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Old 04-12-2017, 2:26 AM
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Default Whistler scanners unable to track new VHF P2 system

Hello all,

I have a very strange issue that I'm wondering if anyone has seen before. I have been monitoring a new VHF Phase 2 system that has recently come online within the past month:

Hawaii County Public Safety System Trunking System, Varies, Hawaii - Scanner Frequencies

I have no problems at all monitoring this system with a Uniden BCD996P2, an HP-2 and a BCD436HP. I also have a couple of OP25 installations on laptops that I am able to monitor the system on as well. However, I have a Pro-668 and TRX-1 that for some reason will not track this system at all. What I mean by that is they will lock on the control channel, but there is no indication of any voice or talkgroup activity whatsoever. The behavior is similar to if you try to monitor a P2 system on a scanner that is not capable of decoding that type of system. This is not a situation where the Unidens receive the system "better" than the RS/Whistler or something like that, the Pro-668 and TRX-1 get nothing at all. The T is blinking with a strong signal, but so sign of any activity during transmissions.

I've tried many of the usual suggestions such as turning on attenuation and experimenting with the data decode threshold values with no success.

I am just curious if anyone has run across anything like there where a particular brand of scanner will not receive a P2 system at all.
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Old 04-12-2017, 9:39 AM
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I wonder if you enabled FlexStep whether that would help? Possibly the frequencies the control channel are telling the scanner to tune are not recognized frequencies when FlexStep is disabled?

Shawn
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:16 AM
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I also had trouble with the slater and moswin p25 phase2 systems on my recent trip to st.louis...my hp2 did great...my 1080 was silent..it was aggravating...I thought it was a programming issue,but when I got back to Illinois,all my programming looked good
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScannerSK View Post
I wonder if you enabled FlexStep whether that would help? Possibly the frequencies the control channel are telling the scanner to tune are not recognized frequencies when FlexStep is disabled?

Shawn
Hi Shawn, thank you for the suggestion. I just tried enabling the Flex Step option in the global settings and unfortunately it did not make a difference.
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Old 04-12-2017, 12:53 PM
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I will talk about the elephant in the room .. "overloading the front end of the radio"

It happens a lot more than you think. And yes .. even on a Uniden. My 536HP needs a notch filter or else it will crater as well.

I always giggle when I hear people saying "my scanner is not receiving anything, and then put a bigger antenna on it", or "I want my scanner to be more sensitive as I am not receiving anything".

These radios are very susceptible to the problem.
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Old 04-12-2017, 1:04 PM
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Standard library imports for Uniden and Whistler load ALL sites for a given system.

Uniden will try to scan all of the imported/programmed sites.

Whistler will try to find the (first?) imported/programmed site that has the best/acceptable reception and stay on that site. This could potentially be a lesser used site with different or little activity.

Which site(s) is the Uniden receiving?

Which site(s) are you close(st) to?

I always recommend programming each site as if it is a separate system. Assign a copy of all system talkgroups to each site. Put each site and it's copy of the talkgroups into a separate scanlist. This way, you can enable/disable sites as you wish. This will also help to determine which site(s) the Whistler can and/or is currently receiving.
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Old 04-12-2017, 1:32 PM
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Agreed, I currently only have 1 site programmed, the Honokaa site which I am very close to. Which did make me think about the overloading of the front end issue, however I've driven further away from the site also to see if that would help but unfortunately not. I've also programmed the Waimea, Moanuiahea, Hilo and Pepeekeo sites separately and tested at varying distances with no luck on any of those. It certainly could be a VHF front end issue, but I would think I would see something pop up at some point, even if not perfect. The Unidens are able to receive all these sites with no problem.
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Old 04-12-2017, 1:36 PM
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Is the Whistler even trying to switch to a voice channel?

The only other thing that I can think of (beyond possible simulcast issues which may not be a factor for this system best I can tell) would be to verify that the trunking tables are set to Autofil.
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Old 04-12-2017, 1:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
Is the Whistler even trying to switch to a voice channel?



The only other thing that I can think of (beyond possible simulcast issues which may not be a factor for this system best I can tell) would be to verify that the trunking tables are set to Autofil.


No, there is no indication of voice channel activity at all. Tables are definitely set to Autofill.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this system is multi site, no sharing of frequencies on sites in the same area.

