Whistler Scanners - Sensitivity Shootout

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SCPD

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Here you go .. measured like a ton of radios today, all on the same frequencies as below. The frequencies were chosen as they may be typical and where I typically listen.

The TRX-1 was the clear winner .. at all frequencies of the 5 radio below

The Whistler / GRE radios tested were the TRX-1, WS1095, WS1080, PSR800, PSR500.

127.5 MHz AM
147.0 MHz FM
155.0 MHz FM
420.0 MHz FM
447.0 MHz FM
772.0 MHz FM
868.0 MHz FM

I only have Whistler scanners and a couple of GRE's on this thread. I do think that my PSR500 is getting old. :D

I made this a pdf so that everyone should be able to open it .. not as pretty as my Excel file though.

The other thing .. measured my Kenwood Mobile (TM-V71A) and the RSSI was just plain wrong as I have suspected. So .. as I have stated before, your meter on your radio may not be at all accurate. An S4 signal was full scale on that radio.

But the scanners tested all seem pretty much identical with an S5 signal being full bars. Those results are posted on RR if you do a search, but that was some time ago.
 

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Ubbe

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You can make scanners that have incredible sensitivity figures but fail miserable when connected to an antenna. My Icom R2 have the best sensitivity of all receivers I have tested when connected directly to an RF signal generator. But connected to a roof antenna it went from 0,15uV to 10uV. The receivers that didn't change it figures when exposed to the real world of RF where commercial 2-way radios and old GRE receivers like the Pro2006 and also the Icom R2500, all that have moderate sensitivity figures when connected to the signal generator.

Quality of reception depends on your enviroment and type of antennas/amplifiers used. Whats best for one location isn't neccessary the best for another location/configuration. That's why there are so many antennas and scanners to choose from and so different opinions about what works best.

/Ubbe
 

SCPD

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Don't worry Ubbe .. I 100% know that sensitivity and selectivity in balance is the answer. This is not the definitive test .. but most here always say "I want my scanner to be more sensitive". But no you don't .. you want a good mix of the two and why my Icom IC-R7000 pretty much beats any scanner out there.

I live in a hell zone .. and some of my scanners are close to useless with anything more than a duckie. I will not mention their names. ;)
 

buddrousa

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What would happen if you used a T connection and injected the signal to see where it opened with connections to antenna, scanner, service monitor
 

SCPD

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What would happen if you used a T connection and injected the signal to see where it opened with connections to antenna, scanner, service monitor
That was done on a previous test (injecting interfering signal) .. results of that testing are also on RR if you search. They would all be started with my user name. But we only did the radios we had available to us. Today .. the only major radio that was missing was a 536HP as myself and my friend do not own one.
 

buddrousa

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My thinking is testing the scanners in a real world setting on outside antenna. Thanks for posting your work.
 

SCPD

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We actually did test a bunch of scanners while injecting an interfering signal .. results are here on RR (probably from last year if I recall). I can tell you in the 'real world' that only the IC-R7000, Realistic Pro 2001, Pro 2006 and Kenwood V71A of the radios in my signature do not get bothered with intermod at my location.

So you can take that as you will. Some of the radios tested today I do not own .. so I do not get to keep them. I did not test any of my commercial radios as well they just work.

But if you want to see the sensitivity results for all 20 radios tested you can see it here.

http://forums.radioreference.com/general-scanning-discussion/343782-sensitivity-shootout-20-various-radios.html#post2674676

I have been a scanner guy for over 35 years and licensed advanced level ham for 28 years so I get it. You can take from the testing what you will .. the thing is that many do not have access to the test gear required so we tested them for those that want to know.
 
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kruser

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Don't worry Ubbe .. I 100% know that sensitivity and selectivity in balance is the answer. This is not the definitive test .. but most here always say "I want my scanner to be more sensitive". But no you don't .. you want a good mix of the two and why my Icom IC-R7000 pretty much beats any scanner out there.

