Advice on buying scanner

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csx4780

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My 245XLT finally died the other day. My wife misses it and wants me to buy a new one. She has a few requests. She wants alpha tagging so she can see who she is listening to, can't make up her mind base, mobile or portable, loves listening to the police (800) and fire (VHF). Is driving me nuts trying to figure out what the difference between TrunkTracker III and IV. Someone who knows wayyyy more than I do help point me in the right direction. Oh, and she would like it to have a battery backup for when we lose power. Oh, and she likes Unidens. (I don't care either way.) And I forgot to mention that I would like to be able to catch Skywarn during the stormy months.

Thanks!
 
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pdfdems286

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if you want a handheld,and you want digital.the hot debate now is between the uniden bc396t and the gre psr-500.i have both.i can honestly say if you need performance go with the psr-500.it's got a ton load of feature's too.the 396 is no slouch in the feature dept.either.to me and some other's though the digital decoding and sensitivity are much better on the psr-500.if you don't need digital the uniden br330t is pretty darn good.the radioshlack pro-97 is a good receiver.it is on sale now.
 

LEH

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As pdfdems286 says, it's a tough decision right now. One thing that would help us give you some advice is to know where you are located. Not everyone is using a trunked system (though it sounds like your area is and that it isn't digital), but there may be systems you could listen to that are.

Mobile or handheld, I move mine around quite a bit, so handheld, but if you're in the house in one room normally then a mobile/base unit would suffice.

Do some searches through this forum, the Uniden, Radio Shack and GRE forums for others who've asked the same question and dig into the wiki on the various radios.

You will get a lot of different answers here as to which is the best right now. To me, the bottom line is how you scan. Like pdfdems286 I have both the 396 and 500. Based on MY scanning PREFERENCES, I prefer the 396. Oh, there are some neat bells and whistles on the 500, but I can live without them.

The 396 is substantially smaller (about the size of a pack of cigarettes) than the 500 (about the same size as the 245). Both have alpha tags, both can be programmed via software (a MAJOR point with all the info you can display), both have more than ten banks (this is where the Uniden and GRE have their major difference), both radios have firmware that may be upgraded.

If you are in an area that faces rebanding, don't get either the PRO-96 or 97. These radios cannot be rebanded. But both are good radios.
 

Kegan30317

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As pdfdems286 says, it's a tough decision right now. ................ To me, the bottom line is how you scan. Like pdfdems286 I have both the 396 and 500. Based on MY scanning PREFERENCES, I prefer the 396. Oh, there are some neat bells and whistles on the 500, but I can live without them.
.............
Don't mean to hijack the thread, but here's a question. I am going to need to go digital. I travel around the state. I would like to be able to reset my scanning preferences easily, WITHOUT A COMPLEX SERIES OF KEY STROKES. For instance, turning on and off a given talkgroup within a single bank. This is the one thing I don't like about my PRO-97, compared to my old 245.

So, given that (ease of use), do you guys suggest the 396 or 500?
 

n2mdk

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A lot of info has been given already, the difference between TrunkTracker III and IV is the ability to get the digital APCO-25 (P-25) systems as well as the Motorola, EDACS and LTR trunked systems.
Unless your going to keep some form of external 12V battery source, if you want battery backup go with a handheld.
 

LEH

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Don't mean to hijack the thread, but here's a question. I am going to need to go digital. I travel around the state. I would like to be able to reset my scanning preferences easily, WITHOUT A COMPLEX SERIES OF KEY STROKES. For instance, turning on and off a given talkgroup within a single bank. This is the one thing I don't like about my PRO-97, compared to my old 245.

So, given that (ease of use), do you guys suggest the 396 or 500?
The 396 allows up to 99 systems to be associated to a quick key (actually more is you put multiple systems under a single quick key). Memory is less than the 500. To access a system in the 396 either hit the 0-9 key or for those above 10, use the '.' two digit bank (i.e., bank 11 is '.'1 1).

The 500 has the v-folder approach where you can store twenty different configs of the scanner and switch from one to another as you move about. The 500 has twenty active scanlists (those above 10 are accessed with 'func' and key number).

Neither are really that good at a 'unlocking' a locked out talk group. The 500 may be a bit easier IF you know the ID number the TGID is stored in. Otherwise, they are both pretty difficult to manage (IMHO).
 

af5rn

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Don't mean to hijack the thread, but here's a question. I am going to need to go digital. I travel around the state. I would like to be able to reset my scanning preferences easily, WITHOUT A COMPLEX SERIES OF KEY STROKES. For instance, turning on and off a given talkgroup within a single bank. This is the one thing I don't like about my PRO-97, compared to my old 245.

