Uniden Announce the SDS100: A Software Defined Handheld Scanner

The Uniden SDS100 Handheld SDR Based Scanner
The Uniden SDS100 Handheld SDR Based Scanner

Radio manufacturer Uniden have just released news about their latest product called the SDS100 which is a handheld software defined radio scanner specifically for digital voice and trunking modes. The scanner will retail for USD699, and aims to be released in the 2nd quarter of 2018 pending FCC approval. Note that certain software decoders will require paid upgrades, but it will be capable of all the major digital voice modes such as P25 Phase I and II, DMR, NXDN and trunking modes. It doesn't seem to support TETRA since it's marketed at the American consumer, however, it seems plausible that simple software update could enable this feature in the future.

As far as we know this is the first handheld scanner to incorporate SDR and is probably one of the bigger leaps in scanner technology to date. Compared to hardware based scanners, the SDS100 should provide significantly better decoding capabilities, even in weak signal and simulcast conditions. Simulcast is when multiple overlapping base stations transmit a signal at the same frequency. This can cause multi-path distortion problems, but an IQ based radio like an SDR is able to overcome these issues.

Uniden creates another first with the SDS100 True I/Q Scanner, the first scanner to incorporate Software Defined Radio technology to provide incredible digital performance in even the most challenging RF environments. The SDS100’s digital performance is better than any other scanner in both simulcast and weak-signal environments.

The SDS100 is also the first scanner that allows you to decide what to display, where, and in what color. Custom fields put the information important to you right where you need it.

And, one more first, the SDS100 meets JIS4 (IPX4) standards for water resistance.

For more information you can check out this discussion thread on Radio Reference. In the future there should also be some videos of it in action available on the Uniden YouTube channel. The owners manual is also available here and all their promo material including many more demonstration videos can be found on their Google Drive.

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If you’re still thinking of buying an sds100, I would recommend https://www.zipscanners.com/
They have great customer service and took care of all my programming for me!

Will G

look down the approval form…
Wow software defined scanner
Software Defined/Cognitive Radio
Is this application for software defined/cognitive radio authorization? No


Will G


Not even an open source… Stuck with what Uniden America believes is the proper gain for all locations and situations… fm band also whipes out airband. Using my upconverter 125 mhz is already blocked out on sds100 with huge birdee frequency that with squelch open lasts to 30mhz so rf would be horrible without say a 250mhz oscilator installed to be able to receiv HF…so milcomhf is cone until upconverters ship with atleast a 150 or 250 mhz oscilator to get out of fm airband and public safety bands and more put into uhf bands.. my ham it up over desenses the sds100 in upconvert mode so i beleive there must be somewhere a 125mhz oscillator in the sds 100


Hi! Can you mirror FCC docs that was restricted for public some time ago?

– Block diagram
– Circuit description
– Internal photos?

The most interesting document is block diagram.

If you have, please email me to: wireless.friendly AT gmail.com


Will G

Boy Overload and no gain settings… also it uses the r836 by raphael micro the new version of the r820t only issue is 40-1005mhz receive but uniden markets as 25-1300mhz.. What a rip off….. also its gain is way too high and uniden wont institute a gain adjustment at all

Will G

Uniden also seems to think 1 Gain Setting fits all when it overloads so easy…and weather takes over the entire RAILROAD BAND… Fed frequencies in 163 mhz border partol whipe out VHF-hi band… no 800 in my eare,, rtl picks up and decodes nice at 12.9 gain settings and uniden just plays digital control channel noise… same as dmr even tho i have purchased dmr… VERY PISSED at my decision as a Uniden FAN>.. this one i guess i took for the team


Always been a fan of Uniden but they can keep this one. Imagine shelling out 700.00 bucks for this to monitor local Law Enforcement and they go encrypted. What a waste of money. Especially since the digital modes aren’t included. I’ll hang on to the 436. Works fine. Just eats batteries.

phillip a mitchell

My only question is, why does anyone have to pay for the DMR and NXDN keys? for the price of the unit you would figure that all subscribers should have those options transferred over to this new scanner.


if it came with motoTRBO might consider


It says DMR . Mototurbo is a motorola rebranded DMR


And you would think this new model would come with moto TRBO


Hi All, why the frequency breaks and not continuous from 25 – 1300MHz? Are these gaps required by US law? Maybe down here is Australia we’ll get one with continuous coverage?


512 to 758 is terrestrial digital TV in most countries.
824 to 849 is encrypted mobile telephone conversations in most of the world.
869 to 894 is pretty much the same as above, GSM.
960 to 1215 Aeronautical radionavigation: Distance Measuring equipment and secondary surveillance radar
1215 to 1240 is various earth exploration satellites, space to Earth, space to space.

