Can Someone Give Me A Bottom Line Answer

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dcisive

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I was getting motivated to consider a new scanner. I have the HomePatrol 1 no upgrades. Updated firmware to date as well as the database. Thanks to some folks here I finally figured out the fine art of proper programming. I now receive the PD I wanted to receive along with a ton of other typical stuff like business and fire and such. I'm pretty certain that here in Salt Lake County they are still Analog. Yes they have some trunking, and thus far, now that my HP1 is properly programmed is doing a fine job on that.

So my question is this. If I get a 436 or a 536, is there any dramatic improvement in any stock area that I could expect to experience? I've gotten messages from a few folks that say stay put, there is nothing more to hear, and others have said that the 536 for example WILL get some channels as well as superior quality of reception to my HP1 in it's current state. I'd love to hear some strong opinions here from some of you if you think there's anything much to gain from stepping so called UP to a 536 lets say, and get it dialed in. Will it really do some things my HP1 won't? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 

enosjones

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There is DMR sites in the Salt lake valley as well as utah county that the 436/536 could pick up. Some even still unidentified. Not much if any Phase II , if NXDN comes into play with those scanners, there are NXDN sites up there too.. If your in to the digital part of it all, otherwise the hp1 does fine with SLC area, it's mostly businesses on DMR and NXDN anyway mostly, and one amateur radio on DMR as well, not much public safety on digital except United Fire Authorities phase I system . Those control frequencies for phase I is online in salt lake valley and utah valley


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hiegtx

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I was getting motivated to consider a new scanner. I have the HomePatrol 1 no upgrades. Updated firmware to date as well as the database. Thanks to some folks here I finally figured out the fine art of proper programming. I now receive the PD I wanted to receive along with a ton of other typical stuff like business and fire and such. I'm pretty certain that here in Salt Lake County they are still Analog. Yes they have some trunking, and thus far, now that my HP1 is properly programmed is doing a fine job on that.

So my question is this. If I get a 436 or a 536, is there any dramatic improvement in any stock area that I could expect to experience? I've gotten messages from a few folks that say stay put, there is nothing more to hear, and others have said that the 536 for example WILL get some channels as well as superior quality of reception to my HP1 in it's current state. I'd love to hear some strong opinions here from some of you if you think there's anything much to gain from stepping so called UP to a 536 lets say, and get it dialed in. Will it really do some things my HP1 won't? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Just in a quick glance through the trunked systems that are in Salt Lake City, and elsewhere in the state, it appears that the public safety and military agencies are analog, or P25 Phase I, which your HP-1 will handle. Stepping up to the 536HP would largely be a matter of whether your HP-1 is having issues on your local system. If so, and if that was due to simulcast distortion, then the better filtering of the 536HP possibly could be of some benefit. But if you are not having problems, that would not be needed.

The other factors are whether any of the DMR (MotoTRBO) trunked systems in your county are of interest. Pull up your county in the database and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Are any of the trunked systems of interest to you? If so, then upgrading to the 536HP, or Whistler's TRX-2, would put those within reach. But if nothing there interests you, then you would not gain much from the upgrade. Yes, the 536HP or Whistler TRX-2 would add some search features you don't have with the HP-1, but if that's not a priority, then skip the upgrade for now.

The other thing to watch, either through comments in the Utah state forum, or announcements in the local media, is if any of your agencies of interest appear to be planning a move to a P25 Phase II system. I see none of these in your state at this time. However, if an agency or jurisdiction of interest (city, county, or state) indicates an upgrade to Phase II is coming, then at that point you may want to consider making a move by the time a projected new system goes into service. Or, if you travel much, whether for vacation, business, or visiting friends and relatives in other states, and take your scanner with you, then at some point you are likely to begin encountering Phase II systems. Here again, if you don't travel, or at least not take your HP-1 with you, that may not be something you would want to upgrade at this time. For now, what is in your area, with the exception of DMR, you can hear on your HP-1. This basically the same as what enosjones posted.
 

