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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 06-24-2018, 3:50 PM
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Definitely need more battery - can't do much testing (without being tethered to a power source) with the battery life this current thing gets ... don't understand how that could have been noticed so late in the game (unless it was a pure money thing). I've had to set it aside twice in the last 24 hours while it charges.

And man does this thing get hot! Even on batteries, I feel heat -- even in the antenna connection.
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Old 06-24-2018, 4:16 PM
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Originally Posted by troymail View Post
Definitely need more battery - can't do much testing (without being tethered to a power source) with the battery life this current thing gets ... don't understand how that could have been noticed so late in the game (unless it was a pure money thing). I've had to set it aside twice in the last 24 hours while it charges.

And man does this thing get hot! Even on batteries, I feel heat -- even in the antenna connection.
Stick with you're Whistler's and Unication. You will be much happier. And you call us fanboy's I will read the reviews you give but won't put much into it. And about a money thing on the battery doubtful.
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Old 06-24-2018, 5:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mule1075 View Post
Stick with you're Whistler's and Unication. You will be much happier. And you call us fanboy's I will read the reviews you give but won't put much into it. And about a money thing on the battery doubtful.
No need for posting something that adds no value to the conversation.
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Old 06-24-2018, 5:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mule1075 View Post
Stick with you're Whistler's and Unication. You will be much happier. And you call us fanboy's I will read the reviews you give but won't put much into it. And about a money thing on the battery doubtful.
Wow. Talk about a sad post. I have had extensive usage experiences of Whistler products, of Unication pagers and of helping to bring the SDS100 to market through extensive testing here in NC and elsewhere. I am very happy with all 3 product lines. Just because you are bitter against Uniden for some reason does not translate to the SDS100 being any less of a successful scanner. The SDS100 is the first of its kind and extensive testing was done to try to make it the best scanner possible before release. Is it perfect? No but neither is your Unication pager nor any outdated Whistler scanner.
But hey, if it makes you feel better about the limited abilities of your G5 or your outdated Whistler scanner then continue to talk smack about the SDS100 while the rest of us enjoy using it daily and will continue to improve on its existing features and work on features not yet announced that have never been offered in any scanner.
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Old 06-24-2018, 6:21 PM
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On a somewhat more positive note - clearly simulcast (even distant, weaker) systems are much improved on the SDS-100....

On a short drive from my house (the grand kids needed milk) the SDS-100 was more or less keeping up with the G5 receiving the Horry County simulcast system from just inland from Holden Beach. I think the closest tower is about 27 miles away... Neither way perfect but and we are along the water but no scanner did this before.

There was a time where I and others would say that simulcast signals seem to end just over the line from their intended coverage area (i.e. the county line, etc.) but then we learned that Motorola portables could receive those systems much farther. The G5 proved you don't need a Motorola portable to make that happen and in this specific situation, the SDS-100 is pretty well keeping up.

Looking forward to driving into the simulcast area in the next day or so to see how the SDS performs...

More to come.
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Old 06-25-2018, 2:40 AM
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Originally Posted by KE4ZNR View Post
Wow. Talk about a sad post. I have had extensive usage experiences of Whistler products, of Unication pagers and of helping to bring the SDS100 to market through extensive testing here in NC and elsewhere. I am very happy with all 3 product lines. Just because you are bitter against Uniden for some reason does not translate to the SDS100 being any less of a successful scanner. The SDS100 is the first of its kind and extensive testing was done to try to make it the best scanner possible before release. Is it perfect? No but neither is your Unication pager nor any outdated Whistler scanner.
But hey, if it makes you feel better about the limited abilities of your G5 or your outdated Whistler scanner then continue to talk smack about the SDS100 while the rest of us enjoy using it daily and will continue to improve on its existing features and work on features not yet announced that have never been offered in any scanner.
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Don't know why you quoted my post I don't own either at the moment. I do own a SDS100 and am quite enjoying it.
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Old 06-25-2018, 3:42 AM
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Originally Posted by troymail View Post
Definitely need more battery - can't do much testing (without being tethered to a power source) with the battery life this current thing gets ... don't understand how that could have been noticed so late in the game (unless it was a pure money thing). I've had to set it aside twice in the last 24 hours while it charges.

