P25RX Tips And Tricks

Pro96Com / Unitrunker Support

Starting with version 2021-09-15_0005, the P25RX  has full support for Pro96Com control channel data collection via TSBK and PDU type control channel messages. To use it, go to the console in BTConfig and enter the command: 'pro96_en 1'. If you want the device to come up in this mode after a power-up, then also issue a 'save' command. Note the com/serial port shown in the upper left hand corner and exit the BTConfig software. In the Data Configuration option of Pro96Com, select the serial port you noted and select the PSR-800/WS-1080/XXXX option for the scanner model. If you don't want voice channels to stop the data collection and cause missing information, then configure the P25RX to not "allow unknown talkgroups" and then disable all talk groups in the editor. This will prevent the P25RX from switching to a voice channel.

Importing DSD Talk Group Files Available To radioreference.com Subscribers  (starting with version 2021-02-18_0805)

From the front-page on radioreference.com, go to Databases->Frequency Database, and select your state->county. At the bottom of the county page, there is a list of systems. Click on your system. On the system page, select the "Downloads And Reports" tab. Select: "Download DSD Formatted Talkgroup Data File for Trunked System: xxxxx County"

1) Download the DSD Talk Group file from RR and save it to the "Documents/p25rx" folder on WIndows or ~/p25rx/ on Linux.
2) Rename the file to have a '.dsd' file extension.
3) From the Talk Group Editor tab in BTConfig press the "Import CSV" button and select the .dsd file that you downloaded and renamed.

Your P25RX flash memory now contains a list of talk groups for your system!

The files are actually text, csv formatted files. You could append multiple files before the import if you have multiple systems. If you edit these files directly, you must leave the first line of the file intact with the "DSDPlus.groups" string.

No Driver Found For P25RX On Windows 7 Systems

Some users have reported that they get a "no driver found" for the P25RX on Windows 7 systems. If this happens, please use this file to install a driver when prompted:

BTT Driver

The BTT Driver was generously made available by 'Clay Jones, KI4ANZ'. Thank you Clay!

Changes To The Roaming Mode Of Operation

Starting with version 2021-01-08_1810, the P25RX has improved roaming capabilities. Control channels are tracked dynamically and persistently across frequency changes. It will scan up to 16 control channel frequencies defined in the roaming flash memory. Add all frequencies to be scanned (including the "primary") to the roaming flash. This version uses up-to the first 16 entries defined in the roaming records. If you set the "Switch Control Channel After xx Secs Of Inactivity" to 0, then it will use the control-channel IDLE/BUSY bits to determine if it is time to move to the next channel (this results is much faster scanning). If there is voice activity, then it will remain on the current control channel for the defined talk group timeout (default of 2 seconds).

Scanning NXDN Voice Channels

Starting with version 2021-01-08_1810, the P25RX can be used to scan NXDN-4800 voice channels. Follow these steps to start scanning:

1) Install 2021-01-08_1810 or later firmware.
2) Go to the "Search DB For CC" tab. Delete all rows or "erase roaming flash".
3) Add The NXDN voice frequencies, (not the control channels) in the "CC_FREQ" column. Select these rows and press "add selected frequencies to roaming flash".
4) On the P25RX tab,  enter one of the voice channel frequencies in the frequency box  (doesn't matter which one).
5) Select NXDN for the power-on-mode.
6) Enable Roaming and enter 2 in for the "switch control channel after xx secs of inactivity".
7) Change the Talk Group Timeout to 1 secs
8) press "write config to p25rx".
You should now be scanning your NXDN voice channels!


Reference Frequency  (P25RX only)

If the "Estimated Reference Frequency" is shown in red on the "Signal Insights" tab:

The reference frequency is the frequency of the internal reference. This determines frequency accuracy of the frequency synth and the A/D converters. You can use the ref freq value printed on the labels that the device came with or if you are currently monitoring a P25 Control Channel and the device has had some time to warm up, you can use the "Estimated Reference Frequency" shown on the "Signal Insights" page.

Put the estimated value  into the "Ref Freq" box on the P25RX Configuration page. Then press "Write Config To P25RX". This will update the programmed frequency reference. This not only will make the frequency close to dead on, so that there is less correction, but it also will also make the internal calculations related to re-sampling the rate of the incoming samples from the AD Converters more accurate. After you apply the new ref freq, you should notice that the "Estimated Ref Freq" will be shown in green instead of red.



Talk-group Auto-Flash

By default, the configuration software has two options "auto flash" and "auto disable encrypted" in the talk-group editor tab enabled.  As new talk groups start coming in, the "auto flash" will write each new talk group to the P25RX flash memory.  As it is writing to flash, there is a brief interruption to the voice audio output.  If you have a system with many talk groups,  you might find it preferable to disable the "auto flash" in the beginning and just manually write the entire list of newly discovered talk groups when you are ready using the "Write Talk Groups" button.  This will prevent the audio from being interrupted every time a new talk group is added to the list.  Once you have a near complete list, you can re-enable the option so that any new talk groups that come in get captured to flash automatically.

