SDS100: Lost bits of communications

W1AHN

BLACKTHORN
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Messages
4
Location
Gilford, NH
I know I am not the only one with this problem. I also know this problem is apparently beyond the scope of Uniden's ability to fix. Nevertheless, I'll add my voice to the issue. I am unable to hear the beginnings of ANY P25 transmissions. Analog is fine. Additionally, sometimes in the midst of a transmission the voice clips as if the transmitter were over deviating. I've been using fixed frequency (crystals) receivers and crystal controlled scanners since the '70's. I really wish Uniden et al would take this seriously enough to DO SOMETHING. At least before everything switches to TETRA.
 

MStep

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
2,085
Location
New York City
I know I am not the only one with this problem. I also know this problem is apparently beyond the scope of Uniden's ability to fix. Nevertheless, I'll add my voice to the issue. I am unable to hear the beginnings of ANY P25 transmissions. Analog is fine. Additionally, sometimes in the midst of a transmission the voice clips as if the transmitter were over deviating. I've been using fixed frequency (crystals) receivers and crystal controlled scanners since the '70's. I really wish Uniden et al would take this seriously enough to DO SOMETHING. At least before everything switches to TETRA.
This seems to be the rule rather than the exception, based on my experience with two each of the SDS100 and SDS200 that I have. And DMR appears even more unreliable than P25 on the SDS series, with not only drop-outs and "clips", but volume fluctuations which go from barely audible to blasting on the same systems from transmission to transmission. The AOR DV1, at twice the price, is slightly more reliable, albeit without all the scanning functions of the Uniden series.

Realistically (no pun on Radio Shack, for the old-timers), this seems to be pretty much state of the art when it comes to a "scanner" in the $700 USD price range. You might get slightly better P25 on an Icom 8600, but at $2500 - $3000 USD, you would expect that. And it sure as hell ain't "portable".

I continue to be amazed that at the SDS price range, Uniden can offer as much as they do. Sadly, with the untimely death of Uniden's Paul Opitz, I think that the impetus to improve on the current SDS series is also gone. You can see that there have been no firmware updates for quite a while.
 

a417

U+0000
Joined
Mar 14, 2004
Messages
3,472
Are there other people in your area who can replicate your issue? Might be a local or programming issue you have?
 

trentbob

W3BUX- Bucks County, PA
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
4,940
These kind of problems happened more when the radio first came out and Uniden did add firmware updates to help with the problem.

I'm sure the problem can be fixed by proper user adjustment of certain options.

One problem could be that you are monitoring too many p25 systems and it's a slow scanning radio and it just doesn't catch up. You could also be scanning too many sites for a system and again as it rolls through all of the sites, some you may not even be near and it doesn't catch up.

Try opting out of sites that are not close to you that you don't need so you get it down to one or two sites to a system, don't scan more than two p25 systems at a time. Firmware update added the filters. You have Global filters which affect every object on the radio and are used to sample the filters for different systems. You want to make these adjustments on the radio itself so that you can hear real-time results of reception indicators. Default for global filters is normal and is applied to every object on the radio unless you go into site options and apply a different filter other than the global normal. If you find that a global filter improves reception like clipping and missed transmissions then return Global to normal because you don't want to compromise other objects that work well on normal but go into site options and change the filter on each site that you monitor to the one that sampled better on global.

If all else fails you can always go into system options and apply a 2 second system hold time, not to be mistaken for holding on an object. System hold time may slow scanning down a little but it will eliminate the clipping and missed transmissions. Again you want to limit the number of p25 systems you listen to and you want to limit the number of sites used on each system.

The reason that you use a two-second system hold time is early on a firmware update made 1 1/2 seconds default even on a setting of 0 or 1.

A few tips on the filters. Don't rely on global filter being changed just because it works better on a system because now you have applied that new filter to every object in the radio and you're probably compromising more reception, always return Global to normal and then apply the improved filter directly to the sites of the system, avoid using Auto filters as they sample all the filters and slow scanning way down. Also since you're doing it on the radio to get real-time results it's important to hook up to Sentinel and transfer all the information from your card to your profile so as to permanently save any changes you made on the radio. If you end up making different filter changes to different systems it's a good idea to put the filter indicator on the display of the radio so as you can keep track of what filter is on what systems.

This common problem is easily addressed by proper user handling. You can actually use your favorite search engine to ask questions and it'll take you right to the threads on radio reference that address the very same problem you have identified... Bob.
 

W1AHN

BLACKTHORN
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Messages
4
Location
Gilford, NH
Are there other people in your area who can replicate your issue? Might be a local or programming issue you have?
Hi Thank you for the interest. The problem is with the architecture used in the SDS receivers. It is sloppy. Incomplete. Unfinished. Probably rushed through to make the market at a certain time and they assumed it could be "cleaned up" with firmware updates. Evidently they have lost an excellent resource in that regard.
 

