choosing a uniden scanner

Akuriko

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Joined
Jul 12, 2022
Messages
49
Location
Washington State
Hello All, I am new, i have been trying to do research on the uniden bct15x, bcd996p2, bcd536 hp, my county in Washington state is still analog and I have from 2007 a gift from my husband a radio shack pro 97, it still works, however, I am not picking up much, I use to live in grant county wa, they went completely digital then i couldn't listen, out here I can listen off and on, but I wanted a base station scanner, so my question is as my birthday is coming up and i fell in love with the scanner when i was hanging out with my uncle Donnie i would listen to his scanner for hours and hours, so my husband decided to get me one, so currently i live in san Juan county, in the county seat of san Juan island called Friday harbor, I wanted to listen to anything and everything if possible if its analog I will get analog, i did enjoy listening to ems, pd, sheriff and more, i am curious if i will be able to out here on the bctx15.

my father in law says don't buy one for my birthday which is coming up as if i get it i might get a year or 2 before its a paperweight, when he said that it brought me down, I love listening to my radio, its a good hobby plus my dad was a radio/ communication man in the united states army.

any suggestions you may have would be appreciated, I thought a radio here would be entertainment and fun since I moved to live on an island, boats, planes, ferries and more.

i was hoping to also reach 40 miles away plus with the scanner to pick up Skagit county as well as Watcom county.

Thank you for your time.

~Akuriko
 

K4EET

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Severn, Maryland, USA
<snip>
any suggestions you may have would be appreciated, <snip>

i was hoping to also reach 40 miles away plus with the scanner to pick up Skagit county as well as Watcom county.

Thank you for your time.

~Akuriko
Hi Akuriko and welcome to Radio Reference.

It looks like your local Public Safety for Friday Harbor can be found here:


As for monitoring a system that is 40-some miles away, that is doubtful. Whatcom and Skagit Counties might be heard during some atmospheric anomalies but I don’t think you will be monitoring any of their radio systems on a regular basis.

As for scanner models, it sounds like you are already familiar with the different offerings. I have the Uniden BCD536HP and am well pleased with it. Of course, the Uniden SDS200 is now the flagship model. There are some other models that might meet your needs but I am not that familiar with them and would prefer someone else cover those.

Of course the Uniden BCD536HP exceeds your needs right now but it will most likely meet your needs for the foreseeable future.

I’m sure you will have questions, so ask away. That is what we like to do around here. Answer questions.😀

Have a great day!

Dave K4EET
 

tvengr

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Feb 10, 2019
Messages
6,094
Location
Baltimore County, MD
For your location, I would skip the BCT15X which is analog only. The Department of Transportation has a P25 digital system with a site in San Juan County. I see 2 talkgroups on that system for Washington Ferries. I don't see any problems with simulcast in your area. I believe that the BCD996P2 will serve you well. It's a good solid reliable scanner. It can be programmed using FreeSCAN software which is FREE! I would be happy to help with the programming. Like the BCD536HP, the BCD996P2 is also capable of DMR and NXDN with paid upgrades (Also required for the BCD536HP). For DMR or NXDN the BCD996P2 would require ARC-XT or ProScan programming software. I use Butel ARC-XT Basic for my BCD996P2. I also have FreeSCAN and ProScan. The downside of the BCD996P2 is that it needs to be programmed. The BCD536HP has a SD card with the nationwide database which you can scan by zipcode. You can also create your own favorites lists using Uniden Sentinel software. Creating your own files with either scanner gives you greater control over what you want to scan.
 

Akuriko

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2022
Messages
49
Location
Washington State
Good Morning, Thank you for your input, the reason I have chosen the 3 models is I was hoping to start down on the bct15x as a base station starter and then go a few months over to a 2nd scanner the bcd996p2 or the bcd 536hp.

