Would the PSR-400 help me?

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OregonEMT

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Hello Everyone,

Here's my situation. I'm a Volunteer at a neighboring counties EMS station. (My home county is union based and won't allow volunteers.) Their ASA is about 40 miles away from my home. It's fairly flat land out here, East of the Mountains. I currently have a handheld Radio Shack Pro-95 scanner. I primarily keep it in my vehicle (until I get my mobile unit, then the Pro-95 will stay on me when I'm on duty since there aren't always extra radios.) Anyway, I got an external Radio Shack magnet mount antenna which works wonders, but I still have a hard time hearing the frequencies in the neighboring county when I'm in my home town.

Hence the title of this post, would the PSR-400 with the external antenna do better than the Pro-95 would with otherwise the same setup?

At the very least the PSR-400 will display text ID for the channel, whereas with my Pro-95 I have to be able to look at the freqs and figure out who's talking based on memory and unit ID's.

Thanks in advance for your input!
 

fmon

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Hello Everyone,

Here's my situation. I'm a Volunteer at a neighboring counties EMS station. (My home county is union based and won't allow volunteers.) Their ASA is about 40 miles away from my home. It's fairly flat land out here, East of the Mountains. I currently have a handheld Radio Shack Pro-95 scanner. I primarily keep it in my vehicle (until I get my mobile unit, then the Pro-95 will stay on me when I'm on duty since there aren't always extra radios.) Anyway, I got an external Radio Shack magnet mount antenna which works wonders, but I still have a hard time hearing the frequencies in the neighboring county when I'm in my home town.

Hence the title of this post, would the PSR-400 with the external antenna do better than the Pro-95 would with otherwise the same setup?

At the very least the PSR-400 will display text ID for the channel, whereas with my Pro-95 I have to be able to look at the freqs and figure out who's talking based on memory and unit ID's.

Thanks in advance for your input!
Pro-95 will display alpha tags on line 3 for conventional frequencies and line 4 for trunking ID's.
A better antenna may be needed for more distant coms.
 

gmclam

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Hence the title of this post, would the PSR-400 with the external antenna do better than the Pro-95 would with otherwise the same setup?
I have both of these radios, and generally speaking, I get far better reception with the PRO-95. The one thing the PRO-95 does not provide is CT/DC decoding, therefore I dedicate my PRO-95s to trunk tracking.

At the very least the PSR-400 will display text ID for the channel, whereas with my Pro-95 I have to be able to look at the freqs and figure out who's talking based on memory and unit ID's.
The PRO-95 is actually an earlier model of the same radio. It also has alpha tags. If your PRO-95 is not showing alpha tags, it was not programmed correctly.

Are you using WIN95 to program your PRO-95? It is a free program and greatly aids in getting it set up correctly.

BTW, if you like hand-helds, the PSR-300 is the latest model of this radio. It is the same radio as the PSR-400 but in a different package.

When it comes to reception, a good antenna is the most significant factor.
 

OregonEMT

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Thanks for the input fellas. I double checked my radio and realized I made a newbie mistake (because that's what I am :). I own a Pro-94! Different critter, no?

I also realized I forgot to mention, being out in the boonies, our freqs are right now anyway in the 154-155 mhz ranges. I can't imagine we'll be moving to trunked, muchless digital any time soon.

Is the PSR-400 still a similar radio to the Pro-94 (B model, with the PC jack, which I have yet to use)? I would imagine the feature set would be a nice upgrade even if the reception is not. I'll certainly look at the PSR-300 model as well.

I'll be digging through some old posts here to learn about better vehicle mounted antennas, but I'm open to suggestions too. :)

Thanks again!
 

UPMan

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Note that at 40 miles, you are likely "over the edge of the world" even if there isn't a hill in sight. VHF (and higher frequencies) are pretty much line-of-sight, meaning if there is any major structure, foliage, or the earth between you and the transmit antenna, you aren't likely to receive (especially at the range you are at). You can generally improve range by increasing your own antenna height. You can estimate line-of-sight ranges using the tool linked in this thread:

http://forums.radioreference.com/general-scanning-forum/115818-how-far-can-i-receive.html
 

gmclam

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ThanI double checked my radio and realized I made a newbie mistake (because that's what I am :). I own a Pro-94! Different critter, no?
There is a HUGE difference between the PRO-94 and PRO-95. They are even made by different companies.

