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My Pro-137 Review

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Feb 18, 2006
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#1
Pro-137 Review

I’ve now had my Pro-137 for about 2 weeks now and wanted to share some of my thoughts. For comparisons I have used my Pro-97 and Icom R5.

Equipment used:
Pro-137
Icom R-5
Pro-97

Antennas:
SMA - MFJ-1712s SMA Telescopic Antenna (~$15.00)
SMA - Diamond SRH77CA multi band antenna (~$25.00)
BNC - Watson W-881 Super Gainer (been so long I forgot what I paid for it )

Pro’s:
Excellent Battery Life: I have not purchased the charger and have been using Duracell AA batteries. I have only had to change batteries one time and If I had to estimate it would have been after 12 or so hours of use with many of those with the “Auto Light” function enabled.

Squelch Tail - Possibly one of the cleanest squelches I have come across. Incredibly fast scan resume time if you remove the delay feature (scanner defaults DLY when programming). On aircraft bands the scanner will resume scanning almost instantaneously once the signal clears.

Scan Speed - Rated for 90 channels per second but seems faster due to the quick resume time. Switches between banks just as fast.

Programming: Everything in the scanner has been manually programmed and it was very easy to accomplish (as compared to lets say an ICOM R-5). Did not have to refer back to the manual after having programmed only about 50 channels.

Build - Solid build and for once, a real belt clip. Multi function knob seems a little cheap compared to an Icom but I much prefer the Func-Push/turn options for volume and squelch over the multi use knob on the pro-97 and funky button operation of the R-5.

Sensitivity - Actually very good. Better than the 97 and about equal to the R-5.

Image Rejection - Very good. The R-5 can overload with only a good handheld antenna but I can hook up the 137 to my external Scanner antenna and it just keeps on going. About equal to the 97.

Fine Tune Option - Works like the VFO mode on an R5. Can be used during a scan, or to manually step through channels.

Quick Program Feature - When using a service or chain search and the scanner stops on a frequency, all you have to do is hold down the E/PGM button to perform a “quick program”. This will bring up the list of banks that you can manipulate through to program the frequency.

Cons:

Manual: This has to be the absolute worst users manual I have ever come across. Many of the scanners options you have to figure out on your own and some issues are not addressed at all (see bank tagging). Completely worthless.

Bank Tagging: I like the fact that when you enable/disable banks the scanner says “xx channel bank on/off” but I have not figured out how to display the bank name during a scan. The room is there on the display but they must have taken up the space for the “car” tag.

Mode: Mode is auto for the frequency - it is not an independent option for each channel. In most cases this is not a problem but there are a few times when an AM frequency falls into a band that defaults as FM only.

SMA Antenna - I realize that SMA is used on smaller footprint scanners but I wish it had a BNC connector for compatibility with my other antennas. I do have a SMA to BNC adapter but it looks awful and makes me worry about hitting the antenna the wrong way and snapping it off at the connector.

No rubber cover for the headphone or power ports. The radio may not be water proof but it sure looks like it is. The PC/IF port does have a cover.

Price: At $179 retail the 137 is pricy considering what you could get for a few $$ more. The fact that it does not include the programming cable, sma to bnc adapter, or power supply makes it seem even worse. On the positive side, the scanner just went on sale for $149 and Radio Shack honored their price guarantee. I went back to where I purchased it, produced my original receipt, and instead of getting the $30 difference back, I walked out with the USB programming cable.

Lack of Software programming or control options: Since I just picked up the USB cable I cannot comment on wired programming but Scancat lite appears to be the only software currently supporting this scanner. From what I can tell, the radio can be programmed via software but cannot be controlled through a PC.

No S-Meter.

Quick Comparisons:

Reception:
Weather Channels: of the 7 used weather frequencies in this area the 137 will pick up 5 of them (3 audible 2 breaking squelch), the R5 will pick up 4 (using the same sma antenna) and the 97 will pick up 3.

VHF Low - Our regional airport uses 125.5 as the approach and departure frequency for the west runway. The 137 and R5 are about the same reception wise with the 97 falling off just a little.

VHF High - A rural police department (with a real stout transmitter) about 50 miles from where I live as the crow flies uses 154.8300 as it’s dispatch frequency. Results are similar to VHF-Low with the 137/R5 being very close and the 97 just behind.

UHF Low - Another police department about 20 miles from my house uses 453.7500 for it’s dispatch frequency (their radio system is not nearly as strong as the one using 154.8300). Again, the 137 and R5 can consistently pick up the signal with the 97 being intermittent.

UHF High - Ok, here is obviously where the sweet spot is for the 97 and it would make sense as it is the only trunking receiver of the three. Both the State Police and Local city police use a Motorolla Type II trunking system (they also use APCO-25 but have not fully converted yet). The State police tower is about 15 miles from my house and the city tower is around 20 or so from what I can tell. The 97 is more sensitive than the 137 or the R5 when scanning in the 800mhz range. The 137 will beat the R5 due to its better image rejection.

“CAR” programming - I do not use the scanner for race scanning and have not used that feature.

Signal Stalker - Have not had the chance to use this feature.

Summary:
In conclusion, I am quite happy with the Pro-137 with the price being the only true negative. It is small, light, sturdy, sanative, and easy to program and control. No advanced features like some scanner receivers but it does what it is supposed to do and it does it every time. If you do not need trunking - either analog or digital - this scanner is a good choice.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2008
Messages
340
Location
Schuylkill County PA.
#2
Very nice and informative evaluation of the Pro-137. I've had my eye on this scanner and the BR330T for some time. Thank you for taking the time and posting your results!
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2006
Messages
14
#3
Thanks for the Feedback!

