Uniden BC355N for San Francisco Bay Area

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OdysseyDawn

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Did a quick search for ‘BC355N San Francisco’ and no results came up. Can I listen in on San Francisco’s PD, Fire, EMS with the BC355N? Any special software, equipment, programming needed? Thanks.
 

footage

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The BC355N is an analog scanner that isn't capable of following trunked systems. You could listen to the individual frequencies used by the City and County of SF, but you couldn't follow or scan individual talkgroups. Adjoining areas (Marin, Alameda-Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties) are now all on P25 digital trunking systems.

What could you hear? Some fire (San Mateo County and CALFIRE). Santa Cruz County (still VHF analog). The usual marine and air. Some business, though lots of business has migrated to DMR systems.

I wish I had better news to give you.
 

OdysseyDawn

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The BC355N is an analog scanner that isn't capable of following trunked systems. You could listen to the individual frequencies used by the City and County of SF, but you couldn't follow or scan individual talkgroups. Adjoining areas (Marin, Alameda-Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties) are now all on P25 digital trunking systems.

What could you hear? Some fire (San Mateo County and CALFIRE). Santa Cruz County (still VHF analog). The usual marine and air. Some business, though lots of business has migrated to DMR systems.

I wish I had better news to give you.
Thanks for the information. What scanner would you recommend for this region that’s cost efficient? At minimum I would like to follow SF PD and FD. Brand doesn’t matter.
 

OdysseyDawn

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The BC355N is an analog scanner that isn't capable of following trunked systems. You could listen to the individual frequencies used by the City and County of SF, but you couldn't follow or scan individual talkgroups. Adjoining areas (Marin, Alameda-Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties) are now all on P25 digital trunking systems.

What could you hear? Some fire (San Mateo County and CALFIRE). Santa Cruz County (still VHF analog). The usual marine and air. Some business, though lots of business has migrated to DMR systems.

I wish I had better news to give you.
Just did some more research and I came across the Whistler WS1065.


Will this do? Is there another one that performs better at a lower cost? Not that this doesn't seem to be a good deal but no harm in keeping some more $ in my pocket.
 

jonwienke

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Just did some more research and I came across the Whistler WS1065.

Will this do? Is there another one that performs better at a lower cost? Not that this doesn't seem to be a good deal but no harm in keeping some more $ in my pocket.
Definitely not. There are two simulcast systems in the SF Bay area that carry most public safety traffic:
  • San Francisco County
  • East Bay Regional Communicantions System
The only scanners that will consistently receive them properly are the Unided SDS100 and SDS200. Whistlers are particularly bad with simulcast.
 

OdysseyDawn

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My WS1065 arrived yesterday. Programmed it with Win500 and I'm listening to SFPD, FD, and EMS with it now. Worked right out of the box. Way to pass misinformation, man. If I took your advice I would've wasted money on a fancier scanner that I don't need.
 

footage

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Your WS1065 is working well on the current San Francisco analog trunked system, which is twenty years old and soon to be retired in favor of a P25 (digital) simulcast system. Right now the new system is used only at SFO, for fire training purposes, and occasionally special events. I think jonwienke is saying that the WS1065 may have issues following the new system when it is up. The transition is way overdue but rumor has it that it will be this summer or fall.
 

OdysseyDawn

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Your WS1065 is working well on the current San Francisco analog trunked system, which is twenty years old and soon to be retired in favor of a P25 (digital) simulcast system. Right now the new system is used only at SFO, for fire training purposes, and occasionally special events. I think jonwienke is saying that the WS1065 may have issues following the new system when it is up. The transition is way overdue but rumor has it that it will be this summer or fall.
Ah. Thanks for the clarification. I found out news of the future change to Project 25 (Digital) while doing my research and still chose the WS1065 because it listed these under its features:

  • Automatic Adaptive Digital Tracking - When monitoring P25 digital systems, instantly adapts the digital decoder to the digital modulation format of the transmitted signal, then analyzes the signal over 50 times each second and adapts to any subtle changes caused by multipath or fading. No cumbersome manual adjustments are required.
  • Multi-System Trunking - Scans most common trunked radio system signaling formats, including Motorola, EDACS, LTR and P25 trunked radio networks. Both talkgroup and individual call monitoring are supported.
There’s a couple more features listed that deal with Project 25.


Did I buy the wrong scanner?
 

trentbob

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My WS1065 arrived yesterday. Programmed it with Win500 and I'm listening to SFPD, FD, and EMS with it now. Worked right out of the box. Way to pass misinformation, man. If I took your advice I would've wasted money on a fancier scanner that I don't need.
You have wasted your money. The radio system your "new" radio works on is about to be replaced with a new system. Your so called new radios design is as old as the system you're listening to now. It's older brother was developed in 2003 as one of the first digital scanners by the GRE company and sold under the Radio Shack name. Right after that your radio was developed. I remember picking a few up for under a hundred bucks a piece when ratshack was going out of business.

