BCD436HP: 436HP compared to my 396XT

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JamesO

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So just received my 436HP today, only have a few hours of use so need some more time to determine how I like it. I also have a 536HP as well, shortly after the release.

One thing that appears to be different is the radios front end and how it deals with Cellular phone towers.

I have to drop off and pick up my son at the local High School almost daily for sports practice and games and I have had my 396XT for months usually with me running in the car.

There are multiple Cellular sites on the main field and integrated into the field light poles.

My 396XT usually goes deaf once I pull inside the main gate as I am in the "Cone Of Silence". The radio seems to go pretty much deaf until I pull back on the main road out of the parking lot.

I happened to have the 436HP with me today and did not even think about the "Cone Of Silence" until I realized the 436HP seems to not be too affected by the same Cellular towers as my 396XT.

I also notices when I initially set the 436HP using the Zip Code function and loaded from the Master Database I was hearing some pretty distant sites from in the house which I do not have loaded in any of my other scanners at this time. But I was very surprised how the 436HP was pulling in these distant stations.

I am currently using the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna, same antenna that I was using on my 396XT so this makes for a pretty close Apples to Apples comparison.

I will need some more time to really shake down the 436HP, however, from the first hours of owning it, overall I am pretty impressed.

I need to program in a Phase 2 system that is about 25 miles away and see if I can pick up this County while I am out driving around or try and use an external antenna.

Also still need to focus and listen for digital decoding issue and compare to my 396XT.

But so far no real complaints, actually fairly impressed with some of the small difference as compared to the 396XT.

Also I have found the display to work pretty well for me, not too many complaints about the font size, but will need some more time to play with this scanner over the next few weeks.
 

LIScanner101

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So, you're surprised at how far away you are picking up some "distant" sites, but since you don't have them programmed into any other scanners you have no idea as to whether or not they would do better, worse or the same? Try a true A-B comparison between your scanner and the others and then get back to us, 'kay?
 

KK6DEL

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So just received my 436HP today, only have a few hours of use so need some more time to determine how I like it. I also have a 536HP as well, shortly after the release.

One thing that appears to be different is the radios front end and how it deals with Cellular phone towers.

I have to drop off and pick up my son at the local High School almost daily for sports practice and games and I have had my 396XT for months usually with me running in the car.

There are multiple Cellular sites on the main field and integrated into the field light poles.

My 396XT usually goes deaf once I pull inside the main gate as I am in the "Cone Of Silence". The radio seems to go pretty much deaf until I pull back on the main road out of the parking lot.

I happened to have the 436HP with me today and did not even think about the "Cone Of Silence" until I realized the 436HP seems to not be too affected by the same Cellular towers as my 396XT.

I also notices when I initially set the 436HP using the Zip Code function and loaded from the Master Database I was hearing some pretty distant sites from in the house which I do not have loaded in any of my other scanners at this time. But I was very surprised how the 436HP was pulling in these distant stations.

I am currently using the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna, same antenna that I was using on my 396XT so this makes for a pretty close Apples to Apples comparison.

I will need some more time to really shake down the 436HP, however, from the first hours of owning it, overall I am pretty impressed.

I need to program in a Phase 2 system that is about 25 miles away and see if I can pick up this County while I am out driving around or try and use an external antenna.

Also still need to focus and listen for digital decoding issue and compare to my 396XT.

But so far no real complaints, actually fairly impressed with some of the small difference as compared to the 396XT.

Also I have found the display to work pretty well for me, not too many complaints about the font size, but will need some more time to play with this scanner over the next few weeks.


yes same here i like how well it picks up distant digital signals very impressed with that, i live in socal and i could only get maybe 1 or 2 LAPD channels on good days and now with the BCD436HP i could get a majority of the freq, overall i am impressed. there are a few things that i don't like about the 436 but ill save that for another place ;)
 

JamesO

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So, you're surprised at how far away you are picking up some "distant" sites, but since you don't have them programmed into any other scanners you have no idea as to whether or not they would do better, worse or the same? Try a true A-B comparison between your scanner and the others and then get back to us, 'kay?
I just received the scanner this afternoon, and as I have mentioned I need to spend some more time with it.

The distant sites I am picking up inside the house that are not fully quieting and are from areas I have never picked up or heard before and was overall I was rather surprised I was actually receiving them.

