Which scanner reveives P25 the best in June of 2020?

Status
Not open for further replies.

AAFC

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
105
I've had Radio Shack, GRE, and now Whistler digital scanners operating on the Minnesota ARMER P25 state wide radio system for close to 10 years now. I am SICK of the digital distortion and dead spots that I get all over town with these scanners. I know eventually the state (for sure the entire metro area) will be encrypted eventually but that will take some time. I didn't realize over the years that better options for receiving P25 have come to market. I was pretty much just convinced there was NOTHING that could be done about the poor receive quality. Recently I stumbled upon the Uniden SDS100 and the Unication G4/G5. It's hard to sift through the threads to get a real opinion on which one of these (or maybe something completely different) has the best receive quality on P25. I know the Unication is a "pager" with a basic scan function but the area I mainly listen to only consists of two police departments, and two fire departments along with a few state wide TAC channels occasionally. I've done all my own programming in the past so I should be able to figure out the programming on a new (to me) platform with a short learning curve.

If you were in my shoes, what scanner (or voice pager) would you buy today? And maybe a short statement why?

Thanks in advance
 

Reconrider

Active Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
1,392
Location
EST
Have the trx-1 and the sds100. Both do great on my simulcast state system.
With that said, if you have issues getting reception, it's an antenna issue not a scanner issue.

The digital distortion happens even to me with my trx-1 and sds100 with a p25 system maybe 10 miles away - 1 antenna that's outside and the other that's inside(stock sds100 and larson 144/440 dual band nmo for trx-1).

If your state system is simulcast, try the sds100/sds200. It's a bit pricey but well worth it i think and I've only had mine for two weeks.
 

AAFC

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
105
Have the trx-1 and the sds100. Both do great on my simulcast state system.
With that said, if you have issues getting reception, it's an antenna issue not a scanner issue.

The digital distortion happens even to me with my trx-1 and sds100 with a p25 system maybe 10 miles away - 1 antenna that's outside and the other that's inside(stock sds100 and larson 144/440 dual band nmo for trx-1).

If your state system is simulcast, try the sds100/sds200. It's a bit pricey but well worth it i think and I've only had mine for two weeks.
I apologize, I should have been more clear. It's simulcast distortion that I am suffering from in my area.

I've played with many different types of antennas.... store bought and homemade. It's not that I have low signal strength, I have too much signal from too many towers within my area broadcasting the same signal.

Thanks for the reply.

What you're experiencing is called Simulcast Distortion

The only scanners specifically designed to overcome that are the SDS series.

The Unication pagers also work but they're not scanners
Yes, simulcast distortion is absolutely my problem.

The SDS series is made to overcome this problem... but from what I've read, even though the Unication is technically a voice pager with scanner capabilities, it handles simulcast distortion EVEN better than the SDS series scanners. I am just wonder if this is true, or just internet hype? lol.

Thank you for the reply.
 

Reconrider

Active Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
1,392
Location
EST
It's simulcast distortion that I am suffering from in my area.

It's not that I have low signal strength, I have too much signal from to many towers within my area broadcasting the same signal.
Thanks for the reply.
I don't know much about the settings on most scanners, but from the videos I've watched for some - you can use the attenuator and change the signal strength so the scanner picks up less, or blocks some out, i think that's how it's put.
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
10,244
Location
Macomb Twp, Michigan
While it is possible for earlier generation P25 digital scanners to work very well, even in some challenging simulcast system environments, I no longer recommend them unless you have an opportunity to try/test them for your particular needs and confirm they work for you. My home in North Macomb County, Michigan is one of those places. But using them in a mobile in the same area they do not work very well, especially while moving.

I finally purchase a SDS200 recently and I highly recommend it if it's in your budget. I advised one of my buddies down in Florida and he bought one last week from Scanner Master and he like's it so much he ordered his second one today!

It's not only an issue of overcoming simulcast problems, there are other features that make the SDS series a better value.

Buy once :cry: Cry Once :)
 

AAFC

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
105
I don't know much about the settings on most scanners, but from the videos I've watched for some - you can use the attenuator and change the signal strength so the scanner picks up less, or blocks some out, i think that's how it's put.
Yeah, I've tried all that..... I've been trying to tune these scanners on p25 in my area for almost 10 years on a regular basis. The simulcast distortion in my area is pretty bad. I have 3 antenna towers within 2 miles of my house, and at least 2 more towers a few miles further away... All on the same sub system broadcasting the same signal. There are areas of my city where the scanner gets SO confused with all the signals coming from every direction that the scanner won't even try to play the audio. In some areas I can physically remove the antenna and it still has too much signal.
 

AAFC

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
105
While it is possible for earlier generation P25 digital scanners to work very well, even in some challenging simulcast system environments, I no longer recommend them unless you have an opportunity to try/test them for your particular needs and confirm they work for you. My home in North Macomb County, Michigan is one of those places. But using them in a mobile in the same area they do not work very well, especially while moving.

