Voting Scanner?

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SCPD

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In my area, southeastern British Columbia, many commercial repeaters at different sites simulcast the same audio, due to the mountainous terrain. RCM Police, Emergency Health Services (ambulance) and Fire Departments use multiple repeaters or repeater extenders to attain greater coverage. It would be nice to have a scanner with the capability to associate 2 or more channels and have the scanner lock onto the channel with the best signal. This may not be a useful feature on a base unit but would be handy in a mobile scanner. Does such a feature exist on any conventional scanner?
 

FLRAILMAN

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Voting scanner

I think you are mixing up a scanner with a commercial grade conventional communications system with several sites spread out over a large geographical area whereby the dispatcher pushes the button from the site offering him the strongest signal from the radio in closest proximity to that sites tower.(Whew) Repeated systems operate in a similar manner called polled voting. Your scanner will just pick up any signal on any frequency that will break squelch with full quieting. Your scanner will not know what site it is receiving the signal from unless the communications system you are monitoring has several sites that are identified by different ctcss and/or dcs codes. Maybe someone more knowlegable than I can jump in here and confirm or deny what I just said. It's 11:08PM & I'm very tired. Good luck & happy scanning.

FLRAILMAN
 

GTR8000

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Some good reading on the subject

Voting Comparators - an overview

Basically, a scanner is a single receiver in a single location, which by definition means there is nothing to "vote". Now, if you had multiple scanners (receivers) in multiple locations, and you had some form of "master controller" that would determine which scanner was receiving the simulcast signal the strongest...then that would be more inline with your idea. Obviously it's not a realistic option, and would be cost prohibitive linking them all together remotely even if it were an option.
 

SCPD

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The local Fire Department has a repeater extender on a different frequency. This extender covers an adjoining valley out of line-of-sight of the main repeater on a mountaintop. This is used to provide better coverage for portable radios. Right now I have both channels in a mobile scanner. The main repeater channel is in channel 5 and the extender frequency is in channel 6. When I am in coverage of the main channel, it stops on the stronger channel 5 first, no problem. When I travel to the area where the extender has a stronger signal, the scanner still stops on channel 5 first, noisy signal. I manually have to change to channel 6 to pick up the clearer channel.

I could counter this to some degree by turning up the squelch, but then I lose the ability to capture the other fainter channels that the scanner may pick up. This is where it would be advantageous that when the scanner stops on channel 5, it would momentarily check channel 6 to see if the signal is better and then lock on the appropriate channel.
 

GTR8000

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Ahhh, ok now I see what you're getting at. The terms "simulcast" and "multicast" are often confused, even by the experts or industry terminology usage. One refers to broadcasting an identical transmission on identical frequencies at the same time, the other refers to broadcasting an identical transmission on different frequencies at the same time. All you're looking for is a way to group X amount of channels/frequencies together, then have the scanner decide which has the strongest signal anytime a transmission is received on those grouped frequencies, and to have it lock onto that dominant signal while ignoring the rest. There are commercial radios that already have such a feature, so I suppose it would be feasible to add to a scanner.

The NYS Thruway Authority uses that concept in their mobile radios, where the repeater sites alternate the output between two frequencies to provide overlapping coverage and reduce same-frequency capture effect interference. The radios measure and compare the signal strength between the two output frequencies, and will lock on whichever is the strongest at any given time. Sounds like that's what you'd like scanners to be able to do.
 

SCPD

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Yes. This would be a great feature to see in a scanner. Highways Department here does the same thing with their repeaters. They "multicast" on many channels throughout the area and their repeaters have overlapping coverage.

How about a scanner with open source code so that we may make the mods ourselves?
 

SkipSanders

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Buy several scanners. Seriously.

Doing that, and having them each monitor a different channel, will be much cheaper than trying to buy a custom made 'channel strength voting' scanner. This is just not a 'feature' that would be desired enough to be a general purpose scanner.
 

kb2vxa

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Just to correct a slight error:
"...the dispatcher pushes the button from the site offering him the strongest signal from the radio in closest proximity to that sites tower."
The dispatch console never knows what's going on, that's the function of the "voter" which automatically selects the receive site giving the strongest signal. That's usually the case with municipal radio systems that employ a centrally located repeater and/or one at a high location and a number of "satellite" receivers scattered throughout the coverage area.

Often there is one for each patrol district which is how once upon a time I helped a certain PD determine which officer was fond of playing games with the radio. The short story is by logging what the voter indicators told me it could all be referenced, I spent a lot of lonely nights at the repeater site because as I said the dispatcher is clueless.

In any case there Western, your "problem" doesn't sound serious enough to me to be worth going through all the changes.
 

FLRAILMAN

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Good point, actually what I meant was, when our dispatcher hit the button under the flashing site light he was transmitting from that site. I remember that from watching the desk sergeant at GCT or GCS as some put it. The system operating on 161.22 MHz (AAR 74) was not a repeated system but a simplex system with numerous remoted sites spread around the Metro Ny-Ct area. I was very tired last night & was on autopilot.

FLRAILMAN
 
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N8IAA

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Simple answer: This is used in amateur radio repeaters across the country- when you have a large area to cover and have multiple antenna sites- a 'voter' (hardware added to the repeater inputs) is inserted inline to "vote" on which signal is the strongest at which site. Allowing one to access the repeater with a low power radio without having to have a gain antenna, or, use higher power to talk on the repeater. Like I said, basic answer.
Larry
 

Squad10

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In my area, southeastern British Columbia, many commercial repeaters at different sites simulcast the same audio, due to the mountainous terrain. RCM Police, Emergency Health Services (ambulance) and Fire Departments use multiple repeaters or repeater extenders to attain greater coverage. It would be nice to have a scanner with the capability to associate 2 or more channels and have the scanner lock onto the channel with the best signal. This may not be a useful feature on a base unit but would be handy in a mobile scanner. Does such a feature exist on any conventional scanner?
I’m not aware of a hobby scanner that will do what you are asking. The HYT TC-780 portable and TM-800 mobile have receiver vote scan. If carrier is detected on a (scan list) channel firstly, the radio will stop on it for the programmed Vote Delay Time, to keep a record of the RSSI on the channel. The RSSI level and Vote Delay Time is set via radio programming allowing the best RSSI channel audio to be passed to the speaker.

The TC-780 and TM-800 are only available in 136-174 and 400-520 mHz analog conventional.
 
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