Review - Uniden UBC126AT Scanner

Jul 2, 2012
I have been involved in the radio hobby for over 17 years; this has included medium-wave and shortwave DXing, UHF CB, amateur radio and radio scanning. In this time I have owned and used many different radio scanners, everything from basic 10 channel models to the top of the line Uniden, AOR, Icom and Yaesu models. I have always been a fan of Uniden scanners and for the last few years the Uniden UBC93XLT has been my main scanner. I have a keen interest in business band communications so this scanner has served me well in searching out new users and confirming frequencies in use. I have at times ran in to some limits with the UBC93XLT, this is around the lack of memory channels, the lack of alpha tags and CTCSS / DCS decoding, the UBC126AT has all these features and many more. The UBC126AT is based on the US BC125AT and shares many of the same features as can be seen below.

- Frequency Coverage - 25-88MHz, 108-174MHz, 225-380MHz, 400-520MHz, 806-956MHz
- 10 Channel Storage Banks - You can store up to 50 frequencies into each bank for a total of 500 frequencies so you can more easily identify calls.
- Close Call RF Capture Technology - you can set the scanner so it detects and provides information about nearby radio transmissions
- Close Call Do-Not-Disturb - checks for Close Call activity in between channel reception so active channels are not interrupted.
- Close Call Temporary Store - temporarily stores and scans the last 10 Close Call hits in the Close Call Hits' system.
- PC Programming - you can download information into the scanner and control the scanner via your personal computer.
- CTCSS and DCS Squelch Modes - rapid search for CTCSS/DCS tones/codes used during a transmission. You can identify up to 50 CTCSS tones and 104 DCS codes.
- Direct Access - lets you directly access any channel.
- Lock-Out Function - lets you set your scanner to skip over specified channels or frequencies when scanning or searching.
- Temporary Lockout - makes it easy to temporarily lock out any channel or frequency. The lockout is cleared when you turn power off, then back on so you don’t have to remember to unlock the channels later.
- Triple-Conversion Circuitry - virtually eliminates any interference from IF (intermediate frequency) images, so you hear only the selected frequency.
- Text Tagging - you can name each channel, using up to 16 characters per name.
Service Banks - frequencies are pre-set in 10 separate service banks for the most common services and users.
- Priority Scan with Do Not Disturb - lets you program one channel in each bank (10 in all) and then have the scanner check each channel every 2 seconds while it scans the banks so you don’t miss transmissions on those channels. Do-Not Disturb keeps the scanner from interrupting transmissions during receiving.
- Priority Plus Scan - you can set the scanner so it scans only the priority channels.
- Scan/Search Delay/Resume - controls whether the scanner pauses at the end of the transmission to wait for a reply. You can set the Delay time for each Channel, Close Call Search, Custom Search, and Service search. You can also set a negative delay where the scanner stops on transmissions for a set time then automatically resumes.
- Custom Search - lets you program up to 10 Custom Search Ranges and search any or all of these ranges.
- Quick Search - allows you to enter a frequency and start searching up or down from that frequency.
- Search Lockouts - you can lock up to 200 search frequencies: 100 temporary frequencies and 100 permanent frequencies in Custom Search, Service Search, Close Call Search, or Quick Search Modes.
- Display Backlight - You can turn on/off the LCD backlight, set it operate on squelch only, key press only, or both.
- Signal Strength Meter - shows the signal strength for more powerful transmissions.
- Flexible Antenna with BNC Connector - provides adequate reception in strong signal areas and is designed to help prevent antenna breakage. Or, you can connect an external antenna for better reception.
- Memory Backup - keeps the frequencies stored in memory for an extended time if the scanner loses power.
- Two Power Options - let you power the scanner using the included two AA rechargeable or alkaline batteries or the supplied USB cable.
- Built-In Charger - allows you to charge Ni-MH batteries in the scanner using a USB port on any computer and the supplied USB cable.
- Key Confirmation Tones - You can turn on/off a tone that sounds when you perform an operation correctly or if you make an error.
- Key Lock - lets you lock the scanner's keys to help prevent accidental changes to the scanner's programming.
- Battery Save - works when there is no transmission for 1 minute in Scan Hold Mode and any Search Hold Mode (without Priority Scan). This feature turns off RF power for 1 second and turns on it for 300ms to extend the battery life.
- Battery Low Alert - the icon will blink in the display and a tone warns you every 15 seconds when the battery power gets low.

Wow, what a list of features. As you will notice this list does not include APCO25 digital decoding or trunking, these features are reserved for the top of the line UBCD396XT scanner which is double the price of the UBC126AT. The UBC126AT sits in the middle of the Uniden Australia handheld scanner range as a direct replacement for the UBC93XLT. The EZI30XLT is the basic entry level scanner and the UBCD396XT is the top of the line APCO25 digital / trunking model.

