RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Scanners and Receivers Forums > Uniden Forums > Uniden Advanced Technical Topics

Uniden Advanced Technical Topics For all threads regarding technical performance of specific models or general higher tier, technically oriented discussion of the technology used in Uniden scanners. Please use the Tech Support forum for all normal questions.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2014, 10:58 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Velarde, New Mexico
Posts: 23
Default BCD436HP first-month performance assessment

What follows are my observations regarding the BDC436HP’s performance following approximately one month of use.

Location: North central New Mexico (rural, mountainous terrain)
• line-of-sight reception of a federal analog EDACS system
• within marginal-to-strong receiving range of a variety of conventional VHF-hi/UHF radio systems (mostly analog, a few P25)
• within driving range of several analog and digital trunked radio systems

Firmware: 1.03.00

Antennas: Uniden factory antenna, Comet HT-55, Diamond SRH-519

Comparison standards: BCD396T, BCD396XT, PSR-500, PSR-800, and PRO-106 (I restrict my comparison conditions to simultaneous reception with identical or comparable antennas and power sources [battery or AC adapter])

Pros:
• Paul Opitz (he listens, he’s responsive, he’s given Uniden a human face, he’s doing his best to improve this product)
• RadioReference database (vast improvement over the old pre-loaded systems, but some of us need to get involved and help update this resource)
• Sentinel software (easy to download and easy to use)
o No need to install driver for USB cable interface with PC (nice!)
o Easy firmware and RadioReference database updates
• Keypad (makes it easier to use than the PSR-800)
• Selectivity? (I haven’t yet tried it in a heavy-rf urban area, but I’m hoping its apparent lack of sensitivity [see below] makes it resistant to strong-signal overload and intermod)
• Firmware update to 1.03.00 helped reduce EDACS end-of-transmission beeps (particularly when signals are closer and stronger, but the beeps are still there when the signals aren’t as strong)
• Firmware update to 1.03.00 shortened the squelch tail to varying degrees on conventional signals

Cons:
• General lack of signal sensitivity compared to the five radios mentioned above (receives poorly or misses the weaker trunked and conventional signals that the other five radios receive much more clearly [the radio is usually set at squelch level 2])
• P25 phase I demodulation (no P25 phase II in my vicinity, but the federal EDACS system mentioned above has set aside five of its channels to begin a transition to P25 phase I, and the BCD436HP is missing about 50% of the digital traffic in this system that the other radios are receiving promptly and clearly)
• Speaker volume (weak, especially when compared to the GRE radios)
• Audio clarity (weak signals that come in relatively clearly on the other radios are frequently subject to an irritating, on/off “ratcheting” type of background noise, rather than the steady “hissing” static the other radios receive)
• The “DAT” message in the display stays on for a second or two after the radio has resumed scanning other favorites lists (is this cosmetic, or is the radio still holding on the P25 control channel?)

Bottom line: Unless I have a defective unit (unlikely), this radio probably works best in a heavy-rf, urban environment with lots of digital trunked system traffic. It doesn't work as well as the other radios mentioned above in a rural environment with weaker signals.

I'd like to hear from other 436 owners monitoring in a similar environment.

I'm going to keep the BCD436HP because it will probably be my radio of choice for some niche I have yet to encounter (downtown Atlanta?), but it's not proving to be particularly useful in a weak-signal environment. I don't believe firmware updates or reformatting the SD card are going to affect the radio's sensitivity.

Thanks for listening.

-Johnnie
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2014, 11:35 AM
whsbuss's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: SE Pa
Posts: 481
Default

Very nice review Johnnie.

I did own a 536 for about two weeks are returned it for some of the Cons you pointed out. I also programmed a friend's 436 and like it better than the 536. My major issue was how much traffic I missed when my other scanner (GRE) has no issues what so ever. Digital signals constantly broke up and some not were hard to understand. Another issue is the digital AGC just never seem effective - mobiles sounded loud and dispatchers low other times. I did update my friend's 436 to the latest firmware but it didn't help much, except for the tail squelch and backlight.