So, given that (ease of use), do you guys suggest the 396 or 500?
The Uniden 996 has the advantage here, as you can have GPS automatically turn your talkgroups on and off as you travel through different areas, without ever having to stroke a single key.
 

SCPD

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Thanks caffman, I had forgot about the rebanding &t he fact it can be rebanded & geez I even have 1 :)
 

captncarp

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Which Scanner to Buy

If you where satisfied with the stations you were getting on the BC245xlt than u should not need digital and you need to stick with a handheld for the battry backup. So to upgrade to one with Alpha Tags at a reasonabal price I would go with a Pro-97 or it's upgraded version from GRE the PSR-300 which by the way includes Railroad in it's Preprogrammed Search Ranges.
I went that route as they became available; BC245xlt, Pro-97, PSR-300 and am very happy as I monitor the local Fire and Police which include a EDACS Trunk system, Tugs on the Hudson River and Trains on both sides of the River. If there not too busy I'll add in some Medical and the local Airport.
CaptnCarp.
 

csx4780

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Thanks for the info. I live in Des Moines, IA so no digital here (yet). I see Jerri lives in Ames, which is close by. Gotta do some looking now. So, where is the best place to buy said scanners? I know of a place here in DSM that sells Uniden, but not sure on the prices. Oh, and I might be buying three, I have a couple of buddies who want in on this as well.

T.
 

N8IAA

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Thanks for the info. I live in Des Moines, IA so no digital here (yet). I see Jerri lives in Ames, which is close by. Gotta do some looking now. So, where is the best place to buy said scanners? I know of a place here in DSM that sells Uniden, but not sure on the prices. Oh, and I might be buying three, I have a couple of buddies who want in on this as well.

T.
It appears that some of the Polk County TG's are digital on the Racom system. I'm guessing that Des Moines is on the conventional stuff. Best to get one of the newer GRE's: PSR500 if you want portable. They handle the newer EDACS pretty good. I know the Uniden 996 does too. I'm going to have to go with the concensus of those who have posted. Digital is the way to go.
Larry
 

af5rn

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So, where is the best place to buy said scanners? I know of a place here in DSM that sells Uniden, but not sure on the prices.
The top 5 best prices on Uniden digital scanners (396 and 996) are consistently available from these dealers:

Bearcat1.com (Hobby Radio in Kettering, OH)
480.00 + 14.00 = 494.00

Amazon.com
396 - 507.85 (S&h incl.)

BearcatScanner.com (Sacramento, CA)
501.91 + 10.00 = 511.91

BTproductsInc.com (Gibsonville, NC)
494.00 = 18.50 = 512.50

ScannerMaster.com (Natik, MA)
499.95 + 13.23 = 513.18

You'd have to be lazy, clueless, or filthy stinkin' rich to pay more than $515.00 to your door for either of those radios. For that matter, you'd have to have a real fetish for a particular dealer to even pay more than $494.00. I just got one for $435, new in box, and shipped, off eBay, and those deals come around every now and then.

You'd also have to be crazy to pay more than $230.00 to get a BCT-15 delivered to your door.

I can't help you with the other brands. I don't keep up with "also rans".
 

csx4780

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Ok, still doing research. I found a feature on one of the Uniden scanners that appeals to me, Fire Tone (?) since I am a volly and I don't always grab my pager out of the truck when I get home, if I understand this right it will emit a tone if the scanner picks up the same tone that dispatch uses to set our pagers off. I did not see where GRE has this and did not see on RS website if any of their scanners do as well. Anyone?

t.
 

captclint

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Ok, still doing research. I found a feature on one of the Uniden scanners that appeals to me, Fire Tone (?
Just be aware that the scanner has to be "parked" on the page freq. It will not scan. close call, or priority...nada while it is parked on the tone out. A very expensive tone-out receiver.:wink: I think Uniden is the only one with that feature right now.
 

csx4780

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Well, as it turns out, I am pretty smart. Not so much. I forget where, but I read that my problem was fixable, just push these three buttons while turning on the scanner. GREAT! What I didn't see was the part where doing that wipes out all programming. I have no idea how to reprogram this thing, I had a guy I worked with do it. But, even though now all the buttons work, I still want a new one. I am now seeking and enlisting help with reprogramming. Sigh. Live and learn I guess.
 

af5rn

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Just download the software and do it. Yes, it takes a very long time to figure out. Yes, you will get frustrated and even pissed off. Yes, you will want several times a day to just give up. But it's the only way you're ever going to figure it out. Just do it, and don't come back asking for help until you've spent at least a week trying it by yourself. Good luck!
 

csx4780

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Apparantly I need a cable of some sort and I did not see it on the Uniden site...anyone know where I can find this item? Never mind, I found one.
 
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