And man does this thing get hot! Even on batteries, I feel heat -- even in the antenna connection.
The short battery life could have been due to early power estimates that were off by a large margin or anticipated power savings in future firmware development that didn't pan out or a combination of these and other factors. In any event Uniden agrees with you and will be sending everyone who purchased the first round of SDS100's a bigger battery as well as putting it down n the next run.
People have also noticed the increased heat this model generates due to the higher power consumption of its new design (especially when charging). The most common description I have seen from new users is warm, but not hot.
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Old 06-25-2018, 8:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveSimpkin View Post
The short battery life could have been due to early power estimates that were off by a large margin or anticipated power savings in future firmware development that didn't pan out or a combination of these and other factors. In any event Uniden agrees with you and will be sending everyone who purchased the first round of SDS100's a bigger battery as well as putting it down n the next run.
People have also noticed the increased heat this model generates due to the higher power consumption of its new design (especially when charging). The most common description I have seen from new users is warm, but not hot.
I used the word hot because I do not normally feel heat from a handheld like this during normal use other than where in the past it would heat up when changing batteries inside the radio (fairly common). Even then, the heat typically would be limited to the battery compartment area (other end of the radio). So, sure, "warm" is fine - it's not burning my hand - it is just (much) "warmer" during normal operation than I would expect and in some strange places. I'm hoping that heat doesn't cause any type of long term damage to components.
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Old 06-25-2018, 8:35 AM
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I've been running min pretty much 24/7 since I got it, and even after spending some time in a hot vehicle (running in the vehicle while I'm in Walmart or running other errands), no ill effects seen so far. The mainboard appears to be designed as a heat sink, notice the antenna connector gets warm with use, and it is not getting that way from RF passing through it.
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Old 06-26-2018, 8:43 AM
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Did several hours of "stationary" monitoring yesterday with the SDS and my G5 while outside on my patio doing some grilling. Short summary up front - the SDS did very well - I think possibly better than I expected.

I'm using a RS800 Mhz antenna on both radios (my go to antennas) and the SDS is running the SDS-100_V1_02_05b firmware.

I wanted to be as fair as I could for this comparison so I selected the only the single closest site of NC VIPER (non-simulcast Supply site which is roughly 7 miles northwest), initially used a system HOLD time of 255, and changed the default delay on all talkgroups to 0.

I then looked for a spot on my patio where I was getting solid reception on both radios and that I was comfortable the SDS wouldn't fall off a table, etc. and be damaged (it's a loaner and I'd like to return it in the same condition I received it in). The "twins" ended up with their own chair which kept them stable and safe....

Sitting right next to them while fighting with my smoker, I determined that the SDS was doing a pretty good job receiving the VIPER site. Generally, both radios caught 99% of the same activity with the occasional "out of sync" talkgroup reception (i.e. one picked up a fire talkgroup while the other was stopped on a law enforcement talkgroup). The only real issue I saw during that time was that the display/backlight - which was set to open on squelch - sometimes would not darken after a voice call. Somewhat minor and something I've seen before and can very easily probably be corrected in firmware.

After an hour or so, I decided to try a few other things that traditionally seemed to cause the 436 to have issues.

First, I changed the system HOLD time back to the default 0 and monitored a bit longer and saw no noticeable change in performance.

A short time later, I enabled a second "system" of conventional channels. The good news here is that when the SDS got around to scanning the VIPER site after the conventional channels, if the G5 had an active talkgroup, the SDS would find and stop on that (or another active) talkgroup. This seems better - at least during this test - than the 436 which would many times simply scan right through without stopping.

