I might get a lot of grief for this post, but it is what it is (SDS 100 -vs- cheapo RTL-SDR)

Rq17954z

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I guess the whole SDR thing is easier for some than others. I have tried on a few different occasions to set one up and I just cant make it happen. The instructions and even the youtube videos I have watched just dont make sense to me. I can get the dongle to receive fine but when it comes to the other software progams I am totally lost. SDR Trunk, DSD+, virtual audio cables etc... I just cant get a handle on them.
I would like to give it a try but just havent had any success.
They do have some that are a independent radio and do limited decoding they aren't dongle,s. You won't be able to decode p25 for example. But they will do some decoding they have been listing that as a new feature. There's a lot of them on Amazon eventually they may be the next big thing. The more they add to them the price increases and the scanner starts becoming more competitive in price. Malahit makes a much nicer one about $400.00 and of course there's some Chinese clones . They can be updated with new firmware just like the Uniden,s. They are a little better than a scanner if you are interested in amateur radio and listening to shortwave. The can do ssb.
 

Ubbe

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SDR Trunk, DSD+, virtual audio cables etc... I just cant get a handle on them.
I would like to give it a try but just havent had any success.
You will need a program like SDR# to set the dongle to a frequency and a sample rate and so on. SDR# will then also decode the data into analog audio. If you use the virtual audio cable program it will identify itself s an audio output. In SDR# you have the audio settings where you tell it where to send its audio, normally to the speaker, but if you have virtual audio cable installed it will be selectable there instead of the speaker.

The DSD decode program only needs to be set to what audio device it should listen to, mic, line or the virtual audio cable. Then it automatically decodes whatever protocol you send to it.

For DSD Fastlane you can also use a network connection instead of a virtual cable and then in SDR# you can set the same port in its Net Remote function.

If you get that to decode conventional systems then it shouldn't be too difficult to setup SDR trunk and similar programs to monitor trunked systems.

/Ubbe
 

fasteddy64

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You will need a program like SDR# to set the dongle to a frequency and a sample rate and so on. SDR# will then also decode the data into analog audio. If you use the virtual audio cable program it will identify itself s an audio output. In SDR# you have the audio settings where you tell it where to send its audio, normally to the speaker, but if you have virtual audio cable installed it will be selectable there instead of the speaker.

The DSD decode program only needs to be set to what audio device it should listen to, mic, line or the virtual audio cable. Then it automatically decodes whatever protocol you send to it.

For DSD Fastlane you can also use a network connection instead of a virtual cable and then in SDR# you can set the same port in its Net Remote function.

If you get that to decode conventional systems then it shouldn't be too difficult to setup SDR trunk and similar programs to monitor trunked systems.

/Ubbe
I am aware of all of this, I just cant even begin to understand the how of it. To say I am computer ignorant would be an understatement.

I run a dongle with SDR# with decent results. Setting it up to follow a trunked system or decode the digital audio seems like algebra in a foreign language to me..
It would be great if I could follow my local trunked systems, one is P25 the other is EDACS ProVoice.

Everyone talks about how simple and cheap it is, I just dont see it that way.
 

dlwtrunked

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There are pros and cons to all options

Scanners are expensive but you can listen to whatever you want when you want as opposed to a Broadcastify feed, which also has about a 1 minute delay. There's no guarantee that the provider of the feed won't take it down. Some feeds only scan specific talkgroups of a trunk system or what you want to listen to might not even be provided so there's that. Most feeds don't have tactical/SOPS channels that are otherwise in the clear locally.

SDRs are cheap, but can require a lot of fickling around with drivers, and you're tethered to a laptop to use it. It isn't on the go friendly at all. I use mine on my old phone sometimes, which also requires a USB hub or cable. It drains the battery of the phone pretty quick as well. There's also no digital decoder for android available to my knowledge.

You pay a price, but for the best convenience and ease of use owning your own scanner is tops.

