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Old 03-05-2012, 12:03 PM
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Default Uniden BC125AT First Impressions

Uniden BC125AT First Impressions


I've had the BC125AT for about 3 days now. Comparing it against my Icom IC-R6 on VHF-Air band, the R6 is more sensitive, but the R6 is a great receiver. The BC125AT isn't far behind though. I have been using the scanner with a Diamond RH77CA antenna. It does a really nice job on Air band. I am impressed by the BC125 and am glad I made the purchase.


No ATT button? That is about all that is missing on this great little radio. The plastic it is made of feels a bit cheap but hey it's a $140 scanner. It's not terrible but doesn't seem as solid as say a BC396T or the Icom R6. Feels similar to the BC246T to me. I would like to see the ability to alpha tag banks. It's hard to remember what I have stored in those banks .



I picked mine up on Amazon.com for $139 with free shipping. However, I checked today and they are now even cheaper than that!!

ALPHA TAGGING!!!!! I am not sure I could use a scanner without it. I am glad Uniden put in this feature on this sub $140 scanner! It makes all the difference in the world. I like how they implemented it on that LARGE LCD too! You can see your alpha tag, Channel #, Frequency, Mode, PL Tone, and signal strength on the screen at the same time.

SAME weather alert codes would have been a nice feature to have. However, the general weather alert (which picks up the 1050 hz tone) will suffice.

Close Call DND and Priority DND are awesome. I have gotten several hits on CC. The DND (Do Not Disturb) feature checks for signals only when the scanner isn't actively receiving signals so it doesn't interrupt a transmission. Other scanners you will hear a pause in the audio every 2 seconds while the scanner checks for the Priority.

The large display is a nice feature. I wish I could dim the back light though. It isn't overly bright but it would be nice to save the batteries. It seems to use batteries rather quickly. I am scanning using back light on all the time. I am only getting about 4-6 hours out of a set of fully charged (and fairly new) Energizer 2300 mAh. Compared to my little R6 which runs for 10 + on 2 of the same batteries with back light on full time, of course it is a much smaller LCD to power also. Not a huge deal since I have a backpack full of charged batteries.

The scanner is very easy to program and manipulate. I have yet to break out the Owner's Manual. I've programmed about 200-250 channels with tags and PL tones by hand so far. It is tedious to program by hand but not hard at all. It is just a little time consuming. I downloaded ARC125 demo. It is a great piece of software and would be very handy, however, I am a tightwad and don't want to spend $25 on something that in all likelihood I would use 1 time. Uniden does provide programming software free of charge. It doesn't provide RadioReference Import but it may be a better solution than trying to program by hand. You can cheat a little by copy/pasting from RR.com to the software if you download the CSV file from RR.com. Copy from the CSV and paste into 125AT SS (You must be a Radio Reference premium member to download the CSV files).

Audio is very good. The speaker has a clear tone and loud enough in the car to be heard over road noise. Temporary lockout is a great feature when a channel has interference. This is where I would like to have an ATT feature. But the Temporary Lockout works in this instance for me.

I have a dedicated 800 MHz P25 scanner. The 125AT makes a great 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th, or 5th ) scanner. I don't miss 800MHz coverage on this scanner because I am using it for Air band and Mil-Air mostly and some local VHF-High public safety. The BC125AT reminds me a lot of the BC246T even though they have different management systems.

All in all I think it's a good deal for $140 (and possibly cheaper).


What are you waiting for, go out and buy yourself one!
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:48 PM
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excellent review. somebody talk you into getting one ?.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
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excellent review. somebody talk you into getting one ?.
Ha ha! Yep sure did. Thanks!
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Old 03-05-2012, 9:33 PM
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Now, since it was bought as a milair scanner, can it switch between AM/FM in the 138-144MHz milair range?
Larry
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Old 03-05-2012, 9:50 PM
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Yes, you can set the mode to FM, NFM, AM, or Auto on any channel that you program.


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Old 03-05-2012, 9:59 PM
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Also on service search of Mil-Air it looks like the mode is set to NFM between 138.0000Hz and 143.9875 and 148.0000 and 150.7875. At 225.000 It changes to AM. Those are not user changeable.

Also on battery life: A set of fresh from the MAHA C-9000 Energizer 2300 mAh batteries lasted 6 hours and 13 minutes. That is scanning all 10 banks (approx 300 channels) backlight on the entire time, Priority DND, Close Call DND and moderate receive traffic during that time. I wish battery life was a little better than that.


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Old 03-17-2012, 9:55 PM
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Thumbs up Just My Thoughts

I got the BC125AT last Saturday and after a week of use I thought Iíd add some comments about this radio.

Like safetyobc, I paired mine with the Diamond RH77CA antenna. I set one bank of this radio aside for my local public service frequencies, everything else is a mixture of VHF/UHF aircraft freqs.

