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is the pro-106 or bc396xt better

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#1
I live in Arvada, Colorado. I was wondering is the pro-106 or the BC396XT is better for this area. Also what are the majority of you guys using pro-106 or bc396xt in this area. I will also wanting to monitor denver, jefferson county, adams county, boulder, DIA, wheat ridge, and etc... I was in to the scanner scene back in the mid 80's pretty heavy but over the last 20yrs things have changed. thats why ask this question.
 

jimmnn

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#2
I live in Arvada, Colorado. I was wondering is the pro-106 or the BC396XT is better for this area. Also what are the majority of you guys using pro-106 or bc396xt in this area. I will also wanting to monitor denver, jefferson county, adams county, boulder, DIA, wheat ridge, and etc... I was in to the scanner scene back in the mid 80's pretty heavy but over the last 20yrs things have changed. thats why ask this question.
RS Pro-106 would be my choice, much cheaper if you can find a sale and easier to program.

Jim<
 
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#5
Free software can be had for the 396XT. The Pro-106 is cheaper, but bulkier. Either way, You'll want a programming cable and some software for either scanner. Good luck :)
 

nathancarlson

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#7
They both have really great features! I chose the pro 106, because I like having the multi color LED, instead of having the LCD screen lite up (some colors make it hard to read the screen). I wish that I had the fire tone out feature, and its probably much easier to switch around control channels (its hard to get to them manually from the pro-106). Overall, I am happy with the size of the 106, and the features I use on it.
 

CoolCat

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#8
Regarding price...

The 396XT retails for around $450 new, but it includes a data cable, batteries, and programming software is free.

The Pro-106 retails for around $400 new (currently on sale for $349), but does NOT include a data cable ($30) or batteries ($10), and programming software costs at least $35. Even at the current sale price it ends up costing around about the same as a 396XT (when not on sale it ends up costing more).

---
Regarding features/function/form...

The 396XT is much smaller and has a more "solid" build quality than the Pro-106. It has a multi-color backlit LCD panel (and you can assign different colors to individual channels). The small size comes at the price of less buttons and a combined volume/squelch/scroll/select knob (adjusting volume is a bit irritating as you must first press down on the knob before rotating it, very poor design IMO). Almost every key on the front panel has a secondary function which is used with the FUNC modifier key on the side of the scanner. Many people complain about poor P25/digital decoding/audio quality with the 396XT, but in my opinion it does just fine. The 396XT uses Uniden's DMA memory system which is very flexible and easier to understand for those who are only used to the traditional fixed bank/channel system used on older (and cheaper) scanners.

The Pro-106 is much larger and does not feel as [physically] well made as the 396XT. It has only a plain-jane amber color backlit LCD panel, but it does include a multi-color LED light on the front which is user-adjustable. It has many more keys and uses traditional (separate) volume and squelch controls. Many people say that the Pro-106 has better P25/digital audio decoding and louder audio than the 396XT. The Pro-106 uses GRE's OOM / V-scanner memory system which is much better than banks/channels, but is limited in flexibility and "simultaneously usable" memory space when compared to Uniden's DMA memory system. It has a lot of memory space but that space is divided into 21 equally sized V-scanners, and unfortunately you can only scan 1 on them at a time. In my opinion, this severely limits what would otherwise be a very good memory system.

Hope that helps. Whichever model you choose, good luck and happy scanning :)
 

greenthumb

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#9
I'll just throw in my $.02 here and suggest the 396XT. I enjoy the smaller form factor, great audio quality and Uniden scanners just seem to perform better in urban areas with a lot of RF noise in the 800 MHz band. Whichever you choose, I hope you enjoy it! :)
 

kenn_moses

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#10
I would like to mention the GRE PSR500 too. GRE makes the Pro-106 for Radio Shack if you are seriously considering the Pro-106. The PSR500 includes the USB programming cable as original equipment so you save money there and you have to pay for the same software for either the RS model or the GRE model. The PSR500 can be found on that online auction site for $349 and free shipping if you find the same seller I did. This would be important if price is a concern to you.

I am not selling the Uniden 396XT short here. It seems a better build, includes a serial programming cable as original equipment and Freescan software is terrific. To me Freescan seems way easier to learn to use than any of the big 3 used to program the RS/GRE scanners. I use Freescan on my Uniden and Win500 for my PSR500. The Freescan seemed intuitive but the Win500 had me going in circles for a while.

Just me and my opinion...everybody has one.
 

tbiggums

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#12
I really like the GRE/Radio Shack scanners' ability to follow patched talkgroups on P25 trunked systems. That really helps if you're trying to listen to CSP or some other agency that often patches talkgroups. I wish Uniden would get up to speed on this--both manufacturers currently do it for EDACS systems.

I do prefer how the Uniden XT series handles multi-site trunking, though. I like how each site is programmed separately and the name is shown on the display while you're receiving. I like how it's relatively easy to lock/unlock individual sites. On the GRE/RS units, all the control channels for all the sites are just entered into one list, and there's not an easy way to go in and lock/unlock some when necessary.

I do think the Uniden XT menu structure is more intuitive than the current GRE/RS models, so it is easier to make minor programming changes on the fly.

On EDACS, the GRE/RS units do a better job of muting most of those annoying EDACS data buzz sounds you hear when talkgroups are un-patched. The Uniden XT units unfortunately let you hear all that...
 

greenthumb

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#13
On EDACS, the GRE/RS units do a better job of muting most of those annoying EDACS data buzz sounds you hear when talkgroups are un-patched. The Uniden XT units unfortunately let you hear all that...
Agreed on this - or when a radio is a little weak into the system and doesn't connect on a voice frequency right away, you hear the buzz saw then as well.
 
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abqscan

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#15
I live in Arvada, Colorado. I was wondering is the pro-106 or the BC396XT is better for this area. Also what are the majority of you guys using pro-106 or bc396xt in this area. I will also wanting to monitor denver, jefferson county, adams county, boulder, DIA, wheat ridge, and etc... I was in to the scanner scene back in the mid 80's pretty heavy but over the last 20yrs things have changed. thats why ask this question.

Both radios will monitor what you listed. People here have listed what they think makes one radio better over the other, but in the end, your needs are more important in determining what radio better suites you.
 

n0doz

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#16
Since both radios are better programmed by software, perhaps looking at the various free programs available will give you an idea about which will work better for your needs. That, and read the manuals for each, which are available on the net.
 

CoolCat

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#17
Since both radios are better programmed by software, perhaps looking at the various free programs available will give you an idea about which will work better for your needs.
Are there any free software programs for either model other than Freescan (for the 396XT)?

Many commercial software programs do offer "free trials" (either with limited functionality or a time limit), but the programs themselves are not free.
 
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#18
Are there any free software programs for either model other than Freescan (for the 396XT)?

Many commercial software programs do offer "free trials" (either with limited functionality or a time limit), but the programs themselves are not free.
While they're not free, they also aren't expensive ($30 - $50) and generally allow use on multiple scanners as well as on multiple computers. You'll could easily spend more than that on a week's worth of coffee or soft drinks.
 
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