Initial impressions of the SDS200 . . . from a really inexperience scanner fan

KB2GOM

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Jun 1, 2020
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110
Location
upstate New York
About three hours ago, the SDS200 arrived. If you want the executive summary of my impressions, here it is: Wow!

Now for the details.

I'm basically a scanner newb, a total greenhorn. I currently own a BCD396T and a BC125AT. In my view, the BCD396T is a nightmare to program, even with computer software and it is waaaaay too easy to invoke some action or function that (apparently) requires a total reset to get it to stop. The 125AT is much user-friendlier, easier to program, easier to use, but it is analog only. Right now, I use the 125 to monitor New York State Police frequencies and the 396 to monitor New York State Thruway frequencies while I am running the Commuter Assistance Net on two meter ham radio to assist commuters in the Capital District of New York State.

But I wanted something that would easily track local public safety, most of which is APCO 25 Phase I. Yeah, I know that the 396 is supposed to do that, and it probably does, but I find it to be user-hostile.

After agonizing quite a bit, I ordered the SDS200 from an outfit that has a generous return policy, in case I didn't like it or didn't think it was worth the money, etc.

After plugging it in, I attached the telescopic antenna, attached the PC cord, booted the Sentinel software and powered up the SDS200. I uploaded the latest firmware and the latest version of the database. After everything updated, I punched up the ZIP function and entered my zip code.

There was a short pause for processing, the magic happened. The first thing that struck me was how good the audio was. Crisp, clear, with even a touch of base. What a change from my handheld scanners! And it was happily scanning lots of useful stuff from my local area, including a couple of adjacent counties that I could not hear before . . . with, and you gotta love this -- full IDS, so I know who is talking, on a high-contrast color display that is easy to read.

Just as valuable, if I press the Function button and the ZIP function again, I get a list of types of scanning targets -- schools, aircraft, fire dispatch, and lots, lots more -- that I can easily turn on or off as needed. Waaay cool!

The one area where I need some help is with regard to Favorites lists. I have created them in Sentinel. I think I uploaded them, but I when I press the quickkey for a particular favorite list, I get a screen that shows the quickkey number with nothing attached to it. So maybe I haven't uploaded the favorites list. I will figure it out, I'm pretty sure.

Even so, I am really happy with this scanner so far. Yeah, it's a potload of money, but my judgement so far is that you get a potload of performance in return.
 

TailGator911

KF4ANC
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Feb 12, 2005
Messages
2,400
Location
Fairborn, OH
The SDS200 is the baddest scanner on the planet. Just think how much more impressed you will be when you learn how to custom program to your specifications and how to quickly navigate thru your FLs when something crazy is happening.

Also remember to always SAVE your changes when you make them so they transfer to the radio, otherwise you are importing w/out the changes you just made. Any questions, ask em here. One of us has the answer, usually. Learn that radio but above all have fun with it!
 

tvengr

Active Member
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Feb 10, 2019
Messages
3,353
Location
Baltimore County, MD
A word of warning about favorites lists in Sentinel. The favorites lists are used across all profiles. If you delete a favorites list, it is gone forever in every profile. A couple of new users have fallen into that trap.
 

KB2GOM

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
110
Location
upstate New York
A word of warning about favorites lists in Sentinel. The favorites lists are used across all profiles. If you delete a favorites list, it is gone forever in every profile. A couple of new users have fallen into that trap.
When you save a profile, does it also save the range as an independent thing associated with that profile?

I could imagine setting up a range for, say, local public safety that might have a range of 10 miles, and then saving a profile for federal disaster response that might have a longer range . . . or does that range stay the same across all profiles, like favorites lists?
 

iMONITOR

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Sep 20, 2006
Messages
8,655
Always a good idea to save all your profiles to a unique file name once created. Something like FEDERAL 1, 2, 3, or A, B, C, or a mix of a name & date. That way you can always go back if you make a mistake or want to reuse it later or give to a fellow enthusiast.
 

Hit_Factor

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Mar 6, 2010
Messages
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Saint Joseph, MI
When you save a profile, does it also save the range as an independent thing associated with that profile?

I could imagine setting up a range for, say, local public safety that might have a range of 10 miles, and then saving a profile for federal disaster response that might have a longer range . . . or does that range stay the same across all profiles, like favorites lists?
Range is a meaningless value without knowing how you have setup your scanner and favorites list.

It only comes into play with location based scanning. Location can be provided by a GPS, directly entering coordinates, or zip code.

Carefully crafted FLs, with or without location based scanning generally don't need a range value.
 
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