dcisive

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Ahh but something was mentioned that just yesterday caused me great concern. We had 3 fire trucks come onto my street and right across from my home in the cul de sac they parked and went in in groups. Seems there was a medical emergency. I put on my scanner and even chose ALL fire frequencies but heard not one word........NOTHING. The post above mentioned that the Unified Fire (who is who they are) is in the digital system, which my HP1 won't get. So if THAT is the case I'm all over the idea of a new scanner. Will I need to have a TRX-2 to get it or would a 536 do the job? Thanks again as if this is the case this could be a real answer to my desire to upgrade. My HP1 didn't get a darn thing and they were right there and I should have heard them communicate about it. But nothing
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Ahh but something was mentioned that just yesterday caused me great concern. We had 3 fire trucks come onto my street and right across from my home in the cul de sac they parked and went in in groups. Seems there was a medical emergency. I put on my scanner and even chose ALL fire frequencies but heard not one word........NOTHING. The post above mentioned that the Unified Fire (who is who they are) is in the digital system, which my HP1 won't get. So if THAT is the case I'm all over the idea of a new scanner. Will I need to have a TRX-2 to get it or would a 536 do the job? Thanks again as if this is the case this could be a real answer to my desire to upgrade. My HP1 didn't get a darn thing and they were right there and I should have heard them communicate about it. But nothing
When a rescue team gets dispatched there is very little radio traffic to be heard.
 

W8RMH

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To monitor Fire/Rescue/EMS you need to listen to dispatch to hear the run location and nature. Once units are en route and on the scene there is very little radio traffic if any, unless it is a working fire or serious MVC.
 

enosjones

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Hp1 can get digital, it's just they registered for a new trunked system. The Home patrol 1 can get P25 phase 1 no money required. I wasn't sure they were using it yet . I was there in July and November and it was quiet but the control channel was operating, now there is a site in Lehi that's up now too, same system. I don't know what other channels they could be working off of than that


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marksmith

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Ahh but something was mentioned that just yesterday caused me great concern. We had 3 fire trucks come onto my street and right across from my home in the cul de sac they parked and went in in groups. Seems there was a medical emergency. I put on my scanner and even chose ALL fire frequencies but heard not one word........NOTHING. The post above mentioned that the Unified Fire (who is who they are) is in the digital system, which my HP1 won't get. So if THAT is the case I'm all over the idea of a new scanner. Will I need to have a TRX-2 to get it or would a 536 do the job? Thanks again as if this is the case this could be a real answer to my desire to upgrade. My HP1 didn't get a darn thing and they were right there and I should have heard them communicate about it. But nothing
Your hp1 is digital phase 1 capable. That is what the United Fire Authority System is.

If you didn't hear anything, then one of the following is true:

1. They didn't transmit anything.
2. You have it programmed but they used a Tac channel and you don't have fire Tac channels service type on.
3. They are using encryption (highly doubt)
4. They used a Tac channel you don't have programmed.
5. They were not using the new digital system yet.

I see the new digital system is brand new and the only talkgroup on the system is "test", which suggests to me they were probably not using the new digital system yet. Your HP1 will receive this system and just about any other system in your area except a few DMR things that are not public safety and probably not very interesting. Mostly you have Motorola systems and the new p25 for fire and Hill AFB, also p25.

Your HP1 will receive everything except those couple DMR things. No other scanner would receive more.

The reason you did not hear United Fire Authority is not because of the scanner.
The HP1 gets any system or frequency they would have been on.

They either were on conventional or other trunked system you don't have programmed, or they had no reason to transmit anything once they were dispatched.

The only additional things you could possibly receive in your county are probably not of interest. A 536, 436, TRX, or an HP2 radio will only add phase 2 digital (you have none in your county yet) and 4-5 probably very low activity DMR systems that have nothing to do with public safety.

So you can basically listen to everything you would want now on your HP1 which DOES get digital p25 phase 1.