W1AHN

BLACKTHORN
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Messages
4
Location
Gilford, NH
These kind of problems happened more when the radio first came out and Uniden did add firmware updates to help with the problem.

I'm sure the problem can be fixed by proper user adjustment of certain options.

One problem could be that you are monitoring too many p25 systems and it's a slow scanning radio and it just doesn't catch up. You could also be scanning too many sites for a system and again as it rolls through all of the sites, some you may not even be near and it doesn't catch up.

Try opting out of sites that are not close to you that you don't need so you get it down to one or two sites to a system, don't scan more than two p25 systems at a time. Firmware update added the filters. You have Global filters which affect every object on the radio and are used to sample the filters for different systems. You want to make these adjustments on the radio itself so that you can hear real-time results of reception indicators. Default for global filters is normal and is applied to every object on the radio unless you go into site options and apply a different filter other than the global normal. If you find that a global filter improves reception like clipping and missed transmissions then return Global to normal because you don't want to compromise other objects that work well on normal but go into site options and change the filter on each site that you monitor to the one that sampled better on global.

If all else fails you can always go into system options and apply a 2 second system hold time, not to be mistaken for holding on an object. System hold time may slow scanning down a little but it will eliminate the clipping and missed transmissions. Again you want to limit the number of p25 systems you listen to and you want to limit the number of sites used on each system.

The reason that you use a two-second system hold time is early on a firmware update made 1 1/2 seconds default even on a setting of 0 or 1.

A few tips on the filters. Don't rely on global filter being changed just because it works better on a system because now you have applied that new filter to every object in the radio and you're probably compromising more reception, always return Global to normal and then apply the improved filter directly to the sites of the system, avoid using Auto filters as they sample all the filters and slow scanning way down. Also since you're doing it on the radio to get real-time results it's important to hook up to Sentinel and transfer all the information from your card to your profile so as to permanently save any changes you made on the radio. If you end up making different filter changes to different systems it's a good idea to put the filter indicator on the display of the radio so as you can keep track of what filter is on what systems.

This common problem is easily addressed by proper user handling. You can actually use your favorite search engine to ask questions and it'll take you right to the threads on radio reference that address the very same problem you have identified... Bob.
Greetings,

It seems we both know what we're talking about. Consider that this happens without scanning. With ONE (1) frequency programmed on Sentinel. No background scanning. I have read all the BS, all the comments for the last X number of years from all the "experts" etc. THE PRODUCT HAS ISSUES. What ever they added or took away doesn't work. We all know it. It's not my job to do their thinking or tinkering for them. I did my job. I paid my money for the product! The product is incomplete. Period.

All the best,
Art
 

natedawg1604

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
2,616
Location
Colorado
You may want to consider non-affiliate scanning (NAS) with a commercial radio; you can get an XTS 5000 for dirt cheap, or an APX 4000 or 6000 for a bit more. Or maybe a Harris XG series of some type. Or you could consider a Unication G4/G5, it's much easier to program than NAS radios. Once you get it setup correctly, you turn the radio on and it just works and you forget about it.
 

trentbob

W3BUX- Bucks County, PA
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
4,940
Greetings,

It seems we both know what we're talking about. Consider that this happens without scanning. With ONE (1) frequency programmed on Sentinel. No background scanning. I have read all the BS, all the comments for the last X number of years from all the "experts" etc. THE PRODUCT HAS ISSUES. What ever they added or took away doesn't work. We all know it. It's not my job to do their thinking or tinkering for them. I did my job. I paid my money for the product! The product is incomplete. Period.

All the best,
Art
I can't say that I don't agree with you in principle and I understand the frustration. This charlie foxtrot has gone on for years now. So many variables and factors have affected the outcome to where we are today. No sense in rehashing all of the events, including the tragic loss of the one person who never got a chance to finish what he started. Unfortunately there has never been and isn't now anyone that could replace him.

When I got the 100 in early June of 2018 I ended up putting it in a drawer with the hopes of future firmware updates that would allow it to work on my particular tdma phase ll system. I went back to using my Rx only apx 7000.

Sure enough when the firmware update came out with the first set of filters it was a miracle and I was able to use the 100 on my county system without clipped or missed transmissions using invert filter.

I guess the point is this radio is what it is, although there are alternatives, this is what we've got and we have no choice but to do the thinking, learning and tinkering to make it work as best as can.
 

donc13

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,014
Location
Grand Junction, CO
Greetings,

It seems we both know what we're talking about. Consider that this happens without scanning. With ONE (1) frequency programmed on Sentinel. No background scanning. I have read all the BS, all the comments for the last X number of years from all the "experts" etc. THE PRODUCT HAS ISSUES. What ever they added or took away doesn't work. We all know it. It's not my job to do their thinking or tinkering for them. I did my job. I paid my money for the product! The product is incomplete. Period.

