Uniden Firmware update is out - SC21 reception?

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sixtytwo

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Uniden has released their firmware update for P25. It looks like it re-enables P25 audio adjustments.

I'd appreciate user reports, especially on SC21 or other simulcast P25 systems...

TIA

62
 

werinshades

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Hmmm...been out 4 days and no other replies? Well here goes mine...

Downloaded the update Friday and was all set to be impressed. Unfortunately it didn't go as planned. Followed the "suggested" settings then opened up my Starcom 21 systems (Site 102...CC 774.34375) and was thinking "maybe this will be it". Within 5 minutes, the garbling started (Those in simulcast site hell will understand), and the same symptoms were there. Also tried the settings on my 396XT and had the same issue, so ruled out outdoor antenna issues, etc.

Next step...time to tweak!!! Have been doing this over the past 3 days and have had no luck. I can't say it's worse, but not better as I expected. I was thinking Uniden was going to add some algorithm or some other "internal tweak" that would help decipher these systems better. Adding the P25 Adjust Level and P25 Adjust Mode settings were in the 996T already and was problematic then too on this site. I've had a few others with these scanners in this area previously had the issue too, so ruled out my scanner or location.

Next step was to watch the ERR rate as it monitored the system. For those that have never expierienced a true simulcast system, it's pretty wild to watch. ERR codes will flucuate from 0-64 all in one transmission...hence the garble and inaudible. What's funny though, with the Radio ID feature, you will still see the unit transmitting, but no audio coming out of the scanner. (Ex..Display will show Chgo. C-Disp console transmitting...ERR will show 64-48-24-0. {No audio...garble, garble...transmission cleaerer, clear as a bell}.

In my unprofessional, non-Uniden bashing opinion (Still like the DMA scanners from Uniden), it won't hurt the scanner to download the update. As I have known from many years, these simulcast systems are very "location-dependent" as to your individual reception. If you're in an area like mine (Chicago-west of Midway Airport), you will probably have similar symptoms. If you're in an area that doesn't have this many sites firing different transmissions at your scanner at the same time, you won't have any issues. Many are reporting better results in diffrerent areas. Obviously, no one tested here. I guess i'll just have to wait for the Uniden super-duper digital decoding scanner to come out to get the optimum results I seek.
 

werinshades

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I was going to grab an 996xt but maybe I will keep my 996t. I have no problem with starcom here even with the back of set ant.
Simulcast systems are very location dependent as I have found out with my 396XT travels. I was traveling down I 294 last summer from the north, had the 396XT with me and thought I had a XTS5000 radio with me it sounded so good. As I inched closer to "simulcast hell", the old Starcom21 system reappaered.

If you have a "T" Model and it's working well, and have no desire to see the Radio ID's or any other minor improvements, keep what you have and wait till the dream digital scanner comes out.
 

RoninJoliet

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This is some what like werinshades only backwards...I live in Joliet , T102-So Cook is my best tower on my 996XT and RS197 bases, it has 98% decoding...Now since they changed and added more sites to T101-Dupage my 996XT which was perfect before this happened was perfect and now i cannot even receive T101 on the 996XT, it comes in 85% decoding on one RS197 with a outside antenna...I liv near T113-Will Co, its awful on all scanners except on my 396XT in "sweet spots" in the house using the "stock" rubber duck which i thought was crap...It (stock) duck works better than the RS800 duck except for long distance Motorola Type11 analog systems which the RS800duck works better...Now reading this im not sure i want to do the firmware change....Another guy in your area werinshades =Robert Klamp has reported good luck with the download but there are alot of if's concerning his location etc....
 

