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Pro-96 vs. PSR-500

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DOPPLERBOB

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OK someone give me a good reason to upgrade from my presently working Pro-96 to the 500. Who has both that could give me the main differences.
Thanks,
Bob
 

DonS

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DOPPLERBOB said:
OK someone give me a good reason to upgrade from my presently working Pro-96 to the 500. Who has both that could give me the main differences.
A few PSR-500 highlights, compared to the PRO-96:
* is firmware upgradeable
* tracks 700 MHz systems (e.g. Illinois' StarCom21 system - though recent changes in that system may necessitate a firmware upgrade)
* shows P25 NAC on conventional channels
* handles private calls on trunked systems
* is not limited by the bank/channel scheme of the PRO-96
* can have as many talkgroups in a trunking system as you want, up to available memory
* has backlight, LED, and audio alerts when conventional channels or talkgroups go active
* does LTR trunking
* can be monitored and controlled from a PC
* dumps trunking system data to its serial port (minimizing need for a discriminator tap)
* EDIT: will monitor a talkgroup by just browsing to it in MAN mode

If the PRO-96 is working for you, and none of the above are important, then there's probably no reason to upgrade.
 
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DOPPLERBOB

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OK DonS thanks for that info. I guess I should have specified that I was mainly concerned with reception sensitivity differences and also the digital audio quality differences. When I made the decision to get the Pro-96 over the Uniden 396, it was mainly because of the huge difference in the audio quality in the digital mode, as I compared them side by side. Someone out there must have both radios to compare....
Bob
 

DonS

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DOPPLERBOB said:
OK DonS thanks for that info. I guess I should have specified that I was mainly concerned with reception sensitivity differences and also the digital audio quality differences. When I made the decision to get the Pro-96 over the Uniden 396, it was mainly because of the huge difference in the audio quality in the digital mode, as I compared them side by side. Someone out there must have both radios to compare....
Bob
Realize that the PSR-500 is GRE's successor to their PRO-96. The digital audio quality is equal to, if not better than, the PRO-96's. The PSR-500 is also extremely sensitive RF-wise... so much so that you might read complaints about "overload" from people in RF-rich environments.

I have both radios. Knowing what I do about them, if I was shopping for a new digital scanner and the 500 cost $150 more than the 96, I'd buy the 500.
 

GrapeApe

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I have the 396 and the 500. Hands down, the 500 is the winner for me. I like the organization structure and the scan list concept much better. Audio quality is better and the sensitivity of the 500 is great. I am picking up systems from 2 counties away clear as a bell.

The only thing I don't like so far is the fact that setting up a trunked system limits you to 32 control freq in one TSYS list (you can set up multiple lists so you are not only limited to 32 control freqs).

A purely unscientific perception of mine is that the 500 scans "faster" than the 396.

PSR 500 is extremely easy to program with the Win500 and Arc500 program. I chose Win500 b/c it worked better for me, but Arc500 users are just as satisfied.
 

beischel

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DOPPLERBOB said:
OK someone give me a good reason to upgrade from my presently working Pro-96 to the 500. Who has both that could give me the main differences.
Thanks,
Bob
I was at the Dayton Hamvention this weekend. Rat Shack was clearing out the 96 and 2096. The RS talking head said the 96 and the 2096 could be upgraded with new firmware that will allow them to handle rebanding.

So I asked the GRE guy. He said no way.....isn't going to happen. So the RS guy either did not know the facts or was just telling me what I wanted to hear to sell a scanner.

GRE said only the 500 and 600 will be able to be upgraded with firmware for rebanding and they are working on FCC approval now. The 96 and 2096 will not be getting any rebanding updates and even if they were, it would require FCC approval which is not being sought.

That's a big difference with the 500 and 600. RS does not even carry those two scanners yet with their name on them. I would avoid the RS models and go with the real thing - a GRE labeled model.
 
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Having worked in an RS for a short time in my life, I'd have to say you're probably right - I'm sure the guy didn't know what he was talking about and just wanted to sell a scanner. (Dude! It's a $500 sale!)

Anyway, I owned a 96 for about two years until I recently sold it and bought a 500 and I have to say that I could never to back to something I consider so barbaric as the 96.

With the 96, I felt that no matter what I tried I just could not hear the transmissions clearly enough. With the 500, it's almost like somebody took the cotton out of my ears. I can understand what people are saying, I don't get crazy digital noise or broken up speech anymore. I don't pick up weird talkgroups that I haven't programmed in (a result of a firmware bug in the 96 that is just downright irritating.)

GRE's object oriented approach seems to take a page from Uniden here, in that memory is dynamically allocated unlike the clunky old 96 which, by comparison, seems like somebody kludged it together.

I love having 20 scan lists ("banks" in the old bank/channel world), and I think it's awesome that I can group conventional channels and digital talkgroups together in the same scan list. I like the multicolored disco light, it makes it easy to figure out what I'm listening to without having to look down and read the display.

I like that I can select manual mode, and use the D-pad to select objects to listen to. I really like that I can select objects that haven't been assigned to scan lists if I want to, a rarely used but extremely useful feature for me.

I am very pleased with the generous number of V-Scanner folders, it makes organizing so much easier for me (I like to have separate V-Scanner folders for different counties, aircraft, railroad, and a new one for me: Amateur radio repeaters.)

I agree with GrapeApe, I don't like being restricted to 32 control freqs in a TSYS. There are a few things I wish I could put in *all* of the ARMER control channels for, which I have to admit is not that useful unless I'm driving a long distance and want to hear Minnesota statewide stuff and strange far-away counties that I might pass through whilst travelling from here to there.
 

LEH

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Comparing the 500 to the 96, the 500 wins hands down.

However, depending on your scanning needs and approach, you may also want to look into the Uniden 396.

The way I scan, I find the 20 scan lists very limiting. I'm also one of those who consider the 500 overly sensitive to the point it overloads way too easily (IMHO).

I'd shop wisely and read up on both. Each radio has its advantages and its disadvantages. Bells and whistles are nice, but the bottom line functionality should be the prime consideration.

There are numerous threads that compare directly or provide individual commentary on both scanners.

If you have a 96 at this time and there is no reason (rebanding, problems with the radio, etc) to upgrade, you may want to consider hanging on to it. It is still one of the best digital scanners around and neither the 500 or the 396 audio output (read volume) comes anywhere near the 96's.
 

Tom_G

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I would say the digital audio quality on the 500 is much better then the PRO-96.
The 96 was good, but it did motorboat on me sometimes...
The PSR-500 never motoboats and is enjoyable to listen to.
One person described it "As smooth as Silk"

DOPPLERBOB - I think its worth the upgrade....:wink:
 

DonS

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LEH said:
If you have a 96 at this time and there is no reason (rebanding, problems with the radio, etc) to upgrade, you may want to consider hanging on to it. It is still one of the best digital scanners around and neither the 500 or the 396 audio output (read volume) comes anywhere near the 96's.
On both analog and P25, my PSR-500 is significantly louder than my PRO-96 - if I turn on the "Audio Boost" feature. Otherwise, they're about the same. Additionally, my 500's audio sounds better at higher volume levels.
 
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