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San Francisco Bay Area Discussion - Local area specific discussion for the San Francisco Bay area including the North, East and South Bays.

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Old 06-16-2017, 11:37 AM
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Default Unication G4/G5 or Scanner in SF?

Hi folks, new to the board and really excited to see such a healthy community here. I've been toying around with the idea of picking up a scanner to listen to local traffic. Mostly public safety (police, fire, EMS) or any other interesting chatter that I can pickup in San Francisco.

Right now I'm trying to decide if the Unication G5 is worth picking up against a Uniden or Whistler scanner. I'm interested in picking up CHP, and from what I've read the SF police dept is planning to transition to P25 Phase I in the near future.

Does anyone have suggestions or feedback? I'm a novice and the ease of use for the Uniden and Whistlers is very appealing but the Unication seems to do much better with simulcast.
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:10 PM
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I have a G4. It is excellent for receiving EBRCS (East Bay), Oakland PD/FD and the new San Francisco county system, which for now is active only at the airport (most units encrypted) and for some vehicles on the transit system. The CHP extenders (scanned conventionally) come in fine when you hear them, but I have had issues with the G4 stopping on active frequencies. Right now you can scan 16 channels of SF trunked in conventional mode, which is interesting but low S/N ratio.
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Old 07-02-2017, 2:25 AM
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Awesome to know, thanks for the info! Any chance you'd be willing to share your programming files with me?
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Old 07-02-2017, 9:27 AM
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My input - do some homework. The scanners are MUCH (MUCH) more flexible. I have a G4 but only for it's ability to receive simulcast P25 systems that scanners have trouble receiving. However, the Unications are not perfect... and have I mentioned that scanners are MUCH more flexible?

In a big city, reception is probably not going to be a problem (with the possible exception of simulcast issues). Here on the southern edge of North Carolina, I have several towers of NC VIPER that are 7-9 miles away and as far as I know are not simulcast. The G4 is having trouble receiving these towers from time to time - probably because as with many systems, the VIPER system towers are along the highways and are intended mostly for use by the highway patrol vs. in building.

Scanners can be programmed on the fly - the Unications cannot. The Unications are going to give you P25 (Phase 1 only right now) and conventional (P25 or analog) and that is all. Scanners will do ALOT more than that. When purchasing a Unication, you need to pick your frequency bands and you'll be limited to those frequencies. Scanners will cover the range of frequencies and bands. When P25 Phase 2 is finally released, the MSRP upgrade price for the Unications is reported to be $150 (we're all hoping that the actual price will be far less but only time will tell). So, a P25 Phase 2 enabled radio may be as much as $725. Scanners are significantly cheaper at this point.

My recent experiences also suggest that the Unication is not a good option for travel/road trips - at least not while going from point A to point B.

Lots of things to consider unless you have the funds to purchase both a scanner and a Unication pager.
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