RS VS. GRE VS. Uniden

Status
Not open for further replies.

Drumnjim

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
32
Let me start out by saying sorry if this is the wrong forum.

I finally bought a digital scanner and went with the PRO-96 because I have always been a fan of RS scanners. I am still in the grace period of this scanner and want to make sure I made the right choice since there is many options for the same price out there. I am looking for some suggestions comments and just general feed back if this is the best option for the future IE 700mhz and digital trunking in general.
 

Airdorn

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
428
Didn't you hear? All the coolios are going GRE now.....
 

Drumnjim

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
32
Well then someone save me what is my best option? I know crap about digital scnner since I have always been stuck in the analog world.
 

n4yek

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2004
Messages
2,479
Location
Newport, Tennessee
GRE's PSR-500 is the upgrade of the Pro-96. Has lots of high remarks from everyone on here.
Seems to have the best digital audio of all the scanners, I like my Uniden 396T for other reasons, most don't like the digital audio from it though. I don't mind the audio I receive on mine, I just like my scanner.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
6,347
Location
Dallas, TX
Drumnjim said:
Well then someone save me what is my best option? I know crap about digital scnner since I have always been stuck in the analog world.
If you're thinking about the future, as in 700mhz trunking (in your first post), then the Pro-96 is a non-starter. Using software, you can "open" it up to receive in that band, but it's not designed to trunk-track there, & there's no way to update that. The scanner is not designed to allow firmware updates.

Probably, if you want a handheld, the GRE PSR500 has an edge at the moment, at least for certain 'problem' systems. I'm basing that on reading others comments, as there are no systems of the type that generate the most complaints in my area at this time. I own both a Uniden BCD396T & a GRE PSR500. Both have good points & drawbacks. For the systems that I monitor, I can't give either scanner a clear edge for digital decoding. But there's very little digital trunking in this area at present.

Personally, I prefer the 396, but the 500 includes NAC decoding, which I wanted for APCO-25 (digital) on conventional frequencies (Tx DPS is a big user of this form of digital). The 500 is more sensitive, but also more prone to overload in a high-rf environment like a large metro area. I find I get better results, in town, with the stock antenna, than with a gain type. since all the repeaters & cell sites can cause the scanner to desense (get less sensitive) if it gets too much signal strength. Out of the urban area, I change to a different antenna & take full advantage of the better reception.

The 396, to me, has a better size & 'feel' than the 500, but that's subjective. It is less sensitive, but with the proper antenna (in town, I use the R/S 800mhz whip), I hear all the systems I can expect, based on their distance from me. The resistance to overload helps. I also prefer Uniden's memory system (DMA) over GRE's object oriented scanning.
 

raisindot

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
244
Drumnjim said:
Let me start out by saying sorry if this is the wrong forum.

I finally bought a digital scanner and went with the PRO-96 because I have always been a fan of RS scanners. I am still in the grace period of this scanner and want to make sure I made the right choice since there is many options for the same price out there. I am looking for some suggestions comments and just general feed back if this is the best option for the future IE 700mhz and digital trunking in general.

Get a PSR500. Best $500 you'll ever waste. It's so doggone cool in every way. I'm in Boston now, listening to P25s from Logan Airport and Boston University, LTRs in Waltham, Motorolas in Boston and Cambridge. Audio is fantastic, the interface (which eschews banks in favor of programming up to 1800 individual objects--frequencies, talkgroups, search objects--and then assigning these to one more of 20 scan lists--is hard to grasp at first, but once you do (particularly when using with scanning software) is easy to program. It also has 20 virtual "folders" where you can store different configurations, so you can store up to 1800 objects per folder, giving you something like 38000 possible total "objects." This is great for traveling, since you could simply load up a folder with the objects for a particular city and call it up when you're there.

Suzie
 

N1GTL

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Jun 14, 2005
Messages
735
Location
CT
Drumnjim said:
I am still in the grace period of this scanner and want to make sure I made the right choice since there is many options for the same price out there.
Take it back and buy the PSR500.
 

LEH

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
1,416
Location
Yorktown, Virginia
I have both the 500 and 396. The 500 has some nice features and GRE seems to be more in line with providing firmware upgrades on problems than Uniden currently is. However, based on the way I scan, I prefer the 396.

The twenty scan lists of the 500 is just too limiting IMHO, others will argue the point, but that is MY OPINION for those who want to argue the point. I also don't like having to hold the 500 in my lap while driving so it will scan and not lock up on the RF output from the car radio when sitting on the console.

The 500's front end is WAY to sensitive and as others have stated, it will lock up in a heartbeat when other spurious signals are near it.

