• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

SDS100 Initial Review From Phoenix

KR7CQ

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
970
Location
Phoenix
#1
I wanted to share my initial / preliminary review of this scanner, the good, and the bad. The first thing I did was to update the firmware and the database. My programming was basically a very well-vetted 436 file, along with my SDS100 display color settings. I charged the unit to 4.2v before testing performance (it was at around 3.9v to start with).

The Good

*LSM seems to be properly demodulated, with a few caveats. This is huge, and Uniden has taken a leap forward in that regard. The difference is obvious.
*Modern feel, very nice keypad and buttons, knob, fit and finish.
*Great display that can be customized as needed with a lot of information available.
*Uses the great menu system from the x36 line, works well, logical.
*Excellent scan speed, noticeably faster than the x36 line.
*Very good reception on conventional UHF / VHF, noticeably better than the x36 line.
*Excellent reception of civilian AM air band with stock antenna (surprised me).

The Bad

*Around 770 MHz, where all of our local simulcasts are, receiver performance is less than expected. Driving around (always a tough test), the ability to lock onto a control channel in the 770 MHz range isn't very strong. The x36 line locked onto the CC more solidly and sooner (despite the known modulation issues / distortion, a separate issue). My Unication G4 can lock onto a simulcast at twice the range. I'm talking 8+ miles solid reception from a site with the G4 and it's silly inch-long antenna, versus 3 or maybe 4 miles max for the SDS100.
*Inconsistent performance. Sometimes certain simulcasts won't come in at all. Then after a restart they will, varying in strength from weak to strangely strong. The RSSI on control channels can be very low, but when a voice transmission is locked onto the RSSI improves greatly at times. The G4 was pretty consistent. Other than random link drops that happened occasionally, the link was solid, over long distances.
*The comment two-up in this post about a poor ability to lock at 770 MHz? That's also inconsistent. On some simulcasts there is no issue, on others, within 1 MHz of the trouble-free simulcasts, things are bad. Again, the G4 doesn't behave this way.
*Strange noises / anomalies when monitoring very familiar local conventional UHF systems. They don't happen often, but they are an issue, and are not originating from the system I'm monitoring.

Bottom line though, I can't sit in my own house and monitor my own police department's radio system with the SDS100, and I have never found any dedicated scanner that will do it. The Unication does it effortlessly, but it annoys me with several things and is not ideal (it's a pager after all). At this time it is impossible to scan my local police department, along with other simulcasts / systems, from within my own home. That really sucks.

Disclaimer: This is only my experience, and nothing more. Of course everyone's experience is different, and I know that everyone else seems to be thrilled with their SDS100, and I am happy for them. I am also willing to accept the possibility that this particular unit has some type of issue. I very much wanted to share a more positive review, but it is what it is.

I will spend more time with this scanner before making a decision on what to do next.
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2009
Messages
202
Location
Rancho Santa Fe, California
#2
Good review. Just got mine today and am enjoying it so far. A few things I’m not liking... the Speaker is pretty lack luster...the fact I can’t use my third party portable antennas, ( Watson WSMA-801), the base connector is too narrow... a Bluetooth option would be nice to make up for the mediocre speaker, the scan speed seems slower than with my 436.
 

WX4JCW

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
2,367
Location
All Over USA
#3
I wanted to share my initial / preliminary review of this scanner, the good, and the bad. The first thing I did was to update the firmware and the database. My programming was basically a very well-vetted 436 file, along with my SDS100 display color settings. I charged the unit to 4.2v before testing performance (it was at around 3.9v to start with).



The Good



*LSM seems to be properly demodulated, with a few caveats. This is huge, and Uniden has taken a leap forward in that regard. The difference is obvious.

*Modern feel, very nice keypad and buttons, knob, fit and finish.

*Great display that can be customized as needed with a lot of information available.

*Uses the great menu system from the x36 line, works well, logical.

*Excellent scan speed, noticeably faster than the x36 line.

*Very good reception on conventional UHF / VHF, noticeably better than the x36 line.

*Excellent reception of civilian AM air band with stock antenna (surprised me).



The Bad



*Around 770 MHz, where all of our local simulcasts are, receiver performance is less than expected. Driving around (always a tough test), the ability to lock onto a control channel in the 770 MHz range isn't very strong. The x36 line locked onto the CC more solidly and sooner (despite the known modulation issues / distortion, a separate issue). My Unication G4 can lock onto a simulcast at twice the range. I'm talking 8+ miles solid reception from a site with the G4 and it's silly inch-long antenna, versus 3 or maybe 4 miles max for the SDS100.

