Uniden SDS200 and WISCOM

sfd119

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I currently have a BCD536HP that monitors WISCOM. I only monitor one site at a time. I do not have any simulcast sites. I often miss transmissions even with good signal strength, even while holding on the channel.

My question is: Has anyone moved from the 536 to the SDS200 on WISCOM? Has it improved transmissions on sites with good signal strength or is it still missing transmissions?
 

djeplett

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I have compared my scanners side by side and I get almost identical performance on WISCOM regardless of make and model. When I do miss transmissions, many times it is off just the Chilton site and in the past it drove me nuts. But what I found was the unit that was transmitting was in a bad location and my scanner would "blink" back and forth from scan to receiving a transmission, and finally I caught the dispatcher saying one day she wasn't able to copy the unit. So the site itself must have been keying and unkeying quickly as it caught some good packets and then lost some packets.

I usually have my Whistler WS1040 on WISCOM and it does great, but it doesn't decode the unit IDs correctly. It will always show an ID of zero. My SDS100 and 200 decode them perfectly, so it is nicer with them, but I only listen to WSP and statewide interop stuff, so I don't really care about the IDs. Plus, just like you I don't have any simulcast sites near me so the SDSs are overkill. I use them for Outagamie & Winnebago's simulcast system instead.

I would suspect intermittent interference of some sort near you with the control channel on whatever site you're monitoring. Have you tried using attenuation or IFX on the control channel? My advice is to investigate it further as the SDS200 is overkill if you don't monitor a simulcast site. The 536 is a great scanner and should receive WISCOM just fine unless there are mitigating circumstances.
 

sfd119

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It's not interference. It's happening on multiple sites as I roam through the state as well. My Unication hears everything fine along with my APX.
 

djeplett

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I've traveled with my SDS100 multiple times from home to Detroit and back and while in Wisconsin it's tracked WISCOM very well. I did have to manually cut the range circles down on each site in my favorites list as it would try to scan too many sites; even with my range set to zero. I've found the coverage ranges for each site to be a bit generous if you're mobile.

So when you hold on one close site it will miss transmissions? Are you hearing them on another scanner that's also holding on the exact same site?
 

sfd119

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My ranges are cut down so there is only one site at a time. It's enabled by GPS. I'm only on the closest site. I can even hold the TG and it will miss transmissions even with full range. The Unication G5 hears it fine on the same site.
 

sfd119

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Favorites list with the proper control channels, alternates, etc. My programming is not the issue.
 

djeplett

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Something is causing your radio to not open squelch and that's usually either programming or interference that's confusing it's decode of either the control channels or the voice channels when signal strength is good. What happens when you scan from the database? Has it always missed transmissions or only recently? I'm guessing it's VHF sites you're monitoring. Do you monitor any other digital stuff in the VHF range and does it do well on those channels?
 

sfd119

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It's always missed transmissions since Day 1. It's not interference, It's not programming, it's a crappy scanner. The 996 would do the same thing. The 536 was supposed to be better and the SDS200 is supposed to be better.

My APX radio works fine. My mobile radio works fine. My Unication works fine. I'm not really trying to troubleshoot this as I know it's not my setup.

I just want to know if people have better reception with the SDS200 on WISCOM only compared to the 536 since the SDS200 is more like a professional radio in terms of software defined scanning, you know?
 

djeplett

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Understood. The SDS200 is identical as far as programming to the 536. They both use the exact same Sentinel software. It's strength is in its ability to decode simulcast CQPSK. That's it. So I was trying to help you come up with solutions to your radio's behavior because the SDS200 should provide absolutely no difference in performance since you aren't experiencing simulcast issues. My fear is you would spend $700+ on another radio hoping for better performance when the one you have should do the job just fine. The last thing I'll suggest is if you buy an SDS200 make sure you can return it with no restocking fee. My experience says you will notice no difference between the two in your case.

Of course, I have to admit I have no experience with the 536. Only a lot of experience with GRE lineage radios, but the 536 is more advanced than those so it should track WISCOM just fine. Good luck.
 

jonwienke

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My ranges are cut down so there is only one site at a time. It's enabled by GPS. I'm only on the closest site. I can even hold the TG and it will miss transmissions even with full range. The Unication G5 hears it fine on the same site.
Several incorrect things here.

Location Control does not enable only one site at a time. It enables all sites within range based on location programming data, and the location provided by the GPS. That may be only one site, or multiple sites, depending on your location, Range setting, etc.

If you manually reduce range in programming so no site coverage circles overlap, then there will be dead spots where the scanner thinks no sites are in range, and the system will not be scanned at all. The site coverage circles need to be set large enough to overlap, even if that means scanning 2 or occasionally 3 sites when at the edge of their respective coverage areas.

Holding on a talkgroup won't stop the scanner from scanning multiple sites, if multiple sites are in range. You have to do a Site hold (Func, Dept).
 

sfd119

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I guess I need to justify everything here.

I have my scanner setup for the strongest WISCOM site based off my GPS location. Generally that leaves one site per county but yes, sometimes, there are overlaps. In my day to day travels, there's only one site active at a time. Maybe if I travel to another part of the State there would be overlap as there would be areas I haven't been to adjust as needed. There are no dead spots. I have fine tuned my scanning of sites for this purpose.

When I'm holding a TG, it is only on one site as I know the area I'm in is only receiving one site based on my programming. This isn't my first day with a radio or scanner.

Again, please I ask that this thread is limited to the discussion of a 536 vs SDS200 on WISCOM and not how I have my scanner programmed.
 

jonwienke

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You can't ignore programming when discussing scanner performance. And your comments indicate a lack of understanding of how some aspects of programming can affect scanner performance, specifically Location Control.

Holding on a talkgroup does not guarantee you're holding on a single site. And when scanning more than one site, it's normal to miss a second or so of the beginning of a transmission, if the call isn't being transmitted from all sites being scanned. If you have the system type set incorrectly, the problem can be even worse--the scanner may need a few seconds to correctly identify the digital audio type before opening squelch on top of the multi-site scan delay.

And the fact that many others can scan the same system without missing traffic also points to programming, rather than the hardware. Post it so we can see what is happening, and likely fix the problem.
 
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