Is the PSR-400 still a similar radio to the Pro-94 (B model, with the PC jack, which I have yet to use)?
There's really no comparison. If you still want a hand-held, then look at the PSR-300. The PSR-400 & PSR-300 have the same display, and are the same radio, just built in to a different form factor case.

I just use a mag mount on my truck. The difference in reception between that an the rubber antenna on the scanner is day and night. Some people ask about mounting on their trunk; note that the higher you get the antenna, the better the reception. If you only want to receive in the VHF hi band, then get an antenna dedicated to that band and you'll likely get better performance compared to the typical antenna that covers all frequencies.
 

OregonEMT

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Thanks GM, I appreciate the info. I'm going to look into the details of the radios. And thanks for the link to that post with the google tools. Very cool! With the cell tower at about 3000' I can get reception down the Highway 97 corridor from Bend nearly to John Day. Lots of blind spots, but that's okay; I typically only listen when I'm on the highway. :)

My next big question is what do you do with the wire for the antenna when you run it up to your roof? I'm the sort who would want to drill a hole for the wire and fill it and seal it so it looks neat lol

Also I've been looking at the Radio Shack Pro-163 mobile or Pro-164 handheld, but they don't have CT/DC (PL?) decoding that the GRE's do. Now, being so new to this stuff, I'm not %100 clear on what use this feature is for me, but it sounds like it has to do with tone outs, which is how we are initiated.
 
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Jakemcgraw

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QUOTE:{ I've been looking at the Radio Shack Pro-163 mobile or Pro-164 handheld, but they don't have CT/DC (PL?) decoding that the GRE's do. Now, being so new to this stuff, I'm not %100 clear on what use this feature is for me, but it sounds like it has to do with tone outs, which is how we are initiated.} ................................... Yes the Radio Shack Pro-164 and Pro-163 also have the CTCSS/DSC Decoding as they are also made by GRE, and are basically the same radio's as the Gre 300 and 400, just different looks and made for radio shack
 

OregonEMT

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Thanks! I went ahead and got the Pro-163 from my local Radio Shack. Since it's the same as the PSR-400 and comes with the vehicle mounting sleeve, it was a good deal for $180 as it was on sale. It would have cost me more and taken longer to receive if I had purchased the PSR-400, since the DIN sleeve and keys is an extra $20 online.

Radio Shack did not have the PC cable however, so I'm stuck programming by hand until I order one. I'll let you know how it works out!
 

UPMan

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CTCSS / DCS allow multiple agencies or user groups to use the same frequency within receive range of each other without hearing each other. They will only hear traffic if the transmission includes the CTCSS or DCS "tone" that matches their settings. For a scanner user, you can use it to program each agency into its own channel so that you can more easily identify who is talking when multiple agencies share a frequency this way.

This isn't really related to tone-outs...in fact, best practice is for any tone to be suppressed during a tone out (some CTCSS / DCS could interfere with the audio tone decoding).

Uniden models include "Fire Tone-Out" that allows you to put the scanner in a standby mode watching for a tone-out page. Basically, it puts it in "Minitor Mode" (at about the same cost as a Minitor pager with the added benefits of scanning when you don't have it on standby).
 

OregonEMT

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Thanks UPMan, I understand now. :)

I have to say one thing: WOW!
This radio is incredible! It took me a few hours of programming since I don't have the PC cable, but I have everything set up and it works like magic! The reception is beautiful, even as I'm sitting in my home in the shadow of a hill. The programming was simple enough - much easier than the Pro-94 I'd say.

Tomorrow it gets mounted in the vehicle.
 

Jakemcgraw

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Hi, OregonEMT...Glad to hear you like your new piece of equipment, they are nice scanners,,,i have the psr-400 which is about the same,,,reception and sound quality are excellent in my opinion.......Happy scanning buddy !
 
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