A bit later, I decided to enable two more P25 systems on the SDS - Horry SC (countywide simulcast) and a Horry county site of SC Palmetto 800 (P25). The county line is about 20 miles ESE of my location. The SDS never appeared to receive the Palmetto system. However, it did receive and monitored fairly well the Horry County simulcast (the G5 receives the system here also). Additionally, the SDS continued to receive the VIPER site well when it's turn came in the scan cycle.

Overall, I think during this scenario, the SDS performed well - maybe better than I expected (or at least would expect at this point).

I was sitting outside in the heat with the dimmer set at 100% monitoring two different Phase 1 systems that are fairly active and got about 5 or so hours from the current battery.

Two things in terms of the equipment/hardware at this point that concern me a bit:

- stability: the base of the SDS is fairly compact and seems very prone to falling or being easily tipped over

- keypad: keys can be a bit tough to press under certain conditions and even short fingernails seem to at times get in the way

Unfortunately, now back indoors, I am sitting here this morning at my office desk - watching the SDS which is parked next to my G5... the G5 routinely stops on VIPER activity but the SDS rarely even detects a control channel. This is somewhat of a problem for me. I still have issues with "stationary" monitoring (the reason I prefer handhelds over base/mobile units) but in this area, generally all of the radios I have suffer to some degree in that area - particularly indoors. I was really hopeful after hearing the comment about receiving distant/weak system better would improve this but I'm not thinking I may have read more into that and it was a comment more specific to simulcast systems.

FWIW - I've had the "noise" value displayed since early on and while outside yesterday (and during most good reception), these numbers are usually 3 digits. Looking at VIPER this morning, the values are always 4 and many times 5 digits.

I'm planning a drive soon to try more multi-site VIPER monitoring and also towards South Carolina for a bit more "inside" simulcast space observations.
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Old 06-26-2018, 9:11 AM
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troymail-
If it helps any the Anderson County Simulcast section of the Palmetto 800 was used during testing. Otherwise good write up and reporting.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2018, 9:17 AM
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I received a loaner Friday and have it till next Monday.
I must say i am seeing very similar experiences. Driving around / outside the device performs well. (did have 1 instance on VHF where a strong sheriff signal was interfered with by some digital transmission. My XTS2500 pass sheriff audio with no issues so i know the SDS passed the bad audio) Inside is another story. I dont want to hijack a thread so really im on here just to ask, how do you enable to noise value?
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Old 06-26-2018, 9:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmSixNine View Post
how do you enable to noise value?
I did it through the display editor inside Sentinel.

FWIW - although I see numbers, I'm not really sure exactly how to interpret it other than that I suspect they generally are trying to say that the radio is receiving alot of interference which (potentially) blocks reception... this would tend to change my thinking that the (weak) signal is being attenuated while inside .. we're never going to get away from noise inside the house... wifi, alarm systems, wireless telephones, etc.
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Old 06-26-2018, 9:40 AM
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Noise increases when overall signal strength decreases. It is typically higher at -90dBm than -60dBm. High noise doesn't necessarily indicate QRM, unless you also have a high RSSI value.
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Old 06-26-2018, 2:41 PM
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Just back from a drive around the area -- the SDS didn't fare as well as it did stationary yesterday. Can't really provide much detail given I was driving... just that I was hearing activity on the G5 but not as much on the SDS. I was doing generally the same monitoring as stationary yesterday - monitoring the Supply site only.

Parked for lunch and came out to find a low voltage USB message on the display -- seemed more related to heat than voltage... but if it was voltage, that would make this radio extremely sensitive to voltage issues that do not seem to affect any other radios I have.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:21 PM
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Unfortunately, it is looking like my Monday "patio" monitoring was too much of a "perfect placement" for the SDS-100. Sitting my my office desk next to the G5 wasn't resulting in much so I connected it to my outside antenna which generally results in the 536 hearing the local (Supply site of VIPER) well. The SDS is still not receiving most of the activity.

While I'm certain others will see benefit in one way or another with the SDS, in my environment, without that "specific placement" (like what i used to have to do to get simulcast reception when I lived in Maryland), I hate to say that the SDS isn't quite coming up to even equal to my x36 radios (which themselves didn't do all that well).

