Questions on Cobb County P25 Phase 2

dshively

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Messages
7
Location
Atlanta
Hi,

I have been scanning the Cobb / Smyrna area for several years, mostly with a Uniden BCD396XT. Seems like less and less traffic on there, but I assume that this is due to the fact that more talk groups are defaulting to Phase 2 TDMA. Is this correct?

Also, I noticed that the RR page says that they are also using simulcasting. If I were to get a new Phase 2-capable scanner (BCD325P2 or BCD436HP) then I could receive the Phase 2 but simulcasting may be a problem. For simulcasting, I guess I would have to pay the extra $$ and look at the SDS100. Anyone have recent experience with these models on the Cobb P25 system?

Thanks!
Dave
 

packetboss

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Dec 24, 2008
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Location
Cobb County, GA
Hi Dave,

I monitor Cobb P25 a lot, and I was facing similar problems with my older scanners, including both the transition to P2 and the simulcast problem... When listening with my 536HP, I was missing calls or responses, and my ability to actually 'listen' or 'comprehend' what was being said was very degraded - P2 TGIDs were garbled - I was extremely frustrated, even though I am only 1mi from the Kennesaw Mtn site, and I get superior signal.

I saved up and bought the SDS100 and was beyond pleased (my oldest handheld was a 396T) - I was amazed at how much better my listening was, and I was honestly like a giddy child having been given the ability to actually enjoy the hobby once again - it solved all of my frustrations, without a doubt... Since then, I've bought an SDS200 and have both sitting here on my desk along with the 536HP and older 996XT, and could not be happier... If my wife would let me, there'd be a 2nd SDS200 here...

Take it for what it's worth, but that's my two cents... I know I'm not the only one around :)
-Bill
 

DanRollman

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Atlanta, GA
I have been scanning the Cobb / Smyrna area for several years, mostly with a Uniden BCD396XT. Seems like less and less traffic on there, but I assume that this is due to the fact that more talk groups are defaulting to Phase 2 TDMA. Is this correct?
Yes. In general, system activity has gone up over time, and more of that activity has shifted to TDMA. If you aren't using a Phase 2 capable scanner, it makes sense that you are hearing less activity even though actual system activity has increased.

Also, I noticed that the RR page says that they are also using simulcasting. If I were to get a new Phase 2-capable scanner (BCD325P2 or BCD436HP) then I could receive the Phase 2 but simulcasting may be a problem. For simulcasting, I guess I would have to pay the extra $$ and look at the SDS100. Anyone have recent experience with these models on the Cobb P25 system?
Exactly right. An 'older' Phase 2 capable scanner like the BCD325P2 or BCD436HP will technically work, but not particularly well, insofar as it will sometimes hear some communications somewhat (as opposed to your BCD396XT that can't hear Phase 2 at all). But if you monitor a simulcast system like Cobb, I can't imagine spending the money for one of the older Phase 2 capable scanners without first coming up with the incremental money required to get an SDS100. It is way, way better at decoding simulcast TDMA.

I also encourage you to consider a Unication G4. For about the same price as an SDS100 (actually, a little less), it is even better at decoding TDMA simulcast and has better audio than the SDS100. It is closer to the decoding and audio quality of a professional grade radio than a consumer grade scanner. The G4 is capable of scanning multiple talk groups on a single system at one time, but it lacks some features found in the SDS100, like busy channel lockout (aka Avoid), Hold, and scan delay. If you are monitoring a single talk group, or scanning talk groups and don't care about scan delay or lockout or hold (such as because the talk groups you frequent aren't very busy), the G4 is even better than the SDS100. It is simply a better device for 'monitoring' but not necessarily for feature-packed scanning functions. There are of course some ways to get around some of the limitations of the G4 with how you program it (for example, program a single channel in one knob position and a scan list in another knob position, and just switch to the desired single-channel knob position when you hear something that would have made you press 'hold' on a scanner).
 
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dshively

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Messages
7
Location
Atlanta
Thanks. Good info. I'm not familiar with the Unication products.

I've now gone from non-trunked scanning, to regular/analog trunking (TRS), to digital (P25), and now maybe to Phase 2. Does everyone have a drawer full of old scanners?

Thanks,
Dave
 

DanRollman

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Dec 18, 2002
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Atlanta, GA
Thanks. Good info. I'm not familiar with the Unication products.

I've now gone from non-trunked scanning, to regular/analog trunking (TRS), to digital (P25), and now maybe to Phase 2. Does everyone have a drawer full of old scanners?

Thanks,
Dave
Not me. They sell well on eBay or elsewhere.

Scanners are like cars to me. I have and will own many in my life. I don't own many at once. (Though my wife would beg to differ.) Also like cars, these 'investments' don't appreciate, but you can get 'something' back for it when you want/need to upgrade.
 

dshively

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Dec 27, 2004
Messages
7
Location
Atlanta
Well, yes, I would be tempted to get the 325P2. I have an old Uniden 246 in addition to the 396. But I'm afraid the 325P2 would not receive the local simulcast system.

Dave
 

DanRollman

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Atlanta, GA
Well, yes, I would be tempted to get the 325P2. I have an old Uniden 246 in addition to the 396. But I'm afraid the 325P2 would not receive the local simulcast system.

Dave
It isn't really binary, the way your current scanner is (e.g. incapable of TDMA talkgroups). That is, the 325P2 will definitely receive the Cobb simulcast system, including the TDMA talkgroups, at least some times in some places. It's just that the SDS100 will do it better - it uses a different technology that Uniden specifically employed to handle simulcast "better." The SDS100 will miss fewer transmissions and overall decode and sound better than the 325P2. How much better? No idea - that's highly environmental and varies a lot from place to place. For some people in some places on some systems, the 325P2 is probably fine. For others, or in other places on other systems, it wasn't worth even trying to listen until they got an SDS100. Your mileage really does vary on this stuff.
 

dashteckguy

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Atlanta Ga
I have the 325p2 and 996p2, the 996 seem to do a lot better here in Marietta, I have purchased the SDS200 should be here tomorrow, will test it out- thanks!!
Eric
 

PapaG

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Hoover, AL 35226
I’am from Hoover, AL but currently working in the Atlanta area. My SDS 100 is doing a fantastic job of monitoring the various systems in the area.
 

dshively

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2004
Messages
7
Location
Atlanta
The SDS100 will miss fewer transmissions and overall decode and sound better than the 325P2. How much better? No idea - that's highly environmental and varies a lot from place to place. For some people in some places on some systems, the 325P2 is probably fine. For others, or in other places on other systems, it wasn't worth even trying to listen until they got an SDS100. Your mileage really does vary on this stuff.
Yes, I totally get that. That’s why I asked if anyone has direct experience on the Cobb system with those scanners. I don’t want to buy the 325P2 and end up with marginal performance. Like you said earlier, it might be better to put in the additional money for the SDS100. Not sure yet.

Thanks again,
Dave
 
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