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Thread: XPR7550 etc - can you use Tuner software to lower the analog squelch threshold?

  1. #26
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    At least the XPR radios aren't as bad as how the EVX radios come from factory, set to open at just around -116 dBm, or at least as measured with my signal generator. That is a 12 dBm improvement in squelch performance,-116 vs -128, and once you tune the Tight Wideband threshold (and Normal Narrow for DMR) to around +1 of the noise dBm. the performance difference truly is night and day.

    While 2dBm might not seem like much, it could make a difference in fringe areas, perhaps in FM. However, in DMR tho, my 5550e UHF seems to pick signals all the way down to -132 dBm, the lowest my SG would go... and the only way to have the blinking LED to go off is to actually turn the SG signal off. So, the XPR gen2 radios seem to be tuned to open even with just the faintest of the signals, and at that point you're limited by noise threshold I would say.

    G.


    Quote Originally Posted by g8tzl2004 View Post
    ....but what about the flashing green LED...its like the radio is saying " I can hear a signal which is weak but perfectly copyable but I have decided that I will not let you hear that signal but I will make the green LED flash so that you know you are missing the signal"

    I checked my notes from 6 years ago and I noted that I was disappointed that there were only 2 SQ settings but that the "normal" SQ level was great as it was set at the threshold and opened on the weakest of signals. I even said that commercial operators would be complaining that the SQ was too low and that Motorola was be increasing the SQ level...which they clearly did ...but this would not have been a problem if Moto had used the usual Moto analog 0 - 15 SQ setting...with DXers using level 1 and commercial operators level 8

    I searched the archives and here is what I said 6 years ago...


    ""I am new to Mototrbo. It looks like there are only 2 SQ settings in analog mode - Normal and Tight. It also looks like you can't adjust the SQ levels using Tuner software - so you are stuck with the default "factory" settings. This could have been a problem if, like with many of my older radios, the default factory setting is set too high so you miss weak but perfectly copyable signals (like with the Astro Spectra). If you can adjust the SQ using the tuner software this is not a problem but with the trbo radio's I think this is NOT possible.

    BUT the good news is that I've been testing a UHF XPR7350 over the last few days using the freqs which were already programmed in the radio - and the "normal" SQ setting is fantastic!!! It is set more or less on the noise threshold and will open on a very difficult to copy signal. The front end sensitivity is also fantastic - read Bill G's report on the Batboard - its up to 10dB more sensitive than other Moto radios. It can hear grass grow!! It significantly outperforms my MTS2000, HT1250 and XTS5000.

    So although it appears that you cannot adjust the analog SQ setting, its actually set spot on in the factory for working DX. I'm sure commercial users will start complaining about co-channel interference but I guess all they need to do is set the SQ to Tight!!""

    ....but I guess the SQ Tight level was too tight for commercial operators


  2. #27
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    My Vertex EVX-539 has 4 rather than 2 analog SQ settings...something like 1.Threshold 2. Normal 3. Tight 4. Very Tight

    With the EVX539 analog SQ set at threshold, the SQ opens on very weak signals...its good enough that I don't want to adjust it. The EVX539's analog RX RF front end is also OK..not as good as an XPR7550 but in line with Motorola DMR mobile radios...but as I've said before, the processor generates QRM so when using a set top 1/4 wave antenna weak signals are blocked and the radio appears to be deaf. But if I use a true 1/2 wave set top antenna (from an FT790), the "active" top part of the 1/2 wave antenna is far enough away from the radio's processor to remove the noise

    3dbm is the equivalent of doubling the TX power...or halving the TX power and RXing a signal at the same strength...so every dB counts

    What model is your EVX radio?

  3. #28
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    I have many EVX-5300/5400 mobiles, and several 539/1 portables, with and without the dot matrix enhanced display.

    The 4 settings are:

    Open,
    Threshold,
    Normal,
    Tight,

    Problem was that in Narrowband, which is DMR, the EVX radios didn't use Threshold as SQL opening setting, it used Normal instead, and Narrowband Normal was equivalent to a -116 dBm SQL signal level. Anything below that -116 dBm level wouldn't even register in DMR. Wideband Threshold setting was factory set at -122 dBm.

    G.

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    Is there no option to select one of the 4 different SQ levels in DMR with the EVX stuff? Is it all fixed default SQ levels?

