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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-13-2018, 7:28 PM
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Red face Anyone using SDS100 or Unication G4 or G5 to hear PCWIN or similar systems in AZ?

I am thinking of taking the plunge and replacing my Pro-668 with either SDS100 or Unication G4 or G5. I was looking for anyone that can provide their experiences with either one. Or just help me understand the differences between them and what I would be getting into (pro/cons).
Reason I am replacing is I "feel" like I am missing transmissions because I see a strong signal bar, scanner is locked on to a PCWIN channel and I have no audio. Almost as if the scanner needs to warm up for a while before it starts to receive anything.I have multiple 800mhz antennas that help me receive better depending where I am. (Car or work or office) I am open to other radios as well if you have a suggestion.
75% of my monitoring is PCWIN then AZDPS and some occasional Milair.
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Old 08-15-2018, 4:41 PM
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The G4/5 is designed to do one thing well. That's to be a pager that does a great job of receiving P25 simulcast (yes you can get a dual band model that also does VHF or UHF). Again, it's a pager, not a scanner. It lacks things like lockout, TG hold, delay, and importantly, the ability to monitor multiple systems at once. Other than being able to switch to VHF or UHF (only one of those can be chosen to be added to a G5, not both), it's useless for things like airband as well as many other things. It will not monitor a Moto smartzone system (like MCSO). You can program a system to run on one knob setting that will "scan" all TG's that you want on that system, but you need to switch knob positions to hear one particular TG (lots of "tricks" to setting up knobs to accomplish what you want - see Unication forum). It is not a scanner, and it will not replace the need for a scanner for the serious hobbyist.

My short time with the SDS100 in the valley: It does properly demodulate LSM (simulcast), but the ability to resist interference and to pick up 700 MHz signals from a distance were for me not acceptable. Anywhere I went, the SDS100 was only able to pick up the simulcasts that it was sitting within (if those), and maybe one more simulcast in some cases. The G4 could pick up most or all systems, valley-wide, from those same locations. I can monitor Mesa Topaz from North Glendale with the G4 (30+ miles away to the nearest tower), and the SDS100 couldn't even approach that level of reception on distant LSM sites. Where the SDS100 got messed with by interference of various types, the G4 was unaffected. I couldn't monitor Glendale PD sitting in my house in Glendale with the SDS100 (G4 has full signal bars in the same place).

In the end, the SDS100 was a really neat device that didn't work out for me, but works out for the majority of folks in their situations apparently. If it works for you, you will have a real scanner, not a pager, and you will be happy. If it doesn't pick up simulcasts as you need it to, and those simulcasts are really important to you, you are likely to end up with a G4/5 eventually. They are purpose built for 700 MHz simulcast, and the only way you do better is with professional gear.

Oh, and there is a LOT of "fan-boyism" on RR as I'm sure you know, but I have no axe to grind or brand to shill for, this was my honest experience that mirrors the experience of several others in the valley, a few of whom I met in person to do head to head testing with. I love and use products from Uniden, GRE, Whistler, Unication, and other companies that make radio products. I use what works, and I share my experiences to assist others in my hobby in making informed decisions. Still, my experience is just one man's experience in one place, it is what it is.

And to save some the trouble of jumping in to say "but you didn't wait to install the firmware release that some say helped"....others on on RR in the valley who went on to use that and subsequent firmware releases report that the same issues continue on to this day, regardless of which firmware they install.