All the best,
Art
I have been scanning since there were scanners. Prior to trunked systems, and programable scanners, you bought crystals and plugged them in.

You get dropouts and cutoff conversations with crystals. Scanner hears convo, opens squelch on channel 3. Convo over, scanner goes to channel 4, hears convo, opens squelch... You miss the 1st half of the convo on channel 4.

You also say it's an issue with the architecture of the SDS series. Could you give us all what changes YOU would have made and just a round number of scanners you have designed?
 

Ubbe

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
7,714
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Uniden should have kept the receiver design of the 436/536 and only added an I/Q demodulator to the last IF. It would need less power and could probably have settled with the small battery for the SDS100. That would had been a fantastic scanner to use as a base to build more features to in coming years.

/Ubbe
 

trentbob

W3BUX- Bucks County, PA
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
4,940
Absolutely makes sense.
 
Last edited:

trentbob

W3BUX- Bucks County, PA
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
4,940
I'm not sure that the display could have been supported in that configuration and you would need a stronger, longer-lasting supply source.

Not sure who pushed using the carcass of a Uniden marine radio, providing a degree of waterproofing, which was the host of its own problems but I wonder how the big butt battery casing would have worked with the 436. I think that's the key, the display of the 436 adapting to the need for more power.
 

MStep

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
2,085
Location
New York City
It would seem that the consensus here is the the 436/536 were overall better receivers that the SDS100/200. Nevertheless, the beautiful SDS display is a big draw for many. It's mesmerizing to watch, and I imagine that it did not achieve its full potential due to Paul's untimely demise.

Just imagine what could have been.
 

trentbob

W3BUX- Bucks County, PA
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
4,940
It would seem that the consensus here is the the 436/536 were overall better receivers that the SDS100/200. Nevertheless, the beautiful SDS display is a big draw for many. It's mesmerizing to watch, and I imagine that it did not achieve its full potential due to Paul's untimely demise.

Just imagine what could have been.
The thing there is that the 436 and the 100 are entirely different radios being that the 100 is an SDR chip simulcast capable radio and the 436... It's not. It's apples and oranges with each radio having its own strong points.
 

Ubbe

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
7,714
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
I need to explain. Use the current SDS scanner but replace the receiver chip with the receiver from x36. Everything else are kept. The functions and features are pretty much identical with x36, the firmware have been reused from x36 and then modified in its interface to the new hardware in SDS.

Using a 75 cent one chip receiver that replaces hundreds of discrete components in a x36 receiver, and reusing the firmware and a marine radios chassi, probably makes the SDS scanner less costly to produce than a x36 scanner and Uniden needs the founds to support future development as long as they intend to produce new scanner models, and share holders that expect to see a profit.

/Ubbe
 

blackbelter

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
Messages
664
“Or you could consider a Unication G4/G5, it's much easier to program than NAS radios. Once you get it setup correctly, you turn the radio on and it just works and you forget about it”.

I could not say it any better . My G5 just works and experiences none of the SDS drama .
 

spikestabber

Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
66
Location
Toronto
The radio arch could be sped up a lot, the fact that its been in limbo for a good 3 years tells me that. Almost no optimizations were done since the scanner was introduced, same scanning speed, hard to believe no improvements in the code were possible...
 

RichardKramer

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
843
Location
Reading, PA
I need to explain. Use the current SDS scanner but replace the receiver chip with the receiver from x36. Everything else are kept. The functions and features are pretty much identical with x36, the firmware have been reused from x36 and then modified in its interface to the new hardware in SDS.

Using a 75 cent one chip receiver that replaces hundreds of discrete components in a x36 receiver, and reusing the firmware and a marine radios chassi, probably makes the SDS scanner less costly to produce than a x36 scanner and Uniden needs the founds to support future development as long as they intend to produce new scanner models, and share holders that expect to see a profit.

/Ubbe
I nominate UBBE to be Paul O's replacement!
 

jgorman21

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 21, 2008
Messages
453
Location
Glenmont N.Y.
Been listening since the“Tunable days”, then crystals, etc etc. I can add this. The Unication G5 is an excellent receiver. It’s not really a “scanner”, that’s true. But it works really well! Lots of scanners(various brands) over years all have their own quirks. Like cars or maybe soft drinks people seem to migrate to their favorite brands for various reasons. Thanks for the very interesting discussion here!
 

trentbob

W3BUX- Bucks County, PA
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
4,940
The only problem is the discussion is in the Uniden tech support forum and it's in regard to the sds100 :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
 
Top