I have to believe - mostly based on other user reports - that simulcast reception (for most) has greatly improved... time will tell.
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Old 06-27-2018, 3:23 PM
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I'm not one to believe everything I read on the Internet but I've been reading up on RSSI and dbm and came across this page.

https://www.metageek.com/training/re...th-basics.html

I'm sitting back out on my patio and I'm seeing (at best) -97dBm during voice calls on the SDS (which coincidentally also simultaneously displays at or near 'full bars' of reception) but the article above says -90 dbm is 'unusable'...

So, something isn't right...assuming the cited article is correct.
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Old 06-27-2018, 4:15 PM
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Not a radio engineer but VIPER operates a lot like old digital cellular (D-AMPS) and the drop off there was -105
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Old 06-27-2018, 4:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
I'm not one to believe everything I read on the Internet but I've been reading up on RSSI and dbm and came across this page.

https://www.metageek.com/training/re...th-basics.html

I'm sitting back out on my patio and I'm seeing (at best) -97dBm during voice calls on the SDS (which coincidentally also simultaneously displays at or near 'full bars' of reception) but the article above says -90 dbm is 'unusable'...

So, something isn't right...assuming the cited article is correct.
Ambient/atmospheric noise levels vary from band to band. Different digital modulation schemes have different noise tolerance levels. In general, the slower the bit rate per bandwidth, the more noise tolerance you have. All of that directly affects the minimum usable signal level in each band. What applies to Wi-Fi in the 2GHz or 5GHz bands will not necessarily apply to UHF DMR or P25.
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Old 06-29-2018, 1:08 PM
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Back from a trip around the Brunswick/Columbus NC and Horry SC area. The trip included driving just east of the SC border in NC towards/through Tabor City then down into SC (Horry County) to Hwy 17 and 22 (between North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach) and then back up into Brunswick County via Hwy 17 and home.

For most of the trip, I had the RS 800 antenna on the SDS-100 (as well as on the 436 and G5). Both Uniden radios were on dash mounts and the G5 was lower and mid cab in the console cup holder.

As I prepared for the drive, I powered the 436 up for the first time in several days. If there is one thing I can say that is an improvement in the SDS-100 over the 436, it is definitely the display. As I was preparing the 436 after looking at only the SDS (and G5) for the past week or so, I found it almost impossible to see the information on the 436 screen - even with reading glasses. I've never liked that horrible blue (or as Uniden calls it "white") display. It always has been hard to see/read - and even harder after looking at color displays for a week.

Yesterday, I reverted to the beta-A firmware of a few weeks ago (didn't mean to use that for the drive but forgot until I was almost home).

A few days ago, I enabled the RSSI graph which makes it easier to see (in theory) the signal level that the radio is seeing.

While in Horry County SC, I had only that system enabled with generally all default settings (0 hold, 2 sec delay, etc.).

Overall, the SDS did fairly well while I was driving north on 904/905 towards Tabor City. Once I got into Horry County, reception and decoding was pretty steady with a few occasional missed voice calls and several initially clipped voice calls. As I got closer to North Myrtle Beach, the RSSI graph was showing a solid bar at most times. However, there was a point at which the radio stopped receiving and the RSSI graph went to 0 for unknown reasons. I believe that for some reason the radio lost either the control channel and/or all reception for a time but as I traveled and the radio searched, it eventually found the CC again and the RSSI graph went right back to solid/full. It is unclear why the radio went from solid/full RSSI to "can't hear anything" right back to solid/full.

As I drove south on Hwy 17 through North Myrtle Beach, the RSSI graph remained solid/full and reception was very good. Being curious, I switched to the stock SDS-100 antenna and saw that now the RSSI graph was bouncing quite a bit but still at about 80% at most times.

