Visiting Charleston....

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troymail

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I'm in the area visiting Charleston --- realized after the first night that most fire department activity is on the Palmetto P25 system.

Reception inside my hotel room is pretty bad but during the drive in the area earlier today it was pretty good with a few exceptions...

Visited the Folly beach area -- quite a bit of system activity. Believe I was still monitoring the Charleston site.

However, when I got down to the Kiawah and Seabrook Island areas, activity dropped to nearly zero -- wasn't looking closely enough to notice if I switch over to a different site or not but I suppose that would explain the drop in activity.

Then worked my way up the coast and the activity eventually dropped off again as the active site I was receiving became McClellanville. What little activity I received (County fire dispatch) was pretty good and clear.

RR is reporting the modulation for this system as CQPSK -- is that correct? I'm a bit suprised with the poor reception I'm getting in the downtown Charleston area -- but reception out of the city is pretty good. The in-town reception reminds me of the poor reception I get back home for some LSM systems when I'm outside the area of that system - but in this case I'm right in the middle of several towers.

Also I noticed several talkgroups that appear to be analog -- I was under the impression that a P25 system is always digital --- so that has me curious.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
 
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troymail

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Disregard the question concerning analog on the Palmetto P25 -- I think there were Wildcard hits from another system (wildcard was active in all scanlists)

Still curious about the reception and modulation however....

Does anyone have an experiences listening to this system -- particularly inside the downtown area?
 
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the downtown area has awful reception but the north end and the south end around mt pleasant seen to come in good but in other areas around downtown were awful
 

troymail

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Wow - 2 alarm fire a few blocks from my hotel this morning (Meeting and Hudson Sts) -- incredibly frustrating trying to listen from inside my hotel room... I still don't know exactly where the fire was (ah, there it is: http://www.live5news.com/story/16404450/firefighters-battle-house-blaze-near-crosstown) but just after the 2nd alarm units arrived on location I was outside walking around smelling and seeing the smoke -- I could even hear the engines/pumps going and see the column of smoke -- but couldn't hear clearly what was going on. Talk about frustration!

Later in the afternoon, I visited the Folly Beach pier again (it was warm but very windy and raining yesterday) -- perfect reception from that area -- perfect.
 
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brian

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I don't have a lot of experience monitoring while in downtown Charleston, but I'm not surprised by your report. I think there are several issues working against you: the fact that it's a simulcast P25 system, the fact that it's Charleston's system, and the fact that there are a lot of other powerful transmitters downtown.

When downtown, your're in receiving range of quite a few sites of the P25 system, and it's well documented that scanners don't excel at monitoring these types of P25 systems. It's also well documented that even users of the system have complained about the performance of the system and reported numerous dead spots and other coverage problems. I think that Charleston Co approved the construction of addtional tower sites to deal wit these issues in the past year. And finally, I believe there are many other strong transmitters - paging and other trunked system sites - downtown that can easily overload a scanner's front end. Add all of that together and I think you're in a situation where monitoring isn't going to be successful.

It's worth noting that as you move to the fringes of the coverage area of the system, in Folly and Mount Pleasant, you're hearing fewer simulcast sites and you're away from the powerful downtown transmitters. There are non-simulcast systems to the north end of the county, one being in McClellanville.

Not sure what to tell you about Kiawah - I monitor from there once a year or so and get okay coverage. On Kiawah island they have combined all mobile communication carriers on a single tower, and I've found that where I stay is close to that tower and my scanner gets creamed. I have to find the "sweet spot" to null out the overloading singals and maximize reception of the P25 system.

Hope that helps.

Brian
 
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