My expensive decision - Help!

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Thaellar

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Katy, TX (Houston)
I only discovered scanning a couple weeks ago when I stumbled upon this site and began reading. I became hooked and bought a Pro-97 but am returning it because it will not survive rebanding and P-25. So, after much research on these boards and on the internet in general, I have narrowed down my radio package choices to either:

Icom R-75 and Uniden BCD996T

OR

Icom PCR-2500 with P-25 addon and antenna combiner.

Either choice will about the same money. Here is my situation:

1. I live on the western outskirts of Houston, TX

2. For HF, I would like to listen to Aircraft, Coast Guard, Military, Ships at sea, any other utils. I don't think I would be into SW broadcasts that much, but who knows, I might dig it once I get started.

For the scanner, I want to monitor Houston area airports, Ellington Field 147th ANG F-16s, Houston ARTCC, Milair and Police/Fire/etc for Harris County and Metro Houston.

Right now the emergency services are on this:

System Name: Southeast Texas Area Radio Network (STARNET) Motorola
Location: Metro Houston area, TX
County: 9 counties
System Type: Motorola Type II SmartZone
System Voice: Analog and APCO-25 Common Air Interface

It appears they are slowly migrating to this:

System Name: Southeast Texas Area Radio Network (STARNET) Project 25
Location: Various, TX
County: 6 counties
System Type: Project 25 Standard
System Voice: APCO-25 Common Air Interface Exclusive

3: My HOA will not allow outdoor antennas. so I will need to put my antennas in the attic. I will probably take Carmelof's suggestion of an Icom-AH7000 discone up there because at 5.5 feet tall, it will fit. A scantenna is way too tall. I have 2 AC units, water heater, and DirectTV coax as potential interference up there. I'm still unsure about an HF antenna. I guess a copper wire running around the attic will work for HF. Or will it?

These forums have been so valuable to me for learning what little I know. What haven't I considered?

regards,

Thaellar
 

af5rn

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Do one thing at a time. The scanner is going to be overwhelming to you for months, just trying to figure out how to program it, and constantly changing that programming. If you have to deal with all the HF stuff at the same time, it'll slow you WAY down.

And, of course, the wider band your receiver is, the worse it's performance is. When a radio tries to be all thing to all people, it ends up being a major compromise in performance all the way around. You -- unlike a lot of people -- will be trying to monitor a VERY large area, with a lot of systems and interference. You'll be much better off getting a scanner separate from your HF receiver. And if you get the bug seriously, you're going to end up trying to monitor several different radios at once anyhow. If you have your HF and scanning tied up in one radio, you are stuck listening to one thing at a time. Get the 996.
 

Thaellar

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Katy, TX (Houston)
Thanks Ch1ronTL34..I got it.

Excellent advice af5rn. I might just do that. However I just read the thread concerning trunking issues with 996...perhaps the PSR-600 would be better choice for now.

regards,

Thaellar
 

paul1

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Which Scanner

I have been scanning for 40 years or better .I have a psr500 and i think its great. iIlive in the wheeling wv area and i monitor three states with it. if you really are interested in scanning and understand that the psr500 wil need a lot of tweeking, than the psr500 is right for . however i believe that the psr500 is not the right radio for a novice unless you are ready to really dig in . I know i still have to bone up all the time so good luck. Paul1
 

af5rn

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Trunking issues? I've encountered only one, which was occasional noise on P25 systems, but that was pretty well eliminated by the latest software upgrade. That's a big plus for Uniden, they address stuff pretty quickly, and all it takes is a download to fix it.

I don't find the PSR a good choice for a large metropolitan area like Houston, where you have a crapload of systems to monitor. You'll run out of memory space in a PSR pretty fast.
 

andrewccm

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Does the
Icom PCR-2500 trunk track? Something to consider with GRE, sensitivity. It can be a good and bad thing depending on how strong the signals are around you.
 

af5rn

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andrewccm said:
Does the
Icom PCR-2500 trunk track? Something to consider with GRE, sensitivity. It can be a good and bad thing depending on how strong the signals are around you.
Yeah, I meant to say that, but got in a hurry with that last post (dinner time, hehe). The PSRs overload pretty easily in an urban area. It'll drive you crazy in Houston.
 

fireant

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Copland
I would not think the PSR would run out of memory as fast as a 396 or a 996.

The 396 will hold 6000 ch's as will the 996. However the 396 will hold 400 systems where the 996 will hold 500 systems. As for the PSR's they will hold 37,800 items so based on that information I would have to disagree.

Both radio's have pros and cons. If, I was buying one right now for the performance alone after seeing both side by side scan the same system. I would go with the PSR and I own a 246, 330, 396 and the BCT 15. I am really impressed with the new PSR radios.

fireant
 

ScanTheFreqs

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af5rn said:
That's a big plus for Uniden, they address stuff pretty quickly,
are you serious?

if i remember correctly everyone was mad at uniden for not addressing their issues in a timely matter, unlike GRE



also, FIREANT, the 37,800 items doesnt help when you can only use 1800 of them at a time, unlike the unidens 6000
 
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af5rn

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ScanTheFreqs said:
also, FIREANT, the 37,800 items doesnt help when you can only use 1800 of them at a time, unlike the unidens 6000
Yeah, thanks. That's what I was referring to. Useable memory. Dynamic memory is the way to go.
 

fireant

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But you can only listen to 1 channel at a time no matter which radio you have. I myself am giving serious thoughts on the PSR 500/600 for my next scanner purchase. I can tell you the audio with P25 on the PSR's kills the Unidens. However must give Uniden credit they have improved the audio with the last firmware upgrade but the PSR are the closet in audio that you can get to a real P25 radio. Just have to decide which one is best for you.

fireant
 
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ka3jjz

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andrewccm said:
Does the
Icom PCR-2500 trunk track? Something to consider with GRE, sensitivity. It can be a good and bad thing depending on how strong the signals are around you.
The 2500 can trunktrack, but not P25 systems (yes I know about the plug in, but it won't work for trunking a digital system). The advice about getting seperate scanner and HF receiver is sound.

Do yourself a favor and educate yourself about what others in the Houston area are using. That information has been started here, but the much better places to go for information like this is the Texas forum and the Houston scanning Yahoo group. I tend to agree that the GRE might not be the best choice - I have read that it's somewhat susceptible to overloading, and in an urban area, that should be a major consideration.

As for HF, just to address that since you asked abut it originally, that's the general workhorse everyone seems to be getting these days. But watch out on the antenna - just a wire strung around an attic is going to pick up lots of noise from anything and everything in the building, possibly even the a/c units you mention you have. You would want to use something on HF that will help suppress the noise somewhat - but that's a topic for another time and forum...:D

73 Mike
 

loumaag

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If you live out towards Katy you are going to have a tough time listening to any Ellington Field stuff without an outside beam antenna. I can barely hear the tower where I am now and when I lived in an apartment on the west side I could not even hear the aircraft. Based on the way things are divided up here on STARNet and the various conventional stuff (including HPD/HFD) you will be very disappointed with the PSR's memory use limitations (especially in regards to scan lists). Stick with one of the newer Uniden's. The option of using multiple sites on STARNet would also dictate that the 996 is a better choice than the 396. (Downtown is always a good choice and Clodine would be useful for where you are.) Even with this start, I suspect (like a lot of us) you will end up with multiple scanners down the road. :D
 
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