Scanners that handle APCO P25 Phase 2 with Simulcast

natedawg1604

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When it comes to feeds, I prefer to use radios, dirt cheap and performance is second to none! All fed to 1 PC.

View attachment 114710

Back to the OPs topic, you would really want one of the SDS series if simulcast is a requirement, the others can be bodged to work but they are spotty at best.
I recently got myself a XG-25M, it's amazing. You can put 127 talkgroups in a scan list, and you can sit on a talkgroup and actually see RSSI & site info for the site your monitoring (unlike with Moto). I'm planning to get more M7300/XG-75M's like these ones, they are real cheap now days. Also the control head option is really cool, unlike the SDS 200 you can setup ignition sense and get 2 types of control heads (system with a full keypad or scan with a limited keypad). Also the main brick has a big option cable with numerous options such as audio for an external speaker powered by the brick.
 

mm

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Dec 19, 2002
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654
I have the bcd325p2 and i use it around Phoenix and Tucson Az. and Portland Or. and I have no problems with any of the TDMA systems in these states.

The only change that I made was using a Motorola xts5000 700/800 antenna and a xts5000 uhf ht antenna that is fed thru a small mini-circuits power splitter in place of the stock uniden antenna while out walking around and yes while it looks like a small version of MY FAVORITE MARTIAN, it works just fine.

I use my radio mobile in either my 4-runner on ground with a power splitter feeding a pair of roof mounted 700/800 and a uhf mobile antenna setup. While airborne in my companies AS350 OR BELL JET RANGER HELOS we use commercial aviation public safety antennas with no issues on any tdma systems and we have been flying/driving/walking these 325p2's for over a year now.

In the air I use a pair of cobham public safety antennas for 700/800 and uhf fed thru a similar power splitter and we have no issues with any monitored TDMA systems while flying around.

The trick with the 325p2 is to do the digital auto align procedure on each system being monitored but this is only needed 1 time as required for each system when moving to a new state and typically the radio just works great after the digi auto cal.

The 325p2 also has ALL other supported digital modes including some 217 MHZ TRUNKED DMR systems that also work without issues.
 

gmclam

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Fair Oaks, CA
I have the bcd325p2 and i use it around Phoenix and Tucson Az. and Portland Or. and I have no problems with any of the TDMA systems in these states.
I tried that too. When on a non-simulcast system, it worked good. But once I was listening to a simulcast system full time, I realized that I was missing a LOT of calls. I am impressed with the audio quality out of an SDS.
 

hill

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Dec 19, 2002
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Middle River, MD
While not a scanner the G4 I just purchased does a awesome job on all the P25 systems in my local area. No difference in either a phase 1 or phase 2 system the G4 just works. No missed calls and it passes all radio traffic on the monitored talkgroups. It also is a great.size. I am able receive my local radio system many miles outside the county. Works very well on our Statewide system also.

Programming is easy if your a Premium Subscriber to this site can just the download information.

Price of a SDS100, SDS200 or G4/G5 pagers are all over $600. If you can live with pagers limitations or else get a SDS scanner.
 

gfoust8

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Nov 27, 2021
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I do not travel with my scanner. I listen primarily to New Jersey Interoperability Communications System (NJICS) which is:
Project 25 Phase II
APCO-25 Common Air Interface Exclusive

I first got the the BCD536HP and it appeared to be receiving well but I was curious as to whether I was missing transmissions since the NJICS is a Simulcast system. So I got a SDS100 and have run them side by side.

In my particular case the SDS100 did not pick up anything additional and it was in synch with the BCD536HP. In additional the SDS100 did not make any improvement on some garbled transmissions (although these are rare).

I also recently picked up a BCD436HP from a member here and it also is picking everything up. Once again this is just my experience for my area.

SDS100 is for sale. PM me if interested.
 

mm

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Dec 19, 2002
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I haven't had any iq distortion issue with my bcd325p2 but mine is configured as an avionics setup with bandpass filters and a dual LNA feeding the 325p2 through separate antennas.

My 325p2's rf input is amplified and bandpass filtered for 2 splits in the 400 to 470 and 700/800 MHZ ranges and it is only used for TDMA USE and we monitor all of the Arizona tdma simulcast systems, phoenix, mcso,tucson etc in addition to all 700/800 Oregon systems that aren't AES256 and so far no issues with missing TG'S.

Another pilot had an sds100 that was tried but we find the sds is worse off in the helo environment especially on 700 MHZ even when used with the same 325p2 filter splitter arrangement and even when a second mini circuits splitter was used to feed both radios in parallel to compare performance.

