Revisiting the choice...SDS 200 or BCD996p2

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bobruzzo

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OK I have been watching some videos on using the SDS 200. And the simulcast issues after averaging it out on other peoples thoughts, lead me to lean towards the SDS 200. But I still have questions. I just bought a nice new BCT15X which is working perfectly for the purpose I bought it for. The SDS 200 is both conventional, (trunking) AND digital. So I really do not need another scanner for anything but digital. Most of the police departments in my state have all gone to P25, although there is still a ton of analog stuff to hear. I dont want to replace the radio I just got. So....is there such a thing as a DIGITAL ONLY scanner? Maybe go the handheld route? One that does just the digital modes? I am not completely ruling out the SDS 200. I only have room outside for 2 antennas. So my next question is what type of antenna would be best for the digital modes. It looks like most agencies are on UHF. My town is digital on 480 Mhz P25. So maybe put up another discone. I get pretty decent reception with the discone I have now.
 

bobruzzo

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If you look at my scanner rack you multiple scanners all have a purpose and I miss less traffic
Yes that is a good point. I have 3 scanners on my shelf that each serve a different purpose. I am looking to retire the PRO 2055 because it has a few issues and has seen better days. My bc700a is strictly for aviation. And the BCT15x, everything else. Like I said the SDS 200 has not been ruled out. Just trying to be efficient. I am a bit wary of the 996p2 only because even if I did get one and it worked ok, the way radio systems keep changing, I might have it a year then things change and reception gets bad. It seems with the SDS 200 that is much less likely to happen. But I am not expert! Those simulcast issues are not worth the risk.
 

sallen07

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So....is there such a thing as a DIGITAL ONLY scanner?

No there is not. "Digital radio" is an analog signal modulated digitally. So a "digital scanner" actually receives an analog signal and then decodes it, so it's an analog scanner too.

If you like your BCT15X and it's doing what you bought if for, then keep it. One can never have enough scanners, right?

The BCD996P2 is a great scanner ... based on what Upman posted it has the same analog front end as a BCT15X with the digital decoding stuff added. But as you know, it's not the best solution for simulcast; for that you'll want an SDS100 or SDS200.
 

bobruzzo

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No there is not. "Digital radio" is an analog signal modulated digitally. So a "digital scanner" actually receives an analog signal and then decodes it, so it's an analog scanner too.

If you like your BCT15X and it's doing what you bought if for, then keep it. One can never have enough scanners, right?

The BCD996P2 is a great scanner ... based on what Upman posted it has the same analog front end as a BCT15X with the digital decoding stuff added. But as you know, it's not the best solution for simulcast; for that you'll want an SDS100 or SDS200.
OK thanks for clearing that up! OK luckily I do have room to mount 2 more scanner in here! Alright so I am going to start watching videos and reading up on the SDS 200. I have 1/4 of the cost of it saved up already! Plus when tax refund money comes in I will have a bit more. I hate to spend that much money on a scanner, but I am very nervous about the simulcast issues of the 996P2 and issues than could occur in future with the way agencies change their systems.
 

R0am3r

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If you want something just for P25 simulcast, consider an alternative to a traditional scanner. I have a Raspberry Pi 4 with a $20 RTL-SDR tuned to a P25 system from a neighboring county. It receives perfectly.
 

bobruzzo

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If you want something just for P25 simulcast, consider an alternative to a traditional scanner. I have a Raspberry Pi 4 with a $20 RTL-SDR tuned to a P25 system from a neighboring county. It receives perfectly.
I would really need help with that cause I dont know what it is!
 

R0am3r

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A Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that runs the Raspbian operating system. An RTL-SDR is a software defined radio that plugs into a USB port of computer (e.g. PC, Pi) and is controlled with a software application. OP25 is the software you will download and install on the Pi. You will need some experience with Linux. If Linux is a foreign word to you, I recommend that you stick with scanners.
 

bobruzzo

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A Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that runs the Raspbian operating system. An RTL-SDR is a software defined radio that plugs into a USB port of computer (e.g. PC, Pi) and is controlled with a software application. OP25 is the software you will download and install on the Pi. You will need some experience with Linux. If Linux is a foreign word to you, I recommend that you stick with scanners.
I used to play with Linux for a long time actually but never did anything hardcore.....just simple stuff and maybe compiling a small program from tarball. I use Mint Linux now as an alternative OS. So that rtl-sdr is one of those USB dongle things you can buy for about $20?
 

jonwienke

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No there is not. "Digital radio" is an analog signal modulated digitally. So a "digital scanner" actually receives an analog signal and then decodes it, so it's an analog scanner too.
This is also why people who say a scanner gets great reception on digital systems but horrible reception on analog are wrong. You can't get digital reception any better than what the analog portion of the receiver can receive.
 

Ubbe

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This is also why people who say a scanner gets great reception on digital systems but horrible reception on analog are wrong.
They probably ment to say digital simulcast reception compared to analog and makes comparison of a SDS scanners superior digital reception compared to another scanner models digital reception of the same simulcast system.

They then compare the two scanners analog reception where the ear can much more easily differ between smaller grades of reception quality based on noise and distorsion and testifies that the SDS scanner in some cases have worse analog reception. That's why the late Paul Opitz recommended that you probably would be better off using another scanner than SDS if you had no simulcast issues.

When you hear interference and loss of signal strenght it is very obvious when monitoring analog systems but digital just keeps going until it gets very severe and then gets quiet and don't react and you don't know that you missed something if you didn't had another scanner monitoring in parallell. So you probably say that you have perfect digital reception as you hear no noise or interference mixed into the decoded audio.

/Ubbe
 

maus92

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If you don't need to monitor a P25 simulcast system, then you don't need a SDS radio. If your local jurisdiction is planning a new public safety radio system, it's likely to be P25 and simulcast, especially for larger jurisdictions / wide area coverage.
 

hiegtx

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If you don't need to monitor a P25 simulcast system, then you don't need a SDS radio. If your local jurisdiction is planning a new public safety radio system, it's likely to be P25 and simulcast, especially for larger jurisdictions / wide area coverage.
To which I would add:
If you regularly travel to, or through, one or more large urban areas, whether on business, to visit close friends or relatives, or simply for pleasure, you most likely will encounter a P25 simulcast system at your destination, or along the way as you travel. Of course, if you do not take a scanner with you on trips, then those would not matter in selecting a scanner for your area.
 

MisterLongwire

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I guess it all matters on location, since I have my 2 996XT's going, as well as my 7 SDS200's. Mind you all are using my stock antennas as my ST2 sits up on the roof unused. I have no simulcast issues, surprisingly for the HP2. I guess I am just lucky
 

radio3353

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So my next question is what type of antenna would be best for the digital modes.

There is no such thing as a digital antenna so you may eliminate that question from your search for a new scanner. An antenna is nothing more than a piece of metal designed to resonate at a specific frequency and to be responsive over a certain range of frequencies (I know this is a very simplistic statement. Antenna design is a very complex engineering subject.) An antenna could not care less as to how the carrier is modulated (i.e. digital or analog.) Therefore, when it comes to your antenna choice understand what you need like frequency range or directional performance. A wideband omni-directional antenna (like a 25-1300 MHz model) will be a compromise because it covers such a wide frequency range unless you are listening to just strong, local signals. If you have specific antenna questions I would direct you to the antenna forum.
 

baj76

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If you want something just for P25 simulcast, consider an Unication G4/G5....LOVE my G4
 
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