SDS100: Hey Uniden Support - SDS100 Firmware Update to Fix Issues

bearcat

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I think it is about time Uniden addresses some of the issues with the SDS100. For one the UIDs are not always being displayed on P25 Phase II systems. The radio is capturing this data. Which can be proven by connecting to ProScan. You will see a 100% capture of UIDs. Also the analog reception is horrible on the SDS100. Repeaters which are within just a few miles of me come in scratchy, with horrible sounding audio. The RSSI graph is lucky to show 1/4 scale. While these signals are full scale on other scanners. It is not a cold solder joint on the antenna, since DMR, NXDN and P25 are all fine. Uniden it is time to step up and fix these issues.
 

Ubbe

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Uniden can't do anything to the reception. It's the hardware choosen to be used as a receiver that are problematic. You only notice it in analog mode because in digital you either hear a conversation or you don't but to the receiver the signalling type doesn't matter. It is the demodulator in the DSP that works out the signalling. It is just as bad performer at digital at 800Mhz as it is in analog at VHF and UHF.

You'll need to have specific RF conditions to be able to use a SDS scanner succesfully, as the automatic RF gain are built into the receiver chip and cannot be disabled, and would be even worse if it could be, and will detect strong transmitters in a wide frequency range and lower the gain to adapt to the strongest signal even 10Mhz away from the one you are monitoring. Upman warned about trying to use a SDS scanner as a "normal" analog scanner. Its primary function are to handle simulcast systems and at that it works much better than any other "normal" scanner, even considering the flaws it has with its receive performance.

UID missing on the display could be fixed, if it is as you say that ProScan will show it.

Maybe Uniden could take a look at the "compare to database" function during discovery that where broken a couple of years ago.
And I believe that the search ranges name tags are still needed to be untouched to have the scanner to properly display all decoded information.

/Ubbe
 

n1chu

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As it relates to poor analogue signals, especially at the VHF and UHF bands;

I used to think the SDS100 had production run flaws that exhibited bad antenna connections-cold solder joints or something as simple as an open, a break in the connection possibly caused by stress on the antenna connector. (I wish I had a dime for every time I saw someone pick up the radio by the antenna!)

But I now believe the SDS series is just a deliberate attempt to favor the digital, higher frequency systems (700-800-900 MHz). Upman eluded to this as Ubbe has posted. So I use the BCD996XT for conventional VHF & UHF systems and the SDS’s for the digital stuff.
This doesn’t mean I’m happy with Uniden’s SDS’s... for the money, the scanners should be progressive, or backwards compatible... meaning the reception quality of their previous radios should have been maintained in the newer models, improved upon or at least stayed the same, not degraded.

I will continue to run both my SDS200 and BCD996XT so I can have the best of both worlds. At least until AOR markets something that hears the various modes and bands that the Uniden’s do. And I seriously doubt that will happen... if AOR could do that it would be out there already! (I believe there are certain constraints that make what I ask realistically improbable).
 

mc48

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I have been monitoring a P25/P2 system for 6 months with a SDS100 (and SDS200) and have never seen that it failed to display the UID, I also have around 1200 UID's identified with a name and have never seen it fail to display that info either (I display both).
 

werinshades

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I have been monitoring a P25/P2 system for 6 months with a SDS100 (and SDS200) and have never seen that it failed to display the UID, I also have around 1200 UID's identified with a name and have never seen it fail to display that info either (I display both).
I've submitted Debug files due to P25 Phase 2 UID being inconsistent since the 436/536 series. It's some sort of a "timing" issue someone once mentioned so yes, this is and has been an issue for some time and while some improvements have been made via firmware, it's just not there yet.
 

lbashaw

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Just a note...My SDS is set to monitor TXWARN (Texas Wide Area Network) primarily (Bryan/College Station, TX). My analog public safety, air, and rail are all monitored at home by my somewhat antiquated (but functional) Uniden 780XLT. Make Uniden aware of issues, but give them time to work through to find solutions.
 

xusmarine1979

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Yup, I know we're all eager for updates, and when we get them it literally feels like Christmas.

