Choosing the next scanner

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mixerbd699

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Feb 29, 2012
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Wichita Falls, Tx and Southlake, Tx
Hello Everyone,
I'm somewhat new to scanning, I've owned a few radio shack scanners and know how to program them. I'm looking to upgrade to a new mobile/base scanner. I've looked at Uniden's Bct15x and the GRE PSR-600. I'm looking to get something that can do the new narrow banding and everything new, also would like it not to be outdated in a hurry. Any advice on which one is the better pick?

Thanks!
 

captclint

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Dec 31, 2005
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2,452
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Mountaintop, PA
Hello Everyone,
I'm somewhat new to scanning, I've owned a few radio shack scanners and know how to program them. I'm looking to upgrade to a new mobile/base scanner. I've looked at Uniden's Bct15x and the GRE PSR-600. I'm looking to get something that can do the new narrow banding and everything new, also would like it not to be outdated in a hurry. Any advice on which one is the better pick?

Thanks!
Welcome to RR. Before we can answer, we need to know your state and county and any major city you are near. It would help greatly if you would go into your User CP (found in the blue toolbar under the thread title) then click on Edit Your Details in the left frame. Put in your county/state. This will help narrow down your responses to those folks that are in your general neck of the woods
 

mixerbd699

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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Location
Wichita Falls, Tx and Southlake, Tx
I got to school in Wichita Falls, Tx (Wichita County) and home is in Southlake, Tx (Tarrant County). I know Wichita Falls has and EDACS system but it is digitally scrambled? (info about the digital scramble is from the EM). Southlake shares a Motorola Trunk system with various other cities, and from what I understand it has gone to narrow banding. I'm leaning towards the GRE PSR-600 since it seems to have digital, but looking to get some feed back.

Thanks!
 

hiegtx

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Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
7,798
Location
Dallas, TX
Hello Everyone,
I'm somewhat new to scanning, I've owned a few radio shack scanners and know how to program them. I'm looking to upgrade to a new mobile/base scanner. I've looked at Uniden's Bct15x and the GRE PSR-600. I'm looking to get something that can do the new narrow banding and everything new, also would like it not to be outdated in a hurry. Any advice on which one is the better pick?

Thanks!
Welcome, Mixer

I see you have yourself tagged as both Wichita Falls & Southlake, Texas.

Either of the scanners you have indicated will do narrowbanding, as will other scanners. The BCT15X is, of course, an analog scanner, while the PSR-600 is a digital trunk tracker. While you have not specified what, exactly, you want to listen to, especially in the DFW (Southlake) area, the majority of it is still analog, but that is beginning to change.

In the Wichita Falls area, for Wichita County, most agencies, other than Wichita Falls itself, appear to be using conventional, analog, frequencies, so either scanner would work. However, in Archer County, just to the south, the Sheriff's Office is using both analog & digital. And, from what I've been seeing on my occasional trips out to that region, that's becoming a pattern. Many of the agencies are having to upgrade older radio systems due to narrowbanding requirements and are also taking the additional step of also changing over to a digital format instead of analog. Note that a change to digital is not required as part of narrowbanding, but many agencies are making the switch.

For the Southlake area, the city is on this analog trunked system. Fort Worth & Arlington are also analog, for now. However, Fort Worth has a plan in progress to create a countywide P25 system, that will encompass not only the current Fort Worth/Tarrant County TRS, but also the other area systems, including N.E. Tarrant (where Southlake is) and Arlington, among others. That's projected to be in operation by 2015. So, I'd recommend a digital scanner if at all possible.

You've mentioned the PSR-600. It's $349.95 @ ScannerMaster, but currently out of stock. Another dealer shows the same price. There are other sources as well. However, the only difference between the PSR-600 and the Pro-197 sold by Radio Shack is that the 600 comes with the pc cable, whereas the 197 does not. The Pro-197 is currently on sale for $299.99. (It seems to go on sale about once a month.) The cable would cost $34. Operationally, these are the same scanner. Same programming, use the same software ($35 for Win500 or PSREdit500, $39.95 for ARC500).

The Uniden base/mobile scanner is the BCD996XT, which is more expensive. You can, however, use FreeScan to program it (or the BCT15X, if you hold off on a digital, though I would not recommend that).

Your other "base" choice would be the Home Patrol. Fry's over in Irving has had them in the $460 range, and I've seen comments on purchases being made on eBay in the $415 range (see the Uniden forum). You can get a mounting kit (like for a GPS) to mount it in a vehicle, but it's not a "mobile" scanner in the same sense as the BCT15X, PSR-600, etc. (I do use my Home Patrol in my SUV, with a GPS now.)

