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Home Patrol Out Of The Box Quickie Review

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KC1UA

Scan New England Guru
Database Admin
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
1,586
Location
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
#1
I received my Home Patrol today from Jeff at the Hamstation. Jeff contacted me quite a while ago when the HP release date became available to him, and advised me that I was at the top of the list if I wanted to be. I gave it a little thought and decided to take the plunge. Here's a shameless plug for Jeff as well; as late as yesterday after my HP was already enroute, Jeff asked me if I was aware of the deal for database admin's that Lindsay had available. Being a data admin for MA I told him that I was, and he offered to take the one he was sending me back so I could take advantage of the deal. I find that an excellent and refreshing approach in this day and age, and while many of you will call me a dummy (some do anyway) because of that offer he made I advised him that I intended to complete my transaction with him. Way to go Jeff.

Yes...shut up Scott, and get to the good stuff.

Pros
----
Absolutely phenomenal concept backed up by what appears to be extremely quality hardware. This radio has a fantastic receiver. I was receiving stations at work, particularly on UHF, that I don't hear with my 396XT. I use a Diamond Discone that is vent pipe mounted and somewhat blocked by a roof peak to the west, but many stations in that direction were received.

Absolutely brilliant and well thought out display. Touch screen navigation is intuitive and very easy to grasp. Drilling down into and getting out of menus is a cinch.

Audio seems crisp, although it did not get through my truck's vehicle noise with the windows down. I tried to connect it to my RS amplified speaker, which has decided that it will work only when it feels like it. I expect it would have cranked through it; I have it passing through an Alesis mixer here at SNE HQ and it's very loud and very clear. Haven't tried the line out yet. I haven't tried recording any audio with it yet.

Plug and play GPS...I didn't have to set any baud rate, it just worked. I use a Garmin GPS-18 "hockey puck" that already had a Uniden serial cable attached to it via a null modem adapter. I was almost immediately up and running with it, no fuss at all.

Firmware upgrade via Sentinel software is easy and painless. I already had Sentinel on my laptop so I didn't have to install it from the folder stored on HP's SD card. Incidentally HP interfaces just like a thumb drive would...it just shows up in Windows Explorer as another hard drive. Neat!

Range control seems pretty cut and dried, and of course is dependent on the RR database...

Cons
-----
Uniden didn't provide a male SMA to female BNC adapter. I know, picky, but remember that some of us do use outside antennas.

Shutting down whilst using batteries was kinda funky. I'll keep trying it, but I received a message about it going into standby after a minute of inactivity, which it did not do. I'm sure someone will correct me on this one. I finally got it to give me the shutdown screen and off it went.

Speaking of batteries....the HP wants me to charge mine...badly! As soon as I plug an external power source in it begins to nag me to charge them. And nag me...and nag me! So if you plug it in and walk away...expect this to happen. Honestly, I haven't checked the menu to see if it's a defeatable message.

I wish Uniden had figured out a mobile mount that was available immediately, or part of the package. Mine dangled precariously as I drove home today so I could test the GPS, which as mentioned worked superbly when it had the correct data to use....which leads me to the biggie...the wonderful, wild and wacky RR database.

The concept of this radio is incredible, but it will ultimately only ever be as good as the data here at RR. Now that I have it in my hands I fully understand the concept of how the database should be set up, both conventional and trunked, and I worked at the Cape Cod MA data to a point where I think it'll be helpful to all. I know other MA admins are working at it, and I hope this will be the case with the rest of the country. I will say that it was not as easy as reported to be to get this scanner up and running out of the box, for my area anyway, and this was due to an older database (7/2/10) being shipped that had many shortcomings. As a matter of fact until this evening my area was guilty of not being HP-1 friendly. This is obviously and clearly a glaring "issue" that will probably always plague an otherwise brilliant product. The old "garbage in, garbage out" adage comes to mind.

In the Sentinel software the database update is not as cut and dried as the firmware upgrade. It downloads the database fine, but it does require you to upload the data to the HP-1. No problem with experienced users, but it would be nice to see this streamlined for newbies.

Also, I find the layout of Sentinel very confusing. It's hard to tell what's a site, what's a group, etc. It would be nice to see this sorted better, but thankfully it's immediately available out of the box.

