BCD996P2 vs BCD536HP

shirsch101

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West Chester, PA
Kind of torn here between the scanners. One has the zip code programming and I would not have to program it myself or pay for programming. The other does not. Any pros or cons between the scanners and are they compatible?
Thanks
 

tvengr

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The Chester Co radio system uses simulcast sites. You may have a problem with both radios depending on your location in relation to the towers. They may work and they may not. The 536HP handles simulcast slightly better than the 996P2. I would recommend the SDS200 which was designed to receive simulcast systems. I suggest that you click on Report and request that your thread be moved to the Pennsylvania forum. The people in your area can tell you what kind of luck they have with the 996P2 and 536HP.
 

Bob1955

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Eastchester, NY
Kind of torn here between the scanners. One has the zip code programming and I would not have to program it myself or pay for programming. The other does not. Any pros or cons between the scanners and are they compatible?
Thanks
Pros are the SD card, Wi-Fi, built in Radioreference Data Base which updates all the time too and full LCD display but this model had reported problems in earlier productions. I cannot justify the price difference between this and the Bearcat BCD-996P2(ask doctordialtone) here. I own the Bearcat BCD-996P2($379.90) and is "PERHAPS" the best base scanner ever made. The 536HP takes about 20 seconds to load up each time on the SD card and is $469.90 now. The next model above it is the SDS-200 which has the best simulcasting and true IQ circuitry but is $699.95 so you be the judge. The BCD-996P2 isn't that hard to program with FreeScan(Bearcaat Warehouse can do it too along with a software update for $70) or look it up on YouTube. Bearcat Warehouse is the BEST place to purchase as it ship free and no sales tax.
Hope this helps you. Private Message me for more place and ideas for you. Also, do you have simulcasting out there in PA? I don't think so. I think analog is still used a lot but you MUST buy a digital scanner as everything migrates over to there, either P.1 or P.2
 

tvengr

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Also, do you have simulcasting out there in PA? I don't think so.
RFSSSiteNameCountyFreqs
5 (5)005 (5)WayneDelaware851.2125a851.750a852.325a853.2625c
10 (A)010 (A)East Central SimulcastChester851.0625c851.6125a851.8625a853.1125a856.2375a860.2375a860.4875a
30 (1E)030 (1E)West SimulcastChester769.53125c771.19375a771.56875a771.89375a773.49375a773.90625a
50 (32)050 (32)West Chester SimulcastChester854.9875c855.7375a859.2625a860.2625a
Yes, Chester County PA is Simulcast. That is why I suggested to change to the PA forum and get input from other people in your area.
 
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737mech

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I like the Bcd536hp. It does a great job in my area and I really like the record feature. I recommend the DMR upgrade and a 32gb sd card for lots of space to record.
 

tvengr

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Definitely go with the BCD536HP

I own this one and you will not be disappointed
Please note that he is in Illinois and doesn't have a clue which scanners will work at your location. It is possible that the 996P2 and 536HP may work, but I don't guarantee it. They are both good scanners. The people in your immediate area will provide better information.
 
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Firebuff66

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CT
I would vote 996P2 I have a 536 and like the 996 so much better. I like to program all my own stuff so the RR option is a non seller for me
I completely erased my 536 and did my own programming, I use Pro-Scan for software and love it
 

Ubbe

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Stockholm, Sweden
RFSSSiteNameCountyFreqs
5 (5)005 (5)WayneDelaware851.2125a851.750a852.325a853.2625c
10 (A)010 (A)East Central SimulcastChester851.0625c851.6125a851.8625a853.1125a856.2375a860.2375a860.4875a
30 (1E)030 (1E)West SimulcastChester769.53125c771.19375a771.56875a771.89375a773.49375a773.90625a
50 (32)050 (32)West Chester SimulcastChester854.9875c855.7375a859.2625a860.2625a
Yes, Chester County PA is Simulcast. That is why I suggested to change to the PA forum and get input from other people in your area.
Isn't it just the name that says simulcast? The sites use their own unique frequencies and none are shared. The RR database mentions nothing about it being a simulcast system?

/Ubbe
 

jtwalker

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Dec 3, 2012
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Gettysburg, PA
My $0.02, you will have to learn to program either unit, so don't let that play a roll in your decision. Even if you get the retailer to get you started, eventually stuff will change and you will wonder why your county's fire dept went silent, but you can still receive the neighboring counties just fine.

