A signal collection system (SCS) for use in a Wireless Location System is disclosed. The SCS performs wideband energy detection and reporting at the front end of the SCS receiver. Other aspects of the SCS include a protocol for efficiently setting levels for wideband energy detection, DSP sharing within an SCS, and recursive location processing using progressively greater bandwidth from temporarily stored wideband data. The disclosed SCS includes antennas, a wideband receiver, a DSP for wideband energy detection, a memory for temporarily storing digital samples of received signals, a digital drop receiver, demodulation and normalization processors, and a communications processor. The wideband energy detection and the demodulation and normalization processors are implemented with DSP's that detect energy in a particular band, demodulate selected signals, and extract signals of interest for forwarding. The wideband energy detection unit determines the presence of a transmitted signal in the control channels monitored by the SCS. The wideband energy detection involves forming a map of the channel spectrum, and the map is used to determine when to demodulate signals within selected channels.