I did pick up a College Security frequency while sitting in the driveway which I have NEVER received at or in my house which is 25 miles away. With all the elevation changes, variations and vegetation it limits the range of this College Security frequency. I usually have to be about 5 miles closer to the College on a much higher elevation to pick this frequency on my 396XT. So this does give me an Apples to Apples comparison as I am using the exact same antenna from the 396XT. This College Security frequency is not very active, so unclear if I could pick it up in the house, but this may be another point to check in the next few weeks. Even if I am not looking at the radio display, I can "hear" when the scanner picks up this system due to the specific nature of the sound signature and comms. So I easily known when there is traffic on this specific frequency.

I do plan on programming in some of the distant sites into my 396XT and probably my HP1E to see how much of a difference there is and I know this is as a more fair comparison.

I just was pointing out that I was VERY surprised to be hearing a few specific Counties that I have never heard before using my HP1 and this along with the fact the front end does not seem to suffer as much from Cellular de-sense is it pretty clear there are some significant differences between these radios front ends/first stage RF amplifier.

So my initial impression is overall favorable, but this is just after 2 hours playing around with the scanner.

More time and testing will give me a better idea as to the overall sensitivity, selectivity and decoding on Phase I and II systems.

Not sure I will get back with anyone specifically about this, but will likely provide my findings and impression on the 436HP for anyone to review and decide for themselves if they may be interested in this radio.
 

bearcatrp

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There is a diagram how some of the towers interlink for distance (cant remember where i saw it) but it helped me understand why I was picking up transmissions further out than what I programmed into the scanner. I set 5 miles but getting transmissions allot further out. May someone here can post a link to it for you.
 

garys

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I spent a fair amount of time duplicating the programming in my XT scanners into the 436HP. I have noticed significant improvement in reception on systems that I have listened to for a long time. This is a direct scanner to scanner comparison and the 436 is more sensitive. I don't have significant interference at my location, so I can't tell if the selectivity is better or worse, at least not yet.

I can tell you that the P25 Phase 1 audio is much better on the 436HP than it was on the 396XT. It is as good as the Pro 197 that is sitting next to it. I don't have any Phase 2 systems in my area, so I won't be able to test that function until June or July when I head south for an extended trip.
 

bear780ks

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Does using different antenna's help as well with the 436) With my 996 I've used different antenna's and it seemed to help with it's reception..
 

garys

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Does using different antenna's help as well with the 436) With my 996 I've used different antenna's and it seemed to help with it's reception..
At home I connect all of my scanners to an outside antenna, so I can't really say. For portable operation I've tried a lot of antennas and had the best results with the RS 800Mhz antenna.

For mobile use with my 996XT, I've had good experience with the Hustler MOT scanner antenna on a NMO mount. Very good on all bands.
 

JamesO

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There is a diagram how some of the towers interlink for distance (cant remember where i saw it) but it helped me understand why I was picking up transmissions further out than what I programmed into the scanner. I set 5 miles but getting transmissions allot further out. May someone here can post a link to it for you.
I am well aware of linked, patched or Simulcast systems and the things I am monitoring do not have any linked, patched or Simulcast configurations. I have even linked things via satellite internationally at times so I am fully aware of how far you can extend something.

The College Security frequency is something I know very well. It is a single campus and I know from my 396XT in the car exactly where things fall off. Even 1 mile from my house, up a higher elevation can make a big difference in what I can hear, but I was able to pick this up in the driveway which I have never been able to do with my 396XT using the same antenna.

The other systems are smaller, local Fire Dispatch for more rural locations quite some distance from where I am located.

I was also picking up a lot of commercial and military AM aircraft traffic in the house with the squelch set to 2 (my usual default) and using a Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna.

Again, less than 48 hours with the scanner and I am just stating some of the initial obvious differences as I have been using my 396XT almost daily for the past few months.
 

JamesO

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Does using different antenna's help as well with the 436) With my 996 I've used different antenna's and it seemed to help with it's reception..
I almost always use the Radio Shack 800 MHz extensively. Most of my monitoring is UHF and 700/800 MHz traffic. I do not have much problem with VHF and this antenna, so I just stick with it for almost everything. I have tried others, but overall the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna size and performance seems to be a good balance.

I find that most supplied antennas are pretty lack luster overall.
 

LIScanner101

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Seems like good news about the overall conventional analog sensitivity.

However, I can't help but wonder about the large number of posts I've seen from users who experienced a DROP in conventional sensitivity after installing the new FW. What happened to these posters? Did they solve the issue? Did they just get fed up and walk away? Not sure. To the posters on this thread having good success with conventional sensitivity, what version of FW are you running?
 