For example If it can’t decode ADS-B there is no point in it being able to tune to 1090MHz or 978 MHz (aircraft that only operate below 5,500 m/18,000 feet). If the device is unable to decode the complex modulation and/or encrypted signal, there is no point in being able to tune to those frequencies. Or at least that is how I would see it with a device that is being sold as a standalone handheld scanner.

Bob Kon

No Scanner perhaps other then Goverment approved and issued you will ever have de-encrypted channels. Pls it is no set by bands they cover but by the end user agency.

I Hear Ya

Laughing at those that cried wolf when this was shown on UR’s web site and then pulled. First NXDN and DMR fixes available for BCDx36HP series and now this. Drop more nails in whistler’s crappy coffin.


For those of you who want a $99.00 scanner equivalent to the SDS100, that absurd. For all the advanced features and technical know how to manufacture, engineer, and market such an amazing machine while staying profitable and in business to give more, consider trying to your own scanner and engineering it, marketing it, all while staying profitable. What you will find is that it’s not easy. Educate your self and be able to pay for your hobbies, and if you have a better idea I’m sure Uniden would love to hear from you.


BTW the SDS100 it should have costed even more thank your stars a company can make an excellent product that most everyone can afford.

Joe Didder

So many people who haven’t a clue about business. There are many costs that go into producing a scanner or anything else for that matter…engineering and design costs, material costs, labor and production costs, sales and marketing costs, and other overhead costs. $99.00 for a scanner? Dream on and please try to learn something about business.


I would really like to see a mobile version of this, especially since it has location-based scanning !!!

Golan Klinger

Uniden always seems to release scanners in both hand and mobile variations so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to get a mobile one eventually.


Correct. There’s sure to be a base/mobile unit out based on most of the same circuitry soon. Just as the BCD436 and BCD536. I’m looking forward to a base/mobile, since my BCD536 drives me crazy whenever I need to go in and use the menu with that rotary dial that continually jumps over the menu line or prompt that I’m trying to land on. Adding a simple set of up-down buttons in addition to the rotary dial would have been a godsend. But too late for that now, we can only hope they learned from that disaster.

Bendail Vam

LOL – let me guess, a 7 with a bunch of 9’s in the price tag….you know what, it truly getting old that the “new” marketing SCAM is “SDR” SDR IS and WAS supposed to DECREASE the cost of physical components and thereby making it cheaper…and all these people INCLUDING the ham radio manufacturers see is a nice fat wider price margin. Sadly these people don’t understand that their marketing to almost 3 full generations of “disposable electronic devices” people; IE: they’re trying to sell apples to apple farmers!!!! When I can use 2X RTL’s, a $35 Pi and some software for a nominal $$ contribution to the author…GUESS WHAT I WONT BE BUYING.

Bendail Vam

IF these people had a clue, they’d release it at $99.99 and sell a million of them…instead…the’ll overprice it and sell 10,000 ….sad…truly…truly…sad.


lol armchair CEOs…

Sofa King We Tar Did

$99.99, ~30-40% would goes to distributors, ~30% is profit for the creators, that leaves ~30% for the case, BOM, PCB manufacture, assembly, testing, packaging, and marketing (if you want to hit those sales targets). Unless you are shipping a million units by year 3 and can run making losses before that, that price point will never happen. You would also need to encrypt and digitally sign everything (gilded jail cells a bit like Apple) to slowdown and hinder competition from backward engineering your algorithms and then leap frogging ahead of you newer shiner products with minimal R&D costs for them to recuperate. You also need lawyers to protect you from others who will claim that you need to be paying them royalties for use of their patent portfolios, and to protect your copyrighted code from being stolen and used by others. If you chop out all global distributors, and ship the item directly from China, you might make the price slightly more palatable, but you will never ship the same quantity before your device is obsolete. You might look at the distributors and think do they really need 30-40%, it is for storage, security and insurance, accountants, yet more lawyers, and a bit of profit for themselves.

Bendail Vam

And once again…699.99$ today will get you an item with far superior technology – mid to high level video card, it will also get you the latest iCPU, will also get you an entire computer system with a year old iCPU, will also get you a pretty darn good audio rack system, it will also get you a boomin’ 4k TV w/ surround , 699.99 will also get 3X SDR tx.rx from lime, as well as many other manufacturers, whose price points seem…a little more…down to earth……..3X remember…not just 1. These other SDR rx.tx radios are also from mid-level startups…not companies, such as Uniden, that have been around for well over 20+ years I can imagine – 699.99 per unit, in the disposable electronics/technology world is a lot of buying power. I highly doubt that any company that spams SDR as a selling point is doing so for the customers benefit…its being thrown around/”marketed” like DSP (also software, on yet again its own wafer), once again 699.99 for this product is not justified for a technology that is already approaching its 50 year mark in a decade or so. Also a yardstick one, with yet more software would be able to do the same thing and even be able to add on a customer grabbing color touch screen to boot! and be tx capable….but once again 699.99 for this product??? …maybe 20 years ago when the technology wasn’t already so available and widespread.


