• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

BCT15X: To Buy or Not To Buy...

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Timmeh-31

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#1
...that is the question.

Okay, I got a serious case of "shiny syndrome" happening here, and since it's been nearly a decade since I've actually had a new scanner I've been mulling over what to get. I was almost primed to pick up the 536 when it was on the flash sale over the weekend, but chickened out since $400 would be a bit rich right around Christmas.

On the other hand, I can pick up the 15X for about a buck and a half from Amazon, and maybe throw in a Diamond antenna and still not break $200, which would be pretty decent.

Okay, so burning question time: is it worth it? Are they still supporting it? How "future proof" is it? Most of my area of the country is still running conventional, although some digital stuff is slowly being phased in.

This would be a "base" in the true sense of the term; it would only be operated from my home, so I wouldn't have to program a bunch of stuff from surrounding areas for when I'm out traveling.

Looking for solid pro's and con's to picking this one, as well as alternatives (I like Uniden/Bearcat, but am not necessarily "married" to them, so can consider other brands. Just not familiar with them, as I've only ever owned BC's and Unidens.)

Soooo...yay or nay? What say you? :D
 

N2MWE

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#2
Syracuse PD, Onondaga Sheriff, and most emergency services are on the trunked system up there, Central NY Interoperability Consortium. There is low band and VHF Hi band traffic, but a greater amount of traffic is on the trunk. It is a P25 system which the 15X cannot receive. Upstate NY is doing a lot of transitioning to P25 digital, so I would invest in the 536. I travel up there quite a bit to go to Watertown and the 536/436 handles traffic up there quite well.

I should add there is 996P2, but i have not used that scanner and cannot comment on it. The Home Patrol II also works well up there.
 

JamesO

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#3
If you can get a good price on a 996P2 which supports Phase 2 and you can also purchase the DMR upgrade, and HOPEFULLY NXDN??

But also keep in mind you could also get a 536HP close to $400 if you shop and wait. I think Amazon had a Lightening deal recently when the 536HP was around $400?
 

Timmeh-31

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#4
Thanks for the quick reply. So the 15X isn't exactly future-proof with the direction things are heading here then, if I'm hearing you correctly. I'm looking for an actual base unit (I have two older handhelds here, and while they work, it seems the bases or B/M models are a bit more sensitive and stable (or so I've heard.)

So the recommendation is to just hold off and wait for the 536, or is there a stop-gap I can consider? I'd like to hold under $350US, but $500 is the absolute top I can manage (and that would have to include tax, extras, shipping, etc., so my actual cap is probably closer to $425-450.)

How's the 996 hold up? Or one of the higher Whistlers for that matter?

Thanks for your help. More input is certainly welcome from any and all. :)
 

Timmeh-31

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#5
If you can get a good price on a 996P2 which supports Phase 2 and you can also purchase the DMR upgrade, and HOPEFULLY NXDN??

But also keep in mind you could also get a 536HP close to $400 if you shop and wait. I think Amazon had a Lightening deal recently when the 536HP was around $400?
Yeah, I almost grabbed it when it was on the flash sale and am semi-kicking myself for not pulling the trigger on it now. That being said, I'd still like to find something satisfactory that won't break the proverbial bank (retiree on a fixed income here.)

Looking now at the 996P2, still a bit pricey but not quite as bad as the 536 and it does have some upgrade paths to look into.
 

buddrousa

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#6
$400 is a great price for a $499 list 536 plus $60 for DMR
$370 is a current price for a 996P2 plus $60 for DMR
 
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#7
Uniden Bearcat BC-15X

Timmeh-31- I have this scanner and it's perfect and is great for my area which is Lower Westchester County, NY as the only areas using digital are Yonkers/Greenburgh Police. The radio is constructed well and has great sensitivity/audio. The Bearcat BC-996P2 is nice for Phase 1/2 digital but do you really need to spend that money? It's your choice so please pm me as I have been into this hobby since 1974 and I'm happy to help any fellow member on here?
Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.