JamesO

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Seems like good news about the overall conventional analog sensitivity.

However, I can't help but wonder about the large number of posts I've seen from users who experienced a DROP in conventional sensitivity after installing the new FW. What happened to these posters? Did they solve the issue? Did they just get fed up and walk away? Not sure. To the posters on this thread having good success with conventional sensitivity, what version of FW are you running?
I cannot comment on any change in sensitivity with different firmware. I have version 1.03.00.

I am starting to think that many reports may be "Pilot Error" issues??

Here is what I am seeing with the HP series scanners. As with any new toy, everyone just wants to start listening when they receive their new radio. I speculate that new owner just plug the Zipcode in and then start monitoring. Then after a few days/weeks playing with the radio and getting more comfortable, the next logical step is to set up Favorite Lists. This is where I think some of the problems are showing up.

I think that many of the complaints have to do with an incorrect or disabled Service Type. Service Type is an important and powerful filter that will ignore/skip channels if not set up correctly.

If the new owners copy from the Master Database, the Service Type issue is less of a problem, but if they make a Favorites List from scratch, I can almost guarantee that the first crack at a Favorites List will be less than desirable.

The HP series scanners and the Sentinel software have a steep learning curve and a number of pitfalls that catch even some fairly seasoned scanner enthusiast and computer users.

Maybe there have been others that did see something unusual with the firmware changes, however, hopefully if this is the case Uniden is aware of the issue and will resolve any issues with the next firmware update which will likely be sometime in the next month or so??
 

LIScanner101

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I cannot comment on any change in sensitivity with different firmware. I have version 1.03.00.
Is 1.03.00 the latest firmware?

I am starting to think that many reports may be "Pilot Error" issues??
Can we stick to just the conventional sensitivity issue for a moment? How can experiencing a drop in conventional sensitivity after upgrading FW be attributable to "****pit error"? You either install the FW, or you don't. You can't "sort of" install it.
 

RichardKramer

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I have version 1.03.00 on my 436hp and compared to my two 396xt's, the 436hp receives the control channel for Montgomery County, PA a bit better whether on my RS discone or the RS 800MHz duck. The only issues I have so far with the 436hp are that the batteries don't charge when plugged into an external power source; and I use a lapel speaker at work in a noisy warehouse, and the low audio output from the speaker jack just doesn't cut it. Anyone have any fixes for getting more audio power out the speaker jack?
 

AA6IO

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I was one of the people reporting a drop in sensitivity with new FW on 436HP. Seemed less sensitive than my 396XT. However, over the past couple of weeks, I notice that the "positioning" of the 436HP seems to influence signal variation to a greater extent than "positioning" of the 396XT. Don't ask me why. Testing always between similar antennas. Either RS800 on both for Diamond SRH789 on both. Sometimes in same position, 396XT picks up a bit more, then move the 436HP and 396XT to another spot, and the 436HP beats the 396XT. The 436HP does a tad better on P25, except for one simulcast system where it beats the 396XT considerably in P25 decoding performance.
Had the 436HP with me in Phoenix last weekend when my wife and I went to visit my daughter and son-in-law. On the RWC trunking system there, where I know some had simulcast issues with previous scanners, the 436HP did beautifully. (I did not bring the 396XT or my PRO-106) for comparison. Compared to my HomePatrol, the 436HP seems much better all around in sensitivity for analog and digital here in Los Angeles basin
Bottom line, with the better display and recording features on the 436HP, it is my number 1 go portable scanner. I can say the same for my 536HP vs my 996XT (a great scanner) and PRO-107.
If Whistler comes out with high end stuff, I will try those too and compare the results. Never owned the PSR800.
Steve AA6IO
 

bear780ks

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I almost always use the Radio Shack 800 MHz extensively. Most of my monitoring is UHF and 700/800 MHz traffic. I do not have much problem with VHF and this antenna, so I just stick with it for almost everything. I have tried others, but overall the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna size and performance seems to be a good balance.

I find that most supplied antennas are pretty lack luster overall.
That's what I'm using on my 996xt and my 396xt I've also bough a couple antenna's from WPS and Comet and they do good as well but I seem to revert back to my Radio Shack, one thing I wished the shack would do is offer the antenna in a SMA form that would be really nice.. :) Bear..
 

Jay911

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I cannot comment on any change in sensitivity with different firmware. I have version 1.03.00.
I can confirm that the difference in reception between 1.02 and 1.03 was negligible if it existed at all.

