I want to get started on Harris radios for monitoring but I heard programming software is not cheap and features upgrade are pricey.
Any idea if is a viable avenue?
I was looking into the P7300 for example.
There are a few *major* advantages of using a real radio over a scanner.
-Durability/Construction. A real radio will easily put up with any abuse you could throw at it (or throw it at).
-LSM. Scanners are absolutely terrible on systems where there is simulcast happening. Real radios are designed properly and can handle this without issue.
-Sensitivity/Reception. You'll find a real radio will come in loud & clear in instances where a scanner will barely even register a signal.
Regarding the feature upgrades and software issues - those aren't necessarily game stoppers. There's quite a few people who would help you out with programming your radio for you (though not necessarily for free).
Its a gray area.
Having a radio that can transmit on a trunking system can cause issues if not programmed correctly. Since these are usually for police and fire it can put lives at risk.
The unication G4 and G5 dont have transmitters in them so they are 100% safe to use and great for people to learn about trunking systems.
I also own a KNG2-P800 which has a feature for RX only trunking. But the user has to enable it. Which i have on all my trunking systems. So again makes it safe for me to use and not have to worry about what could happen.
I own a couple G4/5 here. The intention is to monitor only and compare a "real" radio with the various flavors of radios I have including Unication. I will however consider what you said. I have no desire to break any laws.
when i had my XTS-2500 i always got questions WHO Programmed it not to mean its NOT legal to own a radio now that i own the G5 Pager NO more questions on who did the programming that happens when i was at a big fire had my radio with me to monitor fireground ops.i had my G5 with me few weeks ago at another fire worked great i'm happy to own one no more having to make System Keys.
You need RPM to program a P7300.The current version of RPM requires system keys to program any P25 trunking systems.Harris calls it AAC (Advanced Access Control) It's in response to system administrators being concerned about unauthorized radios being placed on their systems.
Before attempting to purchase one of these.You need to seriously research and learn what's all involved in properly setting up one of these strictly for passive monitoring, otherwise don't even bother.These aren't hobbyist tools like the typical scanner.System administrators monitor this forum and they will brick your radio if you affiliate on their system or they think your going to cause issues.