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Old 06-14-2018, 7:03 PM
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Default My SDS100 observations

Not really a review, just some observations on having used the SDS100 for three days.

LSM simulcast was never an issue for me; however, I am noting issues that several others here have reported. Mainly, that overall, the SDS100 doesn’t hear as well as my BCD436HP. This mainly seems to be an issue on 800MHz P25 trunking systems. DMR and NXDN (UHF band) performance seems to be about on par with the ‘436.

As an example, I have some P25 trunking systems that I can monitor on my BCD436HP with little or no issues that I can’t receive on the SDS100. This is whether I use the factory antenna, the Radio Shack 800MHz duck antenna, or a Diamond RH77CA. This particular system is the Fort Lauderdale, Florida P25 Phase 1 trunked system. I can receive it okay on the BCD436HP. The only way I can receive it on the SDS100 is to (1) Hold on that system, and (2) turn the squelch setting to zero. If I don’t do these things, and just attempt to scan it along with other systems, it will just scan right on by and never stop on this system at all.

Along with the Fort Lauderdale Florida system, there’s Plantation, Florida, P25 Phase 2. I can connect my BCD436HP and the SDS100 to the same outside antenna using a Stridesberg multicoupler, and the ‘436 will receive the system; the SDS100 will not even lock onto the control channel.

I have no issues with the Broward County Motorola analog Smart Zone system. This is likely because I have a tower about two miles from me, so probably not a fair comparison.

The Miami-Dade county Harris P25 Phase 1 system has never been receivable from my location (about 22 miles north) with any scanner I have ever tried, and the SDS100 is no exception. This is even using an 800 MHz yagi antenna pointed in the appropriate direction. However, my Unication G4 will receive Miami-Dade when connected to the same 800MHz yagi antenna. (With my BCD396XT, I couldn’t even receive the Miami-Dade system even within a mile of Miami-Dade County).

Then there’s VHF high band. Testing on NOAA weather frequencies, the BCD436HP receives four NOAA stations on an external antenna. The SDS100, using the same antenna, only receives two.

I would ask if the beta testers noted any of these issues during testing. Maybe the receive sensitivity wasn’t considered an issue? And I believe that very few people received a “defective” unit; I believe that this is just the way this design performs. I would hope that a firmware upgrade could fix, or at least improve, these issues.

But I like the form factor, the customizable color display, and the amount of data able to be shown on the display.
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Old 06-14-2018, 9:30 PM
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For comparison purposes, same systems, with my G5 I can hear both Plantation and Fort Lauderdale in my car in southern Boca Raton with my G5 in my cup holder,
stock antenna. Same with Coral Springs. Have to travel a little south on the Turnpike into Broward past the dump hill by the Sawgrass and I can lock on to Miami-Dade as well. I hear Palm Beach from Plantation and their most southern tower is Glades and the Pike. I have not seen any scanner that can achieve that distance.

How the front end on Broward’s Smartzone with the SDS-100 ? Any time I drive past a cell tower with my PSR-100 I would literally cringe from the overload and just basically stopped using it due to the front end being so hot.


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Old 06-14-2018, 10:03 PM
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Then there’s VHF high band. Testing on NOAA weather frequencies, the BCD436HP receives four NOAA stations on an external antenna. The SDS100, using the same antenna, only receives two.
One note when doing comparisons: the squelch on the 436 and SDS100 are not calibrated the same--setting 2 on the SDS100 is not the same as 2 on the 436. When I initially performed your test on the weather channels, I got similar results. But when I did a channel hold, and turned the squelch down to zero on both radios, and compared how well the receiver pulled a signal out of the static, there was very little difference.
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Old 06-15-2018, 4:53 AM
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How the front end on Broward’s Smartzone with the SDS-100 ? Any time I drive past a cell tower with my PSR-100 I would literally cringe from the overload and just basically stopped using it due to the front end being so hot.
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I haven't taken the SDS100 on a road trip yet. Maybe this weekend. The Broward Smartzone system hasn't been an issue for me on any previous scanner I've used.

I agree about the G4/G5. I can start to receive the City of West Palm Beach P25 system from southern Boca Raton!
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Old 06-15-2018, 4:58 AM
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One note when doing comparisons: the squelch on the 436 and SDS100 are not calibrated the same--setting 2 on the SDS100 is not the same as 2 on the 436. When I initially performed your test on the weather channels, I got similar results. But when I did a channel hold, and turned the squelch down to zero on both radios, and compared how well the receiver pulled a signal out of the static, there was very little difference.