Now if you want a scanner to just scan the banks with no special favorites, the 500 is the route to go. As you find systems and talk groups you want to listen to, the 500 just doesn't hack it. Example, working fire on a trunked system using three talk groups. 396, the fire talk groups can be in a sub bank, on the 500 they need to be their own scan list.

396 with DMA has 99 banks each with 10 sub banks. The 500 only has twenty ACTIVE (not V-folder) scan lists. Name your poison.

Now for some off the wall systems (like the Virginia statewide STARS system), the 500 does better (though I"ve heard rumors that the next 396 update will fix this, but no idea when that will show up). If you have EDACS Provoice systems, no scanner will work. Nor will you be able to hear encrypted systems.
 

skip21

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Messages
53
Location
Area 51
I live in Metro Detroit area. Lots of strong radio traffic here. I've never had my psr-500 "lockup in a hearbeat" from any spurious signal in the month I've had it. I read a lot about it but never had it happen to me. I mounted mine in a gps air conditioner vent right above my car radio. Its never locked up there either from car radio RF.
 

Patch42

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
165
LEH said:
As you find systems and talk groups you want to listen to, the 500 just doesn't hack it. Example, working fire on a trunked system using three talk groups. 396, the fire talk groups can be in a sub bank, on the 500 they need to be their own scan list.
Could you explain this in more detail? I'm not familiar with the 396 and this brief description doesn't bring me to an understanding of your complaint.
 

loumaag

Silent Key - Aug 2014
Joined
Oct 20, 2002
Messages
12,911
Location
Katy, TX
Patch42 said:
Could you explain this in more detail? I'm not familiar with the 396 and this brief description doesn't bring me to an understanding of your complaint.
To understand this, I think you need a clear understanding of how the Dynamic Memory Architecture (DMA) of the Uniden models differs from the Object Oriented Memory (OOM) model of the GRE models. First let me be clear, I am not going to refer to the GRE (or GRE built RS models) "V" folders. They are not part of the active memory and should not be considered at all in this explanation. Secondly, LEH, makes reference to banks and sub-banks in relation to the 396, terms that don't exist in relation to DMA.
  • Uniden BCD396T DMA:
    • Total of 6000 channels available in memory (equate to objects in GRE terms with a small exception) made up of talk groups (TG), conventional channels and trunking frequencies.
    • Memory arranged in Systems (close to banks in meaning) and Groups (close to sub-banks in meaning).
      • Systems can be assigned to any of 100 (0-99) available System Quick Keys (SQK). More than one system can be assigned to any one SQK.
      • Each system can have up to 20 groups assigned to it and those groups can be assigned to any of 10 Group Quick Keys (GQK). More than one group can be assigned to any one GQK. Groups comprise either TG's or conventional frequencies depending on the system type. There is an additional (default) group for every system which can have TG's or frequencies assigned to it that cannot be assigned to GQK (makes actually 11 groups for each system.)
      • Each SQK and GQK can be toggled on and off by key strokes. (Obviously to access a GQK, the associated system must be active.)
  • GRE PSR500 OOM:
    • Total of 1800 objects available, an object can be a TG, conventional frequency, trunking frequency or a system object (different from DMA).
    • The scanner has 20 scan lists that can be loosely associated with the banks concept.
      • The memory objects can be associated with one (or more) of the 20 scan lists available on the scanner. For example a group of TRS frequencies, TG's, etc. can be assigned to a scan list. (I think this is where LEH has a problem (as to a lot of other people) with the limit).
      • Scan lists can be navigated through the front panel direction arrows. Up and down within a scan list, left and right to change scan lists; however, you must be in manual mode for this to be done.
      • Scan lists can be selected using the key pad, in a similar manner as the DMA model.
LEH's point is that if you are following a fire where typically a fire incident command (IC) is assigned a group of 2 or more TG's on a routine basis, if you wanted to follow just that tactical situation (on say 3 commonly assigned TG's) you would have to have a separate scan list on the GRE model for those 3 TG's; whereas on the Uniden model, those 3 TG's could still be part of the TRS system as a whole but be isolated on a specific GQK, by toggling off all but that group in that system. Whereas most fires may be "worked" on a single channel, more and more such incidents are assigned multiple channels so that the IC can communicate with dispatch on one, arriving and staged/reserve equipment or personnel on another and perhaps even interior and exterior crews on separate channels.

Although lengthy, I hope the above clears up any confusion some may have.
 

wnjl

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2004
Messages
143
Location
Tabernacle, NJ
LEH said:
Now if you want a scanner to just scan the banks with no special favorites, the 500 is the route to go. As you find systems and talk groups you want to listen to, the 500 just doesn't hack it. Example, working fire on a trunked system using three talk groups. 396, the fire talk groups can be in a sub bank, on the 500 they need to be their own scan list.
I respectfully disagree here, I think the Scan list feature makes it a sinch to scan a few talkgroups at one time. Just push a couple of buttons or do it in software and assign a couple talkgroups to a scan list and then just activate that scan list when you need it and deactivate any others. And if for some reason you need more than 20 scan lists there's always the separate V-Scanner folders.

