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Old 01-25-2016, 7:27 AM
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Default Latest Scanners: Which perform best on P25 Simulcast?

I've been using my HP-1 for a couple years with the beta SW that UPMAN provided to us for testing. I've had just barely tolerable performance with this setup.
Looking to find out if the new crop of scanners works significantly better for Simulcast issues.
I'm aware that, at least in the previous generation HP-1 and 996XT, antenna position could make or break reception. I'm hoping these new models have made advances that allow them to work "all over", even mobile.

So can anyone bring me up to speed on what the current performance of these new models are, and what the high level differences in capabilities are?

BCD536HP
BCD436HP
HomePatrol II
BCD996P2

My system is Linn County Iowa, if anyone has experience using these new Uniden scanners on this system, I'd love to hear about how its working for you.

Linn and Johnson County Public Safety (Project 25) System Trunking System, Various, Iowa - Scanner Frequencies
Project 25 Phase I
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Old 01-25-2016, 7:52 AM
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I'm using a BCD536HP to listen to Camden County, New Jersey P25 Phase II simulcast. As far as I;m concerned it does a pretty good job. BUT there are some purest here that say the only way to listen to P25 Phase II you need a receiver that is made for the job like a Motorola handheld.

But since I'm not using my scanners for work like public safety or fire/EMS service the BCD536HP does just fine for my use.

Now on that note i have a friend who lives in a different part of the county and has all types of problems monitor the same system. He lives close to 3 simulcast sites. So the result may vary. You might want to ask your question in the Iowa forum where you may get answers from other users in your area.

Sorry I can't be more helpful.
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Old 01-25-2016, 10:18 AM
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kbehning,

We actually have a small thread in the Iowa forum regarding how different scanners work with Linn Co P25 system.

http://forums.radioreference.com/iow...p-vs-396t.html
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:34 AM
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Which works best is usually system-dependent. What works best on one system may not work best on others due to adjacent channel use and other factors. The 436/536 have better filters than the other models which would give them the advantage in dense RF areas.
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Old 01-25-2016, 4:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nr2d View Post
I'm using a BCD536HP to listen to Camden County, New Jersey P25 Phase II simulcast. As far as I;m concerned it does a pretty good job. BUT there are some purest here that say the only way to listen to P25 Phase II you need a receiver that is made for the job like a Motorola handheld.

But since I'm not using my scanners for work like public safety or fire/EMS service the BCD536HP does just fine for my use.

Now on that note i have a friend who lives in a different part of the county and has all types of problems monitor the same system. He lives close to 3 simulcast sites. So the result may vary. You might want to ask your question in the Iowa forum where you may get answers from other users in your area.

Sorry I can't be more helpful.
Simulcast is all about location, location, location.
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Old 01-25-2016, 5:50 PM
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I'd say the BCD536HP is the best out of my 996XTs and BCD996p2s. However, that does not mean it's as good as it should or could be. I have to use yagi antennas for reliable reception, and I can't use the 536 or the 992P2 in the car, because they just don't fit and have a remote head to make them usable. If Uniden would add the proper hardware and design to eliminate simulcast issues, and beef up the processor, so the keypad is responsive during recording, it would get more praise from me. Of course a remote head like the one for the 996XTs would also be greatly appreciated.
I monitor within the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, where there are numerous simulcast P25 systems.
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Old 01-25-2016, 6:18 PM
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Of the choices you mentioned, the 436/536 win by a long shot. The HP1 and HP2 don't use updated circuitry like the x36 line. I've tried the HP1/2 and they don't handle simulcast well at all, especially in mobile environments where receivers get hammered with out of band noise and strong signal interference from cell phone towers.
Now if the HP series were updated with the same receiver circuitry like the x36 line I would definitely add one to the collection! (Upman, hint hint).
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Old 01-25-2016, 7:35 PM
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Forgive my ignorance but what is meant by simulcast?

We have simulcast Talk Groups in the regional trunked system but they are never active here. So that prompts my question.
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Old 01-25-2016, 7:45 PM
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The talkgroups are transmitted from more than one tower at the same time! The scanners have a problem decoding the audio when receiving signals from multiple sources. Why often the best fix to simulcast problems is a yagi pointed to often the nearest tower, hopefully nulling out the other signals.
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Old 01-25-2016, 8:01 PM
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Thank you mass-man!
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Old 01-25-2016, 8:53 PM
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Mass left out one key thing... transmitted from more than one tower on the same frequency at the same time.
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Old 01-25-2016, 8:55 PM
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Thanks much guys - glad to hear that the 536/436 units have made improvements. Of course it would have been nice if they were rock solid but apparently we're not there yet.

N0ZJT - thanks for the thread in the Iowa section - that's great news to hear the report of the 436 giving great mobile copy.

I will be deciding which one to try first between the 2 - I'll probably give it a month to ensure that I get an updated version with the display/RTC battery fixes.

Thanks again guys
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Old 01-26-2016, 6:49 AM
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IF the 436/536 stops on a simulcast talkgroup (big IF), the voice decode is usually pretty good. However, it still depends heavily on the system you are trying to monitor and the radio configuration/location/positioning, etc.

