• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

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Looking for my first scanner

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chaseboyer

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Jun 28, 2016
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196
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Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
#1
I am looking for my first scanner. I have been listening to the scanners on Broadcastify for years and have finally made the decision to become more serious in scanning and purchase my first scanner. I am looking for something that will scan the departments near me, which are mostly on the Fort Worth Regional P25 Phase II Radio System here in Fort Worth, Texas. To be specific, the cities I am looking to cover are on Site 3 of the FW Regional.

I am wondering if I'll be able to cover all the cities on that site simultaneously, plus Hurst Fire Department who is on their own P25 trunked system but they are only Phase I and maybe a few others near me.

The scanner I am most interested right now is the Uniden Bearcat BCD436HP.

I was wondering, what do you think of it? Is it worth the money, or is there something around the same price range better? I really like how small it is, being a freelance news photographer and fire-ground photographer so I can't get a desktop and have heard really good things about it.
 

captainmax1

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Dec 28, 2010
Messages
449
Location
Florida Keys
#2
The Uniden BCD436HP is a great choice. It will pick up all versions of radio with the DMR and Provoice upgrades. I have one BCD436 and 3 BCD536 scanners. I believe its better to have the best scanner to keep from being outdated and if you travel, you will come across many different radio systems and you will be glad you have all the capabilities available to scan them.
 

Nasby

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Apr 4, 2004
Messages
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Location
Ohio
#4
Will it scan multiple channels or systems at once? Like could I have all of the Fort Worth Regional channels scanning or all of those scanning with Dallas or something like that?
Yes. Very easy to set up multiple channels, systems, groups, etc.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
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Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
5,938
Location
Dallas, TX
#5
I am looking for my first scanner. I have been listening to the scanners on Broadcastify for years and have finally made the decision to become more serious in scanning and purchase my first scanner. I am looking for something that will scan the departments near me, which are mostly on the Fort Worth Regional P25 Phase II Radio System here in Fort Worth, Texas. To be specific, the cities I am looking to cover are on Site 3 of the FW Regional.

I am wondering if I'll be able to cover all the cities on that site simultaneously, plus Hurst Fire Department who is on their own P25 trunked system but they are only Phase I and maybe a few others near me.

The scanner I am most interested right now is the Uniden Bearcat BCD436HP.

I was wondering, what do you think of it? Is it worth the money, or is there something around the same price range better? I really like how small it is, being a freelance news photographer and fire-ground photographer so I can't get a desktop and have heard really good things about it.
To be clear, at this time, Fort Worth itself, as well as most of the other cities, is not using Phase II. However, since the system is capable of Phase II, it is listed that way in the database. However, there are other layers on FWRRS, specifically those used by Arlington, Grand Prairie, and Irving, that do operate using Phase II talkgroups. Look at the Mode column for the agencies you are interested in. It that shows a "D', such as this one:
5336 14d8 D FW FD 1 Fire 1
then it is using Phase I.
On the other hand, look at this example from Arlington:
7017 1b69 T Arl FD 1 Arlington Fire Channel 1
The 'T' means that this is a Phase II talkgroup.

Also note that most all of Fort Worth's PD talkgroups are encrypted, designated with an E in the mode column. Anything labeled as encryoted (Mode E) will not be monitorable at all, with any scanner.

That being said, I have most of the major DFW metro area systems programmed in my 436HP. I can hear a number of them from home in Dallas. If I'm somewhere else in area, the systems for those would then be receivable. Besides the 436HP, the Home Patrol II, BCD536HP, BCD325P2, and BCD996P2 are other Uniden scanners that can handle the local systems P25 Phase II, P25 Phase I, and the analog systems still in use, such as in Dallas (city & county both, but an upgrade to Phase II is coming). There are also several models in the Whistler lineup that will as well. With the Phase II systems in use now in the DFW Area, plus others announced & on the way, I would not advise purchasing any scanner for local use here that was not Phase II capable.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Messages
25
Location
Fitchburg, MA
#6
Your first scanner

I have read many good reviews on the BCD436HP. I went with the Whistler TRX-1 and am very happy with it but it's new and the BCD436HP has been around longer so it's had more time for firmware upgrades and fix's.

Either way you will enjoy the detailed display info you will get on both digital and analog signals.

One tip I have if someone wants a cheap VHF/UHF analog scanner that works very well. Pick up a UV-5R Baofeng which you can buy new for around $30 bucks. Buy the programming CD and cable from RT Systems which is around $50 dollars. Program in all the local analog frequencies, hit the scan button and you are good to go for less than $100 bucks. Later if you want you can buy up several more of these radios and use the CD and program them any way you want and also have them function as two way radios.
 

SteveSimpkin

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Apr 13, 2009
Messages
635
Location
Lancaster, CA
#7
Regarding using a Baofeng two-way radio as an analog scanner. Keep in mind that while they are inexpensive, these radios do not make a good scanner if you have more than a few dozen channels. They scan at around 3 channels per second vs 80-100 channels per second for a typical scanner. It also lacks a number of common scanner features such as selectable banks, keyboard channel lockout, keyboard programable channel names, etc. A dedicated scanner like the Uniden BC125AT would be a much better choice for an analog scanner. At around $110 (includes programming cable and free software) it is reasonablly priced as well.
Monitoring Reviews: Uniden BC125AT Full Review
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2006
Messages
822
Location
Palatine, IL.
#8
I own a 436 and love it. There are days when I never turn on my base stations and just listen to my 436. I invested in a $30.00 800mhz antenna from Radio Shack and it works all the better. You can't go wrong. Greg
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2010
Messages
982
Location
Enfield, CT
#9
I'll add my thumbs up for the BCD436HP. I think it's a terrific scanner and enjoy using it in the house and in the car.

At home it's hooked up to the Austin Ferret antenna and in the car I use the Austin Spectra trunk lip mount antenna, and I am thrilled with the reception.

A great scanner in my opinion.

Russell
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2008
Messages
1,662
Location
San Francisco, California bay area
#10
I have 2 Home Patrol units and one 436 handheld. The Home Patrol units are far better in operation and to see screen.

I actually hate my 436 as the batteries don't last in that unit since there are only 3 of them. Not as user friendly and screen is difficult to see. Plus if you use it in the car the 436 will end up in some other mode than the scanning mode if side panel gets contact from anything.

I do use the Enelops rechargeable batteries a must unless you use (DC cord in car or adapter in house) and have to charge them up constantly. This 436 will drain any alkline or Lithium batteries in hours. The batteries don't last in this unit and again unit is too sensitive in car where it ends up in any other mode other than scanning ending up in alot of missed calls.

Highly recommend the Home Patrol 2 unit as it is much more user friendly with a color screen that is much easier to read and operate. I bought 2 as a result and use it to replace the 436.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2016
Messages
25
Location
Fitchburg, MA
#12
Stevesimpkin,

Good point regarding the limited scan speed and the lack of other dedicated scanner features. I find it works very well for me with just a few frequencies programmed. More times than not I use it to monitor only one signal when events get very busy and there are multiple stations transmitting. Another thing I like about this little radio is you can crank up the volume substantially louder than my other handheld scanners.
I should of also stressed that if someone wants to use these radios for transmitting you should have your ham ticket.
 
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