New SDS200 Owner

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ko4bg

Newbie
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Falkville, Ala
Good Morning and thanks for the addition:
I have been a Ham Radio Op for 30 years but also like to listen to Local traffic and my wife does especially, she has MS and confined mostly to the house and recliner. I just got the 200 about 3 days ago and have found that I have some Very Expensive Ham equipment but this scanner I'm ashamed to say is too Smart for me!!LOL I read about the Sentiel (?) program but can't find it from Uniden's site. I it that useful for Programing?? I'm out in the Country with not much around me but can get an Antenna up in the Air pretty high. And I don't find their Book Very Helpful at all.
Any Way thanks for the add too the Group!!
Woody
 

Joe_Blough

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
294
The SDS200 is a complex scanner so don't be ashamed. It is not programmed like the older scanners. You use Sentinel to set up Favorites lists and in them you have Systems and in the Systems you have Departments or channels. Think of it like folders in Windows. You have a Favorites List named "Police & FIre" for example. In that folder you make another folder for the Systems you want to listen to like Dade County, Los Angels, etc. In those Systems folders you have a Departments such as LA police Dispatch, Swat, LA Fire Dispatch, etc.

To get this info by appending it to your Favorites Lists from the Sentinel datatabase.

The Sentinel program is on the micro SD card that came with the SD200 but you can also get it here Sentinel Program. It says it is for the BCDx36HP but is also for the SDS200.

To get started you can just program your zip code into the scanner and that will load the entire Radio Reference Database into thye scanner from the supplied micro SD card for your location. Then you can go into the Service Types and disable what you don't want to listen to such as Aircraft, Schools, Transportation, etc so you aren't scanning millions of frequencies.

I suggest you also read the "Easier to Read" guides for both the BCD436HP/BCD536HP Digital Scanner Manual and the Sentinel BCD436/536HP Software Manual since the SDs200 is similar to them. Also check You Tube videos to get started.

The Sentinel program does have a learning curve. Many of the things common in software programs that will give you an error when something is not done properly won't do so in Sentinel and you won't know why something won't work when you go to scan. There are also little land mines and booby traps where you have to set something in one tab or something you set in another tab won't work.

You have to play with the Sentinel software and give yourself permission to make mistakes and you will get it. I don't have an SDS200 yet but am planning on getting one in a few months and have spent hours in Sentinel learning it and setting up Favorites lists.

There is a wealth of information in these forums so do some searches also.
 
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hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
7,797
Location
Dallas, TX
Hi Woody
Welcome to RadioReference

There are a number of resources available on this website (RadioReference) and elsewhere.

You do need Sentinel with your SDS200, both to update the database, as well as apply any firmware updates. The download link is here, and can be found on this page. The same version of Sentinel is used for the BCDx36HP and SDS series scanners.

There is an Easier to Read manual online for the BCDx36HP series as well as Sentinel. Whatever section that is referencing the 536HP applies, with few exceptions, to your SDS200. While certain features of the SDS200 are not available in thex36HP series, basic operation and programming is about identical (90% or higher).
Check these Wiki pages as well:

Be sure and look at the links on those pages, and there are also some YouTube videos linked.

Once you install Sentinel, be sure to download the database update, then write that to the scanner. When shipped, the initial database is generally well out of date. Updates to the database are issued on Mondays, usually available by noon. There is no charge for database updates.
The icon for update is highlighted here, or just select that option from the Update drop-down menu.
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It looks like many of your county agencies are on the statewide First Responder Network.

To get started, in Sentinel, select the Profile Editor, either from the drop-down Edit menu, or by clicking on the icon on the second line of the top menu that resembles a piece of paper with a pencil; it's just under the V of the View drop down menu.
In the Profile, click on the Location tab:
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You can set your location with your actual latitude & longitude, or just enter your zip code. Also set a range. For more details on how location & range works, see How it Works: Location, Location, Location .

Once you've set your location & range, click on the Service Types tab.
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When shipped, the default public safety service types that are enabled are the ones labeled as Dispatch (Law Dispatch, Fire Dispatch, EMS Dispatch, and Multi-Dispatch). Also enable the Tac and Talk types for those (Law Talk, Fire Tac, etc).

Now, still in the Profile Editor, click on the tab for Scan Selection.
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Put a check mark by the Monitor Full Database field. This tells the scanner to monitor systems and channels (talkgroups on trunked systems) that match the Service Types you have selected, and that are in range based on your location and range setting.

Close the Profile Editor by clicking the X in the upper right corner.

Looking again at the top menu line on Sentinel's screen, Click on the Tools drop-down menu.
On that menu, click on Select Target Model and set that to the SDS200.
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Now, still in Sentinel, click on the File drop-down menu.
Next, click on Save As and give your Profile a name. I use SDS200 to designate which scanner the Profile is set for. I have additional profiles set for my SDS100 and 536HP.
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Plug the USB cable that came with the scanner into your PC and the USB-Micro port on the front of the scanner, with the scanner turned on. You should get a prompt o choose either Mass Storage Mode or Serial Mode.
Choose Mass Storage Mode. You should here a 'thump' sound as the PC recognizes the scanner as a USB device. Once you're connected, then you can write the updated Database and your profile to the scanner. That can be selected by clicking on the icon that's highlighted below, or by selecting Write to Scanner under the Scanner drop-down menu.

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Writing the database, your location, and telling the scanner to use the Full Database will get you going for now. In the long term, you'll likely want to create one or more Favorites Lists tailored to what you want to hear. But at least, this gives you a starting point.
 

ko4bg

Newbie
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Falkville, Ala
Thanks Guys, I'll play with this for a while and Hope I don't totally mess it up! As I said Ham radio is simpler to use than this!!! LOL
Woody
 

Joe_Blough

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
294
Thanks Guys, I'll play with this for a while and Hope I don't totally mess it up! As I said Ham radio is simpler to use than this!!! LOL
Woody
I went into Sentinel with the expectation of making mistakes. Told myself I wasn't even going to make favorites lists to use, just play around with it. While I ended up working with it for a couple hours here and there and was able to just build on my favorites and find errors and make corrections based on posts here.

Work with it a little and put it aside. Read posts here and the Easier to Read manuals and watch You Tube videos and make changes. Try to understand one or two concepts at a time. That way you are building on what you have learned rather than getting frustrated trying to figure you everything at once.
 
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