Best scanner for travel

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#1
Finally retired and I am going to "bite the bullet" and get a new scanner. I have kids that live from Idaho to Arkansas, to Kentucky, to North Carolina. I need a scanner that uses a SD card, digital, portable with dc/ac backup power, and rugged! I know that there are several models available, but I need the input of people that are using these models. My primary interest is fire/ems, parks/recreation. I don't want to have to reprogram the scanner every time I cross a state or county line. Any help is appreciated.
 
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#2
You have 2 options: the Uniden 436 or the SDS100. They both have the North America database, and allow you to connect a GPS to the scanner so it automatically scans local channels. As your location changes, it automatically turns channels on and off as you go so you are always listening to channels near you.

The 436 is a great radio, except it does not handle simulcast perfectly. The SDS100 is designed for simulcast, but it won't be available for another month or so, and will cost more than the 436.
 
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#4
Given the growing number of agencies the OP wants to monitor that use DMR and NXDN, the HomePatrol is a non-starter. The HomePatrol also really sucks at simulcast. The 436 is OK at best, but the HomePatrol is significantly worse.
 

pinballwiz86

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I would get the Uniden BCD436HP. It can do analog, analog trunking, digital P25, DMR, NXDN trunking. It has the entire country loaded up in a micro SD card. You can power it on batteries/usb cable. You can use a GPS puck and the device will automagically load and unload radio systems as you travel.
 
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#7
Thank you for all of the good comments. I guess the Uniden will be the one. I’m sure the ads will cost more and I am hesitant about buying new products until the bugs have been worked out.
 
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#8
The SDS100 and the 436 are both Uniden products. The SDS100 will definitely cost more, but it will receive simulcast broadcasts that the 436 will have trouble with. But as a new product, there is a greater chance it will have bugs that may take some time to iron out. The good thing about software-defined radio is that most bugs will be fixable with software updates, as opposed to hardware changes.

Whichever unit you choose, I'm sure it will work well for you.
 

bojangle

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#9
One more consideration that you might want to look into is with a mobile installation the display of the radio may not be viewable. I recently installed a Uniden scanner in my jeep and was very disappointed. With the setting on highest selection it was poor to see or read the information.
 

pinballwiz86

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The SDS100 will definitely cost more, but it will receive simulcast broadcasts that the 436 will have trouble with.
Luckily, not everyone lives in areas where public safety transmits P25 on the same frequency, from different towers..so I do not need nor care about simulcast. So the BCD436HP works great for me.

The big draw for the SDS100 for me is the software defined radio..
 

tumegpc

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#11
I would go with the HP-2 as has the best display of all the scanners for day or night travel. Easy touch screen makes mobile operation simple. Very easy to mount and remove when necessary.

My 2nd choice would be the 436HP but the display gets washed sometimes in bright conditions.

I would hold off on the SDS100 for now. Uniden is already trying to redesign the original battery due to limited capacity.
 
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#12
And the HP2 is very poor at receiving simulcast, and has zero capability for DMR or NXDN. It has a pretty user interface, but the actual receiver capability is not that good.
 

phask

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#13
And the HP2 is very poor at receiving simulcast, and has zero capability for DMR or NXDN. It has a pretty user interface, but the actual receiver capability is not that good.



Dis-regarding simulcast my HP1/HP2,536 and 996 all receive so close to the same (with similar antennas) that one will not noticany difference.


SDS is better in all aspects though.


If you wear polarized sunglasses you can't see any of them though.
 

tumegpc

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#14
And the HP2 is very poor at receiving simulcast, and has zero capability for DMR or NXDN. It has a pretty user interface, but the actual receiver capability is not that good.
Not everyone needs DMR and NXDN which happens to be mostly business anyway. Uniden just recently released NXDN and is still fine tuning things. Matter of fact ,Uniden doesn't even have NXDN support for their Sentinel software.
 

jaspence

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#15
Travel scanner

Take a look at the Whistler offerings. They also have the database stored on the SD card and are easy to program by city, county, or zip code.
 
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#16
Take a look at the Whistler offerings. They also have the database stored on the SD card and are easy to program by city, county, or zip code.
No, because they have zero GPS support. They are useless for in-vehicle use while traveling on long road trips, which is what the OP is looking for.
 
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#18
I use the BCD436HP. home patrol . BCD536HP that you will have to install or use as a base unit. All you have to do is hit the zip code or auto locate and it will find the close tower to you . Thy are great .
 
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#19
Oh boy - This isn't gonna make me popular. For down and dirty/easy, the bcd325p2. IMHO. For good too, the bcd436hp. If the sds100 turn's out to be great, that too. I have heard really bad review's of sensitivity, for the hp-2. And simulcast also.
 
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#20
Oh boy - This isn't gonna make me popular. For down and dirty/easy, the bcd325p2.
Did you read the OP's post?

He needs to be able to travel across multiple states without having to constantly reprogram. The 325 can't even hold some individual statewide system in there entirety, let alone multiple states' worth of stuff.

The 436 nationwide database and GPS makes far more sense.
 
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