Puzzled in Little Compton

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ecps92
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#26 Post by ecps92 » 20 Jan 2017 10:31

I see many of the Call Signs in the Wiki are now expired.
I'll research the New Call Signs and add them.

However it might be a good time, for those with Trunker to Report what is actually in use for now, as it appears things might have changed.
pete wrote:I think I've solved the problem ! Over on RR, Upman (Uniden rep) responded to your post and mentioned that 853.875 (current CC for RISCON South zone) was listed in the RR database, but Not on the FCC license. Doing some digging on the FCC website I found license WQEE894 that had the Little Compton Tower (Amy Hart Path) listed as a transmit site, has EXPIRED. The new license WQDV555, (granted 8/21/15) does NOT list that site. Closest site to you (and me) now appears to be Portsmouth (838 East Main Rd. Tower behind RISP barracks). This would account for why you were receiving this system before, but not now. If the signal is now coming from Portsmouth, you may not be getting it at your location.
Bill Dunn N1KUG
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http://scanmaritime.com

"The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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pete
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#27 Post by pete » 20 Jan 2017 15:30

HannaMary wrote:Pete....I, too, saw that response to my similar thread on RadioReference.com but I didn't fully understand the implications until you (and also RescueOne on RR) just explained it. I guess I would have thought that I would pick up the Portsmouth tower because my location in Little Compton is right near the intersection of West Main Road and Meetinghouse Lane and I'm just across the Sakonnet River from Middletown and Portsmouth. With this new information about the Portsmouth tower is there anything else I can try with the scanner that might make a difference?

Thanks,
Helen
At this point, the only thing I'm sure of is that your HP1 is working properly. When you changed locations you saw how it received both RISCON and MSP fairly well. Now, back at home it's still having problems. The fact that you could get RISCON before, and not now, leads me to believe that something with the signal changed. In both this forum and at RR (RescueOne is me), both myself and others are checking licenses and trying to figure this out. RISCON has undergone significant changes in the last 5 years, rebanding, absorbing RIDOT and RIPTA. Licenses changed and I'm sure equipment and transmit sites did too. If you've been running it just on batteries, try plugging it in and see if that makes any difference. I would also try a different antenna (800 MHz) either directly on radio, or external. That would be the least expensive option. You could also try other locations in town to see if the reception improves.(I'm not suggesting you move :) ) Keep us updated.
Pete :Pats: :sox: :Bruins:
never forget W6 & 343 & C9

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#28 Post by W1KNE » 20 Jan 2017 17:03

Stupid question. Do you have any new electronics in your house, or new LED light bulbs? You could be suffering from some electrical noise that is hindering your reception.
Mike Fitzpatrick
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Owner: Scan New England - NECRAT.US
Issues with Scan New England can be privately addressed to me. W1KNE at scan-ne.com.

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ecps92
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#29 Post by ecps92 » 21 Jan 2017 11:50

This was posted at HoustonScan (Yahoogroup) and might help new listeners as well as experienced

It is called simulcast distortion. Multiple tower sites have
identical frequencies and carry identical traffic simultaneously
with each other. That is why the have the word "simulcast"
in their name.

Since the simulcast towers all serve the same general
geographical area, it is not uncommon for the scanner
to receive signals from 2 or more at the same time.

But the signals arrive at the antenna nanoseconds apart.
The scanner is not sophisticated enough to decide which
one is "the real" signal. This causes distortion and dropouts
and that R2D2 gibberish sound.

My moving the scanner just an inch or two inside your home
you are actually making reception of just one of those sites
be "the best" signal and the scanner can lock onto it.

Having a big, bad and best antenna available is not a
good solution when you are dealing with P25 digital
simulcasts. Sometimes less is more.

I have had fantastic results (at times, not always)
by just sticking the end of a bent paperclip into
the center hole of the antenna connector on the
scanner.

It all depends on what you are listening to,
their location, and your location while you
are doing the listening.
Bill Dunn N1KUG
Cruise Ship Frequencies
http://scanmaritime.com

"The tougher it is to find a frequency, the more it makes me want to work to find it. - I've learned to use the SEARCH Button"

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#30 Post by JohnRugg » 21 Jan 2017 12:57

ecps92 wrote:This was posted at HoustonScan (Yahoogroup) and might help new listeners as well as experienced

It is called simulcast distortion. Multiple tower sites have
identical frequencies and carry identical traffic simultaneously
with each other. That is why the have the word "simulcast"
in their name.

