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psr 500 vs 800

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shores

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Hi,

I am upgrading from a BCT-8 that I was using for mostly conventional and some analog motorola trunking, to something that can do apco 25 digital for fleetnet in Ontario.

The price of the unidens are ridiculous so I'm looking at the psr500 or 800.
I know that the 800 is simpler to use as the whole RR database is preloaded, and it uses the simplified interface.
I plan on using the computer link to update the firmware/frequencies/trunkgroups anyways, so that's not a con for me.

Is the 800 really worth the extra money?
I'm just going to be scanning OPP/transport/ambulance on fleetnet in apco25 and analog, plus conventional frequencies for local fire, road closures, etc.

thanks
 

SCPD

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I have a PSR500 and have played with a PSR800 quite a bit.

What would I recommend. Well that depends on mainly one thing, would you use the Record feature on the PSR800 ? That is the one thing that I wish my PSR500 had that it doesn't have now. I also think that the user interface on the PSR500 is quicker to navigate as compared to the PSR800.

You can get a PSR500 or PSR800 from the link below. They seem to be cheaper than some other places.

Digital Trunking - HamCity / Ham Radio Equipment
 

n5ims

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The PSR-800 not only is easier to program (select systems from the SD card) and can record the audio, but it's also the only scanner (at this time at any rate) that will decode the new P-25 Phase II systems. Probably a good way to "future proof" your purchase since others have indicated that this feature requires hardware to support it, not just software, so it can't be added with a simple update to the firmware.
 

shores

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Have they fixed the silkscreening on the 800 yet?
I know a lot of people had complaints it was wearing off over the past few months the complaints went up.
No official fix yet?

Does Win500 program the 800 or there's no real need with the psr800?
It comes with its own software, which is basically the RR database.
Do you have to pay for a premium RR membership to update the 800 like the 500?
 

jaspence

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PSR500 vs 800

I have the Pro-106 (PSR 500 equivalent) and the PSR-800. The 800 wins for the following:
1. Includes software and USB cable
2. Weekly database updates are much faster to install than reconfiguring PSR500 scanlists with changes.
3. If you do any traveling, there is no need for a computer to add locations or RR database frequencies.

The one downside is that adding frequencies manually is much less user friendly.
 

jaspence

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GRE has provided a new faceplate to those with problems. I received mine several weeks ago. Updating the SD card is done through the PRE 800 software and there is no charge. The software is included and it does not use Win500 or ARC500, a substantial savings.
 

n5ims

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Have they fixed the silkscreening on the 800 yet?
I know a lot of people had complaints it was wearing off over the past few months the complaints went up.
No official fix yet?

Does Win500 program the 800 or there's no real need with the psr800?
It comes with its own software, which is basically the RR database.
Do you have to pay for a premium RR membership to update the 800 like the 500?
Don't know on the silkscreening issue.

No, the 800 comes with its own software to configure your selections.

Actually the software and RR database are seperate items. The user can select systems from the RR database on the radio's SD card without using the software. Where the software makes things easier is you can more easily select what you want and what you don't want to hear (click away and save vs using the buttons to move through the menu options and scroll up and down the systems and talkgroups).

No premium RR membership is needed for the PSR-800. The updates don't come directly from RR, but from GRE, who picks up the tab for the RR download access. There is some delay on the updates due to this process however. The delay is small so it isn't much of an issue, I believe that GRE gets their updates weekly, but it may be nightly.
 

N8IAA

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Have they fixed the silkscreening on the 800 yet?
I know a lot of people had complaints it was wearing off over the past few months the complaints went up.
No official fix yet?

Does Win500 program the 800 or there's no real need with the psr800?
Win500 can not program the 800. EZScanDG is the software that comes with the scanner. It allows you to update the cpu and dsp firmware, update the RR database to the SD card, and certainly makes it easier.
It comes with its own software, which is basically the RR database.

Do you have to pay for a premium RR membership to update the 800 like the 500?
The 800 is relatively new. If you have ever had a GRE/RS scanner, it is familiar, but different. Traded for my 800 so I could get a feel for the "all in one database radio" without taking the cost out of pocket. Definitely not a radio for those like to take their scanners mobile and turn on/off scanlists on the run. That's not my reason for getting the radio. The record feature, the IF output at the earphone, and the screen that shows a whole lot more than my 106/197. A feature that I like is when it is stopped on a VC, it shows the RID of dispatch AND the RID of the mobile. My 197 sure doesn't. Yes, my 106 and 197 show the RID, but it doesn't change with the users when on the VC.Now, if there was some way to control it with a pc........That would be slick:D
Larry
 
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jaspence

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The software is far more than just the RR database. The database is updated every weekend through the Updates menu item. Once the computer is updated, you use the USB cable to update the scanner. You can remove the SD card, but it requires removing the batteries each time. The software allows you to set up any of the scanner menu setting just as ARC500 does for the Pro-106. It automatically saves the SD card configuration or you can set up a new config in the software and download it to the scanner. You can have multiple SD cards with different configurations, but the 200 memories make this unimportant unless you might have a USA and a Canadian card or some strange configuration.
 