When GRE went out of business Whistler bought their line of scanners and your radio was rebranded with some cosmetic changes.

Don't get me wrong your new radio was quite a performer and one of my favorites in it's day when Digital radio came into being. The fact it is still widely used today is a testimonial to to it's quality. When smartzone type 2 digital systems were popping up all over the country it's my opinion your GRE radio outperformed Uniden with clearer and crisper digital audio through that whole decade till I don't know maybe 2009 or so. It's hard to remember back that far.

Around 2015 Phase 2 simulcast tdma systems started popping up and are slowly becoming prevalent in our country. Newer radios were capable of picking them up but not well due to simulcast distortion secondary to LSM. Your radio is not capable of picking them up at all. The best way to hear them then was through professional Motorola equipment but that's expensive for the hobbyist. Your radio is capable of phase 1 reception but not always dependably and consistently depending on various factors like LSM.

The writing was on the wall for the scanner companies that they would have to develop a radio that was capable of receiving these simulcast systems dependably and consistently. Uniden and a professional pager unication have achieved success, Whistler has not.

The Uniden SDS series is expensive but is the scanner that performs the best on the newest systems out there.

Being new you might want to do some research on some of the members here on RR before you berate them. Tap-on on their usernames, see how many likes they have, maybe take a look at the most notable members page.

The person you accused of passing misinformation is the most likely person NOT to pass misinformation on this entire site.
 

OdysseyDawn

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You have wasted your money. The radio system your "new" radio works on is about to be replaced with a new system. Your so called new radios design is as old as the system you're listening to now. It's older brother was developed in 2003 as one of the first digital scanners by the GRE company and sold under the Radio Shack name. Right after that your radio was developed. I remember picking a few up for under a hundred bucks a piece when ratshack was going out of business.

When GRE went out of business Whistler bought their line of scanners and your radio was rebranded with some cosmetic changes.

Don't get me wrong your new radio was quite a performer and one of my favorites in it's day when Digital radio came into being. The fact it is still widely used today is a testimonial to to it's quality. When smartzone type 2 digital systems were popping up all over the country it's my opinion your GRE radio outperformed Uniden with clearer and crisper digital audio through that whole decade till I don't know maybe 2009 or so. It's hard to remember back that far.

Around 2015 Phase 2 simulcast tdma systems started popping up and are slowly becoming prevalent in our country. Newer radios were capable of picking them up but not well due to simulcast distortion secondary to LSM. Your radio is not capable of picking them up at all. The best way to hear them then was through professional Motorola equipment but that's expensive for the hobbyist. Your radio is capable of phase 1 reception but not always dependably and consistently depending on various factors like LSM.

The writing was on the wall for the scanner companies that they would have to develop a radio that was capable of receiving these simulcast systems dependably and consistently. Uniden and a professional pager unication have achieved success, Whistler has not.

The Uniden SDS series is expensive but is the scanner that performs the best on the newest systems out there.

Being new you might want to do some research on some of the members here on RR before you berate them. Tap-on on their usernames, see how many likes they have, maybe take a look at the most notable members page.

The person you accused of passing misinformation is the most likely person NOT to pass misinformation on this entire site.
Thank you for explaining. Wish jonwienke was a bit more thorough. jonwienke, my apologies. I’ll be in search for an SDS100. My WS1065 is defective anyways. What are the chances SF will go encrypted? Seems like the trend too along with going Phase II.
 

trentbob

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Thank you for explaining. Wish jonwienke was a bit more thorough. jonwienke, my apologies. I’ll be in search for an SDS100. My WS1065 is defective anyways. What are the chances SF will go encrypted? Seems like the trend too along with going Phase II.
Actually I'm on the other side of the country with no interest in California, I was just responding because of the post you made and I'm sure Jon appreciates your apology if he sees it.

Normally I wouldn't stick my beak in. So it looks like you're presently on a type II smartzone system. The new system will be a phase one simulcast system. The system isn't laid out in the database yet because it's not in operation except for the airport and fire training as was pointed out by footage.

It looks like the airport police dispatch is full-time encrypted. Fire service appears to be part-time encrypted. I'm out of my league here so I'm just going by the database.

Whether or not the system will be encrypted or not I haven't the foggiest clue. It certainly is capable of encryption.

It's up to the powers to be in San Francisco, all of this civil unrest doesn't help the cause. Once the system is up and running if it's easily accessed with methods other than a scanner that also could influence things but again I have no idea what's going to happen. It's best to follow your SF status thread in the California forum. I assume there is one.

Meanwhile your radio should work on the type II smartzone system but I don't know about any rebanding issues or other problems with the system your radio can't keep up with.

Good luck.
 

OdysseyDawn

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Actually I'm on the other side of the country with no interest in California, I was just responding because of the post you made and I'm sure Jon appreciates your apology if he sees it.

Normally I wouldn't stick my beak in. So it looks like you're presently on a type II smartzone system. The new system will be a phase one simulcast system. The system isn't laid out in the database yet because it's not in operation except for the airport and fire training as was pointed out by footage.

