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Difference between revisions of "Multi-Site Trunked System Programming for Whistler/GRE Object-Oriented Scanners"

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==Multi-Site Programming==  
 
==Multi-Site Programming==  
  
This method applies to any multi-site trunked system but will use Ohio MARCS-IP as an example.
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This method applies to any multi-site trunked system but will use Ohio MARCS-IP in Central Ohio as an example.
  
 
1. Start with a blank Virtual Scanner, define the desired coverage area (for example, Central Ohio), and name the Virtual Scanner as such.
 
1. Start with a blank Virtual Scanner, define the desired coverage area (for example, Central Ohio), and name the Virtual Scanner as such.
  
2. Using the "Preferred" options under the Library Import tab of the EZScan software, choose the desired system and select for download all of the desired tower sites and talkgroups for the preferred coverage area. Import this information to the scanner.
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2. Using the "Preferred" options under the Library Import tab of the EZScan software, choose the desired system and select for download all of the desired tower sites and talkgroups for the preferred coverage area. Make sure to add a talkgroup wildcard. Import this information to the scanner.
  
 
3. Name the newly imported system "Ohio MARCS-IP."
 
3. Name the newly imported system "Ohio MARCS-IP."
  
4. Set up scan lists and miscellaneous settings (backlight, LED, decode levels, etc) as desired, and do a "save to archive" so you have a backup of your initial programming. The archive will serve as a clean backup in case you have to start over.
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4. Set up scan lists and miscellaneous settings (backlight, LED, decode levels, etc) as desired, making sure to put the talkgroup wildcard in a separate scan list. Do a "save to archive" so you have a backup of your initial programming. This archive will serve as a clean backup in case you have to start over.
  
5. Copy that system and name the new one Cuyahoga County (using the Cleveland area as an example), and lock out all except the Cuyahoga County simulcast. You can leave the scan lists alone or delete all but the ones for desired agencies in Cuyahoga County. I usually leave scan lists alone so I have a better chance of catching talkgroups which may have roamed away from their usual site.
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5. Copy the "Ohio MARCS-IP" system and name the new system "Franklin County."  Lock out all except the Franklin County simulcast. Scan lists can be left alone or the scan lists which do not normally pertain to Franklin County can be locked out. Leaving all scan lists enabled increases the chance of catching talkgroups which may have roamed away from their usual site.
  
Next, copy the "base" Ohio MARCS system again, name the new one Lorain County, and lock out all except the Lorain County sites. You can leave the scan lists alone or delete all but the ones for Lorain County agencies.
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6. Copy the "Ohio MARCS-IP" system again, name the new system "Columbus City", and lock out all except the Columbus City site. You can leave the scan lists alone or lock out all except the scan lists for talkgroups which normally use the Columbus City tower site (Columbus FD, Columbus PD, etc).
  
Repeat this process for each site (or group of sites) you want to treat as separate systems, locking out all but the desired sites for that "system."
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7. Repeat this process for each site (or group of sites) you want to treat as separate systems, locking out all but the desired sites for that "system."
  
Finally, lock out the base Ohio MARCS system, unless you want to use it as a catch-all. In Ohio, I generally leave the "Ohio MARCS-IP" entry unlocked, but lock out all the scan lists in it except one which has the talkgroup Wild Card, so I can search separately from the designated scan lists.
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8. Finally, in the "Ohio MARCS-IP" system you started with, de-select all except the scan list which holds the talkgroup wildcard. This will allow you to scan the wide-area system as needed for additional talkgroups not found in your defined scan lists.
  
This way you've minimized the amount of stuff you have to type in and the radio will scan each site separately, giving you a much better chance of hearing what you want to hear; when traveling, you can enable and disable scan lists as needed to scan what's around you.
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By programming in this manner, most of the tedious data entry and configuration process only needs to be done once. The scanner will scan each site or group of sites separately, giving a much better chance of hearing desired radio traffic more reliably. When traveling, scan lists and systems can be enabled or disabled as needed to scan what is nearby.
  
You'll probably also need to fiddle around with the decode settings on the Advanced tab; after I tweaked the DSP Level Adapt setting to 100 (after much experimentation), P25 simulcast decode is almost flawless.
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==Other Tips==
  
I think you'll find yourself hearing more stuff, more reliably. Works great on a TRX-1.
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*It will probably be necessary to experiment with the digital decode settings on the Advanced tab; once the DSP Level Adapt has been optimized, P25 simulcast decode is almost flawless.
  
