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Railfan Technology > New User-Uniden SDS 200 Requests A Little Help - San Jose CA


Date: 05/25/20 18:01
New User-Uniden SDS 200 Requests A Little Help - San Jose CA
Author: norm1153

Despite that I'm a ham radio operator, website designer et al., I cannot for the life of me figure this scanner out.  I've downloaded Sentinel and ProScan.  I've tried programming from the manual to the scanner directly.
For simplicity as a beginning, I would only like to enter ONE Favorite, to include Caltrain (SF Peninsula to San Jose).  If it is not too complicated, could someone give me explicit directions (i.e., press this, press that, press Enter, etc.) but not any attempt to explain what happens, as I will attempt to absorb that, as I go along doing it.  Any method - Scanner, Sentinal, or ProScan.  After doing it, I "think" I can deduce how it happened, and what each step did.  I get that scanners have moved to a new method of programming, and boy, that's the rub for me! Wow. 
I profusely thank anyone who replies in advance!
Norm
 



Date: 05/26/20 08:04
Re: New User-Uniden SDS 200 Requests A Little Help - San Jose CA
Author: walstib

Ha, all I can say is good luck, and I say that as someone in the same boat you’re in.

I bought the hand-held version of that radio, the 100, in January to replace a radio stolen in a December car burglary.

I managed to get a couple of RR frequencies entered at first, although I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head how I did it. (Other than reading the part of the manual for that.)

The guy at Ham Radio Outlet in Burbank pointed me toward a program called ARC536, which is written by an outfit named BuTel. They’re somewhere overseas. I’m not sure how it compares to the programs you mentioned, but it seemed pretty basic. I plan to use it to program my radio when I get around to it. ARC536 has a free 30-day trial, so you can give it a spin.

What I have found useful with this radio is the zip code function when I travel. Just plug in the zip for a new town, and it loads the local frequencies. So far, I found it works well in rural areas. I haven’t really used it in metro areas.

I hate to admit it, but I long for the days when radios were more like radios, and less like computers.

I do like the sound and performance of the hand-held version of this radio, at least so far. But I haven’t used it all that much yet.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 05/26/20 09:30
Re: New User-Uniden SDS 200 Requests A Little Help - San Jose CA
Author: WW

Trunking scanners are complicated pieces of radio equipment.  They started finding a market around a decade or so ago when many public service agencies started converting to Motorola P25 digital trunking radios.  If one intends to listen to public service agencies, a trunking scanner is now getting to be a necessity.  At best, the trunking scanners can be obtuse to program and use for even that purpose. There are two main reasons for railfans to consider purchasing one of these scanners:

1.  You intend to use the scanner for monitoring digital public service frequencies in addition to using it for railfanning.
2.  You want NXDN digital capability for the time that NXDN comes into wide use on the railroads (which is an optional feature on the SDS 200--one of a very few digital scanners that can have NXDN capability).

In my opinion, neither reason above is a very good one for purchasing a digital trunking scanner for railfan use.  Here's why:

As the OP here has noted, programming and using a trunking scanner is not a simple operation and, for the foreseeable future, if ever, the railroads are unlikely to use the trunking capability of NXDN.  Until such time as the railroads cut over to NXDN, still likely a few years off, an easy-to-use $100+- Uniden Bearcat BC-125AT or its mobile counterpart  will do everything that a railfan needs to do for railfanning.  If one does want NXDN capability, for about the same price as the SDS200, one can buy one of the Icom or Kenwood NXDN commercial radios that will perform much better.  Yes, the commercial radios must be PC programmed, but the reality is that complicated digital trunking scanners are so obtuse to keyboard program that PC programming for them is almost a practical necessity.  The best way to program either a trunking scanner or a commercial NXDN radio is to program ALL of the available digital/analog combinations of AAR channels (around 450+ channels with NXDN) into the radio, and then use the select and lockout functions to select the channels to monitor or scan.  When programming, I always use the AAR channel number as the alpha tag since that is what everyone in the railroad industry (except a radio tech) uses to reference a channel. 

One final note:  I have one of the older GRE trunking scanners (no NXDN available for it) that I occasionally use for monitoring P25 public service stuff.  It is my most hated radio.  It doesn't do anything very well and is particularly deaf in the analog railroad band.  It gathers dust in the drawer most of the time. 

 



Date: 06/06/20 23:10
Re: New User-Uniden SDS 200 Requests A Little Help - San Jose CA
Author: mojaveflyer

As one who has Butel software for 25 years, I've had good luck with Grommet's products. Grommert is the owner of Butel and is located in the Netherlands. One reason I have stuck to radios other than Uniden is because I find Uniden's programming to be obtuse at best. I went with the Whistler radios to avoid the Uniden. The Whistler top of the line radios are the TRX-1 (handheld) and the TRX-2 (mobile). Whistler has their own software called EZ Scan you  download from their website. It's free. I was very disappointed with the Whistler radios when I first got them but improvements with the firmware updates have greatly improved the performance of these radios. Much of the conversation about these radios are somewhat like Chevy vs Ford vs Toyota but I'm happy with the Whistlers. 

If you don't need to hear digital traffic I'd recommend the Uniden BC125AT. It's completely analog and very easy to  program although I do  use Butel  software for it.It also sells for around $100 on line,  much cheaper than the digital capable radios.

I'm also an amateur operator, N0LBH.  

James Nelson
Thornton, CO



Date: 06/07/20 10:38
Re: New User-Uniden SDS 200 Requests A Little Help - San Jose CA
Author: WW

I believe the Whistler digital radios are just an extension of the earlier GRE radios.  My older GRE digital scanner is a real piece of junk.  I certainly hope that the Whistlers are better.  I talked to a railfan who purchased one of the early Whislter TRX-1 scanners.  His comment was essentially that it was an expensive scanner that was deaf as a post for anything except the strongest signals.  That's about the same as my description of the GRE digital scanner that I own.  



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