Very odd... thanks for the suggestions.

Another thing I failed to mention is that when examining the system info on Unitrunker, It says "no" next to Voice, Data and Authenticated. However, both Unitrunker and Pro96Com are able to show data and activity without any apparent issue. I wonder if there is something about the data stream that the RS/Whistlers just don't like.
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Old 04-12-2017, 1:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scan18 View Post
Agreed, I currently only have 1 site programmed, the Honokaa site which I am very close to. Which did make me think about the overloading of the front end issue, however I've driven further away from the site also to see if that would help but unfortunately not. I've also programmed the Waimea, Moanuiahea, Hilo and Pepeekeo sites separately and tested at varying distances with no luck on any of those. It certainly could be a VHF front end issue, but I would think I would see something pop up at some point, even if not perfect. The Unidens are able to receive all these sites with no problem.
However .. it is very possible that the issue is not the sites at all. On my Whistler I have determined in my case the problem are cellular sites .. which wipe out the radio. Seeing as they are everywhere (sometimes I can see 3 or 4 at one time if I look around) .. this is always a possibility. My fix .. a band pass filter, but until you determine that this is not the issue, I would not go to this step. Make sure you do not use an external antenna when testing.

I do agree that even if the radio is overloaded .. you likely would be able to get 'something' as you moved around .. and cutting out of the transmissions is likely what you would see.

I agree with Troymail .. the first thing, determine that the radio is programmed correctly.
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Old 04-12-2017, 2:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scan18 View Post
No, there is no indication of voice channel activity at all. Tables are definitely set to Autofill.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this system is multi site, no sharing of frequencies on sites in the same area.

Very odd... thanks for the suggestions.

Another thing I failed to mention is that when examining the system info on Unitrunker, It says "no" next to Voice, Data and Authenticated. However, both Unitrunker and Pro96Com are able to show data and activity without any apparent issue. I wonder if there is something about the data stream that the RS/Whistlers just don't like.
I'm sure Whistler reads the threads and will see this at some point but you may want to grab some CCDUMP logs and send a report to their bug report email account.

https://forums.radioreference.com/wh...l-address.html
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Old 04-12-2017, 4:58 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm actually in the process of sending the TRX-1 back to Amazon as I ordered it just to see if I had the same issue as the Pro-668. So I will continue my testing on the 668.

I even loaded the WS1080 firmware version 4.6 onto the Pro-668. Still behaves the same. It has no problems receiving the Maui P2 system, but that one is 700/800 Mhz.

I will keep testing and let everyone know if I have any success.
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Old 04-12-2017, 5:33 PM
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It would really help to use the TRX-1 to capture some logs first....
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Old 04-12-2017, 6:01 PM
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I'll hang on to the TRX-1 for a while to create some logs. Do I create the CCDUMP log by selecting SD Card File on the Data Dump options?
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Old 04-12-2017, 6:02 PM
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Quote:
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I'll hang on to the TRX-1 for a while to create some logs. Do I create the CCDUMP log by selecting SD Card File on the Data Dump options?
Yes
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Old 04-12-2017, 6:47 PM
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Quote:
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It would really help to use the TRX-1 to capture some logs first....
Actually I would file a bug report first. Then Whistler will likely send you a debug firmware to obtain logs. The release firmware doesn't have a lot of debugging enabled by default.
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:24 AM
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Bug report submitted. I will update if I hear anything back.

Thank you all for the suggestions.
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Old 04-13-2017, 1:10 AM
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Its linear simulcast modulation cqpsk its not going to be pleasant even if you do get some audio very robotic! I had to sell my pro668 and i know all the new whistlers have identical hardware, so i bought all uniden. Sell it on ebay.
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Old 04-13-2017, 6:16 AM
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Quote:
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Its linear simulcast modulation cqpsk its not going to be pleasant even if you do get some audio very robotic! I had to sell my pro668 and i know all the new whistlers have identical hardware, so i bought all uniden. Sell it on ebay.
Not really "linear simulcast modulation" since the site is not simulcasted. Is does use the related H-DQPSK modulation, which likely has a lot of the same problems as CQPSK.
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Old 04-13-2017, 7:17 AM
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I had similar issues with a VHF P25 Phase I system. My 1098 would rarely stop on the system.
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