• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

    Please do not make requests for copies of radio programming software which is sold (or was sold) by the manufacturer for any monetary value. All requests will be deleted and a forum infraction issued. Making a request such as this is attempting to engage in software piracy and this forum cannot be involved or associated with this activity. The same goes for any private transaction via Private Message. Even if you attempt to engage in this activity in PM's we will still enforce the forum rules. Your PM's are not private and the administration has the right to read them if there's a hint to criminal activity.

    If you are having trouble legally obtaining software please state so. We do not want any hurt feelings when your vague post is mistaken for a free request. It is YOUR responsibility to properly word your request.

    To obtain Motorola software see the Sticky in the Motorola forum.

    The various other vendors often permit their dealers to sell the software online (i.e., Kenwood). Please use Google or some other search engine to find a dealer that sells the software. Typically each series or individual radio requires its own software package. Often the Kenwood software is less than $100 so don't be a cheapskate; just purchase it.

    For M/A Com/Harris/GE, etc: there are two software packages that program all current and past radios. One package is for conventional programming and the other for trunked programming. The trunked package is in upwards of $2,500. The conventional package is more reasonable though is still several hundred dollars. The benefit is you do not need multiple versions for each radio (unlike Motorola).

    This is a large and very visible forum. We cannot jeopardize the ability to provide the RadioReference services by allowing this activity to occur. Please respect this.

Is a G5 right for me?

bitmorechoke

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
35
Location
NSW Australia
Hi all, I'm sorry this really is a noob question but I'm hoping you can steer me straight.

I'm a volunteer here in New South Wales (Australia) with both the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service. I believe both services use APCO P25 in the 410-470MHz band. In much of the state there's a large trunked "Government Radio Network', which I believe is P25 phase 2. The GRN hasn't reached where I am yet so there are still separate local PMR systems, which I believe are untrunked P25 phase 1. My understanding is that ultimately the GRN will roll out here and that at some point we'll all be on the same monster system using phase 2.

I want to listen in to local activity while off duty, and also have my own receiver while on duty, especially if it means I can listen in to other agencies nearby. I was seriously considering a SDS100, until I came across references to the G5. To my untrained eye it seems to meet all the right specs (as long as I get the right UHF range) and is a more compact and rugged device, easier to charge on the run etc.

So am I on the right track? Is the G5 a good fit for me? Can I just buy a unit online, from the US, and use it here? Are there pitfalls I need to be aware of? Will a moderately computer-literate newbie figure out the programming side of it? And will the G5 let me scan multiple agencies once they are programmed in?

Sorry for the WOT but obviously it's a significant purchase and my knowledge is weak so I'm keen to avoid doing something stupid!
 

Hit_Factor

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
1,916
Location
Saint Joseph, MI
The secondary reception (400-470) is a small internal antenna. It may not perform well. I think the SDS100 is probably a better choice. Just too many variables, sounds like your info may be correct, but if it's not, the G5 will be useless.

I sold my SDS100s and bought G5's. Sold my G5 with the 400-470 secondary. Down to just the one with VHF for secondary. Using firmware 1.3 there are limits on what you can monitor simultaneously. You really need to understand how the Unication pagers work, they are not scanners and are not as flexible.

Check with other Volunteers and find out what they are doing. The system admins of the GRN will probably talk with you, ask them what they think.
 
Last edited:

boatbod

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
2,537
Location
Talbot Co, MD
The G5 is a great device if you want to listen in on P25, either conventional or trunked. It is robust (I've dropped mine numerous times at it keeps on running) and it is almost as good with simulcast audio as a /\/\ subscriber radio.
 

N6ML

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 26, 2008
Messages
1,011
Location
SF Bay / Delta, CA
The G5 includes two bands - the 700/800MHz band, which is used for P25 public safety systems in the US, and one other band of your choice. Based on your requirements (including the NSW Government Radio Network), you would not have any use for the 700/800MHz band. You would want a G2. Not only should it be a bit less expensive, it should "hear better" on UHF, since it's the primary/only band, and uses an external antenna (as opposed to an internal loop).

You should be aware, though, that, at least with the current production firmware, the G-series pagers will not scan between a P25 trunked system and other systems - e.g. it could not scan between the GRN and your rural fire service channel (assuming it's still a separate system). You could scan between multiple P25 conventional (not trunked) systems, and have a separate "knob position" for the trunked system. The SDS100 could scan between all of them, but there's always some risk of missing traffic when doing that. Future G-series firmware may enable scanning involving trunked systems too.

I've never tried a G2, but I would expect its receive performance to (significantly) exceed that of the SDS100, because it's tuned for the band (whereas the SDS100 covers a wide frequency range).

As for picking one up in the US and using it down-under ... I don't know of any reason for it to not work, assuming the systems are standard P25.
 

bitmorechoke

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
35
Location
NSW Australia
That's awesome information, thanks guys. I'll touch base with Unicom here on Monday.

I've also noticed the U3 on their site too. That would be exciting if it can listen well to P25 phase 2 on the 400MHz band and operate simplex around 160MHz VHF, as we use this band for close range fireground comms. If they share an antenna obviously I'd get one optimized for 400MHz reception. If it uses an internal antenna for the 400MHZ then I may be better sticking with a G2.
 

astro_boy

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
29
Location
Sydney, Aust
G'day,
I run a G2 here in Sydney on the GRN and it works perfectly, better then my expectations actually, I assume you're on the far north coast due to you mentioning the GRN roll out.

