Initial Impressions of the Uniden SDS100 Scanner

After using the Uniden SDS100 scanner that I bought a few weeks ago as both a “portable shack” scanner down in Brunswick and as a “carry scanner” around town a couple of times and out to Fort Pulaski, I thought I’d post some initial impressions before writing more of a review of it in a few weeks.

  • It’s the best weak signal trunking scanner that I’ve used (for that matter, it probably has the best receiver of any handheld scanner that I’ve used). It will receive and track trunking systems that my BCD436HP or BCD325P2 find too weak to track.
  • The display is terrific. It provides a lot of information clearly and when you put it in detail mode (which isn’t good when you’re using it as a carry scanner), the display is a bit busy but provides a lot of useful information.
  • The large battery protrusion on the back of the radio makes it a bit unwieldly on the belt, but offers a lot of stability when sitting on a desk or table top to use as a “portable shack” scanner. The battery is a drawback for a “carry scanner” because it uses a proprietary battery pack instead of easily replaceable AA batteries.
  • THIS RADIO NEEDS A KEYPAD LOCK FEATURE! (Why did they not think to include it?)
  • The raised collar around the SMA connector prevents the use of most aftermarket SMA antennas; you have to use a BNC adapter and use BNC antennas instead.
  • It doesn’t seem to like most USB hubs (including externally powered ones). With all but one of the USB hubs I get, when I connect the radio to the hub and try to use it for computer control, I get a low USB bus voltage error.

So far, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the SDS100; it’s probably the most capable handheld scanner that I’ve ever had. I think it’s a bit expensive for a “carry scanner” and some if its features aren’t carry friendly either, but so far it’s been magnificent as a “portable shack” scanner.

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