If you have more DFW area/Southlake specific questions, you may want to drop down to the Texas Forum, or visit the DFWScan Yahoo group.
 

mixerbd699

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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9
Location
Wichita Falls, Tx and Southlake, Tx
I know the system that southlake is on has been narrow banded but is still analog since my old scanner will kind of pick it up. Wichita Falls I'm pretty sure is an EDACS system but the EM told me it was digitally scrambled or something like that. I'm leaning towards the GRE since its digital, but the BCD996XT is tempting
 

hiegtx

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Dallas, TX
I know the system that southlake is on has been narrow banded but is still analog since my old scanner will kind of pick it up. Wichita Falls I'm pretty sure is an EDACS system but the EM told me it was digitally scrambled or something like that. I'm leaning towards the GRE since its digital, but the BCD996XT is tempting
The Wichita Falls city system is indeed EDACS, Provoice, as is DFW Airport(though they are supposed to move to an Open Sky system). Neither Provoice nor Open Sky can be monitored by any scanner, now or in the foreseeable future. However, using a computer, and a scanner, together with DSD software, some users have had success in decoding & monitoring Provoice. See this page in the Wiki for some additional details, I have not experimented with this as yet, but have considered trying it, since one of the digital formats that this works on is Nexedge. There is a trunked system, using this, in S/W Dallas County, near me (Cedar Hill, Desoto, & Duncanville).

The 996XT is digital, as is the PSR-600 and the Pro-197. The Home Patrol is also a digital scanner, just not a base/model style like the 600, 996XT, or the analog BCT15X. It's roughly the same size as one of the original Sony cassette tape Walkmans.
 

mixerbd699

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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9
Location
Wichita Falls, Tx and Southlake, Tx
I think I've got a good deal on a gently used BCD996xt for about 350 and comes with everything needed, I'm planning to go that route. I think this weekend i might try and hook up either my pro-97 or pro-2055 scanner up to the computer and see if i can hear anything from wichita falls. My only concern is whether or not doing this to listen to wichita falls's system is illegal? I'd like to not get on the bad side of the city since I'm pretty good friends with the EM for wichita falls, as well as wichita county and clay county. I'm excited to get my BCD996xt unit haha. First "non-radio shack" scanner i've had!

Thank you hiegtx for your help! If you don't mind me asking where in dallas are you located? If you're not too far i'll buy lunch!
 

hiegtx

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
7,798
Location
Dallas, TX
I think I've got a good deal on a gently used BCD996xt for about 350 and comes with everything needed, I'm planning to go that route. I think this weekend i might try and hook up either my pro-97 or pro-2055 scanner up to the computer and see if i can hear anything from wichita falls. My only concern is whether or not doing this to listen to wichita falls's system is illegal? I'd like to not get on the bad side of the city since I'm pretty good friends with the EM for wichita falls, as well as wichita county and clay county.
As far as listening to the Wichita Falls system is concerned, the only talkgroups 'illegal' to monitor would be those that are encrypted. Those are marked with an "E" in the mode column. No scanner is going to work on them. Neither would using a pc & DSD. DSD would only work on non-encrypted, Provoice talkgroups. Those are not illegal to listen to, just un-monitorable on any scanner on the market.

I'm excited to get my BCD996xt unit haha. First "non-radio shack" scanner i've had!
As the BCD996XT would be your first scanner using DMA (Dynamic Memory Architecture), as opposed to the banks & channels system used by your Pro-97 or 2055, you may want to look over this FAQ page, and it's various linked articles, from the Wiki. In case you have not seen it, there is an "Easier to Read" manual for the 996XT online. (That link is also on the FAQ page.)

Since you're a Premium subscriber, you can easily import whatever systems and frequencies you want via software. Before buying any software, give FreeScan a try. That's what I primarily use, though I also have ProScan. While I don't own the 996XT, I do have two of it's handheld siblings, the BCD396XT, as well as the previous model 996, the BCD996T. These will scan most of the systems we currently have in the DFW area, and North Texas in general, without problems. The only exceptions are the systems that no scanner will monitor (Provoice, Nexedge, & Mototrbo). Fortunately, outside of DFW Airport, all of the major public safety systems can be scanned.

If you want a DFW area FreeScan file to get you started, or to use as an example, shoot me a pm message with your email address (note that pm's may not yet be active for you, until after you've had a few posts to the forum 'under your belt').

Thank you hiegtx for your help! If you don't mind me asking where in dallas are you located? If you're not too far i'll buy lunch!
I live in Oak Cliff, but work in North Dallas.

The offer of lunch is appreciated, but not necessary. Enjoy your scanner!
 
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