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Old 06-16-2014, 11:07 PM
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Default Why Uniden and GRE should be (very) worried

Is this the shape of the future?

PortaPack for HackRF One is Imminent! | ShareBrained Technology

Granted a little crude at present (it is a prototype after all), but just think of the potential that something like this offers.

Completely software defined, open architecture, all mode, 10Mhz - 6Ghz coverage.

P25, DMR, NXDN, D-Star decode in one unit - Not really a Problem. Only limited by processor power!
Digital decryption of P25 and others (with an appropriate key) - Yep, that's possible too..

And, the HackRF is built on a transceiver platform. Incorporate a broadband PA, plug a mic in and away you go.
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:15 AM
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I find this very interesting, thanks for sharing this info cant wait until some mass production.
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:23 AM
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Seems like something I wouldn't mind building myself.

Uniden you listening? SDR is the future. (with a couple filters)
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Old 06-17-2014, 12:33 AM
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The thing I never understood about these guys that come up with this stuff is the lack of refinement. They never put any attention to detail on the physical interface. There is a whole other hobby world focused on milling, machining and 3D printing. Good grief, partner up and come up with a case and some buttons. All the fancy circuitry in the world doesn't matter if it consists of a raw board begging for any stray ESD blast.
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Old 06-17-2014, 1:09 AM
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I'd rather have a trunk tracking scanner with a speaker that I can carry around on my belt or in my pocket, Thank You Uniden.
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Old 06-17-2014, 5:42 AM
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Very interesting...

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Old 06-17-2014, 7:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mancow View Post
The thing I never understood about these guys that come up with this stuff is the lack of refinement. They never put any attention to detail on the physical interface.
snip
Ever hear of something called a prototype, mancow?

Why waste time and money designing and building a case for something that is still a work-in-progress? You know very well that the PC board is going to change as you refine and/or add features so why build something that will be useless 2 or 3 generations down the road?

I would like to buy the finished product and I'm not going to undermine his effort by demanding a case or other bells and whistles at this early stage of development.
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Old 06-17-2014, 9:59 AM
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I doubt GRE had any concerns being they aren't in business since the tidal wave.

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Old 06-17-2014, 10:32 AM
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If anything this would appeal to the serious / hardcore / enthusiast. GRE & Uniden would still be viable to the masses, JMHO.

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Old 06-18-2014, 9:15 AM
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Both will peacefully coexist. I'd wager that a majority of scanner users are not true enthusiasts and instead just want to listen to local public safety.

For those of us that like to search, DX, etc., this is definitely the present and the future. Manufacturers of wideband desktop communications receivers are probably the ones that should be "worrying". While these devices are bleeding edge they will eventually become the norm for wideband receiving applications.

I have a bladeRF and while I agree that a case would be nice, it is understandable that one won't and should not be released until such time that their HF/VHF transverter is released. Mine sits in an acrylic "case" right now, not close to ideal, but better than a bare board laying around. A shielded case will be nice down the road.

Being able to look at 30 to 40 MHz of spectrum at once and then clicking to tune observed signals is unbeatable, but I don't think it'll ever replace the standard scanner.
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Old 06-18-2014, 9:24 AM
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I don't think SDR is much of a threat to consumer scanners. Even the Uniden HomePatrol is too complicated for some people. IMO, SDR is to scanners as Linux is to Windows.
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackj View Post
Ever hear of something called a prototype, mancow?

Why waste time and money designing and building a case for something that is still a work-in-progress? You know very well that the PC board is going to change as you refine and/or add features so why build something that will be useless 2 or 3 generations down the road?

I would like to buy the finished product and I'm not going to undermine his effort by demanding a case or other bells and whistles at this early stage of development.
I'm not knocking these guys specifically. They did a great job on that. It's just that very little ever seems to make it to the final form. You can buy all kinds of components or Arduino / Raspberry Pi whatever shields etc.. but there is never much attempt to come up with a case for anything or at least some sort of universal configurable housing. Try looking for a keypad/display housing for a project, they basically don't exist. I just hope they end up making something more robust to put it all in. I know that would last long in my clumsy hands.