You are in a pretty urban area overall, so it would seem simulcast issues are very possible, but would be good to hear from someone close to your location. I have a 536 and other than sending it back for a recall on clock battery, it has been fine for the last ~5 years.
 

tvengr

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I have both the BCD996P2 and BCD536HP. Neither will reliably receive the Baltimore Co system at my home location. The SDS100 and SDS200 work perfectly. If you want a good reliable scanner, the BCD996P2 is a good choice if the scanner works at your location. The 536HP has the national database which is good for travelling. It is programmed using Sentinel, free software provided by Uniden. For your local area, the 996P2 is all that you will need. It can be programmed using FreeSCAN which is FREE, but only partially supports DMR and does not support NXDN at all. Both the 996P2 and 536HP are capable of DMR and NXDN with paid upgrades. You can use Butel ARC-XT or ProScan for programming if you opt for the upgrades. There is very little DMR and NXDN in Chester Co. For Public Safety, P25 is all you need.
Isn't it just the name that says simulcast?
The database says East Central is 11 site simulcast and West is 14 site simulcast.
 
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sallen07

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Rochester, NY
Isn't it just the name that says simulcast? The sites use their own unique frequencies and none are shared. The RR database mentions nothing about it being a simulcast system?
Well, for starters, whoever submitted the system to RR probably chose those site names because they knew it WAS simulcast.

But you are incorrect about "nothing about it being a simulcast system".

Click on one of the sites. On the next page there will be a list of FCC licenses associated with that site. Click on them. You'll see that there are multiple towers for each "site". That's simulcast.

You appear to be confused by the fact that LSM systems use "site" to mean "set of towers", not "one physical location with one tower". Yes, each "site" has it's own set of frequencies, but they are all transmitted from multiple antennas. Simulcast.

Even without that information, the fact that Chester County has a 700/800 P25 Phase II system pretty much guarantees that it's simulcast. That's how these systems are built; the days of one big tower in the center of town putting out a signal that covers the county (and beyond) are over.

To the OP: Unless you "win the simulcast lottery", neither of those scanners will work well for you. They were not designed to handle simulcast, and you will most likely find that you can pick up little or nothing. They are both great scanners ... but not for P25 P2 simulcast systems.
 

hvytrucker

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Philadelphia, PA
OK, here's my 2 cents...

First off right now I am using the 436HP and it is working great picking up everything I want in Philadelphia!!!

I also had both old XT models and the newer HP (Home Patrol) models and both have pros and cons. The HP's are good (and easier) for someone who is just starting out because all you have to do is put in your zip code and choose which service types you want to monitor and you are scanning. They also come with the complete database and software if you want to use it instead of the zip code method. They are also great for using the GPS function if you are using it as a mobile nd travelling through multiple zip codes. Downside is that it will monitor all talkgroups withing your zip code and within your choosen servide types.

The older XT & newer P2 models are better for me as I would like to limit what I am monitoring as I like to pick and choose exactly which freqs & talkgroups I monitor. Downside to this is having to subscribe to RR for the database but well worth it in my opinion!

If I had to choose again I would definately choose a P2 model over the HP model ... The deciding factor for me is the way that the newer HP models use favorite lists and they are broken down into Systems, Departments & Channels which I don't like! The P2 models use the old style like the old XT's where there are only Systems and Groups making it a lot easier to enable and disable what I want to listen to.

I am also having problems trying to set up a certain talkgroup as a priority channel. I select a specific talkgroup and set it as a priority then go back and enable priority scan and the first time it tries to scan it gives me an error saying "Priority scan. No channel" But I think that is a subject for a later post...
 

