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Old 06-06-2018, 10:46 PM
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Default SDS100 Initial Review

So my SDS100 arrived today, and I've had a chance to play with it. Here are my initial impressions.

SIMULCAST WORKS AS ADVERTISED.
Monitoring local simulcast systems, I'm not getting any choppy stuttering on any site. I used to be able to receive one site of the Franklin County system reasonably well, but the other was pretty much unusable at home. The SDS100 picks up both with no issues. This honey badger eats simulcast for breakfast.

Faster scanning. Like 25-50% faster plowing through conventional channels, or 100-120 channels/second vs 80 for the x36.

The screen is much clearer than the displays of the x36 scanners. MUCH CLEARER. And it's color, and customizable. Did I mention it's clearer?

It will charge and run simultaneously, although you have to turn on an option in the battery menu first. You can only charge the scanner with the USB-mini port. The USB-micro port does not charge the scanner.

The speaker is slightly better than that of the 436, but not something audiophiles are likely to cream themselves over.

The SDS gets noticeably warmer than the 436. It draws about 1400mA from the USB port when charging, about 800mA just scanning with the screen on, and about 750mA with the screen off. That's almost exactly 4x the power consumption of the 436, and why AAs are not a practical option.

It's slightly shorter than the 436, narrower (especially with the taper at the bottom), and significantly thicker. It has a kind of hand grip molded into the bottom half. It the rubber trim around the handgrip area feels slightly slicker than the rubber trim around the 436.

Sensitivity seems quite good. The SDS100 has picked up a few things on analog FM that my 536 completely missed, even when I manually held on the channel and turned the squelch all the way down to 0.

The only negative compared to the 436 is battery life. But overall, it's worth the price, despite that. Three thumbs up.
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Old 06-07-2018, 1:05 AM
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Nice!!! I'm still patiently waiting for mine to be delivered but I'm now sort of glad my planned Gettysburg trip that was scheduled for last weekend has been delayed until later in the Summer. My 436 did mostly OK-ish or at least I thought so. But now I can't wait to do a little comparison of my own when I go down to see how much I was actually missing. I travel through Dauphin and monitor Franklin so it'll be a nice comparison.

Thanks for the note on the battery menu as well. I knew it would scan and charge (THANK YOU, PAUL!!) but never saw a mention of needing to turn on the option. That saved me a while of manual scrolling and head scratching.

Can't want to do my own testing! But patiently waiting.
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Old 06-07-2018, 6:03 AM
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A fair review, Jon. I tend to trust your observations more than most here since you know these radios inside and out.

My questions to you...

1. Were you using the stock antenna or using your dual exterior set up? Remind me what you have for external antennas.

2. How good is the stock antenna? Any improvements over previous versions or is it the standard rubber duck?

3. From what I can see, the simulcast reception improved from P25 I/II transmissions, I assume. Did analog improve at all? ProVoice / NXDN?

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Old 06-07-2018, 6:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwienke View Post
So my SDS100 arrived today, and I've had a chance to play with it. Here are my initial impressions.

SIMULCAST WORKS AS ADVERTISED.

The SDS gets noticeably warmer than the 436. It draws about 1400mA from the USB port when charging, about 800mA just scanning with the screen on, and about 750mA with the screen off. That's almost exactly 4x the power consumption of the 436, and why AAs are not a practical option.

The only negative compared to the 436 is battery life. But overall, it's worth the price, despite that. Three thumbs up.
Great review Jon, thanks for making me itchier to get my new born later today! Had you seen a message from Upman speaking of battery life? We early registers of the SDS100 will receive at about August a new Battery type and chubbier back cover!
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Old 06-07-2018, 6:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob-k View Post
Great review Jon, thanks for making me itchier to get my new born later today! Had you seen a message from Upman speaking of battery life? We early registers of the SDS100 will receive at about August a new Battery type and chubbier back cover!
If you did not see it Jon, I copy/pasted it in our common FB group!
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Old 06-07-2018, 6:51 AM
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1. I havent tried the stock antenna. I either use the Diamond RH77CA, or my ST-2 base antenna (which has a 2-way splitter for connecting 2 radios).

2. I haven't tested it. It appears to be the standard Uniden duck with a slightly altered base for weatherproofing.

3. When connected to the base antenna, I picked up a couple analog conversations that the 536 completely missed. One was on UHF, the other was VHF. The second time I manually tuned my 536 (the other radio on the antenna) to the channel, and with the squelch turned down all the way the 536 heard nothing but static while the SDS100 heard a legible signal.
I don't have any ProVoice in my area, and not a lot of NXDN, but I do have DMR. I haven't had much trouble receiving the local DMR systems (except for one due to a x36 firmware bug) so it's hard to tell if the SDS100 is an improvement when the x36 units already produce error-free decode. I'd have to go for a drive and compare how long the 436 and SDS100 can hold the signal.
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Old 06-07-2018, 6:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob-k View Post
Had you seen a message from Upman speaking of battery life? We early registers of the SDS100 will receive at about August a new Battery type and chubbier back cover!
I saw his post, and there was a notice about that inside the box as well.
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Old 06-07-2018, 7:06 AM
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Good review! Thanks Jon!
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Old 06-07-2018, 7:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwienke View Post
1. I havent tried the stock antenna. I either use the Diamond RH77CA, or my ST-2 base antenna (which has a 2-way splitter for connecting 2 radios).

