| Home | Review List | Purchase Probe |

Probe Version 6.0

by Tom Swisher, WA8PYR

AOSC's American Scannergram - Issue #130

Well, Perry Joseph continues the march of progress for Probe! There's a whole host of great new features in Version 6.0...

I've used any variety of software packages for my Pro-2035 / OS-535 combination, but to this day none comes even close to beating Probe for flexibility, convenience and ease of use. Designed specifically for the OptoScan 456 and 535 boards, Probe runs well on just about any PC-compatible computer, even old 4.77 MHz 8088 models. Although it's a DOS program, I've never had trouble running Probe from within any version of Windows, and while it scans more slowly under Windows (and slows down a bit more when multi-tasking), it continues to scan just fine. The slowdown under Windows is a Windows problem more than anything else, and can be minimized by careful experimentation with settings. You'll need to tinker with your Windows comm port and Probe settling time settings, but there is still a slowdown of sorts with Windows 95/98. After tinkering with the settings on the Pentium 100 I use for radio control purposes, I generally get a scan speed that is about 15-20% slower than the DOS scan speed, which isn't bad.

Probe 6.0 introduces a new group of excellent features to go along with the features carried over from Version 5, including mouse support, VFO flexibility, Improved Templocks, and a variety of refinements and enhancements of existing features.

The most useful new feature is mouse support. Mouse support operates in DOS mode or when operating the program in a DOS window from within Windows 95/98. I found the ability to move the mouse around and click on whatever menu settings I needed to be incredibly convenient, making Probe even more flexible than in previous version.

Another new feature is VFO Keys. This great feature allows one to program up to 10 important frequencies into the [CTRL][Fn] combinations, thus enabling one to access these immediately from either the Scanning or Manual screens. I found this to be incredibly handy; if I heard one of my important frequencies go active on the monitor scanner, I could instantly jump to it by hitting the appropriate key combination and specifically monitor the action!

The new Hypergroups feature allows one to select a new frequency group on the fly, by using the [ALT][Fn] key combination. This is another great feature; if the local military air frequencies suddenly got active, I could instantly switch to my military-only group and monitor a much more extensive list of military frequencies.

There are also a number of enhancements to existing features, including Templocks which stay activated during an entire scanning session; pause capability for active Priority frequencies as well as a Priority Delay setting; the ability to save a custom column order for each individual frequency group database; a new "Name" index for the log viewer, and Bearing indication in degrees and true North from the monitoring location to the active transmitter.

Once again, Perry Joseph has worked magic on the best computer-aided scanning program available, and made it even better! Probe continues to be the King of the Hill when it comes to OptoScan-456 / 535 software; it's a real pleasure to use, and the feature set makes it just about the most powerful scanning / searching software available for any scanner.

Reprinted with permission
| Home | Review List | Purchase Probe |

© Copyright DataFile, Inc. 1994 - 2000