is no change from 400ms (or 300ms where I usually have left it).

2. This is the gist of the question I am posing here that UPMan is ignoring for whatever reason. When I change the modulation at the site level in the software I have much better decoding results (less clipping, less crackling, less delayed unmute decoding) than with it set to Auto or NFM. When I change the Band Default for the 850 band in the scanner to FM I have similar results as changing the modulation at the site level in Sentinel. My question is, what if any difference are the two? Its very hard to say with complete certainty but it would appear that I get slightly, and I mean very slightly better decoding when changing the software to reflect FM than to change the Band Default in the scanner to say FM.

3. I have settled on 10 for this system. Gives the fewest errors and overall best voice quality.

4. This is not the problem.
 

AZScanner

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2. This is the gist of the question I am posing here that UPMan is ignoring for whatever reason. When I change the modulation at the site level in the software I have much better decoding results (less clipping, less crackling, less delayed unmute decoding) than with it set to Auto or NFM. When I change the Band Default for the 850 band in the scanner to FM I have similar results as changing the modulation at the site level in Sentinel. My question is, what if any difference are the two? Its very hard to say with complete certainty but it would appear that I get slightly, and I mean very slightly better decoding when changing the software to reflect FM than to change the Band Default in the scanner to say FM.
I can't speak for UPMan of course, but I think I might be able to answer at least what the software is doing. If you go into the Edit Sites submenu for your system and look at the site settings for each site, you'll see the setting I referred to. This is different than the band level default. You can leave the band level default to NFM but force a site to use FM mode - I just confirmed it on my end. So that's probably what Sentinel is doing.

-AZ
 

whsbuss

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I can't speak for UPMan of course, but I think I might be able to answer at least what the software is doing. If you go into the Edit Sites submenu for your system and look at the site settings for each site, you'll see the setting I referred to. This is different than the band level default. You can leave the band level default to NFM but force a site to use FM mode - I just confirmed it on my end. So that's probably what Sentinel is doing.

-AZ
Well that poses a question. If UPMan is asking for data on NFM vs FM what setting overrides? If you set the band default (as he suggests) yet Sentinel has NFM for the site, is it really in FM mode? This could skew his data.
 

whsbuss

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1. P25 waiting time has no bearing on the ability of my scanner to start decoding what the 796 decodes immediately. I have it set to 0ms which is no change from 400ms (or 300ms where I usually have left it).

2. This is the gist of the question I am posing here that UPMan is ignoring for whatever reason. When I change the modulation at the site level in the software I have much better decoding results (less clipping, less crackling, less delayed unmute decoding) than with it set to Auto or NFM. When I change the Band Default for the 850 band in the scanner to FM I have similar results as changing the modulation at the site level in Sentinel. My question is, what if any difference are the two? Its very hard to say with complete certainty but it would appear that I get slightly, and I mean very slightly better decoding when changing the software to reflect FM than to change the Band Default in the scanner to say FM.

3. I have settled on 10 for this system. Gives the fewest errors and overall best voice quality.

4. This is not the problem.
JoeyC,

Don't be shy or intimidated with the request not to post to UPMan's sticky. Ask your question as it pertains directly to the issue. See if he answers directly.
 

PiccoIntegra

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1. P25 waiting time has no bearing on the ability of my scanner to start decoding what the 796 decodes immediately. I have it set to 0ms which is no change from 400ms (or 300ms where I usually have left it).
P25 waiting time is used for mixed analog and digital talkgroups. If the talkgroup's Audio Type is set individually to Analog or Digital, this setting will have no effect. Looking at the talkgroups for RCS in Sentinel, they're all set for their respective types. So unless you set them to Auto, don't bother with this setting.

When I change the modulation at the site level in the software I have much better decoding results (less clipping, less crackling, less delayed unmute decoding) than with it set to Auto or NFM. When I change the Band Default for the 850 band in the scanner to FM I have similar results as changing the modulation at the site level in Sentinel. My question is, what if any difference are the two?
Well, you pretty much answered your own question here. Setting the modulation type at the site level to Auto will use the Band Default value, at least that what should be happening. Specifying NFM or FM at the site level will over-ride the Band Default value.
 

JoeyC

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P25 waiting time is used for mixed analog and digital talkgroups. If the talkgroup's Audio Type is set individually to Analog or Digital, this setting will have no effect. Looking at the talkgroups for RCS in Sentinel, they're all set for their respective types. So unless you set them to Auto, don't bother with this setting.
I haven't as the issue I'm having doesn't present itself with symptoms that P25 wait time would remedy.

Well, you pretty much answered your own question here. Setting the modulation type at the site level to Auto will use the Band Default value, at least that what should be happening. Specifying NFM or FM at the site level will over-ride the Band Default value.
And that is what I am asking Uniden because like I said, I am not exactly seeing just that.
 

K6CDO

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2. ... When I change the modulation at the site level in the software I have much better decoding results (less clipping, less crackling, less delayed unmute decoding) than with it set to Auto or NFM. When I change the Band Default for the 850 band in the scanner to FM I have similar results as changing the modulation at the site level in Sentinel. ...
As one who [A] knows a thing or two about the 700 MHz and 800 MHz spectrum, and the San Diego County - Imperial County RCS in particular, and is considering obtaining (I do not yet have one, hence no hands-on experience) one or more x36HP units, let me ask Joey's question a different way:

Why does the radio / software ship with the 800 MHz band setting defaulted to NFM (2.5 kHz transmitter deviation) when the band operates FM (4.0 or 4.5 kHz transmit deviation)? Or are there additional parameters in the NFM/FM settings that deal with things other than deviation / receiver audio recovery?

Don
 

AA6IO

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My best decoding for our problem OCCS system in Orange County, California with respect to P25 is all sites set to FM, P25 manual 10, and P25 wait time zero sec. Not perfect on this system, but a lot better than with NFM, P25 auto, and P25 wait 400 msec. As for FM band default vs FM on each site, I tried band default and results were not as good. So set all sites to FM. Why it works better, have no idea.
All other P25 in LA Basin including LA Police, LA Cities P25 channels, and LA ICIS work very well with very low error rates. Overall, I am very happy with my two 536HPs and one 436HP and look forward to new firmware, WiFi, and analyze features. Love the recording ability.
Steve AA6IO
 

JoeyC

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Why does the radio / software ship with the 800 MHz band setting defaulted to NFM (2.5 kHz transmitter deviation) when the band operates FM (4.0 or 4.5 kHz transmit deviation)? Or are there additional parameters in the NFM/FM settings that deal with things other than deviation / receiver audio recovery?

Don
Thanks for asking the question in a more technical fashion.
If you want to see the thing up close, I'd be happy to let you see it.
Its a really sweet scanner, and it sounds really really good. I just would like it to perform at least as good as my 15 year old scanners do.
 

whsbuss

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My best decoding for our problem OCCS system in Orange County, California with respect to P25 is all sites set to FM, P25 manual 10, and P25 wait time zero sec. Not perfect on this system, but a lot better than with NFM, P25 auto, and P25 wait 400 msec. As for FM band default vs FM on each site, I tried band default and results were not as good. So set all sites to FM. Why it works better, have no idea.
All other P25 in LA Basin including LA Police, LA Cities P25 channels, and LA ICIS work very well with very low error rates. Overall, I am very happy with my two 536HPs and one 436HP and look forward to new firmware, WiFi, and analyze features. Love the recording ability.
Steve AA6IO
Is the P25 wait time and P25 manual setting settable in Sentinel? Or do you have to do it on the scanner each time you reload.
 
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