I had a few bumps in the road at the outset, but as Paul (UPMan) said in a message to me this afternoon, "think about how much more quickly you got past these bumps vs. when we went to DMA scanning from banked. If this is as bad as it gets, we are in great shape."

As long as the RR database is kept up to snuff nationwide....for what it's worth I wholeheartedly agree. I'd call this a very good start for a product with incredible potential...provided that the human intervention that it is so desperately dependent on, is maintained.

Enjoy!
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2005
Messages
3,301
#2
The HP1 does shut down properly, check your settings on that.

Battery charge should auto charge after 1 minute if you don't select charge it will default to charge.

DB, yup, that needs work, but now it's in the streets I see major improvements and then things will level out. There are workarounds for some issues though.

I don't think we'll see too many of the issues you encountered, and it seems many have had their units up and running in minutes. Yes, the DB is out of date to start with, as is the firmware, but even the 396's firnware changed before it hit the streets. I don't see the Sentinel upgrade that difficult, download to Sentinel and send it to the scanner. It takes a few minutes, but it's a very large database your downloading.
As for Sentinel and whats what, I don't think it's that difficult to tell whats what when it comes to sites and talk groups, but then using it alot just playing around may have helped that.
It is a pretty amazing device, reception rivals the GRE's, and interderernce is amazing too. I can walk into a gas station with it and not have it stick on a channel because of computers and so forth. I even had it in the computer room at the library today when I took the kids there and no intereference the whole time we were there.

V
 

KC1UA

Scan New England Guru
Database Admin
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
1,586
Location
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
#3
Oh I expect 50% of my whining is ignorance. I tried to take the approach of using this thing as a "newbie" and didn't read any manuals or even much of the pre-release thread on purpose. I never RTFM anyway, so I fell right in line with that approach! :D

My gripe about Sentinel was that when I did refer to the help files, they were non-committal about whether the DB upgrade was automatic. I think it would be nice if it was, given there is really no intervention with the firmware upgrade, which is going to be a big help to those that might be hesitant, I think. Also, I have done very little with Sentinel so my "newbie-ism" with it could be part of the problem, but I don't find it very intuitive at all, although I must admit I've never really been much of a fan of any software Uniden has put out. Thankfully they have provided it to get things started; I'm sure the usual suspects will come out with improved interfaces as they always do.
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2005
Messages
3,301
#4
LOL, at least your honest Scott :) But yeah, I approached it the same way. At first I couldn't get SAFET to work, thats when I found out about the not using Location Control and boom, there was SAFET. However the latest DB update fixed that issue as it is geotagged now eliminating the need to skip the location data. The good thing is when someone does have that issue I can tell them how to hear what they want to. I think too that after a few days you'll be OK with Sentinel.
Have fun with that HP-1, it's a neat device with huge potential for growth!

V
 

Nasby

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 4, 2004
Messages
2,316
Location
Ohio
#5
Nice review Scott. Thnaks very much for posting. I'm still on the fence though. Ha!
 

wise871

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
3,721
Location
Florida
#6
I always look forward to the reviews from who I call power users such as yourself Scott. Anyone know if Rich Carlson, N9JIG is planning on getting a HP-1? I always enjoy his reviews and photos also. Besides he has just about one of every new radio out. :)
 

N8TXX

Scanner Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
260
Location
S.E. Michigan
#7
Transfer database to HP

In HomePatrol Sentinal, do I choose "Write To HomePatrol" to transfer the latest database to the unit?

And after the latest database ie transfered it seems like all my work choosing avoids is gone? Should I have created a favorite first?

Or, is there another way?

Also, where should the squelch setting be for normal operation, it looks like right now the first two bars are selected from the left?

Thanks,
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 11, 2004
Messages
22
Location
Columbia, Pa Lancaster Co.
#8
Since the antanna was mentioned here I have and aftermarket Bnc antenna on my 396 with the supplied adapter. The adapter doesn't seem to work with HP. So I assume I need a Male SMA-Female BNC adapter witch is different from Unidens with the 396 or Im I just being stupid.
 

KE4ZNR

KE4ZNR@radioreference.com
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
7,069
Location
Raleigh, NC
#9
In HomePatrol Sentinal, do I choose "Write To HomePatrol" to transfer the latest database to the unit?
"Write to Home Patrol" is used for transferring favorites lists and Profile settings (edit->edit profile). If the software detects a newer master "HPDB" (Home Patrol Database) in Sentinel then the master database will be updated as well.