2. I haven't tested it. It appears to be the standard Uniden duck with a slightly altered base for weatherproofing.

3. When connected to the base antenna, I picked up a couple analog conversations that the 536 completely missed. One was on UHF, the other was VHF. The second time I manually tuned my 536 (the other radio on the antenna) to the channel, and with the squelch turned down all the way the 536 heard nothing but static while the SDS100 heard a legible signal.
I don't have any ProVoice in my area, and not a lot of NXDN, but I do have DMR. I haven't had much trouble receiving the local DMR systems (except for one due to a x36 firmware bug) so it's hard to tell if the SDS100 is an improvement when the x36 units already produce error-free decode. I'd have to go for a drive and compare how long the 436 and SDS100 can hold the signal.
Thanks, much appreciated. I look forward to seeing more information on your findings as you go along.
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Old 06-07-2018, 7:59 AM
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Nice review. Thanks for sharing with us!
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwienke View Post
So my SDS100 arrived today, and I've had a chance to play with it. Here are my initial impressions.

SIMULCAST WORKS AS ADVERTISED.
Monitoring local simulcast systems, I'm not getting any choppy stuttering on any site. I used to be able to receive one site of the Franklin County system reasonably well, but the other was pretty much unusable at home. The SDS100 picks up both with no issues. This honey badger eats simulcast for breakfast.

Faster scanning. Like 25-50% faster plowing through conventional channels, or 100-120 channels/second vs 80 for the x36.

The screen is much clearer than the displays of the x36 scanners. MUCH CLEARER. And it's color, and customizable. Did I mention it's clearer?

It will charge and run simultaneously, although you have to turn on an option in the battery menu first. You can only charge the scanner with the USB-mini port. The USB-micro port does not charge the scanner.

The speaker is slightly better than that of the 436, but not something audiophiles are likely to cream themselves over.

The SDS gets noticeably warmer than the 436. It draws about 1400mA from the USB port when charging, about 800mA just scanning with the screen on, and about 750mA with the screen off. That's almost exactly 4x the power consumption of the 436, and why AAs are not a practical option.

It's slightly shorter than the 436, narrower (especially with the taper at the bottom), and significantly thicker. It has a kind of hand grip molded into the bottom half. It the rubber trim around the handgrip area feels slightly slicker than the rubber trim around the 436.

Sensitivity seems quite good. The SDS100 has picked up a few things on analog FM that my 536 completely missed, even when I manually held on the channel and turned the squelch all the way down to 0.

The only negative compared to the 436 is battery life. But overall, it's worth the price, despite that. Three thumbs up.
I have some confusion. You wrote, "and why AAs are not a practical option." What would you use instead, a power source?
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:07 AM
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Thanks for that review.


What did you use for your 3rd thumb? Is this a mod I can purchase?
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensnared View Post
I have some confusion. You wrote, "and why AAs are not a practical option." What would you use instead, a power source?
The scanner comes with a lithium battery has has way more capacity than 3 AAs. Prior to release, some people were whining that the unit didn't use AAs. I was just pointing out that that was a stupid thing to ask for, given the power requirements of the unit.
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan View Post
What did you use for your 3rd thumb?
I don't think we want to know the answer to that question! 😂
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan View Post
Thanks for that review.
You're welcome.

Quote:
What did you use for your 3rd thumb? Is this a mod I can purchase?
It's still in development:
https://www.armytimes.com/news/2018/...-in-new-video/

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Old 06-07-2018, 8:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwienke View Post
The scanner comes with a lithium battery has has way more capacity than 3 AAs. Prior to release, some people were whining that the unit didn't use AAs. I was just pointing out that that was a stupid thing to ask for, given the power requirements of the unit.
Yes, I would imagine that bad boy uses tons of energy given all of the features it uses on the display screen alone. I have a Lacrosse Atomic clock that uses those multicolored displays. It is so easy to see at night. How does that screen hold up in the sunlight? I also own a Passport Max 2 that uses a similar display, color. During the daytime, it is very hard to see.

Hopefully, these lithium batteries: a) won't catch on fire; b) will have a replacement.
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Last edited by Ensnared; 06-07-2018 at 8:25 AM.. Reason: added wording
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:29 AM
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In direct sunlight it's dim even on 100% brightness, but still legible.

The display draws about 50mA, compared to about 750mA for the rest of the scanner.
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:32 AM
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Thanks fror that review. I'm going to wait a little bit. I don't buy a car when the new model first comes out, I wait. I'll give this until around Christmas. If the reviews are still good like this one, then this will be my Christmas present to myself.
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Old 06-07-2018, 8:51 AM
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Display is more viewable in B/W mode in direct sunlight. Quick way to get there:

Channel hold, the F+long press DISP(9).
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Old 06-07-2018, 9:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan View Post
Display is more viewable in B/W mode in direct sunlight. Quick way to get there:

Channel hold, the F+long press DISP(9).


Good to know because I was outside this morning and it was hard to see the display in the bright Florida sunlight, LOL.


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