I would say buy the SDS100 from Amazon, where you can return for full value if needed, without even having to pay return shipping. Try it and if it works wonderful, you have a scanner instead of a pager. If it doesn't work, it costs you not a cent, and you move on to the G4/5.
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Old 08-15-2018, 5:00 PM
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KR7CQ hit it right on the head. With the advances in radio, the end all be all solution is not necessarily going to work for everyone. Scanners, receivers and pagers each offer their own set of "skills" at what they do best, and sometimes the answer is more than one radio for people who are serious about what they want to monitor. A lot of people seem to be stuck in the days where you could pick up any scanner at the local electronics store, bring it home, punch in a few numbers and hear everything going on around you. I wish there was an out of the box single solution, but everyone's needs are different, so experimentation is probably the best solution to determine what works for you. I know there are plenty of people in your area, so you might want to reach out to them to do some side by side comparisons before committing to a single unit.
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Old 08-16-2018, 11:52 AM
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radio10-8 check your private email. Should you (or anyone else) decide to go the G5 route, I have 2 that I am willing to part with.

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Old 08-16-2018, 4:09 PM
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I just bought SDS 100 from Bob @ Anaheim HRO two days ago, been letting run 24/7 and no issues so far. Great scanner and you DO need a strong antenna to make it work properly, KR7CQ is absolutely right on its interference issue, and that leads me wanting to buy a G5.

SDS100 - if you travel and want a future proof scanner with great existing antenna setup to compensate its interference problem.

G5 - its a professional voice pager and you need to buy FOUR unites to cover ALL bands (VHF 136-174/700-800, UFH 380-430/700-800, UHF 400-470/700-800, UHF 450-512/700-800). It is the best tool to monitor one single system, and one system only unless you want to use PPS software provided by unication to change it all the time. (My friend is a firefighter and his job depends on it)

918Dave, I'd love to buy the G5s you have on hand, could you please contact me?
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Old 08-16-2018, 9:39 PM
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landsharkca, I don't see a way to contact you privately. My email address is daveb1101@cox.net. I guess I'm lucky as I enjoy the G5's as well as the SDS100 using only the stock antennas supplied with each.
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Old 08-17-2018, 1:21 AM
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email sent!
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Old 08-17-2018, 3:45 PM
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The funny thing about my whole experience, is that if I lived a half mile west of where I live, and if my office was in a different spot, it's quite possible that the SDS100 would meet my basic needs, and I would own one today. It will never, ever, in my view, match the G4 when it comes to picking up distant simulcasts, but I could live with that if I could at least listen to the simulcast I am sitting within at home and at work.

I am confident that some in the valley will spend most of their time in places that will allow the SDS100 to meet their most important needs, and I only wish I could say the same for my situation. I had HUGE hopes that the SDS100 could be that "one size fits all" solution, but as Citywide pointed out very well, that's just not likely to happen these days. I own an array of devices to meet my needs. It just didn't make sense to tie up $650 on a scanner that I can't use at home or work (where I do 95% of my scanning). I fully intend to buy another one used off of offer up or letgo once somebody decides to part with one for a low enough price (I know that might be a while). The "gadget factor" of the SDS100 is incredibly high, and I love gadgets, so I know I will own one again when the time is right. I am happy for those who have had found that the SDS100 works out for their individual situation.
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Old 08-17-2018, 4:15 PM
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Allow me to cut through the static - Buy a G5. You'll be amazed. Period.
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Old 08-17-2018, 4:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landsharkca View Post
G5 - its a professional voice pager and you need to buy FOUR unites to cover ALL bands (VHF 136-174/700-800, UFH 380-430/700-800, UHF 400-470/700-800, UHF 450-512/700-800).
Why buy 4 G5's when you really only need 1 or 2 G4's to monitor the RWC and the TOPAZ RWC, since they're the only two current LSM systems in the Phoenix-Mesa metro area? Any Uniden or Whistler digital capable scanner of recent manufacture can hear all of the other systems, trunked and conventional, just fine.

If you have the money to burn, by all means, buy as many G5's as your heart desires. But 1 or 2 G4's is all you really need here in the Valley.

(If the P25 Phase II capability is limited to only the G5 and not the G4, then it may make sense to buy 1 or 2 G5's for future proofing if/when the RWC/TOPAZ RWC goes Phase II, however at this time they are still Phase I and a G4 is all that is needed.)

