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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 06-13-2018, 11:49 AM
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What RSSI values are you getting at home vs outside?
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 06-13-2018, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rdb3141 View Post
I feel kind of silly now but moving away from home slightly west (Iím talking maybe a quarter mile but out from behind some hills), the radio now IS picking up Fairfax P25. Of course I should have done this first, but I refused to believe that my new $650 canít read a major system that is close by that my 436 and HP-2 can copy with no sweat. I may fool around with some outdoor antennas, but I expect they will not overcome geography.

I have seen some sensitivity plots posted and will take a look at those. I bough knowing going in that the SDS-100 was not advertised for superior sensitivity, but I am wondering if this is below spec. But for SDR, I imagine there are fewer hardware variables. Thanks all for jumping in.
Signal level is king and at the end of the day there are MANY variables. Even from outside the house to inside the house. Concrete, brick, steel, plaster board, aluminum and even Low E glass are very good attenuators. Adding up each layer can make the difference between receiving a system and not receiving the system.

You may find that during the Winter months when there are no leaves on the trees things work better than in May/June/July when the trees are full of water filled leaves.

Also keep in mind the entire reason many systems when to digital and 800 MHz is to contain the signals more in their specific area and not propagate counties and states away.

I am finding the stock antenna on the SDS100 sub part for 800 MHz in my area. While you may have the Radio Shack 800 MHz, one of the better 800 MHz antenna's IMHO, you may be isolated from the County system you want to listen to unless you run an outside antenna or even a passive repeater to pick up fringe sites.

Always best to move closer to a system you cannot receive before thinking there is a programming or hardware problem.
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Old 06-13-2018, 1:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdb3141 View Post
I feel kind of silly now but moving away from home slightly west (Iím talking maybe a quarter mile but out from behind some hills), the radio now IS picking up Fairfax P25. Of course I should have done this first, but I refused to believe that my new $650 canít read a major system that is close by that my 436 and HP-2 can copy with no sweat. I may fool around with some outdoor antennas, but I expect they will not overcome geography.

I have seen some sensitivity plots posted and will take a look at those. I bough knowing going in that the SDS-100 was not advertised for superior sensitivity, but I am wondering if this is below spec. But for SDR, I imagine there are fewer hardware variables. Thanks all for jumping in.
Yeah - that sounds more like what we're used to with a x36 radio (location, position) and not what the SDS promised... I recall improvement for simulcast and ability to receive more distant systems than previous radios ... sounds like YMMV is again the rule....

As I've always said - what works for some never applies 100% to everyone... and this seems to be proving that again....
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Old 06-13-2018, 1:22 PM
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Originally Posted by troymail View Post
Yeah - that sounds more like what we're used to with a x36 radio (location, position) and not what the SDS promised... I recall improvement for simulcast and ability to receive more distant systems than previous radios ... sounds like YMMV is again the rule....

As I've always said - what works for some never applies 100% to everyone... and this seems to be proving that again....
No disrespect to you, but really -- the platform being used pretty much guarantees great LSM reception. Based upon what I have seen / heard / experienced whilst using my own SDS-100 (and I do have gripes with it) as well as reports from my buddies, hands down the SDS-100 is a winner on LSM and basically everything that they monitor.

With that said, if you are using a crappy ducky antenna, forgetaboutit. If you are using any kind of ducky antenna inside a place where you have a lot of electronics, my experience is that the SDS-100 picks up trash interference from electronic devices that my BCD436HP has never picked up. So there might be receiver issues in strong signal environments, as well as when exposed to a lot of interfering electronic devices when you are using ducky antennas. Get it away from the interfering electronics and/or put an external antenna on it, and the thing rocks. (CAVEAT: I live in a rural area. If I were to use an external antenna in a metro area, I'd probably be picking up images all over the place that I don't pick up on the BCD436HP -- again a receiver issue).

I give it a thumbs up, but IMO there are clearly instances where there will be issues for certain people but not all. But it has nothing to do with the LSM capabilities of the scanner - it clearly will do a beautiful job on LSM in the absence of strong signal overload / images / local interering electronics.