Last edited by mancow; 06-18-2014 at 12:11 PM..
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Old 06-19-2014, 5:59 AM
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Reason why the Unidens and KenYaeComs still exist:

None of the small/solo SDR developers seem able to make a combination of SDR and User Interface that is as stable,refined,usable and versatile as the KenYaeCom or Uniden devices.

The latter have R&D teams with years of experience and are not fully depending on third party silicons and operating systems. They have specialists for each part of a device design from sketching to final marketing.

SDR is often presented as superior technology "doing anything the CPU allows" but only a few SDR products translate "doing anything" into something really streamlined,usable and a pretty to look at.

Luckily a few very talented developers are getting closer to maturing and stabilizing the SDR euphoria.

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Old 06-19-2014, 6:37 PM
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Originally Posted by scancapecod View Post
Both will peacefully coexist. I'd wager that a majority of scanner users are not true enthusiasts and instead just want to listen to local public safety.

For those of us that like to search, DX, etc., this is definitely the present and the future. Manufacturers of wideband desktop communications receivers are probably the ones that should be "worrying". While these devices are bleeding edge they will eventually become the norm for wideband receiving applications.

I have a bladeRF and while I agree that a case would be nice, it is understandable that one won't and should not be released until such time that their HF/VHF transverter is released. Mine sits in an acrylic "case" right now, not close to ideal, but better than a bare board laying around. A shielded case will be nice down the road.

Being able to look at 30 to 40 MHz of spectrum at once and then clicking to tune observed signals is unbeatable, but I don't think it'll ever replace the standard scanner.
Thats what they said about early spark gaps and CW.

Eventually someone will come out with a polished product that would be cheaper and provide trunk tracking etc.. Just like When Blackberry thought no one would want an iphone in 2007

now its 2014 and blackberry is in deep doodoo.

Uniden needs to be ahead of the curve and release a scanner that uses SDR internally but the same interface everyone is familiar with. But offer the USB connection so you can do what a traditional SDR does and more.
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Old 06-19-2014, 6:50 PM
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Uniden needs to be ahead of the curve and release a scanner that uses SDR internally but the same interface everyone is familiar with. But offer the USB connection so you can do what a traditional SDR does and more.
Maybe they'll release both, but I'd guess it'll be a long time before they did so exclusively. If anything they seem to be trying to (with all due respects to them and end users) dumb them down. Right now going to a SDR approach could geek a company like Uniden right out of the market altogether. Their "Joe Scanner Listener" or whomever he was in that video will probably run screaming from SDR technology.

All I know is that at the same time it is both very cool and very frustrating to be at the edge of this stuff. What's coming down the pike will be amazing, almost certainly.
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Old 06-19-2014, 9:14 PM
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Quote:
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Maybe they'll release both, but I'd guess it'll be a long time before they did so exclusively. If anything they seem to be trying to (with all due respects to them and end users) dumb them down. Right now going to a SDR approach could geek a company like Uniden right out of the market altogether. Their "Joe Scanner Listener" or whomever he was in that video will probably run screaming from SDR technology.

All I know is that at the same time it is both very cool and very frustrating to be at the edge of this stuff. What's coming down the pike will be amazing, almost certainly.
Why would they, It would look exactly like todays scanners, the only difference is the internal RF and demod etc.. will be handled by 3 chips. the ADC, the FGPA and the CPU. in fact it would cut design complexity across product lines, provide better RF performance (due to getting rid of the whole superhet analog stuff)

lower component count, better RF performance, much easier to deal with bugs and features.

And you get the option to plug in the USB interface and use the advanced features.

Plus Uniden can make money selling software upgrades, lets say a major release package with new features. No forklift upgrade for the user and Uniden can make money as well.
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Old 06-19-2014, 9:49 PM
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I don't disagree with you. I just don't think we're anywhere close to the tipping point that would even make them consider it. SDR is well established now where HF is concerned, but it's really in its infancy at consumer level for VHF and above. It's coming, there's no doubt about it, and what we're talking about will become reality ultimately, but I really don't think that Uniden, Whistler, or any of the amateur radio manufacturers of VHF/UHF equipment have any competition to be concerned about as we speak.

