Uniden's SDS200 Claim vs The Evidence

bberns22

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Uniden has claimed the following:

When it comes to receiving Digital Simulcast systems, which are becoming more and more widespread, the Uniden Bearcat SDS100 and SDS200 are the only scanners designed from the ground up for optimized reception of these systems. Since the latest updates, users report solid performance comparable to their expensive Motorola two-way radios. Other scanners, even our own other digital models, typically fail to meet the challenge of such systems. If you need solid simulcast performance, the Uniden Bearcat SDS100 and SDS200 True I/Q™ Digital Scanners are the only choice from any scanner manufacturer.

I have own dozens of scanners in my life and currently have both the 536 & 436 which have been collecting dust for the last 2 years. When I moved to Chester County PA a few years ago I found that these scanners were basically incapable of receiving the local Phase II law enforcement system with no less than 70% garbled transmissions
(when I lived in Philly it was somewhat better). Just noticed the release of the SDS200 and am thinking about it, so I went ahead and updated the 536 &436's firmware and database to see if anything has changed? Nope, basically un-listenable. The Chester County feed from radio reference is really terrible, actually much worse than what I receive.

I have checked out the YouTube videos for SDS200 vs other radios and found no supporting evidence that the new radios offer any improvement when it comes to the intelligibility of the signal for Phase II. Does anyone have, or can point to hard evidence that that the SDS200 is superior? Not asking for option here - asking for factual evidence. Yea I can run down to HRO and pick the thing up and return it if not satisfied, but I have better things to do with my time than chase a fools folly.

Thanks ---
 

sibbley

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OK, I know you stated you did not want opinions, but, here is my opinion anyway. Looking for others to give you hard evidence that the SDS series works, will not help you. Every location is different, it may work fantastic in Bucks County, but not so well in Chester or Montgomery.

Unfortunately, you are going to need to try it for yourself.
 

trentbob

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Okay so I'm familiar with Chester County Phase 2. I am in Bucks County Phase 2 on the lower end of the county.

Since Bucks County converted over to phase 2 in 2015, the x36, I will agree with you, for my system, in my part of the county, they were totally inadequate. Garbled, missed Transmissions and the latest firmware update did not help. Needless to say, Whistler radios don't work a lick.

The only solution for us was Motorola radios and unication pagers. That was it.

The SDSXXX does work on the Bucks County single site multiple Tower tdma Phase 2 simulcast system. It doesn't have the volume punch that the Motorola radios give and they are less than stellar on VHF and UHF which can be improved by the use of the filters but does not match the x36 or 996.

I must say, they keep right up with my apx 7000. The same goes for Philly phase 1 simulcast. No simulcast Distortion secondary to LSM.

If you have concerns buying the SDSXXX there may be some, but it's not going to be it's performance on P2 simulcast systems that are prone to simulcast Distortion secondary to LSM. They work. The claims are true.
 
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W4EMS

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The Phase II system in Chester County is a mixed simulcast by description although the control frequencies are different from each site so wondering if they have multiple transmit sites in each part of the county (East/Central, West Chester).
If they are truly simulcast SDS will almost always show a great improvement all other factors being equal.

Might want to go to the PA chat on RR [LINK] and see what/if others have to say. The forum has several threads on the Chester Co system that may be helpful to read to drive your decision. I can only say I travel not infrequently around the US and have found the SDS to be a very capable radio for both P1 and P II systems that the 436 was challenged on.
 

jonwienke

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I can say from personal experience that the SDS scanners do simulcast right. Link goes to recordings made with a SDS100 and a 436, both connected to the same antenna and monitoring the same system. The Washington County test results are particularly obvious.

 

mikewazowski

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Uniden has claimed the following:

When it comes to receiving Digital Simulcast systems

found no supporting evidence that the new radios offer any improvement when it comes to the intelligibility of the signal for Phase II.
Just a point of clarification, Uniden's claim concerns simulcast systems not Phase II systems which can be simulcast or non-simulcast.

If you're talking about P25 simulcast systems then yes, I have found a huge improvement. Systems that could not be received before due to simulcast distortion are now receivable. This includes simulcast systems that have TDMA talkgroups.

If you're talking about non-simulcast systems that have TDMA talkgroups, then the SDS scanners receive them as well as any other scanner.

The system you mentioned looks to have three simulcast zones. If you're having problems with one of those an SDS should help.
 

KK4JUG

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OK, I know you stated you did not want opinions, but, here is my opinion anyway. Looking for others to give you hard evidence that the SDS series works, will not help you. Every location is different, it may work fantastic in Bucks County, but not so well in Chester or Montgomery.

Unfortunately, you are going to need to try it for yourself.
That's not an opinion. That's a fact and it's an important one when working with something as nebulous as radio signals.
 

maus92

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Looking at the RRDB entry for Chester County, it appears that this system is manufactured by Harris (now L3Harris - another reorganization) and consists of 4 sites: 2 simulcast and 2 multicast - I'd have to dive into the FCC data to verify. In my experience, Harris P25 simulcast systems have been difficult to receive satisfactorily with Uniden x36 radios, but I'm not exactly sure why this is. When I converted to SDS series radios, I have been able to receive the three Harris P25 systems in my state extremely well - much better than with the x36 series radios. The Unication G5 that I own also performs well on these Harris systems. Interestly, my 536 receives our state's Motorola P25P2 system without any issues - at least from a fixed location monitoring a simulcast site. When monitoring the system while mobile with a Homepatrol II and 436, reception was not always reliable.

IMO, the SDS 200 will perform satisfactorily on the Chester County system considering that they work well with other Harris P25 systems in my experience, with the caveat that I don't know all the specifics of your monitoring location.
 
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maus92

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Quick correction on my post above: Chester Co. has 3 simulcast site and 1 multicast site.
 

bob550

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Does anyone have, or can point to hard evidence that that the SDS200 is superior? Not asking for option here - asking for factual evidence. Yea I can run down to HRO and pick the thing up and return it if not satisfied, but I have better things to do with my time than chase a fools folly.
First of all, as others have pointed out, radio reception has too many variables including your location and the antenna/lead you don't describe, to give you the "evidence" you request. Everyone's experience can be different. Your best choice is to buy an SDS200 from a reputable dealer with a liberal return policy, and thoroughly test it before the return window closes. Anyway, if I had one close enough, driving to and visiting an HRO wouldn't be the worst day of my life. :)
 

ResQguy

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Anyway, if I had one close enough, driving to and visiting an HRO wouldn't be the worst day of my life. :)
Here's the best part, you can receive Chester County, PA from HRO Wilmington's parking lot.
 

Jimco

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I have owned the 436HP and the SDS100. I can tell you that on a simulcast system (my home system is the Fort Worth Regional Radio System), the SDS scanners are far superior to the older HP scanners. I find the SDS100 to be very usable in my area. The 436HP was unusable. The SDS100 can't match the reception you'll get from a Unication pager (I also own a G5), but it's extraordinarily better than the 436HP.
 

KK4JUG

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I have owned the 436HP and the SDS100. I can tell you that on a simulcast system (my home system is the Fort Worth Regional Radio System), the SDS scanners are far superior to the older HP scanners. I find the SDS100 to be very usable in my area. The 436HP was unusable. The SDS100 can't match the reception you'll get from a Unication pager (I also own a G5), but it's extraordinarily better than the 436HP.
But how well does the G5 scan? Oh, wait! It doesn't.
 

Vinnie1224

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I am in Montgomery co pa and have a sds100 and Chester county emergency services comes in crystal clear . I use wide invert best for the 800 mhz s in my opinion.
 
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