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-   -   Unication G5 (https://forums.radioreference.com/scanner-receiver-equipment-reviews/358066-unication-g5.html)

bdp278 08-25-2017 1:25 PM

Unication G5
 
Just purchased model G5 pager/scanner, & my main goal was to find a unit that could work well on these pesky P25 Phase 1 multiple site systems, & this unit performs extremely well, much better than my BC436 & Whister TX1. Programming is fairly easy with the downloaded PPS programming setup on your PC, programming cable also included, but everything has to be hand entered. There is NO import feature to direct copy from the RR database. Also, Unication states this is a pager w/ scanning features, so most of the bells & whistles are geared toward paging functions. However, I loaded in my 2 main P25 trunking sites, loaded in 64 of my favorite talkgroups of several Fire Dept's, and let it scan. Sitting next to my BCD536 at work, it's catching every call, sometimes slightly faster than the scanner hits on the talk group. The audio is clear, has great volume,Bluetooth enabled so you can send audio over to a wireless speaker, and only a very few transmissions have been garbled. Also has a great record playback feature, just press a top button & replays the last audio transmission, and can go back thru all audio messages for 10 minutes. The unit does NOT have a stop scan or channel hold feature, nor a channel lockout, so I had to setup a separate scan group for each specific agency in order to monitor a specific TG within an agency (more on programming in separate thread). Will be giving it the "once over" this weekend, carrying it with me everywhere I go, just to see how it performs "on the road". Will report back next week.

troymail 08-26-2017 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bdp278 (Post 2809828)
Just purchased model G5 pager/scanner, & my main goal was to find a unit that could work well on these pesky P25 Phase 1 multiple site systems, & this unit performs extremely well, much better than my BC436 & Whister TX1. Programming is fairly easy with the downloaded PPS programming setup on your PC, programming cable also included, but everything has to be hand entered. There is NO import feature to direct copy from the RR database. Also, Unication states this is a pager w/ scanning features, so most of the bells & whistles are geared toward paging functions. However, I loaded in my 2 main P25 trunking sites, loaded in 64 of my favorite talkgroups of several Fire Dept's, and let it scan. Sitting next to my BCD536 at work, it's catching every call, sometimes slightly faster than the scanner hits on the talk group. The audio is clear, has great volume,Bluetooth enabled so you can send audio over to a wireless speaker, and only a very few transmissions have been garbled. Also has a great record playback feature, just press a top button & replays the last audio transmission, and can go back thru all audio messages for 10 minutes. The unit does NOT have a stop scan or channel hold feature, nor a channel lockout, so I had to setup a separate scan group for each specific agency in order to monitor a specific TG within an agency (more on programming in separate thread). Will be giving it the "once over" this weekend, carrying it with me everywhere I go, just to see how it performs "on the road". Will report back next week.

My G4 does equally well on simulcast P25 systems - even pulls in more distant simulcast systems.

I lived in Maryland (south of BWI Airport) when I got my G4 and it was doing great nearly everywhere (in house, outside, driving, etc.) for the Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George simulcast systems/sites. None of my other radios could receive these systems from my house.

However, I now live in southern North Carolina and while the G4 does fairly well outside the house and on the road monitoring the non-simulcast NC VIPER system, it does an equally poor job (compared with my other radios) receiving the system from inside my house. I have 3 VIPER sites within about 10 miles of my location. The poor reception is likely because I do not believe the system was built for in-building coverage. Fire departments in the county here typically switch to VHF frequencies for fireground/interior operations (and you have to be essentially "at" the incident location to hear it).

Interestingly, I am able in some cases to receive the Horry County SC simulcast system from inside my house and the closest tower for that system is about 27 miles away in North Myrtle Beach. The reception could be the result of the simulcast aspect or it could just be because I'm near the water. Most county systems like Horry are built for in-building coverage as well.

As for programming and importing from RRDB - after manually entering system and talkgroup data for about a dozen systems/sites and more than a 1000 talkgroups, I too got tired of manually entering data and then struggling to work with that data. For that reason, I wrote a Python script to read and import the data I want directly from the RRDB. It works for most systems and provides the base information needed (system attributes, frequencies, WACN, RFSS, etc. and talkgroup information) to then create zone and knob configurations. I will say it works so well that I've been able to "overwhelm" the radio with too much information such that - under certain conditions - I lose all control of the radio.

bdp278 08-26-2017 8:27 PM

One issue I noticed is that not all TGs are on all sites. The suburban FD TGs is on the suburban site, but not the downtown site, which is just a few miles away. So if I'm riding around downtown & the G5 locks on the downtown site, I don't receive any of the TGs from the next town over FD. Otherwise very satisfied so far with the P25 performance, much better than BCD436 or TX1, and it fits nicely on my belt.

troymail 08-27-2017 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bdp278 (Post 2810428)
One issue I noticed is that not all TGs are on all sites. The suburban FD TGs is on the suburban site, but not the downtown site, which is just a few miles away. So if I'm riding around downtown & the G5 locks on the downtown site, I don't receive any of the TGs from the next town over FD. Otherwise very satisfied so far with the P25 performance, much better than BCD436 or TX1, and it fits nicely on my belt.