I live in a hell zone .. and some of my scanners are close to useless with anything more than a duckie. I will not mention their names. ;)
Thanks for sharing your Whistler test results. Perfect timing to keep it out of that other thread!

I'd love to see selectivity results from this same group of Whistler models.
The ability to reject out of band signals as well. Like FM Broadcast and in band VHF paging signals in both the 152 MHz range as well as the 158 MHz paging bands while tuning other frequencies between 144 and 174 MHz.

I think you mentioned a weaker (poorer) out of band rejection when near cell towers on the TRX models. That one would be of interest with cell towers or antennas on about every structure they can put them on these days! I don't think you mentioned what frequency you had in the TRX-1 when you saw the cell tower rejection drop and allow some of the cell sites signal into your TRX-1.
And who knows what frequencies the cell sites may have been on.

About two or three years ago I drove a 1.5 mile stretch of a main street through the county. In that short distance I counted at least 27 cell sites within maybe 500 feet or less from the road I was driving on. And who knows how many I did not see.
They were mounted on everything from long haul power line towers to low height light poles in a McDonald's parking lot. Some used three sides of a square or rectangular building and some were on 3 sided triangular shaped buildings. Basically, if there was space to mount cell antennas with the spacing needed for the radiation pattern, there was a cell site to be found.

I did not even have a radio with me as I wanted to simply count cell sites while someone else was driving.

My GRE branded radio problems are mostly poor or no FM Broadcast band filtering in the models that were actually labeled with a GRE label on the radio. The older model made by GRE but sold by RadioShack like the Pro-2004 did not have the FM broadcast band problem. The GRE made models from that era seemed to have better filtering than those actually sold with a GRE label on the front like the PSR-500 or 600 as well as the non digital models they also sold at that time.
I'm also surrounded by VHF high band paging transmitters on the many hospitals all around me. Paging signals wipe out my PSR500 and 600 models when trying to monitor other VHF signals.
That problem is much better on Uniden models and totally gone on Icom receivers like the R7000 or R9000. The Icom's have superior selectivity from in band signals just a few kHz away from the frequency you are after!

That all led up to my question that you answered about the Whistler TRX series.
If you have any selectivity test results from both in and out of band signals for the TRX models compared to say the GRE PSR500/600 models, I'd love to see those results.

Most of my problems with the PSR500 or 600 were cured with PAR notch filters for the VHF paging band issues and PAR band stop filters to kill the FM broadcast band.
Cheaper filters like the FM trap that RadioShack sold did not cut it for me with my proximity to several high power FM broadcasters.
I used to test my cheap radioshack FM traps and found that many were way off frequency for the 20 MHz of bandwidth they blocked.
Some were so far away from the FM broadcast band that they had no effect at all. I tested them and found some of them centered around 160 MHz!
I used to take the backs off and retune them for the few low frequency TV stations like channel 2 up to the bottom of the FM broadcast band. The ones I found that were tuned way out of band did not have anything to keep the coils fixed in place while the ones that were tuned for a center around 98 MHz had hot glue applied after they tuned them. They still had nowhere near the notch depth of a PAR filter though.
If you were really lazy, you could retune the old unfixed radioshack FM traps by a hard rap on a solid surface or drop to the floor!
I fixed all my coils with quick set epoxy or hot glue and would mark the new center notch frequency on them. They all did have about 20 MHz of notched bandwidth so you had to be careful where you set the center at otherwise you could knock out a part of the band you want to hear.

Anyway, if you have any selectivity test results from the TRX models that Whistler actually designed compared to GRE models or those that Whistler simply put their name on them in the beginning, I'd love to see those results.
I guess Whistler also had/has a couple other models where they changed the front end design away from GRE's original design but I don't know what those model numbers are. At least I think I recall reading a post stating that Whistler did change the front end filtering before the TRX models were introduced.

Thanks for posting your Whistler branded sensitivity test results!
Like you and Ubbe said, better sensitivity could be a good thing and it could also be a bad thing. I know my GRE's worked very well when I was out at the farm far away from all sources of RF running at a moderate or higher power level. I could hear signals that other brands could not even detect.
 

