Sorry, yet another "Is an SDS100 worth it in Mass" thread

raisindot

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Yes, I did search the topic but I didn't quite get the answers I was looking for.

Anyhoo, I live about 15 miles west of Boston in Framingham. I have a Uniden 436HP and a HP-I. Both pick up the MA state police trunking systems quite well, and the few P25 public service frequences I've found. But I never seem to pick up any of the Worcester simulcast stuff, even with a pretty good mobile antenna outside. I don't even know if there's simulcast stuff to pick up in the Easter MA region.

My question is: Given where I live, and a lack of a real huge antenna, would spending the extra dough on an SDS100 enable me to pick up simulcast stuff that my 436HP can't right now? Does anyone living in Eastern MA who has these two scanners noticed a significant difference? Thank you in advance.
 

JoeyC

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One doesn't need to be in MA to answer that one. If you can't pick up a system on the two scanners you already have, a SDS100 is not going to either. If however you said you pick the system up although with crappy reception due to simulcast distortion, the SDS100 may be of help to you.
 

jonsmth

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From what I've read from other posts on this forum, my understanding is that the COMIRS Trunk System is only active in Western MA. I live in the Berkshires and hear a lot of activity from all of the Troop B barracks on COMIRS via B-PTL-1 and B-PTL-2 on my Whistler modified PRO-668. I also hear Franklin County and Hampshire County comms on COMIRS. At my location in the Berkshires, COMIRS reception is far superior to the old MSP analog trunk system.
 

ecps92

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Correct on Western MA with 4 notable exceptions for the P25 simulcast issues, as they are all part of the ComIRS Core
a. Massport - Logan
b. Cambridge
c. Worcester
d. 700 MHz Metro overlay

The Eastern and Central MA 800 is all Analog, but for the OP he should Plan for the future.

Not having any of the newer fandangled radios, I can't help there.

As for reception from a distance, those days are long gone. Flame thrower systems are done
systems are built and designed for a needed area of coverage, going outside of that coverage is
what Mutual Aid Systems/Interops are for, or in the case of Worcester they can move to the Analog
Mass 800 Trunk Zones, but don't expect much, as they rarely [mutual aid only] go to those TGs

From what I've read from other posts on this forum, my understanding is that the COMIRS Trunk System is only active in Western MA. I live in the Berkshires and hear a lot of activity from all of the Troop B barracks on COMIRS via B-PTL-1 and B-PTL-2 on my Whistler modified PRO-668. I also hear Franklin County and Hampshire County comms on COMIRS. At my location in the Berkshires, COMIRS reception is far superior to the old MSP analog trunk system.
 

W1KNE

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The Worcester site on the CoMIRS system is designed to cover Worcester. In fact it's optimized to do so. So unlike the old EDACS system which could be heard almost into Providence, RI., the CoMIRS system is really quite limited to the city limits. In Worcester? It comes in gangbusters. Get outside of it, not so much. You're going to see more and more of this type of scenario with the P25 PII systems that come online as the years come along. .They are often now optimized to cover their area and not so much outside of it, unless needed.

As far as the SDS-100, it's generally a fantastic scanner for P25. It has a better decode than the x36 series and other models. My SDS-200 will pick up P25 that the x36 into the same antenna can't. The digital to audio converter is also much better in quality, so P25/DMR/ProVoice "sound" better on it too. Personally, I love the display on the SDS series. But I hate the VHF/UHF overload issues that seem to plague the line.
The newer ones seem to handle it better, as my 200 seemingly doesn't get the same interference my 100 does? YMMV
 

raisindot

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Thank you for your helpful responses. Think I will just stick with my 436HP for now, especially since the overwhelming majority of systems I pick up are standard UHF transmissions.
 

jonwienke

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Short answer:
If your current scanners can detect signal from the simulcast system (showing signal bars) but you hear no traffic, then an SDS scanner will be useful.

But if you can't even detect a signal, the system is out of range, and you'll need an antenna upgrade before a SDS might help. Get a detectable signal first (if that is even possible), then think about what radio you might need to decode audio from it.
 

wscranston

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Can confirm that I hear nothing on the CoMIRS here in Chelmsford. As an experiment I plugged the frequencies into my 2006 to see if I got any signal, and it never broke squelch.

