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Reception problems: 

1) If you are using a radio shack scanner, you can get too much signal and the radio cant handle that. Reduce the signal,
I.E. take the radio off the outdoor antenna, put on the included antenna. Turn on the attenuator example.

2) Do a test, when its getting something or a good one - NOAA weather, push slightly in on the antenna connector, if the signal improves, you have
hopefully just a cracked solder joint. Fix is to open the scanner up and remelt the solder. Portables take more abuse and
in my opinion the BNC connector - the push in and twist type, is more prone to that than the SMA connector - the screw on type - newer unidens use this.
The other possible thing is after many years the two little connections you see on the antenna connector if you remove the antenna may have separated,
more prone to that if you remove-install the antenna a lot. Try as much I can, no easy fix on the separated connectors. I replaced the connector.

3) Adjust the squelch as you may have accidentally made the radio less sensitive by applying a higher squelch.
This only applies to non digital frequencies, digital frequencies doesnt apply.

4) Check to see if you have accidentally turned on the attenuator or the global attenuator - Global is for Radio shack radios,  letters GA appears on the display

5) If you listen to Saginaw/Genesee/Flint/Lapeer
They are simulcast systems and many others have commented to me as well about reception.
That is, multiple towers transmit the same frequency signal, so the radio gets confused on the strong-weak signals picking up from multiple towers.
There are several tweaks I set to minimize any garbling of audio for Unidens, Radio Shacks amd GRE brand which I utilize.
Try turning on the attenuator or the global attenuator - Global is for Radio shack radios
Honestly there are no perfect settings to 100 % alleviate garbled transmissions.
Four towers putting out the same frequency and the audio gets garbled.
Uniden put out a firmware update for models 396XTHome Patrol, and the 996XT  that went a long way to help make these systems
very listenable
now ! :)

Simulcast distortion examples - First and Second one. (this from before the Uniden simulcast update) More info.

Apply any firmware updates as most often they address digital decoding.

6) Reposition the radio, even sideways

7) If you have another antenna, try that.

8) Accidentally locked out frequencies?

9) Does it work while just outside the house? Possibly your in a weak signal area and the higher digital 800 frequencies don't go through walls as well,
that does even include tree leaves.

10) If not a good signal, are you using the all band stock antenna? If so, the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna does dramatically increase the signal for 800 MHz -
the digital band as I can attest on my radios. Be advised due to it being an 800 MHz antenna, it will lower the reception especially in the 150's and airplane band.

11) Take a qtip with isopropyl alcohol and remove the antenna on the radios and swab the connector all around the silver ground connector & where the antenna connects.
* If you try this, DON'T apply pressure to the connector as you don't want to spread the contacts apart !
It did help a lot for me anyways, the connectors, mainly the silver ground contacts were quite dirty and limited the reception.

Digital scanner common questions:

1) Why did my 911 services switch to digital? Generally its because of the narrow banding mandate of January 1, 2013.
Many decided to just switch to MPSCS digital to have the interoperability with other agencies.

2) Will digital scanners receive non digital (analog) frequencies? Yes they do.

3) Can I just upgrade my existing analog radio?
No. There is no circuitry inside the analog scanners to decode the digital transmissions, You'll need to get a digital scanner.

4) Will my scanner work on digital?
A) If it can't get the 800 MHz frequencies - it wont decode 911 digital.
B) If you paid less than $300 brand new - It wont decode 911 digital.
C) If you paid at least $300 brand new and it says trunktracker IV or P25, it will decode 911 digital.
D) If your radio models are any of these, it will decode 911 digital.;
     Radio Shack Pro 96, 2096, 197, 106, 18
     Uniden 296D, 796D, 396T, 996T, 396XT, 996XT
     GRE PSR 500, GRE PSR 600, GRE PSR 800
E) Check these two links to find out if yours can do so, check to see if it says it can do P25, if it can, it will decode 911 digital.
     Uniden: http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Uniden_Scanners
     Radio Shack: http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Radio_Shack_Scanners
F) One guarantee I will have for you is that the digitals are a MAJOR change over the analog scanners to program.
     Assuming you get one, you'll see that and it will be 'very confusing' on how to program them.

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