I don't listen to much analog, but at this point I think my only request is just maybe an audio EQ that can be adjusted for each channel to help clean up the audio a bit. I think it's just too tinny for my ears. There must be a fix because I've mentioned before that there was so much more bass on this little speaker when I first got it back in '18. And most of the time for portability reasons an external speaker just isn't optional, but when I do hook one up, it sounds amazing.
 

Ubbe

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......my only request is just maybe an audio EQ that can be adjusted for each channel to help clean up the audio a bit....
Absolutly, I agree. Modern scanners than monitor many different kind of systems needs EQ for at least each system. Ideally each TG and frequency could use a personality setting 1-16 where the filters, EQ, volume offset, squelch offset, and whatever, are set in the profile where the 16 different personalities are stored.

Have you considered trying out a wireless blutooth adapter and earphones to get better audio quality, that also can do double duty in your car to go handsfree with your mobile phone?

/Ubbe
 

phask

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I may be wrong, but I believe incorrect/failed UID are caused by not receiving the beginning of the transmission which is where the data is carried. I see it with Phase 1 on Proscan logs, I also see it using the "Uniden Wave player".
 

xusmarine1979

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Absolutly, I agree. Modern scanners than monitor many different kind of systems needs EQ for at least each system. Ideally each TG and frequency could use a personality setting 1-16 where the filters, EQ, volume offset, squelch offset, and whatever, are set in the profile where the 16 different personalities are stored.

Have you considered trying out a wireless blutooth adapter and earphones to get better audio quality, that also can do double duty in your car to go handsfree with your mobile phone?

/Ubbe
Yes, that's a good point, each frequency and TG can certainly vary.

I've thought about the wireless BT, or even modifying with an internal like Jon does with the GPS. Do you think it would mess with the signal? Not sure if you saw my thread a couple of weeks ago, but I'll send you a pm about it. Maybe I can pick your brain a bit...
 

trentbob

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Just to note as has been done many times before, very good results can be achieved on VHF and UHF conventional channels, airband is also very good. I've noticed that some people are still bringing up their observations that conventional frequencies don't work well on the SDS.

Correct use of the filters is important and I emphasize the word correct. There are threads here that describe proper use clearly and threads here that are way off.

Global should stay on normal unless you are using it to sample how the filters affect a site or conventional channel. As far as conventional goes, choose from wide normal, invert, wide invert or no filter at all on global filters while you sit on a conventional channel you think is not working right, check your RSSI and noise level and see if you see an improvement. You can always toggle function 7 also.

If you see an improvement then return the global filter to normal where it belongs as the default and go into dept options that conventional frequency is under. Set the filter there that worked the best on the global sample. Unfortunately that filter is applied to all the conventional frequencies under that dept so it does take some programming to group together conventional frequencies that would use the same filter like rail or Aviation or a fire department that uses VHF High. They will all call for the same filter and if you group it right they will all have it applied in dept options.

You don't want to use Global filter only because that affects every site and conventional channel on your radio and other objects that do well on normal filter will suffer. Just use Global as a easy fast way to sample the filters until you find what you want then return it to normal. That will apply normal to every object that you don't go into site options or Department options and change.

Some reminders are do not use the auto filters as they sample every filter and slow scanning way down and you never know what filter did the trick anyway.

Or you might find toggling function 7 applying ifx might help a conventional object.

Everybody's situation is different depending on your RF environment so no one can make a blanket statement like no filter works the best, it depends on where you sit, not the next guy.

You will find that putting the filter indicator on your display will make this process much easier.

Those who complain and make statements that these radios do not work well on conventional frequencies need to master the filters. I am very pleased with VHF, UHF and aircraft band on my 100 and 200.
 
