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New User / Getting Started Forum - The place for new users to discuss how to get started, and generally feel safe from the rest of the rabid technical community. If you just got your first scanner, this forum is for you. Please note: Posts are only moved from this forum by OP's request only.

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Old 07-08-2018, 9:13 PM
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Default Which Scanner?

I am looking at getting a scanner for EAA Airventure and thought instead of getting just an analog scanner I might as well spend the extra and get a scanner for everything. So, I got confused.

At first, I was looking at scanner like the BCD75, but realized in a quick hurry that radio would not work for the fire grounds. So then I started looking at the SDS100, but then I noticed the BCD436 did about the same things for roughly a quarter the price. Then I thought before ordering, why not ask a dealer recommendation and Zip Scanner said TRX-1 (I think that is the the radio with the most profit for them at first, but they made some good points on that one over the Uniden) . So, tonight I was going to ask about it one last time before ordering and I did a chat and that person said either the G4/5 or the SDS100. And now I am confused.

So, what I am looking for is a scanner or possibly scanners to listen to EAA Airventure, Severe Weather Reports, and both Brown and Outagamie County in WI Fire. The radio needs to be handheld for Airventure and Severe Weather and easily movable for the Fire.

Thanks for any and all inputs,
Fishinfiend
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Old 07-10-2018, 7:03 PM
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Is there any recommendations?
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Old 07-10-2018, 9:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinfiend View Post
Is there any recommendations?
I guess I'll take a stab at your question...

Airventure and Weather are easy... standard airband and VHF frequencies available with nearly any scanner. According to the database, both Brown (700 MHz trunked) and Outagamie (800 MHz trunked) counties use separate, multi-agency, P25 phase 1 radio systems that employ simulcast technology.

So, at a minimum, it looks like you'll need a scanner that can receive 700/800 MHz Project 25 trunking. Where it might get sticky - some (not all) radio systems that use simulcast can be difficult to receive, depending on the type of simulcast employed and your location in relation to the nearest site.

Your best approach might be to try and locate some scanner users in your community and see what they recommend. It is not likely that anyone on this list will know for sure whether or not you will need only a mid-tier scanner to successfully monitor the public safety in your area (ie BCD436) or whether you may need a top-of-the-line model intended to work on the most difficult simulcast systems (ie SDS100).

And, of course, there is the question of how much you are willing to pay to meet your goal. Most of the newer, high-end models are pretty pricey (as you've probably noticed).
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:17 PM
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The only scanner specifically designed for siulcast is the SDS100. Other scanners may work fine, not at all, or somewhere in-between, depending on their location relative to the simulcast transmitters. You can get great reception in one location, and nothing at all a few yards away. The SDS100 will get good reception much more consistently than any other scanner on simulcast systems.

Here's a couple of comparisons between the 436 and SDS100 on different simulcast systems, with both connected to the same outdoor antenna with a splitter:
https://forums.radioreference.com/un...ecordings.html
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:42 AM
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Note that the Unication pagers while great for receiving P25, they have restrictions, such as they only monitor either P25 or conventional, not both at the same time like a scanner does. They also lack scanner features such as hold, delay, and search, and they don't receive AM air band.
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Old 07-11-2018, 8:18 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

So my best bet is the SDS100. I know in my area that the Oneida FD is also dispatched from Brown County because the reception is poor in the area for the FD Pagers.
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Old 07-11-2018, 8:26 PM
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Forgot to add, I pretty sure Oneida FD got there radios from Baycom which sells Motorola.

Also, where is the place to order from? ZipScanners? Scanner Masters? Bearcat Warehouse? Other?
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinfiend View Post
Forgot to add, I pretty sure Oneida FD got there radios from Baycom which sells Motorola.

Also, where is the place to order from? ZipScanners? Scanner Masters? Bearcat Warehouse? Other?
I believe the price is fixed, so it doesn't really matter where you buy it from.
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Old 07-12-2018, 9:33 PM
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I kind of noticed that it looked like a fixed $650 price point, but what I was wondering was which place offered the best after sales support?
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Old 07-15-2018, 9:53 PM
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I have a new question, for the SDS100 do I need any of those upgrades Uniden sells (I don't believe so)? As stated above I want to listen both Brown and Outagamie Counties Fire channels and Airventure.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinfiend View Post
I have a new question, for the SDS100 do I need any of those upgrades Uniden sells (I don't believe so)? As stated above I want to listen both Brown and Outagamie Counties Fire channels and Airventure.
Looking at the two counties you indicated, it appears that you would not need any of the upgrades for public safety agencies (PD, FD, EMS).

I see that some of the schools, and public works departments, are using DMR, but that might not be of interest, unless you wanted public works to perhaps hear road crews or maybe snowplows (check with someone in the state forum, to see what plows are using, if that interests you for winter time). A few businesses are indicated as using DMR. There likely are others, as well as perhaps some using NXDN, but none of those are listed in the database at this time.