*Inconsistent performance. Sometimes certain simulcasts won't come in at all. Then after a restart they will, varying in strength from weak to strangely strong. The RSSI on control channels can be very low, but when a voice transmission is locked onto the RSSI improves greatly at times. The G4 was pretty consistent. Other than random link drops that happened occasionally, the link was solid, over long distances.

*The comment two-up in this post about a poor ability to lock at 770 MHz? That's also inconsistent. On some simulcasts there is no issue, on others, within 1 MHz of the trouble-free simulcasts, things are bad. Again, the G4 doesn't behave this way.

*Strange noises / anomalies when monitoring very familiar local conventional UHF systems. They don't happen often, but they are an issue, and are not originating from the system I'm monitoring.



Bottom line though, I can't sit in my own house and monitor my own police department's radio system with the SDS100, and I have never found any dedicated scanner that will do it. The Unication does it effortlessly, but it annoys me with several things and is not ideal (it's a pager after all). At this time it is impossible to scan my local police department, along with other simulcasts / systems, from within my own home. That really sucks.



Disclaimer: This is only my experience, and nothing more. Of course everyone's experience is different, and I know that everyone else seems to be thrilled with their SDS100, and I am happy for them. I am also willing to accept the possibility that this particular unit has some type of issue. I very much wanted to share a more positive review, but it is what it is.



I will spend more time with this scanner before making a decision on what to do next.

I had my G4 give me problems on the Phoenix system, can you post a clear screenshot



Sent from my iPhone 8 using Tapatalk Pro
Jason WX4JCW
Unication G4, BCD536HP
 

mancow

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Feb 19, 2003
Messages
5,828
Location
N.E. Kansas
#4
Try dropping the squelch to 1 if you are just scanning trunked systems. It helped me on a fringe area.
 

jasonhouk

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Messages
860
Location
Marion, Ohio
#5
I wanted to share my initial / preliminary review of this scanner, the good, and the bad. The first thing I did was to update the firmware and the database. My programming was basically a very well-vetted 436 file, along with my SDS100 display color settings. I charged the unit to 4.2v before testing performance (it was at around 3.9v to start with).

The Good

*LSM seems to be properly demodulated, with a few caveats. This is huge, and Uniden has taken a leap forward in that regard. The difference is obvious.
*Modern feel, very nice keypad and buttons, knob, fit and finish.
*Great display that can be customized as needed with a lot of information available.
*Uses the great menu system from the x36 line, works well, logical.
*Excellent scan speed, noticeably faster than the x36 line.
*Very good reception on conventional UHF / VHF, noticeably better than the x36 line.
*Excellent reception of civilian AM air band with stock antenna (surprised me).

The Bad

*Around 770 MHz, where all of our local simulcasts are, receiver performance is less than expected. Driving around (always a tough test), the ability to lock onto a control channel in the 770 MHz range isn't very strong. The x36 line locked onto the CC more solidly and sooner (despite the known modulation issues / distortion, a separate issue). My Unication G4 can lock onto a simulcast at twice the range. I'm talking 8+ miles solid reception from a site with the G4 and it's silly inch-long antenna, versus 3 or maybe 4 miles max for the SDS100.
*Inconsistent performance. Sometimes certain simulcasts won't come in at all. Then after a restart they will, varying in strength from weak to strangely strong. The RSSI on control channels can be very low, but when a voice transmission is locked onto the RSSI improves greatly at times. The G4 was pretty consistent. Other than random link drops that happened occasionally, the link was solid, over long distances.
*The comment two-up in this post about a poor ability to lock at 770 MHz? That's also inconsistent. On some simulcasts there is no issue, on others, within 1 MHz of the trouble-free simulcasts, things are bad. Again, the G4 doesn't behave this way.
*Strange noises / anomalies when monitoring very familiar local conventional UHF systems. They don't happen often, but they are an issue, and are not originating from the system I'm monitoring.

Bottom line though, I can't sit in my own house and monitor my own police department's radio system with the SDS100, and I have never found any dedicated scanner that will do it. The Unication does it effortlessly, but it annoys me with several things and is not ideal (it's a pager after all). At this time it is impossible to scan my local police department, along with other simulcasts / systems, from within my own home. That really sucks.

Disclaimer: This is only my experience, and nothing more. Of course everyone's experience is different, and I know that everyone else seems to be thrilled with their SDS100, and I am happy for them. I am also willing to accept the possibility that this particular unit has some type of issue. I very much wanted to share a more positive review, but it is what it is.