Uh you do realize that this is a fully ready-to-go rugged handheld scanner with multiple digital decoders right?

Sure the RTL-SDR and Limes are good and can decode almost everything, but you would still need to put the work in to set them up, and package them up into a neat handheld unit. There is no software for Lime or RTL that can easily be used on a small handheld screen so you’d need to write that yourself first too. There’s A LOT of work yet to be done to get them field ready. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great for a home scanning system but.

Some people just want to open the box and listen, or grab the radio and go out. Others want to experiment and tinker, or don’t need a rugged handheld. There are two markets here.

And the YardStick1 is not an SDR BTW. Also hardware scanners have their limitations, so I can understand why they are marketing the ‘SDR’ part heavily.

Bendail Vam

“The radio functions that are possible by customizing IM-Me firmware are now at your fingertips when you attach YARD Stick One to a computer via USB”….LOL ya an SDR, you’re creating and modifying code/math instead of swapping hard wired physical components.
And you once again miss the point that I’m trying to hammer home (so people do actually think twice before shelling out $$) its……..SOFTWARE, SOFTWARE and yet more SOFTWARE…….its been done since the dawn of computers…from freeware titles to shareware….its NOT THAT HARD (well for those that have the gift 🙂 and there are billions of software titles available…by people working hard from their garages to corporate chunks…ITS SOFTWARE…not a hard, sometimes quite costly component. It amazes me that the “fanboys” and cheerleaders of overpriced SDR equipment…do not even understand the concept.


actually laughing at the recall that people are atlkig about that UNIDEN AMERICA HAS TO DO TO REPLACE THE LIL TUNER CHIP INSide… No firmware around STUPIDITY on UNIDENS end for leaving an auto gain front end r836 wide open.. explain how software is going to replace a physical tuner IC raphael micro r836 manufacturer of chip specified rf is autogain so uniden buyers are screwed

Sofa King We Tar Did

I think you should develop a new product and sell it for peanuts, and see how easy it is. Everything you say sounds totally fantastic.

Bendail Vam

You want to throw your $$ away..its yours to do so with…what I’m saying is the only way to show/demonstrate to these companies/marketing depts is to voice opposition to being scammed. And you do that by NOT purchasing their overpriced products. it’s not only Uniden like I had stated – so before it gets rampant, we should put our foot down…..IMHO

Signal in, Distorted Noise out

Troll much ?

Bendail Vam

like Obi Wanno SDRairo say =- put YOUR children/grandchildren through college, not someone else’s.


That’s not the way it works. This is a specialty item, meaning it’s something that 95 percent of the population doesn’t care about or even really understand. Enormous costs in research and development, and only a small target buyer, they have to charge much more than just the cost of producing, just to stay in business and keep a staff working on future products.


For that price, it should decrypt. A certain chip manufacturer is definitely
holding scanner manufacturers ransom these days. Stick with the RTLs,
eventually we will work out/ work around any issues. Providing we will
be able to get cheap RTL’s in the future.

Bendail Vam

You mean decode correct? Anyone “decrypting” any type of encrypted RFsignal would be doing it illegally – however decoding digital is fine.

Mike Frisco

I thought the advent of SDR would mean faster, cheaper innovation in the world of scanners.

Uniden not only went in the complete opposite direction of that, they also added paid DLC to the mix.

As a scanner user, I find this to be very depressing and a step backward.



Motorola owns patents on a number of the digital modes including NXDN, DMR, MotoTRBO etc. Uniden is probably having to pay licensing fees on each unit where that’s enabled and they’re just passing it along (with a markup) to those folks who really want it to keep the base model lower.

Alternatively they could just enable all of the digital modes and add a few hundred dollars to the price of each unit.


NXDN is a Kenwood and Icom thing, not Motorola. DMR is an ETSI standard, and MotoTRBO is the Motorola brand name for their DMR implementation.


Thanks. I must have misread on the NXDN. DMR is an ETSI standard but that doesn’t mean it’s unecumbered by patents. Do a Google search on “DMR Essentials Licensing Program”. You will also find a PDF file of licensees which includes Uniden.

Golan Klinger

I’ve been waiting for the release of the AOR AR-DV10B because I’ve always wanted a wideband handheld scanner but this SDS100 sure looks interesting.


LOL. Good catch.


Typo in first line of the ad. Need software defined copywriter. Lol