Monday, January 22, 2018

800 MHz digital trunking antenna

While my attic 1980 vintage Radio Shack scanner antenna works well for VHF/UHF it doesn't bring in reliable signals for the local 800 MHz multi site digital trunked system. I believe there are five different transmitting sites, so I needed a directional antenna to null out the simulcast distortion and improve the radio's decoding. I picked up this GSM yagi antenna for a few dollars on Amazon. It's meant to be used to boost cell phone signals but works great on trunked radio frequencies; it has 11 dB of gain and works in the 800-900 MHz range...

Here's the original link on Amazon:

It has an N-type connector so I got an N to BNC adapter and feed the signal to the Pro-197 with an RG6 GE UltraPro quad shield coax. I mounted the antenna to the underside of a bookshelf with a single screw so it could pivot in an arc, allowing me to aim it exactly at the closest transmitter. On most days my Pro-197 reports 99% decode quality.

If you suffer from simulcast distortion (as evidenced by poor audio) on your digital system there are lots of resources on the net with recommendations for reducing the problem; here are a few:

My new lineup

Since retiring, I have some more time to play with radios and specifically scanners. A lot has changed in the past 5 years in our area, as the previous analog public safety trunked radio systems have combined into a county-wide digital P25 Phase I multisite system. This meant getting new digital scanners and working through the programming/setup challenges. I think I finally have everything sorted out:

  • I've dedicated a Pro-197 to monitoring the main digital trunking site
  • A Pro-651 is programmed for the local University site
These sites are linked but generally carry different talkgroups. 

  • I also have a Pro-668 (upgraded by Whistler) that I use to monitor the local DMR Motorola Connect Plus (TRBO) system that carries taxi and towing services. 
  • I use other analog scanners (including the Pro-2006) to monitor the local ham repeaters (I'm an amateur extra class), conventional public service, NOAA weather and air band traffic 

EDA-UG2802 Drop Amp put into service

Since I have more scanners now, I needed a way to distribute the signal from my attic scanner antenna to them all. I looked at some of the "professional" distribution amps like the Stridsberg MCA208M  but thought that was too pricey. Going back to I saw that people still recommend the EDA-UG2X02 drop amps as an inexpensive alternative, so I picked up an 8-port model EDA-UG2802 and power supply on ebay for a few dollars. I think it works well on VHF low/high and UHF signals.

Still interest in these computer-controlled scanners

It's been nearly 5 years since my last post on this blog; since I've retired I have more time to spend playing with scanners so I've unpacked my radios and set them up again. I'm anxious to get the Pro-2006 running again and see what I can still do with it.

A Pro-2006 with the OS-456 board recently sold in 2018 for $157...

 A Pro-2035 with OS-535 board recently sold for $197...

 A Pro-2006 with an HB-232 interface sold for just $76...

Bare Pro-2006 scanners go anywhere from $70-100, so the premium for the Optoscan board seems to be about $50-75. Looks like there is still interest in computer controlling these scanners.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pro-2006 with OptoScan456

A Pro-2006 with OptoScan456 interface with a copy of Probe 7 software went for $149 on eBay today:

Realistic PRO-2006 programmable scanning receiver with OptoScan456 circuit board is in excellent and clean cosmetic condition.  The Opto-electronic board allows the scanner to be connected to a computer via RS-232.  Comes with its original scanners owner's manual, telescopic antenna, and box. Also included is the OptoScan456 owner's manual and installation guide.  Its LCD display is clear, and the electroluminescent backlight is still bright.  Model number 20-145a S/N 066514.

The PRO-2006 features 400 programmable scanning channels, with user-selectable scanning speeds of 26 channels per second or 13 channels per second. It provides direct access to over 196,000 frequencies, with nearly continuous coverage from 25 MHz to 1300 MHz in AM, narrow-band FM, and wide-band FM modes.

Also included is a professional opto scanning software called Probe version 7.  Probe comes with original install disk and manual.   See the following URL for details on the probe software:

Probe really enhances the capabilities of the scanner.  The software expands the scanner’s capacity to 4000 groups, with each group containing 99 banks with 1000 frequencies per bank.  Also it adds special scanning modes and computer logging.

Scanner has been tested and appears to be working correctly, but is being sold as is. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

OptoElectronics OptoScan OS456 sells for $76 on eBay

It's fun to see these still come up from time to time on eBay. I bid on it, but apparently not enough to win. My Pro-2006 already has a CE-232 interface so I'd have to buy another scanner to use this with (not that there's anything wrong with more scanners :-) Since I already have a Pro-2035 with the OS535 interface running Probe software, I didn't feel a huge need to get it. Hope whoever won it has fun!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pro-2006 with Opto456 Interface sells on eBay

This link won't be active for long, but there was a Pro-2006 with Opto456 and Optotrakker interface that just sold on eBay for $316...

The cost of this setup new was probably $800, but that's still a striking price for ~20 year old technology. A Pro-2006 and Optoscan 456 (but no Optotrakker) sold a few days earlier for $123.

Here's the text of the auction:

Realistic Pro-2006 Scanner w/ Optoscan456 & Optotrakker
Up for auction is my used Realistic Pro-2006 Scanner (Full 800MHz band restored) with Optoelectronics 
Optoscan456 (Full Version NOT "Lite") computer control board and Optoelectronics Optotrakker 
Decoder (Motorola and LTR Trunking, CTCSS, DCS, and DTMF decoding). This board was
 professionally installed and includes the Discriminator Audio modification and Reaction Tune
 modification for use with an  Optoelectonics Scout  frequency recorder. 

The Pro-2006 is excellent working and cosmetic condition, and the screen is in excellent condition. 
The backlighting works, however the LCD has a small dark spot in the liquid crystal layer on the far
 left edge of the display that does not block any of the display components (see photos, disregard the 
reflections).  Knobs and keypad are like new, no discoloration or wear. The Optotrakker is in excellent 
working and cosmetic condition, screen is in like new condition.

Package includes the following:

Realistic Pro-2006 Scanner with professionally installed Optoscan456 computer control board 
(No original box), telescopic antenna

OS456 Manual included, Pro-2006 manual on CD (If I can find the original manual, it will be

Optocom Optotrakker with original box, manual, AC adapter, (2) 3.5mm data cables, AOR 
AR8000 cable


CONUS bidders and shipping only. Payment must be received within 48 hours of end of auction.  
Shipped USPS Priority Insured with delivery confirmation for a flat fee of $15.00.

I will reply to all reasonable inquiries. Thanks for looking.