Since the simulcast towers all serve the same general
geographical area, it is not uncommon for the scanner
to receive signals from 2 or more at the same time.

But the signals arrive at the antenna nanoseconds apart.
The scanner is not sophisticated enough to decide which
one is "the real" signal. This causes distortion and dropouts
and that R2D2 gibberish sound.

My moving the scanner just an inch or two inside your home
you are actually making reception of just one of those sites
be "the best" signal and the scanner can lock onto it.

Having a big, bad and best antenna available is not a
good solution when you are dealing with P25 digital
simulcasts. Sometimes less is more.

I have had fantastic results (at times, not always)
by just sticking the end of a bent paperclip into
the center hole of the antenna connector on the
scanner.

It all depends on what you are listening to,
their location, and your location while you
are doing the listening.
That's half correct. Scanners being unable to receive Linear Simulcast Modulation systems properly is a problem. But the problem is not the scanners "deciding" which one is the real signal. The problem is that Linear Simulcast Modulations systems are phase modulated, not frequency modulated. LSM is CQPSK, or compatible quadrature phase shift keying, with each bit shifted +/- 45 or 135 degrees in phase. Single site P25 systems are C4FM, or continuous four-level frequency modulation, with each bit shifted +/- 600 or 1800 Hz in frequency. While they are compatible with each other, they are not the same. Scanners have FM receivers, not PM receivers, so they don't handle phase modulation well. Actual P25 compliant two-way radios can receive both types of modulation.

That's why reception of LSM systems with scanners is a problem. This includes the RISCON, MSP Troop B, Metro Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, Manchester and Nashua systems in this area.

John

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#31 Post by Tim » 21 Jan 2017 20:40

Pete, I did the ride to Little Compton with my R/S 106 with the R/S 800mh antenna. Down Long hwy I had no problems. Got to South Shore beach had excellent reception decode was 99%. Made my way to the Commons and the decode dropped to the sixties the reception was on and off, the Navy system and Swansea Pd p25 were loud and clear from there. Got to West Main rd (rt. 77) and the scanner got quite Navy was still strong and local UHF-VHF was good but nothing from RISCON. I didn't have a chance to get a decode from there. The best area was near Barcellos (Stafford Rd. Tiverton) where MSP and RISCON were both strong. There are a few cellphone towers in Portsmouth not sure if that would be the problem. :Bruins:
BCD996P2, PSR-600, Pro-2006, TRX-1, Par Mon-3 antenna - home, Gemtronics 800 mhz antenna - handheld, David Clark headset, :Bruins:

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#32 Post by N1RGR » 22 Jan 2017 05:31

HannaMary wrote:Pete....I, too, saw that response to my similar thread on RadioReference.com but I didn't fully understand the implications until you (and also RescueOne on RR) just explained it. I guess I would have thought that I would pick up the Portsmouth tower because my location in Little Compton is right near the intersection of West Main Road and Meetinghouse Lane and I'm just across the Sakonnet River from Middletown and Portsmouth. With this new information about the Portsmouth tower is there anything else I can try with the scanner that might make a difference?

Thanks,
Helen

Not sure if this was covered but did you check your squelch level setting? I don't know much about the Home patrol but from my own experience monitoring RISCON with my 996XT it decodes digital trunked signals best when the squelch is set to the lowest setting before breaking the squelch. Other than that an outdoor directional antenna pointed at Portsmouth would be my next move.
Monitoring Station:
Alinco DX R8, Drake SW8, Icom R75, Grundig SATELLIT 750,Yaesu FT270,Uniden BCD436HP,Uniden BCD996XT,Uniden BCT15X.
Antennas: Diamond D777 120/300 MHz air/milair band,Diamond 2M 5/8 wave,
Diamond DJ130 discone,8 element 800MHz yagi and (2) 100' long wires for SWL.