You will probably find that it's not just analog conventional comms that are improved. My previous scanners, when at my home, have had to be put in a window facing the city (~30 miles away) to receive their analog/digital trunk system, and even then I only got the analog side at far less than full quieting. With the 436, I can take it anywhere in the house, and listen to both the analog and digital talkgroups on the system, with quite decent reception.

Can I assume that since you have only had the radio for 48 hours that you're still using the stock antenna? I use a Diamond SRH789 on mine, but damaged it recently (nothing to do with the 436) so I've returned to the stock antenna, and found little if any degradation of reception.

I am starting to think that many reports may be "Pilot Error" issues??
This, and the impressions you pose after it, is spot-on.
 

JamesO

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Is 1.03.00 the latest firmware?
Yes, Version 1.03.00 is the latest firmware for the 436HP, the 536HP has a slightly different firmware version.

Can we stick to just the conventional sensitivity issue for a moment? How can experiencing a drop in conventional sensitivity after upgrading FW be attributable to "****pit error"? You either install the FW, or you don't. You can't "sort of" install it.
We can stick to conventional sensitivity, HOWEVER, this needs to be broken into 2 to 3 categories.

1. AM conventional sensitivity for both commercial and military aircraft bands. This appears to be a hot button for many. I do not regularly monitor any aircraft traffic other than some of the helicopter channels due to public safety using these often. What I can say is with the Master Database loaded in my 436HP and running the Radio Shack 800 MHz rubber duck antenna I am picking up quite a bit of both commercial and military aircraft from inside the house. I am sure if I was using a different antenna, outside of the house or on an external antenna I would have quite a bit more activity to listen to.

2. FM conventional sensitivity seems to be very good. Again, most of my listening the past few days has been inside the house with the 800 MHz Radio Shack antenna and I have been hearing a number of services that I could not hear on my 396XT or did not expect to be able to hear. I have picked up a number of College Campus security operations at both 400 and 800 MHz which are smaller campus based systems. I have also picked up some local retail at a larger shopping center over 7 miles away which as unexpected. Overall if the conventional sensitivity took any hit with the latest firmware, I would love to have be able to experience how much better it would be as compared to what I am currently experiencing.

3. IF filtering may also be playing into things a bit. Apparently the x36HP radios narrow IF filters are a bit narrower than previous IF filters. I have not experimented with different IF filter settings yet, but not sure I need to.

As for "Pilot Error" and you thinking this has nothing to do with the firmware, you are correct, however, since you appear to have never had a Uniden HP series scanner you may not understand the issues with "Pilot Error" and how you can paint yourself into the corner and even paint your toes. The HP series scanners have Service Types and Location Control which are basically "Filters", if you have the "Filters" set wrong, you will not hear what you expect to hear.

My point is most HP series users likely get the scanner, update the Master Database then plug in their Zipcode and start monitoring. Users quickly realize they are likely scanner over 1000 channels and systems that they may not be interested in. The after a few days or weeks and feeling they have their new radio figured out, they venture into making Favorite Lists. Here is where the fun and issues start. Favorite Lists can go one of two ways. Either you get it right or you get it wrong. Probably 90% get it wrong, then have issues. I am still tying to figure these things out, I have both a 536HP and now the 436HP along with a HP1 extreme. Now that I have the 436HP and it will likely be going with me many places, I will start to master the scanner over the next few months.

Also at this point, my x36HP radios have nothing changed or modified as far as AGC or Decoding adjustments. Everything is default with all AGC off. The issue is I have not found reasonable documentation to explain how these AGC settings work, what they affect and what is a good baseline starting point for settings. These settings may even improve the reception. But time and experimentation will be required.

I would urge you to forget about what you have been reading about the conventional sensitivity being impacted by a change in firmware. There may be something going on, but I find it hard to believe the overall RF front end would be changed unless there was a problem with filter choice by the firmware. There may be some issues with how the squelch opens, but this is different that RF performance.

I would not harp on this and suggest you focus your energies on contacting the members that seemed to have issues via PM and FULLY understand what their specific issues were.

Again, you need to be very careful and split "conventional" into 2 groups. AM commercial and military aircraft and FM Land Mobile operations. It seems the Aircraft monitoring folks are quicker to comment on differences between scanner A and scanner B.


Can I assume that since you have only had the radio for 48 hours that you're still using the stock antenna?
I have a number of different antennas, however, I never even took the 436HP antenna out of the wrapper, put the Radio Shack 800 MHz antenna on the scanner without even missing a beat and so far I am very happy.
 
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