List Alternate / Adjacent Control Channels

$ ls altcc     (list the 'learned' alternate channels)

P25 Alt Control Channels
SYS bee00-34a, PRIMARY 859.962500, ADJACENT 858.987500, Site 2, RFSS 1
SYS bee00-34a, PRIMARY 859.962500, ALTERNATE 859.937500, Site 1, RFSS 1
SYS bee00-34a, PRIMARY 859.962500, ALTERNATE 858.962500, Site 1, RFSS 1
SYS bee00-34a, PRIMARY 859.962500, PRIMARY 859.962500, Site 1, RFSS 1
SYS bee00-34a, PRIMARY 859.962500, ALTERNATE 858.937500, Site 1, RFSS 1

$ <space>  (hitting space stops scrolling display, hit return to resume)

Reset Configuration To Default Values

If you decided to experiment changing various things with console commands and used the 'save' to write non-default values to the flash memory,  you can always reset to factory values with the

$ factory

command in the console.  This will reset configuration to default values and reset the device.

Troubleshooting - BTConfig will not start in Windows

This isn't happening for most people.  If this happens on your system, this is very likely due to Windows Defender blocking the application.  It is reported that Windows Defender may not even warn you that this is happening.  You may have to start the software manually on the command line in order to see the reponse from Windows Defender.  At this point, you will be able to verify that the application is ok for Windows to open.

Bluetooth Enable With The Button
If you leave the Bluetooth disabled in the P25RX Configuration tab, you can still enable the Bluetooth module without having to use the configuration software.  A double-click press of the TG button will always enable the Bluetooth module and start the pairing process.  After the pairing process times out, the module will attempt to connect to previously paired devices.

Decode ACARS transmissions Over AM Narrow Band (P25RX only)
(available starting with firmware version 2020-07-26_1320)
$ is_control 0  (this will turn off trunking mode)
$ rssi 0 (this will stop the scrolling text)
$ acars 1  (enable AM demodulation and the ACARS decoder)
$ freq 131.55  (tune to a frequency with ACARS transmissions)
$ squelch -130  (set the squelch in dBm)
Then monitor the decoded messages on the Console tab.
Note:  You will probably need a good VHF (130 MHz) antenna for good performance (reception for hundreds of miles).  Audio output is enabled for the line-out and Bluetooth.  This can also be used to monitor other AM narrowband output. Use the freq command to change the frequency.

Temporary Manual RF Gain Adjustment (will be reset to automatic on power cycle)  -starting with version 2020-09-18_0929  (P25RX only)
$ rfgain 0
invalid rf gain. setting agc to automatic.

RF Gains:
0 to enable automatic gain control
-1,8,14,20,23,26,29,32,35,38,41,44,47 dB

Over-ride Talk Group Timeout Feature  - starting with version 2020-09-20_0844
$ pri_always 1   (enable talk group timeout over-ride,  default 0)
When set to 1, the talk group timeout will be ignored.  On grants with multiple talk groups, the talk group with the higher priority will be used.

Bluetooth Audio Gain
It is best to set this value as high as possible without distortion in order to maintain maximum dynamic range over the Bluetooth wireless link.
$ bt_gain gain_value  (gain_value range is 0.01 to 4.0, default 1.5)
$ save
Audio AGC Settings
Testing version 2020-10-10_0651 (and possibly later) removed the agc command and replaced it with the agc2 command.
agc2  target_level   rate
target_level range 0.1 to 1.0  (audio level for agc to target.  default is 0.7)
rate  (the rate that audio levels are adjusted toward the target)
Default:  $ agc2 0.7 0.1
NOTE: Some users report a rate of 0.0 sounds better:  agc2 0.7 0.0

Follow Talk-Group
Use the 'f' command:
$ f
following talkgroup 303 (most recent talk group received)
$ f
un-following talkgroup 303
$ f 347
following talkgroup 347
$ f
un-following talkgroup 347

Talk Group Priorities
By default, the talk group priority for each individual talk group is 1. With a value of 0 or 1 (the priority is disabled), the talk group hold function works normally (defined using the the talk group timeout).

If the talk group priority value is 2 or greater for a talk group, then the priority is enabled for that talk group. When there is an incoming voice grant, this priority value will be compared to the currently active talk group priority. If the talk group in the grant has a higher priority, then it will interrupt the current talk group hold period. When this happens, there is a "TALK GROUP PRI" string added for that record in the talk group log.

 The lowest "enabled" priority is a value of 2. A value of 3 would be higher priority, etc.

Starting The BTConfig Software On The Mac OS X

The easiest way for a Mac user to run the BTConfig program is by downloading the BTConfig.exe file from the download section of website and changing the file extension from .exe to .jar. Once the extension has been changed to .jar, you can double click on the BTConfig.jar file to run the program. Alternatively, the software can be started by running the following command in a console window:  'java -jar BTConfig.exe'