Physical Qualities:
The Uniden UBC126AT feels very solid in my hands and has a large LCD Display, it appears to be well built for a mid range hand held scanner. The keypad buttons are well spaced and have enough of a gap that even my large fingers can use them easily. The UBC126AT has a belt clip similar to other Uniden scanners of this type, as a side note the newest BCD325P2 being sold in the USA uses the same type of case as the UBC126AT so carry cases for this will also fit the UBC126AT.

The large LCD display is one of the best features of the UBC126AT. On this is displayed all your operating parameters such as:
Alpha tag
Channel number
Mode (AM,FM,NFM)
Signal strength meter
Also on screen are active banks and close call if activated.

The UBC126AT can be programmed by hand or via the supplied USB cable and free software off the Uniden Australia website, as I had a couple of days wait between ordering this and it arriving I had a config file ready to go when it arrived. I have my banks set up like this:
1 - 000 Services (Fire, Ambulances, SES)
2 - Amateur Radio
3,4,5: General business users
7: General low power / rental frequencies
8: VHF Airband
9,0: Spare for future use.

I also set up some custom search ranges and other various options. I had tried some manual programming from the keypad, while it is possible to do this it is very time consuming; you are much better off doing this via a PC.

How does it perform?
In short, the UBC126AT works very well. For my testing I programmed a single bank in the UBC126AT and my UBC93XLT with the same 20 frequencies, these covered VHF mid band, Airband, VHF high band and UHF. Running these side by side showed that the performance was so close it was hard to pick any difference between them, the advantage the UBC126AT has are CTCSS / DCS decoding, temporary lockout and programmable delays including negative delay where it will continue scanning after 5 or 10 seconds even if the frequency is still in use, I have found this very useful for some of the more active frequencies which can lock up the scanner for long periods of time. On the VHF high band I have noticed slightly better performance from the UBC126AT, a couple of frequencies which I can’t hear on the UBC93XLT from my location was audible on the UBC126AT at poor but usable levels.

Take a UBC93XLT, put it in a new case, add a larger screen, alpha tags, more channels, the UHF milband, PC programming, CTCSS / DCS decoding, close call DND, temporary lockout and more delay options, you then have the UBC126AT. It does everything I need at the same RRP as the UBC93XLT of $269.95. I got mine cheaper online; at the price I paid I think it is a real bargain. It would suit most as a first scanner or an addition to anybodies scanning kit; mine has now taken over as my main scanner with my UBC93XLT now is being used for spot monitoring or band searching. The only thing I would really like to see added would be search and store like the UBCD396XT has where you can set it to search a band of frequencies and save any active ones for later review, this would make it close to perfect for me.

Photos are on my blog: Launceston Radio Scanning: Review - Uniden UBC126AT Scanner
Jul 2, 2012
I have been using the standard aerial, a 5 section telescopic whip and my car mounted aerial. In all cases the results have been as I would expect.

Battery life seems to be acceptable, I used it for 6 hours the other day and it still had life left. I top up charge it via my laptop as I program it so I have not had to totally charge the batteries as yet. I would expect the battery life to be around the same as the UBC93XLT, I use 2500mAh cells in both of these.
May 28, 2009
Nice write-up!

I also noticed that you can change the frequency coverage settings from Australian (default) to New Zealand.

I'm not sure what the differences are, but this is a very nice option.


Premium Subscriber
Dec 30, 2011
Sydney, Australia
Not to nitpick but the UBC126AT covers the full UHF Military Air Band frequency range (225.0MHz - 399.97500MHz AM) and does not stop at 380MHz like the US spec BC125AT does.


Premium Subscriber
Apr 4, 2004
Your review was very well written and informative.

Thank you for taking the time to do it!!


Premium Subscriber
Nov 18, 2009
Somwhere in South Pacific
Nice write-up!

I also noticed that you can change the frequency coverage settings from Australian (default) to New Zealand.

I'm not sure what the differences are, but this is a very nice option.
Hertzian, this refering to Pre Programmed Banks frequencies only for both countries same as UBC355XLT sold here. You can switch on startup which country you want to use, then scanner stay on these Band Plans. Most frequencies eg Marine and Air are simillar but Aus Rail, Ambulances etc may have different to NZ. This maybe outdated now as well as most of Australia moved to various Digital networks. Not sure why Uniden cut top of the Mil Air band for US version but not for Aus/NZ version. There was discussion about that on RR already, it may have something to do with FCC approvals.
Jun 27, 2002
When setting channel modulation in the UBC126AT, what is the difference between FM and NFM? Some Uniden scanners just raise the audio amplifier gain 6dB in NFM but there is no difference in RF selectivity. A few Uniden scanners do actually have narrow and wide IF filters that switch into the circuit depending on whether NFM or FM is selected. Do you know what the UBC126AT does?