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Old 06-13-2018, 2:59 PM
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I don't have a dog in the fight, because I don't have a SDS100 yet. However, I've still been watching these threads very closely to determine if the yet will be Father's Day, or if the yet may be next year, or the yet may be next model. With that said, it sure sounds like the sensitivity has picked up tremendously on the SDS100 causing it to act the the GRE's of old that wouldn't pick up anything but intermod in strong RF environments due to the overloading of the front end. Being a Metropolitan DC area resident myself, living in southern MD and working in Rosslyn, VA, any scanner that is easily overloaded is not for me.
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 06-13-2018, 3:45 PM
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Jon, when I have a chance I will collect some RSSI values. But when you look at the terrain surrounding my home, the situation looks pretty plain. I really am right in the shadow of hills all along my west side, trying t get signals from that direction. See the Google Maps link below.

Fairfax County does not really need to get into this particular valley (Alexandria City is a separate jurisdiction, and the placement of Fairfax's repeater sites reflects that).

Driving around doing errands, I did monitor reception as I moved further east - and before too long, I was out from the shadow of that line of hills and receiving the system. So the sad news is I am in a blind spot for that system - I think a quarter mile in any direction I'd probably be able to get it. It is a disappointment that for this system the SDS-100 is a step down. But otherwise I love the radio.

Thanks again to all who have chimed in - it has sparked some interesting discussions.




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Old 06-13-2018, 3:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtindor View Post
No disrespect to you, but really -- the platform being used pretty much guarantees great LSM reception. Based upon what I have seen / heard / experienced whilst using my own SDS-100 (and I do have gripes with it) as well as reports from my buddies, hands down the SDS-100 is a winner on LSM and basically everything that they monitor.
Guarantees LSM reception? Hands down winner? You might want to see this thread, complete with head to head testing videos posted to youtube, and joint testing done with a Uniden beta tester today.

https://forums.radioreference.com/un...ml#post2948961

As Troymail correctly stated, YMMV, and it certainly does appear to vary quite a bit from system to system. I'm certainly not alone in my issues. And in head to head testing, as the beta tester agreed, the G4 has VASTLY greater range for simulcast reception....they aren't even in the same universe performance wise.

You might want to do a bit more digging.

Last edited by KR7CQ; 06-13-2018 at 3:59 PM..
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Old 06-13-2018, 4:13 PM
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In open-field testing (i.e. driving around, not in a building) weak-signal reception was comparable to an APX duty radio. SDS100 finally dropped out about the same time the APX started seriously "going digital."

I think there is some source of interference in your building (you mention that reception issues go away when you go outside). Still want to track that down to see if there is something we can do to help mitigate. Interference issues can affect different receiver designs different ways.
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Old 06-13-2018, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan View Post
In open-field testing (i.e. driving around, not in a building) weak-signal reception was comparable to an APX duty radio. SDS100 finally dropped out about the same time the APX started seriously "going digital."

I think there is some source of interference in your building (you mention that reception issues go away when you go outside). Still want to track that down to see if there is something we can do to help mitigate. Interference issues can affect different receiver designs different ways.
I think we are talking about two different things here at this point. Yes, I agree there is some type of interference that affects the SDS100 in my office, that does not have the same impact on the 436 or G4. The beta tester's unit displayed exactly the same issues, and the issues disappeared in exactly the same way once we stepped outside, or even got close to the window.

But as far as locking onto a simulcast control channel in terms of range, between the G4 and the SDS100, it's not even close. I will buy anyone in Phoenix a steak lunch if they can match my G4's reception of distant simulcasts. We can stand in various locations, we can drive towards whatever distant simulcast you want, we can walk around, we can try different antennas, anything you want. Also note, that the beta tester and I did agree that as far as we could tell, his SDS100 and mine performed in a similar manner. His SDS100 couldn't pick up the distant simulcasts either.