Since I posted the review I purchased a copy of scan-cat for programming (very good customer service btw - paid online and was able to download full version within an hour).

A couple of items I noticed with the software:
1)Use the stereo and not the mono tip on the cable.
2)When I hooked the USB cable up through a hub I received some data errors when reading from the radio. Hooking up directly to the USB on my laptop solved that problem.
3)Radio will default to cloning mode when connected to the USB cable. It will only switch to wired programming mode once it receives a data request from the software. If the radio is in cloning mode it will look like it is interfacing with the software (i.e. the software will say it is "reading" the scanner, but in reality it isn't). When that was the case it was either problem #2 above or the usb cable was jumping to another virtual com port and I had to go into device manager and look at the settings.

Hope this helps!
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
166
Location
Sharon, SC
#7
BUMP!

I just picked one up for my wife so we don't fight over my Pro-106 that I have this weekend at the Coke 600. Any updates on a good software package ? Hopefully some trial out there since I still don't know if I will be keeping it, depends on how good it works inside of the track in a RF rich enviroment.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
166
Location
Sharon, SC
#9
Go figure.. happens all the time. I guess I am taking a drive over there in the morning and getting a price adjustment!
 

riccom

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 2, 2004
Messages
1,087
Location
SLIDELL, LA
#10
I am Happy with my pro-137 It does very well for my non trunking needs,
Also when a odifuied sma connecter and a vhf base antenna, this thing is flawlwess, no intermod and works well and the bettery life is nice indeed!
I must buy for non trunking scanner, but if it was a trunking scanner for that price, it would be just flat awesome!
 

trixwagen

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 19, 2006
Messages
134
Location
San Diego, CA
#11
The Pro-137 was my favorite scanner that I ever returned to RS. If it had milair coverage, I might have kept it. I liked the size and sensitivity over my Pro-97. For $99, it wasn't bad, but it needed to do just a little more to stay in my collection.
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2007
Messages
54
#14
Yeah I saw that its on sale...bummer it doesn't have the 2.5khz or the DPL/PL because in my area they use encrypted way to much which is a very annoying sound to hear for a long period of time and when the DPL is on it blocks that encryption noise out. Also I frequently travel to an area where everyone is 2.5khz NFM.
 

riccom

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 2, 2004
Messages
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Location
SLIDELL, LA
#15
Yeah I saw that its on sale...bummer it doesn't have the 2.5khz or the DPL/PL because in my area they use encrypted way to much which is a very annoying sound to hear for a long period of time and when the DPL is on it blocks that encryption noise out. Also I frequently travel to an area where everyone is 2.5khz NFM.
Well if you round off to the nearest 5 or 0 you really wont notice a diffrence
Its a really good radio!

I own one my self and the battery life on it is really nicce, and made by uniden, so thats a good deal on its self!
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2007
Messages
54
#16
This is weird my pro-97 does the 2.5khz just fine and on the Wiki for it the lowest it goes in step is 5khz. Maybe it is 7.5khz I'm looking for. I'll PM you.
 
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
#17
“CAR” programming - I do not use the scanner for race scanning and have not used that feature.
When not racing, think of the "CAR" button as merely a "quick-key" and repurpose it.

If you want to get to a channel quickly, just assign one of your favorite freqs a car of say #1, and if something happens and you need to get there in a hurry for spot-monitoring, there you go!

You can assign many "cars" of course.

This could be handy for emergencies, where the pro-137 could turn from a hobby-radio to an emergency work-radio where you don't have time to browse or scan all your banks. You just need to get on frequency NOW.
 

dxradio2003

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
163
#18
Pro-137 comments

Hi,

I can only say, after owning a lot of radios, the Pro-137 is one of the most sensitive scanners I have ever used. The sound quality is superior than most and rivals any more expensive HH radio I own.

If all you need is a conventional, analog scanner, this is a very good radio to have. The Shack sale price is $79.99 at the moment. Use a $10 off coupon and it's an even better deal. Made by Uniden, this is a definite great addition to my scanner collection.:p

I originally bought this scanner for a Christmas gift. I enjoyed it so much, I bought one for myself.

---dxradio2003
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2009
Messages
1
#19
pick 1 up the day after christmas at RS $76.49
awesome scanner
love the tagging
wiped out all the nascrap freqs
i have 76 frequencies along with tags entered so far and i did it all by hand and the batteries didnt die on me during that time i had alkaline batts in.now im using Kodak rechargeable digital camera 2100s
cant go wrong on this scanner :)
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
30
Location
Juneau, AK
#20
Got mine last Saturday, in time for the low sale price. I'm using Radio Shack 1800ma NiMH batteries and it seems to hold up well for at least several hours. Sensitivity is good, squelch needs to be set to number 6 when connected to an outside antenna to avoid numerous lock ups.

To be clear, the squelch setting isn't halfway to 15 and I only need it because I have some very electrically noisy areas I drive through. Areas that cause other scanners and two-way radios to behave the same.

Great audio, well it feels great because it's so far above my other two handhelds, it seems like a blessing. Set to 13 on a scale of 15 it comes booming in loud and clear in even the noisiest road conditions. I can drive with radio and heater blower motor on fairly high and still hear even the fainter signals. Windows up of course, as is the case anyway most of the time in Alaska.

Good job done on this simple, yet robust unit. If you missed out on this sale, I hope you catch the next one.
 
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