With a background in scanning the programming was fairly easy, I'm sure you would pick it up over time and with understanding how the systems work allowing you to factor in how the radio should be programmed.

I think the biggest thing to understand with the G2 is that it's more a semi commercial receiver, it's more like a APX, it's made to be set on a channel and a tower for receiving (though it can scan channels)
it's not like a Uniden scanner & not customisable on the fly.
and just because the radio is on the tower doesn't mean you'll always receive the channel due to no affiliation.

It's a large investment, my scanner background ultimately made the choice for me & it doesn't disappoint.
But for a bit of listening it could easily be done cheaper with other Uniden models, UBCD536 or SDS100.
Both have their positives and negatives.

I think you'll find the G3 uses the internal antenna for the VHF side, so coverage won't be anything great, especially with users operating in simplex.
You can source these radios locally from the supplier above, just expect to pay the usual Oz tax!
 

bitmorechoke

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
35
Location
NSW Australia
Thanks astro_boy, that's all very encouraging. I'm actually on the southern border, much closer to Melbourne than Sydney. We're still a long way from the GRN, but my experiments today with an APX have led me to conclude that we are already using phase 2, as I simply cannot decode it with SDR#. I suspect it is also trunked, although I'm not certain.

What you describe sounds ideal - I really have no need for random scanning or on-the-fly programming, ideally I would set up all the local agencies and then just switch/scan between them as required. I'm sure the SDS100 would do the job, but I suspect the Unication would be better in the field.

You referred to the G3 in your post, did you mean the U3? The U3 looks particularly interesting as I could potentially have 2-way comms on the VHF fireground channels and still be able to monitor Firecom and other agencies on the UHF:


u3-brochure-unication.jpg
 
Last edited:

LukeB

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Messages
313
For what it's worth, I had an SDS100 and the UHF monitoring was quite poor, even for relatively local transmissions. As earlier mentioned, the SDS100 is not specifically tuned for any band and that may have been a cause for the lackluster reception I experienced. I have not tried any of the Unication products yet but you may be disappointed with the UHF monitoring of the SDS, unless the transmitter is strong. For the weaker signals, the radio was mostly silent.
 

bitmorechoke

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
35
Location
NSW Australia
Thank LukeB, that's disappointing to hear, but I'm now leaning strongly towards the G3 anyway. It uses its external antenna for the UHF band (so P25 and CB) and the internal loop antenna for VHF (fireground comms and possibly even our RFS pagers).

For the sake of completeness, I found out a bit more about the U3, and it isn't dual band as I'd initially thought - so I'd lose VHF Rx to gain UHF CB Tx. It's also double the price of a G3 and its scanning is slow and clunky, so it's not a great proposition.

The G3 looks tough to beat for my needs.
 

astro_boy

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Messages
29
Location
Sydney, Aust
Thanks astro_boy, that's all very encouraging. I'm actually on the southern border, much closer to Melbourne than Sydney. We're still a long way from the GRN, but my experiments today with an APX have led me to conclude that we are already using phase 2, as I simply cannot decode it with SDR#. I suspect it is also trunked, although I'm not certain.

What you describe sounds ideal - I really have no need for random scanning or on-the-fly programming, ideally I would set up all the local agencies and then just switch/scan between them as required. I'm sure the SDS100 would do the job, but I suspect the Unication would be better in the field.

You referred to the G3 in your post, did you mean the U3? The U3 looks particularly interesting as I could potentially have 2-way comms on the VHF fireground channels and still be able to monitor Firecom and other agencies on the UHF:

AH right, yes the U3, i would hate the see the price on that unit.

I don't believe you would be Phase 2 just yet, more likely just P25.
You will need an application with SDR# to decode the P25 data to make any sense of it, like the program DSD.
What is the channel number on the APX? will tell you easily if its trunked or not.

110% the unication will be a better monitoring radio on and off the field, the receive ion these units are fairly good.

Essentually a G2/G3 will do what your after, you certinatly want the extranal antenna for UHF decodign just to get that little bit better signal.
Unfortunately the decoding of pagers on the vhf band, POCSAG, isn't supported by the Unication.
 

bitmorechoke

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
35
Location
NSW Australia
The U3 was about $2.5k locally I think.

POCSAG support for the G series may be coming. Unicom have asked Unication about it, and they aren't alone - Unication acknowledged that there have been a number of requests. No clue as to timeline, but it could be done through a firmware upgrade.

As for my local system, I just can't figure it out. When I took an APX home, DSR# just gave me static and buzzing. I tried the DSDplus and simple APCO plugins, to no avail. I get VHF fireground and UHF CB clearly, and a good strong signal from the PMR, it's just unreadable. I also suspect that my local tower isn't transmitting anything unless there's an affilation, as there was a lot more traffic on the day I had the APX!

They recently replaced ALL the radios in the zone, which makes me think they may have gone to phase 2 in the process. I suppose they could even already be programmed with GRN TGIDs, ready to go when the network rolls out. What I don't really understand is whether the current system is trunked? I can't find any TGID or control channel info that isn't GRN, yet the radios work in different towns on (apparently) different frequencies without having to switch anything.
 
Top