Waterfall Key Use and Install SDS200

Waterfall Feature Operation Manual


The Waterfall Feature is available for the SDS100 and SDS200 scanners. It covers a user-selectable span or band of the radio spectrum to show you graphically the radio transmissions that are present. The Waterfall feature quickly shows you how active a span or band of the spectrum is. When you see a transmission displayed, you can navigate to it to listen to it.
Since all transmissions occurring in the selected span will display at the same time, you’ll be able to see possible relationships between transmissions. For example, you might see simultaneous repeater transmissions on multiple frequencies or find a repeater input frequency associated with the repeater output frequency. The strength of signals will provide clues about the nature of the transmissions or how far or near the transmitters are. Alternatively, they will tell you the relative strengths of transmitters. These observations will enable you to gain a quick understanding of unfamiliar radio systems or of a new location. 


Purchase your key from Bearcatwarehouse click here

Download the latest version of Sentinel.

Use Sentinel to download the most current firmware for your scanner model.
Purchase a License Key for the Waterfall Feature from from Bearcatwarehouse.

On the scanner press Menu->Settings->Upgrade and select Upgrade Waterfall.
Enter the entire License Key, including the dashes. This is done by rotating the PUSH/FUNC knob to select characters and the arrow soft keys to advance the cursor. When done, press E (Enter). If entered successfully, the Waterfall Feature will be available for use.

Starting Waterfall
To start the Waterfall function, press Menu and use the knob to scroll backwards to select Waterfall and press E. You will see a display headed by “Waterfall” that shows several options for starting it as well as for adjusting various settings.
The starting options are as follows:

Understanding the Display

The scanner’s display is divided into two panes. The upper pane is called the FFT Display and the lower pane is called the Waterfall Display.

FFT Display

The FFT Display shows a real-time graph of the strength of radio signals and background RF noise. Grid lines on the horizontal axis depict frequencies, and grid lines on the vertical axis depict signal strength levels.
The signals or noise being received across the selected span are plotted in white.

The Marker

In the center of the graph, a vertical line (defaulting to green) is displayed. This line represents the frequency that the scanner is currently tuned to and is called the Marker.

The current frequency can be changed either by entering a frequency from the keyboard and pressing the Enter key or by turning the knob.
When using the knob, the frequency changes by the current value of the Step with each knob click. This works well for small frequency changes but is probably too slow to move to a more distant active frequency. If you press Function before turning the knob, the frequency will change by a much larger amount, allowing you to quickly move to the area of the more distant frequency. When you get closer to the desired frequency, press Function again to revert to movement by Steps to fine tune to the exact desired frequency.

When the user changes the current frequency, depending on the setting of parameter Set Marker->Marker Position, the Marker will either move (Position Adjustable) or will remain centered in the display (Fixed in Center Screen). Position Adjustable is the default.

In the Position Adjustable mode, the marker moves (and the receive frequency changes) but the lower and upper limits of the span remain fixed.

In the Fixed in Center Screen mode, when you change the receive frequency, the marker stays put in the center but span shifts accordingly, so the lower and upper span limits change.

Other Information Displayed

The area above the FFT graph displays the following information:

Line 1:

The Span size
The current setting for Gain

Line 2:

The Current Frequency that the scanner is tuned to
The current volume setting
The current squelch setting

Soft Keys

Adjusting Display Screen Space Allocation

While the waterfall feature is running, you can conveniently change the amount of screen space dedicated to each type of display (FFT and Waterfall) by pressing Function followed by the nine (“9”) key on the keypad, which is labeled “9 DISP”. To return to the waterfall, simply press “E” after making your selection.
Available choices are:

FFT: 25% / WF: 75% FFT: 50% / WF: 50% FFT: 75% / WF: 25% FFT: 100% 

Assignment to Search Key

For convenience, you can optionally assign the waterfall function to one of the three search keys on digits 1-3 on the keypad. These are labeled SRCH1, SRCH2, and SRCH3. This is done by pressing:
Menu->Search for->Set Search Key->Search Key n->Waterfall
Where “n” is a number 1 through 3.
Once this is done, when the scanner is held on a channel, you can start the waterfall feature, using the Current Settings, by pressing Function and the SRCHn key that you assigned to waterfall.
RF Gain
The scanner’s RF Gain defaults to the recommended value of Automatic. This setting is preferred and adequate in most cases. The user can adjust the RF gain by selecting one of 16 available gain levels, numbered 0 through 15, or can choose Auto.
In an area with nothing but weak signals, the user may increase the RF gain in order to receive more signals. In an area with very strong signals, the user may decrease the RF gain to compensate. Be aware that changing the gain simultaneously affects the strength of the background noise as well as signals.
NOTE: If you increase the gain too much in a strong signal or noisy environment, the display will saturate and distort, making it impossible to obtain correct information.
To change the RF Gain setting, press the Function key and press the zero (“0”) key on the keypad, which is marked 0 LVL. The setting is changed by turning the knob.





Questions about the SDS200

Common questions we receive about the Uniden SDS200 Scanner