To be more complete -- all of my radios - GRE, Whistler, and Uniden - still struggle to hear my state Phase 2 system. All of them require specific positioning (could be as little as moving the radio inches) to get good reception. In some cases, all of the radios detect and decode nothing from these systems - and I'm still in the middle of the coverage area. If you don't have at least one other radio and/or Pro96Com to compare things to, you won't necessarily know what you are missing.

Yesterday, while testing/trying out a 325P2 which was placed 5 feet from the 536, neither radio was receiving everything on the local site of my state Phase 2 system. On rare occasions, I hear the same thing on both radios but most times I'd hear voice from one radio or the other (both radios were only enabled to monitor the single system/site).

I'm still hoping either Whistler or Uniden is working on a new design to solve the simulcast reception problems.

Also - just got my 436 and 536 back from repairs (RTC, LED/display issues, 536 headphone jack problems). I never really saw the RTC issue (radios powered on and plugged in 99% of the time). The LED/display issues were killers and the fix does make it better (but will it last?). On the other hand, I've never had to return a GRE/Whistler radio for repairs and the display has always been easy to read.

FWIW - I'm a Ford truck guy too - tried Chevy - never liked or tried Dodge (and don't plan to).
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Old 01-26-2016, 8:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
IF the 436/536 stops on a simulcast talkgroup (big IF), the voice decode is usually pretty good. However, it still depends heavily on the system you are trying to monitor and the radio configuration/location/positioning, etc.

To be more complete -- all of my radios - GRE, Whistler, and Uniden - still struggle to hear my state Phase 2 system. All of them require specific positioning (could be as little as moving the radio inches) to get good reception. In some cases, all of the radios detect and decode nothing from these systems - and I'm still in the middle of the coverage area. If you don't have at least one other radio and/or Pro96Com to compare things to, you won't necessarily know what you are missing.

Yesterday, while testing/trying out a 325P2 which was placed 5 feet from the 536, neither radio was receiving everything on the local site of my state Phase 2 system. On rare occasions, I hear the same thing on both radios but most times I'd hear voice from one radio or the other (both radios were only enabled to monitor the single system/site).

I'm still hoping either Whistler or Uniden is working on a new design to solve the simulcast reception problems.
I sure hope they come out with a viable simulcast solution. I'll be first in line to get one.
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Old 01-26-2016, 3:08 PM
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Quote:
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I sure hope they come out with a viable simulcast solution. I'll be first in line to get one.
You'd have to get in line behind me! I think we'd all like to see this as an offering!
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Old 03-29-2016, 2:02 PM
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Quote:
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The talkgroups are transmitted from more than one tower at the same time! The scanners have a problem decoding the audio when receiving signals from multiple sources. Why often the best fix to simulcast problems is a yagi pointed to often the nearest tower, hopefully nulling out the other signals.
Can we dive into this comment a bit? You say "yagi pointed to often the nearest tower", the word "often" stopped me. I live literally dead center of two towers and definitely have issues with decoding. Each tower is about 3 miles away in almost exact opposite directions. I currently have a yagi pointed to the one that has more level land between the scanner and tower. I've tried towards the other tower too. But your comment leads me to believe that its possible that -not- pointing directly at a tower could help? What about pointing diagonally up or down? Does that matter? I know I'm grasping at straws here. But its driving me nuts.

One thing I have noticed is that some days, the scanner does a really decent (not great) job. Then other days (like today) its just crappy. Does atmospheric conditions impact reception too?
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Old 03-29-2016, 2:13 PM
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I think he meant pointed toward the nearest tower.

In reality that is not the best practice unless you are under FCC constraints.

What you want to do is null all BUT ONE tower from reception. Being directly between two towers, that will likely happen at about 45 degrees off one of the towers because the deepest null on a yagi is NOT toward the rear, but about 45 degrees off the rear. That will null one of the towers better than pointing directly toward one of them - resulting in better performance. For RX only installations, there are no FCC constraints (there are when installing transmitters).
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Old 03-29-2016, 3:18 PM
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I have the same problem in Saratoga County NY. Have tried a couple different scanners and it is terrible. I then heard about the Unication G4. This thing is unreal. I dare say it receives as well as the Motorola XTS5000 I have. No problems with multi site. They have figured out the solution. I would highly recommend.
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Old 03-29-2016, 4:37 PM
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Point it in the direction that works best for you. That may not necessarily mean that you get 5 solid bars of signal strength. Actually, with the BCD396XT/996XTs, I got best results around 2-3 bars of signal strength on the local simulcast system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaveJam View Post
Can we dive into this comment a bit? You say "yagi pointed to often the nearest tower", the word "often" stopped me. I live literally dead center of two towers and definitely have issues with decoding. Each tower is about 3 miles away in almost exact opposite directions. I currently have a yagi pointed to the one that has more level land between the scanner and tower. I've tried towards the other tower too. But your comment leads me to believe that its possible that -not- pointing directly at a tower could help? What about pointing diagonally up or down? Does that matter? I know I'm grasping at straws here. But its driving me nuts.

One thing I have noticed is that some days, the scanner does a really decent (not great) job. Then other days (like today) its just crappy. Does atmospheric conditions impact reception too?
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Old 04-04-2016, 1:20 AM
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so which one is actually better on p25? BCD536HP or BCD996P2
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