Spent my weekend reading the forums and comparing scanners as Kent County MI is moving away from analog so will need to upgrade eventually. I like the feature of the homepatrol-2 of entering a zip code and start scanning but also read that SD cards aren't without problems and it seems it's more for mobile. Last night had decided on the 996P2 until I began to read the manual today. Looks like it will meet my future needs but I will never understand how to get it programmed. Can I really become a RR subscriber, download a zip file and program police, fire, EMS etc by syncing to PC?
Well, yes and no. I hedge my answer because while it is true that someone could send you a file (no, you can't just download a database like you can with the 436 or 536), and you could potentially use it, you would never understand WHY something is set up the way it is.
Regardless of whether you use the 996P2 or the 436/536 series, there is something of a learning curve, and the article below (blue text are links) will give you links to everything you need to know to get started...
Program your DMA Scanner - The RadioReference Wiki
Now at the bottom of this article are links to the FreeScan user guide (which is hosted in our wiki) as well as the user guides for each of the radios.
Take your time when you are doing this programming. Get a simple design set up and working, BACK IT UP, then continue to make changes. If you run into something that gets hosed, you can revert it back to the last working version by using your back up (we've all had to do that at one time or another). I would suggest doing 1 or 2 conventional systems and 1 trunk, just to get the look and feel of how to go about it. Then build on that