I haven't tried that exactly, but my initial impression is that VHF high isn't nearly as sensitive as it is on the '436. Even my old BC2500XLT was able to hear more NOAA stations than the SDS100.

What you describe above is exactly what I have to do in order to hear the Fort Lauderdale P25 system. And I'm like eight miles from their tower.
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Old 06-15-2018, 6:49 AM
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I haven't tried that exactly, but my initial impression is that VHF high isn't nearly as sensitive as it is on the '436. Even my old BC2500XLT was able to hear more NOAA stations than the SDS100.

What you describe above is exactly what I have to do in order to hear the Fort Lauderdale P25 system. And I'm like eight miles from their tower.
And this post is exactly one of the reason's I am holding off on my purchase. In my daily listening, home/car, I listen to only a few select talkgroup's , in a 700 & 800 mhz. system. The rest of my listening is mainly vhf/uhf. My current scanner's do this quiet well.

My second reason,is the pretty high price tag.
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Old 06-15-2018, 8:08 AM
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Quote:
One note when doing comparisons: the squelch on the 436 and SDS100 are not calibrated the same--setting 2 on the SDS100 is not the same as 2 on the 436. When I initially performed your test on the weather channels, I got similar results. But when I did a channel hold, and turned the squelch down to zero on both radios, and compared how well the receiver pulled a signal out of the static, there was very little difference.
If that's what is takes to make it work, that makes a "scanner" pretty worthless as a "scanner" --
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Old 06-15-2018, 8:16 AM
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If that's what is takes to make it work, that makes a "scanner" pretty worthless as a "scanner" --
My point was that the issue is not the SDS100 receiver hardware--the actual receiver performance is very similar to the performance of the 436. The issue is in the firmware, which can easily be changed and updated.
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Old 06-15-2018, 8:25 AM
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Very interesting review, but I can report markedly improved reception with the SDS100 over the 436hp from Chicago, about 3 blocks west of Midway airport. I'm in a very rich intermod/simulcast hell being this close to the airport and have been reading both good reviews and bad reviews. I've owned the 396T, 396XT, 436hp, and now the SDS100 handheld scanners. the 396XT provided the best reception prior to the SDS100 in my opinion.

I have a mixture of analog UHF 460mhz. (CPD is still using this system), all flavors of Digital trunking..(P25 Phase 1 & 2, 700 Mhz and 800 Mhz, Moto Trbo, Single Channel DMR, NXDN) and can report outstanding reception on all systems from my home location. The local Starcom simulcast site has never sounded as crisp and clear without break ups since this system went on line many years ago.

I have been taking the SDS100 out in my car, and also while sitting in a cup holder, have had no issues receiving the same systems while mobile. Yes, there might be some times when one signal is stronger due to location etc., but like the other 3 previous models performed alike.

Their has been mention of intermod from Verizon towers etc. Chicago has a variety of cell companies, so I'm sure I've passed by a few during my channels. Ironically, I have 4 cell sites sitting on a tower about 1/16 of a mile away at home and not having an issue.

I've spoken to one of the beta testers to compare notes recently. The one thing I immediately discovered was my 436hp stock and short stubby antenna were terrible. I put on the stock antenna and haven't switched since. I did notice you tried the stock antenna but have used the other off market antennas.

Because of this scanners sensitivity, I can see where some areas might be problematic. The attenuator might be necessary. UPMan has an updated performance chart for comparison. The G5 is not a scanner, and I know their was a push to include it in the comparison, but I disagree as it's focus is on simulcast only. It would be similar to adding commercial grade radios to the chart, which I've used and don't always sound as good. This scanner is performing as good as advertised, but I'm sure firmware tweaks are forthcoming.
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Old 06-15-2018, 9:44 AM
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Default Update: Road Trip

Just got back from a short road trip. I turned off all the systems except for the 800MHz P25 systems that were giving me issues. I was using the SDS100 with the Radio Shack 800MHz antenna, as my target systems were all 800MHz systems.