If I take my 325P2 down to Logan, I can pick up the Metro 700Mhz site, but with massive simulcast distortion.
 

ecps92

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The individual P25 CoMIRS Zones are built to cover a specific area, and not much beyond.

The P25 Sites in Eastern/Central MASS are
a. Worcester was built to cover Worcester - unless on a big hill don't expect to RX outside of the City of Worcester
b. Cambridge was built to cover Cambridge - and it does, Quiet well and a little [not much beyond]
c. Massport - Airport and Waterfront [Cruiseport and Cargo terminals]
d. 700 Overlay - immediate areas around the 8 sites [Arlington, Boston, Milton/Canton, Quincy and Revere]
Even in Randolph or Weymouth reception is iffy as it was designed for fill in

But yet, no one has reported all the DOC sites that have come on-line to cover those facilities.
Likely because they were designed for On-Site.

Any of the member agencies needed coverage outside of their Primary, have access to "Wide-Area" TG's on the existing Analog [CoMIRS] system

As has been indicated in other threads [not just TRS or P25] the days of Flame Throwing Transmitters is Gone
Revere doesn't need to talk to/back from Burlington, that is what the Mutual Aid channels are for [Wide Area]

Can confirm that I hear nothing on the CoMIRS here in Chelmsford. As an experiment I plugged the frequencies into my 2006 to see if I got any signal, and it never broke squelch.

If I take my 325P2 down to Logan, I can pick up the Metro 700Mhz site, but with massive simulcast distortion.
 

djs9164

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I don't have an SDS 100. I do have a Whistler 1088 and living in the City of Boston I agree with this. COMIRS is very active where I am located Boston, Massport, and Cambridge are all recieved. . No Worcester or any State police reception. As far as I can tell all of the COMIRS sytem are simulcasts of whats on the Mass State Police with the exception of Cambridge, Worcester. Western MA and a few DCR talk groups the come in on phase 2. Most of the 800mhz and 700mhz for Boston are simulcasts for FM Conventional so you really arent missing much, even Massport PD is commonly broadcast on BAPERN FM.
 

garys

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COMIRS actually refers to the core of the system which controls the trunking operations. MassPort, Worcester, Cambridge all operate their own systems. They use the capacity of the Astro 7.1 system that the MSP owns.

The 700Mhz overlay provides extra capacity for the Boston and non SP users of the trunk. Some of that is a simulcast of conventional channels, but for example BFD has several 700Mhz Talk Groups that are not on either their conventional channels or the 800Mhz Zone 1. Most of those are encrypted, so you won't hear them.

There isn't regular use by the MSP on the Boston overlay. Nor will you hear Cambridge unless for some reason a unit affiliates there because for some reason it can't affiliate on its home system.

MassPort units do affiliate on the 700Mhz system fairly often. You will frequently hear MassPort PD 1 there as well as the FD Operations TG. Occasionally MSP Troop F Patrol 1 is on the overlay as well.

If a Worcester unit comes into Boston it won't be able to reach any of the Worcester sites, so it will affiliate with the 700 overlay. I've yet to hear that yet. The exception to that is likely to be LifeFlight which uses the "Worcester EMS Wide" talk group when it can't reach the Worcester sites. They might also pop up on the Western MA digital similcast.

DCR units are generally on the 700Mhz overlay, but I've never noticed that they are Phase 2. They are also on Zone 1.

Revere FD also simulcasts on the overlay.

As ecps92 notes, all of the P25 systems are designed to cover their respective areas, but not much beyond. MassPort seems particularly tailored to cover the airport, marine terminals, and other facilities. For Worcester airport they use the Worcester P25 site, but you might also hear them on Zone 8 of the analog system. Since I can't hear the Worcester site nor Zone 8 under normal conditions I can't confirm that. Someone out in that area no doubt can.

TGs are all set up so that there is no duplication so that they can in fact operate without interference.

I don't have an SDS 100. I do have a Whistler 1088 and living in the City of Boston I agree with this. COMIRS is very active where I am located Boston, Massport, and Cambridge are all recieved. . No Worcester or any State police reception. As far as I can tell all of the COMIRS sytem are simulcasts of whats on the Mass State Police with the exception of Cambridge, Worcester. Western MA and a few DCR talk groups the come in on phase 2. Most of the 800mhz and 700mhz for Boston are simulcasts for FM Conventional so you really arent missing much, even Massport PD is commonly broadcast on BAPERN FM.
 
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