I finally purchase a SDS200 recently and I highly recommend it if it's in your budget. I advised one of my buddies down in Florida and he bought one last week from Scanner Master and he like's it so much he ordered his second one today!

It's not only an issue of overcoming simulcast problems, there are other features that make the SDS series a better value.

Buy once :cry: Cry Once :)
Price isn't really the issue. The Unication G5 is more expensive than the SDS series..... I just want the best one of the two. I have watched videos where they have had the SDS100 and the G5 side by side, scanning the same scan list, and the SDS missed every transmission while the G5 caught them all... this was like a 1 minute video and the SDS missed every radio transmission.
 

doc62

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Messages
18
I have both the SDS100 and the G5. The SDS100 does fine with the Chester County System, but the G5 is definitely superior. I have the G5 set up for Chester County only, where I use the SDS100 for multiple systems. The funny thing is my G5 has actually picked up transmissions when my Harris fire radio was garbled.
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
10,244
Location
Macomb Twp, Michigan
Price isn't really the issue. The Unication G5 is more expensive than the SDS series..... I just want the best one of the two. I have watched videos where they have had the SDS100 and the G5 side by side, scanning the same scan list, and the SDS missed every transmission while the G5 caught them all... this was like a 1 minute video and the SDS missed every radio transmission.
"Some" radio reviews depending on who's creating them can produce positive or negative results depending on a controlled test and their agenda. Obviously if you're manufacturing or marketing a particular brand and model, the tester can fudge the results using various methods. So try to find reviews that are objective if you can.

Make sure the tests are controlled. Each radio should be using the same antenna in the same location, even sometimes down to something as picky is the position in a room, IE: proximity to metal file cabinets, duct work in the walls and ceiling, metallic window frames or screens, computer equipment and cables, LED/CFL lighting, WiFi AP's/routers, etc. I've actually seen people here on RR comparing performance between two different scanners while one is connected to an outdoor antenna up on the roof vs a rubber ducky!

I've considered a Unication receiver but don't have all the features/options that a true scanner has...features I don't want to do without.
 

ofd8001

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
7,499
Location
Louisville, KY
I grew up in Minneapolis (late 60s) and started my listening with a tuneable radio. I still return each year to visit family and a scanner always comes along, pretty much each model Uniden has come out with. The one that has given me the best results on the ARMER system, mostly in the twin cities where there are simulcast sub-systems, is the SDS 100. Other scanners are hit and miss on whether there is clear audio.

I've seen favorable reviews of Unication pagers, however I'm not impressed with how robust they are for scanner type use. These devices were/are designed for use by responders whose needs for scanning are limited.

So my advice is go with the SDS100 for portable use or SDS200 for mobile (assuming you have permit/license as required up there by law).
 

pantheonbulldogs

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 15, 2014
Messages
1
Location
Waseca
If you were in my shoes, what scanner (or voice pager) would you buy today? And maybe a short statement why?

Thanks in advance
I am in Southern MN and I use the SDS200 now, upgraded last year from an older uniden. So far I like the quality of the audio with an external antenna.
 

jaspence

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
2,721
Location
Michigan
Some people won't admit it is a scanner because it is different from other companies and does not do trunking, but my IC-R30 has the best audio of any I have used, both Uniden and Whistler. It can scan anything from .10000 MHz to 3304 MHz at 200 channels per second. Maybe it should be called a jet scanner. It is also capable of scanning two different lists in a split screen.
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
10,244
Location
Macomb Twp, Michigan
Some people won't admit it is a scanner because it is different from other companies and does not do trunking, but my IC-R30 has the best audio of any I have used, both Uniden and Whistler. It can scan anything from .10000 MHz to 3304 MHz at 200 channels per second. Maybe it should be called a jet scanner. It is also capable of scanning two different lists in a split screen.
There's usually very little to scan above the 900 MHz band. Just a note, even ICOM doesn't call it a scanner, not just some people. :)

I will admit, I'd like to have an ICOM IC-R30 and probably will at some point, it's impressive. But for my primary needs I need the trunking capability.
 

mitbr

Active Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,240
Location
Tampa Bay Florida
To the OP... I have a G5 and G4 Unication. I do not have the SDS. If yo do not need the features of a scanner and can live with the limitations of the Unications there is more to consider than reception. The Unications are Professional commercial gear the SDS are not. The Unications have a wonderful form factor small enough to fit in your shirt pocket. The reception of the Unications is excellent even with the stubby antenna . I have accidentally dropped my Unications from hip height onto pavement and not even a scratch occurred. For my purposes I have no reason to buy the SDS series as my many other Uniden scanners fill in the holes that the Unication can't fill.
Tim :cool:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top