The SDS100 may be able to match the Motorola or G4 in some places, I'm really not doubting anyone there, I know that YMMV is always a reality in the world of radios / scanners. However I can say with absolute confidence that this is clearly not the case in the Phoenix area.
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Old 06-13-2018, 4:35 PM
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Unfortunately, I did not have a G4/G5 with me when I did that weak signal test. APX radios are pretty much given as the "gold standard" (well, they just about cost their weight in gold, anyway).
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 06-13-2018, 5:22 PM
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In a non scientific study, it appears that the stock SDS100 antenna is a dog on the SDS100 in the 800 MHz band, but interestingly enough if moved to a 436HP the antenna seems to work better on the 436HP in the 800 MHz range.

So the question is this due the the SDS100 having a poor input impedance/match and the 436HP has a better input impedance/match or is the 436HP far more sensitive than the SDS100??

I have some more testing to attempt to compare the 436HP to the SDS100 and the differences in antenna performance on the different radios.

And for those who are not directly familiar with the Washington, DC Metro area it is a hot bed of systems and unusual challenges. The terrain and vegetation can cause a lot of headaches that other areas do not experience. Simulcast, cell site overloading, strong broadcast signals, problems with building penetration and so forth. If you can actually monitor a system 2-3 counties away with success, consider yourself lucky. A number of the larger Counties in the area are 400-500 square miles that are connected, so depending on where you are located, you may be more than 10-20 miles from an adjacent county edge/transmitter.

So before the scanner is blamed, it would be helpful to have other radios/antenna combinations to compare against as well as moving around to other locations that may be closer to and/or actually in the area of concern. There are also a number of higher peaks around the area that may allow better reception even if you are not directly inside the county or area of interest.
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Old 06-13-2018, 8:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan View Post
Unfortunately, I did not have a G4/G5 with me when I did that weak signal test. APX radios are pretty much given as the "gold standard" (well, they just about cost their weight in gold, anyway).
That's a fair point to mention, and most would agree that you can't beat a modern Motorola professional radio, and you took what would seem to be the most logical route in comparison testing.

I am left wondering if maybe somehow the Motorola is engineered to work mainly in it's own simulcast. So in effect, monitoring some distant simulcast isn't a goal. After all, in a good simulcast network, a user changes his or her simulcast when moving well out of their own home simulcast. Perhaps the Unication has the long range ability because it could be of more benefit to have this in a pager, just curious. I'm sure someone can chime in and say they have done some comparison testing between a new Motorola handheld and a G4/5, so it would be interesting to know, purely as a reference point between what you tested against and I tested against.
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Old 06-13-2018, 9:30 PM
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I have tested a Motorola APX with a NAR6596 stubby antenna right next to a Unication G5 with its little factory stubby on numerous systems from Key West, FL all the way up I-95 to NY and the reception distance is about equal. Both are in my cup holder everyday. Nothing fancy, no switching antennas, no roof mounted antenna, nada.

For example, I can hear Miami-Dade Countyís Harris system at the Broward/Palm Beach County line. I can hear Palm Beach County in Pembroke Pines on I-75.

RF issues in DC...no issues with my G5 along I-95 or the loop or from within my hotel rooms in DC or over in Arlington. Could also hear both systems from the others locations.

NJICS...I was listening to Ramapo site from the Woodbury Commons in NY and the High Point site from Middletown, NY. Same for Rockland County from those locations.

I drive all over the place and they both just work. I couldnít touch that reception distance with my PSR-800.

