Uniden SDS100 Scanner

I have so many computers doing various police scanner programs such as SDRTrunk and OP25 that I started running out of computers and Raspberry Pi’s.  I’m really enjoying listening to the police scanner much like my father did many years ago with his Radio Shack scanner.  I decided to reclaim some computers so I went out and bought a Uniden SDS100 Scanner from Bearcat Warehouse.  I had some questions regarding shipping and the scanner and the guy on the phone was super helpful and even called me back to let me know when my SDS100 shipped.  

First impression is the cost.  Youzah!  $650 but this thing does all the digital modes however sadly you have to pay for additional modes if you want them.  Not sure that impresses me but I think there is a licensing fee involved with DMR or NXDN so if it were added up front the scanner would be more expensive.

Before you can really do anything at all with the scanner it has to have the firmware installed and the USA (or Canada) database updated.  You’ll require a Windows only (BOOOOO!) program called Sentinel. Sentinel can be downloaded from a sticky thread in the Uniden Tech Support Forum on RadioReference.com

The latest BETA firmware can be found in a sticky thread there as well.  Bear in mind the Sentinel program will install STABLE firmware. BETA firmware is installed differently than STABLE firmware.

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OP25 Raspberry Pi Audio Sucks A Big DAC

Ok I’ve been on a roll playing with OP25 and Raspberry Pi and one thing I can tell you is that the onboard audio from the bcm2835 chip is somewhat inadequate.  Oh, it works but you’re going to need a powered speaker or really efficient headphones, and even then it is a bit light.

What to do?

Add a USB Digital to Analog converter (DAC).  Depicted here is a HiFiMeDIY USB DAC.  This is a tad bit expensive for this project but I have like 4 of these things laying around the house.  They are ridiculously good.   If you like music slap one of these bad boys on your laptop in the hotel room and the quality of your music will improve ten fold.

That’s not what we’re doing here though.

There are a LOT of USB DAC’s out there and some cost just a few dollars.  HiFiMeDIY makes some cheaper ones as well that are way more than enough for improving your OP25 sound.

 

 

The Phat DAC costs $15 but you’ll have to solder header pins on yourself.  That may be the cheapest, and best route.  It has the form factor for the Raspberry Pi Zero but it works on all the Pi’s.

 

 

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OP25 on a Raspberry Pi (part 3)

In my last part I set the Pi up to stream to Broadcastify.  In this one we are just going to pump audio out through the headphone jack.

I’m doing this with an old generic black RTL-SDR and it works and it works fine but it is kind of susceptible to heat and cold and the ppm correction drifts a bit.  I really recommend getting a v3 RTL-SDR or a NESDR Smart as they seem more stable.  At any rate it doesn’t matter, you’ll just have to deal with the drift if you have any.

My assumption here is that you have Raspbian installed on at least a Pi 3.  I haven’t tried it on a lesser Pi but I had it on a Pi 3 B + and then I found a couple Pi 3 B’s laying around and figured I’d reclaim my B+ for another project on another day.  OP25 runs fine on the Pi 3.

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OP25 Raspberry Pi Streaming Part 2

So I finally figured out OP25 and I have this brand new Raspberry Pi 3 B + laying around doing nothing.  In this segment we’ll install OP25 on Raspberry Pi and then take our police scanner feed and send it to the internet on Broadcastify.

As someone pointed out to me yesterday, “There’s an app for that” they are indeed correct.  You can get Police Scanner Apps for IOS and Android.   Guess where the feeds in those apps comes from?  If you said Broadcastify you’d be correct.  So if no one is feeding your municipality   then there will be no feed in the app.  We will be that feed.

So the assumption is that you have a Pi with Raspbian installed and you kind of know how to use it.

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OP25 For Dummies – Or how to build a police scanner for $30 (Part 1)

OP25 is a program that decodes P25 Phase 1 and Phase 2 digital radio.  Some municipal areas are upgrading to P25 Phase 2 so almost gone are the days that you can track them with a police scanner since P25 is a Trunked Radio system and not just a lone frequency to monitor.   The only things that do Phase 2 are hardware scanners and hardware radios and OP25 for software radios.  Bear in mind Phase 2 could be encrypted and nothing you can do will decode it.

OP25 is HARD.  I’m a geek and I messed with it on and off for a year or more and it whipped me more than once.  Now that I have it working I find that it is REMARKABLY easy and I’m mad at all the geeks out there who never made a simple tutorial.  There are tutorials out there, some good but everybody leaves out the good stuff or the stuff they took for granted.

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Othernet

We all know what the Internet is but what in the world is the Othernet?  (It used to be called Outernet).  The Othernet is unofficially dubbed “The Internet in Space” or “The Encyclopedia in Space” and it’s mission is to provide internet type information to the poor or to areas on earth which don’t have active internet.

I kind of view it as a back up to the internet and one more source of information in a SHTF scenario.  When the grid goes down as long as you have an othernet receiver and a generator or some batteries and a laptop the satellite in space will probably still be working fine.

The project is housed here.  Before you jump into the Othernet fire for the first time, know this. When you buy Othernet hardware, that’s all you get.  No manual, no instructions.  Nothing.  That being said one of the users over there made an amazing guide to setting up the Othernet.

If you start digging into this guy a bit he’s highly credentialed and you can better believe this hobbyist believes everything he has to say in this paper.  So it’s really all good.

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DOD CAC Card on Ubuntu Linux

So, you are a government employee AND a Linux geek.  Join the club.  It is possible to use your smart card to access DOD CAC Card enabled sites.   A must do project for the Linux geek in you.

 

I’m doing this with an IOGEAR GSR202 and it will work with a lot of other CAC Card readers as well.  Also I’m using Ubuntu 18.04

First of all the information is taken from this excellent website.  While almost perfect there are a few minor issues that could foul a fella up.  I seek to clarify those here.

First lets download the Certs for your browser.  They also come from the page I have linked above (MilitaryCAC.com).  Download here.  Hold tight.  We’ll get back to them.

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Saving Old Stereo Gear From Craigslist – Pioneer SX-650

Without a doubt the old Silver faced Pioneer Receivers from the 70’s and 80’s was some of the most epic stereo gear ever designed.   Sadly with the advent of cell phones and tablets everybody listens to their music on cheap earbuds while streaming low res music from some far away server.

Well not everybody does that.  But most.  And that means all those old boat anchor sized amps are in the back of the closet, the garage, in the attic and turn up at the estate sale from time to time.

Stupid old guys like me who are trying to relive their childhood will pay top dollar for an old amp that realistically time forgot.   So these days it becomes the challenge of the old audiophile (audiophool) to find one cheap and bring it back to it’s once epic status.

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Bad Storms and Emergency Radios

Bad, bad storm last night.  I seldom have a chance to give any emergency gear a good workout but I sure got the chance last night.

About 6:30 or 7 last night a wicked Thunderstorm with low and frequent lightning was hitting us hard.  There was some nearby property damage although I was lucky. No trouble at Castle Hagensieker.

 

Even though we all have cell phones, internet, TV whatever…….the best resource for weather is YOUR LOCAL NOAA WEATHER STATION.  They transmit weather data 24/7 however they transmit it on a frequency that you probably can’t get on any radio you own.  You either need a real life EMERGENCY RADIO like you can buy at Lowes or maybe Walmart or you need a USB Software Defined Radio hooked to a computer.   NOAA stations start I believe at 162.40 MHz.  Also NOAA has the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

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