psr 800 question...

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SquierStrat

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hi guys. i bet you've seen that thread title about a million times... i just started reading on this site again a week or so ago since i plan on buying another digital scanner with tax money this year. I'd planned on going with the psr 500 since ive had a couple in the past that have served me greatly.

Then i get on here and read about the new psr 800. The 1 thing that has me considering it is its improved ability on digital simulcast systems. Since thats exactly what i listen to, and i remember the 500 being good, but not perfect on it, im having trouble making up my mind.

I understand you cant program the 800 by hand, which is ok. But what im wondering is when programmed by computer, can you program in your own custom lists of frequencies, (like banks) then scroll through them and turn them on and off at your pleasure? or something similiar to that?
 

troymail

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hi guys. i bet you've seen that thread title about a million times... i just started reading on this site again a week or so ago since i plan on buying another digital scanner with tax money this year. I'd planned on going with the psr 500 since ive had a couple in the past that have served me greatly.

Then i get on here and read about the new psr 800. The 1 thing that has me considering it is its improved ability on digital simulcast systems. Since thats exactly what i listen to, and i remember the 500 being good, but not perfect on it, im having trouble making up my mind.

I understand you cant program the 800 by hand, which is ok. But what im wondering is when programmed by computer, can you program in your own custom lists of frequencies, (like banks) then scroll through them and turn them on and off at your pleasure? or something similiar to that?
The 800 is designed to be easily programmed without entering data by hand or requiring a computer. It's primary thing is the ability to program conventional frequencies, trunked systems, and by location through a few simple button pushes. This is great for novice users and having the ability to load something "on the fly". However, many people have a problem with this concept.

Having said that - you can program almost whatever you want into the radio with the EZ Scan software. I have done it and that is mostly what I use. I arrange the scanlists as I want them, have many customized VFolders and custom programming including even talkgroups that USE status bit on Motorola systems (to detect priority calls and pushes of the "emergency button" on user radios).

Scanner users that are used to having all the buttons on the keypad and beginner and expert settings options that can be found on the PSR500 struggle with the simplicity of the PSR800. So each "owner" needs to decide what is important to them on a case-by-case basis.

Since having my PSR800(s) I find it difficult to go back to my PSR500 and even my BCD396T because of the number of keystrokes and amount of data entry required to get things to work. I do however miss the ability to enable and disable scanlists by pressing "1" or "FUNC-1".

As far as how well the two radios (500 vs. 800) receive systems -- particularly the newer CQPSK and LSM systems -- I cannot report that one is really better than the other -- or even the Uniden units. Bottom line is that I do not think any scanner is yet designed and built to deal with that set of problems (but I keep hoping a solution is coming). In fact, that's pretty much the only thing I think is really important at this point short of the ability to decrypt encrypted channels (which is illegal and ain't going to happen anyway as we all know).

My recommendation is to decide -
1. what is it I want to listen to with my new scanner?
2. where do I want to listen from? Newer systems are making it hard to listen from outside the intended jurisdiction and in some cases we've found listening within is hard or impossible.
3. how well is one or another radio working for these desires by existing users? See what others are saying for your area but today you really need to also pay close attention to WHERE they are listening from.
4. are any of these systems planning to "upgrade" soon (many are and will impact on your ability to continue to listen).
5. do I want total control from the keypad or do I trust the radio to do the job?
6. do I want to have to program everything by hand or require a computer or would I prefer the flexibility of having the entire RadioReference database onboard that can be loaded with less than 25 key presses?

Decisions, decisions.

No one user or answer can tell you want you want or need.

As others have said -- look around - do your homework - get what YOU need - or be prepared to be unhappy.

It's not cheap if you go for a P25/digital trunk scanner (new, state of the art)... so try to get it right.
 

SquierStrat

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thank you for the reply. after coming up with more questions i just decided to download and go through the owners manual. that helped alot but i just have a couple more questions..

how many "scanlists" can you have? unlimited till the memory card is filled??

