BCD536 vs SDS200

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KAUC1632

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I have recently purchased a BCD536HP and am not real satisfied with my P25 reception. That was the primary reason for my purchase. I'm seeing very little of any improvement over my GRE PSR500. I've heard that the SDS200 eliminates the simulcast breakup I'm getting. Are there any of you out there that have moved up from the 536 to the 200? I realize the significant price differential but willing to bite the bullet if the performance is there. I have tried all kinds of iterations of threshold values in manual mode with no real difference and in auto mode threshold bounces all over the place with limited effect on the reception break up. I live in Jackson county MI in case anyone knows of any cause of poor reception. I have a BCD436HP handheld arriving tomorrow. Will be interested to see how it performs. Meanwhile I'll likely return the 536.
 

maus92

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I have recently purchased a BCD536HP and am not real satisfied with my P25 reception. That was the primary reason for my purchase. I'm seeing very little of any improvement over my GRE PSR500. I've heard that the SDS200 eliminates the simulcast breakup I'm getting. Are there any of you out there that have moved up from the 536 to the 200? I realize the significant price differential but willing to bite the bullet if the performance is there. I have tried all kinds of iterations of threshold values in manual mode with no real difference and in auto mode threshold bounces all over the place with limited effect on the reception break up. I live in Jackson county MI in case anyone knows of any cause of poor reception. I have a BCD436HP handheld arriving tomorrow. Will be interested to see how it performs. Meanwhile I'll likely return the 536.
To make sure I give the proper advice, what system is giving you issues, and approximately where do you live - a nearby intersection would work. That data can help me plot system transmit sites wrt to your location.
 

budevans

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The Jackson County radio system is a Simulcast system. The only scanners designed to properly decode Simulcast are the Uniden SDS200 and SDS100. Your PSR-500, BCD536 and BCD436 are not designed to handle Simulcast.

FYI, I live in a county with three Simulcast systems. I own a PSR-500, BCD436 and a SDS100. The SDS100 is the only scanner that works with all three Simulcast systems.
 
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maus92

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Definitely simulcast. And a Harris WACN, double bad (although *maybe* another vendor updated the infrastructure.) Very likely a SDS series radio will solve your issues. I live within .5 miles of a P25 simulcast site, while the other member sites are much farther away - thus my 536 works well, equivalent to my SDS200. But the systems I monitor are Motorola and well designed. And I'm lucky based on site geography.
 
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My 536 used to work great but not anymore I can't seemed to even pick up my local fire department I'm in Durham ct if anyone is close by to help me I don't have a pc I was thinking about getting the ads 200 but don't know if mind is a simple programming issue
 

maus92

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My 536 used to work great but not anymore I can't seemed to even pick up my local fire department I'm in Durham ct if anyone is close by to help me I don't have a pc I was thinking about getting the ads 200 but don't know if mind is a simple programming issue
You really need a PC to program advanced scanners. And you *probably* will get better performance from a SDS200 vs. a 536.
 

fredva

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I had a 436, which is the handheld version of the 536. I replaced it with an SDS-100 handheld and it does significantly better on our local simulcast systems.
 
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If I switch to the Ssds 200 does it program through your zip code and if a certain department switches its type of transmission will it automatically pick it up
 

fredva

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Definitely simulcast. And a Harris WACN, double bad (although *maybe* another vendor updated the infrastructure.) Very likely a SDS series radio will solve your issues. I live within .5 miles of a P25 simulcast site, while the other member sites are much farther away - thus my 536 works well, equivalent to my SDS200. But the systems I monitor are Motorola and well designed. And I'm lucky based on site geography.
I don't think Harris systems are always harder to receive than Motorola systems. In my immediate vicinity are both a Harris simulcast system and a Motorola simulcast system. Although it wasn't perfect, I got better reception of the Harris system on my WS-1080 and 436HP than I did of the Motorola system. I often completely missed transmissions on the Motorola system. The Harris system was installed several years after the Motorola system; perhaps that is a factor. Both seem to do equally well on the SDS-100 I currently use.
 

