What will I gain if I upgrade from a 436hp to an SDS 200?

Mobilman44

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
94
Hi,
As my other posts declare, I am a newbie and at this time my interest is in monitoring transmissions from emergency services, etc. in my area. I live in north central Harris County (just north of Houston) and a few miles south of Montgomery County in Texas.

I currently have a BCD436HP, connected to an attic mounted OmniX Scanner Base Antenna. I'm "OK" with what I'm receiving, but I'm fairly certain I could do much better. The good folks on this forum (and other resources) recommend the SDS200 as an improvement, and I'm on considering one in the near future.

But my obvious question is, what benefits will I see with the SDS200 that I don't already have?
 

Ubbe

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
6,096
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
But my obvious question is, what benefits will I see with the SDS200 that I don't already have?
You can monitor simulcast system much easier and you will get a color display that can be configured as you like with as much or less info as you seem fit. If the SDS200 have been tweaked like the SDS100, then it will have half the scan speed of your 436 and the 436 have generally a better receiver that can handle interferencies better than what the SDS200 can muster. You probably need to reserve time to test different filter settings in the SDS200 to make it receive more like the 436. It all depends of how the situation looks like at your place with broadcast and cellular transmitters and nearby radio towers that might be too close to you. You only live once so try it out, while you keep your 436, and if you don't like it then sell it and you wouldn't loose much in the process.

/Ubbe
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
9,597
I'm "OK" with what I'm receiving, but I'm fairly certain I could do much better.
In what regard? Unless you're having serious problems with simulcast sites I don't see any big advantage other than whistles & bells. Otherwise I think the BCD436HP is a better receiver overall. The SDS series can introduce a whole list of new problems.
 
Last edited:

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
8,904
Location
Dallas, TX
Hi,
As my other posts declare, I am a newbie and at this time my interest is in monitoring transmissions from emergency services, etc. in my area. I live in north central Harris County (just north of Houston) and a few miles south of Montgomery County in Texas.

I currently have a BCD436HP, connected to an attic mounted OmniX Scanner Base Antenna. I'm "OK" with what I'm receiving, but I'm fairly certain I could do much better. The good folks on this forum (and other resources) recommend the SDS200 as an improvement, and I'm on considering one in the near future.

But my obvious question is, what benefits will I see with the SDS200 that I don't already have?
The biggest change you'd see is much better performance on the multiple simulcast sites in your area:
1630954589659.png
1630954628265.png
Granted, not all of those sites would be in range of your location, and some of them probably carry talkgroups that are of no interest to you. But simulcast sites abound in TxWARN, the regional system that covers your area.

The 436HP is a somewhat better receiver on bands other than the 700 & 800MHz that dominate TxWARN. That is more noticeable on Vhf-high. The SDS series scanners also have the capability to use the site NAC, which can be aide if two or more sites in range share a specific frequency. But you likely would find that, using the SDS200 (or SDS100), you are hearing more traffic, at better clarity, for those talkgroups that reside on one, or more, of the simulcast sites in range of your location.
 

natedawg1604

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
2,129
Location
Colorado
If you're mainly monitoring from home, consider getting a computer-based bluetail receiver or (for a lot cheaper) a few $20 RTL dongles and decoding software like DSD+ Fastlane, SDRTrunk or OP-25 (linux based).

If you need to monitor Simulcast regularly, the SDS100 will be definitely help a lot. HOWEVER, I would only buy the SDS if you're gonna use it while traveling or out-and-about. If you're only planning to use it at home, save your money and consider some computer-based options. The cool thing with SDR software is you can setup multiple instances of the software with multiple dongles, and monitor multiple systems/talkgroups simultaneously. In other words, you can add multiple radios for a tiny faction of the cost of buying another hardware radio.
 

Mobilman44

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
94
I think where I goofed was buying the BCD436 Mobile unit as opposed to the BCD536 Stationary one. I don't believe I've ever taken the unit outside my hobby room, and have it hooked up to the attic antenna and two external speakers. So this all translates to a difficult to work with portable unit (as it is attached to external stuff) whereas a desk mounted unit would be (to me) much easier to work with.
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
9,597
I think where I goofed was buying the BCD436 Mobile unit as opposed to the BCD536 Stationary one. I don't believe I've ever taken the unit outside my hobby room, and have it hooked up to the attic antenna and two external speakers. So this all translates to a difficult to work with portable unit (as it is attached to external stuff) whereas a desk mounted unit would be (to me) much easier to work with.

