Performance questions

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paulmohr

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I actually have a couple of questions, but they should be easy to answer I think.

First, is there any reason to believe that the physical size of the device would impact the performance? Like say the difference between a Whistler WS1065 or Uniden BCD996P2 vrs the smaller Home Patrol 1 and 2's. Would the larger form factor of these larger units possibly mean they might have better power supplies and/or a stronger receiver section? Or does the size of the unit simply have no impact on the performance.

I am sort of debating between the WS1065 and a Home Patrol 2. The Home Patrol seems much easier to use, but it is also quite a bit more expensive. I have found the ws1065's for around 260.00 or so dollars and the Home Patrols are closer to 450.00. I understand I would have to program the cheaper one, or buy some software to help me do it. However for a 200 dollar savings I might be willing to put a little elbow grease into getting it up and running. Especially if for some reason it would have better performance.

I guess maybe a little background might help at this point. I live in Adrian Michigan. I live right outside of town. Realistically everything I would want to monitor is within 5 to 10 miles away from. A 20 mile radius puts me far enough away that they towns or areas I am really not concerned with. Except maybe County or State police. From what I can tell I don't even need apco 25 phase II. The only thing that seems to use apco 25 is the state police and possibly some fire or hospitals might switch to it next year, but those are both phase 1 not 2.

Which brings me to my other question. Is there a way to find out what agencies in your area use what system? Are they digital, analog, trunked or what? I can pull up a list of the frequencies for each agency, but how would I know if it was digital or a trunked system? The only thing I have found that comes close is scannermaster's little thing that tells you what scanners to buy based on your zip code. And of course it is telling me to buy top of the line digital equipment. However what if the only thing in my area that requires it is the State Highway Patrol, and everything else is on a simple digital or analog system. I could save a ton of money by simply choosing to not listen to that one agency. Actually knowing what I need to listen to the areas I want to listen to would be nice. Otherwise I just have to buy the most advanced technology to make sure I am covered, even if I don't actually need it. Is there a way to look up an agency and tell what technology I need by looking at the frequency or some other code they list?

Scanners used to be pretty simple, find the frequency you need and buy the crystals for it, or program it manually when the tech got better. Now it is really confusing. Should I just drop the 450 on Home Patrol 2, type in my zip code and be done with it lol. Or is there a way to be more selective and smarter about the choices and save a few bucks ( or a few hundred in some cases).

Any help would be very welcome. I have been wanting a scanner for quite some time, but every time I go to choose one I just get confused and put it off. If someone wants a list of what I actually want to monitor in my area I can list them, but I really don't want someone else to do all my homework for me if there is a way for me to figure it out on my own.
 

jaspence

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2 Questions

Physical size should not be a real determining factor in the size of devices like scanners. I have three different sizes of scanners with nearly equal capabilities, and see little performance differences in reception. The things I do notice are sound quality and volume(speaker size), visual display (more info shows on larger display), and easier keyboard use on the largest scanner (Pro-106).

As far as what scanner to buy, I go for the best digital capable one I can afford, because sooner or later most government agencies will be digital. I do have a couple of analog only models, but there is very little use except for some business and aircraft listening. Many of the larger industries have gone digital, and DMR is a must for some areas.
 

Ubbe

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You try to seperate different sections of a receiver and shield them to avoid any interaction between them.

If a small portable scanner was as good as a mobile/base version they could use the portable modules as is and put in a box with a big frontpanel. That would save huge money if it where possible to do that.

/Ubbe
 

majoco

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Sensitivity is easy to obtain these days, the size of the box to put the radio in is just convenience, size of the speaker will affect the sound, the cabinet may make for an bigger display with more information but the biggest influence on what you can receive is the antenna. Higher and bigger is better, by bigger I don't mean a longer bit of wire - separate antennas for different bands or more reflectors/directors or even a log periodic directional antenna ( see LPDA ).
 

paulmohr

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Adrian MI
Looking at the database page for my county almost everything is FMN mode. I assume this means FM analog? State Police, Government and a few fire stations either have or are playing with 25 phase I.