I wanted something affordable, I'm not rich, lol and 2 something to save me funds because batteries are being drained on my pro 97, the reason I wanted Watcom, Skagit, Snohomish eventually or king county is I do leave the island from time to time and it would be nice to use my pro 97 or a newer scanner that's portable on the go, I use to take my pro 97 everywhere and listen to it with headphones, till the county i use to live in went digital and encrypted.

out here I figured the 15x could be used as a a first getting my toes wet in the base station market and then upgrade, but if you recommend the 996 or the 536 I guess I can put off buying one today or tomorrow and wait another month while I nail down what I want, I was hoping the 15x would have done the job.

I was really was hoping the 15x would have done everything I needed for a year or 4 while the others came down in price, lol, anyways thank's for the suggestions and advice.

you gave me allot to think about today as others say in my 2nd hobby, my 1st is my radio listening 2nd hobby is fly fishing, tight lines, and happy fishing, :D
 

palmerjrusa

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Joined
Oct 22, 2005
Messages
729
Location
Frederick
Hello All, I am new, i have been trying to do research on the uniden bct15x, bcd996p2, bcd536 hp, my county in Washington state is still analog and I have from 2007 a gift from my husband a radio shack pro 97, it still works, however, I am not picking up much, I use to live in grant county wa, they went completely digital then i couldn't listen, out here I can listen off and on, but I wanted a base station scanner, so my question is as my birthday is coming up and i fell in love with the scanner when i was hanging out with my uncle Donnie i would listen to his scanner for hours and hours, so my husband decided to get me one, so currently i live in san Juan county, in the county seat of san Juan island called Friday harbor, I wanted to listen to anything and everything if possible if its analog I will get analog, i did enjoy listening to ems, pd, sheriff and more, i am curious if i will be able to out here on the bctx15.

my father in law says don't buy one for my birthday which is coming up as if i get it i might get a year or 2 before its a paperweight, when he said that it brought me down, I love listening to my radio, its a good hobby plus my dad was a radio/ communication man in the united states army.

any suggestions you may have would be appreciated, I thought a radio here would be entertainment and fun since I moved to live on an island, boats, planes, ferries and more.

i was hoping to also reach 40 miles away plus with the scanner to pick up Skagit county as well as Watcom county.

Thank you for your time.

~Akuriko
Unless there are simulcast issues (SDS100/200 are your only options there) Uniden base station options are:

1. BCD996P2 (receives digital, but requires programming, which is not too difficult).
2. BCD536HP (receives digital, database already programmed so easy to start scanning, highly configurable re the scanner's features either with the free Sentinel software (which I like a lot) or directly with the scanner).
3. HomePatrol-2 (receives digital, database already programmed so easy to start scanning, not as configurable re features).

With Uniden scanners you have to purchase upgrade keys to recieve other digital platforms, e.g. DRM, NXDN etc.
This is not the case with Whistler's digital-capable scanners (they're able to decode a variety of digital platforms, so no upgrade keys to purchase), but I've only limited experience with their scanners having only recently acquired a TRX-1.

Out of the Uniden scanners, if I had to choose only one, it would be the BCD536HP.
 
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sonm10

Central MN Monitor
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Sauk Centre, Minnesota
If you are wanting to hear farther out, I would consider your antenna. The idea is to get it outside (if possible) and as high as you can with the best quality coax you can afford. All of the above might suit you better than a new scanner. A lot of people like discone antennas (several to choose from). A lot of people like https://dpdproductions.com/products/omnix-scanner-base-antenna (not a discone)
 

tvengr

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Feb 10, 2019
Messages
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Baltimore County, MD
I was hoping the 15x would have done the job.
The BCD996P2 is essentially a digital version of the BCT15X. It operates the same way and uses the same programming software. If any of the conventional frequencies in San Juan County change to digital, the BCT15X would immediately be obsolete. Changing analog conventional frequencies to digital is a very common occurrence. It is no more difficult to program and operate the BCD996P2 than the BCT15X.
 