AirsSpy R2 does not require *any* driver and I gave away my RTL-SDRs and bought more Airspys.


And that whole thread is a matter of dispute. I have over 10 AirSpys and never had one fail . I had two Nooelec rtl-sdr fail quickly after purchase. Not friendly on the go? I love how friendly it is for that--small and good. I keep one in the car. Easily outperforms my SDS200 on the county system (using DSD+ with it).
 

Omega-TI

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AirsSpy R2 does not require *any* driver and I gave away my RTL-SDRs and bought more Airspys.



And that whole thread is a matter of dispute. I have over 10 AirSpys and never had one fail . I had two Nooelec rtl-sdr fail quickly after purchase. Not friendly on the go? I love how friendly it is for that--small and good. I keep one in the car. Easily outperforms my SDS200 on the county system (using DSD+ with it).

Yes, for strictly analog systems my RSP1A and even my cheap little RTL-SDR.blog dongle beat my SDS100 for speed and not missing anything, but they have to be tethered to a computer via wires which makes ease of portability an issue. Different tools for different jobs. When I want to go portable, the SDS is the only scanner I consider.
 

dlwtrunked

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Yes, for strictly analog systems my RSP1A and even my cheap little RTL-SDR.blog dongle beat my SDS100 for speed and not missing anything, but they have to be tethered to a computer via wires which makes ease of portability an issue. Different tools for different jobs. When I want to go portable, the SDS is the only scanner I consider.
I keep a laptop with the SDR in the car just for that.
 

a417

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I cannot do that. When I'm driving I dont want my focus on other things, besides my Honey probably would not appreciate playing second fiddle to my radio hobby.
I doubt @dlwtrunked was advocating for using it whilst moving, other issues notwithstanding.
 

Gronner8

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I am aware of all of this, I just cant even begin to understand the how of it. ....
Everyone talks about how simple and cheap it is, I just dont see it that way.
I can identify with fadteddy64's experience. Seems a bit of hey we're all doing it its easy, just go get 3-4 separate progs, slog through it, ez peezy. Not that straightforward or organized. Ubbe's input (as he always is) just above is very thoughtful & helpful putting a summary of what steps are involved. I had revisited this occasionally hoping for a good guide or youtube that shows us here its been around a while, go here, follow this guide how it's done. Am trying to compare device options, too. For something even reasonably mobile i see Malahit sdr in a box with speaker, controls, earphone but it seems may be more intended for shortwave or other bands though it can Rx wide swath. I want 7/800 MHz trunking & simulcast ability. A VERY interesting option is BlueTail Technologies P25RX-II will follow multiple talkpaths simultaneously, is size of large pager, self enclosed. The newest i've seen is the NanoP25RX which is just about to pass by Malahit as "sdr in a box" with many putting things together having small color SDIO display, usb port, headphone jack, microSD card storage, windows software, fantastic user experts support like those here, the works. with printed enclosure seems might be best of show these days. I get what you all are saying here. many dont need mobile ability & just let a very capable somewhat complex setup keep running on the pc at home. I want something that capable but want mobile ability. It seems sds100 could be king there, but it doesnt seem to be showing to be future updatable as i've been seeing here with sdr dongle supporters here & that nano setup both waaay less expensive.
 

awal

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Even still, I find screwing around with drivers and dealing with Windows updates screwing everything up tedious. I just want to turn the thing on and for it to work. SDRs are fun but I'm not a fan of replacing a scanner with one. As something else to play around with, they're great.
Same thing here.
 

Ubbe

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I run a dongle with SDR# with decent results. Setting it up to follow a trunked system or decode the digital audio seems like algebra in a foreign language to me..
It would be great if I could follow my local trunked systems, one is P25 the other is EDACS ProVoice.
Probably the most important thing to understand about trunked system are that it uses a control channel that you monitor. That control data will say that a TG5 call now starts on channel 855 and now a TG25 call starts on channel 750. And the program you use, perhps SDR Trunk, will send the frequency corresponding to channel 855 to the dongle to be able to hear that TG5 call. When the call ends it goes back to the control channel and monitors it again.

