WS-1080 vs BCD-436HP in Los Angeles Day 1

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cellphone

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Remember you are comparing a radio released several years ago with the newest on the market.
There are rumors floating around that the Whistler models might be using a different vocoder, so they might do better with P25. With this review, I'm starting to doubt this rumor. I would be interested in a direct comparison between the WS-1080 and PSR-800. Are we really getting a rebranded 3.5 year old scanner?
 

AA6IO

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Day 3 in Los Angeles. Listening to LAPD tactical stations (P25) with RS Center Loaded Whip inside house.
Always have to go outside in back yard with 436HP to get much reception of these, otherwise scanner pretty quite. When does break squelch, P25 decoding is good.
With 396XT, same set up, get much more traffic inside the house. With WS-1080, same, much more traffic in the house. Always knew the 436HP was less sensitive on VHF, now realizing how much less sensitive than WS-1080 and 396XT on LAPD at about 484 and 506-507 Mhz. Firmware on 436HP is 1.02.03 (had to roll back from 1.03 where it was even less sensitive). P25 decoding better on 436HP than other two, but hear much more traffic on other two than with 436HP in marginal setting.
I always have raved about the features of the 436HP, but did not realize the difference in sensitivity even at UHF.
Regarding the USB power for 1080, been running on USB for last couple of days.
Regarding EZ scan vs Sentinel, agree that Sentinel much more flexible.
But bottom line is if you are going to be missing so many stations that other radios pick up, that is a big deal. Maybe as others have said, one radio just does not fit all situations in this day and age.
Married to one wife (great lady) for 38 years and expecting our first grandchild in couple of weeks.
But I am glad I don't have to be faithful to any one scanner.
Will keep up with the comparisons here in LA.
Steve AA6IO
 

baayers

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So far the one big thing that I see as a major battery killer is the backlight. I'm using Imedion 2400MaH LSD batteries made by Maha which is the same company who makes the C9000 Charger / Analyzer a lot of us have. With the backlight always on I saw about 7 hours of use, with the backlight only set to come on for 5 seconds when I press the power button based on periodic presses every 5-10 minutes I saw about 11 hours, and today just for curiosity sake decided to not activate the light at all and just entered hour 13 and it looks like I will probably get another 45-60 minutes based on the indicator. When you compare always on to always off the total run time decreases by 50%.

When I am on batteries I will definitely be sticking to the as needed option
 

W6KRU

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I agree on the back-light being the killer of batteries. I don't have a lot of time on the batteries yet but I turned the back-light level down to low and set the duration to 3 seconds. I think the batteries are going to be a non-issue. Time will tell.
 

iMONITOR

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It's pretty easy to carry an extra set, or two, of batteries. Use an old cell phone case, or similar pouch, on your belt, or even in your pocket.
 

W6KRU

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It's pretty easy to carry an extra set, or two, of batteries. Use an old cell phone case, or similar pouch, on your belt, or even in your pocket.
Yeah, I have plastic cases for AAs and I'm used to carrying at least 1 spare set for my Unidens.
 

minasha

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My Mistake everyone,
Please forgive my comments on the 800 usb it was a problem with my scanner,
It now works with the USB
 

minasha

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Thank you for the information,
I guess we're lucky to have the scanners after all.
 

AA6IO

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Minasha
That is one of the great things about this Radio Reference list. There are many advanced scanner users (I may not be one of them) who have tremendous knowledge about different scanners. You can learn a tremendous amount of useful information from the RR site. I have been scanning for 35 years, and can still always learn something here
Regards
Steve AA6IO
 

verhoffj1

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WS-1080

There are rumors floating around that the Whistler models might be using a different vocoder, so they might do better with P25. With this review, I'm starting to doubt this rumor. I would be interested in a direct comparison between the WS-1080 and PSR-800. Are we really getting a rebranded 3.5 year old scanner?
I wonder why they are so quiet about this radio.. I called 3 people and they claim that it has electronic upgrades but couldn't tell me what the upgrades were.. I guess I will see when I get the radio. I even called whistler and got voice mail of the woman who has all the answers.. I never got a call back!
 

DaveIN

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The decode errors on my 396T and 396XT suck so bad, I will not take a $500 gamble on Uniden finally fixing their simulcast issues. My PSR-500 has always worked great and I decided to try a WS-1080. It works great as well and blows away the digital sounding garbage coming out of my Unidens.
Good to hear that the P25 audio decode quality is finally working for you in LA, Dan. Are you using the same antenna on both the 1080 and 396(X)T?
 

W6KRU

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Good to hear that the P25 audio decode quality is finally working for you in LA, Dan. Are you using the same antenna on both the 1080 and 396(X)T?
Thanks Dave! I haven't had time to try all of my antennas on the 1080 yet but it works great with the ones I have tried so far. My Unidens choke badly on the 5/8 wave Larsen Vhf-Hi on the roof and the 1080 works fine with great decoding while using it.