    In analog, I am sure I was able to select the SQ "threshold" level for narrowband...all the channels are currently set for narrowband and the SQ opens on weak signals (using an external antenna) which my Motorola trbo mobile stuff will not open on..I have to press the monitor key to open the SQ on the Motorola to hear the same signal.

    My EVX539 is the older LCD version which uses different CPS compared to the dot matrix LCD version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g8tzl2004 View Post
    I also checked out an early F/W (R02.30.01) and probably CPS10 programmed trbo radio which had already been set up for RX PL (and had been untouched for 6 years)...and the SQ opened at exactly the same time as the green LED started flashing....whereas with a CPS16 programmed radio (but still early F/W), the green LED still flashed without the SQ opening...but NOT much extra signal was required to get the SQ to open.
    This may be significant. Its indicates that the issue might be a Tuning parameter created by the CPS or a CPS parameter. We know that the CPS messes with the audio levels on different versions of the CPS. FYI That fix is to calibrate your levels with a monitor then save the custom tuning levels. Program the radio and then reload your custom levels to the radio. I have done this several times its a pain but it solves the audio problem (Thanks Mars for suggesting it in the firstplace). I dont remember if reading the retuned radio - editing and rewriting keeps the custom levels. I do know reading from archive - editing does not.

    Anyway back on topic. If it is a codeplug (.ctb) parameter the specific field values may be discoverable with a compare. If its a hidden tuning value then again we are stoped as there is no way to get to it.

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  7. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by g8tzl2004 View Post
    Is there no option to select one of the 4 different SQ levels in DMR with the EVX stuff? Is it all fixed default SQ levels?

    In analog, I am sure I was able to select the SQ "threshold" level for narrowband...all the channels are currently set for narrowband and the SQ opens on weak signals (using an external antenna) which my Motorola trbo mobile stuff will not open on..I have to press the monitor key to open the SQ on the Motorola to hear the same signal.

    My EVX539 is the older LCD version which uses different CPS compared to the dot matrix LCD version.
    Yes, its fixed, the SQL settings from the dropbox are only for FM (analog), both wideband and narrowband, but for DMR (digital) it only uses the Narrowband Normal SQL values, that's all you need to change if you want your EVX radios to open at around -129 dBm.

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    What happens using DMR if the SQ is switched off or set at, say, -140dBm?

    With very weak signals, do you get "fragments" of audio or just robotic noise?

    At -129dBm do you get 100% understandable audio with the EVX stuff?

    I only set up my EVX-539 on one fairly strong local DMR repeater...but I assumed the poor reception compared with my Motorola stuff was due to the internally generated QRM....especially as I got similar DMR performance to my Moto XPR stuff when I used the set top 1/2 wave which helped to remove the QRM when using analog FM. But I guess the higher DMR SQ level did not help.

    Do you get any internal QRM on your EVX-539 using analog FM? Its worse at 430 MHz vs 450 MHZ. I used an AM/SSB portable scanner/receiver to listen for the internal noise....and its not an analog FM high SQL issue as the EVX-539 receives weak analog signals well using an external antenna.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g8tzl2004 View Post
    What happens using DMR if the SQ is switched off or set at, say, -140dBm?

    With very weak signals, do you get "fragments" of audio or just robotic noise?

    At -129dBm do you get 100% understandable audio with the EVX stuff?

    I only set up my EVX-539 on one fairly strong local DMR repeater...but I assumed the poor reception compared with my Motorola stuff was due to the internally generated QRM....especially as I got similar DMR performance to my Moto XPR stuff when I used the set top 1/2 wave which helped to remove the QRM when using analog FM. But I guess the higher DMR SQ level did not help.

    Do you get any internal QRM on your EVX-539 using analog FM? Its worse at 430 MHz vs 450 MHZ. I used an AM/SSB portable scanner/receiver to listen for the internal noise....and its not an analog FM high SQL issue as the EVX-539 receives weak analog signals well using an external antenna.

    Nope, its not QRM, its the darn squelch that is crippled at -116 dBm on DMR from factory. -116dBm vs -129dBm is a massive difference in weak signal performance. I did the same for FM, but FM wasn't as bad as DMR... the SQL won't open below -126dBm on FM, no matter what.

