Which scanner to buy for Monitoring in NC?

KE4ZNR

KE4ZNR@radioreference.com
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Jan 21, 2002
Messages
7,069
Location
Raleigh, NC
#1
Need help on deciding which scanner to buy for Monitoring in NC?
Forum Member Drafin crafted the response below which I think answers the question perfectly.
Just one additional note: Most "large" metropolitan areas in NC (Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Greensboro/Guilford, Triangle/Wake/Durham, New Hanover) either already use systems that have digital voice transmissions or have plans to migrate up to digital voice systems.
Which means that if you wish to monitor public safety in these areas in NC you need to seriously consider a digital voice capable scanner.

I am going to sticky this for awhile as this question seems to get asked a lot here in the NC forum.

Most people are a bit reluctant to suggest one scanner over another. It's kind of the Pepsi or Coke, Ford or Chevy type of argument. Most people will fall into one of two camps. The Uniden crowd and the Whistler/GRE/Radio Shack crowd.

The best thing to do is to ask people in your area what they are using and how it performs. As a GENERAL BROAD STATEMENT (meaning this is no way an endorsement of one product or the other, a complete list, nor a recommendation of which to buy) you are looking at basically four main products. The GRE PSR 500/Whistler WS1040 handheld (or PSR 600/Whistler WS1065 for the mobile) and the Uniden BCD396XT handheld (or the BCD996XT mobile). These tend to be a little less user friendly but offer more options than the ones I am about to list. Radio Shack sells their own rebranded versions of the aforementioned GRE/Whistler products.

The more user friendly, but at the cost of overall options for the most part, would be the GRE PSR 800 (or the PSR 900 mobile version) and the "tweener" that is not really a mobile or a handheld but will function as both Uniden Home Patrol 1. These units from both manufacturers tend to be a little more plug and play. And as with my previous statement, Radio Shack sells their own rebranded versions of the aforementioned GRE products. The newer Uniden models incororate the Home Patrol 1 features into a true handheld (BCD436HP) or mobile unit (BCD536HP) while also incororating TDMA X2 technology as does the Whistler WS1080 and WS1095, and aforementioned PSR 800.

It should be mentioned that the GRE line has been discontinued. They are now sold by Whistler and the scanner seem nearly identical to their predecessors. Also there are new scanners on the horizon that will be digital capable from both Uniden and Whistler.


All of these are great scanners and I suggest that you research each model and it's particular features, strong points and weaknesses to determine your individual needs. Keep in mind that there is a lot of bias in the scanner world toward one manufacturer or the other (which I never really understood to be honest, but I'll leave that for another day) and sort through the hyperbole and get down to a few things:

1. I'd suggest narrowing down what you want to monitor. It seems you have a good grasp of that already.
2. Determine what are the features you "need" and the features you "want". There is a difference. Basically, in NC if anything you want to listen to is on the VIPER system you need a digital scanner.
3. Figure out what fits your budgetary requirements. What can you afford?
4. Read the forums here of the manufacturers you are interested in.
5. Speak to people in your area (here on the forums and in person if you can), to find out what they have, what they like about it, and what they dislike about it.
6. Read reviews of products from other places around the web to see what others are saying about the particular models you are interested in. Keep in mind though that someone that is not pleased with a product is much more likely to post about it than someone that is thrilled with a product. Realizing this up front will save you from the feeling that ALL of the scanners on the market suck... they don't.

Basically to sum up, I'm just advising you to be an informed consumer. The same thing could be applied to almost any product out there though. Hope this at least gives you a starting point.

Drafin
Marshall KE4ZNR
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
653
Location
Charleston, SC
#3
Ok I basically freshened up the old thing I posted about what scanner to buy to add the newer models. Not a total rewrite just added some more models and a bit more info:
--------------------------

Most people are a bit reluctant to suggest one scanner over another. It's kind of the Pepsi or Coke, Ford or Chevy type of argument. Most people will fall into one of two camps. The Uniden crowd and the Whistler/GRE/Radio Shack crowd.

The best thing to do is to ask people in your area what they are using and how it performs. As a GENERAL BROAD STATEMENT (meaning this is no way an endorsement of one product or the other, a complete list, nor a recommendation of which to buy) you are looking at basically four main products. The GRE PSR 500/Whistler WS1040 handheld (or PSR 600/Whistler WS1065 for the mobile) and the Uniden BCD396XT handheld (or the BCD996XT mobile). These tend to be a little less user friendly but offer more options than the ones I am about to list. Radio Shack sells their own rebranded versions of the aforementioned GRE/Whistler products.

The more user friendly, but at the cost of overall options for the most part, would be the GRE PSR 800 (or the PSR 900 mobile version) and the "tweener" that is not really a mobile or a handheld but will function as both Uniden Home Patrol 1. These units from both manufacturers tend to be a little more plug and play. And as with my previous statement, Radio Shack sells their own rebranded versions of the aforementioned GRE products. The newer Uniden models incororate the Home Patrol 1 features into a true handheld (BCD436HP) or mobile unit (BCD536HP) while also incororating TDMA X2 technology as does the Whistler WS1080 and WS1095, and aforementioned PSR 800.

