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PSR-500 vs BCD396XT For a newbie

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tsmeade2

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Nov 15, 2008
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Columbus, OH
Hello all I was planning on buying a scanner. Now I pretty much understand how trunking works. I have been researching scanning for about a year and I am a new ham as well. Now here in columbus, oh they use a motorola type II system which is analog. Now if I wasn't going all over the states i would just get a BC346XT. But I travel all over the place for dog shows. So I checked some places where I go and they are all APCO-25 Simulcast systems. I was looking at the PSR-500 or Pro-106 (Same thing) because of V-Folders so i could put all of my home stuff in the main folder put all of the Marion CONV systems in Folder 2 And all of the Dog Show systems in folder 3. I also was looking at the GRE because of how they are said to preform on Simulcast. And the Pro-106 because they have sales.

Now to the BCD396XT
I like this scanner because of quick keys, size, number of trackable systems and the multicolor screen. I also like on how it has CloseCall a very good feature because i travel so much. Also the amount of free software. Also the NAC encoding which the GRE has AND Encryption Blanker which the GRE does NOT have. I was not going to do alot of fed scanning but that would be nice if i ever ran into something.

I would need something that has great audio I can easily use and one of the big things support. Thank you for reading.

PS. I am only thirteen so i would need something easy even thought i am very tech smart
 

dannyhusk

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Jan 13, 2008
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115
Location
Shiawassee Co., Mich.
tsmeade2,
The PSR-500 & BCD396XT Debate could go on forever,
I went through it for aprox. four months
I will be having to make a choice very soon, I need to upgrade now !
Do plenty of research and take the plunge.
Good Luck!
 

kayi4cle

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
456
Location
Intermod Alley
Congratulations on getting your ham ticket! I think you will very much enjoy having a scanner along on your travels to dog shows, and it sounds like you are doing good research for deciding which one would be best for you. I’m pretty sure you can find the owner’s manuals online (here in the Wiki section, or on the Radio Shack and GRE websites).

Of the three you mentioned, I have the Pro-106 which I got on sale last year. It has Signal Stalker II which is a similar feature to Close Call. That said, I prefer the dynamic memory system of my 996 (also in the 396XT), because I find it easier to be able to turn on and off so many systems with System Quick Keys, rather than loading V-Folders. But that’s just me. I have read good things on this website from owners of all three radios you are considering. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.

As for being easy, none of them are easy at first until you spend the time to learn how to use them. But if others have done it, then you can too!!

Best of luck, and 73!
 

thewenk

Idaho DB Admin
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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
639
Location
Eastern Idaho
This is not an easy question to answer and is much a matter of personal preference. I have no real bias for either Uniden or GRE and have owned many of each brand over the past 30 or so years. You appear to have already researched the advantages/disadvantages of each scanner. Having used both scanners on both conventional & trunked systems, including P25 digital, in Idaho, Utah, Nevada and California, here are my thoughts.

Both are equal at decoding the digital systems I have monitored.
I prefer the XT audio.
I prefer the XT's small size.
Free software is available for the XT.
I find the XT easier to program manually.
The GRE scanners can suffer from vhf high overloading problems, depending on your location.
The GRE's will decode radio ID information.

Conclusion: I prefer the XT, but most of time I have both available and sometime use both at the same time. If I could choose only one, it would be the XT.

Dave
 

N8IAA

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
6,704
Location
Fortunately, GA
Became a scannerhead while growing up in Ohio. Used a 2 channel Lafayette crystal scanner to listen to Cleveland FD and PD. Tunable radios for vhf and uhf when Cleveland changed to those frequencies. Xtal scanners and lots of ham radios. Now with the MARCS system and all the digital going on in the state, a digital scanner is needed. Last visit to the old home state was with my Pro-96. Have a Pro-106 now for all the digital in my metro area of Atlanta. Can't wait to take it to OH on my next trip home. It comes down to what you like about a scanner and how it will be used. The 396XT is a new upgraded version of the 396T. Do your research on both of those and the PSR500/RS106. Ask questions in the Ohio forum to get an idea what everyone says about both. I have never had an issue with overload on my RS version of the GRE scanners. I listen to tons of vhf and 800Mhz trunked. Am glad that instead of two scanners, I only need one to take mobile.
HTH,
Larry

PS: Been scanning for 39 yrs and ham operator for 24. Love both and have always loved monitoring more:)
Larry
 

Gilligan

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Database Admin
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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
2,126
Location
Hagerstown, MD
FYI I have owned a GRE PSR-500 since January and just sold it so I could get a Uniden BCD396XT. So if that tells you anything, I think it's worth the switch. I've been scanning for 15 years and I personally don't like the programming or the interface on the PSR-500. And another thing I'm not crazy about is the fact that you can only have 1800 channels per V-folder.
 

gd9704

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2005
Messages
83
Location
Lake County, Ohio
I have a PSR-500 and am very happy with it. I do like the looks of the Bearcat, though.

You'll probably do well with either one....
 

RoninJoliet

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2003
Messages
2,817
Location
ILL
Been scanning for 42 years, when the ILL-Starcom Digital 700/800 System came online bought the Uniden396t (old model), not very pleased with it...Then i purchased the GRE500, i thought i went to heaven as this is a very nice decoding scanner on Starcom ......Now i purchased the Uniden 396XT (new model upgraded) , now i know im in heaven, this little critter has awsum audio and in my area actually decodes the digital somewhat better than the GRE500...I also have the RS197 digital "base", very nice scanner and performs very well....The Uniden 396XT groups "systems" and talkgroups, freqys, much better altho i do like the V-Folders as you can seperate "major areas" that you travel instead of locking out "Sites"....Its a major decision @ $500.00.....
 

jnewell

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
321
First, welcome. You'll probably find this easier than a lot of us "older" folks, so don't be intimidated.

I have been scanning for about a decade. Within the past year I've bought and still have both a PSR-600 (the desktop digital GRE) and a BCD-396XT. Assuming the PSR-500 is as good as the PSR-600, I really don't think you could make a bad choice. Both are excellent radios with good sensitivity, good digital decode performance, great audio, and are well made. I think size is really the only clear difference. The two radios have got different memory organizational systems. The 396XT has more memory but requires a little more button-pushing to trim or expand what you're listeninig to. The 500 has a memory structure that reminds me of an iPod playlist setup but only 20 (or 22) playlists to work with, but you can load the "v-scanner" profiles on the fly without a computer. To me, it's a coin toss but YMMV.
 

tsmeade2

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
3
Location
Columbus, OH
I just wanted to tell you all thank you very much for your replies. I know it's late but better late than never!

73's

Thomas Meade
 
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