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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2018, 7:19 AM
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So ok .... I now "see it".

If you've been using any scanner and fighting with digital simulcast, the SDS100 does appear (for monitoring those systems within their intended coverage area) to be a great improvement over those older radios.

I've come to this conclusion (finally) after returning from my recent road trip monitoring multiple systems between Baltimore and Ocean City as well as playing back the recordings from that trip (believe it or not, I didn't actually provide 100% of my attention while there to listen "live").

The thing that pushed me into this conclusion was that I recently attempted to use an older scanner and was once again reminded of how hard it was to listen on other scanners. I've gotten so used to monitoring with my G5 (which I believe still sets the bar in my opinion) that I apparently forgot how badly scanners handle simulcast (I know, I can't believe that myself!)

If you have never experienced using a Unication G4/G5 (or a more costly option) to monitor digital simulcast systems, then it is clear that the SDS100 will create more of a "wow" moment for you. "Wow" is a bit muted if you are a Unication owner.

Having said that, I am still concerned about other issues I've encountered (heat, power/charging, battery life, proprietary battery, noise, some minor display issues, etc.).

To be clear - I haven't detected any general improvement in non-simulcast reception or significant "distance" reception (with some specific exceptions) so if you aren't dealing with digital simulcast, other than the color display, the improvements at this point aren't that significant or maybe even detectable over (for example) a 436.

At this point, for digital simulcast reception (only that aspect), I still put the G5 first with the SDS100 a close second. Factor in additional abilities of the SDS100 (as a scanner) and the SDS100 does appear to be good alternative. Some of this is the digital decode but another aspect is that the Unication can more easily receive/decode distant P25 systems/signals than the SDS (from my testing).

Having said all that - I am at this point still not planning to acquire my own SDS100 anytime soon given a variety of factors - issues I've seen/reported, the fact that I have a G5, waiting to see what the competition releases later this year, and all the other radios I have already. Of course, everyone's situation is completely different.
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  #62 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2018, 8:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
To be clear - I haven't detected any general improvement in non-simulcast reception or significant "distance" reception (with some specific exceptions) so if you aren't dealing with digital simulcast, other than the color display, the improvements at this point aren't that significant or maybe even detectable over (for example) a 436.
I agree that, on average, the non-simulcast performance of the SDS100 is very similar to the 436. Occasionally one will receive something the other will not, but if you have them both scanning the same (non-simulcast) stuff they will, in most cases, receive very similar total amounts of traffic.

The biggest difference is simulcast performance; the SDS100 is the clear winner there. The next biggest difference is the display; the SDS100 is the clear winner there as well. The 436 wins in the battery life category, especially with the low-capacity battery included with the first production run of the SDS100. We'll see what happens when the larger-capacity battery becomes available for the SDS100.

I don't really care about the heat issue, because the scanner doesn't get anywhere near hot enough to be a burn hazard, and so far thare is no indication that the heat causes performance issues. It may cause some issue down the road at some point, but there's no evidence of that yet. A lot of computers and other devices have components that get similarly hot, and still work reliably for years.

The charging/power issues are easily solved by using cables and USB sources that can handle at least 2000mA. 3000mA is better. You can't just use any USB port or cable and expect trouble-free operation, just like you can't plug a 20-amp air conditioner into a 15-amp wall socket and expect it to work reliably.
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Old 08-02-2018, 8:45 AM
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I have seen significant distance improvement on P25 vs. previous generation scanners. But, as noted, neither expected nor experienced improvement on non-digital. In some cases, analog reception will be slightly worse or slightly better; will be more or less subject to interference; will behave quite differently (or very similarly). The complete change in RF design has many effects, both subtle and dramatic.
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  #64 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2018, 8:51 AM
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Quote:
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I have seen significant distance improvement on P25 vs. previous generation scanners.
Simulcast reception is certainly improved both in and outside the intended area of coverage (the 436 required finding a specific spot to receive while inside just to get a good "DAT" indicator). This extends (from my observations) to outside the jurisdiction/area of intended coverage to some degree - just not as far as the Unication. As stated - every system and situation is different.
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Old 08-02-2018, 9:22 AM
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I performed an experiment yesterday to improve heat management in the Jeep. Instead of letting the SDS remain ON in the Jeep when I'm away from the vehicle, I turned it off. Even though the outside temps were breaching 90˚, and the sun was beating down and turning the interior into an oven, the SDS was cool to the touch (relatively.) When I started the Jeep and the USB port supplied power, the SDS charged normally (in this case, green LED.) Still going to continue this line of testing.

* I tried to leave the SDS at home, but the PSR-800/WS-1080 I used in its stead just does not perform well on the simulcast systems I follow. So for now, it is relegated to monitoring tower and ground freqs in the hanger.
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Old 08-05-2018, 9:21 PM
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The SDS and the G5 performed equally on my ride through Calvert today. Both began receiving the St Marys system in Prince Frederick, and both picked up the same traffic at essentially the same location / time. And both sounded great even for a Harris P25 system.. St Marys was very busy this afternoon with water rescues, ambo calls, and a flyout with Trooper 2.
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Old 08-06-2018, 6:10 AM
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Originally Posted by maus92 View Post
The SDS and the G5 performed equally on my ride through Calvert today. Both began receiving the St Marys system in Prince Frederick, and both picked up the same traffic at essentially the same location / time. And both sounded great even for a Harris P25 system.. St Marys was very busy this afternoon with water rescues, ambo calls, and a flyout with Trooper 2.
In California I at times hear PF but thats with an external antenna not the original antenna. I now go GPS (still can inside my home). Thanks for the local commentary! My area is quite compaired to were I was prior in Raleigh NC.
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Old 08-06-2018, 6:54 AM
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Originally Posted by troymail View Post
Yeah, well.... not sure what to make of the fact that you and I alays seem to disagree... I guess that just life.

I wonder what antennas are you Troymail and Maus92 are using. I dont appear to have the issues that Troymail has but to be fair to him Im an not in the same area!

Being respectful to all you guys!
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  #69 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2018, 8:26 AM
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Yup - every scenario is different.... system, your location, antennas...

Now back at home in NC, I've had the SDS sitting on my desk for almost a week and hear little to nothing from the NC VIPER sites that service my area (same as before).

Went outside on the patio for a bit yesterday and was receiving much more but still fairly weak (it's a poor system in my opinion - not simulcast, highway patrol system - and I am no where near a highway - actually I am almost as far away as you can get from a highway). I had also reported earlier in the NC forums that I was receiving the Horry SC simulcast system from my patio as well but that (as I suspected) turned out to be lucky/careful placement of the radio and/or some other factors (newer f/w version? atmospherics? other?) - yesterday, I saw no sign of the system at all....
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Old 08-06-2018, 8:40 AM
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I run the G5 with its stock antenna, and the SDS with the RS800 antenna. The stock antenna supplied with the SDS is a wideband design, and for my uses, does not perform nearly as well as an antenna designed for 800 mhz. I was pleasantly surprised that the SDS performed as well as it did when monitoring the St Marys system from well outside the county's northern border. I expected the G5 to start receiving in Prince Frederick, as it did in earlier tests in April. In the April test, my (now sold) HP-2 performed poorly until Solomons - and even then I suspect I was missing calls.
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Old 08-06-2018, 6:34 PM
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I should also add that the "stock" external antenna on the G5 is designed for the 700/800 band. The VHF receiver in my version is internal from what I understand (and I assume the same applies the the UHF versions.)
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