Are there professional grade scanners out there or just consumer grade?

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ecarvalho

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All,
Are there professional grade scanners out there or just consumer grade?

What I mean by that is, a scanner that will not suffer from P25 simulcast issues, poor DMR and NXDN decoding etc...

Am I dreaming of a perfect scanner?
I don't want to use a laptop and a couple dongles wired to antennas etc...

SDR I only use for HF and VLF.

I'm talking about a single device here that is trouble-free designed for scanning.

Only tell me about it if you don't have to kill me, please.
 

PACNWDude

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There are some technical surveillance companies that sell gear that looks better and more commercial. However they are often the same scanners repackaged in metal briefcases with their electronics and components gutted from the consumer scanner. Do a search on auction sites for TSCM and you will find some scanner equipment like I describe.

What three letter agencies use will be expensive. Astro Communications and others made older receivers. High end Icom rack mounted units are used. Software defined equipment is common now also. Technisonic makes aviation radio equipment, much of it using the innards of Motorola radios. Start searching online and you can find out a lot.
 

mmckenna

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Yeah, there's some neat stuff out there if you know what to look for.
None of it cheap.
One of the differences, though, is they are often set up more for receiving one frequency, or a couple. Not so much scanning hundreds of channels at a time (although some will).

I've got an AOR AR2300 at work that I use. While not super high end, it's better than many of the consumer radios. I've got it installed at one of our high sites and on the network, so I can use it from anywhere I've got a network connection. While it has some scanning ability, it's better as a single channel receiver.

There are certainly some higher end units used by the feds and others. Nice stuff, but way out of the reach of most hobbyists.
 

ecarvalho

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I was looking at the AOR DV1 and it looks good but:
1) doesn't decode P25 Phase II (only phase I)
2) I don't know if it suffers from simulcast issues etc...

It's a bit over $1,000 but I can afford it if I sell all my scanners.


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ecarvalho

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br0adband

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There's a reason what consumers use are called scanners and what professionals use are called communications receivers. :D

Having said that, I'd still rather do things with SDR nowadays even if it means having a USB stick protruding from my laptop with an antenna attached to a short run of cable but that's just me. No physical scanner is ever going to offer all that's possible considering how fast SDR is moving in - the only real limitations we have even nowadays using "cheap USB TV tuners" for $10-20 is the software itself and the need for talented software developers to create the code that allows for all the cool stuff the hardware of the technology is capable of.
 

ecarvalho

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thanks br0adband
I love playing around with SDR tho I like it more for SWL and VLF stuff.
I managed to use SDRplay with SDRsharp through DSDplus and got cool results but I was looking for a single device to do all that.
I am still working on learning Unitrunker.
Perhaps there is some way to build my own portable unit with a Raspberry Pi, small video screen and some USB controllers / knobs plus one or two SDR dongles all in a single case. But as you correctly pointed out we are missing software that will not require so much of tinkering and etc.


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br0adband

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For P25 comms nothing beats using OP25 especially for LSM-based systems (only needs a single RTL-based stick to do it all), as for DMR/NXDN/etc then obviously DSD+ (or if you want there's still the original DSD from different developers for some uses) and FMP which comes with DSD+ to handle trunking of some system types, and of course there's Unitrunker which is awesome all by itself and can do quite a bit with analog trunked systems and some digital when coupled with DSD+.

Yes it would be awesome to someday have what I'd call an SDR-powered "scanner" which would be a merging of the physical guts of the best hardware technology and the ability to modify the capabilities the hardware has instead of everything being totally locked down in the firmware of the device as all modern scanners currently are. Sure they can be "controlled" by using a computer running the necessary software but that level of control is limited to just programming the system data/talkgroup info/tags/etc and not much actual control of the hardware itself to offer more potential.

Someday somebody will put such a combination of hardware and software control over that hardware into a nice relatively simple well-designed package like what a traditional handheld or even base/mobile scanner and it'll be awesome but we're years away from such a leap - I hope I'm around when it happens. ;)
 

CRVFC500FF

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Professional Grade Scanner

My fire volunteer fire station in Baltimore County set up a Motorola P6500 mobile radio programmed for receive only. We have about 25 talkgroups loaded and can enable scan mode from the front panel. Of course this does not have the bells and whistles found on a consumer grade scanner however receive audio is always very reliable. This, of course, works perfectly with the LSM system since its all Motorola. We stream this audio on Broadcastify. We have one stereo channel feed with this radio and the other stereo channel with audio from a Maxtrac analog low band (pager feed) tuned to our dispatch main 1 channel. This lets anyone listen to the dispatch channel only or the response and fireground talkgroups.
 

prcguy

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I was doing some work at a large Navy installation in the 90s and they were using Icom R-7000 receivers for a lot of stuff. In the early 80's I got a tour of an FCC monitoring van and besides the racks of frequency and modulation measuring equipment they had a Radio Shack Pro 2004 series scanner.
prcguy
 

lmrtek

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the AOR AR alpha and the Icom IC R8600 and IC R9500 are top of the line
 

ecarvalho

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Wideband receivers! But those don't decode P25, DMR etc... do they? I don't see a mention on specifications.
 
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