Mark
536/436/WS1095/HP1/HP2/996T/996XT/996P2/396XT/325P2/PSR800/15X/others
 
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dcisive

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I appreciate it guys. Looks like I just had a bout with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) and need to get over it. Guess there isn't anything my HP1 ain't getting or can't get at this point in time. I'll investigate to make sure I've got ALL those Fire frequencies in place. It sure made a huge difference when I updated everything and created a accurate PD Favorite file. Now it's hopping all the time. My reception is exceptional even though I'm at the extreme end of the country. I use a nice gain oriented duck that works great. So I suppose I'll just get over the idea of spending more $$ and not really getting anything I'm not already. I am actually quite happy and impressed with the sound quality of this HP1. I wouldn't want anything less quality than that. I suspect a 436 with it's lower power and smaller speaker wouldn't even sound quite this good. Let alone be more sensitive necessarily. I'm good. Thanks again guys....I suppose in some regards Utah being behind the times is working in my favor
 

jonwienke

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Getting a 436 wouldn't necessarily be a waste.The 436 and 536 have a dedicated narrowband filter which the HP series does not, which means the x36 radios will perform better in narrowband mode. They also have excellent receivers--I'm getting Close Call hits from Virginia in Pennsylvania, and pick up VHF freqs clearly, even though I live close enough to a pager transmitter that my Baofeng mobile and RTL-SDR pick it up on most every VHF frequency. The 435 is also much more convenient to carry on your belt than the HP radios, if you're into that sort of thing.

The 436 can be upgraded to receive DMR and ProVoice (at added cost) and receives P25 Phase II, all of which the HP-1 cannot receive. You'd have to look at what DMR, Provoice, or P25-II systems of interest are in your area (if any) and decide for yourself if they would justify spending money on a new scanner.

It's possible that the 436 speaker is not as good as the HP-1's. The 436 does have a jack for an external speaker or headphones.

On another note, when fire & EMS are called, the bulk of the radio traffic when units are alerted and informed where they need to respond. They may call in briefly to notify dispatch they have arrived on scene, and if they have a patient, EMS will often call ahead to a hospital to inform the ER of their patient's condition prior to arrival, or consult with a physician if the patient has serious problems. Units may also make a brief call to dispatch when they leave the scene.

If you wait until the units arrive to turn on the scanner, you've already missed the radio traffic describing the reason for the call and how many units were directed to the call. The only time you'll get anything juicy at that point is if there is a serious fire (something bigger than a trash can in the back yard) or someone is seriously injured and EMS needs to call in en route to the ER. Otherwise all you'll get is quickies like "Unit XXX on scene" or "Unit XXX back in service".
 

marksmith

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I appreciate it guys. Looks like I just had a bout with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) and need to get over it. Guess there isn't anything my HP1 ain't getting or can't get at this point in time. I'll investigate to make sure I've got ALL those Fire frequencies in place. It sure made a huge difference when I updated everything and created a accurate PD Favorite file. Now it's hopping all the time. My reception is exceptional even though I'm at the extreme end of the country. I use a nice gain oriented duck that works great. So I suppose I'll just get over the idea of spending more $$ and not really getting anything I'm not already. I am actually quite happy and impressed with the sound quality of this HP1. I wouldn't want anything less quality than that. I suspect a 436 with it's lower power and smaller speaker wouldn't even sound quite this good. Let alone be more sensitive necessarily. I'm good. Thanks again guys....I suppose in some regards Utah being behind the times is working in my favor
I think you've got it about right looking at the systems in your area. 436 and 536 are nice radios, but they are not going to receive anything more than what you get unless you like to listen to tow companies and some generic business stuff for the price you will pay for a 436/536 plus the upgrades.

And you are correct that the speaker is better in what you have than a 436.

I have a fair number of radios and truthfully like my HP1 and HP2 radios the best because they do about everything the 436/536 will do (and some they don't) and the display screen is world class. No scanner by anybody even comes close. Went out and got a second HP2 for the car. I have phase 2 digital active in my area, which resulted in my upgrading.

Mark
536/436/WS1095/HP1/HP2/996T/996XT/996P2/396XT/325P2/PSR800/15X/others
 

dcisive

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Originally several weeks ago I was about ready to push the button on a new TRX-2 Whistler. I just assumed it was superior to say a 536. But had many a discussion on this subject with many who own both. Apparently there are strengths and weaknesses both in both of these units. I even considered a 436 but the fiasco with loss of sensitivity from the so called battery compartment flaw that is supposedly overcome by adding (gerry rigging) copper tape to eliminate it turned me off that idea. So much to consider.

