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Probe V3

by Robert McCulley

As someone that enjoys scanning I am always looking for new ways to enjoy my hobby. In recent years more and more software has been released claiming to work with the Optoscan 456 interface and Radio Shack Pro 2006 Scanner. As a Network Administrator, it is my job to evaluate software, and this is where my professional life meets my enthusiasm for monitoring. I would like to share some of my findings with you as it pertains to scanning software.

After trying many other software packages and wasting hundreds of dollars on products that claimed to work well with the Optoscan 456. I was continually unimpressed with limited functionality, buggy interfaces, and poor product documentation until purchasing Probe V2.0 from Datafile. The DOS based program ran well with all versions of PC compatible computers that I own, from an old 386 16Mhz, to a 100Mhz Pentium stand alone, to PC's attached to networks. I use Probe on a old laptop running just DOS and also on a Pentium shelled to a DOS window in Windows '95. The stability of the program is what I first noticed. The program ran clean and did not cause my systems to hiccup or crash, and all of the advertised features worked! The documentation was excellent, someone with very little exposure to DOS can make this application fly. Although the speed of the processors in my machines vary, the speed at which Probe was able to scan was impressive, 51 channels per second on the DOS laptop and 60 channels per second on my Pentium machines.

After owning Probe for over a year I still have not used all of this products features. Now I have upgraded to version 3.0 and feel I have many more toys to play with. Some of the new features include the following:

  1. Hyperbanks - The ability to activate a bank or banks of frequencies by assigning them to function keys [F1] through [F10].

  2. Visual alarms - In the previous version of Probe, audible alarms could set so that you could be alerted when a channel becomes active. Now with the use of color highlighting, 9 different alarms using audible and visual properties can be used to alert you to a specific channels activity.

  3. Automark - Automatically marks frequencies that become active. This gives the user a new way to log active frequencies. Once marked they can be moved to another bank or exported, if desired.
Along with the above items, the functionality of Probe has been modified slightly. New operational features have been added; to go into each of them would go beyond the scope of this review. I suggest that anyone that has a Radio Shack Pro 2005 / 2006 or newer unit and the Optoscan 456 or 535 interface consider what software they are using. If you are not using Probe V3.0, give it a try. I can honestly say that you will be impressed with the operability, functionality, and reliability of Probe V3.0.

I guess by now you can tell that I truly enjoy Probe V3.0. As with anything you do you can always do a little better, and I know that Perry Joseph of Datafile will continue to strive to keep Probe users on top of the software heap. Keep up the good work Perry!

Reprinted with permission
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