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werinshades

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I may be wrong, but I believe incorrect/failed UID are caused by not receiving the beginning of the transmission which is where the data is carried. I see it with Phase 1 on Proscan logs, I also see it using the "Uniden Wave player".
That was mentioned before, and it was suggested I send in Debug files with Phase 2 talkgroups in Channel hold, and didn't make any changes. Over the past few firmware updates it did improve, but still not as consistent as Phase 1 talkgroups/systems.
 

Ubbe

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Those who complain and make statements that these radios do not work well on conventional frequencies need to master the filters.
No, it's the scanner that are the problem. The receiver cannot cope with the complex RF enviroments that exists in many places today. I meausered a SDS100 and it's RF perfomance are terrible, as could be expected from that kind of $5 SDR chip receiver.

SDS100 RF measurements

/Ubbe
 

trentbob

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No, it's the scanner that are the problem. The receiver cannot cope with the complex RF enviroments that exists in many places today. I meausered a SDS100 and it's RF perfomance are terrible, as could be expected from that kind of $5 SDR chip receiver.

SDS100 RF measurements

/Ubbe
I disagree, I don't think you could get that SDR chip for $5... 12 to 15 maybe but not 5, I understand what you're saying, it's a TV chip.

Results are going to vary secondary to a lot of factors. For example before the introduction of the filters through two different firmware updates my radio was deaf on Aviation. I also remember not being able to pick up NOAA Weather Radio. Not even the one in my area.

I was very vocal about my disappointment, not only with clipped transmissions and missed transmissions on my P2 tdma simulcast system but the very unsatisfactory analog conventional frequency performance.

The first round of filters came out in a firmware update and Paul explained them very well in the update summary and accompanying thread. It was like a freaking miracle.

Invert filter turned everything around and I was so pleased to see my P2 system working properly.

I immediately went to work on the analog conventional stuff that was just horrible. I noticed immediately the improvements. I also started using ifx then also. The Improvement would go along with your theory of the SDR chip.

I would not use my most efficient and highest rooftop antenna with the SDS it is subject to a lot of interference on analog frequencies not protected by a PL tones, there is no question about it. I do use one of my VHF UHF 800 ground planes with lmr400 and I have to say side by side on let's say marine frequencies which are easy to compare because I'm listening to Coast Guard Sector dispatch, train dispatchers are good for comparison, airport towers are good to use for comparison using the same antenna with different radios and I'm happy to say my sds200s blow the doors off other non SDR scanners...

I'll consider myself lucky and I will also acknowledge the many hours of tedious listening to tweak the filters, efficiently and correctly, I wonder how many people actually do that?

You know better than anybody the variables that can affect reception. Honestly if Paul had not introduced the two series of filters and I didn't start using ifx I would not have kept my first sds100, I was very disappointed with it. I'm sure other improvements in firmware updates made a difference also.

I hope people who are getting bad results with analog will start to experiment more with the filters. It's tedious and it takes time but I feel the rewards are worth it.
 
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werinshades

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I disagree I don't think you could get that SDR chip for $5... 12 to 15 maybe but not 5, I understand what you're saying, it's a TV chip.

Results are going to vary secondary to a lot of factors. For example before the introduction of the filters through two different firmware updates my radio was deaf on Aviation. I also remember not being able to pick up NOAA Weather Radio. Not even the one in my area.

I was very vocal about my disappointment, not only with clipped transmissions and missed transmissions on my P2 tdma simulcast system but the very unsatisfactory analog conventional frequency performance.

The first round of filters came out in a firmware update and Paul explained them very well in the update summary and accompanying thread. It was like a freaking miracle.

Invert filter turned all that around and I was so pleased to see my P2 system working properly.

I immediately went to work on the analog conventional stuff that was just horrible. I noticed immediately the improvements. I also started using ifx then also. The Improvement would go along with your theory of the SDR chip.

