Is the sds100 worth in in DFW

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Spooky527

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I’ve scanned for a while, I currently use a HP2 I listen mainly to northeast tarrant county agencies on the layer 2 of the Fort Worth radio system. Aside from the added mobility, is upgrading to a sds100 going to be worth the money and potential headache? Would a 436hp be a better option for me? I’d be using it while on the move so aside from an upgraded mobile antenna I’m not going to be hooking it up to anything fancy. What are y’alls thoughts?
 

KK4JUG

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If the HP2 is clearly picking up everything you want to hear, I'd stick with it. Other issues like simulcast, etc. might require an upgrade for satisfactory results.
 

hiegtx

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I’ve scanned for a while, I currently use a HP2 I listen mainly to northeast tarrant county agencies on the layer 2 of the Fort Worth radio system. Aside from the added mobility, is upgrading to a sds100 going to be worth the money and potential headache? Would a 436hp be a better option for me? I’d be using it while on the move so aside from an upgraded mobile antenna I’m not going to be hooking it up to anything fancy. What are y’alls thoughts?
I have the HP-2, a 325P2, 436HP (2), an SDS100 & an SDS200, as well as a TRX-1.

Simulcast is extremely location specific. Depending on your exact location, relative to the transmit sites, you may have zero issues, or missing some communications, or hearing very little from your system of interest.
See Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

There are a number of systems and areas here in Dallas/Fort Worth that have problems receiving simulcast systems. Those include FWRRS layers 1 and 2, NETCO (Northeast Tarrant County), Denton's P25 system, and others. Some time ago, after I had been using the SDS100 for a while, UPMan created a thread for members to post comparisons on how various scanner models performed at known simulcast trouble areas. I made it a point to drive around to spots that others had tagged as simulcast dead zones, and tried several different scanners: SDS100, 436HP, TRX-1, and 325P2. At each of the trouble spots, the SDS100 worked well, no noticeable problems tracking the system. The 436HP was getting 60 to 80%, the 325P2 about 50%, and the TRX-1 in the 40% range. (That thread is locked, and I can no longer access the Google Docs spreadsheet that was used to record results from the many members that contributed results. As you've probably seen, UPMan passed away after a long fight with cancer, so I doubt that file will be opened for access.)

NETCO, the FWRRS layer that covers Euless, Bedford, Grapevine, and others in that portion of Tarrant County, has been tagged as a simulcast problem by some people. I regularly visit a friend in Grapevine, and have had no troubles there. I programmed my old, unused, 996T for her, and she can hear Grapevine calls. But, she is within a few blocks of the Grapevine site (northern part of Grapevine, just off Main st), so the strong signal from that location overrides the conflicting signals from the other towers.
81363

If you are close to one of the sites for Layer 2, you may indeed have no issues using an HP-2 or some other scanners. But if you are in the middle of the coverage area, surrounded by sites at varying distances from you, then you likely would have problems. The issue can be very specific. If terrain (a hill) or other structures (like a group of high rise buildings) shield you from one or more of the sites, you may not see a problem. But in other cases, simply moving a scanner around in your home might help, or might not. YMMV.

If you are going to be driving around the area (Tarrant, Denton, or Dallas County), you will hit areas where simulcast distortion wipes out much, if not all, of your reception of certain systems. The HP-2 is not a good choice to deal with simulcast, even though it works well in areas without the problem. At home, I'm far enough out from the various systems to avoid reception problems, at least for now. Late this year, or early next year, once Dallas (both city & county) switch to the P25 Phase II, simulcast, system that is under construction, I'll be in the middle of the simulcast twilight zone. So, the SDS100 & SDS200 that I have will be earning their keep.

If you want more DFW Metro area comments, than I'd suggest that you request be moved to the Texas regional forum, where more local (to you) members will see it & comment. To do that, do not create a new thread. Instead, click on the Report in the lower left corner of one of your posts, and request that a moderator move your thread to the state forum.
 

Spooky527

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I have the HP-2, a 325P2, 436HP (2), an SDS100 & an SDS200, as well as a TRX-1.

Simulcast is extremely location specific. Depending on your exact location, relative to the transmit sites, you may have zero issues, or missing some communications, or hearing very little from your system of interest.
See Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

There are a number of systems and areas here in Dallas/Fort Worth that have problems receiving simulcast systems. Those include FWRRS layers 1 and 2, NETCO (Northeast Tarrant County), Denton's P25 system, and others. Some time ago, after I had been using the SDS100 for a while, UPMan created a thread for members to post comparisons on how various scanner models performed at known simulcast trouble areas. I made it a point to drive around to spots that others had tagged as simulcast dead zones, and tried several different scanners: SDS100, 436HP, TRX-1, and 325P2. At each of the trouble spots, the SDS100 worked well, no noticeable problems tracking the system. The 436HP was getting 60 to 80%, the 325P2 about 50%, and the TRX-1 in the 40% range. (That thread is locked, and I can no longer access the Google Docs spreadsheet that was used to record results from the many members that contributed results. As you've probably seen, UPMan passed away after a long fight with cancer, so I doubt that file will be opened for access.)

NETCO, the FWRRS layer that covers Euless, Bedford, Grapevine, and others in that portion of Tarrant County, has been tagged as a simulcast problem by some people. I regularly visit a friend in Grapevine, and have had no troubles there. I programmed my old, unused, 996T for her, and she can hear Grapevine calls. But, she is within a few blocks of the Grapevine site (northern part of Grapevine, just off Main st), so the strong signal from that location overrides the conflicting signals from the other towers.
View attachment 81363

If you are close to one of the sites for Layer 2, you may indeed have no issues using an HP-2 or some other scanners. But if you are in the middle of the coverage area, surrounded by sites at varying distances from you, then you likely would have problems. The issue can be very specific. If terrain (a hill) or other structures (like a group of high rise buildings) shield you from one or more of the sites, you may not see a problem. But in other cases, simply moving a scanner around in your home might help, or might not. YMMV.

