SDS200: Discovery Mode vs Search Mode

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Ham, Scanners, GMRS
Feed Provider
Aug 18, 2006
N. Illinois

I feel kinda awkward asking this one...

What is the difference between the Discovery Mode vs the Search Mode?

I was trying to search the forum, but some reason couldn't really find a direct answer.

Please someone explain in depth if possible...

Thank You


Premium Subscriber
May 8, 2004
Dallas, TX
Start here on the Easier to Read site

For a Trunked system discovery session, you are selecting the specific system, as well as the site, that you want to use as the basis for Discovery.
You can set whether to compare to the database, or not
New TGIDs only, or any received
How long you want to record
Whether you want to Auto Store results of TGIDs found, and other parameters.
The session then runs on that specific system, and site, until you terminate the session. After the session is run, then you can upload the results into Sentinel (with the scanner in Mass Storage Mode) and review more easily.

For Conventional discovery, you are setting a frequency range to search. You also can compare to the database, auto store results, record traffic received (up to a maximum length that you set). See the link for more details on either version of Discovery.

For a straight "search" session, you are setting a frequency range to check, as you do in Conventional Discovery.
But, in a normal "search" session, you are seeing what is active, but it is not automatically being recorded, and there is no option to compare to the database to see if it's a "known" frequency or not.
There is no logging of what's received, unless you have logging set up with software such as ProScan or ARC536.

Within a Discovery session, you set the maximum amount of time to be recorded, up to 600 seconds (ten minutes). Then, after uploading the session results in Sentinel, you can play those recordings. Having multiple transmissions from a specific frequency recorded, and played sequentially, you may have a better chance of figuring out who is using that talkgroup or conventional frequency, as well as maybe determining specific usage.

I use Trunking Discovery fairly often, as I have several local systems that are either new, and not fully documented, or systems where a new agency or department is switching to that system.

In general, I don't normally do a flat out conventional frequency search, either a basic search, or conventional discovery, when I am at home. In my metro area, there are few "new" conventional channels, as most agencies either have, or will be, migrating to a trunked system.


Premium Subscriber
Dec 19, 2002
Arlington, TX
Start here on the Easier to Read site... agencies either have, or will be, migrating to a trunked system.
Thanks for the explanation and descriptions hiegtx. It's been a while since I've done a Discovery Mode session and I really don't feel like I fully understand how it works either. I've used it to find new TGIDs not listed on and it seemed to work pretty good. But I really haven't used it too many times and it's been quite a while. Thanks for breaking it down a little.

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