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*For whatever reason, these radios do not like manually entered system settings. When entering tower sites and system settings manually, very little is received; however, when the Library Import feature is used to select and import the specific tower sites, reception is flawless. Even though sites and settings are all identical, manually entered systems just do not seem to function properly.
  
First thing I learned (the hard way) is that for whatever reason, these things don't like manually entered system settings. When I entered local Ohio MARCS-IP sites manually and put in the talkgroups, I heard very little. However, when I used the Library Import feature ("Preferred" rather than zip code or location based), selected the specific sites/talkgroups and downloaded it, it worked like a champ. Never have figured out why this is the case; control channels, talkgroups and settings were all identical each time, but it just did not like manually entered systems.
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However, talkgroups can be imported using the copy/paste method with good results.
 
 
 
 
Edit: Forgot to mention that you can copy/paste talkgroups and it will work fine. It seems to be just the system-level stuff like sites it's sensitive to where doing Library Import works and manual entry does not. You can just import sites and a talkgroup wild card and get by just fine.
 
  
 
[[Category:Programming FAQs and Tips for Whistler Scanners]]
 
[[Category:Programming FAQs and Tips for Whistler Scanners]]

Revision as of 08:48, 8 August 2017

Applicable Scanners

  • Whistler: TRX-1, TRX-2, WS1090, WS1098, WS1080, WS1088
  • Radio Shack: Pro-668, Pro-18
  • GRE: PSR-800

Issues with monitoring multi-site trunked systems

Earlier Whistler models such as the WS1040/WS1065 (and their Radio Shack/GRE variants) offer multiple scan modes for multi-site trunked systems:

  • Stationary - Scans all control channels being received (and thus all sites).
  • Roam - Scans all control channels being received, selects the best, stays there, and only re-scans if reception is lost.
  • Off - Stops at the first control channel and does not move to another.

However, the database enabled object-oriented scanners listed at the start of this article only scan multi-site systems using the Roam method; once an acceptable site is located the scanner stays on that site and only looks for another site if reception is lost. In many areas this causes a great deal of radio traffic on other nearby tower sites to be missed.

The solution is to program each site or group of sites as a separate system so they will be scanned.

Multi-Site Programming

This method applies to any multi-site trunked system but will use Ohio MARCS-IP in Central Ohio as an example.

1. Start with a blank Virtual Scanner, define the desired coverage area (for example, Central Ohio), and name the Virtual Scanner as such.

2. Using the "Preferred" options under the Library Import tab of the EZScan software, choose the desired system and select for download all of the desired tower sites and talkgroups for the preferred coverage area. Make sure to add a talkgroup wildcard. Import this information to the scanner.

3. Name the newly imported system "Ohio MARCS-IP."

4. Set up scan lists and miscellaneous settings (backlight, LED, decode levels, etc) as desired, making sure to put the talkgroup wildcard in a separate scan list. Do a "save to archive" so you have a backup of your initial programming. This archive will serve as a clean backup in case you have to start over.

5. Copy the "Ohio MARCS-IP" system and name the new system "Franklin County." Lock out all except the Franklin County simulcast. Scan lists can be left alone or the scan lists which do not normally pertain to Franklin County can be locked out. Leaving all scan lists enabled increases the chance of catching talkgroups which may have roamed away from their usual site.

6. Copy the "Ohio MARCS-IP" system again, name the new system "Columbus City", and lock out all except the Columbus City site. You can leave the scan lists alone or lock out all except the scan lists for talkgroups which normally use the Columbus City tower site (Columbus FD, Columbus PD, etc).

7. Repeat this process for each site (or group of sites) you want to treat as separate systems, locking out all but the desired sites for that "system."

8. Finally, in the "Ohio MARCS-IP" system you started with, de-select all except the scan list which holds the talkgroup wildcard. This will allow you to scan the wide-area system as needed for additional talkgroups not found in your defined scan lists.

By programming in this manner, most of the tedious data entry and configuration process only needs to be done once. The scanner will scan each site or group of sites separately, giving a much better chance of hearing desired radio traffic more reliably. When traveling, scan lists and systems can be enabled or disabled as needed to scan what is nearby.

Other Tips

  • It will probably be necessary to experiment with the digital decode settings on the Advanced tab; once the DSP Level Adapt has been optimized, P25 simulcast decode is almost flawless.
  • For whatever reason, these radios do not like manually entered system settings. When entering tower sites and system settings manually, very little is received; however, when the Library Import feature is used to select and import the specific tower sites, reception is flawless. Even though sites and settings are all identical, manually entered systems just do not seem to function properly.

However, talkgroups can be imported using the copy/paste method with good results.