If you are going to be driving around the area (Tarrant, Denton, or Dallas County), you will hit areas where simulcast distortion wipes out much, if not all, of your reception of certain systems. The HP-2 is not a good choice to deal with simulcast, even though it works well in areas without the problem. At home, I'm far enough out from the various systems to avoid reception problems, at least for now. Late this year, or early next year, once Dallas (both city & county) switch to the P25 Phase II, simulcast, system that is under construction, I'll be in the middle of the simulcast twilight zone. So, the SDS100 & SDS200 that I have will be earning their keep.

If you want more DFW Metro area comments, than I'd suggest that you request be moved to the Texas regional forum, where more local (to you) members will see it & comment. To do that, do not create a new thread. Instead, click on the Report in the lower left corner of one of your posts, and request that a moderator move your thread to the state forum.
my apologies for the delayed response, but this is exactly the kind of info I needed thank you. I will indeed request to have this moved the appropriate forum.
 

Jimco

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Here's something I've noticed. My SDS100 isn't nearly as good in my car as my Unication G5. Your mileage may vary, but there's a clear difference for me. The G5 outperforms the SDS100 by a mile. Outside of the car, the G5 is still superior, but the SDS100 is close. My main complaint with the SDS100 is the battery lasting only about 6 hours while the G5 battery lasts all day easily.
 

Spooky527

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Here's something I've noticed. My SDS100 isn't nearly as good in my car as my Unication G5. Your mileage may vary, but there's a clear difference for me. The G5 outperforms the SDS100 by a mile. Outside of the car, the G5 is still superior, but the SDS100 is close. My main complaint with the SDS100 is the battery lasting only about 6 hours while the G5 battery lasts all day easily.
Isn’t the G5 a voice pager? I’m not too familiar with that one.
 

IAmSixNine

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Here's something I've noticed. My SDS100 isn't nearly as good in my car as my Unication G5. Your mileage may vary, but there's a clear difference for me. The G5 outperforms the SDS100 by a mile. Outside of the car, the G5 is still superior, but the SDS100 is close. My main complaint with the SDS100 is the battery lasting only about 6 hours while the G5 battery lasts all day easily.
Completely irrelevant comparison. SDS100 is a consumer grade scanner. G4 and G5 are commercial grade receivers.
The G4/G5 can be compared to Kenwood, Motorola, BK radios. The SDS100 is a scanner and should be compared to other scanners.
I own scanners and commercial gear as they both have features that i want and need but not in a single device.
 

hiegtx

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Here's something I've noticed. My SDS100 isn't nearly as good in my car as my Unication G5. Your mileage may vary, but there's a clear difference for me. The G5 outperforms the SDS100 by a mile. Outside of the car, the G5 is still superior, but the SDS100 is close. My main complaint with the SDS100 is the battery lasting only about 6 hours while the G5 battery lasts all day easily.
Try tweaking the filters on whatever system is not performing as well as you like. I had one system, in Ellis County, where I had been showing zero or one bar signal strength. I flipped the filter to invert & now see one to two bars, so there was an increase. Not huge, but still an improvement.
Isn’t the G5 a voice pager? I’m not too familiar with that one.
The Unications are pagers, but you can program them to monitor a system. From all reports, they do an excellent job. However, you're limited to monitoring one system at a time. If you have one system that concentrate on, then they can do the job. But it will not scan more than one site at a time (you can have more than one programmed, but only scan one at a time). As I understand it (I don't have a G4 or G5), right now, you cannot hold on a single talkgroup, like you can with a true scanner. But I did see comments where Unication was considering added that functionality, along with other features, that would make these operate closer to the way a scanner does.
 

Texoma24

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Most high tech scanner on the market ... I could use a few but I haven't hit the lottery yet ...
 

Jimco

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Completely irrelevant comparison. SDS100 is a consumer grade scanner. G4 and G5 are commercial grade receivers.
The G4/G5 can be compared to Kenwood, Motorola, BK radios. The SDS100 is a scanner and should be compared to other scanners.
I own scanners and commercial gear as they both have features that i want and need but not in a single device.
One could certainly debate whether it's a fair comparison, but it is entirely relevant.
 

IAmSixNine

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Not sure how you could debate a commercial receiver with a consumer receiver as being a fair comparison.
Might as well call a weed eater a lawn mower. Sure on a basic level both cut grass but each has its unique qualities that make them work well in their own fields.
And because they are in completely different groups (scanner vs commercial receiver) its not relevant.
If you want to compare like devices then compare the SDS to other scanners. If you want to compare G4 then compare it to other commercial devices. The G4 is more comparable to them in many ways and less comparable to the scanner.
This is not part of the topic so lets both agree to disagree and move on so the OP can get the help and info he is asking for.
 

txdaredvl

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I have the sds100 and a 396t and will say the sds100 is great on the Fort Worth network. the 396t will do good at times but most of the time the same radio traffic im hearing on the sds100 and 396t the 396t will get almost like it scrambles at times due to the simulcast. I have them set side by side to compare radios. I wish I could use the 396t as there are things I want to listen to on it too thats on the Fort Worth network. But really being most are going to Fort Worths network it has kind of turned useless. But will say the sds100 does perfect and will say with how I keep it going 24/7 its worth its money.
 

jdevon

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I have been using the SDS100 from inside my house in NW Frisco for 11 months now, and have been very happy with it. The geographical reach is impressive, and I have had zero issues with simulcast systems. I did upgrade to the Remtronix antenna.
 
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