I stopped for gas near the outlet mall on Hwy 17 near Rt 22. While there, the SDS-100 seemed to just stop receiving. I looked in front of me and saw what I believe was a cell site that is diguised inside a large "fat" flagpole - if it was in fact a cell site, I'm guessing the cell site was crushing the reception. The G5 was still receiving.

I had the SDS and 436 plugged in to USB power and thought they were using that external power. Turns out the 436 was but the SDS-100 was running on batteries because it suddenly reported low batteries. I made some changes in my power source and cables and the radio then started function again.

While on the road and somewhat closer to the non-simulcast NC VIPER towers along Hwy 17 in Brunswick County (Supply, Pea Landing), the RSSI graph rarely reaches or holds over 75% or so. At most times, the RSSI graph is bouncing all over the place for NC VIPER. There is an obvious huge difference in signal strength when it comes to the non-simulcast NC VIPER sites and the simulcast Horry County SC system. At this point I'd say (repeat?) that there have definitely been improvements in simulcast reception. However, I've pretty much seen little to no improvement in weak non-simulcast reception.

Generally, the dBm values seen for the Horry simulcast were in the -50 area... the best I seem to see for the VIPER site is about -90 unless I'm very close to a VIPER tower. At home, the best I seem to get for the Supply site of VIPER is about -97 dBm - even while sitting outside.

I am still baffled why the signal strength meter (bars) tends to show full/solid when the RSSI values are not on the upper end of the RSSI meter. I'd think with a RSSI value showing on the RSSI graph at 70-80% would also be reflected in the "signal strength". I know those bars are only doing what the firmware is telling them to do and they may not currently be an accurate enough indicator of true signal strength.

The key presses from where the SDS was mounted seemed a bit easier today (maybe it was just the correct angle or I now know how to "more correctly" press the keys - or a little of both). The shape of the radio is a bit of a problem for the holders I use for all of my other radios without issue - it is difficult to get a good grip with the holder "clamps" given the odd shape.

I did have some frustration with the backlight settings during my drive.... Before creating new FLs for the drive, I read the SDS-100 configuration into Sentinel, made some adjustments/additions, and then wrote the same configuration back out to both the SDS and 436. For some reason, the backlight settings got all messed up (perhaps something in the beta that is/was being addressed - Idunno). I pulled over and fought with them a bit to get them where I needed them.

Back home now - all three radios on my desktop just more or less "randomly" placed between my keyboard and monitor.... all less than a foot from one another (the G5 is sitting directly in front of the SDS-100 almost touching one another). The G5 and 436 are receiving the NC VIPER/Supply site mostly without issue... the SDS is at most times just trying to find a control channel....

Earlier, when the SDS battery level dropped (apparently wasn't getting power) during the drive, I changed the radio to charge while in use. Apparently, that didn't help alot because shortly after getting home, I was again alerted to low batteries. So, I plug the SDS into USB power again which worked fine ... for a few minutes.... then, out of the blue, the radio is once again showing "LOW USB BUS VOLTAGE"... oh well, it really wan't receiving anything anyway... time to power it off and charge the battery I can't swap out (I only have that one battery)...

As I mentioned in a previous post - I'm sure the improved simulcast reception is great for those who have been dealing with simulcast issues and didn't jump to a Unication. In my case, given all factors, I'm glad this is a loaner radio and I thank my friend for giving me a chance to run it through it's paces. However, at this point, I am happy with my decision not to make the purchase this time around - at least for the time being as it doesn't really provide anything new to help me in my day-to-day monitoring needs.

EDIT: without changing the location/position of the SDS-100 on my desk, I applied the beta-B firmware but no change in reception - just looking for a control channel ... the radio operated for about 5 minutes and then displayed "LOW USB BUS VOLTAGE" again... fun.
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Unication G5(UHF)
TRX-2,TRX-1,WS1098,1088x2,1095,1080, PSR1080,PSR500,PRO96
BCD536,436,396T,BC296D,245XLT,600XLT,IV,VX-8R,MD-390

Last edited by troymail; 06-29-2018 at 2:02 PM..
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