I would not use my most efficient and highest rooftop antenna with the SDS it is subject to a lot of interference on analog frequencies not protected by a PL tones, there is no question about it. I do use one of my VHF UHF 800 ground planes with lmr400 and I have to say side by side on let's say marine frequencies which are easy to compare because I'm listening to Coast Guard Sector dispatch, train dispatchers are good for comparison, airport towers are good to use for comparison using the same antenna with different radios and I'm happy to say my sds200s blow the doors off other non SDR scanners...

I'll consider myself lucky and I will also acknowledge the many hours of tedious listening to tweak the filters, efficiently and correctly, I wonder how many people actually do that?

You know better than anybody the variables that can affect reception. Honestly if Paul had not introduced the two series of filters and I didn't start using ifx I would not have kept my first sds100, I was very disappointed with it.

I hope people who are getting bad results with analog will start to experiment more with the filters. It's tedious and it takes time but I feel the rewards are worth it.
I'll agree with you on this. Besides filters/ifx settings, I have changed the modulation on a few of my troubled analog systems to FM and it was like night and day. The SDS200 replaced the 536hp and I have reported it now outperforms the the 536hp. The SDS100 goes with me in the car and have had excellent results too. I also tweaked my settings (first on the scanner, then saved in Sentinel) and i'm happy to report good results. Changing volume offset to +2 or +3 for those analog systems I changed to FM compensates for the audio decrease.
 

sallen07

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If someone asked me if they should get an SDS100 to listen to analog stuff, I would say, "no way ... buy yourself 3 BC125ATs instead". :)

P25 Conventional? BCD325P2, Whistler WS-1040

DMR/NXDN? BCD325P2 or Whistler TRX-1

P25 LSM? SDS100, absolutely, or look at a Unication G4/G5.

The SDS100 is a great tool, but not necessarily the right tool for every scanning job. But for LSM? It kicks butt. I've posted this before, but when I had a BCD436HP it could pick up *some* traffic on the local Phase 2 system. My BCD996P2 and BCD325P2 are totally deaf on it. SDS100 works great.

And yes, I've owned all of those at one time except the Unication and TRX-1 (although I had a Pro-668 upgraded to WS-1080).

But hey, it's easier to be a self-proclaimed expert on a scanner one has never owned and make snarky comments about it at every opportunity.

So what if it's a $5 receiver chip. The fact that those scanners run for $700 highlights the fact that the hardware is a mere fraction of the cost of the SDS units. Funny, because there are thousands (millions?) of people out there using $20 SDR dongles to do all kinds of amazing radio things. But apparently that's OK.
 

Ubbe

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I disagree, I don't think you could get that SDR chip for $5... 12 to 15 maybe but not 5, I understand what you're saying, it's a TV chip.
I think it was $7,50 if you bought only one and $5 if you bought 10 and Uniden have probably put an order of several thousands. Those chips in dongles like RTL-SDR are $2 each.

The first problem was that the chip wasn't sensitive enough for scanner use. So Uniden added a preamplifier to it. If that could be done without any ill effects the manufacturer could easily have added that in the die directly in the chip. The chip is designed for broadband signals that are 5-10Mhz wide in modulation and can't handle several 25KHz narrowband signals in close proxemity to each other. It reduces its gain when it encounters a strong signal within that 10Mhz window. It has intermod issues so that a weak -80dBm signal 150KHz away from your monitored frequency are received, and at 300KHz and other intervals depending of what settings you have for filters and IFX. The interference are always there but at different intervals.

This is no subjectiv opinions but the real facts when you measure a SDS100 scanner. You can only move around the anomolies to different frequencies but they are always present and there's no firmware code to cure those hardware problems.

/Ubbe
 

Ubbe

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I have changed the modulation on a few of my troubled analog systems to FM and it was like night and day.
Yes, Uniden made the demodulation DSP filters a bit too narrow to try and overcome some adjacent channel bleed over. But at lower signal levels it creates much more noise that are reduced if you go from NFM to a wider FM setting. It is very evident when you measure a SDS100 with a signal generator. It's all in the link I gave.

/Ubbe
 
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