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pete
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#33 Post by pete » 22 Jan 2017 11:38

Tim wrote:Pete, I did the ride to Little Compton with my R/S 106 with the R/S 800mh antenna. Down Long hwy I had no problems. Got to South Shore beach had excellent reception decode was 99%. Made my way to the Commons and the decode dropped to the sixties the reception was on and off, the Navy system and Swansea Pd p25 were loud and clear from there. Got to West Main rd (rt. 77) and the scanner got quite Navy was still strong and local UHF-VHF was good but nothing from RISCON. I didn't have a chance to get a decode from there. The best area was near Barcellos (Stafford Rd. Tiverton) where MSP and RISCON were both strong. There are a few cellphone towers in Portsmouth not sure if that would be the problem. :Bruins:
Good to know. West Main Rd. (Rt. 77) has always been a "dead zone" for me on RISCON. The intersection of Wm. Canning Blvd. and Stafford Rd. in Tiverton (right where they're building the new Twin River Casino) has been the best reception spot for RISCON. I get both South zone and Providence.
Pete :Pats: :sox: :Bruins:
never forget W6 & 343 & C9

HannaMary
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Location: Little Compton, RI

#34 Post by HannaMary » 22 Jan 2017 20:33

Thanks very much, Tim, for your test drive report regarding Little Compton reception and in particular the excellent reception at South Shore Beach. And Pete, I appreciate your feedback about West Main Rd (Rt. 77) aka "the dead zone" which I live right in the middle of. I've been tied up this weekend, but tomorrow I will drive the same circuit around town that Tim did and see if I can get better reception especially at South Shore and will let you know. If I don't get decent reception around town, I will make a run up to Barcellos on Stafford Rd, where Tim said he received his best signal and if not good there, I'll go up to where Pete gets a good signal closer to Fall River. Surprisingly, this evening I've occasionally received some very brief transmissions from Middletown. I'll keep you posted.

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#35 Post by trp » 23 Jan 2017 01:10

HannaMary wrote:...With this new information about the Portsmouth tower is there anything else I can try with the scanner that might make a difference?...
Tim wrote:Pete, I did the ride to Little Compton with my R/S 106 with the R/S 800mh antenna...
HannaMary wrote:...Surprisingly, this evening I've occasionally received some very brief transmissions from Middletown...
It sounds like you MAY benefit from a better antenna designed specifically for 800 MHz reception in order to possibly get a stronger signal from that Portsmouth, RI South Zone tower at your home in Little Compton. As SNE member Tim mentioned in his post, he is using the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna on his PRO-106 and that antenna is regarded as one of the best portable/rubber ducky antennas for 800 MHz reception. It also does quite well on UHF/UHF-T 450-512 MHz from my own personal experience using the antenna.

I would suggest you try one of those 800 MHz antennas and see if that improves your signal enough to get you decent RISCON reception at your home. Your HP-1 scanner uses an SMA connector so an antenna with a BNC connector (like the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna) would not fit directly on your scanner without an SMA-to-BNC adapter. You would also then need a 90-degree/right-angle adapter to get the antenna to orient in a vertical position with the scanner in a horizontal position like when it is sitting on a desk.

That being said I would recommend that you try a Remtronix 800 MHz antenna (which is the same antenna as the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna that Tim used for his tests but with a different brand name) and get the version that terminates in an SMA connector to directly fit your scanner. Universal Radio has the antenna for $21.95 which is Order #6198 (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... /6119.html) and at the same time you can also get from Universal an SMA 90-degree/right-angle adapter for $3.49 which is Order #5026 (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ ... adapt.html). Shipping and Handling is a flat-rate $6.95 for orders up to $50. See attached pictures of the Remtronix SMA antenna and SMA adapter below.
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Remtronix 6119_6198.jpg
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HannaMary
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Location: Little Compton, RI

#36 Post by HannaMary » 23 Jan 2017 20:22

Well, I took my HP-1 scanner for a ride today to test out local reception in the Little Compton/Tiverton area and my experience was similar to Tim's and Pete's.

I left my house in the vicinity of Route 77 and Meetinghouse Lane, headed south to Sakonnet Point (the dead end of Route 77). There I received clear RISCON transmissions from Warwick FD, Coventry FD, North Kingstown FD, Middletown Police and Fire, Portsmouth Fire as well as the usual UHF/VHF out of Bristol County MA.