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Old 08-17-2018, 6:53 PM
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Anywhere in the Valley that you can buy a G4 and they will program it ?
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Old 08-21-2018, 2:08 PM
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I don't believe that anyone sells the G4/5 direct in the valley. I can share my program with anyone who makes the leap, and it will give you a good launching pad to work with, and I have all valley simulcasts already programmed in, sometimes in a half dozen different ways per simulcast. Keep in mind that using a pager to "scan" systems is really all about programming the device to meet your individual needs. Until you have played around with one for a bit, you are unlikely to know what program you will need to be as happy as possible. I'm still adding "zones" with different TG sets for systems that I already have "zones" for. Once you have enough "zones" set up with every possible needed scenario, you will be in pretty good shape.

AzTac is correct that these are amazing devices and I will say that you can't touch them with any scanner if you are focused on 700 MHz LSM. Of course you can get a G5 and get VHF OR UHF on the side as well.

I do however realize that some simply must have a scanner that allows them to scan a half dozen or more bands, and multiple bands / systems at once, and that they may only want to carry one device. If that is you, a G4/5 might not be a good choice. I just want to make sure that people considering the purchase fully understand these limitations as well as the amazing performance of the G4/5 on LSM before dropping a bunch of money.
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Old 08-23-2018, 1:38 AM
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tks for the info, I'm going to get G4 but I think I'll wait until RWC & Topaz complete Phase II
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Old 08-23-2018, 4:02 AM
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i got the G5 VHF VERY HAPPY i got the G5 VHF because a LOT of VHF in my area also like to monitor SKYWARN and Weather also next county West the Police and County Sheriff went to P25 Digital works great
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Old 08-24-2018, 1:38 PM
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Bottom line. You need both.
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Old 08-26-2018, 4:05 PM
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I was about to send my SDS100 back due to terrible reception of the RWC from my home near 7th Ave and Union Hills. My 426 did fine. However... the recent firmware and software updates have made my SDS100 work superbly on RWC. Night and day difference from the way it worked out of the box. More good news is that the "fan-boyism" KR7CQ speaks of has taken a big hit and has calmed down a tad. The main offender, was just sent to prison, so you can now ask a legitimate question or give constructive criticism without being blasted as much. If you ever want to see the SDS100 in action, hit me up, I'd be happy to let to check mine out.
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Old 08-27-2018, 2:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APSN556 View Post
I was about to send my SDS100 back due to terrible reception of the RWC from my home near 7th Ave and Union Hills. My 426 did fine. However... the recent firmware and software updates have made my SDS100 work superbly on RWC. Night and day difference from the way it worked out of the box. More good news is that the "fan-boyism" KR7CQ speaks of has taken a big hit and has calmed down a tad. The main offender, was just sent to prison, so you can now ask a legitimate question or give constructive criticism without being blasted as much. If you ever want to see the SDS100 in action, hit me up, I'd be happy to let to check mine out.
That's great to hear that the SDS100 is working better. What types of issues were you seeing before this improvement?
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Old 08-27-2018, 8:28 PM
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That's great to hear that the SDS100 is working better. What types of issues were you seeing before this improvement?
I live off 7th Ave and Union Hills. Up until 2 updates ago, RWC was literally silent from my QTH. Driving around , it would break squelch 1 out of every 10 times, while the 436 did great. Now it's actually performing the same if not better than the 436 on RWC. UHF VHF is a different story. Seems that is still lacking on the SDS100.
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Old 08-28-2018, 1:22 AM
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The main offender, was just sent to prison
Can you enlighten us or would you prefer to let sleeping dogs lie?
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Old 08-28-2018, 2:08 PM
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Can you enlighten us or would you prefer to let sleeping dogs lie?
https://www.nbcwashington.com/invest...417974593.html
and
Department of Homeland Security analyst 'plot to attack senior federal officials' | Daily Mail Online
and
https://forums.radioreference.com/un...e-while-3.html
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