werinshades

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This is some what like werinshades only backwards...I live in Joliet , T102-So Cook is my best tower on my 996XT and RS197 bases, it has 98% decoding...Now since they changed and added more sites to T101-Dupage my 996XT which was perfect before this happened was perfect and now i cannot even receive T101 on the 996XT, it comes in 85% decoding on one RS197 with a outside antenna...I liv near T113-Will Co, its awful on all scanners except on my 396XT in "sweet spots" in the house using the "stock" rubber duck which i thought was crap...It (stock) duck works better than the RS800 duck except for long distance Motorola Type11 analog systems which the RS800duck works better...Now reading this im not sure i want to do the firmware change....Another guy in your area werinshades =Robert Klamp has reported good luck with the download but there are alot of if's concerning his location etc....
Shouldn't be any problem downloading it as your current settings stay after the update. You have to manually change them post-update. Reception hasn't worsened, but did not hear any of the improvements other have here in simulcast hell.
 

sixtytwo

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Thanks for the post, confirms my fears that no one can actually fix the problem at this time.

Sixtytwo
 

RoninJoliet

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People on the Uniden forum seem to be having very good luck with the new firmware around the country but not much response on CARMA board about Starcom??
 

sixtytwo

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People on the Uniden forum seem to be having very good luck with the new firmware around the country
I'm attributing this to placebo effect for the most part. Vast majority of scanner users won't be able to do a valid A/B comparison.

Basically, they re-implemented a manual tweak that had existed in the prior line of scanners, this tweak is good for some users but it's not a fix in any way.

Explains why Paul was so quiet about it, he knew it wasn't much of an update. Uniden had to do something with the uproar that was going on, and this is what they could do in a short timeframe. IIRC both Uniden and GRE get their decoders from DSVI so if DSVI is the root of the problem, well, there's nothing either manufacturer can do unless DSVI does something.

Oh well.
 

RoninJoliet

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I did speak with some CARMA menbers and there decoding did go from off the wall to 0-3 but it seems like how close to the towers and what area your in.....
 

MikeyC

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My purely non-scientific observation of T113 as I drove through Will County on I-55 is that, with the threshold set to 11, I picked up more traffic than I have previously. That's with my 996XT mounted in the dash and connected to a Larsen KG3E825UD glass-mount antenna.

Now of course it could just be the weather, the way the wind was blowing, or attenuation of signals due to pine tree needles, but it did *seem better*. That being said, traffic was still garbled at the I-55/I-80 interchange on T113.

T101 decoded fine, but then again T101 has always decoded fine for me.
 

RoninJoliet

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Thanks , that gives us another good opinion....Lately here in Joliet i have found T113 to be better on my 396XT using the "stock" duck rather than the RS800 duck but on my base 996XT with outside antenna same dropouts....T102-So Cook on and off CC, T101-Dupage now totally gone and T125-Grundy Co=PERFECT Decoding....
 

ERICMYERS

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A directional antenna on a base system made all the difference for me. I built a 771mhz tuned yagi that I mounted up in the attic. It took some fiddling with which direction to aim it before I beat the multipath/simulcast error issue, but once it was dialed in, all good. The trick is to get the attenuation of the most offending tower and gain on a different one - not necessarily aiming for the closest one, but the best combination.

Have since put that 996T in my F150 and am running a temporary antenna setup - travelling between Joliet and Kankakee every day, I can say that decode varies quite widely, and is more stable from further away from 'multipath hell'.

have not done the download/update, so can't report on that. Just wanted to put in my .02 on using a directional antenna in multipath resolution.
 

werinshades

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I'm attributing this to placebo effect for the most part. Vast majority of scanner users won't be able to do a valid A/B comparison.

Basically, they re-implemented a manual tweak that had existed in the prior line of scanners, this tweak is good for some users but it's not a fix in any way.

Explains why Paul was so quiet about it, he knew it wasn't much of an update. Uniden had to do something with the uproar that was going on, and this is what they could do in a short timeframe. IIRC both Uniden and GRE get their decoders from DSVI so if DSVI is the root of the problem, well, there's nothing either manufacturer can do unless DSVI does something.

Oh well.
Very much agree on all points. Who is DSVI?
 

sixtytwo

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Oops, dyslexic sometimes am I - DVSI.

They supply the decoding hardware and firmware for Uniden and GRE, so I understand.
 
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