Correct- issue is no different than listening to a scanner or even a real subscriber radio. For multi-site systems, it is fairly common for a talkgroup to briefly become active and then suddenly "go silent". All you need is a user on the system to switch to a talkgroup while in that site footprint and then switch off -- you'll hear that talkgroup for a few minutes and then nothing.

For the Unications or any scanner, you must take steps to force monitoring of certain sites (assuming they are in range) if there is something only on one or another site that you want to listen to - but that won't do anything to solve the above... unless you have a subscriber radio, there is nothing you can do about it.

bdp278 08-27-2017 8:58 PM

So far, I've extremely impressed with the P25 receive capability even in known "spotty" indoor locations that gave my 436 a hard time. Always get 3 to 4 bars on the signal strength meter on the G5 with good clear audio. Good battery time also, had it on 12 hours so far, & battery indicator on last bar.

ResQguy 09-02-2017 3:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by troymail (Post 2810236)
I wrote a Python script to read and import the data I want directly from the RRDB. It works for most systems and provides the base information needed (system attributes, frequencies, WACN, RFSS, etc. and talkgroup information) to then create zone and knob configurations.

I don't suppose you'd be willing to share that script? :D

troymail 09-02-2017 4:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ResQguy (Post 2813303)
I don't suppose you'd be willing to share that script? :D

It's a little more involved than I'd like for something I'd be willing to share. However, I am willing to create a base profile for you.

ResQguy 09-02-2017 4:35 PM

I'm at the point where I'm constantly adding and adding due to travel and it's getting a bit messy since the software doesn't really allow for re-alignment very well.

troymail 09-02-2017 4:37 PM

With the script, I just put a fresh load into a profile and then don't have to mess with that...

bdp278 09-30-2017 3:59 PM

Just wanted to post an update to my G5, had it now about 2 months, and it's GREAT!. I've already sold my Uniden 436, don't really need it anymore, since this unit does most of what I need. Would be great to have a TG hold, but w/ careful setup of the zone/knob positions, not a real big issue. I've noticed an occasional "squak" when the unit has trouble decoding the digitial audio, but no where near what was constantly happening w/ the 436. I can drive all around town & with our 2 main muli cast sites programmed in, listen to my talkgroups without any dropouts, and very few "squaks". Even dropped it a few times across the parking lot, saw it bounce 2 or 3 times, and it was still working. Wish the quality of the audio coming off the speaker was a little better, but has great volume. Well worth the price, especially if you can sell off other existing scanners to help pay for this one.

W8RMH 09-30-2017 6:23 PM

I agree with the OP. I have had my G4 for a couple months and haven't touched my old 436. I occasionally hear a Squalk but the dispatcher makes the unit repeat so the issue was with the transmitter and not the G4. I know it is a pager and not a scanner and except the lack of certain features. It would be nice to have them in the future.

ka1njl 10-01-2017 4:05 PM

I live in NY and they prohibit the use or possession of "scanners" in cars. I wonder if a pager that also receives public service transmissions, like the G4/5, is exempt from that law? I know that amateur radio transceivers that receive public service transmissions outside of the amateur bands are legal if you are a licensed ham. Does any one know about pagers?

Thunderknight 10-01-2017 4:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ka1njl (Post 2825557)
I live in NY and they prohibit the use or possession of "scanners" in cars. I wonder if a pager that also receives public service transmissions, like the G4/5, is exempt from that law? I know that amateur radio transceivers that receive public service transmissions outside of the amateur bands are legal if you are a licensed ham. Does any one know about pagers?

I am not a lawyer or judge, but if I were a judge, the scanner and the pager would be the same thing. Both receive the same thing in a very similar way. (The NY law does not use the word "scanner", but rather "radio receiving sets".) The bigger question would be if you were wearing the pager and not having it installed in the vehicle...but again I am not a lawyer.

N_ALSCAN 10-02-2017 1:12 PM

I'm in an area where P25 phase I simulcast has made my Uniden scanners nearly useless.

What are the audio out options for the Unication pagers? I'm needing a unit for my streaming feed source.

Thanks,
Rob

brucebuck1010 10-02-2017 3:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by N_ALSCAN (Post 2825912)
I'm in an area where P25 phase I simulcast has made my Uniden scanners nearly useless.

What are the audio out options for the Unication pagers? I'm needing a unit for my streaming feed source.

Thanks,
Rob

By itself, the G4/G5 only have Bluetooth audio. With the amplified charger base, you get an external speaker output. I have read that some people are successful with the latter, for feeding a streaming source.

-Bruce


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