    You can't just set the SQL to -140dBm from the CPS alignment menu. In order to do that you'll need a signal generator capable of producing a -140 dBm signal, and then the radio should ideally be able to hear that... unfortunately, the EVX radios are unable to detect anything reliably below the -129dBm mark... How do I know? b/c the tuning figure you get from the auto-SQL-tune won't go any lower after you pass the -129 dBm mark.

    The EVX radios unleashed to -129 dBm will edge the XPR6550 in weak signal work... but the 7550e still beats the EVX, even with the SQL tweak, as the 7550e is still capable of picking up the signal when all of my SGs can't go any lower...

    As for -129 understandable audio, well, you can certainly hear the 1kHz tone... its faint, but its there... In real world tho, the -129dBm is relative to the noise threshold at your location, which in the case of the SG is probably about -132dBm. So if you have a noise threshold of -126 dBm, the radio will open SQL at around -122dBm... the desense/noise threshold, etc, that affects your ability to hear signals since the squelch is aligned vs the noise floor. The EVX radios I've aligned are capable of near full voice recovery almost all the way down to 9dBm above noise threshold... from ~ 6dBm to 4dBm above noise threshold you start getting more and more digital breakups.. before reaching 4dBm above noise threshold where the RX LED won't blink anymore.

    FM is pretty good, I hear a bit of high pitch noise on GMRS (462 Mhz) sometimes, and its more or less the same as it is on 440, but I've never paid much attention to it. What I can say is that the portables seem more susceptible to nearby RF coming from computers than the mobiles are.

    G.

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    If you press DMR SQL auto-tune with NO test signal injected, does the auto-tune set the DMR SQL level set at -129dBm ie at the minimum level possible.

    With FM if you turn off the SQL you get white noise. What do you get with DMR? I presume you hear nothing? So for "DX" the SQL should always be set to the absolute minimum? Any "noise" heard is the radio attempting to RX a DMR signal...so at least you know that somebody is TXing?? The green LED might flash due to QRM but no QRM "noise" will be heard?

    My EVX-539 was received with the latest F/W already installed...but I checked out the F/W release notes. There had been several earlier versions of EVX F/W where audio to the internal speaker did NOT work...so there must have been 1000's of EVX's where the "user" believed that their radios had failed

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    Nope, you'll need a signal generator, otherwise the number you get from auto-tune is completely random and based on whatever noise, so you might actually make it worse than how it came. I tried this, thinking it would open any better, nope, it opened at -110 dBm... get an SG... get some service monitor to align radios... is the best investment you'll probably ever made if you are as addicted to radios as I am ...

    There is no equivalent open squelch functionality for DMR, so you get nothing if no valid DMR signal is present.

    Yeah, latest firmware seems to work well for me too.

    G.

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    If you get nothing (no noise) if no valid DMR signal is present, why is a SQL level needed...why not just have the radio set as if the SQ was off...with analog there would be an "annoying" white noise...but with DMR there would just be silence.

    My guess is that there is a SQ level so that there is no robotic noise coming from only a partially recovered DMR signal where the BER is too high..this would annoy commercial users...but for DXers you would know that a very very weak signal was being RX'ed.

    On the EVX539, is the DMR and analog SQ levels (ie threshold, normal etc) aligned independently or are the SQ levels set up using analog FM and the analog levels then just applied to the DMR side.

    I have an Vertex VXD-7200 mobile which is "identical" to an XPR4550...do you know whether its possible to align the SQ threshold levels on this radio?

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    DMR silence is independent of signal level. IE an open squelch condition will still have a muted speaker. This is because the radio processor is looking for valid DMR information without it the radio remains muted. Its like back in the good old days on PL/DPL radios with a squelch control, the radio remained muted even with the squelch wide open because the PL deck was forcing the radio to remain muted until it saw the PL tone.

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    OK on being like PL...so with DMR the SQL might as well be either disabled or set at the lowest possible level as there will be no annoying white noise like with analog FM with the SQ open. The radio will just be looking for a DMR color code (like a PL), and when one is detected you hear audio. I guess the only point of a SQL with DMR is to stop the radio RXing high BER signals?

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    Quote Originally Posted by g8tzl2004 View Post
    OK on being like PL...so with DMR the SQL might as well be either disabled or set at the lowest possible level as there will be no annoying white noise like with analog FM with the SQ open. The radio will just be looking for a DMR color code (like a PL), and when one is detected you hear audio. I guess the only point of a SQL with DMR is to stop the radio RXing high BER signals?
    Preaching to the choir, g8tz....
    Incidentally, that is how the XPR7550e and XPR5550e radios work: As soon as something, even the faintest, is present, even at -132 dBm in the SG, the led starts blinking...

