BC125AT - Suggestions and comments

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AgVulpine

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Let me start by saying I'm an avid radio buff, operating multiple scanners and ham radios and other equipment 24/7.

This is not a full review since others have done a pretty decent job of that already.

First impressions:

The multi-function knob changes channels when turned, adjusts volume when clicked and turned, and adjusts squelch when Func + clicked + turned. One major downfall of this feature is the accidental changing of frequencies either by bumping or when attempting to adjust the volume blind.

In my opinion, the volume and channel adjust functions should be swapped. Volume adjustment is the most common task of any radio listener. I would love an upgrade that allows this option.
(Note: I am aware that engaging the keypad lock will restrict the knob function to volume only. I don't want to keypad lock the scanner.)


Close Call has really improved since the XLT family of radios, however there is still some room for improvement.

It is my opinion that Close Call is primarily used by people wishing to find new frequencies to listen to and program into their radio. I suggest a feature that blocks Close Call from tuning frequencies that are already programmed into a memory bank. The temporary lockout of Close Call frequencies is generally ineffective, especially if you want to ignore MANY known frequencies, and especially if you have Close Call + CTCSS enabled because it often interprets a false CTCSS.

Close Call is even bugged since it will pick up frequencies you have stored AND locked-out. Though I still believe all stored frequencies should be ignored by Close Call.


CTCSS discovery is sadly relegated to Close Call searching only. I would like a feature that will decode and display the currently transmitting CTCSS on any frequency currently tuned into, even stored frequencies. That is, every time the squelch opens, the radio should attempt to detect and decode CTCSS and DCS if present.


Many radio enthusiasts like to modify their radio with a 'discriminator tap' so they can play with digital signals or detect sub-audible tones through the headphone jack plugged into their computer. The BC125AT appears to be a mostly software driven radio. If it would be possible to enable the headphone jack as a discriminator tap by software feature, that would be a very nice option indeed.


And this last suggestion, though may sound silly to some, I would like to see the alpha tagging extended to permit 32 characters and use marquee scrolling to display tags longer than the 16 character limit. I know 16 characters is already longer than most other scanners on the market, but it still makes naming channels a bit of a task especially when there are 500 channels and many of them are location based. There are only so many creative prefixes and suffixes someone can come up with before the tag becomes unreadable. :)


The Windows XP and 7 drivers are still tedious to install and should come with an executable installer. The instructions on UPMan (Paul Opitz's) page suggest there is a "setup.exe" file to install the drivers, but there is none. The actual procedure is complicated and requires copying files to your Windows\INF folder, opening Device Manger, and Updating/Detecting new drivers. None of these steps are explained, nor are they within the reach of the average computer user. Said instructions were offically explained to me by Uniden Support. I notice the page was updated last week but no effective changes were made. BC125AT < UnidenMan4 < TWiki


Thank you for reading my comments and considering these suggestions.

FYI, the software CHIRP will soon be supporting all programmable Bearcat scanners. Stay tuned for that.
 

Cunnerman

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ShyFlyer

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CTCSS discovery is sadly relegated to Close Call searching only. I would like a feature that will decode and display the currently transmitting CTCSS on any frequency currently tuned into, even stored frequencies. That is, every time the squelch opens, the radio should attempt to detect and decode CTCSS and DCS if present.
I'm not sure if you're using the Uniden software to program it or not, but I do and I can select Off, Search, No Tone, or a specific CTCSS/DCS tone. When I select "Search" for a specific freq, the tone (if any) is displayed and is flashing on the 125's screen.
 

AgVulpine

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I'm not sure if you're using the Uniden software to program it or not, but I do and I can select Off, Search, No Tone, or a specific CTCSS/DCS tone. When I select "Search" for a specific freq, the tone (if any) is displayed and is flashing on the 125's screen.
Here's an experiment for you ShyFlyer, to help explain.

Program in the frequency 462.5625, that's the frequency to FRS Channel 1 (Family Radio Service; USA blister pack 2-way radios), to any available memory bank in your BC125AT scanner.

Now on an FRS radio, switch to Channel 1 and set the Squelch Tone to 1 which is 67.0 Hz CTCSS.

Transmit on the FRS radio.

The BC125AT does not say 67.0 Hz anywhere.

Switch the Squelch Tone to 2 on your FRS radio. That should be 71.9 Hz CTCSS. And transmit.

The BC125AT can still hear you talk, but it does not say 71.9 Hz anywhere.

Get the picture?
 

captclint

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What u ShyFlyer said, was you have to tell it to search and display the CTCSS. See page 40 of your manual. If you don't, it will default to OFF
tt
 

AgVulpine

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One thing about that, however. When it detects a transmission with a CTCSS tone, its frequency blink-fades very quickly making it difficult to copy. I would recommend that the tone simply appear without flashing. It's rather obnoxious to be honest.
 

dmg1969

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Newport, PA
I would not hold your breath for these suggestions to come to fruition since the BC125AT is a few years old. As far as the CTCSS tone, if I get a hit while searching and miss the CTCSS, I just hold on that frequency until it receives another transmission and then write it down. Or I believe you can also just program the hit into one of the channels.


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AgVulpine

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I would not hold your breath for these suggestions to come to fruition since the BC125AT is a few years old.
Well, I wouldn't write off the BC125AT just yet. It is still the current model for its class and price-point of scanner. At least it better be, seeing as I just purchased it last month.

As far as the CTCSS tone, if I get a hit while searching and miss the CTCSS, I just hold on that frequency until it receives another transmission and then write it down. Or I believe you can also just program the hit into one of the channels.
Yeah, my last post was about the CTCSS tone being displayed for already programmed frequencies. When a tone is detected during a transmission, it flashes very rapidly on the display in a fade-in/fade-out strobe ... all fancy like. This makes the tone very difficult to read and you have to recite each digit as it comes into view again and again.
 
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