hiegtx

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If I switch to the Ssds 200 does it program through your zip code and if a certain department switches its type of transmission will it automatically pick it up
The SDS200, as well as SDS100, are both "Home Patrol" type scanners. Meaning that you can keep the database updated, then by entering a range and your location (either by Zip code, or if mobile, via a GPS), as well as selecting your service types of interest, it will monitor the radio traffic that matches your choices (in the range set, your location, and service types).
 

fredva

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If I switch to the Ssds 200 does it program through your zip code and if a certain department switches its type of transmission will it automatically pick it up
I'm not 100% certain on the zip code programming on the SDS-200. On your second question, if the department makes changes to its radio system, those should be updated in the RadioReference database, and you would need to update your scanner's database using the software on a PC. So as was stated earlier, a PC is really beneficial if you are using a modern scanner.
 

hiegtx

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I'm not 100% certain on the zip code programming on the SDS-200. On your second question, if the department makes changes to its radio system, those should be updated in the RadioReference database, and you would need to update your scanner's database using the software on a PC. So as was stated earlier, a PC is really beneficial if you are using a modern scanner.
You can use "zip code programming" on the SDS series scanners, the BCDx36HP series, as well as the Home Patrol scanners (HP-1 & HP-2).

However, if you are using location based scanning, whether via your zip code, a GPS, or your actual latitude & longitude, you really need to make sure that the database in use by your scanner (updated using Sentinel) is current. While you might not need to update every week, if systems in your area do not change that often, you certainly need to update when you first get the scanner and/or install Sentinel. Their initial datbase (before update) may be months out of date.
 

Citywide74

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Definitely simulcast. And a Harris WACN, double bad (although *maybe* another vendor updated the infrastructure.) Very likely a SDS series radio will solve your issues. I live within .5 miles of a P25 simulcast site, while the other member sites are much farther away - thus my 536 works well, equivalent to my SDS200. But the systems I monitor are Motorola and well designed. And I'm lucky based on site geography.
What simulcast site do you live near in Annapolis? Didn't realize there were any down there. LOL
 

hiegtx

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Do you need a pc to update the data base because that's my issue I don't have one
You would need a PC to do database updates, as well as apply any firmware updates that are released. The PC does not need to be the 'latest and greatest'. An older desktop or laptop, as long as it has Windows, and can connect to the internet (to get the updates) will work. Sentinel cannot be run on a Chromebook, and the only way to utilize a Mac is to run Windows using one of several software packages that enable that.
 
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Thanks for the feedbackin your opinion do you think I should buy a cheap pic and update my 536 before jumping into the sds200 thank you
 

hiegtx

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Thanks for the feedbackin your opinion do you think I should buy a cheap pic and update my 536 before jumping into the sds200 thank you
You're going to need a "cheap PC", regardless of whether you are updating the database in Sentinel or doing any firmware upgrade. The SDS200 uses the same version of Sentinel as your 536HP. Check eBay, pawn shops, estate sales, and other places for an older PC. Even though it might be slow compared to the newest units on the market, it should handle Sentinel without a problem.
 

maus92

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I don't think Harris systems are always harder to receive than Motorola systems. In my immediate vicinity are both a Harris simulcast system and a Motorola simulcast system. Although it wasn't perfect, I got better reception of the Harris system on my WS-1080 and 436HP than I did of the Motorola system. I often completely missed transmissions on the Motorola system. The Harris system was installed several years after the Motorola system; perhaps that is a factor. Both seem to do equally well on the SDS-100 I currently use.
IDK, all I can say is our state really, really wanted Motorola to build its statewide system, and one county's first responders who really, really wants to ditch their new $30M Harris P25P2 system, and migrate to the state's brand new system. I also think that you will find other comments that express a similar opinion. Then again, it does depend on who designed the system, the constraints / compromises that influenced the design, and of course, user expectations.
 
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