From Sakonnet Point I traveled east to South Shore Beach and received the same clear transmissions from the same group as well as Scituate PD, Newport FD, and RI State Police. From there I headed north toward Tiverton, stopped at Barcello's and received a similar mix of transmissions from RISCON and Bristol County MA and MSP became stronger. Headed further north into Fall River in the vicinity of William Canning and Route 24 where I probably received the most consistent and varied RISOCN transmissions including Tiverton PD and FD.

I headed back to Little Compton traveling south on Route 77 and stopped at Tiverton Four Corners for awhile and the scanner didn't pick up anything while I was there. Continued on south Route 77 and I did pick up one Tiverton PD transmission before I arrived back home.

So the good news is that my scanner does receive RISCON transmissions in certain locations…the not-so-good news is that my home isn't one of those locations. And I have to say, I was disappointed that Little Compton didn’t come up at all as I traveled around. Although this is a small town, I used to listen to our PD and FD years ago when they were analog and there were always multiple transmissions for assistance throughout the day. This is an elderly community with frequent trips to Charlton and St. Anne’s hospitals and home alarms going off all the time….seriously…really exciting stuff!

As some of you have suggested, it might be worth replacing the HP-1 antenna with one better suited for 800 MHz reception. So I’ve taken TRP’s advice and this evening I ordered a Remtronix 800 MHz antenna along with an adapter to see if that will make a difference.

Thanks very much for all your suggestions and assistance. I will let you know how this goes.

Helen

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#37 Post by W1KNE » 23 Jan 2017 20:33

Did you see what I asked above about local interference??
Mike Fitzpatrick
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Owner: Scan New England - NECRAT.US
Issues with Scan New England can be privately addressed to me. W1KNE at scan-ne.com.

HannaMary
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Location: Little Compton, RI

#38 Post by HannaMary » 23 Jan 2017 20:46

W1KNE wrote:Stupid question. Do you have any new electronics in your house, or new LED light bulbs? You could be suffering from some electrical noise that is hindering your reception.
Sorry, I meant to respond to your question earlier. No, I have no new electronics or LED bulbs indoors and reception is just as poor outdoors in the clear fields behind my house.

HannaMary
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Joined: 31 Jan 2016 21:08
Location: Little Compton, RI

#39 Post by HannaMary » 03 Feb 2017 19:34

Update…

For the past week, I’ve been using and experimenting with the new Remtronix antenna I ordered for my HP-1 and this has been my experience so far….

The good new is that the Remtronix does make difference in terms of RISCON reception in my home and I found a good location in a particular window that improves the signal strength level.

I found that if I set the scanner to all the talk groups in the RISCON southern simulcast I can pick up the following….

Frequently on some days….
Coventry / Warwick / Narragansett / North Kingstown / South Kingstown

Occasionally on some days….
Newport Fire / Middletown / Tiverton / RI State Police southern dispatch.

Very rarely….three or four times over the past week.
Little Compton

My understanding of simulcast is limited but I wondered if perhaps the very active talk groups in the western part of the state might prevent the less active groups from getting picked up when they do transmit, so I created a favorites list to limit the scanner to Tiverton and Little Compton on RISCON and I get nothing.

Now that I know I can get some RISCON reception is there anything else I might try to tweak the scanner to pick up Little Compton more easily? Too bad I’m not that interested in what’s happening in Warwick and Coventry…..They’re now loud and clear much of the time!

Thanks.
Helen

HannaMary
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Location: Little Compton, RI

#40 Post by HannaMary » 04 Feb 2017 10:21

Second thoughts...

I did receive three transmissions from Little Compton last night while on southern RISCON! However, this morning my scanner shows a very strong signal, but nothing has been picked from anyone since I turned it on at 7:00 am. This has been the very random nature of reception for the past week.

In response to my own question posted above, and as some have suggested, I need to read and learn more about simulcast digital distortionand experiment with the scanner in order to discover what the possibilities are.

Helen

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#41 Post by trp » 04 Feb 2017 14:39

HannaMary wrote:Update…

For the past week, I’ve been using and experimenting with the new Remtronix antenna I ordered for my HP-1 and this has been my experience so far….

The good new is that the Remtronix does make difference in terms of RISCON reception in my home and I found a good location in a particular window that improves the signal strength level...