    DMR is all digital, so if the DMR header, data, etc is not valid, like Notarola stated, there will be no audio, even if the LED is flashing. It won't even be robotic noises either. The robotic voice happen when the DMR signal is still valid but the ECC (error correction) cannot recover the voice bits, so the vocoder interprets "unrecoverable" data... hence you get some nice R2D2 sounds for free.

    I have no idea how to manually align Motorola XPR radios...

    The VXD are basically XPR4550/6550s with different firmware on them. Now, perhaps Vertex Standard had its own tuning program for their VXD variant radios... I don't know.

    Again, the 7550e doesn't suffer from this sql problem in digital. If anything is present, SQL opens and DMR can be decoded, provided there is a valid DMR signal. Perhaps you're better off replacing the VXD/EVX for XPR7550e/5550e/SL7550 radios... I did and I never looked back.

    G.

    EDIT: The SQL is so the battery doesn't drain... when the radio is actively receiving something it consumes more power than when its just on "stand by"

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    When you inject a -129dBm signal into the EVX for setting up the SQL level, does the tuner provide some kind of numerical indication of the old and then the new value SQL value after auto-tune has been pressed...maybe its actually displays -116dBm and then -129dBm OR maybe there is some other number sequence...or maybe there is nothing?

    I like "collecting" lots of different commercial radios...I never sell them, I just keep adding them to the collection

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    Quote Originally Posted by g8tzl2004 View Post
    When you inject a -129dBm signal into the EVX for setting up the SQL level, does the tuner provide some kind of numerical indication of the old and then the new value SQL value after auto-tune has been pressed...maybe its actually displays -116dBm and then -129dBm OR maybe there is some other number sequence...or maybe there is nothing?

    I like "collecting" lots of different commercial radios...I never sell them, I just keep adding them to the collection
    We both have the same addition then... LOL.

    Yes, there is a hex value readout. The EVX SQL alignment procedure is as follows (for VHF):

    ->First set SG to 136.05000 Mhz, a deviation in kHz (depending on narrowband, wideband) and a power level in dBm (if you have dBm as the unit of choice) usually -122 for Threshold SQL.
    ->Click OK and after a couple of seconds you get two readouts. The old readout hexadecimal value, like 22F4, and the new value, 1EC9. You click OK to move to the next alignment.
    ->Now you're asked to set SG to 154.05000 Mhz, same deviation, and -122 dBm signal.
    ->Click OK, and you get another two readouts: Old 23A9, new 1F19. hex. Click OK...
    ->Last freq is 173.95000 Mhz, same deviation, and -122 dBm signal. Click okay.
    ->After a second you get a 2 x 3 table, showing the previous values on the left, and the new values on the right. You click OK and that takes you back to the alignment menu.
    ->Click end and the aligment is saved to the radio, and reboot.
    ->After the radio is back up DO NOT unplug it to turn it off, make sure you turn it off via the power button, otherwise your alignment values might not be saved.

    G.

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    OK on the hex values...its like aligning a Motorola Saber

    Are you aligning the SQ threshold using a digital DMR signal from your SG or an analog FM signal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by g8tzl2004 View Post
    OK on the hex values...its like aligning a Motorola Saber

    Are you aligning the SQ threshold using a digital DMR signal from your SG or an analog FM signal?
    Analog FM signal.

    G.

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    Is this correct - for EVX weak signal working, the "normal" SQ level is set to -129dBm as the "normal" setting is the fixed default for DMR; and the "threshold" is set to, say, -126dBm as this is optimal for analog FM weak signal working as the "normal" setting will now be too low for analog FM...although its possible to select different SQ levels (threshold, normal. tight) for FM but not for DMR which is fixed at the "normal" SQ level.

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    I'll reiterate:

    For FM the SQL settings match the SQL alignment settings, for both narrow and wide. Tune them to whatever you like. FM -126dBm is as low as it will go.

    For DMR only Narrowband Normal SQL means anything. Nothing is factory set at -129dBm. You have to do that. I've outlined the procedure to align the radio SQL.

    G.

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