I wanted this radio to use at work for a MILCOM scanner. I work in a manufacturing facility where there is plenty of RFI from lights and computers to automated equipment in the plant. Frankly, I was a little worried about the 125ís performance in this environment.

My fears were put to rest the first night I used the 125. Out of 400+ frequencies, Iíve only had to lockout 3; this is with the squelch set at the default of 2. This is better than other radios Iíve used at work with higher squelch settings.

I also have the PSR-800 running with many of the same frequencies; there are a few 140~143 MHz frequencies in use in the area by the local ANG Unit; the 800 will scan over these just fine until squelch is broken by a transmission. When the TX is complete, scan will not resume on the 800, but it does with the 125!

Sensitivity: Iím not going to tell you that I hear aircraft further away, but I will say that Iíve noticed on my commute to and from work with a Larsen tri-band antenna; I hear the controller side of a RCAG(UHF) in areas that I donít hear with other radios. Iíve also noticed that the south approach/departure frequency at KMGM has a cleaner & clearer sound with the 125.

Audio: This is one of the areas where I think this radio shines!! Both VHF & UHF frequencies sound pretty darn good given the size of the speaker and radio. Even most low strength signals seem to push good audible levels . This doesnít mean that every transmission is clear and clean, but Iíd say in my use about 95% are.

Wishes: There are only a couple of items that I would like to have seen in this radio. As safetyobc said in his review, I miss having an ATTenuation button. Being that Iím a MILCOM listener, I wish Uniden would have included the 380~400 MHZ portion of the band. I still have a few frequencies in that range in my area. Also adjustable step sizes feature for the search functions.

The radio comes packed with a set of generic 2300 mHa batteries. I gave these a full charge before using; Iíve been able to get 8~9 hours of continuous use. This is with the backlight set to come on with transmissions and key presses.

All in all I think this is a great little radio. On the fly programming is easy. If you are familiar with the scroll control of the BC346XT or the BCD396XT then youíll be right at home. For what this radio is designed for, I give it a 9 out of 10.

Good Job Uniden!!!

Keith,
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Old 03-20-2012, 4:06 PM
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I've posted some fairly large pictures up on my blog. Feel free to check them out Monitoring Reviews: Uniden BC125AT a Closer Look (in Pictures)
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safetyobc View Post
I've posted some fairly large pictures up on my blog. Feel free to check them out Monitoring Reviews: Uniden BC125AT a Closer Look (in Pictures)
Looks like a nice scanner,is it setup up like the BC346XT?
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Old 03-21-2012, 7:24 AM
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It doesn't have the same memory system.

It is a bank/channel system versus the 346 has the dynamic memory system.
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Old 03-22-2012, 5:25 AM
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Great reviewing! Based on that, I just picked one up and I am very happy with it.

I am VERY picky about audio, and this is the most reasonably pleasant audio out of all my handhelds. To my ears, the audio response is very nice for comms, and sounds even greater with a pair of lightweight 35-ohm Yaesu YH-77STA over-ear headphones. I'm amazed that it works so well for only a two-cell battery unit. It is a HUGE improvement over the BC72/95 xlt series for sure. While I can't confirm it, it seems like the audio is designed for 300-5K or so audio response, so I don't hear a lot of unnecessary high-end - yet it isn't muffled either. And there is NO quiescent underlying audio-hiss from the amp heard when squelched which makes long-term listening a joy.

I also appreciate the very large and legible display, with great contrast adjustments.

Although I don't intend to charge internally with the usb jack, I did play around with some mobile power packs that have usb ports, and ran the 125AT without any internal batteries from them without complaint. One or two chargers designed solely for cell phone charging didn't work, but since it isn't a phone, that's to be expected. I haven't done any long-term testing with these yet, although I really intend to run solely from Nimh rechargeables. When the sun comes up, I'll see how well it runs solely from a small solar-panel with usb output just for fun. I was skeptical about the use of the 5V usb port, but now I think I like it for the convenience.

This is a great economical conventional scanner, but I would hardly call it low-end. Rarely does this happen, but I think I got MORE than what I paid for.

Last edited by hertzian; 03-22-2012 at 5:49 AM..
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Old 03-22-2012, 2:24 PM
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Update: Impressed with the audio again - while I don't find it loud enough to use under mobile conditions, the audio from the stereo input is fine. I don't have any hum (although I'm only running solely from batteries), and there isn't any weird stuff like the battery saver ticking away - something that sorely disappointed me with the Icom R6. Make no mistake - this isn't a Motorola, but the audio clarity is impressive for it's size.