It is a wonderful technology that has its day coming, but until that "AAAAHHHH" moment, they'll carry on as is, I'd expect.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:12 PM
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I don't disagree with you. I just don't think we're anywhere close to the tipping point that would even make them consider it. SDR is well established now where HF is concerned, but it's really in its infancy at consumer level for VHF and above. It's coming, there's no doubt about it, and what we're talking about will become reality ultimately, but I really don't think that Uniden, Whistler, or any of the amateur radio manufacturers of VHF/UHF equipment have any competition to be concerned about as we speak.

It is a wonderful technology that has its day coming, but until that "AAAAHHHH" moment, they'll carry on as is, I'd expect.
The problem is you cant sit on your laurels as a business. Look what happened to Eastman Kodak for example. They sat there as digital photography was in its infancy, by the time they realized it was time to move, it was too late.

All it takes if for some small VC funded or kick-starter funded company to come out with a scanner 2 years from now that will blow Uniden out of the water.

Instead of regurgitating the same product in new cases, different LCD interface they need to invest in R&D and work on SDR today.

So when tomorrow comes, they have a competitive product, otherwise someone else will. There is a big grave yard of companies who failed to innovate, and suffered from the rapid impact of creative destruction.


The clock is ticking, Hopefully in the R&D labs Uniden is innovating and preparing for the future, my prediction probably not they are probably happy milking the easy profit at the expense of the long term future.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:21 PM
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Indeed. And...for those of us that like to play with this stuff today, we already have, in my opinion anyway, a scanner that blows away Uniden's offerings. Two RTL dongles, UniTrunker, VBAudio Cable or Virtual Audio Cable, and DSD construct a scanning system with multi-tiered prioritization, visual display of the entire system in operation, and digital decoding. Sure it takes a little work and patience to cobble it all together. And OK...it doesn't scan conventional frequencies. But add a 3rd dongle and SDR# and you're in business. So now we're up to a whopping $60 or so. Yikes, the possibilities.

The majority of folks won't want to cobble the above together because it's not their niche. Wouldn't it be great to see a Kickstarter for a scanner project as you suggest. That would be a kick in the pants for the major players. I have to wonder if those that have the wherewithal to produce such things as HackRF, bladeRF, Airspy, etc., would even consider doing so for something as "mundane" as a scanner. I think instead they would suggest to you (the end user of their product) to "roll your own" as we already have thanks to the above listed components.

The bottom line in my book is that those RTL dongles have changed the world with regards to the radio hobby at VHF and higher, and they are the catalyst for many more robust things to come. Whether scanners are numbered among those things? Only time will tell.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
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Indeed. And...for those of us that like to play with this stuff today, we already have, in my opinion anyway, a scanner that blows away Uniden's offerings. Two RTL dongles, UniTrunker, VBAudio Cable or Virtual Audio Cable, and DSD construct a scanning system with multi-tiered prioritization, visual display of the entire system in operation, and digital decoding. Sure it takes a little work and patience to cobble it all together. And OK...it doesn't scan conventional frequencies. But add a 3rd dongle and SDR# and you're in business. So now we're up to a whopping $60 or so. Yikes, the possibilities.

The majority of folks won't want to cobble the above together because it's not their niche. Wouldn't it be great to see a Kickstarter for a scanner project as you suggest. That would be a kick in the pants for the major players. I have to wonder if those that have the wherewithal to produce such things as HackRF, bladeRF, Airspy, etc., would even consider doing so for something as "mundane" as a scanner. I think instead they would suggest to you (the end user of their product) to "roll your own" as we already have thanks to the above listed components.

The bottom line in my book is that those RTL dongles have changed the world with regards to the radio hobby at VHF and higher, and they are the catalyst for many more robust things to come. Whether scanners are numbered among those things? Only time will tell.

It definitely is an exciting time to be in, This whole SDR stuff reminds me of Personal computing back in the days when it was primarily hobbyists messing with components in their garages and working with and sharing software etc, where PDP-11's were considered the smallest "Real computer" you could buy, where complete packages could run from mid double digits.

back in the early 90s a Watkins Johnson package (WJ-9195 RASP) System offered a "Spectrum scope" cost in the 6 digits range. And something like that would only exist in some unnamed three letter agency offices for SIGINT/ELINT purposes.

the next 5 years are gonna be real interesting.
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