I'm holding pat for now until our local system goes P25 phase II, expected EOY 2014.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2014, 1:28 PM
Ensnared's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Waco, Texas
Posts: 2,018
Default Sitting On Fence in Texas

Thank you for your detailed assessment. I found it to be very informative. At present, I am sitting on the fence regarding the two main players in the digital scanner industry.

I am not really interested in having a radio with less sensitivity. Hence, I will likely wait on the other brand Phase II to come back on the scanner market in 2014.

Yes, there are some tempting features of Uniden Digitals, particularly with Phase II, but still not convinced this radio is right for me. I know the price is right.
__________________
“What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” Christopher Hitchens.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2014, 8:12 PM
desert-cheetah's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: In the desert someplace
Posts: 527
Default

Because one of the agencies I listen to regularly will soon be migrating to p2 I will need to get one if I want to keep listening in and since it's the location my office is currently located, I do want to keep listening. My issue is finding a place to buy the 436. It appears as though they've started trickling in to Ham Radio Outlets, but as of now, not to my local one and for something so expensive I would rather buy it in person than on-line, especially since an in-person purchase means I get the radio right away. Plus, a return would be easier if bought locally. TAKE MY MONEY!!!! Hahahaha
__________________
Brenda......one of the few girls in this hobby

^--^ PRO-106...436hp^--^
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03-12-2014, 10:37 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Margate FL
Posts: 6
Default

I thought the OP gave a fair and unemotional critique of the BCD436HP. With the first Firmware upgrade out of the box, I seemed to have a unit with the above average sensitivity of a GRE type of scanner but the squelch tail issue made it impossible to tolerate. I use scanners mainly in the Broward County and Dade County areas of Florida from Coral Springs and Pompano to Fort Lauderdale and down to Miami to give a sense of urban area and intermod stress.

After the update to Firmware 1.03, the annoying squelch tail was gone but there was a noticeable drop in sensitivity, not just on trunked systems but conventional channels as well. Using the scanner side by side with a 396XT, both with Radio Shack 800Mhz antennas, the 436HP is still slower to react by at least 4 seconds almost half of the time, and there are frequent times when it just never un-squelches for what are long transmissions so that in a scan sweep it should certainly rediscover a transmission initially missed. This is on relatively simple, one site, non P-25 sites like Coral Springs and on the Broward County system even when just one tower site is loaded. I have tried numerous suggestions from the Forums including eliminating frequencies other than control channels, but so far nothing makes it perform like the 396XT. I'm intentionally leaving this a Uniden to Uniden comparison to keep it as an apples to apples comparison. On a plus side, when it does work, I feel this is the best P-25 has sounded to date on any brand scanner.

I do acknowledge the efforts and value of UPMan (I have never found an IcomMan or YaesuMan for instance). But I have to say I am disappointed in the 436HP to date. Yes, firmware updates brought new "features" to other Uniden products, but out of the box, my 246, 330, 396 and 396XT worked properly from their first release and purchase. I have to say for whatever reason, this 436 is not performing as well as a 396XT at this point after a month and i really do have to throw the phrase "beta testing" out there for now as a review. As others have said, I'm looking for a role for this radio and in 6 months it may well be an everyday carry, but it is not there now. Missing the first words of dispatchers or units almost half the time is a fail. There is a penalty for early adopters at times and that's understood, but this penalty has been far higher on the 436 than on any other Uniden I owned, 246, 330, 396 etc.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2014, 6:53 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: ILL
Posts: 2,074
Default

Excellent details on the scanner, im keeping my 396XT.....
__________________
RoninJoliet
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2014, 11:43 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Cerritos, CA
Posts: 211
Default

