Pre-Purchase Help for Northern Johnson County (Bargersville Locale)

AudioPhool

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Jun 29, 2023
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32
Our recent Johnson County, IN severe storms and tornadoes nearby, have knocked-out power 3-times, in as many months. Without my main informational source -- the internet -- I managed to find & listen to a scanner App on the phone. That motivated me to seek my 2nd. scanner. My first, was a mid '70's Bearcat 200:).

My Questions:
  1. Encryption seems to be looming perhaps sooner rather than later per: < New Indiana state law takes effect 07/01/2023 >
  2. Considering Encryption obsolescence, should I even be considering the purchase of a $450 to $650 scanner? Because I don’t have a clue regarding the Encryption subject, any educated crystal ball prognostication would be helpful.
  3. Even with Encryption, is it thought that there will there be enough civil defense, public safety & other informational airplay to warrant a scanner purchase? If yes, which scanner would you recommend for my location? Uniden’s appear to be favorable.
  4. Would a Simulcast enhanced Uniden SDS100 be overkill for Johnson and Marion County (if from Bargersville) a handheld scanner will receive Indy police, fire etc.?
  5. Or would you recommend another model, manufacture, etc.?
 

cubn

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Marion/Johnson County, IN
If you plan to listen to Marion County a lot, I would go for an SDS radio.

Marion County comes in kinda choppy on the 436 but perfectly on the Unication G4.

I have not heard anything about Johnson County and future encryption.
 

AudioPhool

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Jun 29, 2023
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Thanks cubn.

Around 10-yrs. of age, I became fascinated with radios. I first became enamored with a crystal radio gift, for which I strung an outside antenna wire and later, I enjoyed my Hallicrafters SX-120 shortwave. Much later, I also had fun with my Bearcat 210 scannner. During those youthful years, I experimented with audio improvement by buying raw drivers and inserting them in various boxes to improve the sound of my shortwave when playing music. That sort of search for highly resolved audio, resulted in me being an avid 2-channel and surround-sound home theater hobbiest. I have two surround-sound rooms with a total of 18-speakers and a 2-channel room featuring 8' x 3' SoundLab Majestic 845 electrostatic speakers https://www.soundlabspeakers.com/majestic/.

But I digress, going from a simple analog scanner to digital one and the various subsets of programming it brings, provides a neophyte with a daunting journey and learning curve.

Nevertheless, I'm interested in joining the scanner gang and appreciate the help in doing so. The 436 may be a decent starting point. However, Marion County isn't mandatory. But for 1/3 more cost, not having the better Marion County ability of a SDS model, seems to be a poor dollar wise decision in the long run, because of the SDS greater versatility.

Given the encryption issue, a scanner will probably still provide FD and other public communication frequencies, of which, I'm not well versed enough to know what else is out there in my neck of Indiana. I presume the communications of highway, airport and power would be available in my area. Is that true. What besides PD and FD is informational and entertaining?

PD would be great, until it isn't available. But it appears everyone is in that boat, wondering if &/or when.

Any other comments would be more than welcome....Thanks!
 

VASCAR2

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Jun 5, 2011
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Location
So Illinois
If you can afford the SDS100/200 it would work better if you plan to use the scanner in Shelby or Marion County because they are simulcast systems. Johnson County has three Safe-T Sights, Greenwood, Edinburg and Franklin.

If your not going to be using the scanner away from your home the BCD996P2 is a very good scanner. I have the hand held BCD325P2 which receives well but has very limited battery capacity. It uses two rechargeable AA batteries and I only get about four hours of use with the AA rechargeable batteries. I do have a small Blackweb 10400 mili amp hour power supply which runs the BCD325P2 for a day or two. The SDS100 supposedly has better battery life than the BCD325P2.
 

NESN

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Apr 16, 2004
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418
Location
Franklin
I got the SDS 100 About a year ago in anticipation of agencies switching to Phase 2. I had it up and running in 5 minutes using the zip code. I still use the full database, Which I know is wasteful, but I pick up IMPD, Lawrence PD, Speedway PD occasionally, Brown County, Morgan County, Shelby County, Bartholomew County with no problem right out of the box. The only thing I added was a Remtronics antenna. Couldn't be happier to me. Yes it was more expensive but This was one & done regarding simulcast.
 

VASCAR2

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So Illinois
I got the SDS 100 About a year ago in anticipation of agencies switching to Phase 2. I had it up and running in 5 minutes using the zip code. I still use the full database, Which I know is wasteful, but I pick up IMPD, Lawrence PD, Speedway PD occasionally, Brown County, Morgan County, Shelby County, Bartholomew County with no problem right out of the box. The only thing I added was a Remtronics antenna. Couldn't be happier to me. Yes it was more expensive but This was one & done regarding simulcast.
I’ve read the SDS100 large capacity battery will power the SDS100 from 6-8 hours. I’m curious if you purchased the additional battery charger and extra battery. I can run the BCD325P2 in my car either via the usb port or cigar plug. Can the SDS100 utilize either method in a vehicle so your not always running on battery power?

I bought four NiHi rechargeable batteries for my BCD325P2 and always try to keep the spare pair charged and ready to go. I like everything about the BCD325P2 except for the battery life and that it struggles in simulcast systems (which I knew when I bought it).
 

AudioPhool

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Jun 29, 2023
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Well, VASCAR2 and NESN: You both have provided good food for thought, adding to the yin and yang of my purchase decision, thanks!