Akuriko

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Joined
Jul 12, 2022
Messages
49
Location
Washington State
Thank you for the codes, I input them into my pro 97, but I still think I want to start out with the btx15 due to me being on a fixed income and work my way up maybe by Christmas or so forth.

I can also wait a month or 2 and buy the other models but I was hoping for something now, however, I will deep think about it, I really wanted to place an order today for the bcx15.

I can always order it tomorrow or wait a few months, I do have the pro 97 that works.
 

smithken

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Michigan
I wouldn't wait for the prices to go down, I don't think that will happen. All of the scanners you are considering have been out for a while and if there were any price drops they have already happened. I also didn't notice any price drops when my older scanners were replaced by newer scanners but I wasn't searching very hard so I may have missed something.
 

hiegtx

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Dallas, TX
At the moment, Amazon also has the 536HP at a good price, compared to some of the other dealers.

I would advise skipping the HP-2. It;s cost is more than current pricing for the 996P2 (as well as the current Amazon price for the 536HP, which likely will be short lived).

The HP-2 is a good scanner for many areas, and would receive the systems currently listed in the database for your area. However, should some agency of interest switch to DMR (instead of P25), the 996P2 & 536HP can get the DMR (or NXDN) upgrade if needed at a later time. That's not an option with the HP-2. I have both the HP-2 as well as the original HP-1. For what I currently use them for, they work well. But your upgrade options are limited in some areas.
 

bearcatrp

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Sounds like you want portability. Go for the SDS 100. But if that’s out of your budget, get a used 436. See them in the for sale section here on RR. Am on my second one since selling my 1st one awhile back. I think you won’t be disappointed with a 436.
 

Akuriko

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Jul 12, 2022
Messages
49
Location
Washington State
Thanks, everyone I am currently got lined up to watch reviews and videos on the models I'm interested in, on a side note even though I live on an island, the scanner currently I have witch is a pro 97 by radio shack has been pretty quiet and only squawks about every half hour, so i thought living on a island it would squack more, lol
 

bearcatrp

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You need a better antenna if your using the stock antenna. But a external antenna about 30 feet in the air would make it sing.
 

bearcatrp

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30 feet? I don't think my apartment manager would let me put a 30-foot antenna up.
Sorry, wasn’t aware your in an apartment. Next up would be get a good magnetic vehicle antenna. Stick it on a cookie sheet, stick it on your balcony. What floor are you on? If your higher up, you can get a regular discone and mount it on the balcony rail. But, you will only pick up from your side outward. If a full size discone is to big, they make a small one. I have one. It’s a Diamond D220R. I put mine on an old floor lamp closest to the ceiling. Worked pretty good inside my home.


A W100RX may do the trick for you if you don’t want to mess with an external antenna. Put one of these on my RS Pro 29, my Icom R30 and my 436. Great antenna.

 

K4EET

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im in what we call the basement, walk up stairs get the parking lot, lol
So you are part of the Washington State underground. 😳 Well… all is not lost. Do you have any window casings that are above ground level (not down in a window well) that face the system(s) that you want to monitor? I’m sure we can come up with the best arrangement given your constraints. Pictures of the window from the inside would speak 1,000 words and help us come up with the best antenna system for your situation.

As for a rooftop antenna, the landlord may allow a smaller footprint antenna and especially make sure that they know this is not a transmitting antenna so there is no possibility of interference to any systems that the apartment building might have such as satellite TV, cable TV, telephone, etc. An added value point is that at the same time you are installing your rooftop antenna, you would be more than willing to help them procure their own scanner for the Rental Office and assist in the installation of their scanner antenna alongside your antenna. If that were possible then since height above ground is key to an antenna working well, you may get your 30-foot mast for your antenna and their antenna.

This has been known to work in other similar situations so see what you can work out. Look for those win-win scenarios!

Have a nice weekend! Dave K4EET
 
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