Just received my SDS200 yesterday and have been comparing it to my other
scanners / VHF transceivers.
My reference target is a transmitter that is 46 air miles away over VERY flat terrain. It is
an APCO 25 trunked system site transmitting on 142 MHz..
I have 2 antennas - a home brew dual band J-Pole designed by Kazimierz Siswiak KE4PT
( the editor of QEX Journal ). It is up at 23' above ground. The other antenna - used exclusively
by my scanners is a Diamond DJ-130 discone up at 15' above ground.
The receivers I compared it to are Radio Shack PRO-2096, PRO-96 hand held and an old
Kenwood TM742 Tri band amateur mobile radio along with a borrowed BCD536HP.
The APCO 25 transmitter comes in at an S7 on my Kenwood using the J-Pole. I can't hear it
at all using either of the RS scanners , and is buried in the noise on the 536HP. With the SDS200
the signal is also very weak ( -109dBm ) but is better copy than the 536HP ( marginally ). There is no
signal from this site on anything using the discone.
WRT to the SDS200 - PROs are the outstanding display. You can view an incredible amount of
info in living color. Performance in simulcast systems is the best. Ease of programming. Use
Sentinel to program the quick keys. Slicker than eel snot! Also the sheer number of system types
it can receive ( even if some require an upgrade )
CONs are the SLOW scan rate. This is not unique to the SDS200. I noticed the same "problem"
on the borrowed BCD536HP I have. I am missing a fair number of transmissions on the local
APCO 25 trunked system compared to the RS PRO-2096. The 2096 is lightning fast and has
limited but functional text tags for the TGIDs. I wonder if the scan rate is the affected by the
DMA architecture having to find the data to display on the screen when it receives a signal.
The other PITA is the load time for the databases on power up. I understand using an SD card to store
everything but boot time would be speedier if it also was stored in an EEPROM local to the processor.
It could be updated the same as the SD card and use the SD card for audio recording, QKs and FLists.
I will be using the SDS200 for the simulcast systems and military aircraft monitoring. I'll stick
with the PRO-2096 for the APCO 25 and conventional single site systems.
All in all the SDS200 is light years ahead of my older scanners and I will enjoy it for many years.
Thanks for plodding through my long winded opinion!
My view: the SDS100 is a good scanner wrapped in great eye-candy. You´ll find functionality similar to the 436/536 line.for most of southern California. I ran their trunked system for the last 8.5 years that I was there. They
upgraded from analog Motorola SmartZone trunking to P-25 phase 2 a half dozen or so years ago (well after I
left). I still like listening to them and it's REALLY nice when there is a power outage. So after having nothing I
could listen to them on for several years, I finally got the SDS100 a couple years ago. Although I have a few
other systems in it, primarily I use it for the SCE system. I have some stuff on the system I run programmed as
well, and it definitely handles simulcast better than the 396 or 996 scanners. I don't need a scanner for my
system since I have several issued radios on the system (including most of the encryption), but the scanner
was a nice test. I had thought about getting the P2 version of the 996 for my truck, but I will likely go with the
What´s the difference between it and my 436/536/TRX-1/TRX-2.The big one is that it is a software defined radio so is far more upgradable. Essentially everything is in firmware. It is more of a battery hog however.Like I need another scanner.Don't we all?