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newbie needs suggestions: BCD396XT vs. BCD996XT, + antenna

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mlevin77

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I'm new to this, and am thinking of getting the Uniden BCD396XT or BCD996XT. I don't plan to move around with it much, so I was thinking about the desktop version, but I'm curious: is there any downside to the portable one - anything the desktop does better? If they're otherwise identical, I guess I might as well have the portability too, just in case, but maybe the desktop version has advantages?

Also, antennas: I have access to my roof (4 story, Beverly MA neighborhood) but I'd rather not poke holes in the walls to run the cord inside - is there any way to have an indoor wire on the inside of a window for example, or is that useless and only tall rooftop antennas will help?
 

mibzzer15

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Im pretty sure that the 996xt and the 396xt are exactly the same besides one being a desktop version, one being a handheld version. As for the antenna, (for the 996xt) I use this one, WAN-97A Active Nomad Base Antenna , it works relatively OK for a site that is about 2-3 miles away from me ( i do have a bunch of houses and natural interference between me and the site though). I use the radioshack 800mhz antenna on my 396xt, along with a larsen tri band (this: Larsen NMO150/450/800 Tri Band VHF, UHF, 800 MHz Motorola Style Antenna | TESSCO ) while in my truck.
 

frazpo

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I'm new to this, and am thinking of getting the Uniden BCD396XT or BCD996XT. I don't plan to move around with it much,
Let me chime on the mobility of having a portable. I have had the 396 for a while now and love it. I am unsure of what more the 996 can do over the 396 but I think it is only a few minor settings. Remember that a portable can be used as a base way more than a base can be used as a portable. Think about the fact that it can charged in the case of power outages or even carried for outdoor excursions, to keep up on weather or whatever. I live in the midwest (Joplin,Mo area) so springtime weather is always a factor in my commute and keeping the family safe. Just some stuff to think about. I see the attraction if your not a hardcore scannist like some here. In that case a 996 by the recliner is a good idea too. Good luck.
 

wtp

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why not both ?

ok just kidding
i like portable. anything can happen and you can just go with it.
a friend of mine likes bases and sure we disagree
he thinks he just unplugs and goes to his truck and plugs in and goes.
my question is if it is that bad even those minutes can matter.
i just reach to my pocket and turn it up.
in a power outage he is stuck in his truck and i can walk around.
after hurricane charlie i had no ac power but plenty of batteries !
power was out for 10 days or so.
i do have bases but really like portable.
 

wtp

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and...

as for the antenna i use rad shack 800mhz and like it.
a good antenna is necessary if you have to squeeze every micro volt .
but if its just local stuff don't sweat it too much, anything will do.
any piece of wire is an antenna, paper clip, cable clothes line. downspout, metal window screen, you get it.
if it is one band then go with one for that band.
use can also dictate what you want, my radio is always with me so bendable is important. when home i have a stiffer one,but have a stubby one for some occasions, like wedding and funerals.... ok just kidding.
just relax and enjoy.
 

ofd8001

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Having both the 396XT and 996XT, I lean toward the 396XT. That's only because the 396XT is a tad better on decoding the audio for the simulcast system I listen to most of the time. From what I understand, these simulcast systems can be finicky - what works good one place is another story elsewhere.

Some folks may say they are essentially the same radio the only difference being portable/mobile. I don't know enough technical stuff, but they use different firmware, so that suggests to me there are some intenal differences. However I'll yield on that to those who know more.

In any event, these are two fine choices.

On antennas, I use the Radio Shack 800 model on the portable as my primary listening system is 800 MHZ. My mobile is in my vehicle with a Comtelco All Band Low Profile. If I take my portable with on a trip somewhere to act as a second scanner, I'll use SpectrumForce wideband with magnetic mount.
 

popnokick

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Here's an antenna you can hang in your window, preferably on an upper floor, or even better hang in your attic/crawlspace. Scroll down to the wire version, 2nd one listed on the page:
Homebrewed Off-Center Fed Dipole - The RadioReference Wiki
This will set you back about $10 and 30 minutes of your time to hook up. You'll need an F to BNC adapter for the radio end of the coax cable.
 
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