That being said, after doing some poking around and research on the internet I "think" I might get a Whistler 1098 that comes with the database on a SD card. So somewhat like the Home Patrol units. So I can just enter my zip code and let it pre program itself? Is this correct? Then I assume there is a way to manually go in and block the things I really don't want to monitor. I assume the automatic mode will load all kinds of stuff from my area like city and county municipal, corrections (I live near the county jail and a prison), schools and other stuff I really don't care about. I assume there is way to edit or block these and only listen to the channels I want.

It has features I don't think I need, but at least this way I would be covered for the future. Unless there is some sort of impending technology that would render the 1098 useless in the next few years?

Any thoughts on the WS1098 for someone just getting into the hobby? I have experience with simple coding, programming and scripting, so programming it doesn't scare me too much as long as I can find decent instructions or software to guide me a little.
 

jonwienke

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I actually have a couple of questions, but they should be easy to answer I think.

First, is there any reason to believe that the physical size of the device would impact the performance? Like say the difference between a Whistler WS1065 or Uniden BCD996P2 vrs the smaller Home Patrol 1 and 2's. Would the larger form factor of these larger units possibly mean they might have better power supplies and/or a stronger receiver section? Or does the size of the unit simply have no impact on the performance.
It used to, but not so much with newer models. Most of the receiver is a few small IC chips, and the case size is mostly cosmetic. The Uniden 436 and 536 are pretty much identical in receiver performance, even though the 436 is a handheld and the 536 is a base/mobile. The same goes for the power supply--a few IC chips and capacitors. The 436 draws less than 250mA at 5V during normal operation, so it doesn't take much of a power supply to handle that.

FMN is the modulation type, but it can be analog FM, P25, DMR, ProVoice, NXDN or digital. It all depends on what the transmitter does with the carrier.
 

jonwienke

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That being said, after doing some poking around and research on the internet I "think" I might get a Whistler 1098 that comes with the database on a SD card. So somewhat like the Home Patrol units. So I can just enter my zip code and let it pre program itself? Is this correct? Then I assume there is a way to manually go in and block the things I really don't want to monitor. I assume the automatic mode will load all kinds of stuff from my area like city and county municipal, corrections (I live near the county jail and a prison), schools and other stuff I really don't care about. I assume there is way to edit or block these and only listen to the channels I want.
With a database-enabled scanner, you can enter your ZIP code, and the scanner will translate that to GPS coordinates. Itr then looks up nearby database items to scan. Uniden scanners also have the option of connecting a GPS receiver to the scanner, so that its location is updated in real time when the scanner is in a vehicle.

Everything in the database is tagged with a category (Service Type) sich as fire, EMS, military, etc. that you can turn on or off as desired. You can also avoid or lock out database items you don't want to hear, either temporarily (until the scanner reboots) or permanently (until you manually turn it back on).
 

marksmith

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Unless size is an issue for the user in how the scanner will be used, it is generally a useless attribute in selecting a scanner.

536/436/ws1095/996p2/996xt/325p2/396xt/psr800/396t/HP-1/HP-2 & others
 

paulmohr

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Adrian MI
Well since nobody screamed "Don't buy that piece of junk!" I went ahead and ordered the whistler 1098 from bearcat warehouse. 10 minutes later I get a phone call from them saying something is wrong with my order. They tell me they don't have what I ordered, they had 6 and someone bought all six of them! And they are not going to re stock them because the are being discontinued. They were happy to sell me a TRX model for a few hundred more though lol. I told them to just cancel the order and I would shop around some more. I found a radio shop 30 miles away from me that has a 325P2 in stock. I said program it, I will come and get it.

I drive 30 miles one way and get there right before they are closing. My freaking debit card wouldn't work because their is a pending transaction for 425 dollars from bearcat warehouse. Uggg. So now I have to wait for them to cancel the order out before I can buy the other one. It took a matter of minutes for it show up on my account as a debit, but it takes more than a day for it to go away, and the order never even got processed to begin with. Remember the good old days when you could just go to your local radio shack and buy a scanner.
 
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