SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

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SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by GerryL »

Hi everyone, I'm new to the group. I recently post in a FB group, but I thought I'd try this NE specific group for more local knowledge too. I'm interested in buying a new scanner, but I'm having a tough time deciding between the BCD536HP and SDS200. I'm in western MA, wanting to listen to Franklin, Berkshire and Hampshire Counties along with MSP. My concerns would be having decent conventional performance for airband, etc but also able to hear the state police system without it sounding too muffled. I have a tough time understanding what's being said on some youtube scanner videos. Is anyone listening in these areas that could give me some insight to help with my decision? So far I'm getting the recommendation to have more than one; 1 for conventional, 1 for digital etc.
I haven't been actively scanning for years; the last time I was active I sold a PRO-2006 to buy a BCD396T, which I still have. I've used the 396T for conventional scanning, but don't recall ever getting it properly programmed for trunking. Should this 396T be able to receive current MSP transmissions? Or the CoMirs I am reading about? If so I'll have to find my cable and try programming it again.

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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by W1KNE »

Hi Gerry,

A few notes on your thread here. I wouldn't waste money on the SDS if I were you. The SDS seems only really good for simulcast performance on P25 systems, where you have that issue. The VHF/UHF suffers terrible overload and the sensitivity can vary greately, depending on the unit you have. I had an early SDS100 and had it swapped out by the factory.
The 536 is my main scanner, daily driver if you will here, and it performs like a champ. I travel with the 436HP, while the SDS100 always just sits at home. The overloading and lack of consistent reception was enough for me.

My father lives in the Berkshires still and listens to CoMirs on his 396XT. Not sure the difference between the T and XT with respect to P25 reception.
You didn't mention your location, but several areas in Western Mass still pick up the still running analog sites too.

-- Mike
Mike Fitzpatrick
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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by JohnBolduc »

I have the SDS200 and the BCD536HP.

I prefer the BCD536HP. A bit of a better performer except for P25 simulcast systems. A bit simpler / easier to use.

John B
Londonderry, NH

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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by deacon »

A different opinion: I have had an SDS100 for about 9 months. I live on the cape and drive into RI and central MA frequently. I have had no issues.
I use the GPS option exclusively, perhaps that is the difference, but I doubt it. Next week I will be driving to Bangor, Ellsworth and Bar Harbor, Maine. It should be a good test. I will report back if I experience any issues.


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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by scannermaster »

I am a huge fan of the SDS200. The display is incredible and I've had no out of the ordinary reception issues as others have reported. I will say that the 536 and 996 seem to be a little more sensitive on VHF and UHF. However, I also am not a fan of the 536 (or 436) display. I find them difficult to read compared to an SDS200. The SDS200 is much more expensive and if you're primarily scanning in the western half of Mass I would agree that the SDS200 may be overkill. If you don't mind the extra expense and enjoy trying lots of different features though the 200 is the way to go in my opinion.

(And without a doubt, as others have said, in areas with simulcast distortion -which you probably don't have in western Mass- the 200 is far and away the preferred scanner. I just got back from a job in St. Louis and we could not hear much of the traffic there without a 200.)


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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by garys »

What sold me on the SDS200 was the display. The simulcast issue was far less of a consideration. As much as I like the 536HP, the display is a serious concern. Even with new LEDs installed by Uniden repair, it was dim in my truck. I ended up using Siren and my Note 5 in order to see the display. I think Uniden realized that and thus the SDS200 has a great display.

That being said, I kept my 536HP and sold off my WS1065. After the firmware upgrade this past spring, the the improvement was so great that I decided that after putting money into the 536HP repair, I might as well keep it It sits on my desk and is a great in house scanner.

I still haven't pulled the trigger on the SDS100 because my 436HP works so well except on simulcast systems. In the future, maybe.

Either the T or XT should pick up the P25 used in western MA. At some point that might change if the MSP goes to Phase 2, but I don't expect that to be soon.
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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by cdgordon »

The caution I would offer is that the P25 system is only going to get busier. Franklin County is looking to put PD/FD/EMS on it. Hampshire county has PD traffic on it. At some point, they may need to go ahead with P25 Phase 2 for more capacity. Remember, buying a scanner for what you monitor today is easier then buying one for the future.

A SDS100 is $600 and the 200 is $700 (plus DMR and NXDN upgrades if you want those). That's a lot of money for a scanner that may not be necessary. I would consider keeping the 396T (programming it for the P25 COMIRS) and buy a 996P2 ($325.00 or so). The 996P2 isn't the best on a simulcast system but I get satisfactory performance with mine on the CT Statewide system.
This way you have a modern scanner with solid performance and the benefit of having both a mobile/base and a handheld while saving a big chunk of money.


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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by GerryL »

Thanks everyone! It's all good info and gives me something to think about. :)

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Re: SDS200 or BCD536HP...and a 396T question

Post by GerryL »

So I ended up going with a new 536HP on a cyber sale. I'm impressed with the ease of start up on one of these new scanners given the loaded database and zip code based loading. Now figuring out favorites was another thing. I'm 2 days into it and finally have gotten a decent grasp of how to go about it. This is after reading lots of informative threads, posts , and websites. Now I'm working on fine tuning my organization of favorites and such. Sure is a decent receiver though; I'm just using the stock telescoping antenna and I'm out in the boonies. I'm very happy with it so far. :)

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