And so basically you get the scanner loaded with the RR database; you can just go through and start picking certain things out of the DB and putting them in the designated scanlists you want to create?
 

troymail

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how many "scanlists" can you have? unlimited till the memory card is filled??
There are 200 general scanlists. It takes ALOT to fill up the card -- ALOT. The unit comes with a 2Gb card and you can change that out for a larger card. I've only filled a card once and that was after capturing recordings for everything for a long long time.

And so basically you get the scanner loaded with the RR database; you can just go through and start picking certain things out of the DB and putting them in the designated scanlists you want to create?
You have some flexibility on this via the radio's user interface but it is limited. If you really want to do some custom scanlist programming, you would do that in the provided EZ Scan app. You can do the basic load into VFolders and scanlists using the app (same type of loads as the radio UI) and then start reassigning scanlists, setting attributes (alpha tags for sites, talkgroups/channels, radio IDs, etc., backlighting, record, LED settings and audible alarms, etc) in the EZ Scan app. Then, you just upload your programming into the radio.

Some folks have expressed concern and/or unhappiness with the provided EZ Scan app and the fact that the protocol to communicate to the radio is not publicly available to allow for 3rd party software to be created. There are some things I'd like to see added to the software (and that would be the same regardless of GREs software or a 3rd party developer). However, I personally haven't run into any serious problems (and I didn't have to pay for any additional software!)
 

SquierStrat

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i have no problem having to use a computer to program and customize everything.

so far i think im understanding this correctly, but just want to be sure.. much like the psr500s vfolders, you can only use 1 scan set at a time, correct? and also, can you store all of the scan sets on the radio at once, and switch between them, while out in the field (not at a computer)?
 

DonS

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so far i think im understanding this correctly, but just want to be sure.. much like the psr500s vfolders, you can only use 1 scan set at a time, correct?
No.

On the PSR-800, a "Scan Set" is a set of enabled Scan Lists. There are 20 Scan Sets, each of which has flags of each of the 200 Scan Lists.

You can have multiple Scan Sets enabled at one time. When you select "Scan", the scanner does this:
* Go through all 20 scan sets
* In each scan set, go through all 200 scan lists
* If a scan list is enabled in at least one scan set, that scan list is "enabled for scanning"
* If an object (conventional channel or talkgroup) is in at least one scan list that is "enabled for scanning", that object will be scanned

The PSR-800 also has 200 V-Scanner folders. Every V-Scanner folder has its own Scan Sets and Scan Lists.

and also, can you store all of the scan sets on the radio at once, and switch between them, while out in the field (not at a computer)?
Yes, with some explanation:
* The scanner has 200 V-Scanner folders
* You can select between V-Scanner folders from the scanner's UI
* Each folder has 200 Scan Lists and 20 Scan Sets
* Within a V-Scanner folder, you can enable/disable each Scan Set and Scan List from the scanner's UI
 

Ed_Seedhouse

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There are 200 general scanlists. It takes ALOT to fill up the card -- ALOT. The unit comes with a 2Gb card and you can change that out for a larger card. )
And you can have multiple "Virtual Scanners" which have 200 scanlists each. Of course you only have access to the scanlists in the currently set V-Scan folder.
 

JoeyC

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The idea of having 200 scan lists sounded great to me when I purchased this scanner. Previous scanners had just 20 lists to separate things into. Then I read about scan sets and decided that the ability to turn on and off multiple combinations of scan lists was an even greater concept.

But now that I've used the scanner quite a bit, there really isn't any more flexibility having 200 scan lists if you plan on using the scan sets feature also. You are still limited to only 20 scan sets (the same as the 20 scan lists in the PSR500 - except that you can categorize them better with the 200 lists). But there are 200 scan lists in the 800 you say? - They ALL have to be ON in order for the scan sets feature to work right. Of course, if you choose to not use scan sets you can have 200 lists to turn off and on but depending on how you organize things in the scanner, this may not be all that great.

The load up time is also quite lengthy in the 800. When you first turn on the scanner it takes mine about 45 seconds before it will actually scan as it loads and verifies information. This is with a 8 gb class 10 card that is 95% empty.

If you like to enable and disable different groups of stuff to listen to via lists, its much easier using a keypad on the 500 than fiddling through menu system of the 800.

