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cheap digital radios under $50

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azduststorm

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people are probably sick of seeing my name. Sorry if I ask to many questions. radios have been some what of a hobby for me in the last couple of months. Anyway, I have the beofeng its A great little radio. I like it but...... its not digital. I live in Arizona Maricopa county. almost everything is on digital now a days it really sucks. So I got to hunting around for a cheap digital radio and found this guy. SainSonic FM-416S dPMR .it comes with its own software and cable. Most importantly its not noticeable. it does not have the programing keys. Which leads me to my first question. how do you know what channel you are on. I don't see a digital screen. since it comes with its own cable I don't need any questions referring to the programming. Does anyone have one of these guys? are they good will they hold up at work? I am a maintenance person. I have dropped my beofang and it mess up the radio button when I dropped it but it didn't mess up any thing else. Thanks for every ones time for reading this post.
 

rescue161

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That radio will not do you any good for Maricopa County. Their digital systems are mostly P25 and DMR, which the FM-416S does neither. That radio is meant for the European market.

Radios in the past did not have screens. You had to know what channels were what. A lot of people taped a paper on the front or back of the radio to keep track of what channels were what. Typically, a radio without a display is limited to 16 channels, but some have upwards of 32 or 48 with the use of a zone (AB or ABC) switch.
 

azduststorm

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ok thank you I will take it out of my amazon cart. Are there any radios like this that will work in Maricopa county for under 50 dollars?
 

azduststorm

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well,,, Christmas is coming up. all i9 want for Christmas is not my two front teeth. just a radio scanner that works in Maricopa county lol.
 

I_am_Alpha1

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well,,, Christmas is coming up. all i9 want for Christmas is not my two front teeth. just a radio scanner that works in Maricopa county lol.
Maricopa County has several simulcast, P25 systems. Bad news for scanner folks. Worse yet is the number of Talkgroups that are encrypted in Phoenix. There's still plenty to listen to--but it will cost quite a bit more than $50. Simulcast systems are hard to monitor because they have several towers that broadcast the same signal and scanners get confused can't figure out how to decode them.

Here's a kinda simple explanation of what happens. Radio signals travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). Dispatch presses their transmit button and a signal is sent either through wires or microwaves to towers A, B, and C--and since they are not the same distance from dispatch each tower receives the signal a fraction of a second apart. The three towers then broadcast the signal over the air--and since they are not the same distance from you, the signals arrive at different times. Your listening spot, for an example, is 2 miles from tower A, 5 miles from tower B, and 8 miles from tower C. The radios that public services folks use are priced in the thousands, like $3-5 range. They are designed to handle simulcast systems. Scanners, not so much. You can try dumbing down the antenna (use a VHF instead of an 800), or a Yagi pointed at one tower--but there are several trunking systems with their own towers in your area as well as simple repeaters.

A decent scanner, which is what you require, is going to cost you around $500-600. Best option, visit the Ham Radio Outlet store, 10613 N 43rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ so you can try before you buy. Listen to several models side-by-side so you can see if they are dropping calls or not.

I tested with two Uniden BCD-536HPs, HP-1, and a BCD-436HP and there was no rhyme or reason to it. Scanner A would receive a call while B, C, and D didn't--then B would, then D, all the while C was dead as a post. I changed antennas and moved location in the house to get the best I can--which is still not all that good. I finally bought a used Motorola XTS-5000 and set it up for receive only (not a task for the faint of heart--high level of radio shop skills required and I was lucky enough to get hooked up by one of them).
 

jonwienke

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UV-5R is analog FM only. Digital refers to digital modulation, like DMR or P25.
 
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