My first 3 or 4-week performance rating for the 436HP here in the Los Angeles basin would be very good. But since updating to firmware ver 1.03.00, my sensitivity has gone to crap. From VHF, UHF, to 800 Mhz, conventional and trunking, analog and P25, the 436HP in head-to-head comparsion with my 396XT is now quite poor in terms of sensitivity. My PRO-106 is also much more sensitive, but I won't mix apples/oranges (Uniden/GRE-RS). My two 536HPs also much more sensitive than the 436HP in head-to-head comparisons.
So my rating at this juncture (about 5 weeks) of owning the 436HP has dropped from very good to a bit disappointed. Has a lot of nice features, recording, future analysis mode, etc, but my 436HP is now missing many of the weaker signals that it was picking up before, and that the 396XT is still picking up quite well.
Steve AA6IO
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2014, 2:24 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Berlin, NJ
Posts: 1,268
Default

Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.1.2; en-us; LG-LS720 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30)

Today is exactly a month since I got my 436. I would say it is a pleasure to listen to when it picks up. "When it picks up" is the optimal phrase. It is very nice to hear clearer audio on phase 2 which my county has and my PSR 800 did very poorly on. Phase 1 P25 sounds awesome on my 436 listening to Philadelphia. Even CAI sounds good. But Uniden really needs to get this timing/slow scanning thing down. Lots of times I notice missed transmissions or transmissions coming in late. I dont think scanning a phase 2 P25 system, a Motorola Type 2 digital system, and 2 conventional analog dispatch frequencies simultaneously would warrant such a slow response in the radio. That takes away from my ability to understand what is going on in my area, and diminishes my excitement at having the new radio. Trying P25 wait time (when applicable), condensing systems where possible, adjusting P25 threshold and modulation do not seem to remedy this. Also notice decreased sensitivity and less ability to hear distant control channels since upgrading the firmware. So mainly after testing it out in many different areas of NJ, PA, DE my main purpose for this radio is phase 2 listening and local trunked. Also on site adjustment of radio IDs. I think it is a great radio that has even greater potential. Just hoping Uniden can fix some of these issues. Would I recommend the 436 to anyone? Only if P25 phase 2 comes into play.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2014, 4:12 PM
N2MWE's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: People's Republic of New York
Posts: 1,816
Default BCD436HP first-month performance assessment

I have given my 436 a bit of a workout here in Cape Cod. It has performed quite well. It is not subject to low band interference likes GRE was. Receives low band quite well. Decodes the Cape Cod NPS P25 channel nicely. Other than the sd card problems I had at the start I am very happy with my 436.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
__________________
Sic vis pacem, para bellum...
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 03-31-2014, 8:21 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Milton, Ontario
Posts: 6
Default BCD436HP

I live in the Greater Toronto Area and am disappointed in my BCD436HP. Some area fire departments dispatch using 414.5875 which my BCD396T, BCD396XT and BR330 all pick up clearly at distances up to over 25 miles. My 436 misses most of the alerts and other analog traffic unless I am very close to the transmitters. Again, I have no trouble picking up those signals with my other scanners. The 436 seems to do well on the P25 systems in Toronto and the new one testing in Peel Region. Another concern I also have is the slow scanning speed of sites in a given system. I like many of the features on the new scanner and hope Uniden can get things working better with new firmware. If the problem is hardware related I want a new unit.
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 9:24 AM
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Velarde, New Mexico
Posts: 23
Default

Your experience with the BCD436HP mirrors much of my own, even though it sounds like we're in very different listening environments.

Like yourself, I'm hoping firmware updates will address these issues.
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 9:56 AM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Posts: 118
Default

randytiffin;
Don't what you are complaining about. Here in west Mississauga I have picked up Wellington County fire dispatch and Niagara sheriff's office from the Buffalo area. Had to set the "Range" to 5 miles to avoid those.
I really think that a lot of the complaints are due to improper settings on the radios. My 436 uses only the supplied antenna.
I have the 536, 436 and the HP-1 and am having no problems receiving what I want with proper settings on the radios. As for missed calls, remember the radios are scanning through a lot of channels.
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 10:15 AM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Milton, Ontario
Posts: 6
Default

derevs, Maybe you should have read what I wrote before you answered. My point was that the older scanners are clearly picking up signals and the 436 is not. Wellington County Fire is broadcast on the Fleetnet system and can be picked up over a huge area. Niagara County Sherriff's signal comes straight across the lake. Peel's fire dispatch is broadcast from Bramalea for Mississauga Fire and the 436 struggles to pick it up. I also listen to Pearson Airport and the tower and ground frequencies suffer from the same problem. There are clearly differences between the older scanners and the 436.
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 10:45 AM
Member
   