Anderegg

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My TRX-1 simply outperforms any other scanner I have ever used in my news vehicle. There is a cell phone tower along the 94 freeway in Lemon Grove that is adjacent to the freeway, and when you pass by it, Uniden XT and HP scanners simply lose 800MHz control channels, att on or off...in fact, I have a Motorola walkie talkie that even fades passing this tower. The TRX-1 simply refuses to die when passing the darn thing, ATT on or off. Cell phone towers are the bane of 800MHz listeners, especially in hilly places like CA, where they like to put stupid towers every 1/4 mile. I am very happy with the TRX sensitivity. :)

Paul
 

dlwtrunked

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You can make scanners that have incredible sensitivity figures but fail miserable when connected to an antenna. My Icom R2 have the best sensitivity of all receivers I have tested when connected directly to an RF signal generator. But connected to a roof antenna it went from 0,15uV to 10uV. The receivers that didn't change it figures when exposed to the real world of RF where commercial 2-way radios and old GRE receivers like the Pro2006 and also the Icom R2500, all that have moderate sensitivity figures when connected to the signal generator.

Quality of reception depends on your enviroment and type of antennas/amplifiers used. Whats best for one location isn't neccessary the best for another location/configuration. That's why there are so many antennas and scanners to choose from and so different opinions about what works best.

/Ubbe
Put a cheap FM broadcast band notch filter inline with the roof antenna-more than have the time that will improve desensing by them. This is even true when the receiver cannot tune the FM broadcast band and one cannot even hear any sign of FM broadcast band signals. I learned this years ago and have always done it ever since.
 

buddrousa

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We actually did test a bunch of scanners while injecting an interfering signal .. results are here on RR (probably from last year if I recall). I can tell you in the 'real world' that only the IC-R7000, Realistic Pro 2001, Pro 2006 and Kenwood V71A of the radios in my signature do not get bothered with intermod at my location.

So you can take that as you will. Some of the radios tested today I do not own .. so I do not get to keep them. I did not test any of my commercial radios as well they just work.

But if you want to see the sensitivity results for all 20 radios tested you can see it here.

http://forums.radioreference.com/general-scanning-discussion/343782-sensitivity-shootout-20-various-radios.html#post2674676

I have been a scanner guy for over 35 years and licensed advanced level ham for 28 years so I get it. You can take from the testing what you will .. the thing is that many do not have access to the test gear required so we tested them for those that want to know.
Just as you I am a new ham been using scanners from 1972 got my 2 year electronics degree and passed my 2nd class general radio telephone in 1979 (wish I had kept that current). Worked in a 2way shop part time and still have access to all the service equipment. My 2 work schedules leave me with just enough time for wife and scanner hobby.
 

dlwtrunked

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If anyone wants .. here is the selectivity test we did. It was like just over a year ago with the radios we had available to us.

http://forums.radioreference.com/general-scanning-discussion/319013-uniden-whistler-scanner-selectivity-shootout.html
And for the others, note that emscan's work in the link also emphasizes the need to put an FM broadcast trap in antenna lines. If anyone has not done that, they should whether they think they need to or not--they probably need to.
 

SCPD

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That FM trap filter could help .. in my case, that is not an issue and even though I have one I do not use it as my scanners are much more bothered by a VHF 'taxi cab' TX site near here. So YMMV .. and each persons situation may be different depending on their location.
 

milcom_chaser

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Here you go .. measured like a ton of radios today, all on the same frequencies as below. The frequencies were chosen as they may be typical and where I typically listen.

The TRX-1 was the clear winner .. at all frequencies of the 5 radio below

The Whistler / GRE radios tested were the TRX-1, WS1095, WS1080, PSR800, PSR500.