With the sds we founds that in the air, mainly on 700 MHZ SYSTEMS our main flight management systems touch screen displays were blocking the sds100 receive in some of the 700 MHZ PHOENIX, tucson and Oregon tdma tg's which didn't occur with the 325p2 which was a surprise.


In my case to make the 325p2 really work the trick was to use commercial antennas fed thru a small mini circuits power splitter feeding a skyworks sky67151 .4 db nf lna thru bandpass filters then a 2nd MC SPLITTER going to the 325p2 and this works very well.

My only complaint with the 325p2 is the analog squelch which has poor resolution but for our use on analog FM systems we also use a WULFSBERG RT5000 STANDARD AVIATION TRANSCEIVER for our analog rx monitoring which delegates the 325p2 to digital use only.
 

bravo14

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When I had the 436&536hp back when they first came out. I tested the 436 while I was vacation visiting back home and they use phase l simulcast and some areas didn't pick up the tower at all. If I go by airport forget about it get anything within 2 miles or so with the 436. Than the sds100 came out I took the sds100 & 436 and went back to visit back home and went in same areas the sds100 worked great and 436 had trouble. My buddy looked at me and said how is that radio picking up Fire/Rescue and the other radio is not picking up anything I told him about the tower simulcast he was like ohhh guess they did that for reason. I said yes they did that for a reason.
 

blackbelter

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Feb 1, 2004
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Unication pagers are great tools for doing less for more ( quality of received communication vs amount) . I almost always use my G5 to monitor one system with up to 64 talk groups per knob position ( although i only monitor 10-15 talk groups at a time).The results are far superior to any scanners With no missed key ups or fading communication. You can however be creative in the PPS and program your receiver for different systems with assigning knobs/ zones. There are many discussions regarding this subject on this great fourm.
Thanks
 
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mshumeyk

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Dec 19, 2002
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Upstate New York
I also recently picked up a BCD436HP from a member here and it also is picking everything up. Once again this is just my experience for my area.
[/QUOTE
This discussion moved beyond the state of Iowa some time ago but it brings up many good points applicable to scanners and simulcasts so I will add one more comment. I am happy for those posters from whom the 436 and 536 work well on simulcast. However, those using them to monitor the NJICS as mentioned should keep in mind that the system is evolving, and changes to the system might cause problems for the non-SDS scanners down the road. If you are monitoring one of the simulcast sites, integration of a standalone site like Ramapo into that simulcast system might cause simulcast reception problems in locations between the former standalone and the existing simulcast site. Another change that could cause issues is addition of a brand new site or relocation of an i site to improve performance in an area as more agencies switch to the system. Or, if you currently monitor mainly a standalone site and that gets integrated into simulcast you may have issues.

The most serious problem with simulcast reception is analogous to the philosophical problem "Buridan's Donkey", the story of an animal that starves to death equidistant between two bales of hay because it cannot decide which one to eat. If you happen to be really unlucky and live in a spot with equal reception of more than one site the scanner will be completely unable to lock onto a control channel signal. I first experienced this on an upper floor in a hotel in the middle of the city of Atlanta with a 325P2 and 436. Thought I programmed the system wrong but nothing worked until a drove to the outskirts of the city where both scanners worked well. I have also found spots in the West Orange SImulcast area where this happends. If you go to the NJICS thread in the NJ Forum and check out the pre-SDS era posts you will see much discussion of the problem and solutions like putting the scanner in a paint can. The Uniden SDS and Unication radios do not have this problem. Good luck!
 
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maus92

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Annapolis
I do not travel with my scanner. I listen primarily to New Jersey Interoperability Communications System (NJICS) which is:
Project 25 Phase II
APCO-25 Common Air Interface Exclusive

I first got the the BCD536HP and it appeared to be receiving well but I was curious as to whether I was missing transmissions since the NJICS is a Simulcast system. So I got a SDS100 and have run them side by side.

In my particular case the SDS100 did not pick up anything additional and it was in synch with the BCD536HP. In additional the SDS100 did not make any improvement on some garbled transmissions (although these are rare).

I also recently picked up a BCD436HP from a member here and it also is picking everything up. Once again this is just my experience for my area.

SDS100 is for sale. PM me if interested.
I'm using a 536 in my office to monitor an 8-site P25P2 simulcast cell. It works well - in my office. On the road, it was missing many transmissions. Using a radio not designed specifically to receive P25 simulcast will have mixed results depending on the monitoring site's exact location. The SDS radios do not have this limitation as they work well in any location (within the system's service area.)
 

mws72

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Mar 30, 2002
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When I used to visit the University Hospitals in Iowa City, once I went up from the ground floor I would have same problem with reception on the Johnson County SARA system which I usually solved by decreasing the antenna size.
 
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