Now that I know I can get some RISCON reception is there anything else I might try to tweak the scanner to pick up Little Compton more easily?...
Good to hear that the Remtronix 800 MHz SMA antenna and adapter that I recommended is working better than the Uniden stock antenna in picking up the RISCON South Zone on your HP-1. If you listen to anything in the UHF/UHF-T bands the antenna should also work adequately in those bands.

If you can find a sweet spot anywhere in your home with your current HP-1 and Remtronix antenna, there is something else that you could use that MAY help you out. You could try using this BNC Ground Plane Kit from Centerfire antenna (see attached pictures) which basically converts your rubber ducky antenna into a base station antenna. This MIGHT be useful if you can find a really good reception spot in your home (i.e. at the top of a window, at the top of the ceiling, in your attic, etc.) where it would not be practical to actually place the scanner itself with the attached rubber ducky. Think of it like using an "extension cord" between your scanner and your Remtronix 800 MHz antenna.

There are some logistical things to consider if you use this ground plane kit. First you would need an SMA-to-BNC adapter to attach your Remtronix SMA antenna to the BNC antenna connector on the kit. You would also need a length of coax with a male BNC connector on one end (antenna end) and an SMA connector on the other end (scanner end) to attach the ground plane kit to your scanner. Keep in mind that you will have some loss between the antenna and your scanner (because of the coax loss) so you would want to keep the coax length as short as possible to get the antenna in your "sweet spot" in your home for RISCON South Zone reception.

A more conventional approach to improving your 800 MHz reception would be to purchase an 800 MHz yagi antenna and try aiming it directly at various RISCON South towers and see if it improves things. Yagi antennas are highly directional and let you concentrate reception from one direction. Actual experimentation would be necessary to see if the yagi approach would be a better option for you at your specific location.
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BNCGPK500text.jpg
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HannaMary
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#42 Post by HannaMary » 10 Feb 2017 10:38

Thanks, TRP, for the reception enhancement suggestions using either a ground plane antenna or a yagi antenna. Good to know the options.

Another issue I'm trying to work out is why when I attempt to secure either the original HP-1 antenna or the newer Remtronix antenna to the scanner so that the mast sits vertically, both antennas lose signal strength completely when the antenna is screwed into the scanner tightly enough to prevent them from flopping over. So in order to get reception, I have to loosen the antenna enough and find a delicate balance in positioning the scanner so that the loosened mast will stay upright and not flop over.

HannaMary
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Location: Little Compton, RI

#43 Post by HannaMary » 15 Apr 2017 11:54

UPDATE: Good news! Since my last post, I've been successfully receiving Little Compton and Tiverton...most of the time. I found a sweet spot in a window that gets better reception than other parts of the house and have learned how to delicately balance the antenna mast for best reception. In my previous message, I mentioned that the antenna connection on my HP-1 is extremely sensitive to how tightly or loosely the mast is attached whether I use the original HP antenna or my newer Remontrix. Too tight and no reception...too loose and no reception...even one more twist in either direction and I lose the reception. The best reception is when the mast is slightly loose and I prop it against the window to keep it upright. Since it happens with both antennas, I suspect the problem is with the HP internal connection, but not worth trying to fix. I'm just glad that I can get the thing to work most of the time. I appreciate all the help and advice and consider my problem solved.

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#44 Post by pete » 16 Apr 2017 10:26

HannaMary wrote:UPDATE: Good news! Since my last post, I've been successfully receiving Little Compton and Tiverton...most of the time. I found a sweet spot in a window that gets better reception than other parts of the house and have learned how to delicately balance the antenna mast for best reception. In my previous message, I mentioned that the antenna connection on my HP-1 is extremely sensitive to how tightly or loosely the mast is attached whether I use the original HP antenna or my newer Remontrix. Too tight and no reception...too loose and no reception...even one more twist in either direction and I lose the reception. The best reception is when the mast is slightly loose and I prop it against the window to keep it upright. Since it happens with both antennas, I suspect the problem is with the HP internal connection, but not worth trying to fix. I'm just glad that I can get the thing to work most of the time. I appreciate all the help and advice and consider my problem solved.
Good to hear ! (Pun intended) As you have seen, this hobby is very much about trial and error, and the sharing of results. It's good that you have stuck with it and achieved your goals. The hobby needs more people like you. Happy listening.
Pete :Pats: :sox: :Bruins:
never forget W6 & 343 & C9

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