Bob1955

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Dec 20, 2016
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Eastchester, NY
The Chester Co radio system uses simulcast sites. You may have a problem with both radios depending on your location in relation to the towers. They may work and they may not. The 536HP handles simulcast slightly better than the 996P2. I would recommend the SDS200 which was designed to receive simulcast systems. I suggest that you click on Report and request that your thread be moved to the Pennsylvania forum. The people in your area can tell you what kind of luck they have with the 996P2 and 536HP.
tvenger, That's a good point but NOT everyone wants to jump into a $699.95 top of the line bells and whistles scanner that's a "HP" model like "hvytrucker" just said above. This is WHY I purchased a Bearcat BCD-996P2 as NO problems in almost every review. Even "drdialtone" on here has mentioned this too. Yea, you guys won't suspend him for behavior like I had been but I tell it like it is! Yes, the BCD-536HP "may" do that a little better. I do NOT like zip code features and the SD card booting up the data every time you turn the SDS-100/SDS-200/436HP/536HP scanners. I would love to see a Bearcat SDS-200 but in this pandemic with so many people out of work, really now(I'm retired), who is going to lay out $699.95 but it would be only from a purchaser that's been into this hobby a long time.
His quote from above is:
If I had to choose again I would definately choose a P2 model over the HP model ... The deciding factor for me is the way that the newer HP models use favorite lists and they are broken down into Systems, Departments & Channels which I don't like! The P2 models use the old style like the old XT's where there are only Systems and Groups making it a lot easier to enable and disable what I want to listen to.
 
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shirsch101

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West Chester, PA
I want to thank everyone for their opinions. With the HP model are you able to use the Sentinel software to delete or permenetly avoid certain frequencies? Also can you set quick keys using the Sentinel software. You all have been very helpful
 

fxdscon

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I want to thank everyone for their opinions. With the HP model are you able to use the Sentinel software to delete or permenetly avoid certain frequencies? Also can you set quick keys using the Sentinel software. You all have been very helpful
Yes, with favorites lists in Sentinel, you are able to do those things and much more. As others have mentioned, the advice you get from folks in your own area, dealing with the same systems you will be dealing with (especially simulcast systems), will be much more valuable and accurate than others that do not have those systems to contend with, and have no experience in that arena.

And if you are indeed dealing with simulcast systems in your area, this is definitely worth a read:


.

.
 
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hiegtx

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OK, here's my 2 cents...

First off right now I am using the 436HP and it is working great picking up everything I want in Philadelphia!!!

I also had both old XT models and the newer HP (Home Patrol) models and both have pros and cons. The HP's are good (and easier) for someone who is just starting out because all you have to do is put in your zip code and choose which service types you want to monitor and you are scanning. They also come with the complete database and software if you want to use it instead of the zip code method. They are also great for using the GPS function if you are using it as a mobile nd travelling through multiple zip codes. Downside is that it will monitor all talkgroups withing your zip code and within your choosen servide types.

The older XT & newer P2 models are better for me as I would like to limit what I am monitoring as I like to pick and choose exactly which freqs & talkgroups I monitor. Downside to this is having to subscribe to RR for the database but well worth it in my opinion!

If I had to choose again I would definately choose a P2 model over the HP model ... The deciding factor for me is the way that the newer HP models use favorite lists and they are broken down into Systems, Departments & Channels which I don't like! The P2 models use the old style like the old XT's where there are only Systems and Groups making it a lot easier to enable and disable what I want to listen to.

I am also having problems trying to set up a certain talkgroup as a priority channel. I select a specific talkgroup and set it as a priority then go back and enable priority scan and the first time it tries to scan it gives me an error saying "Priority scan. No channel" But I think that is a subject for a later post...
For a trunked system, there are two steps to designating a talkgroup as a Priority channel.
First, tag the TGID as Priority when editing the Department it is in.
Second, in the Favorites list editor, go to the System line.
Turn on trunking priority for the system there. That's under the Options tab.
88344

You're getting the "Priority scan. No channel" warning because you do not have any conventional channels set as priority.
 

hiegtx

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With the HP model how do you know what frequencies are activated in the scanner?
EDIT - When setting the Zip Code
You don't, at least not directly, unless you either use Sentinel to duplicate what would be loaded based on your selected range, location (by Zip code or actual coordinates), and service types. Or, you can create a Favorites list, in the scanner, based on what database/location/range/ and service types enabled.

Remember that the range that the scanner uses is not based solely on the range you entered. Instead, it's based on your range plus the range set, in the database, for the departments and/or sites. See this for a more detailed explanation:
How it Works: Location, Location, Location

When using the main database using location and range, the scanner also selectively enables the specific Service Types that you selected. By default, only Dispatch types are enabled for Public Safety agencies- Law Dispatch, Fire Dispatch, EMS Dispatch, and Multi-Dispatch. But agencies often use channels and talkgroups labeled as Tac or Talk. So enable those as well (Law Talk, Fire Tac, etc).

Also, when using location and the database, you might also want to edit "Nationwide Systems". That loads categories of agencies, some of which are a hundred or more miles away, like a National Park.
 
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