The GRE/RS 800 works really well for portable use on the 1080. I'm betting that the 1080/450 stubby in the fanny pack will great around town on the RCS system but I haven't tried it yet.
 

AC2OY

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Day 3 in Los Angeles. Listening to LAPD tactical stations (P25) with RS Center Loaded Whip inside house.
Always have to go outside in back yard with 436HP to get much reception of these, otherwise scanner pretty quite. When does break squelch, P25 decoding is good.
With 396XT, same set up, get much more traffic inside the house. With WS-1080, same, much more traffic in the house. Always knew the 436HP was less sensitive on VHF, now realizing how much less sensitive than WS-1080 and 396XT on LAPD at about 484 and 506-507 Mhz. Firmware on 436HP is 1.02.03 (had to roll back from 1.03 where it was even less sensitive). P25 decoding better on 436HP than other two, but hear much more traffic on other two than with 436HP in marginal setting.
I always have raved about the features of the 436HP, but did not realize the difference in sensitivity even at UHF.
Regarding the USB power for 1080, been running on USB for last couple of days.
Regarding EZ scan vs Sentinel, agree that Sentinel much more flexible.
But bottom line is if you are going to be missing so many stations that other radios pick up, that is a big deal. Maybe as others have said, one radio just does not fit all situations in this day and age.
Married to one wife (great lady) for 38 years and expecting our first grandchild in couple of weeks.
But I am glad I don't have to be faithful to any one scanner.
Will keep up with the comparisons here in LA.
Steve AA6IO
I have a question? Why does the older firmware version work better? Is that applied as well for the 536? I wouldn't even begin to know how to revert back to older version.
 

zzdiesel

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I used 2 PSR-800's and now a RS Pro-18 with the USB cable always. I wouldn't own a radio that couldn't be. They can't charge the batteries if the radios are powered on.
 

AA6IO

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Now day 5 with the 1080 vs. 436HP in Los Angeles. All tests performed with same antennas simultaneously (eg, RS-800, RS center loaded (same positioning), RH77 on each at same time)
As previously posted, never owned the PSR-800, so it took me a couple of days to get up to speed with programming the WS-1080. Whether there is any difference between the PSR-800 and 1080, I don't know for sure, but for this comparison's sake, I assume they are the same. I kind of like the EZ scan software.
I actually think the 1080 is a pretty good radio. One thing that it, and all GRE/RS scanners, have over Uniden with regard to P25 is better audio. I prefer the treble quality vs. the more base quality of Uniden scanners. I have had, and still have, all the Uniden and GRE/RS digital trunking scanners made over the last 10 years (except this PSR-800 AKA 1080 is new).
I certainly like the build of the 1080, its smaller size, and the location of the SD card is certainly superior to the 436HP (IMHO). The 1080 seems to be a bit more sensitive on VHF, and on some UHF.
I'm certainly glad I have added this to my collection, and will enjoy using it from time to time.
However, I find the 436HP to be more sensitive on 800 Mhz trunking and most UHF trunking.
The 1080 goes off more on the LAPD P25 than the 436HP, but when it picks up very weak TAC/Talk-around stations on my portable antennas that the 436HP misses, the decoding is less than stellar. At signal levels where the decoding is acceptable, the 436HP also picks those channels up, and the decode quality (again IMHO) is better.
On the LA ICIS Motorola Mixed and P25 sites at about 470 Mhz, the 436HP seems a bit more sensitive than 1080, however, that varies from hour to hour a bit. What does not vary though is that I find the P25 decode to be better on the 436HP.
On a more distant 800 Mhz analog system (San Bernardino Mtn Site 8), which is about 50 miles from me, the 436HP will pick up some stuff in my house with my RS-800 antenna (a marginal situation) that the 1080 will not.
On most of the 800 Mhz sites in LA and Orange County, both scanners are good, but again, across the board (on LA Municipal EDACs, LA CWIRS, LA Metro Transportation -935 Mhz, and OC CCCS), the 436HP seems a bit more sensitive. For the OC CCCS P25 stations that are notoriously difficult to decode for some of us in this area, the 1080 does reasonably well, but the 436HP does better.
The major difference for me is the flexibility between the 1080 and 436HP. Compared to the 436HP with the Fav, Sys/Site, Dept quick keys, and compared to my 396XT with its quick keys, the 1080 really seems clunky to me. I took the 1080 with me in the car today. Had it set for LAPD and LA Sheriffs. Wanted to change settings and try out some trunk sites, then realized that while driving, no way I can do that. With the 436HP, its pretty simple to pick and choose among 1000s of channels and sites on the fly.
Maybe its just me, but I always have preferred the DMR quick key approach over the object oriented approach. With multiple sites on most trunking systems here in LA, Orange, and SB counties, I like to switch between sites, and find this much easier with the 436HP. Maybe I need more experience with the 1080.
I also like to play around with Butel ARC software, ProScan, Win500 for GRE/RS, and you can't do that with the 800/1080 (I don't think). There are a lot of folks on this RRDB writing neat programs for these scanners, but I don't think that is possible with the 800/1080. Correct me if I am wrong.
I know the 800/1080 has discriminator audio, That is a nice feature, but let's face it, we can all do that nowadays with RTL-SDR USB sticks and lots of available software).
For many of us fortunate to have some discretionary funds to buy lots of scanners, or willing to do so because this is a great hobby, I think having both the 800/1080 and 436HP is nice. But I know many folks have to sell one radio to buy another, and in that case, if I only could have one portable scanner (at least for me living in the center of the LA basin) it would have to be the 436HP.
If VHF sensitivity is a big issue, I would much rather go with my 396XT than the 1080 just in terms of flexible programming and software options. But I find the best P25 decoding to be on the 436HP (and its brother (or sister) the 536HP vs. my 996XT and PSR-600/PRO-197 (one of each).
Maybe I will change my mind again as I get more familiar with the 1080, maybe there are some tricks I am missing. But now with the HomePatrol at age 3 or 4 years and the new Unidens, the 1080 seems like older technology.
Unless Whistler brings something very new to the table, I fail to see how they are going to sell many of these 1080s and 1095 (to be announced I suppose) at the current price levels. I am sure they will sell some, but I like to play Craps in Las Vegas, and my money on the Pass Line is for Uniden probably selling many more of their x36HPs than Whistler selling their 1080/1095s.
I realize that others may feel differently. It seems like some folks, like my near neighbor Dan W6KRU in Oceanside, have a different opinion. Perhaps for the North San Diego County scanner situation, the 800/1080 might be better.
Sorry for the long message. This weekend I will be going with wife to Phoenix to visit our daughter and soon to be grandchild. I have had my 436HP out in Phoenix a couple of times with excellent results on their RWC and Topaz trunking systems. I will bring the 1080 with me and do some comparisons there.
Steve AA6IO
 

