BCD436HP: A users opinion on the BCDX36HP's

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rustynswrail

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A few thoughts about the X36HP's. Before hand, I am a very experienced user (40 years plus) of scanners and radio in general. I own and use 4 436HP's. I also use Uniden scanners exclusively and have done for more years than I care to remember, so I know what I am talking about. But, in my opinion Uniden and others have made a few fundamental mistakes.

First up, these models appear to have been released too early, without sufficient BETA testing. Maybe the BETA testers were a little wrapped up in the excitement of the new model, or were not willing to criticize in case it delayed its release? I can only speculate. This is the problem when information about future releases is leaked. Maybe more testing both in the field and on the bench would have highlighted the faults?

Second, in an attempt to produce a scanner for all seasons, Uniden have over complicated the scanner, especially if Radio Reference is not used. RR is pretty much useless if you live outside of North America, as I do. The Sentinel software is basic and of little use short of firmware upgrades. At present Butel software is the only option and thank god it is, because without it programming the X36HP's would be bloody difficult. As to the Siren App, I will believe it when I see it.

Finally and no doubt some, maybe many will disagree, such is your right. However based on nothing but instinct, I think that Uniden maybe going to release a significant firmware upgrade at some stage. Why do I think this? There have been numerous complaints about numerous functions not working as they should. The last update was some time ago and you cannot tell me the radio is functioning as it should. Also there has been little comment from Uniden, therefore they are doing a lot more testing without releasing their intention to the public. Might be wrong but I don't think so.

Okay, so feel free to agree, disagree, criticize or just plain slag the above off as you see fit.
 

scannerbuff999

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i disagree sorry everything works great on mine and like you i have listening to scanner from the first Bearcat 210 the first one 30 years ago the one thing you are right about is ALL scanner are a pain in the *** to program today and that is because Radio system are complicated today that is the way it is now
that is what the hobbie is now like everything now phone computer it you do not load the radio with all kinds of stuff it will not sell
 

W8RMH

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I totally agree with you. I would have rather seen the new scanners, with Phase 2 capability along with the other new features, with the DMR programming like the BCDX96XTs rather than the HP versions.

They could have continued the HP-1 line for those who need instant programming and allowed us XT fans to get something upgraded. The biggest complaint I heard when the new HPs came out was the loss of the color touch screens.

I have programmed over 120 systems into my scanners with FreeScan with no problems and find it easier to use than Sentinel and I am not at the mercy of RadioReference.
 
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AA6IO

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If I were living outside the US/Canada, I could understand your frustration relying on the RRDB. That said, I have been around radios as a hobby for 53 years, including scanning since the 1980s, and I find the new Unidens to be quite amazing. Sure there are things that I would like see added or fixed, but in general, I find the 436HP and 536HP to be really nice radios. I actually think Sentinel is fairly decent software. But I also do use ARC536PRO and ProScan, but mostly for virtual control.
For my home QTH here in Los Angeles, I most often use favorite lists (otherwise, you will be scanning several thousand stations with your zip code and even 0 miles). But sometimes, I just enter the zip code, let it rip, and often pick up new and interesting stuff. Take the radios to Vegas and Phoenix quite often, also make use of FLs, but sometimes, just the zipcode. I like the option of having the location control, but also enjoy my own programming, which I have done for years.
Even had the 436HP with me in England, Scotland, and France in July during a cruise that included a day on the Normandy beaches (Utah and Omaha). Granted, not much, or anything with public safety, but worked pretty well on marine, airbands, and just as a plain old FM receiver.
All in all, I'm glad I own both the 436HP and 536HP, but certainly, I would like to see some of the missing features, and on the 436HP, better sensitivity.

Steve AA6IO
 

rustynswrail

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If I were living outside the US/Canada, I could understand your frustration relying on the RRDB. That said, I have been around radios as a hobby for 53 years, including scanning since the 1980s, and I find the new Unidens to be quite amazing. Sure there are things that I would like see added or fixed, but in general, I find the 436HP and 536HP to be really nice radios. I actually think Sentinel is fairly decent software. But I also do use ARC536PRO and ProScan, but mostly for virtual control.
For my home QTH here in Los Angeles, I most often use favorite lists (otherwise, you will be scanning several thousand stations with your zip code and even 0 miles). But sometimes, I just enter the zip code, let it rip, and often pick up new and interesting stuff. Take the radios to Vegas and Phoenix quite often, also make use of FLs, but sometimes, just the zipcode. I like the option of having the location control, but also enjoy my own programming, which I have done for years.
Even had the 436HP with me in England, Scotland, and France in July during a cruise that included a day on the Normandy beaches (Utah and Omaha). Granted, not much, or anything with public safety, but worked pretty well on marine, airbands, and just as a plain old FM receiver.
All in all, I'm glad I own both the 436HP and 536HP, but certainly, I would like to see some of the missing features, and on the 436HP, better sensitivity.