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 673
Default

I appreciate the time everyone took to review/compare the 436 to other radios. For what it's worth, my evaluation of the 436 is different. All I monitor are 700/800 P25 phase 1 & 2 in southeast Tennessee. The 436 does a much better job decoding this system than the 396 flavor radios using the auto or default settings. But after setting P25 to Manual, threshold 7 it's even better. Much more immune to cell tower interference when mobile, and I'm able to hear transmissions in places where simulcast was a problem. I have not yet listened to conventional stuff, because there's not much around here of interest to me.
I have NOT upgraded the firmware to the latest version, because I see too many posts about degraded sensitivity which I don't want. So I will hold off on upgrading firmware until another upgrade has proven to resolve that issue.
Bottom line, I find the 436 to preform very well with P25 trunking in a heavy RF environment.
My wishes for future firmware upgrades: ability to see whether transmissions are TDMA or FDMA, and ability to search, find and monitor new P25 sites like the 396xt could.
BG..
__________________
ButchGone
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 12:14 PM
Member
  Audio Feed Provider
Audio Feed Provider
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 156
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kc5igh View Post
Bottom line: Unless I have a defective unit (unlikely), this radio probably works best in a heavy-rf, urban environment with lots of digital trunked system traffic. It doesn't work as well as the other radios mentioned above in a rural environment with weaker signals.
Agreed 100%
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 6:45 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Posts: 118
Default

randy
I should have been a little more clear. I was picking up Wellington fire pager alerts until I reset my range. I consider that good reception considering the distance.
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 7:31 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Rimouski, PQ, Canada
Posts: 24
Default BCD436HP first-month performance assessment

Hi,
I have the same experience as Randytiffin : on *analog* VHF frequencies, I repeat, on *analog* VHF frequencies (can't speak for UHF analog), *not* on 700 or 800MHz nor on P25, the 436 I bought a month ago is as deaf as a brick; in fact in nearly 40 years of radio hobby and professional radio, I don't think I have ever encountered a so deaf radio on VHF analog.
Note that it has nothing to do with settings, range, service types, or whatever parameter: I am purely speaking about receiver *sensitivity* compared to other radios like the most solid reference I have, my BCD396XT I have: the two radios side by side, on the same freq., same antennas: this is a 50 to 1 difference.
For example, when the BCD396XT receives one signal at 2 bars, the BCD436HP receives at 1 or NO bar, with a very scratchy signal, and that is when it dares to open the squelch to allow so.
I have been writing this on different forums including here, but never heard Upman comment on it --although I've never asked Paul directly, to its defense--

73!
__________________
Sylvain Lamarre
VE2LAM
lamarrsy@yahoo.com
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 7:58 PM
Member
  Audio Feed Provider
Audio Feed Provider
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 156
Default BCD436HP first-month performance assessment

"For example, when the BCD396XT receives one signal at 2 bars, the BCD436HP receives at 1 or NO bar, with a very scratchy signal, and that is when it dares to open the squelch to all"

I have the same exact experience with the same 2 scanners.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 8:04 PM
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Rimouski, PQ, Canada
Posts: 24
Default BCD436HP first-month performance assessment

Hi,
Ok so, we're at least 3 with a similar problem on analog freqs.
Coincidence seem less probable now with 3 than with 2 ;-)

Let's see to what and where this discussion will lead us to.

-Sylvain.
__________________
Sylvain Lamarre
VE2LAM
lamarrsy@yahoo.com
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 04-01-2014, 8:16 PM
Member
  Audio Feed Provider
Audio Feed Provider
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: NJ
Posts: 156
Default BCD436HP first-month performance assessment

My question is if this is something that can be addressed with firmware or if it is a hardware thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2011 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions