P25 Decoding: OP25 + RTL-SDR vs a Uniden BCD996T
APCO P25 is a digital voice signal and is commonly used like public safety departments such as police and fire. With an RTL-SDR and the open source Linux based OP25 decoder these signals can be decoded, assuming they are unencrypted. Software like DSD+ can also be used, but OP25 can supposedly decode more systems. Before the RTL-SDR, hardware scanners like the $~360 USD Uniden BCD996T digital scanner radio were typically used.
Over on YouTube user Rob Fissel has uploaded a video showing a comparison between an RTL-SDR using the OP25 decoder and a Uniden BCD996T. Both radios are used to decode a weak P25 Phase 1 LSM signal. He uses a Scantenna antenna with an antenna splitter to run both radios at the same time. His results show that even though the constellation is poor, OP25 does a good job at decoding the signal and producing voice, whereas the BCD996T doesn’t even manage to hear the control channel.
The BCD996T was first produced in 2006. The op25 project did not get off the ground until 2007 (and did not do trunking at that time). A more relevant comparison would be Uniden’s BCD996P2.
I would love to see a comparison with a Moto XTS-5000 or the like.