Of the three available upgrades, I would ignore ProVoice, as there's no one in your area using it & that format is being phased out. No idea if anyone in your vicinity is utilizing NXDN, as none are showing at this time. DMR is becoming more common, but unless one of the current users (the Packers show to be using DMR) is interesting, you may want to pass on it. It can always be done later, if you find enough usage to be worth it to you.
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Old 07-16-2018, 5:47 PM
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Thanks Hiegtx. Now, I see in your signature you have the SDS100, 436 and TRX-1. Which one do you like and works the best?
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Old 07-16-2018, 6:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinfiend View Post
Thanks Hiegtx. Now, I see in your signature you have the SDS100, 436 and TRX-1. Which one do you like and works the best?
The SDS100 works better when I am in areas with simulcast problems. At home, there's not that much difference between the SDS100, my two 436HPs, and a 536HP. At my specific home location, simulcast is not a problem, but I do visit other parts of the metro area where it affects listening.

The TRX-1, unfortunately, is not in the same league, at least from what I'm seeing. I tried all three scanners (SDS100, a 436HP, and the TRX-1) while sitting in a park in northwest Dallas County. I tried two systems (one of them has two sites) that have had simulcast problems for some users. On a scale of 1 through 10, where 10 is not missing calls, and 1 is poor performance, the SDS100 was a ten on all the systems/sites. The 436HP was about an 8 on the system with two separate simulcast sites, and a 9 on the other which is only one simulcast site. The TRX-1 was a 4 on the first system (both sites), and a 5 on the second.

I like the size and 'feel' of the TRX-1. Feels solid when holding in my hand. But it has some of the same problems of the old GRE scanners, and Whistler's versions of those same units. They tend to overload when in an RF dense area, especially close to cell towers. I had the same issue with my PSR-500. Put an 800MHz antenna on it, and it missed a lot of trunked activity due to overload. So, I used the stock antenna, which had less sensitivity on 800MHz, but also much less problems with overload. The GRE/Whistler scanners tend to have a 'hotter' front end than the Uniden models. In other words, they can be more sensitive to weak signals, but that also leaves them prone to overload from too much signal if you are in a dense metro area. I do like the way the TRX handles recordings, and the wildcard can also be set to give you an alert, either from the LED, or an audible one, when it comes across a new talkgroup on a trunked system. For the Uniden scanners, you either set them to record everything, or just let the replay mode capture the last few minutes. You cannot toggle recording on/off for a specific conventional frequency or a talkgroup; on the GRE & Whistler scanners, you can.

While the TRX-1 "comes with DMR & NXDN", it does not actually trunk track those systems. If the system you are trying to monitor is not very busy, that works reasonably well. Uniden does charge for the DMR & NXDN upgrades, because they have to pay a royalty fee per upgraded scanner. But that also means the Uniden scanners do correctly track DMR & NXDN systems. I have my 536HP, one of the 436HPs, and the TRX-1 all connected to the same antenna, via a multicoupler. Even though I have fewer programmed systems on the TRX-1, it misses a number of transmissions that the Uniden scanners catch. While I'm hearing traffic on the 436 or 536, I can look at the display of the TRX, and it floats right on by the active system without saying a word. Not every time, but enough to notice.
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Old 07-16-2018, 7:13 PM
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Thanks again hiegtx. That is exactly what I was looking for. Would give you a like, thumbs up, a Rep, etc., but I don't know how to do it I'd it is even possible.
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Old 07-16-2018, 8:59 PM
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RAY'S PAGER SALES has the best customer service and tech support.
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Old 08-27-2018, 9:33 PM
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Ended up getting the SDS100 and really like it so far. There us a few skips/breaks in the recieved transmissions, but I think that is because of multiples of the same frequency/ receive multiple towers of simulcast. Also, a lot of features on the radio, so I still have a lot of learning to do.

Thanks again for all the help,
Fishinfiend
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinfiend View Post
Ended up getting the SDS100 and really like it so far. There us a few skips/breaks in the recieved transmissions, but I think that is because of multiples of the same frequency/ receive multiple towers of simulcast. Also, a lot of features on the radio, so I still have a lot of learning to do.

Thanks again for all the help,
Fishinfiend
If your "skips & breaks" seem to fit a pattern, like every 2, 3, or 4 seconds, make sure that you do not accidentally have Priority, Close Call, and/or Weather Priority turned on (unless you want them). Any of those will cause a brief hiccup in reception at a set interval. However, there have been a few reports of skips even without those activated, due to the way the scanner looks for other traffic to receive.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:16 PM
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I do have Weather priority on.

Thanks
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