I also have nowhere near encountered the overload issues others have around here.
 

LEH

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
1,416
Location
Yorktown, Virginia
wnjl said:
I respectfully disagree here, I think the Scan list feature makes it a sinch to scan a few talkgroups at one time. Just push a couple of buttons or do it in software and assign a couple talkgroups to a scan list and then just activate that scan list when you need it and deactivate any others. And if for some reason you need more than 20 scan lists there's always the separate V-Scanner folders.
Just to cover areas I frequently travel to or through takes 18 SYSTEMs in my 396 with each SYSTEM taking anywhere from 3 to all ten GROUPS. Between the two main systems I listen to, York County's multi jurisdiction TRS and Newport News, I use what would amount to 18 scan lists.

Switching V-Scanner folders for LOCAL usage is a real PITA.

For me and the way I scan (you don't have to agree with it), the 500 is not adequate.

For me, nuff said on subject.
 

Patch42

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
165
[*]Memory arranged in Systems (close to banks in meaning) and Groups (close to sub-banks in meaning).
Are "Systems" similar to the GRE TSYS objects or are they just virtual collections of groups? For instance, can I put talk groups from different trunking systems into the same "System" or would they have to be separated according to the actual trunking system?

Systems can be assigned to any of 100 (0-99) available System Quick Keys (SQK). More than one system can be assigned to any one SQK.
How does one even begin to keep track of this? I have trouble with the 20 scan lists on the PSR-500.
Groups comprise either TG's or conventional frequencies depending on the system type.
So a "group" can have multiple TGs? (A friend of mine told me that whenever his company would start a new project, everyone would sit down and they'd come up with unambiguous names for all the components. Even if the name didn't have meaning other than as a label for that component, every component got a name that could not be confused with any other component. I think we should have done that at the start of this thread. :) )

LEH's point is that if you are following a fire where typically a fire incident command (IC) is assigned a group of 2 or more TG's on a routine basis, if you wanted to follow just that tactical situation (on say 3 commonly assigned TG's) you would have to have a separate scan list on the GRE model for those 3 TG's; whereas on the Uniden model, those 3 TG's could still be part of the TRS system as a whole but be isolated on a specific GQK, by toggling off all but that group in that system.
I think I understand, but it's hard to really visualize without having used it. For this specific situation it seems as though the "Favorites" list on the GRE could be put to good use. It also strikes me that a quick way to temporarily lock out all objects on a scan list might make for a useful feature. For instance, I have all the local fire frequencies on one scan list. With a couple key presses I could temporarily lock them all out, then go through the list and unlock the appropriate fireground talk groups. When the incident is over, turn off the scanner, turn it back on, and everything is as it was before. Might have to mention that in the GRE group.

Although lengthy, I hope the above clears up any confusion some may have.
I don't know about anyone else, but I enjoyed reading it. I hope you don't mind my follow-up questions.
 

mancow

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Feb 19, 2003
Messages
5,940
Location
N.E. Kansas
Best bang for the buck for a beginner in my opinion is the 396.

The 20 scan lists of the 500 have turned out to be a joke. In the end it's not much different than a PRO-96 memory wise.

But, the 500 is still a damn nice radio with the best receiver and best digital audio.

They are just too different to compare.
 

LEH

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
1,416
Location
Yorktown, Virginia
Patch42 said:
Are "Systems" similar to the GRE TSYS objects or are they just virtual collections of groups? For instance, can I put talk groups from different trunking systems into the same "System" or would they have to be separated according to the actual trunking system?
No, 'systems' are specific collections and would relate to a specific radio system.

Neither the 396 nor the 500 allow you to have two radio systems using the same 'system' or TSYS. Now you can associate multiple 396 systems or 500 TSYSs to a single scan list, these are just key assignments for where to find the radio system you want to scan (i.e., 396 bank 1 or 500 scanlist 1 could be your primary home system [or systems], key 2 your neighboring jurisdiction, etc).

You can always put a talk group in any GRE TSYS or 396 system, it just won't work as it is not associated with the radio system driving it.

How does one even begin to keep track of this? I have trouble with the 20 scan lists on the PSR-500.
Now there may be folks who use more, but I typically only use the first twenty or so systems in the 396. I have numerous other systems loaded and have a cheat sheet for what they are. Previous job had me traveling a bit and I'd use the other systems for locations where I travelled. Travel is a good use for the GRE V-Scanner folders.