SCPD

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Before you decide, I think it really depends on how you use your scanner and whether you need the newer modes that that 800 possesses.

Personally I couldn't care less that the RR database is on the SD card. I don't like the database in my area anyways as it just isn't all that accurate.

It usually isn't that hard to find someone who could give you a file for your area in Ontario to get you started if you don't want to program your scanner yourself.

I like the user interface of the PSR 500 much better than the PSR800, as you can just turn on / off scanlists much faster.

I like the ability to tune to a frequency in a hurry with the 500, which I don't think you can do with the newer model.

I will get a PSR800 in due time .. but I think that the 500 will still be my favorite scanner of the two.
 

krokus

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I have the Pro-106 (PSR 500 equivalent) and the PSR-800. The 800 wins for the following:
1. Includes software and USB cable
2. Weekly database updates are much faster to install than reconfiguring PSR500 scanlists with changes.
3. If you do any traveling, there is no need for a computer to add locations or RR database frequencies.

The one downside is that adding frequencies manually is much less user friendly.
Item 1 is moot, if/when you purchase an actual PSR-500. GRE includes the programming cable, a "wall-wart" power supply, and a CD with instructions and remote software.

If I were looking for a second PSR-500, I would probably just buy the Pro-106, since I have everything else from my original purchase.
 
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The software is far more than just the RR database. The database is updated every weekend through the Updates menu item. Once the computer is updated, you use the USB cable to update the scanner. You can remove the SD card, but it requires removing the batteries each time. The software allows you to set up any of the scanner menu setting just as ARC500 does for the Pro-106. It automatically saves the SD card configuration or you can set up a new config in the software and download it to the scanner. You can have multiple SD cards with different configurations, but the 200 memories make this unimportant unless you might have a USA and a Canadian card or some strange configuration.
Perhaps you are thinking of the PSR-700 on this issue? On the 800, you do have to remove the battery cover, but the microSD card slot is then on the side of the radio. The SD card being under the batteries on the 700 is about the only thing I don't like about that model.
 

n5ims

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Personally I couldn't care less that the RR database is on the SD card. I don't like the database in my area anyways as it just isn't all that accurate.
Why don't you submit some updates for your area to help make the database more accurate. RR doesn't get the frequencies and talkgroups from an official source, it gets them from users like yourself that submit new and/or changed information to help keep it updated. Just use the "Submit Info" button on the main RR button bar.
 

W6KRU

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Why don't you submit some updates for your area to help make the database more accurate. RR doesn't get the frequencies and talkgroups from an official source, it gets them from users like yourself that submit new and/or changed information to help keep it updated. Just use the "Submit Info" button on the main RR button bar.
I agree with edmscan. I change the alpha tags on all of the systems I listen to and I have doubts that the admins are going to make hundreds of changes because of what I like and dislike. Personally I use tags that are very similar to the way that the users refer to the channels no matter how cryptic it is.

Having to use the alpha tags in the DB would irritate me to death. The other problem with having the whole DB in the scanner is there is no reason for me to do it. I haven't been more than 10 miles away from the house in over a year. Why do i need the DB in my scanner?
 

scnnr

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I have a PSR500 and have played with a PSR800 quite a bit.

What would I recommend. Well that depends on mainly one thing, would you use the Record feature on the PSR800 ? That is the one thing that I wish my PSR500 had that it doesn't have now. I also think that the user interface on the PSR500 is quicker to navigate as compared to the PSR800.

You can get a PSR500 or PSR800 from the link below. They seem to be cheaper than some other places.

Digital Trunking - HamCity / Ham Radio Equipment
Sorry Edmscan, when I checked out that link and one of the first things I read this I just shook my head in disgust and left the web site.

Hamcity.com will NOT accept any international credit card payments, unless you have a registered amateur radio call sign. All orders made with an international credit card will be canceled.


What the Hell does having a Amateur radio call sign/ticket have to do with wanting to buy a scanner and be a hobbyist? Or is it just the sale prices quoted that are offered to Registered Amateur's ?
 
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GTR8000

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I agree with edmscan. I change the alpha tags on all of the systems I listen to and I have doubts that the admins are going to make hundreds of changes because of what I like and dislike. Personally I use tags that are very similar to the way that the users refer to the channels no matter how cryptic it is.

Having to use the alpha tags in the DB would irritate me to death. The other problem with having the whole DB in the scanner is there is no reason for me to do it. I haven't been more than 10 miles away from the house in over a year. Why do i need the DB in my scanner?
There's a world of difference between "I don't like the default RR tags" versus "The DB is inaccurate".