I like the recording feature of the 800 although I haven't used it much and haven't noticed any great difference in digital sound quality. The small size is a plus too.

The EZ scan software and programming the thing has its quirks too, that could be improved upon, but it doesn't look like GRE is interested in any of the many ideas that people have put out there on these forums.

Enjoy!
 

DonS

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But now that I've used the scanner quite a bit, there really isn't any more flexibility having 200 scan lists if you plan on using the scan sets feature also. You are still limited to only 20 scan sets (the same as the 20 scan lists in the PSR500 - except that you can categorize them better with the 200 lists). But there are 200 scan lists in the 800 you say? - They ALL have to be ON in order for the scan sets feature to work right.
No, they don't. You can use Scan Lists and Scan Sets together in order to filter what you hear. Scan Sets might seem more useful if you think of them as another way of disabling blocks of traffic...

For example, you might use Scan Lists to categorize things by both "type" (e.g. police dispatch, fire dispatch, fire tactical, parks department, etc.) and geography. Each Scan List would then be a specific "usage' in a specific area:
* Scan List 1: Police Dispatch, City 1
* Scan List 2: Fire Dispatch, City 1
* Scan List 3: Police Dispatch, City 2
* Scan List 4: Fire Dispatch, City 2

You could then use Scan Sets to combine Scan Lists:
* Scan Set 1: City 1, Police and Fire Dispatch
* Scan Set 2: City 2, Police and Fire Dispatch
* Scan Set 3: Police Dispatch, City 1 and City 2
* Scan Set 4: Fire Dispatch, City 1 and City 2

If you were normally listening to all of the above traffic, perhaps with a combination like:
* All 4 Scan Lists enabled
* Scan Sets 3 and 4 enabled
but then you decided you want to only listen to the Police Dispatch for the two cities, you could do either:
* Disable Scan Lists 2 and 4
* Disable Scan Set 4
If you wanted to listen to Police Dispatch for both cities plus Fire Dispatch for just city 1, you could:
* Disable Scan List 4

Yes, the concept of Scan Sets presumes that you start with all Scan Lists enabled. However, if you combine the disabling of both Scan Lists and Scan Sets, it should be much more versatile (or, at least, quicker/easier to filter things out) than just having one set of flags (200 scan lists).
 

DonS

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Another option might be a firmware change from GRE, one that ignores the 200 Scan List enable flags, and just uses the settings from Scan Sets.

That is...

At present, a Scan List is "scanned" if and only if:
1. The Scan List itself is enabled for scanning, AND
2. The Scan List is a member of an enabled Scan Set

Perhaps a new option that toggles between the above behavior and a new behavior:
* A Scan List is "scanned" if it's a member of at least one enabled Scan Set, ignoring the "Scan List enable" flags
 

JoeyC

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I program and use just as you have outlined Don, but I find it cumbersome to turn things on and off with the way the scanner displays what is active and what is not. In the example you gave about turning lists off to limit items scanned would make more sense if the active lists in the set were presented first in the scan set members list instead of keeping their place in the list of 200 lists. For instance I have one scan set called Security. In the Security scan set I have 4 lists (hospitals, malls, private security, attractions). If I want to turn off all the lists except for hospitals, I have to scroll down to list 45, 47 & 50 to deactivate them. Wouldn't it make more sense if the active lists for a scan set present first in the display when you look at its members, thus eliminating the guesswork? I sure can't remember where in the list of 200 I have placed malls, private security and attractions until I scroll by them).
 

SquierStrat

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Holy.....Wow!! thank you for the tremendous amount of feedback! So do the 20 scan sets have 200 scan lists a piece, totalling 4000 scan lists? and the Vfolders, do they work like the psr 500s? where it would load an entirely different set of scan sets and scan lists (and scanner settings)?
 

JoeyC

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Holy.....Wow!! thank you for the tremendous amount of feedback! So do the 20 scan sets have 200 scan lists a piece, totalling 4000 scan lists? and the Vfolders, do they work like the psr 500s? where it would load an entirely different set of scan sets and scan lists (and scanner settings)?
The scanner has 200 scan lists per v-folder.
 
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