In P25 there are usually a fixed standard bandplan for the channel number and its corresponding frequency that the program uses. In other cases you will have to set a specific bandplan yourself and that can be a bit tricky to do.

I haven't looked at SDR Trunk but you probably just edit a file and change the control channel frequency to the one your system uses, that you can find in RR's database. You have to enter all the red ones: Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN) Site: Harrison County

/Ubbe
 

fasteddy64

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Probably the most important thing to understand about trunked system are that it uses a control channel that you monitor. That control data will say that a TG5 call now starts on channel 855 and now a TG25 call starts on channel 750. And the program you use, perhps SDR Trunk, will send the frequency corresponding to channel 855 to the dongle to be able to hear that TG5 call. When the call ends it goes back to the control channel and monitors it again.

In P25 there are usually a fixed standard bandplan for the channel number and its corresponding frequency that the program uses. In other cases you will have to set a specific bandplan yourself and that can be a bit tricky to do.

I haven't looked at SDR Trunk but you probably just edit a file and change the control channel frequency to the one your system uses, that you can find in RR's database. You have to enter all the red ones: Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN) Site: Harrison County

/Ubbe
Yup, I am very well versed in trunk systems and how they work. I spent 31 years as a first responder and worked on the city system quite a bit.
However, that knowledge and experience dont even begin to translate to this dongle scanning stuff for me.

I am currently not really interested in the MSWIN System, none of my county is currently on it, every thing here is still on the EDACS system.

Your comments about editing a file for that system, might as well be an algebra problem in Chinese, I wouldnt even know where to begin.
 

Ubbe

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I now looked at the SDR Trunk program , it can't do EDACS but it was super simple to start a P25II monitoring. You could start with that as it has coverage for your whole county.

Download and unpack the program to a folder on your PC. Go into that folder and the bin folder and click on the sdr-trunk.bat file to start the program.

It will probably find your dongle and show a spectrum and waterfall display. On the middle of that screen you will find Playlist editor, click on that.

Select the Channel tab. To the right there's a down arrow to the right of the "New" text. Click on that and select P25 Phase 2.
At "Prefered Tuner" you select your dongle if not already selected.
To the left of it says "Frequenceis" Click on Add 4 times and enter the red control channels.
Click on the green Play button on the middle of that screen and it should monitor the MSWIN system.

/Ubbe
 

fasteddy64

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I now looked at the SDR Trunk program , it can't do EDACS but it was super simple to start a P25II monitoring. You could start with that as it has coverage for your whole county.

Download and unpack the program to a folder on your PC. Go into that folder and the bin folder and click on the sdr-trunk.bat file to start the program.

It will probably find your dongle and show a spectrum and waterfall display. On the middle of that screen you will find Playlist editor, click on that.

Select the Channel tab. To the right there's a down arrow to the right of the "New" text. Click on that and select P25 Phase 2.
At "Prefered Tuner" you select your dongle if not already selected.
To the left of it says "Frequenceis" Click on Add 4 times and enter the red control channels.
Click on the green Play button on the middle of that screen and it should monitor the MSWIN system.

/Ubbe
Thanks but right now it doesnt seem worth the effort.
There is nothing on that system in my county.
Also I dont fully understand your instructions. I dont understand "unpacking" to a folder or what a bin folder is.
It may seem simple to many of you, but makes zero sense to me.
 

Ubbe

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Thanks but right now it doesnt seem worth the effort.
Things are only difficult when you do not know how they function. When you download a program from internet it is usually packed in one big file, usually in a zip format. When you unpack you just click on that zip file and Windows will unpack it for you in many smaller files that the actual program consists of. It would be more tedious to download each file individually as it could be hundreds of them. You only need to tell Windows where to store those files and what to name that folder on your computers harddrive. Usually it will have a default folder suggested that you can use. When you download a program from internet it can either be stored at your Desktop or in a Download folder and when unpacking it will suggest a folder at either place that you can accept. Your harddrive have many folders where programs are stored. Each folder can have many files.