Bob
 

Timmeh-31

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#8
$400 is a great price for a $499 list 536 plus $60 for DMR
$370 is a current price for a 996P2 plus $60 for DMR
The 536 has been fluctuating in price since the weekend. Just prior to the sale, it was listing at $513. The sale price was around $394. Afterward, it jumped back up and was even listed as late as early this morning at $531, and is now back down to $499. No idea what's going on with that thing.

Anywho, the 996P2 is holding steady at $350. I'm still doing some research on it, but may well pull the trigger in time for a pre-Christmas arrival, either later this afternoon or first thing in the morning for a (hopefully) Friday delivery.

Still open to opinions here! :)
 
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#9
BC-15X

Timmeh-31 Currently, are there any agencies using P-1/P-2 in the Syracuse, NY area that you want to listen to? That is the bottom line! I would also ONLY go with Uniden Bearcat as the quality and construction are MUCH superior to the others. I also own a Uniden BC-346XT handheld with a Hustler Magnetic Mount Scanner Antenna.
Hope this helps you.

Bob
 

Timmeh-31

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#10
Timmeh-31- I have this scanner and it's perfect and is great for my area which is Lower Westchester County, NY as the only areas using digital are Yonkers/Greenburgh Police. The radio is constructed well and has great sensitivity/audio. The Bearcat BC-996P2 is nice for Phase 1/2 digital but do you really need to spend that money? It's your choice so please pm me as I have been into this hobby since 1974 and I'm happy to help any fellow member on here?
Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.

Bob
Thanks Bob! I'm still on the fence between the 15X and the 996P2. There's a $200 difference, but at the same time there would be some degree of future-proofing with the 996, especially with the upgrades down the line. So do I go frugal for the short term, or spend a bit more and hope that I've hedged my bets a bit? Such a dilemma! LOL

You have me by a few years, but I think I got my old Bearcat 220 for Christmas in either '78 or '79. That was a solid little radio, and I got about 20+ years of hard use out of it. At one point, it developed a cold solder joint on the motherboard, but I flexed the board and got another 4-5 years out of it before it finally just petered out altogether.

Back in a "former life" I used to close residential mortgages in your neck of the woods. Basically everything from Poughkeepsie, through the boroughs, and on the island itself. Crazy, wonderful days. :) Even dated a girl in the Somers/White Plains area for a while.

Thanks for the holiday well-wishes! You have a Merry Christmas also, as well as a happy and healthy New Year! God bless! :)
 
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#11
Bearcat BC15X VS. BCD996-P2

Tim- Not a problem at all. I hear you 100% in justifying spending $200.00 for a future investment. I'm considering selling mine as it's brand new and never used in a car with the box and paperwork and everything inside sealed up. I programmed this myself except for the Motorola Smart Zone ll Trunking system for Westchester County Fire. I had a gentleman from Long Island walk me through this procedure over the phone. I had to enter (4) UHF frequencies and 70 talk ID groups!
You have been into this hobby as long as me basically. I'm 6 miles South of White Plains In Yonkers by the Tuckahoe Village borderline, hence why I don't spend the money for a digital scanner. I can hear this city online.
Anymore questions, please feel free to write me.
Have a great day!

Bob
 

Timmeh-31

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#12
Well, crap-on-a-cracker...when I checked earlier today, there were 5 996P2's in stock at $350. Two apparently sold, and the seller jacked the price up to $366. Grrrrr... :mad:
 

Timmeh-31

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#13
Tim- Not a problem at all. I hear you 100% in justifying spending $200.00 for a future investment. I'm considering selling mine as it's brand new and never used in a car with the box and paperwork and everything inside sealed up. I programmed this myself except for the Motorola Smart Zone ll Trunking system for Westchester County Fire. I had a gentleman from Long Island walk me through this procedure over the phone. I had to enter (4) UHF frequencies and 70 talk ID groups!
You have been into this hobby as long as me basically. I'm 6 miles South of White Plains In Yonkers by the Tuckahoe Village borderline, hence why I don't spend the money for a digital scanner. I can hear this city online.
Anymore questions, please feel free to write me.
Have a great day!

Bob
Thanks again, Bob. Will do! Sorry I didn't get your response earlier, I think the forums are a little slow in posting some replies today.

