SDS200 SDS200 On Aircraft Bands

Ubbe

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Can you hear anything from the ATC if you fully open squelch? Try different filter settings to see if reception improves. People have had success with the Invert filter setting for the VHF airband.

/Ubbe
 

qcatisvis10

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Well, just for kicks, I removed the Icom A23 transceiver BNC antenna and put it on the SDS100 with bnc to sma adapter. Squelch is always turned to the next setting above breaking squelch.

The reception improved dramatically on the SDS100 for Airband but it is still vastly inferior to the Icom A23 transceiver for clarity and noise. It is maybe 2" longer than the SDS100 rubber ducky but much thicker.

I'm able to hear transmissions from the airport that is 7.5 NM away now, but the SDS100 has way more noise on the frequency when it breaks squelch than the Icom A23. At least I can hear the tower and airplanes now when they are practicing approaches.

I just ordered another A23 antenna from a pilot supply house since it appears to receive 800 MHz extremely well too. They are thicker than the 15-16" antennas but 1/2 the length and extremely high quality because they are made for airport linesmen.

The Icom will be what I keep in my flight bag for safety and clarity, its 20 years old but still good.

I just expected more from a digital SDR scanner. My RTLSDR dongles that I bought from FlightAware pick up Airband with the same clarity as the SDS100. Believe it or not, Morse code is still used to identify that you have tuned in the appropriate navigation frequency and that is valid still. The morse code is printed in dashes and dots for each navigation aid on the charts (hardly anybody bothers unless they are in the middle of an examination).

For digital reception, I couldn't be more pleased with the SDS100, it is a great radio.
 

jonwienke

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It's probably more of an EQ issue than anything else. Digital reception can't be better than analog reception, because digital is decoded from analog waveforms.
 

qcatisvis10

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Thanks for everyone's suggestions. It might be EQ, but its probably not fair to compare it to a dedicated purpose transceiver. Your point about digital is well taken, I realize logic wave forms aren't truly square, I just expected more post-processing in firmware.
 

Ubbe

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I just expected more from a digital SDR scanner. My RTLSDR dongles that I bought from FlightAware pick up Airband with the same clarity as the SDS100.
The receiver chip in SDS100 and RTL-SDR are more or less of the same performance. The difference are that with the SDS100 you get the computer, display and keyboard in one little neat unit and a much easier to handle user interface than DSD, FMP, or whatever you use, where you can avoid systems and channels with ease and change scanning groups and favorite lists and have a huge database to choose from. But receive wise a $10 SDR dongle are pretty much equal to a SDS100's receiver.

/Ubbe
 

ratboy

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I don't listen to Airband at all really, but when I got my first SDS200 and tested it out, it was obviously inferior to just about any other radio I put it up against on VHF anything. Rail? A joke. Air, worse than rail. Businesses? About 30% of what my PSR-500 hears. I watch trains at one spot a lot and the local WX transmitter close by kills the SDS200 on anything but UHF and above. The SDS200's stay home now, the Yaesu VX-170 is my railband go to.
 

toad99

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I see that your ABC station in Toledo is on channel 13. This would cause serious sensitivity issues with the SDS200, 536, and 996XT radios, especially on air band and probably any other VHF frequencies.
 

jonwienke

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I pick up aircraft over Lewisburg PA in Virginia with the SDS and x36 scanners.
 

JimD56

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Side by Side with all parameters equal my BCT15x receives much better than my SDS200 on VHF Air, Mil Air, Mil/Fed Ground VHF-UHF, and local UHF. I use my SDS200 for 800-900mhz Trunking ONLY (Simulcast) and my BCT15x for Conventional. My BCD996P2's I use for 800-900mhz trunking non-simulcast systems and have not tried conventional on those up against the SDS200.
 

trailhiker73

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I don't have another scanner to compare my SDS100 with, but I'm able to pick-up New York/Washington ARTCC sites close to me in the clear along with the local Unicom frequency from a local airport and the approach/departure frequencies for PHL and ILG with the use of the Watson 801 antenna. I'm sure that I could mess around with filters to improve performance, but I feel that it works well if I'm listening and following with Flight Radar 24 at the same time.
 

R0am3r

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Side by Side with all parameters equal my BCT15x receives much better than my SDS200 on VHF Air, Mil Air, Mil/Fed Ground VHF-UHF, and local UHF. I use my SDS200 for 800-900mhz Trunking ONLY (Simulcast) and my BCT15x for Conventional. My BCD996P2's I use for 800-900mhz trunking non-simulcast systems and have not tried conventional on those up against the SDS200.
Does your side-by-side comparison have both systems (BCT15x and SDS200) on the same external antenna at the exact same time? I'm wondering how you configured your test. My experience with the BCD536 and the SDS radios show that their internal antennas are horrible.
 

jonwienke

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The testing I've done using a discone and Stridsberg multicoupler shows that the SDS radios keep up with the HomePatrol and x36 models. in the aircraft bands I haven't tested against a 996 though.
 

JimD56

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Does your side-by-side comparison have both systems (BCT15x and SDS200) on the same external antenna at the exact same time? I'm wondering how you configured your test. My experience with the BCD536 and the SDS radios show that their internal antennas are horrible.
Same Parameters, off of the same attic VHF/UHF Antenna, etc. Internal antennas were not used.
 

WX9RLT

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The testing I've done using a discone and Stridsberg multicoupler shows that the SDS radios keep up with the HomePatrol and x36 models. in the aircraft bands I haven't tested against a 996 though.

Does that Stridsberg multicoupler downgrade the audio quality/signal on airbands at all?
 

jonwienke

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Not that I've been able to notice. The biggest factor is the antenna. I'm using the Tram 1410 discone on a stand.
 

TailGator911

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My SDS200 keeps up neck and neck with any of the scanners I use for air band - 2006, 2035, BC125AT. I am also about 20mi from commercial airport thru city. Nothing bad to say about SDS200 and its air band performance.

Added note - Diamond wideband discone up about 20ft.
 

darkness975

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It's like the "great on digital but poor on analog" thing. Often repeated, but not founded in fact. I've done head-to-head tests between the SDS100 and the 436 connected to a common antenna so they are getting the same signal, and there was little or no difference scanning the same airband channels.
For what it's worth, my SDS200 performance on analog has dramatically improved with a better antenna. Especially in my area which is not the best topography for scanning.
 

trentbob

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I also vouch for aircraft band reception on my 200 using a 150/400/800 ground plane. Unique to my own RF environment I found that I had bad modulation and poor performance initially on aircraft frequencies.

I have 2 regional airports near me and monitor all the Choppers in the area including 3 News choppers on air-to-air and area multicom airband frequencies. What I found in my unique RF environment was I had to apply ifx to every aircraft frequency and it made all the difference in the world. Clear and crisp and amazing range.
 
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