Military aircraft and discriminator info

manross

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Jul 24, 2005
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Ok so here is the background on my venture into military aircraft and data decoding. When I got my BCD396T and BR330T radios years ago, I retired my Pro-43 as my utility listening scanner. Now I've retired my 396 after buying a SDS100. Fine scanner by the way. Now I have my SDS100 for every day use for my local government. I've read somewhere that the Pro-43 was a good milair scanner. Then I read that the BR330T was a really good milair scanner. Yep you guessed it, now I'm reading that the BCD396T is the better of the three because it will work with ease in the new 300?mhz trunk for milair expansion.
With my excess of scanners now I figured I'd permanently retire the Pro-43. Then I could turn one of them as a dedicated milair and the other Posag etc. scanner because that was part of the hobby I've never tried, but was of interest to me.
Ok here is my questions. Of the three scanners, the 43, 330 and 396 which is the better milair scanner. Keeping in mind the new 300+mhz milair band I'm interested in. This knocks out the Pro-43 right a way. I don't know if the BR330T will be able to work it.
The last question is the discriminator tap. Either the 330T or the 396T can be used. I haven't been around RR for quiet some time, but came back for info of the SDS100. The past 3 days I have looked everywhere for definitive info on how this is accomplished. There's a zillion dead threads, unreadable pictures because the poster no longer host them etc. Some of the posts on this subject are years old, but nothing that shows step by step on how the tap is done and what you would need to do after you have a tap. Please if anyone has all of this info that I can copy or download, I'd be very appreciative. Thanks in advance and take care.
 

N9JCQ

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I can tell you that the Pro-43 is still considered one of the best Milair scanners made. I have two here and use them with some regularity. They are aging though and they are limited to 200 channels. I also have a 396T and I have always thought that it performed well on civil and miliar. In cannot comment on the 330 though, sorry. Regarding what you call the "new" 300 mhz miliar expansion, this is indeed military but I do not think its for military aircraft. It is more for military base trunking systems, or at least that is my understanding of it. Others will set us both straight here. Regarding a discriminator tap, why would you need that on a 396T? I am not getting it. And since you have a 396T, why would you modify the 330 to add the connections for a discriminator output?
 

manross

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Thank you for your quick response. Since I have a surplus of scanners and having an interest in posag and other data, from what I've read, you need a discriminator tap to feed a computer sound card the unfiltered audio from the scanner. Neither the 396 or the 330 have a built in discriminator feed. Am I not right on this?
I have my SDS100 to listen to local cops, fire, state patrol etc. Of my 3 older scanners, one will be dedicated milair and the other dedicated data feed to the computer. The Pro-43 for right now, after reading your feelings on them is sitting on the shelf. I may do a test on all three to determine from my tired ears which one sounds the best.
Of the quad zillion posts I've read the last three days I'm pretty sure I read that the 380+- band will be used to expand the milair freqs. I sure the heck could easily be wrong on the exact use.😊😉
 

magic_lantern

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When I read the topic "Military aircraft discriminator info" The first thing that came to my mind was the infamous CRM-114 from Dr. Strangelove.
 

ka3jjz

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There are indeed segments of the milair band that are used for P25 trunking systems at military bases, but given the environment today, anything interesting on them will be highly encrypted.

Your SDS100 will handle these systems, so long as they are in the clear....Mike
 

N9JCQ

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Thank you for your quick response. Since I have a surplus of scanners and having an interest in posag and other data, from what I've read, you need a discriminator tap to feed a computer sound card the unfiltered audio from the scanner. Neither the 396 or the 330 have a built in discriminator feed. Am I not right on this?
I have my SDS100 to listen to local cops, fire, state patrol etc. Of my 3 older scanners, one will be dedicated milair and the other dedicated data feed to the computer. The Pro-43 for right now, after reading your feelings on them is sitting on the shelf. I may do a test on all three to determine from my tired ears which one sounds the best.
Of the quad zillion posts I've read the last three days I'm pretty sure I read that the 380+- band will be used to expand the milair freqs. I sure the heck could easily be wrong on the exact use.😊😉
One of the things I truly love about this hobby is experimentation. I would definitely experiment, compare the radios. I do not know of the 396T or 330 has a discriminator tap. I never bothered to check with my 396T. It still works great here in the Chicago area for much of the State Starcom SC21 systems locally. It may become my airshow radio once airshows start up again in the future, some day.
 

manross

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Jul 24, 2005
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I want to thank all of you for your input. I've been playing with the 330 and 396. They're both equally more than able to fulfill the duty I have for them. I'm going to dedicate the 396 for the milair, military ground and any other thing I may find. The 330 I'll dedicate for data acquisition. The SDS100 I'll use for police, state, fire and fed stuff. Thanks again to all for the input.
And if I remember correctly, the CRM-114 always broke down when needed.
 

morfis

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Jan 24, 2004
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330 and 396T both have a tap point easily accessible and with screen-printed label on the circuit-board.
Never used a 330 but the 3500 is pretty much the european equivalent and that's a mediocre milair scanner (though until the advent of the 125 seemed to be the standard handheld sold for that purpose). 396T wasn't officially exported to Europe though people bought them for the basic trunking ability which was mainly of use (at the time) for USAF/NSA sites. Never rated it well for that as the slightest hint of multipath and it got it's knickers in a twist (as does the 996T) about signals being encrypted even though they weren't. Again, for milair it was mediocre.

There is a Dutch website about discriminator taps with photos....it also covers PDW. Fairly sure it was "discriminator.nl". Might cover your units but will certainly have sufficient info and photos of similar bearcraps to give guidance.
 

foxtail

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Yes go with "discriminator.nl" has all the info needed to tap scanners. Why not tap the pro-43? I have a uniden bc200xlt I've tapped for data.
 

manross

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Jul 24, 2005
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Yes go with "discriminator.nl" has all the info needed to tap scanners. Why not tap the pro-43? I have a uniden bc200xlt I've tapped for data.
I did tap the 43 years ago. It got packed for my move back to Colorado Springs 4 years ago. That was the last box that we finally got to from the storage room. I was going to use it for milair when I read somewhere about some fed and milair stuff that was trunked. So if I'm going to jump in with both feet I decided to go with the 330 that can trunk unlike the 43 that can not. When I got my SDS100 I suddenly found myself with the 43 with tap, the 330 with a tap as of tomorrow and the 396. I'm going to run both tapped radios to see which one may be better than the other. That leaves me with an unused 396. I've done a lot of research on all three radios. I've come away with an overall feeling that there's really not a whole bunch difference on the milair abilities other than the 43 that can't run trunking. The really great thing with all of this is I can do all of my own research and hopefully come away with a better understanding on what will work the best. Or I'll come away totally confused....
 
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