I will spend more time with this scanner before making a decision on what to do next.
If the squelch method doesn't work or even if it does better but try setting that systems hold time to Max and see it RSSI becomes more stable.

Houk

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

gotbordercollies

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Messages
17
#6
SDS100

So far impressive - However, I can't update the database on the scanner.

It shows that the current version on the server is 9/24/13. When I attempt to update the database, it says that it is up to date. I know that my 436 database version is 6/3/18.

Richard
 

mkt853

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
166
Location
CT
#7
Noticed a similar issue with CSERN which is a P25 Phase I 770 MHz system as well. Testing still inconclusive, hope to do much more this weekend, but something’s up.
 

UPMan

Uniden Representative
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
13,287
Location
Arlington, TX
#8
You only get that message when the dB in Sentinel is up to date. Has nothing to do with the version in the scanner. To put the new version in the scanner, Write to Scanner.
 

KR7CQ

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
970
Location
Phoenix
#12
Sorry if you posted this are any systems by chance HARRIS?

what about this system any traffic on it?
https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=9455
These are typical Phase 1 P25 simulcast systems. I will check the APS system out today and post back on that.

More concerning at this point is that it seems to miss many transmissions while at work, on a simulcast whose tower is literally in view outside of my window (RWC Simulcast A for those familiar). All other scanners, even old digital scanners, work perfectly here (because one tower is hitting the antenna ten times harder than than any other site). I'm going to set up my 436 next to it and video what I'm talking about today. I will park the scanner on my local TG, which is a very busy one, and it's Friday so later it will be one TX after the other. I should be able to demonstrate that the 436 will stop on nearly all transmissions, while the SDS100 will miss many or most. I sure hope I'm wrong though.

With regard to how the G4 works on this simulcast (comment several up), it works very well overall, but again with caveats (occasional horrid noises, some non-encrypted TXs coming through as encrypted, random link drops a few times an hour that take 15-30 seconds to recover from).

Still, I really LOVE everything else about this scanner so I'm going to play with it more, and try the suggestions regarding squelch and hold time...though right now the "problem" simulcast I'm referring to is at -40dBm as I look over at my scanner...literal line of sight signal from .6 miles away.
 

wise871

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
3,721
Location
Florida
#13
To bad there is not another SDS100 user near you so can possible rule out a radio issue. Interested in what you come up with. Phoenix is a tough area to scan from what I have read over the years.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

troymail

Silent Key
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
9,977
Location
Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
#14
With regard to how the G4 works on this simulcast (comment several up), it works very well overall, but again with caveats (occasional horrid noises, some non-encrypted TXs coming through as encrypted, random link drops a few times an hour that take 15-30 seconds to recover from).
Michael - I had some similar experiences with a few systems on my G5 but the Phase 2 upgrade solved 99.9% of that. Given past f/w releases, I would assume that Unication will release a more generic version of f/w soon that does not require the Phase 2 upgrade to make similar improvements.
 

KR7CQ

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
970
Location
Phoenix
#15
Michael - I had some similar experiences with a few systems on my G5 but the Phase 2 upgrade solved 99.9% of that. Given past f/w releases, I would assume that Unication will release a more generic version of f/w soon that does not require the Phase 2 upgrade to make similar improvements.
Thanks for that information, as Unication may be my only solution for now. I plan on moving ahead with the phase 2 upgrade as well....mine is phase 1.

I'm going to set the SDS100 up next to the 436 shortly and make that video, and post the results if they are what I believe I will see.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
830
#17
I wonder if the issues you face with simulcast break up have to do with interference from a nearby cell site? Depending on which bands the cell transmitters are on, they can wipe out receivers, including professional grade radios.
BG..
 

KR7CQ

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
970
Location
Phoenix
#18
Below is a link to a video of what is typical when I compare the SDS100 vs my BCD436HP. As you can see the 436 clearly picks up more transmissions. I have repeated this in multiple locations, with multiple systems. I'm close to the system tower, and the nearest cell towers are a fair distance away, so it's not that.

https://youtu.be/WoA333DcsK8
 

wise871

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Database Admin
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
3,721
Location
Florida
#19
I’m sure you already tried a lower squelch setting. In your video I saw it was set to 4. Not sure if squelch works the same on both radios due to the different boards. Just trying to help.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

KR7CQ

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
970
Location
Phoenix
#20
I’m sure you already tried a lower squelch setting. In your video I saw it was set to 4. Not sure if squelch works the same on both radios due to the different boards. Just trying to help.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yes sir, I've tried it to no avail. I still need to try adjusting hold time though. I absolutely love the scanner otherwise, so I hope I can find some solution and I will keep an open mind for now.
 
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