A D/FW BCT396 owner contemplating PSR500/600

Status
Not open for further replies.

andrewccm

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
284
Location
Dallas/Fort Worth
I live in Arlington, TX (Dead center of Dallas and Fort Worth) and a current BCT396 owner. I am contemplating a second unit and the 500 and 600 are on the very short list along with either a 996 or BCT15.

I realize these are not comparing apples to apples and I am really only adding a second one in order to place a more sensitive antenna (yagi) on a rotor to pick up some more distant systems (like Plano/Collin Co/Parker/Denton). Digital is pretty much covered with my 396 so it isn't an essential piece of the equation (only digital systems in our area are both nearby and work well on the 396 with ver. 2 FW).

Thinking the BCT15 would be a fairly capable and familiar scanner to add. Then again, I am thinking that having the strengths of the GRE added to what I already have might be smarter to take advantage of the NAC, PC/IF port (for decryption of ESK) and in some cases the extra sensitivity.

I know this is a very typical question. But perhaps some owners of both (and maybe in my area), could post their opinion. This is a fairly saturated area for radio traffic and was wondering about intermod and/or the extra sensitivity being a plus or minus. I have several antennas that I use, but will primarily be using attic mounted Scantenna ST2 and Wilson Yagi 800. For portable use, the RS800 or RD9.

I like the base station form factor of the 15 and the 600, but is there any downside to choosing the 600 over the 500 other than portability?

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I sincerely appreciate it.
 

mikebennett

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2004
Messages
514
Location
Sherman, TX
I switched from a 396 to a 500 back in December. The primary reason was for the NAC decode capability. I was particularly having problems separating DPS tranmissions that were close in frequency. The 500 solved this.

Another irritation with the 396 is that you basically have an open squelch in order to pick up digital signals. This also left you wide open to receive distant stations on analog. With the 500 you can program to receive digital only and eliminate the analog traffic.

I really liked the size and operation of the 396 aside from these issues. In fact I miss the 99 quick keys as opposed to 20 V folders on the 500. Even though the 500 ultimately has more memory, you have to import folders to accomplish this instead of just enabling a quick key.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
635
Location
Phoenix Arizona
PSR-500 (as compared to 396):

P25 nac codes, search and entry capability. Can't do that with any other scanners. I already found this handy for the Texas DPS, and I have noticed the border patrol using them on vhf high frequencies.

Greater sensitivity, plain and simple, with a REAL squelch knob (sorry I am old fashioned on this topic).

More intermod (not an issue if you are scanning digital systems or coded conventional channels for the most part). If you scan a lot of uncoded frequencies and live in a high rf area, and want to use an outdoor antenna. This is worth thinking about. The Uniden scanners have an edge here.

V scanner banks make more sense. You will not use 400+ scanlists in one city. 21 scan lists is enough. When you drive to another state for instance, you take five seconds to load the proper v scanner. Simple, and easy. I take long road trips and switch effortlessly between v scanners with no problem.

Though I have never seen anyone else mention it, the Audioboost feature is a great thing. Those distant frequencies that come across quieter than you would like can now be brought up to equal levels with the others.

The led / alarm features are great when scanning a bunch of stuff and trying to watch things like a channel you are looking for a squelch code on.

Better audio quality.

Better decode on digital systems.

Sadly, the PSR scanners do not measure up when it comes to display size. This could a real issue for some who don't see as well.

PSR-500's feel and look cheaper than the uniden scanners as well.
 

andrewccm

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
284
Location
Dallas/Fort Worth
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply.

Ultimately, I decided to just grab a cheap BCT15 and add a D. Tap to it. I am going to wait for the next generation of digital scanner before I purchase another. I am in a pretty dense area (dead center of Dallas and Fort Worth) and expect more systems to go digital over time. For now, the 396T (after V2 FW) is doing ok for me. The GRE is most definitely something that I will add at some point in the future...I really would consider a 400, but understand it is not computer controllable. That is a must for me at this point.

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to respond.
 

GrapeApe

Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
17
Location
SC
For a general 396 vs 500 comparison, i would agree that the 500 has MUCH better sensitivity. I have both and run a test side by side sometimes. My 500 picks up trunked trafic from two counties away while the 396 sits silent. If it gets traffic from a county away, it is intermittent.

Additionally, I like the GRE arrangement better with scan lists V-Folders and such. The only thing I don't like about the GRE is that you can only put 32 control channels in a TSYS object. I wanted to set up a single statewide TSYS object for South Carolina to track SCHP as I drove, but you can't do it. It is not difficult to overcome, I just thought it cluttered up my file system with 4 Objects to cover SC.

I'm sure there is some logical programming reason for that and someone who got a MUCH better grade than I did in Diffy Q could probably answer it.

Now a 500 in a 396 size and form factor would be the bee's knees.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top