It should be mentioned that the GRE line has been discontinued. They are now sold by Whistler and the scanner seem nearly identical to their predecessors. Also there are new scanners on the horizon that will be digital capable from both Uniden and Whistler.


All of these are great scanners and I suggest that you research each model and it's particular features, strong points and weaknesses to determine your individual needs. Keep in mind that there is a lot of bias in the scanner world toward one manufacturer or the other (which I never really understood to be honest, but I'll leave that for another day) and sort through the hyperbole and get down to a few things:

1. I'd suggest narrowing down what you want to monitor. It seems you have a good grasp of that already.
2. Determine what are the features you "need" and the features you "want". There is a difference. Basically, in NC if anything you want to listen to is on the VIPER system you need a digital scanner.
3. Figure out what fits your budgetary requirements. What can you afford?
4. Read the forums here of the manufacturers you are interested in.
5. Speak to people in your area (here on the forums and in person if you can), to find out what they have, what they like about it, and what they dislike about it.
6. Read reviews of products from other places around the web to see what others are saying about the particular models you are interested in. Keep in mind though that someone that is not pleased with a product is much more likely to post about it than someone that is thrilled with a product. Realizing this up front will save you from the feeling that ALL of the scanners on the market suck... they don't.

Basically to sum up, I'm just advising you to be an informed consumer. The same thing could be applied to almost any product out there though. Hope this at least gives you a starting point.

Drafin
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2013
Messages
98
Location
Fayetteville,NC
#4
Scanner for NC

Currently i am using the Uniden 396xt and a 996xt , with Fayetteville moving to phase ll i just pulled the trigger on the Whistler1080
 

NYRHKY94

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Mar 5, 2006
Messages
1,335
Location
Brunswick County, NC
#5
I will be moving to the Southport area next month and will be bringing along the following radios: BCD996XT, BCD536HP, PSR-500, Pro-197. Hope that grouping will cover what is needed in my area of Brunswick County. Assuming it's mostly VIPER stuff?

Thanks!
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
27
Location
Bolivia, North Carolina
#6
I will be moving to the Southport area next month and will be bringing along the following radios: BCD996XT, BCD536HP, PSR-500, Pro-197. Hope that grouping will cover what is needed in my area of Brunswick County. Assuming it's mostly VIPER stuff?

Thanks!
Hey NYRHKY9,
Welcome to the Southport area. I think you will have it well covered. You will find pretty much everything is on VIPER, however I would program some of the old frequencies as they are still used by some for talk around.

Ron
 

FatherTesmer

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Joined
Feb 22, 2015
Messages
4
Location
Shelby, North Carolina
#8
Thank you for sharing the information. I did not know what to buy for broadcasting on Broadcastify - Live Police, Fire, EMS, Aircraft, and Rail Audio Feeds . I sent a message for assistance. The result was the purchase of a BCD396XT for me, and a BCD996XT for broadcasting. I did not know there was information on here about just such a question. With that said, I am not sure if I should post this here or somewhere else, but it goes hand in hand.

Assuming someone bought one of the aforementioned scanners. Should you upgrade the antenna for use in NC? What is the best type of antenna for NC?
 
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Joined
Dec 28, 2006
Messages
5
#14
What scanner are any of you folks using who are in Cabarrus County? I am planning to buy a new scanner but would like some advice and wonder if you are pleased with what you are using. Thank you.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
1
Location
Nc
#16
NC home patrol viper p25

I think the home patrol two is the best scanner on the market for north Carolina scanning for viper p25
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
653
Location
Charleston, SC
#18
I think the home patrol two is the best scanner on the market for north Carolina scanning for viper p25
I'd refer you to the original post Dump_Trucker in this thread.

I don't believe there is one "best" scanner as homepatrolcc has proclaimed. I own both a Homepatrol1 and and a GRE PSR 500 and for me, at my particular location, with my particular setup the GRE outperforms the HP1 on VIPER.

As I said when I first wrote the post that started this thread, different conditions will produce different results for different people. It's almost a Pepsi vs. Coke argument, people have their biases and I figure some are even paid by the respective manufacturers to push products here on the forums.

I'd say that any digital scanner you purchase will be adequate to receive what you are wanting to receive as long as you purchase a modern digiital trunking scanner. You should be able to get a Uniden HP1, HP2, BCD436HP, BCD536HP,BCD396XT, or BCD996XT, or a Whistler WS1040, WS1065, WS1080, or WS1095 and be just fine for what you want to do with it for western NC.

Draf
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
653
Location
Charleston, SC
#20
You are welcome my friend. I would also say that in my post earlier today I forgot to mention the Radio Shack Pro651, Pro652, among others. You just need to make sure you get a digital capable scanner.

Draf
 
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