I believe my use will be strictly from home. I also believe that my use will be predominantly for my county (Johnson) vs Marion (Indy). However, beliefs tend to change, after something like a scanner is put to use. So, having the widest ability possible, provides future-proofing. And “one and done” sounds like a plan, but at 1/2 the cost, I'm happy, VASCAR2, that you mentioned the BCD996P2 (BCD325P2). Either one would be good to start with, especially at a cost that is more palatable than the SDS100.
 

INDY72

Monitoring since 1982, using radios since 1991.
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As an SDS100 owner yes the battery lasts 6 to 8 hours. I have 2 batteries so that's up to 16 hours time.
 

VASCAR2

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So Illinois
Thank you INDY72! I’m probably going to eventually upgrade to an SDS but undecided on whether to get the 100 or 200. Since I have a BCD325P2 I’m leaning towards SDS200 to add to my BCD996XT.
 

AudioPhool

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Jun 29, 2023
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Beginning with zero knowledge, it’s an understatement to say that it’s difficult sorting through and then assimilating the information needed to make a prudent scanner buying decision. The content contained in Amazon's reviews has been informative. But, without this forum, it would have been impossible to decide where to turn, or what to do. So, thanks to all RR forum participants and RadioReference in general!!

I did just happen across a video that filled-in some facts that I missed concerning the RR Database. That video would have been a great pre-purchase primer if I had found it earlier. Perhaps it should be in some sort of site wiki if it already isn’t:

At any rate, I’m close to ordering a BDC325P2. For it, programming aids appear to be:
  • FreeScan
  • ProScan
  • Butel ARC-XT (Basic & Pro)
Having built a couple Windows PC’s from the ground-up, I have decent MS Windows hardware and software knowledge. But I am a rank novice when it comes to programming a digital scanner like the BDC325P2.

In general, ProScan seems to garner a bit more praise than ARC-XT. It also seems that ProScan works in conjuction with RadioReference. So, is a RR subscription needed &/or important?

I have no need to record scanner events. But operating the unit from my PC, would be a good option.

Thus, for me, and the 325P2, what would you recommend to be the best programming tact and software that I should use?
 

VASCAR2

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Jun 5, 2011
Messages
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Location
So Illinois
If you really want to learn and understand public safety communications and have the time and interest use the link below.


I normally manually program my BCD325P2 and BCD996XT. The easier to read manual is really informative and gives you an understanding in the steps to programming the scanner using the keypad.

You can effectively use the software to program the scanner using a PC but there is still a learning curve.

I can help you if you have any questions. I’m retired so if you run into trouble or have questions you can send me a private message. I can give you my email and phone number.

I bought my first radio to listen to Police when I was in the eighth grade. I’ve been using radios and scanners ever since.
 

AudioPhool

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Jun 29, 2023
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Thanks for the kind offer and link, Vascar2. I ran across the simple (Mark's) manual you linked to and have briefly scanned it (no pun).

I want to have more than a clue about whatever scanner I acquire. But based on what I've read, I don't believe I want to expend the time to learn how to manually program a scanner like the BCD325P2, sans PC/software assistance. Hence, my question about preferred software. I realize that there is a learning curve in any case.

Having a clue about the specifics of the a unit's programming structure and what I can and can not do with it, should help. So far, I've learned enough to be dangerous. But, from the early '80's when of an IBM PC XT was placed on my desk, without a clue what to do with that blinking C: cursor, or how relate that beast to my job. When they first were marketed, my boss bought 4-IBM's, that he labeled automated calculators on the PO, to get them past the bean counters. As it were, he was an engineer ahead of his time. I read the MS DOS manual, we helped each other and the rest is history. So, I do like to learn new software. If fairly intuitive and I have a handle on what I'm seeking, learning shouldn't be too difficult.

I don't mind paying for software. But I would like to buy and then be done. I don't want software buyer's remorse, wishing I had bought another package. And I don't want to pay a dealer to program the unit, because I would like to understand what's going on, so thereafter, I can add and change as I want. I've done much the same with our LAN and semi-commercial Router and Switches. Paying an installer would have been easy, but I like to have at least a basic understanding of what's going on, so I can modify and maintain it as needed.

I too am retired. So, I have time for hobbies. I also want to have situational awareness, which a scanner can help provide. This is my primary reason for a scanner. Anyway, thanks again for the advice and generous offer to help.
 

GTO_04

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Mar 10, 2004
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Location
Noblesville, IN
Thank you INDY72! I’m probably going to eventually upgrade to an SDS but undecided on whether to get the 100 or 200. Since I have a BCD325P2 I’m leaning towards SDS200 to add to my BCD996XT.
If you are going to be monitoring mostly at home, I would definitely go with the SDS200.

GTO_04
 

VASCAR2

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Messages
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So Illinois
If you are going to be monitoring mostly at home, I would definitely go with the SDS200.

GTO_04
I think I’ll end up with the SDS200 and I have no issue taking my BCD996XT in the car and could use the SDS200 the same way. I haven’t needed a Phase 2 scanner at my house and between the BCD996XT and BCD325P2 I currently getting everything I’m interested in listening.
 

INDY72

Monitoring since 1982, using radios since 1991.
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Good choice for SAFE-T. I run a BCD436HP for SAFE-T TRBOConnect, an SDS100 for MESA, and my BCD396XT, TRX-1 for other systems.
 
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