Scanner Advice - NCC Delaware and Delaware County PA

Strainr

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Hi all - I used to be a volunteer EMT years ago and lately (after working from home the last several months) I've gotten a renewed interest in scanning and listening to fire and EMS channels. I've been reading a lot about the current models of scanners but I'm really interested in hearing from locals who are using these devices to listen to frequencies in New Castle County as well as Delaware County in PA. I was initially researching the BCD436HP but lately I've been reading more about the SDS100.

It seems like the SDS100 is potentially the best in class right now, but I've read in some places that outside of simulcast digital transmissions it's actually lacking. The BCD436HP seems very capable as well, but I know it doesn't handle simulcasts.

Are those the right models to be looking at? Does anyone have different recommendations? Is simulcasting an issue in New Castle County and/or Delaware County that would require the SDS100? Are we going that direction that having the SDS would be beneficial? For reference I live off Naamans Road, very close to the PA line. I'd love real world feedback about what you're all experiencing.

Oh and one last question - I'm not sure that I really understand the different upgrades that are available such as ProVoice, DMR or NXDN - are any of those required in this area? How can you tell if you need them?

Thanks very much in advance for any insight and advice you can provide!!!
 
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phillydjdan

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If you absolutely want a "scanner", go with a Uniden SDS series scanner. It will pretty much be future-proof for the entire area unless an agency goes encrypted. For now you won't need to worry about NXDN or DMR, but it's good that you have the flexibility to upgrade later if needed.
 

Strainr

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If you absolutely want a "scanner", go with a Uniden SDS series scanner. It will pretty much be future-proof for the entire area unless an agency goes encrypted. For now you won't need to worry about NXDN or DMR, but it's good that you have the flexibility to upgrade later if needed.
I appreciate your feedback, I know there are some apps and online feeds but they don't really cover everything I'm interested in. Outside of a dedicated scanner, are there other devices I should consider or that you'd recommend?
 

trap5858

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Monitoring public safety has gotten complicated to say the least- a variety of bands, frequencies and emission types keep the scanner industry alive but in major metropolitan areas like New Castle County and the state of Delaware you would do best as Dan said with an SDS series scanner.
 

trailhiker73

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Awhile back, I found this proposal for the system upgrade to a P25 Phase 1 system which shared that NCC Simulcast will be upgraded to 15 simulcast cells! That would probably be a good reason to purchase an SDS unit. With regard to NXDN or DMR, I'm only tracking FleetCall (NXDN) and Mid-Atlantic Digital Radio Network (DMR), and I'm sure that you can find other industries that utilize DMR and NXDN.
 

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phillydjdan

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Your other options are a Unication G4 or G5 pager or a Motorola radio programmed to not transmit. That's where things can get complicated. Unication pagers only scan P25 or DMR. They currently do NOT scan Smartzone systems, which is the type of system Delaware currently uses. The G4 is a single band unit and the G5 is a dual band unit, which means you are limited to those bands you choose (versus the scanner which scans all bands). A Motorola radio would certainly perform the best, but unless you shell out several thousand dollars you are still stuck with one band. The region seems to be slowly getting on the same page (700 MHz P25 phase 2), so a pager would eventually cover the majority of public safety. Delco is likely moving there in a few years. Delaware is likely to upgrade to P25 Phase 1 or 2. Just about everyone else around you uses 700 or 800 MHz in some way. See how things start to get complicated? The SDS would cover almost any band or trunking protocol you would likely want to scan. There are disadvantages, like LSM distortion, but from my trusted sources the SDS series handles that issue considerably better than any other consumer scanner out there. Just my 2 cents.
 

Strainr

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Thanks everyone, I appreciate all of the replies! I didn’t consider the Unication options, that’s a good suggestion but agree - it’s definitely much more complicated than when I was into it years ago!

it sounds like the consensus is the SDS though. I appreciate the confirmation on that!
 

de784

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Awhile back, I found this proposal for the system upgrade to a P25 Phase 1 system which shared that NCC Simulcast will be upgraded to 15 simulcast cells! That would probably be a good reason to purchase an SDS unit. With regard to NXDN or DMR, I'm only tracking FleetCall (NXDN) and Mid-Atlantic Digital Radio Network (DMR), and I'm sure that you can find other industries that utilize DMR and NXDN.
Interesting article thanks for sharing
 

Strainr

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Awhile back, I found this proposal for the system upgrade to a P25 Phase 1 system which shared that NCC Simulcast will be upgraded to 15 simulcast cells! That would probably be a good reason to purchase an SDS unit. With regard to NXDN or DMR, I'm only tracking FleetCall (NXDN) and Mid-Atlantic Digital Radio Network (DMR), and I'm sure that you can find other industries that utilize DMR and NXDN.
Are there still discussions of going this direction in Delaware?

With regard to your tracking FleetCall and the Mid-Atlantic Digital Radio Network on DMR what kinds of things are you able to hear? Is it primarily business type use?
 

maus92

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Yup, good document. It pretty much confirms that the system upgrade will be P25 Phase 1 vs. Phase 2 - Phase 2 would have required more tower sites. Also confirms that most IR site will be converted to simulcast sub-sites in New Castle County, and that Wilmington's IR will become an ASR. Sometime in 2022 / 2023 the state will deploy a P25 overlay to begin the transition from SmartZone to P25, and will complete the project by 2024 - if all remains on schedule.
 

trailhiker73

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Are there still discussions of going this direction in Delaware?

With regard to your tracking FleetCall and the Mid-Atlantic Digital Radio Network on DMR what kinds of things are you able to hear? Is it primarily business type use?
It’s primarily businesses which include utilities, school districts/busses, and trash companies among other businesses. I haven’t been able to find any municipal users for NXDN/DMR in Delaware that I’m aware of.
 

maus92

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Some of the beach municipalities in Sussex county split their public safety onto the statewide system, and services / beach patrols on DMR. No hard and fast rule. I personally think it is a mistake to have the beach patrols on DMR, but I imagine a supervisor has two radios.
 

Strainr

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Some of the beach municipalities in Sussex county split their public safety onto the statewide system, and services / beach patrols on DMR. No hard and fast rule. I personally think it is a mistake to have the beach patrols on DMR, but I imagine a supervisor has two radios.
That's interesting, agree with you though, it doesn't sound ideal
 
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