AA6IO

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I have a question? Why does the older firmware version work better? Is that applied as well for the 536? I wouldn't even begin to know how to revert back to older version.
KD2CUD DE AA6IO
Michael,
I am not sure why 1.02.03 seems to work better for VHF sensitivity than 1.03. but it seems to, at least in my case. I believe others have posted similar comments in other threads. I believe Paul (UPMan) posted a site for previous firmware versions, or perhaps someone else did, but I found that, downloaded firmware, formatted a new SD card, and back to 1.02.03. I don't remember where that site was, I will take a look and if see it, will post info here. That was at least two months ago.
That said, I do find ver 1.03 to be better for somethings. Now that I am playing around with the 1080 a lot, probably will go back to ver 1.03 and for those occasional times when I want distant VHF with a handheld, can use the 396XT or 1080. I do have to note that some folks with 436HP are not experiencing a similar situation.
Regarding the 536HP, I don't know if prior firmware is any better. I use 1.03.03, which I believe is the most recent version. I use my 2 meter/440 antenna on roof for VHF and UHF on the 536HP and two 800 Mhz yagis for 800. Sensitivity has not been an issue. I often hear some VHF stations in Ventura, San Bernardino, and San Diego County (75-100 miles away). Ventura is about 75 miles away, and their LE and Fire/EMS come in quite well here. On 800 Mhz, regularly receive several of the San Bernardino trunk sites (50-60 miles or so) without a problem The 536HP in my opinion is the best base scanner I have owned.

Steve AA6IO
 

sibbley

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KD2CUD DE AA6IO
Michael,
I am not sure why 1.02.03 seems to work better for VHF sensitivity than 1.03. but it seems to, at least in my case. I believe others have posted similar comments in other threads. I believe Paul (UPMan) posted a site for previous firmware versions, or perhaps someone else did, but I found that, downloaded firmware, formatted a new SD card, and back to 1.02.03. I don't remember where that site was, I will take a look and if see it, will post info here. That was at least two months ago.

Steve AA6IO
The firmware can be found at FW - OpenUniden

For those looking to revert back: download firmware of your choice. Open the firmware folder on SD card. Copy the new firmware to the folder, close folder and un-mount card, turn radio off and firmware will load. Radio will re-start on it's own. Done, you now have the older firmware installed.
 

AA6IO

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Sibbley
No I have not. I will start reading the 1080 Easy to Read Manual in more detail.
I will try some of those adjustments. I really do like the audio on the 1080.
Thanks for tip.
Steve AA6IO
 
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