So a "group" can have multiple TGs? (A friend of mine told me that whenever his company would start a new project, everyone would sit down and they'd come up with unambiguous names for all the components. Even if the name didn't have meaning other than as a label for that component, every component got a name that could not be confused with any other component. I think we should have done that at the start of this thread. :) )
Yes, I'll use my more comples system (York County's multi jurisdiction system) as an example.

I' have one system set up for York County. This system currently supports law enforcement,fire, schools and other services for York County, James City County, City of Williamsburg, and City of Poquoson. It also has security and other services for William and Mary and Kings Mill.

On my 396, I have a one system (key 1) with a group for each of the following (1)York County Sherrif's talk groups, (2)York County Fire, (3) James City County Police, (4)JCC Fire, (5)Williamsburg Police, (6)Willamsburg Fire, (7)Poquoson PD, (8)Poquoson FD, (9) special events, and (10)William and Mary.

On my 500, this would be either 10 scan lists (half the available lists) or maybe two (all PD in one and fire in another, but this does not give me what I WANT).

I do similar things to each of the other systems I monitor, though none are are complex (Newport News tries) as York County's.

I think I understand, but it's hard to really visualize without having used it. For this specific situation it seems as though the "Favorites" list on the GRE could be put to good use. It also strikes me that a quick way to temporarily lock out all objects on a scan list might make for a useful feature. For instance, I have all the local fire frequencies on one scan list. With a couple key presses I could temporarily lock them all out, then go through the list and unlock the appropriate fireground talk groups. When the incident is over, turn off the scanner, turn it back on, and everything is as it was before. Might have to mention that in the GRE group.
Very true. In the days prior to trunked systems and numerous TGIDs, this there might be a dispatch and fireground frequency (or like Dayton, OH, one does it all. Dispatch was a repeater, fireground a simplex of the repeater output). The on scene commander would run things with the fireground channel and update or request additional units on dispatch.

Today, as Lou described, there may be a talk group for interior operations, exterior operations (for large buildings, there could be more, one for each side), medic units (hopefully not needed), staged units, etc. Lots of channels, but less clutter on the real working talk groups.

Locking out talk groups (York County's system has probably 100 in use, Newport News about as many), is tedious. Favorites requires constant house cleaning to keep what you want, but would work (once you have the talk groups you want added).

I don't know about anyone else, but I enjoyed reading it. I hope you don't mind my follow-up questions.
Yes, thanks Lou.
 

Patch42

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
165
No, 'systems' are specific collections and would relate to a specific radio system.
Okay, so 'system' really means system.

Lou indicated a system could have up to 20 groups associated with it. Does that mean 20 talk-groups per 396-system or does 'groups' in this context refer to a collection of talk-groups? If the latter, is there any limit on the number of talk-groups per system?

Favorites requires constant house cleaning to keep what you want, but would work (once you have the talk groups you want added).
If you treat the 'Favorites' list as an 'incident' list, meaning it's always a temporary list meant for just the action of the moment, then it would be fairly easy to maintain. There is a global "delete Favorites" function that will clear the whole list in one shot once the incident is over.
 

loumaag

Silent Key - Aug 2014
Joined
Oct 20, 2002
Messages
12,911
Location
Katy, TX
Patch42 said:
No, 'systems' are specific collections and would relate to a specific radio system.
Okay, so 'system' really means system.

Lou indicated a system could have up to 20 groups associated with it. Does that mean 20 talk-groups per 396-system or does 'groups' in this context refer to a collection of talk-groups? If the latter, is there any limit on the number of talk-groups per system?
Yes, talk group groups are collections of TG's. And yes there is a limit to the number of TG's you can associate with any one TRS "system" on a 396T, it is 200 (250 on the 996T mobile version (and there are other differences)).

As for your question about how to keep it straight, several people (myself included) sort the "systems" into either areas or types. For example all my really "local" stuff are assigned to the first 10 SQK's. For things that I may want to listen to as I travel around the region here in the Houston metro area, I have assigned additional SQK's in the teens (11, 12, 13, etc.) to systems comprising those things. For common frequencies and wide use federal I have committed the SQK's in the 20's. And so on. Since I also tend to group the same thing on certain keys (e.g. County level LE, FD, EMS are on 4, 14, 24, etc.) it is not that hard to remember what is where.
 

Patch42

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
165
So, from the top down, systems are composed of up to 200 channels or talk groups. Each system can have up to 20 'collections' of channels or talk groups from that system. There are 100 lists that allow scanning of entire systems. In addition, there are 10 lists composed of 'collections', the 'collections' on these lists allowed to be from any system.

Assuming i have this right, I can see why someone used to this system would find the GRE a bit restrictive.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top