Digital Scanner question(s)

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GrumpyAeroGuy

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OK, looks like I am going to be making the leap from an OLD BC235XLT to a RS PRO-106 (?) quite soon.

My question is:

As the 106 appears to be a RS marketed near-clone of its companion GRE model,

Is there a reason to get the GRE unit over the RS unit? Are they truly near-identical performers?

It appears that the overall opinion of the PRO-106 is quite good from what I have been able to find here and elsewhere on-line.

What about Uniden? Which Uniden model is the closest in terms of the features/capability relative to the PRO-106 unit?

Is there a compelling reason to choose Uniden over RS, or even a different manufacturer?

I recognize that this is, to some degree, subjective. But my last Uniden 235XLT has given me excellent performance since purchased new in '97, or so. IT has just run its course, and then some, given the migration of the communications system since '97, and I am ready to go digital.

Plus, the local business that used to serve my radio/scanning needs over the last several decades has vaporized. So, if I want to purchase locally (brick and mortar), that leaves, pretty much, RS, or cloud ordering. Don't mind ordering on-line, but I am still a little old-school when it comes to that....
 

hiegtx

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OK, looks like I am going to be making the leap from an OLD BC235XLT to a RS PRO-106 (?) quite soon.

My question is:

As the 106 appears to be a RS marketed near-clone of its companion GRE model,

Is there a reason to get the GRE unit over the RS unit? Are they truly near-identical performers?

It appears that the overall opinion of the PRO-106 is quite good from what I have been able to find here and elsewhere on-line.

What about Uniden? Which Uniden model is the closest in terms of the features/capability relative to the PRO-106 unit?

Is there a compelling reason to choose Uniden over RS, or even a different manufacturer?

I recognize that this is, to some degree, subjective. But my last Uniden 235XLT has given me excellent performance since purchased new in '97, or so. IT has just run its course, and then some, given the migration of the communications system since '97, and I am ready to go digital.

Plus, the local business that used to serve my radio/scanning needs over the last several decades has vaporized. So, if I want to purchase locally (brick and mortar), that leaves, pretty much, RS, or cloud ordering. Don't mind ordering on-line, but I am still a little old-school when it comes to that....
Internally, the Pro-106 & the PSR-500 are identical. GRE makes both. The only difference is the front panel layout. There are slight differences in the firmware; you can't use GRE's firmware updates for the 500 in the Pro-106. It's provided to Radio Shack, then may be modified slightly, before being issued on their site for the 106. But comments (good or bad) about the features and capabilities of the two scanners are pretty much interchangeable. If a PSR-500 will do a certain thing, so will a Pro-106. Same for what one won't do (neither will the other). They also use the same programming software, and you can use the same pc interface cable for programming or firmware updates on either.

Currently, the Pro-106 is back at it's "regular" price of $399.99; last week, it was on sale at $299.99. At the $299.99 price point, it's pretty much a coin toss on which to buy. At the regular $399.99, go with the GRE PSR-500. The 500 comes with the ac adapter and the pc interface cable. Those are extra cost items for the Radio Shack scanner. The ac adapter is, I believe, about $30. The cable shows to be $34.99, though they often list it at 50% off if purchased with the scanner (the website is not currently showing that discount like it has in the past). Radio Shack has been regularly putting the 106 (and the base/mobile sibling, the Pro-197) "on sale" for $299 to$329, it seems, at least once a month. If you can wait for a sale, & feel more comfortable with a "bricks & mortar" purchase over an online transaction, then there's no harm. But I would not pay full list to R/S to do it.

The PSR-500 is currently at $399.95 at ScannerMaster (it was $369.95 last week, when the 106 was on sale). It's showing for less at another dealer right now. And, as noted, the 500 comes with the adapter & cable.

Basically, even at the sales price of $299.99 on the 106, when you add the ac adapter and cable, plus your local sales tax, compared to ordering the 500 from ScannerMaster or another online dealer (both very reputable), there's not much difference, assuming ground shipment. For either the Pro-106 or PSR-500, there are three main software packages: Win500, PSREdit 500, and ARC500. All will program your scanner, all will do imports from the database (you're a premium subscriber, I see), and all 3 allow a thirty day trial period for you to use the software before you have to purchase a software license. More on the software can be found here. Win500 & PSREdit500 have a $35.00 fee to purchase. ARC500 Basic is $39.95. Lifetime updates on any of these are free if you buy the software.

For Uniden, your comparable scanner is the BCD396XT. You can find it (new) for $449.95 here or here (other places as well). It will come with ac adapter, rechargeable batteries, and a pc cable (serial interface; the GRE/Radio Shack cables are USB). If your pc does not have a serial port, you'd need to either get a USB->serial adapter, or the Uniden USB-1 cable. See this article in the Wiki as well. For software, FreeScan works very well, and as the name implies, is free. I primarily use this, though I also have ProScan, because it also supports a couple of older scanners that FreeScan does not (BC780XLT & BC250D).

As far as whether GRE (Radio Shack) or Uniden is better, that's a question that always draws a debate. A lot of answers boil down to personal opinion. I own both a PSR-500 and a number of the Uniden scanners, including two 396XT's. Personally, I prefer the 396XT. For the systems I listen to, in the DFW area, there's no significant difference in the way the two different scanners perform. I prefer the smaller size, and also the DMA memory system over GRE's object oriented. But any of these scanners will do the job. I would encourage you to ask for opinions down in your state forum. There are certain simulcast systems (usually digital) where the GRE scanners outperform the Uniden's. I don't have any of those in my area, so performance between the two "brands" is not an issue.
 

Soundman

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If you are looking for base unit that is easy to work with you can get the homepatrol .You just turn it on and it does the work for you . But if you are a scanner guy then look for a bcd996xlt.
 

GrumpyAeroGuy

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Thank you very much for the great input. I have already DLd Win500, paid for the license, and started making a config file for the RR/GRE set-up. DId it to start learning and get familiar with how they work.

I appreciate the input on the RS "sale cycle". I was in a store last WE and the guy said it was on sale "till yesterday" for the $299. I will probably hold off and wait for the next "sale". This RS appears to be unique in that the sales force is actually very knowledgable with scanning. He was really nice, but said he couldn't honor the sale price as it had expired. He said "keep an eye on the weekly flier on the web". I guess he knew that it was just a matter of time before it went on sale again. Also said he would be happy to clone the radio with his after a purchase, if I liked, so I had it "ready to go" once I got home. After some of the experiences I had at other RS stores, I was quite impressed. Often you get sales folks that probably don't even know that they actually work at Radio Shack. They know where the credit card machine is, but that's about it.

I am also seeing if there is a local vendor that does GRE. Haven't looked in a while. I have heard that scannermaster is a very reputable on-line retailer.

I still have my old trusty BC235 that still works for my counties 800 system... only..... lol. All neighboring counties have long since migrated to digital 800. I am also hearing that my local county (southern Ohio) will be going digital "eventually". SO, sooner, or later, my old 235 will go silent for what I like listening to.

I will take your advice and do a post in the OH forum to see if any of the local systems are best heard with a GRE over a RS.

Thanks very much for the input and time it took to post the detailed response. I am reading and learning so I can hit the road running when I find the right price.
 
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