The BCD436HP hand-held scanner requires the same number and type of connections as the BCD536HP. But if you're looking for an excuse to buy another scanner or a new scanner you don't need one. Just do it!
:)
 

bearcatrp

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
932
Location
Central Mn
I have no regrets selling my 436 and getting the SDS200. I like a desktop model. Charging/changing batteries sucks. Hooked up to a good UPS and runs when power goes out. Nice screen I don’t have to squint to see. I have 4 simulcast sites not far from me. Pick up more traffic than my 436. As was suggested, get one, try it, sell it if it doesn’t work out. Will sell fast without losing much. I did get I Icom R30 for my portable needs. No way would I touch a SDS100 with the cold solder joint issue.
 

Mobilman44

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
94
As I wrote elsewhere, yesterday I ordered the SDS200 from Bearcat Warehouse - the only place that I could find that had them in stock. The price was right, and that is where I bought the 436 three years ago.

Having the portable hooked up to an external (attic) antenna, power supply, and external speakers makes it very awkward for me to "play with", especially with the small screen and my 77 year old eyesight. So just the fact the new unit has a large screen with more info and is a desk unit should make a big difference to me.

I'm a long time Ebay buyer/seller so if/when the time comes to sell, it won't be a problem.

Thanks all for your advice and input!
 

werinshades

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
3,905
Location
Chicago , IL
As I wrote elsewhere, yesterday I ordered the SDS200 from Bearcat Warehouse - the only place that I could find that had them in stock. The price was right, and that is where I bought the 436 three years ago.

Having the portable hooked up to an external (attic) antenna, power supply, and external speakers makes it very awkward for me to "play with", especially with the small screen and my 77 year old eyesight. So just the fact the new unit has a large screen with more info and is a desk unit should make a big difference to me.

I'm a long time Ebay buyer/seller so if/when the time comes to sell, it won't be a problem.

Thanks all for your advice and input!
Good choice!
 

N4DJC

Active Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
602
Location
Upstate
As I wrote elsewhere, yesterday I ordered the SDS200 from Bearcat Warehouse - the only place that I could find that had them in stock. The price was right, and that is where I bought the 436 three years ago.

Having the portable hooked up to an external (attic) antenna, power supply, and external speakers makes it very awkward for me to "play with", especially with the small screen and my 77 year old eyesight. So just the fact the new unit has a large screen with more info and is a desk unit should make a big difference to me.

I'm a long time Ebay buyer/seller so if/when the time comes to sell, it won't be a problem.

Thanks all for your advice and input!
I had a SDS100 and sold it, just never carried it much at all. My SDS200 is a really nice scanner without all the additional connections needed for a handheld used at home. The SDS200 isn't that big of deal to move if needed.
 

PlayinMySkip

Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
Messages
14
Location
San Diego
I have both, and then some. Never a dull moment at my QTH. The way I think of it is this way, if one unit misses the call the other(s) will get it. My 436 is taken with me out in the mobile and works as it should, even though alot of my freqs are zilch because a few PD'S went encrypted. Otherwise my 2 SDS200's are always on and scanning.
 

Mobilman44

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
94
Ha, better I spend the bucks on the SDS200 than leave it to my kids!

Talked to "Phil" at Bearcat Warehouse yesterday, and the unit should be sent out today. BTW, I've found the good folks at Bearcat Warehouse to be extremely responsive and helpful. This is my second major purchase from them and likely not my last!
 

rbtf70

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
4
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
Bought my SDS200 from Bearcat Warehouse not long ago. No regrets.

I use it in my office, and the best improvement I have found is connecting to Ethernet and putting Proscan on my computer. Use the computer speakers and can display and control the scanner on the computer. And logging the reception is great for finding channels that are being scanned with little or no activity. Made a number of changes to my favorites after looking at the log.

I'm sure you will enjoy your SDS200. Think about Proscan. A good combination. They have a free 30 day fully functional trial that keeps bothering you to buy a copy.
 

Mobilman44

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
94
The unit is to be delivered tomorrow (Tue) right in the middle of the tropical storm. It shouldn't take but a few minutes to get it up and going, and I expect there will be a lot of traffic to monitor.

I'm gonna take "baby steps" in connecting the scanner to the PC, starting first with Sentinel which I recently downloaded.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
8,904
Location
Dallas, TX
The unit is to be delivered tomorrow (Tue) right in the middle of the tropical storm. It shouldn't take but a few minutes to get it up and going, and I expect there will be a lot of traffic to monitor.

I'm gonna take "baby steps" in connecting the scanner to the PC, starting first with Sentinel which I recently downloaded.
Don’t forget that you can give your new scanner a jump start by using one or more of the Favorites lists from your 436HP. Then you can work on tweaking one of them, or make a new one, to take advantage of the capabilities of the SDS200.
 

Mobilman44

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
94
Well, just out of the box the scanner impressed me with the additional coverage. I didn't have an adaptor on hand for the attic antenna, so used the one supplied with the scanner. Man, it works really well. I also have yet to plug in the external speakers, for the one in the unit is very clear.
 
Top