I'm having a blast with the 5V usb input. So far, I've been able to recharge/run the 125AT directly from a Solio Bolt, some RS Enercell Li-ion packs, and even directly from the smallest usb-equipped Goal-Zero solar panel. Although I'm not going to try to use the 125 as a charger on a regular basis, it is nice to have for grab-n-go, topping off, ultralight situations, solar-only, etc. I'm a convert to 5V usb input now.

Being able to set the delay value for each channel is great - I run different values for my airband duties - typically longer for milair, and very short for civilian BUT there are a few channels that need just the opposite - fantastic! Pulling in some of the features and operational setups from the 396 is nice, and the way you access the various menus is well thought out for me. The included paper-manual is a big plus for the grab-n-go kit.

I'd like to be able to rename the banks as well, but it isn't a showstopper. The only negative thing I could say about the 125AT is that I now wish my 396XT had the same display!

Last edited by hertzian; 03-22-2012 at 2:39 PM..
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Old 11-24-2012, 3:47 PM
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To add to the above... I use a Verbatim 10,000 mAh external pack which has a regular USB port and a 2 amp port (for iPad charging) either works fine powering the unit for extended periods and the 2 amp port does charge the batteries if a bit slowly :-)

ARC125 gives the impression the Banks can be Alpha Tagged but that's only in-program and will not actually program the radio! Too bad...

Close Call DND and Priority DND are so great Uniden MUST include this in the BCD996XT and BCD396XT.

I am using the Maha Powerex MH-C801D Charger
MAHA / POWEREX MH-C801D Eight Cell 1-Hr Charger
and it provides the best possible conditioning of the batteries. The charging model implemented in this radio is a joke. While it "works" to some degree, but it seems to be a simple circuit and will just run for a predetermined amount of time and then stop. It has no actual sensor or voltage regulation/measurement to accurately and automatically charge and/or condition the batteries. Given this, the batteries will never give you as much life as they should given a proper charge. Invest in a good charger and enjoy longer hours.

The weight of the unit is terrific and very low center of gravity makes for a stable radio not easily toppled like a top heavy unit.

Repeated removal and re-insertion of the batteries like I am doing for external charging has me worried the not so strong plastic gauge will not stand the test of time.

Finally, the controls and ports. I love the controls EXCEPT the conjoined squelch/volume/tuning/scroll knob. I'd LOVE to have at least a separate squelch. As for the USB port, it SHOULD BE on the top of the case and not on the side, and certainly NOT in the middle of the unit. At least the top of the unit nar the top cover if not on the top itself. As it stands, I can;t easily slip the radio into a cupholder in my center console while charging/powering it from the USB as the USB gets in the way.

Anyone know of a manufacturer of right angle USB leads with the bend on the long end? This way at least I can run the cable flush out of the side USB port and straight up to the top of the radio and I can keep it together with a simple rubber band.

So far GREAT radio. I use it while I am out plane spotting and have used it at one airshow... great to have military airband in such a low priced model.

Cheers!
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Old 11-25-2012, 9:25 AM
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while i really do like my bc125at, i have to say. the thing is a battery hog !.
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Old 11-25-2012, 9:32 AM
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Very nice and professional review of the BC AT-125 hand held scanner. I had one too but sold it. It did use rechargeable batteries supplied with it up fast. I already told UpMan via telephone on this problem . Yes..it should of had SAME too and I also made him aware of that. But as you said...for a handheld scanner now under $140.00..it is awesome. It should be known that Radio Shack now stocks this item in stores in my area but sell it for $149.95 too.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and also everyone else on Radioreference.com. as this is and will continue to be the best group out there for scanner support going forward into 2012.
73's

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Old 11-25-2012, 9:44 AM
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I-95...it is a awesome little hand held scanner with more features of the upper end of Uniden America Corp. A 5 year olkd can program this guy. LOL
Has a great easy menu set-up and is very easy to program. I think I had a defective one as another poster who's name I forgot said that he got 8-9 hours on the included rechargeable batteries. I sent mine back a month or so and only have a BCT-15X but want to get a MINT condition PRO-97 or PRO-164 for my car.
Have a safe weekend.

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Old 12-07-2012, 6:43 PM
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Having read all the favorable comments about the 125AT, when I saw one listed on eBay at a reasonable price, I knew I should snatch it up, which I did. Should arrive early next week. Looking forward to putting it through its paces. Thanks to all who have posted reviews of this scanner.

My wife has expressed a desire to get into scanning, but she doesn't the "heavy technology" (her words, not mine) of the scanners I currently own. Maybe she'll take a liking to the 125.

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Old 12-07-2012, 11:53 PM
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Your wife wants a HomePatrol!!
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
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Your wife wants a HomePatrol!!
Been there, done that. We both hated the thing.
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Old 12-08-2012, 7:20 AM
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Then she doesn't hate the tech after all :-)
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