First, I always suspected my home location is a "bad spot" because of difficulty of reception and noise from unknown sources. As soon as I left the vicinity of my neighborhood, I began to receive the systems that I couldn't receive from inside my house, at least not without difficulty. I was seeing RSSI readings of -45 to -50 dBm. The same system inside my house (1/4 mile away) was showing readings of -100 to -110 dBm.

Another thing that made a difference was I adjusted the squelch from 2 to 1. This seemed to make a big difference. However, 1 is essentially open squelch, so this setting might have a detrimental effect when scanning conventional frequencies. On the other hand, I don't believe I've ever had a need to adjust the squelch on my '436 at all.

More testing/road trips needed.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:14 AM
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The squelch on the SDS100 is not calibrated the same as the 436.
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:02 AM
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Just received my SDS100. WOW. Totally blown away by this baby. Prior to her arrival, I was content with my G5 for reception of the RWC here in the Phoenix metro area. I live in and monitor Glendale primarily. G5 still sounds great, but, it's nice to have great reception with scanner features. If anyone is still on the fence about simulcast issues, climb down, I'm not experiencing any of that here. Thank you Uniden! You hit this one out of the ballpark as far as I'm concerned. WOW
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:19 AM
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Maybe they should have a squelch offset like volume offset so digital systems can have lower squelch, and analog can be higher?
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by W4KRR View Post
Just got back from a short road trip. I turned off all the systems except for the 800MHz P25 systems that were giving me issues. I was using the SDS100 with the Radio Shack 800MHz antenna, as my target systems were all 800MHz systems.

First, I always suspected my home location is a "bad spot" because of difficulty of reception and noise from unknown sources. As soon as I left the vicinity of my neighborhood, I began to receive the systems that I couldn't receive from inside my house, at least not without difficulty. I was seeing RSSI readings of -45 to -50 dBm. The same system inside my house (1/4 mile away) was showing readings of -100 to -110 dBm.

Another thing that made a difference was I adjusted the squelch from 2 to 1. This seemed to make a big difference. However, 1 is essentially open squelch, so this setting might have a detrimental effect when scanning conventional frequencies. On the other hand, I don't believe I've ever had a need to adjust the squelch on my '436 at all.

More testing/road trips needed.
I am getting the same thing have to adjust the squelch to 1 and the site i am holding on comes to life. Sounds great but pretty useless if I want to scan my other systems.
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Old 06-15-2018, 2:26 PM
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Just received my SDS100. WOW. Totally blown away by this baby. Prior to her arrival, I was content with my G5 for reception of the RWC here in the Phoenix metro area. I live in and monitor Glendale primarily. G5 still sounds great, but, it's nice to have great reception with scanner features. If anyone is still on the fence about simulcast issues, climb down, I'm not experiencing any of that here. Thank you Uniden! You hit this one out of the ballpark as far as I'm concerned. WOW

I feel the same way as you. Overall, I would say that most are very satisfied with the SDS100. However, it's the few belly-achers that seem to get the attention.
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Old 06-15-2018, 4:10 PM
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I am getting the same thing have to adjust the squelch to 1 and the site i am holding on comes to life. Sounds great but pretty useless if I want to scan my other systems.
Me too. While I haven't tried it, sounds like the new beta firmware is already improving the squelch situation.
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Old 06-15-2018, 4:20 PM
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It's a definite improvement in that area.
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Old 06-15-2018, 4:41 PM
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It's a definite improvement in that area.
Yes, I am using the beta firmware, and it is working slightly better. I don't have to have the squelch set to zero to get transmissions, although it's still missing a few.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:06 PM
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I feel the same way as you. Overall, I would say that most are very satisfied with the SDS100. However, it's the few belly-achers that seem to get the attention.

Not being able to work on the MDPD Harris P25 system is not bellyaching, its a HUGE problem.

I am glad someone reported this, Saved me the headaches of buying the SDS-100 only to be disappointed in it being a doorstop.

Glad I chose to get the G5 a while back ago, it is able to track that system just as good as subscriber unit. never a missed transmission regardless of where its at.

You would think years later Uniden would get it right, and yet it still useless in receiving the MDPD P25 system, no better it seems than the prior generation I skipped thanks to the initial reports.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:14 PM
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I got the sds100 and I am using the beta fw. I notice on P25 system for a AFB it's alot better its about 90% better some spots in the house has some dead spots. The Cap+ system is 95% better on getting signal. Con+ still needs to be improvement.
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