I looked at the Whistler's software and frankly there are aspects that seem very advanced, but at the same time more complicated too. I had no issues easily programming my HP1 after some folks gave me some tips. It's just VERY intuitive if I do say so. Seems like with the Whistler software there is a definite learning curve by comparison. Not sure it's necessarily more powerful in any aspect. I'm not completely hung up on the advanced digital systems like DMR and the NX**. I especially prefer the display on a 536 for example to a TRX-2 which to me seems very rinky dink. I have little doubt the sensitivity on a 536 would or should be a tad better than a HP1. The interface seems nice enough. I just had a great sales week so may cave and get a 536. Something to think about. Maybe a simple discone to slap up on the closet to make sure I can get maximum results. I'll just have to think this over. I don't want a HP2 as that main thing is just adding the Phase II which isn't used in my area anyway. I suppose to some degree it's just like buying a new toy just to get one. Not sure it will blow me away with the vast improvements and such. But nice nevertheless to have a "top of the line" unit to work with. Sure....I like the idea of being able to take it in the next room, but like I said unless someone can prove to me that battery compartment issue of the 436 is a big lie, I'm not inclined to go that route. Oh well.........
 

dcisive

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Another thing I'd love to KNOW is does the 536 scan faster than say a HP1? I think the scan speed on the 536 and 436 is about 80cps last I recalled. Is the HP1 that fast as well? Hmm Just fishing for reasons to move forward with a new one :)
 

marksmith

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Another thing I'd love to KNOW is does the 536 scan faster than say a HP1? I think the scan speed on the 536 and 436 is about 80cps last I recalled. Is the HP1 that fast as well? Hmm Just fishing for reasons to move forward with a new one :)
I don't think Uniden puts those numbers out any more. Probably because it depends on how you program the radio how fast it is.

Having most of them, I don't think any of them are any faster than the others. Speed is mainly based on whether you are doing conventional or trunked systems, and how many systems at a time. Just about any radio will take almost 2 seconds just to lock on to a trunked system control channel and determine if anything you have programmed is active, regardless of whether it is active or not.

The reason I like multiple scanners is i can break up the stuff I want to monitor between radios, which makes the effective scan speed faster than any one radio. If you are still stuck in that toy acquisition mode, how's that for a reason?

I think I like the Uniden software better than the Whistler, but that is mainly preference as they both do the same thing different ways.

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dcisive

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If I didn't admit to having the fleeting thought of picking up a 436 AND a 536 to have along, one in my office the other wherever I'd like to take it at any given moment, I'd be lying. Very tempting indeed. So called best of both worlds. Some folks might even suggest a TRX-2 for the base and the 436 for mobile. Either way that's a lot of $$$ and quite an investment. I'll see how my sales go next week.......could be tempting.
 

sparklehorse

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Ahh but something was mentioned that just yesterday caused me great concern. We had 3 fire trucks come onto my street and right across from my home in the cul de sac they parked and went in in groups. Seems there was a medical emergency. I put on my scanner and even chose ALL fire frequencies but heard not one word........NOTHING. The post above mentioned that the Unified Fire (who is who they are) is in the digital system, which my HP1 won't get. So if THAT is the case I'm all over the idea of a new scanner. Will I need to have a TRX-2 to get it or would a 536 do the job? Thanks again as if this is the case this could be a real answer to my desire to upgrade. My HP1 didn't get a darn thing and they were right there and I should have heard them communicate about it. But nothing
When you say you chose ALL fire frequencies, what do you mean by that exactly? All the frequencies listed in the Radioreference database for your county? Is your fire department operating on a trunked radio system or on conventional frequencies? If they're on a trunked system you'd need to have the system programmed correctly and all their talkgroups enabled. If they're on conventional, and they're using a repeater, you might not hear anything even though they're across the street. It's possible their repeater is beyond the range of your "gain oriented duck". Remember they're using commercial radios that have better range than a consumer scanner with a duck antenna. If this was the case, then to hear them you'd have to have their repeater input frequency programmed into your HP1, and that seems unlikely. I'm only proposing this because you seemed certain you should have received some traffic because they were so close. That tells me you may not be aware of how repeater systems work.
.
 