If people are getting that type of distance with the SDS-100,
Iíd love to hear about it.
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Old 06-14-2018, 7:44 AM
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I would especially expect to see performance variations as you approach the receive threshold (i.e. almost too weak to be received on anything). It is looking more and more like this is just a barely too weak to receive from inside the building issue...maybe even improvable by a band-specific antenna. Still looking into some other things to try.
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Old 06-14-2018, 8:38 AM
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I was driving thorough the eastern NCR (PG and Montgomery Counties) last evening. The SDS100 performance on PG County's 700 system was outstanding: much better than my previous mobiles (first a 436 and then the HP-2.) While I absolutely love the HP-2 as a fixed mobile scanner - the big touch screen is invaluable in states with no handheld devices laws - the SDS is a major improvement, both in terms of missed calls and range outside of the jurisdiction's border. So far in my testing, the SDS equals the G5 in receiving PG County: both start receiving PG at the same point west of Annapolis (in an adjacent county.) Note the I ditched the stock antenna immediately and use a RS800.

The reason I mention PG is that they were the first to build a 700 system in Maryland, and their design is *very* good in keeping their signal confined to a few miles outside their borders - like Fairfax. I cannot receive Fairfax when I'm in Montgomery County (Fairfax neighbor to the east.) Contrast this to my county';s 800 SmartZone system which I can now hear in Easton MD thanks to the SDS100.
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Old 06-14-2018, 9:08 AM
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Agree with what maus92 stated about monitoring larger geographic systems outside of the boundaries.

Many of the newer systems are installed with directional antennas with down tilt and many are deploying remote receiver sites so gone are the days of a single 300-500 foot tower flooding the area with strong signals and needing to be the primary receive site.

I am luck to be located right near the border of Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery County and Washington, DC. I am about 1 mile as the crow flies to Montgomery County and 3 miles as the crow flies to Arlington. So I can easily monitor these systems, but jump just 1 county beyond these and I am not likely to hear anything unless I am out and mobile.

Seems that some of the Beta testers for the SDS100 were using the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna, I have seen this in some videos. If I was Uniden I would go back and ask each Beta tester what antenna(s) they were using and why and then decide if what was reported was 100% accurate.

I used the supplied SDS100 antenna for about 5 minutes until I realized in the house I was missing A LOT of traffic. I have 6 other scanners on my attic antenna with a quality LNA and could hear everything that I was missing. But I also listen from time to time to Fairfax with my HP1 or 436HP in the house when things get busy so I knew I should be hearing far more that I was hearing.

I think anyone that is having problems with the SDS100 needs to explain what antenna they are using and if they are having problems with a site/system, they need to take the radio closer or into the area the system is designed to cover to then see what happens.

I would personally recommend a different antenna than the original based on my initial findings. The $600+ radio should have a decent antenna otherwise you will be disappointed from my experience.
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Old 06-14-2018, 9:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesO View Post
Agree with what maus92 stated about monitoring larger geographic systems outside of the boundaries.

Many of the newer systems are installed with directional antennas with down tilt and many are deploying remote receiver sites so gone are the days of a single 300-500 foot tower flooding the area with strong signals and needing to be the primary receive site.

I am luck to be located right near the border of Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery County and Washington, DC. I am about 1 mile as the crow flies to Montgomery County and 3 miles as the crow flies to Arlington. So I can easily monitor these systems, but jump just 1 county beyond these and I am not likely to hear anything unless I am out and mobile.

Seems that some of the Beta testers for the SDS100 were using the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna, I have seen this in some videos. If I was Uniden I would go back and ask each Beta tester what antenna(s) they were using and why and then decide if what was reported was 100% accurate.

I used the supplied SDS100 antenna for about 5 minutes until I realized in the house I was missing A LOT of traffic. I have 6 other scanners on my attic antenna with a quality LNA and could hear everything that I was missing. But I also listen from time to time to Fairfax with my HP1 or 436HP in the house when things get busy so I knew I should be hearing far more that I was hearing.

I think anyone that is having problems with the SDS100 needs to explain what antenna they are using and if they are having problems with a site/system, they need to take the radio closer or into the area the system is designed to cover to then see what happens.

I would personally recommend a different antenna than the original based on my initial findings. The $600+ radio should have a decent antenna otherwise you will be disappointed from my experience.
IMO, Uniden should be designing an *exciting* accessory for the SDS - like a high performance 700/800 antenna that retains the water-resistant properties of the radio.
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