I 100% agree with the former, I hate the fact that RR only supports 12 character alpha tags, and generally find 95% of their tags useless. Furthermore, I get really irritated when I submit a really good tag, but the DB Admin takes it upon himself to change it to something that makes absolutely no sense. Sometimes I think they lose sight of the fact that most people download an entire county at a time, not just 1 single agency within that county. So when they change the submitted tag "My Town PD" to "Police Disp", how the heck does that do anyone any good if you wind up with 15 "Police Disp" entries per county?!? :roll:

But, as far as database inaccuracies due to missing or incorrect frequencies, there's no excuse for someone to complain about that if they're not willing to take some initiative and submit some updates or corrections. Anyone who has spent 5 minutes on this site knows that the RR DB is user-driven, not just a rip of the FCC database. I get really tired of seeing certain people around here bellyache about how the DB sucks, but they're too lazy or indifferent to contribute. Step up or shut up. :evil:
 

SCPD

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Hamcity.com will NOT accept any international credit card payments, unless you have a registered amateur radio call sign. All orders made with an international credit card will be canceled.

What the Hell does having a Amateur radio call sign/ticket have to do with wanting to buy a scanner and be a hobbyist? Or is it just the sale prices quoted that are offered to Registered Amateur's ?
Sorry .. I was not aware of that. I am a licensed amateur as well as many of my friends, so it hasn't been an issue for us.

Do I agree with it ... NO. But you have to admit that there must be a reason that they have this policy. I would assume burnt once ... never again is at work here.

Guess we will have to pay the very high scanner prices here in Canada .... :wink:
 

SCPD

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I get really tired of seeing certain people around here bellyache about how the DB sucks, but they're too lazy or indifferent to contribute. Step up or shut up. :evil:
I don't think that anyone said the database sucks, well that I have seen.

I feel that it has its place for some people and is a benefit for some scanner models. I however choose not to program my scanners from it as I feel that submitted data being taken as gospel makes the accuracy of the data questionable.

Maybe the data needs to be marked as "Unconfirmed" when it is submitted, and "Confirmed" when another member verifies that the data is accurate.

Just throwing out an option as to how we can make the database better and perhaps more widely used.
 

GTR8000

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I don't think that anyone said the database sucks, well that I have seen.

I feel that it has its place for some people and is a benefit for some scanner models. I however choose not to program my scanners from it as I feel that submitted data being taken as gospel makes the accuracy of the data questionable.

Maybe the data needs to be marked as "Unconfirmed" when it is submitted, and "Confirmed" when another member verifies that the data is accurate.

Just throwing out an option as to how we can make the database better and perhaps more widely used.
I program everything by hand and from personal knowledge of what's out there, but I still make it a point to contribute to the database when I notice something is missing or inaccurate. While I don't use the database to program what I already know is out there, I do make use of it by looking up search hits, skip, tropo ducting, etc. I find it comes in really handy for identifying unknown stuff, especially when it's not in your own backyard.

As far as marking stuff as "Unconfirmed" or "Confirmed", well the entire point of the submission process is that you're only supposed to submit stuff that already is confirmed. Whereas the FCC database (pardon my US bias) is chock full of licenses for frequencies that are never used in practice, the RR DB is supposed to be the opposite of that. It's supposed to whittle away all the "licensed but not used" junk and present a real-world idea of what's out there instead.

Of course it will never be perfect, there will always be bad submissions made by people who, to be frank, don't have much of a clue what they're actually listening to or by those who jump the gun. There will always be old frequencies that linger because no one submits to have them removed. Well, I guess tagged "Depreciated" is more accurate, RR's overall policy is to never remove frequencies that were once used. I'm not a fan of that policy in certain situations, such as an agency that moved to an 800 MHz system and completely removed all their VHF equipment never to look back, but that's the policy here so we live with it.

Anyway I think the bottom line is that, the easiest way to "make the database better" is for knowledgeable people to submit solid information. Not to put you on the spot or call you out personally, but you did say "I don't like the database in my area anyways as it just isn't all that accurate" earlier in this thread, so my question to you would be: Do you make an effort to correct the inaccuracies in your area? Or do you not care since you don't make use of it anyway? It just seems like your two posts are in conflict with each other, and if you truly cared about making the database better, you'd step up and help clean up your area so others can benefit from your knowledge, regardless of whether or not you personally ever use it to program your scanner. :)
 

SCPD

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Do you make an effort to correct the inaccuracies in your area?

Or do you not care since you don't make use of it anyway?
Sorry the Multi Quote thing doesn't work with my browser.

Q1. NOPE ... I don't use the database. :D

Q2. DING DING .. you win a prize again. :D

As Lindsay Blanton put it recently .... we should take out of Radio Reference what is of value for us. To me ... the knowledge here in the forums are of value, but for me the scanner feeds and the database not so much.

But lets return this thread to where it should be. I personally think that EITHER the mentioned scanners would be a good choice for most people.
 
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