dcisive

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What I did last week, is set up a Favorite with all the Fire frequencies found on a just updated Sentinal program for Salt Lake County, of which these guys here on that emergency were certainly members of. I easily pick up frequncies that are over 60 miles from me in the Salt Lake County, such as Brigham City Utah a hour and a half drive from me, so I don't think I'm having reception issues that's for sure. All of what I put on my HP1 are from the Sentinal program. I was under the impression Sentinal uses RadioReference to get it's frequencies. Am I missing something?
 

sparklehorse

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If I didn't admit to having the fleeting thought of picking up a 436 AND a 536 to have along, one in my office the other wherever I'd like to take it at any given moment, I'd be lying. Very tempting indeed. So called best of both worlds. Some folks might even suggest a TRX-2 for the base and the 436 for mobile. Either way that's a lot of $$$ and quite an investment. I'll see how my sales go next week.......could be tempting.
I have the TRX-2 and the Uniden 536. Unless you need the NXDN capability, or live in an RF dense area, I personally would go with the 536. The TRX-2 isn't a bad radio, but in my opinion it is not as nice as the 536. Its programming structure and menu functions get the job done, but if you're already used to Uniden's approach I think you'll find the 536 easier to learn. Also the Sentinel software is a bit more versatile than EZScan. The P25 reception between the two radios is different. I can't really say in my situation that one is better than the other. Neither is ideal for my location and system. For both radios it's taken quite a bit of experimenting with different antennas and settings to get reception that is only just tolerable. They're both very good on conventional VHF-Hi and UHF public safety frequencies. The 436 is also a good radio. The copper foil tape battery cover issue is minor at best, and you could always put some tape on yours to see if it helps.

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sparklehorse

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What I did last week, is set up a Favorite with all the Fire frequencies found on a just updated Sentinal program for Salt Lake County, of which these guys here on that emergency were certainly members of. I easily pick up frequncies that are over 60 miles from me in the Salt Lake County, such as Brigham City Utah a hour and a half drive from me, so I don't think I'm having reception issues that's for sure. All of what I put on my HP1 are from the Sentinal program. I was under the impression Sentinal uses RadioReference to get it's frequencies. Am I missing something?
Maybe, maybe not. As others have stated, the responding units may not have made many, or even any, transmissions while they were on scene. It sounds like the first time you became aware of their activity was when you saw them across the street. So you likely missed the original dispatch call, and their call to the dispatcher to announce they had arrived on scene. They most likely called the dispatcher again when the call was complete, but they may have done that a half mile down the road after they left. That is the one call you would have been most likely to hear. But I don't know, it's also possible your agency uses their MDTs for routine communications like that. All that aside, the point I was trying to make earlier was that IF your fire department uses a conventional repeater system, the frequencies you'll find in the RR database will only be the OUTPUT frequencies. When the EMT across the street pushes the button on the radio to talk, her radio transmits on the INPUT frequency, which will likely NOT be listed in the RR database, and will almost certainly not be in Sentinal. Her signal travels to a transmission tower up on a distant hill somewhere, where it is 'repeated' or re-broadcast on the output frequency at much higher power. This allows two handheld or mobile radios to communicate across great distances, and in difficult terrain. Apologies if you already understand this concept, I got the impression you didn't.

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dcisive

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I was just checking out Justin Pulliam's Digital Frequency Import site. Noticed that he has a boatload of 800mhz frequencies that are new and digital from specifically the Unified Fire Authority which I've not seen listed on the Sentinal sofware as an option to load. Could well be why I missed them as it was indeed Unified Fire that visited our neighborhood, not Salt Lake County Fire. They are different. Hmmm could be a justification for this new scanner. Now to decide between the portability of the 436 or the 536. ;-)
 
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