Can't decide which one to buy 436, 536 or 996P2

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hydrasports

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OK I am sure you all have been seeing me ask multiple questions which one of these to buy. At first I was thinking hand held but I don't see me traveling with it much and only using this mostly in my home as a home base. Plus I have heard the 436 didn't have as good of shielding as say the 536.

So then I moved to thinking the 536 but then a lot of uploading and downloading of firmware for both the scanner and the dongle seem to be required and truly I don't know how to do all that stuff. Plus it sounds best if you use at least 2 different software... sentinel and PROSCAN of which again I don't know how to use. Not to mentions it doesn't sound like Uniden has done much with the wifi aspect and I really don't see me utilizing this feature that much.

Now I have been pointing to the 996P2 as I hear it is much easier to program and works very well. It is suppose to be able to pick up the same frequencies as the 436 and 536 meaning analog, digital and trunked signals. Not sure if any do DMC type of frequencies. A bad thing is it does not come with the frequencies pre programmed with the zip code feature so I will have to upload all that I want to listen to prior to operating it.

I guess my question is Will the 996P2 pick up the same channels as the 436 and 536? Will I have to upload firmware to keep it up to date as I would with the 436/536? Do all 3 pick up transmissions from the same distance out and be the same clarity? What programs will I need to operate the 996P2 to save frequencies, favorites and keep up to date with what ever changes?

Sorry to be long winded I just don't want to spend up to $600 on perks that I will not utilize nor be able to figure out how to update and make favorites or change frequencies to what I want to hear. I am asking for your help to make an informed decision.
 

hiegtx

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OK I am sure you all have been seeing me ask multiple questions which one of these to buy. At first I was thinking hand held but I don't see me traveling with it much and only using this mostly in my home as a home base. Plus I have heard the 436 didn't have as good of shielding as say the 536.
The main difference in "shielding, between the 436HP vs. the 536HP (and the 996P2, for that matter) is the case of the scanner. For the 436HP, that case is plastic. For both the 996P2 and the 536HP, the case on the scanner is metal, which does give some shielding against interference from nearby sources, such as your broadband modem, monitors, your pc, and other devices. Depending on what will be close to where you will keep the scanner, that may or may not be an issue.

So then I moved to thinking the 536 but then a lot of uploading and downloading of firmware for both the scanner and the dongle seem to be required and truly I don't know how to do all that stuff. Plus it sounds best if you use at least 2 different software... sentinel and PROSCAN of which again I don't know how to use. Not to mentions it doesn't sound like Uniden has done much with the wifi aspect and I really don't see me utilizing this feature that much.
If you don't really have an interest in using the wifi dongle, then simply don't fool with it at all, making it a non-issue. As far as updates for the firmware, whether for the 536HP, or 436HP, those are done via Sentinel. You would use Sentinel anyway, for the database updates. But once Sentinel is installed, you're using a shortcut within the program to fetch the database updates when desired. A different shortcut in the program checks for firmware updates for the scanner, downloads them, and applies them, via onscreen prompts. Not a hassle at all.

Now I have been pointing to the 996P2 as I hear it is much easier to program and works very well. It is suppose to be able to pick up the same frequencies as the 436 and 536 meaning analog, digital and trunked signals. Not sure if any do DMC type of frequencies. A bad thing is it does not come with the frequencies pre programmed with the zip code feature so I will have to upload all that I want to listen to prior to operating it.
The 996P2 would receive the same systems as the 436HP/536HP. In order to receive DMR (I presume that you typo'd that into DMC), you would need to purchase an upgrade key for any of these three scanners.

I guess my question is Will the 996P2 pick up the same channels as the 436 and 536? Will I have to upload firmware to keep it up to date as I would with the 436/536? Do all 3 pick up transmissions from the same distance out and be the same clarity? What programs will I need to operate the 996P2 to save frequencies, favorites and keep up to date with what ever changes?
Firmware updates for the 996P2 have been issued, most recently one to allow the DMR upgrade. Whether the scanner you get (if buying any of these new) needs an update depends on what your vendor had in stock. As noted above, firmware for the 436HP & 536HP are done via Sentinel. For the 996P2, you install a firmware loader program, which then fetches and applies it to your 996P2, again with some onscreen prompts. While there are steps to follow, it is not overly complicated process. Just follow the instructions correctly.

For programming the 436 or 536, you can either scan based on your location, or create a customized Favorites list in Sentinel. The built in database, updated weekly, has everything in the RadioReference database. For the 996P2, you can program manually, using the keyboard, but it's much faster to program using software. Start by visiting this Wiki page: Program your DMA Scanner - The RadioReference Wiki

For the 996P2, if you become a Premium subscriber to RadioReference, you can download the information needed to program your scanner and import it via software for loading onto the scanner. FreeSCAN is available, though it has not been updated to support DMR systems. ARC-XT and ProScan also are available, and do support DMR. FreeScan is free. While there is a free trial period for ARC-XT and ProScan, after that expires, you would need to purchase a license for the software in order to keep on using it.

The 436HP & 536HP do have better filtering, which helps on simulcast systems, although some systems are a challenge, no matter which scanner is used. Other than that, the three scanners are roughly equivalent as to what they can receive. Distance is as much a factor of what sort of antenna is used, as well as terrain and the systems themselves, rather than the scanner alone. These should be roughly comparable in range capability, no big advantage to any one of the three.

Sorry to be long winded I just don't want to spend up to $600 on perks that I will not utilize nor be able to figure out how to update and make favorites or change frequencies to what I want to hear. I am asking for your help to make an informed decision.
There is a learning curve on any new scanner, regardless of which brand or specific model. There are a lost of resources on this forum, from Wiki pages to posts by many members, that can help with whatever questions you have.
 

hydrasports

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Wow hiegtx, that was an awesome read. You gave me a lot to think about. It's a hard choice and it sounds like pretty much they are a good even match between the 3. Now to pick which one would be easiest to program...
 

hiegtx

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Wow hiegtx, that was an awesome read. You gave me a lot to think about. It's a hard choice and it sounds like pretty much they are a good even match between the 3. Now to pick which one would be easiest to program...
"Easiest" is a relative term. With the 436HP or 536HP, you can just enter your zip code, a range, and select service types, and the scanner will do the rest. Or, you can use Sentinel, with location, range, and service types selected, then let it generate a Favorites list for you. Then, still using Sentinel, tweak the generated list to more closely match what you want.

With the 996P2, you would find it easier to get a Premium subscription, say, for at least 6 mos, then use one of the available software packages to download your systems and agencies of interest, the load them in the scanner. The handheld (portable) equivalent of the 996P2 is the BCD325P2. Programming it would be the same as for the 996P2.

With any of these scanners, if you ask in your state forum, you may find someone reasonably close to you that will share a programming file to give you a "jump start".
 
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