Steve AA6IO
Steve,

My argument is not with the features, such as P25 or trunking. I even think the dynamic memory is the best thing since never having to buy another crystal. I have used many different scanners from many different makers over the years. I have a particular passion for Uniden products. The problem is with these latest products is the number of complaints that seem to have been raised by users.

Whether it is a lack of BETA testing or an over desire to release the scanners to the market I don't know.

These things are supposed to be simple. Compared to some of their opposition they are, but if it wasn't for Butel, non North American users would be in trouble. Programming is time consuming and I know that systems these days are more complicated than just entering a frequency into a channel, but it is still unnecessarily lengthy. HP1 for example was easier than X35HP's, so too the 396XT's. I can only ask one thing of Uniden, lets not get wrapped up in the technology. Adopt the KISS principle.

R
 

AA6IO

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R
I certainly agree with the KISS principle. And yes, these new Unidens are far from easy to use. I have been following the x36HPs pretty closely since these units have come out, and among many experienced scanners (people), there sure have been a lot of headaches. I just purchased the WS-1080 for comparisons with my 436HP, and that has its own headaches trying to figure all the ins and outs.
I am glad the x36HPs came out when they did, but you have a point, they were not well beta tested. I don't mind paying my money and being an unofficial "beta tester," but many feel differently, so for the average user, they should be more straightforward, Although come to think of it, there are probably few average users who are entering or continuing this scanning hobby.
Well maybe that's what keeps folks like you, me, and others in this hobby as gluttons for punishment. But the rewards are worth it.
Regards

Steve AA6IO
 

ofd8001

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Sometimes my opinions can be out in left field, but I'd like to offer them nonetheless.

Our fingerprints are on the knife too. There were countless posts about "When is Uniden coming out with something new?" and "I just can't wait for 'it' to be available".

Also a number of us asked for certain features that we thought would be slicing of the bread. As features are added, that increases the complexity of the scanner.

Lastly the nature of the beast. I too have 40 some years, probably closer to 50, listening to radio communications and my head continues to swim with all that has changed. And changes probably ain't over yet - the "young'uns" of this hobby will at some point be saying "I was things were as simple now as they were way back in 2014".
 

KA2ZEY

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Still using my BCD396XT and was struck the other day by how robust it is. Everything just makes sense and works.
 

Boatanchor

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As an owner of both radios, I'm afraid my opinion of the BCD436HP is not great.

IMHO, my BCD436HP is:
Too big to be an 'Every Day Carry' radio and now has a weaker plastic belt clip mounting button to carry all the extra bulk,
Nowhere near as sensitive as the BCD396XT on critical LMR bands (although may not be noticed unless you are interested in receiving weak/distant stations),
Has a crude/cluttered display layout, the design of which appears to have been rushed & needs further work,
Has an awful clear plastic display lens that scratches easily and reflects light on just about every angle due to its curved design.

The above issues are important. In these days of smaller, thinner, lighter, clearer and faster, the BCD436HP fails miserably in at least the first four characteristics. Few of us want to carry around an XTL5000 sized radio on our belts or shoved in our pockets or purses.

Regarding the sensitivity issue. If my unit is representative of all 436HP's, then Uniden really have dropped the ball in this area. As it stands, my BCD396XT blows the 436HP out of the water for sensitivity on the 160, 500 and 800Mhz bands. So much so that analogue and digital signals I can hear on the older scanner don't even break the squelch on the new model. I don't believe scanner's of any brand/model have had sensitivity levels approaching 0.5uV for 12dB Sinad for decades. On this point, I may be wrong but I think it is high time that high end scanners costing $500+ be given the same performance scrutiny as Ham radios when they are released. When was the last time you saw accurate sensitivity and selectivity testing result on any scanner?

Maybe, if independent testing was undertaken, manufacturers would take a little more time and effort into optimizing the RF stages as well as developing the new bells, whistles and bling.

I'm not even going to get started on the missing features :)

I don't think the BCD436HP will be staying in my collection.
 
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