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Which Receiver Will Be Best

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theoleman

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#1
Given that Mineral Wells DPS will be transitioning this year and Parker County will someday, which is the best receiver to have for these two systems. I'm not just thinking about now but 3-4 years from now.

Thanks.
T.O.M.
 

hiegtx

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#2
theoleman said:
Given that Mineral Wells DPS will be transitioning this year and Parker County will someday, which is the best receiver to have for these two systems. I'm not just thinking about now but 3-4 years from now.

Thanks.
T.O.M.
T.O.M.,
You did not state a preference for a handheld (portable, powered by batteries) or base/mobile scanner. (A base/mobile would be mounted either in your vehicle (powered by the vehicle battery), or used in your home, on a desk or table top powered by an ac adapter (supplied with the unit).
As far as current models go, here are your options:
Handhelds:
Pro-96 Manufactured by GRE, sold by Radio Shack
BCD396T Manufactured by Uniden, sold by radio dealers, many on the Internet.
PSR500 Manufactured by GRE, sold by radio dealers, many on the Internet.

Base/mobile scanners:
Pro-2096 Manufactured by GRE, sold by Radio Shack
BCD996T Manufactured by Uniden, sold by radio dealers, many on the Internet.
PSR600 Manufactured by GRE, sold by radio dealers, many on the internet.
Full details on these units, along with some other digital trunk trackers which are discontinued models, can be found in the Wiki.

Based on the most recent comments in ongoing Parker County P-25 thread here, it sounds like that system may be up and running in the next few months. I was through there today on a quick trip to Strawn, and there was voice activity on several talkgroups. Nothing real specific; it's not in day to day use, but that's on the way. Any of the six scanners listed would monitor the system, but the two PSR scanners (PSR500 & PSR600) would seem to have the edge at this time. Uniden has a firmware update upcoming in the next week or two, barring complications, that may improve the 396 & 996 performance. That's an unknown at this time. I've never owned a Pro-96 (or it's base/mobile twin the Pro-2096), but comments from others seem to lean toward the PSR series as having better performance than the Pro series.

For Tx DPS, which is APCO-25 (digital), on conventional frequencies, the conversion process has slowed somewhat, but not stopped. While Mineral Wells has not converted, most of the stations around you have. Decatur's repeater is digital, as is Denton. Glen Rose recently switched as well. The digital signal carries pretty well, with repeaters & base stations from a wide area being heard at times.

Analog (non-digital) frequencies often use either PL (also called CTCSS) tones, or DCS codes. These keep units from hearing transmissions by other users, in other areas, that share the same frequency.

Tx DPS, with APCO-25 transmissions, uses NAC encoding to separate traffic sharing the same frequencies. When you first look at the database entry for Tx DPS, it looks like a huge number of radio channels. But when you look closer, you see that the same ones are used & re-used repeatedly in various regions. The separating factor, for the digital frequencies is the NAC code.

While I personally prefer the size & memory management of Uniden's BCD396T, I added a PSR500 to my collection because of the NAC capability. The two PSR radios are the only ones that have this function. For now, with DPS apparently being an interest for you, either the PSR500 or PSR600 would be your best choice.

New, a PSR500 (handheld) or PSR600 (base/mobile) will run about $500 new from various online dealers. Check the GRE forum here for comments. You'll occasionally see a used one be sold for somewhat less, but as these radios have only been out a few months, there's not a large used market yet.

A new BCD396T (handheld) or BCD996T (base/mobile) would also run about $500 from online dealers (or from Clay's in Gordon). These scanners have been out considerably longer (the 396 since summer 2005), so there is a larger used market.

The Pro-96 & Pro-2096 'list' for $499.99 at Radio shack, but often go 'on sale' for $399.99. These have also been out a while, with a large used market. One word of caution on the Pro-96: If you elect to buy a 96 because it seems cheaper, this is not 100% correct. For the Pro-96, if you buy that scanner new, from Radio Shack, you get the scanner, antenna, & a couple of battery holders (one for alkaline batteries, one for rechargeables). Buy either the 396 or the PSR500, and you also get an ac adapter, plus the cable to connect the scanner to the pc for programming. Uniden also provides a free download of programming software plus rechargeable batteries.

Of the three base/mobile scanners, the PSR600 & BCD996T both include the programming cable in the box. The Pro-2096 does not (the cable is $25-$30). As with the 396, Uniden provides programming software (via download) for the 996.
 

theoleman

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#3
Thanks for the info. Lots of good info to mull over. I've had the best for a number of years as I've had the MW and Parker Cty freq's in my 2 meter rig and didn't have to carry anything extra if going west.
 

hiegtx

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#4
I would add one other thing, as a consideration for possible future use:
The Pro-96 & -2096 will not trunk-track in the 700mhz range. The two Uniden's (396 & 996), plus the GRE's (PSR500 & PSR600) will. The 96 & 2096 can be 'opened up', via software, to receive frequencies in that band, but they will not track a 700mhz trunked radio system.

Does that affect us in N. Texas? Not directly, at this time. There are no public safety (city/county/state) systems in our area using frequencies in the 700mhz range yet. I suspect, at some point, that will change, at least in the DFW Metro area proper, but that would likely be out of range for you if you are closer to M.W.

However, if you were to travel, & take your scanner, you would run into 700mhz systems in Louisiana (LATIE), among other places. So, it's just a thought if you want to keep possible future options open.
 
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