When windows have unpacked that zip file and it might have named that folder to SDRTrunk, then in that folder you have other folders and one of them are called bin. So you use your Windows file explorer program, start it by holding down the windows key and hit the E key, and at the left pane you will have the Download folder, or if it unpacked to your Desktop you can look at that and find a yellow folder icon named sdrtrunk. Mouse click yourself all the way to the bin folder and click on that sdrtrunk.bat file.

Even if that P25 system doesn't have the conversations you want to hear it will still be a good exercise, you'll have to start somewhere, how you install and configure a program, and this one are suitable as it is fairly simple to do. After successfully handling this exercise you can then advance to the next step and install a program that can handle EDACS.

Start easy and advance to the next level first when you master the more simple things. It's never a good idea to begin with the most advanced project without first knowing the basics. Soon you will grasp how everything works, from using your computer and install programs to configure a trunked system monitoring program.

/Ubbe
 

fasteddy64

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Things are only difficult when you do not know how they function. When you download a program from internet it is usually packed in one big file, usually in a zip format. When you unpack you just click on that zip file and Windows will unpack it for you in many smaller files that the actual program consists of. It would be more tedious to download each file individually as it could be hundreds of them. You only need to tell Windows where to store those files and what to name that folder on your computers harddrive. Usually it will have a default folder suggested that you can use. When you download a program from internet it can either be stored at your Desktop or in a Download folder and when unpacking it will suggest a folder at either place that you can accept. Your harddrive have many folders where programs are stored. Each folder can have many files.

When windows have unpacked that zip file and it might have named that folder to SDRTrunk, then in that folder you have other folders and one of them are called bin. So you use your Windows file explorer program, start it by holding down the windows key and hit the E key, and at the left pane you will have the Download folder, or if it unpacked to your Desktop you can look at that and find a yellow folder icon named sdrtrunk. Mouse click yourself all the way to the bin folder and click on that sdrtrunk.bat file.

Even if that P25 system doesn't have the conversations you want to hear it will still be a good exercise, you'll have to start somewhere, how you install and configure a program, and this one are suitable as it is fairly simple to do. After successfully handling this exercise you can then advance to the next step and install a program that can handle EDACS.

Start easy and advance to the next level first when you master the more simple things. It's never a good idea to begin with the most advanced project without first knowing the basics. Soon you will grasp how everything works, from using your computer and install programs to configure a trunked system monitoring program.

/Ubbe
Thank you for taking the time to help me.
So I have it installed, I opened it, added the freqs and it is running. I think.
I see the spectrum. I see the control channel on the waterfall, and see other signals pop up from time to time.
I hear nothing.
I see nothing that would make me believe it is tracking anything.
What am I missing?
 

bob550

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Does your SDRTrunk display look anything like this?
screen capture.jpg

To get to this point, click on any one of the yellow "Control" to highlight the row (in blue). Then click on "Events" and you should see rapidly scrolling information such as is seen in my screen capture. Do this before we take the next step and let me know what you then see.
 

bob550

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The frequency being displayed, 773.56875, is one of the control channels assigned to the MSWIN system for Harrison County. But there are several other control channels you should program as well. However, you did say you weren't interested in the MSWIN system. But since SDRTrunk cannot do EDACS, you would not be able to receive this system.
 

fasteddy64

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The frequency being displayed, 773.56875, is one of the control channels assigned to the MSWIN system for Harrison County. But there are several other control channels you should program as well. However, you did say you weren't interested in the MSWIN system. But since SDRTrunk cannot do EDACS, you would not be able to receive this system.
I have all four control channel freqs programmed in.
There is lots of activity on the system, I am just not seeing or hearing anything.
 
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