127.5 MHz AM
147.0 MHz FM
155.0 MHz FM
420.0 MHz FM
447.0 MHz FM
772.0 MHz FM
868.0 MHz FM

I only have Whistler scanners and a couple of GRE's on this thread. I do think that my PSR500 is getting old. :D

I made this a pdf so that everyone should be able to open it .. not as pretty as my Excel file though.

The other thing .. measured my Kenwood Mobile (TM-V71A) and the RSSI was just plain wrong as I have suspected. So .. as I have stated before, your meter on your radio may not be at all accurate. An S4 signal was full scale on that radio.

But the scanners tested all seem pretty much identical with an S5 signal being full bars. Those results are posted on RR if you do a search, but that was some time ago.
Awesome you took the time to do this. Would love to see the results in AM mode up in the 225-400Mhz range on the TRX-1.
 

Anderegg

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So the FM notch filter will make 800MHz reception better?

I have a Stridsberg FM notch filter, but when I played with it, I didn't notice any difference. Tested it at my base station, so was not really mobile and presenting it with various signal paths out in the wild.

Paul
 

SCPD

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So the FM notch filter will make 800MHz reception better?

I have a Stridsberg FM notch filter, but when I played with it, I didn't notice any difference. Tested it at my base station, so was not really mobile and presenting it with various signal paths out in the wild.

Paul
The thing .. that many don't understand is that the idea about the filter is to not necessarily eliminate the offending signal altogether but just enough to make the radio linear again and allow it to function properly. But read the bolded paragraph below :cool:

In many cases unless you use test gear or a radio with a good meter .. you will not notice any difference.

To answer your ? .. if you look at the results, yes at 800 MHz signals injected at 98/125 MHz did make a difference. Would the filter matter .. maybe with very weak signals, but typically probably not for many things as you found out.

A perfect example .. on my R7000, I cannot tell the difference between a signal at S9 +60 and one that is at S4. (as long as they are the same and of the same audio quality, like if I added some attenuation) The reason .. the human ear is terrible at being able to tell the difference. But that is a difference of 90 dBm. Both signals are strong enough that my ear cannot tell them apart .. but the test gear and my R7000 meter (or another receiver with a good meter .. ie AOR but not scanners) knows the difference. Me .. not so much.

But .. you can tell the difference between an S6 (-85 dBm) signal and an S1 (-115 dBm) signal, a difference of 30 dBm. The reason .. on weaker signals you would perceive a weaker signal, and you can tell the difference. That is where the filter would make a difference .. if you can eliminate the offending signal a bit, then the S1 signal may be S3 and you would be able to tell that it has improved. So .. YMMV when it comes to these things.

The thing as I stated on this forum recently .. your FM filter is maybe reducing the FM Broadcast band but that may not be the problem. So you notice no change. In my area .. the FM broadcast stations do not bother my scanners at all, it is other signals, actually one in particular nearby.

Just something you may be interested in .. I did a test last year with the Signal Hound spectrum analyzer in this video to measure almost all the signals at my location over a week period. It is cool.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wYDpzf-sl8

But .. the results, below. The strongest signals I received were not in the FM broadcast band at all.

I just checked and my strongest FM signal I just measured was -49 dBm (about S9 +20) and the strongest other signal was -27 dBm from my test. That is a difference of over 20 dBm or about 3-4 bars on your scanner.

The moral .. it may not always be the FM broadcast band that is causing your scanner grief. In my case .. it was the 2nd from the top that is my major trouble causer.

Frequency AvgOfSignal

157.5300 -27.1533
163.2300 -27.2300
821.5625 -50.2433
127.4000 -50.9600
130.4500 -52.2300
823.2875 -53.1167
468.4125 -55.1833
433.9625 -60.6933

Take care ..
edmscan
 
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Anderegg

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Unfortunately, the 800MHz public safety band is plagued by those damn cell phone transmitter towers....I got the FM notch filter to try and keep in check open squelch lock up at maximum squelch on my PRO197 base scanners. Didn't notice any improvement, but I am running the notch filter now in my mobile setup, so we will see how it improves the few VHF fire channels that ar already very weak signal.

Paul
 
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