And after the latest database ie transfered it seems like all my work choosing avoids is gone? Should I have created a favorite first?
You always want to read first from the HP so that you have a backup of your HP configuration then you can make adjustments in Sentinel to your HP layout then write the changes back to HP. :)



Also, where should the squelch setting be for normal operation, it looks like right now the first two bars are selected from the left?

Thanks,
I keep mine at 2 bars but you might want to play around with it and see what works best in your area. :)

Happy Monitoring (and HPing)
Marshall KE4ZNR
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2004
Messages
60
Location
Middle Tennessee
#10
You guys sure are makeing it sound hard to get it up and running and to get it downloading on the computer!!
I think I will pass until all the bugs get worked out!
Thank you for the review.
 

KE4ZNR

KE4ZNR@radioreference.com
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
7,069
Location
Raleigh, NC
#11
You guys sure are makeing it sound hard to get it up and running and to get it downloading on the computer!!
I think I will pass until all the bugs get worked out!
Thank you for the review.
Not hard at all.

And the reviews appear to be positive so far.

And I would not stress about bugs.

Heck, you want a review from someone who didn't even connect his HP up to the computer at all?

From an NC based radio monitoring group yahoo group:

Mine was at the house when I got home last night. Because I got home late and because of some work pressures, I gave it the ultimate test...

put in the batteries and turned it on. No connection to a computer, didn't read anything, nothing, just plug (in the batteries) and play. (Having seen Marshall demonstrate it definitely gave me a "leg up", though.) The batteries seemed fully charged, but discharged quickly so I really did have to plug it in to play.

Straight out the box, with power and a zip code, you can start listening. Without a doubt, it's the _easiest_ scanner to start out with EVER. Even with the old non-trucking scanners you had to spend time punching in frequencies. The time from out-of-the-box to listening to stuff was the length of time it took to put in the batteries, turn it on, and punch in my zip code. Boom... you're scanning.

I'm still playing with it, but with some tight deadlines at work, my play-time will be limited until Saturday. But next week it'll go to Boston with me, and I expect to use its ease of location change to the hilt.

So far, I'd say it is a VERY impressive scanner. Best ever? Too early to say. But it is a quantum jump in technology on a par with when they switched from crystals to synthesized... it's that big of a jump
So I would say your fears are unfounded. :)

Marshall KE4ZNR
 

N8TXX

Scanner Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
260
Location
S.E. Michigan
#12
"Write to Home Patrol" is used for transferring favorites lists and Profile settings (edit->edit profile). If the software detects a newer master "HPDB" (Home Patrol Database) in Sentinel then the master database will be updated as well.



You always want to read first from the HP so that you have a backup of your HP configuration then you can make adjustments in Sentinel to your HP layout then write the changes back to HP. :)





I keep mine at 2 bars but you might want to play around with it and see what works best in your area. :)

Happy Monitoring (and HPing)
Marshall KE4ZNR
Thanks! I appreciate it. Great scanner so far!
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
16
#14
I received my Home Patrol today from Jeff at the Hamstation. Jeff contacted me quite a while ago when the HP release date became available to him, and advised me that I was at the top of the list if I wanted to be. I gave it a little thought and decided to take the plunge. Here's a shameless plug for Jeff as well; as late as yesterday after my HP was already enroute, Jeff asked me if I was aware of the deal for database admin's that Lindsay had available. Being a data admin for MA I told him that I was, and he offered to take the one he was sending me back so I could take advantage of the deal. I find that an excellent and refreshing approach in this day and age, and while many of you will call me a dummy (some do anyway) because of that offer he made I advised him that I intended to complete my transaction with him. Way to go Jeff.

Yes...shut up Scott, and get to the good stuff.

Pros
----
Absolutely phenomenal concept backed up by what appears to be extremely quality hardware. This radio has a fantastic receiver. I was receiving stations at work, particularly on UHF, that I don't hear with my 396XT. I use a Diamond Discone that is vent pipe mounted and somewhat blocked by a roof peak to the west, but many stations in that direction were received.

Absolutely brilliant and well thought out display. Touch screen navigation is intuitive and very easy to grasp. Drilling down into and getting out of menus is a cinch.