BTW, I'm Upstate, in the Syracuse area. Currently loving the winter weather we get up here. And by "loving", I mean it's pretty to look at but I hate going out in it with a passion. LOL
 

Timmeh-31

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Timmeh-31 Currently, are there any agencies using P-1/P-2 in the Syracuse, NY area that you want to listen to? That is the bottom line! I would also ONLY go with Uniden Bearcat as the quality and construction are MUCH superior to the others. I also own a Uniden BC-346XT handheld with a Hustler Magnetic Mount Scanner Antenna.
Hope this helps you.

Bob
According to the OCICS (Onondaga County Interoperable Communication) Emergency Communications page, the county is supposed to be fully P25 compliant with its radios. I don't see a date of when that took (or is to take) place, but they seem to be moving in that direction. A good number of agencies still use conventional frequencies, but I've noticed that many of my old groups on my BC246T are pretty quiet, which tells me much of the traffic either moved up to digital or went fully encrypted (which would kinda suck, but that too seems to be the way things may be heading.)
 

Timmeh-31

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#18
Aaaaaand just like that...BAM!

Merry Christmas to me! :D

Here's how it went down: I kept refreshing the Amazon page. A "new" seller showed up with the 15 new units. They matched Amazon's price of $360, PLUS they ate the sales tax (about $30 right there!) I spent $9 to have it shipped by Friday. Total cost: just under $370. So in the end, a bit less than what it would have cost had I pulled the trigger on it earlier (around $20 less by my maths, even with the expedited shipping.)

Opted for the BCD996P2, after hemming-and-hawing over the decision, I figured "Screw it, it's my only Christmas gift* this year, I might as well be happy with it!" I'll try to be a good boy and not open it until Christmas morning, but I make no promises. :lol:

* Actually, not at all true. I did get a pair of nice hand-knitted slippers and a bread machine from my brother and his wife, so there's that.
 
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JamesO

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#19
Make sure you get Free Scan or Butel software and a subscription to RR.com.

You can then spend some time getting the programming all sorted out, so when you open the box, you can hook up the programming cable and have the unit up and running with what you want to listen to quickly.

You DO NOT want to program one of these radios by hand.

Also check out this site - Easier to Read BCD996P2/XT Digital Scanner Manual

Also go to this site, set up an account, plug in everything except the Serial Number for now - http://my.uniden.com

You will need this site to purchase the DMR and/or ProVoice keys.

Might as well be PREPARED!
 

Timmeh-31

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#20
Make sure you get Free Scan or Butel software and a subscription to RR.com.

You can then spend some time getting the programming all sorted out, so when you open the box, you can hook up the programming cable and have the unit up and running with what you want to listen to quickly.

You DO NOT want to program one of these radios by hand.

Also check out this site - Easier to Read BCD996P2/XT Digital Scanner Manual

Also go to this site, set up an account, plug in everything except the Serial Number for now - myUniden - Customer Product Registration and Support Area

You will need this site to purchase the DMR and/or ProVoice keys.

Might as well be PREPARED!
Thanks JamesO, way ahead of ya tho. :D

I've had a BC246T for years, and cut my teeth on FreeSCAN. Used to talk with the author and help him troubleshoot the program many moons ago on one of the Yahoo Groups we were both on.

I've also been haunting YouTube all day, watching programming guides for the radio, so I think I have a pretty decent handle on at least getting started. I also re-upped over at Uniden (my old account apparently lapsed, because my login no longer worked.) Soon as I get the radio I'll go ahead and register it so I can lay the way clear for getting the upgrades (once I have money again, that is. LOL!)

I do need to verify one thing, I noticed that the data link is a mini-USB jack. Now if I know Uniden (cue facepalm now), they've probably included yet another RS232 serial cable with the blasted thing. However, I already have quite a few native USB to mini-USB cables, and am hoping I can drive the data through one of those as opposed to kludging my way through a hybrid adapter (I have them, and they work, but I'm not fond of them at all.)

Anywho, thanks for the tips! Might be a pretty decent Christmas after all here! :lol:
 
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