It looks like the airport police dispatch is full-time encrypted. Fire service appears to be part-time encrypted. I'm out of my league here so I'm just going by the database.

Whether or not the system will be encrypted or not I haven't the foggiest clue. It certainly is capable of encryption.

It's up to the powers to be in San Francisco, all of this civil unrest doesn't help the cause. Once the system is up and running if it's easily accessed with methods other than a scanner that also could influence things but again I have no idea what's going to happen. It's best to follow your SF status thread in the California forum. I assume there is one.

Meanwhile your radio should work on the type II smartzone system but I don't know about any rebanding issues or other problems with the system your radio can't keep up with.

Good luck.
A sincere thanks for your help and advice. Very much appreciated.
 

trentbob

W3BUX- Bucks County, PA
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A sincere thanks for your help and advice. Very much appreciated.
You know I've been following this issue you're having with the radio, even though you're able to get it back to normal you should just simply exchange it.

Hey with all of this police defunding business you never know, they may leave the radio system the way it is.

I don't think so because they are probably beyond the point of no return but...
 

OdysseyDawn

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You know I've been following this issue you're having with the radio, even though you're able to get it back to normal you should just simply exchange it.

Hey with all of this police defunding business you never know, they may leave the radio system the way it is.

I don't think so because they are probably beyond the point of no return but...
I was literally thinking the same thing yesterday about the defunding and them possibly scrapping the idea of upgrading. We’ll see.
 

trentbob

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I was literally thinking the same thing yesterday about the defunding and them possibly scrapping the idea of upgrading. We’ll see.
Well I'm really speaking off-the-cuff here because I have no idea whatsoever about San Francisco's build out of this system and I'm just speaking from past experience.

It would depend on how much work has been done so far as far as putting up towers, testing, purchase of radios, logistics, that's where the getting beyond the point of no return comes in.

I was thinking as I was looking at the system today for the first time and saw that the airport police dispatch was clearly full-time encrypted with the fire department being part-time encrypted that maybe San Francisco police want to be secret squirrels and they're going to encrypt the whole system, if you had bought an SDS 100 and then the system went into full service summer into fall you would be s*** out of luck.

I can't help feeling that somebody in your community out there knows all of these answers or that it is more common knowledge than this conversation is aware of.

Being out of the loop I have no idea but you may want to start sniffing around and asking on your Forum in California. There's plenty of insiders who are going to know if it's going to be encrypted or not or what the thinking of the police is. Until you know for sure keep your money in your pocket. Simply exchanged the radio, I believe there were 6 in stock and listen to your police fire and EMS which is what you were looking for to begin with. (y)
 

OdysseyDawn

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Well I'm really speaking off-the-cuff here because I have no idea whatsoever about San Francisco's build out of this system and I'm just speaking from past experience.

It would depend on how much work has been done so far as far as putting up towers, testing, purchase of radios, logistics, that's where the getting beyond the point of no return comes in.

I was thinking as I was looking at the system today for the first time and saw that the airport police dispatch was clearly full-time encrypted with the fire department being part-time encrypted that maybe San Francisco police want to be secret squirrels and they're going to encrypt the whole system, if you had bought an SDS 100 and then the system went into full service summer into fall you would be s*** out of luck.

I can't help feeling that somebody in your community out there knows all of these answers or that it is more common knowledge than this conversation is aware of.

Being out of the loop I have no idea but you may want to start sniffing around and asking on your Forum in California. There's plenty of insiders who are going to know if it's going to be encrypted or not or what the thinking of the police is. Until you know for sure keep your money in your pocket. Simply exchanged the radio, I believe there were 6 in stock and listen to your police fire and EMS which is what you were looking for to begin with. (y)
Yea, after the possibility of them going encrypted came to mind I decided to hold off on an SDS100 and stick with a replacement unit for the WS1065 instead. I’ll try to find any info I can on SFPD’s future plans. Hopefully no secret squirrels. *fingers crossed*
 

trentbob

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Yea, after the possibility of them going encrypted came to mind I decided to hold off on an SDS100 and stick with a replacement unit for the WS1065 instead. I’ll try to find any info I can on SFPD’s future plans. Hopefully no secret squirrels. *fingers crossed*
We all have our fingers crossed :)
 

Eng74

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For the Bay Area right now my go to radio is the SDS-100 and the BCD436HP. If I was going to buy one radio it would be the SDS. Work great on the EBRCS and SVRS. I have the SF P25 programmed but have not heard anything on it when I have been there. The one thing about San Francisco’s current analog trucked system is it does not go too far outside of the city limits.
 

OdysseyDawn

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I’m located between San Francisco and SFO. I have a scan list set up on the WS1065 for testing SFO’s P25. It picks it some things up every now and then but it’s all gibberish, can’t make out what they’re saying.

I’m about 5.5 miles south of the southern-most point of SF and the WS1065 picks up their trunked system just fine. Not sure how much further it can go, though.
 
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