Audio seems crisp, although it did not get through my truck's vehicle noise with the windows down. I tried to connect it to my RS amplified speaker, which has decided that it will work only when it feels like it. I expect it would have cranked through it; I have it passing through an Alesis mixer here at SNE HQ and it's very loud and very clear. Haven't tried the line out yet. I haven't tried recording any audio with it yet.

Plug and play GPS...I didn't have to set any baud rate, it just worked. I use a Garmin GPS-18 "hockey puck" that already had a Uniden serial cable attached to it via a null modem adapter. I was almost immediately up and running with it, no fuss at all.

Firmware upgrade via Sentinel software is easy and painless. I already had Sentinel on my laptop so I didn't have to install it from the folder stored on HP's SD card. Incidentally HP interfaces just like a thumb drive would...it just shows up in Windows Explorer as another hard drive. Neat!

Range control seems pretty cut and dried, and of course is dependent on the RR database...

Cons
-----
Uniden didn't provide a male SMA to female BNC adapter. I know, picky, but remember that some of us do use outside antennas.

Shutting down whilst using batteries was kinda funky. I'll keep trying it, but I received a message about it going into standby after a minute of inactivity, which it did not do. I'm sure someone will correct me on this one. I finally got it to give me the shutdown screen and off it went.

Speaking of batteries....the HP wants me to charge mine...badly! As soon as I plug an external power source in it begins to nag me to charge them. And nag me...and nag me! So if you plug it in and walk away...expect this to happen. Honestly, I haven't checked the menu to see if it's a defeatable message.

I wish Uniden had figured out a mobile mount that was available immediately, or part of the package. Mine dangled precariously as I drove home today so I could test the GPS, which as mentioned worked superbly when it had the correct data to use....which leads me to the biggie...the wonderful, wild and wacky RR database.

The concept of this radio is incredible, but it will ultimately only ever be as good as the data here at RR. Now that I have it in my hands I fully understand the concept of how the database should be set up, both conventional and trunked, and I worked at the Cape Cod MA data to a point where I think it'll be helpful to all. I know other MA admins are working at it, and I hope this will be the case with the rest of the country. I will say that it was not as easy as reported to be to get this scanner up and running out of the box, for my area anyway, and this was due to an older database (7/2/10) being shipped that had many shortcomings. As a matter of fact until this evening my area was guilty of not being HP-1 friendly. This is obviously and clearly a glaring "issue" that will probably always plague an otherwise brilliant product. The old "garbage in, garbage out" adage comes to mind.

In the Sentinel software the database update is not as cut and dried as the firmware upgrade. It downloads the database fine, but it does require you to upload the data to the HP-1. No problem with experienced users, but it would be nice to see this streamlined for newbies.

Also, I find the layout of Sentinel very confusing. It's hard to tell what's a site, what's a group, etc. It would be nice to see this sorted better, but thankfully it's immediately available out of the box.

I had a few bumps in the road at the outset, but as Paul (UPMan) said in a message to me this afternoon, "think about how much more quickly you got past these bumps vs. when we went to DMA scanning from banked. If this is as bad as it gets, we are in great shape."

As long as the RR database is kept up to snuff nationwide....for what it's worth I wholeheartedly agree. I'd call this a very good start for a product with incredible potential...provided that the human intervention that it is so desperately dependent on, is maintained.

Enjoy!
Ok, how did you manage to turn the unit off when it was running on batteries? I'm feeling really stupid right about now!

Mark
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
16
#16
Do you think it is worth the $495 price Tag?
Absolutely! I've been using scanners since the 80s. I love listening but always hated programming them. This thing is a godsend! And it gives the Vista I installed on my Mac something to do other than install updates and scan for viruses!

Mark
 
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
440
Location
Grove City, Ohio
#17
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with HP-1, I was on the "fence" - however, after reading your experience, and reading some of the other threads, I will do my best to get one for Christmas this year.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
16
#19
Hold the power button down, it gives you the warning screen, press it, then tell it to power off.
Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou! This was driving me nuts! I consider myself a techie and not knowing how to turn the thing off bugged, not to mention, embarrassed me to no end!

Mark
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2003
Messages
1
Location
20777
#20
Hold the power button down, it gives you the warning screen, press it, then tell it to power off.
I consider this a flaw. If you don't tap the screen, the warning stays on until the batteries are drained. Not a good default action. Also, I can program the default standby action in the menu, why doesn't it just accept that?
 
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