For Colorado DTRS: Bearcat or GRE/RS?

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wuzafuzz

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I tried searching for an answer in other threads, but my search mojo is weak today. Thought I'd post here since my question is specific to Colorado.

Does either scanner brand do a better job of monitoring Colorado DTRS? Each has their strengths and weaknesses but I don't know how those differences affect DTRS listening, if at all.

Beyond DTRS I will monitor VHF, airband, maybe some MilAir, and ham.
 

jfab

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Personally, I've had better reception on my RS Pro 106 on the state DTRS. I've sat my 106 next to a Uniden 396xt and had better performance on the 106.

But this is just my experience. Maybe others have had different luck?
 

dracer777

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I believe the uniden series decodes better when you have a very strong signal. But the gre/rs definitely are better at receiving less than strong signal. The 106 does a much better job at decoding weak signals.
 

jimmnn

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My vote is also RS/GRE better decoding performance and much easier to program and operate.

Jim<
 

n0doz

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I had a 106 for about a month and found it very frustrating to operate vs. an XT. It seemed like the 106 had fewer features vs. the XT... and that it had a lower talk group capacity. Anyone have a side-by-side comparison?
 

scanlist

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Another vote for GRE/RS. Talkgroup patch tracking with the latest firmware update is a must especially with the amount of patching CSP and other agencies use on DTRS.
 

dougjgray

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I have a RS pro-197 and a Uniden bcd-996 and like them both equally well, the 197 with the object oriented programing make it more flexible I think to program and I think the 197 decodes trunk faster (no scientific studies done). the 996 was more user friendly and easier to program in my opinion. the 996 does better with Rail and Air I think and I think the 996 does better with EDAC Systems
 

wuzafuzz

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It looks like GRE/RS might be the better option for me. I sure like the remote head for the Uniden's but better decoding (with less than ideal signal) is more important to me. Thanks for all the insight so far!
 
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datainmotion

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It looks like GRE/RS might be the better option for me. I sure like the remote head for the Uniden's but better decoding (with less than ideal signal) is more important to me. Thanks for all the insight so far!
Will this be used primarily while you are mobile? If so, IMO it's worth considering the Uniden's GPS feature.

I use both a GRE PSR-500 and a BCD996T. The PSR-500 is more flexible in its programming and I really like the OOS. The 996 with its GPS is tough to beat when on the road though.
 

wuzafuzz

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Will this be used primarily while you are mobile? If so, IMO it's worth considering the Uniden's GPS feature.

I use both a GRE PSR-500 and a BCD996T. The PSR-500 is more flexible in its programming and I really like the OOS. The 996 with its GPS is tough to beat when on the road though.
It may do double duty for mobile and base. I'm thinking an extra DIN sleeve and a power supply in the house. That's assuming it's fairly easy to slide the radio in and out of the sleeve. Otherwise I might get a portable. Trying to avoid portables for mobile use though.

My GPS will be connected to a mobile radio for APRS so connecting another to a scanner isn't high on my list. Although I do have two GPS's... ;-) I'm already struggling to keep things simple, since I'm hoping to run a scanner, ham, GMRS, and CAP radios in an '03 S-10 Blazer. The Blazer is a real stinker for comm installs.
 

rickak

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I would agree RS/GRE hands down for performance, and I own both.

There are specific features on the uniden side though if they are important to you. GPS functionality as mentioned previously (only matters if you travel around the state alot), and I like the size of the 396xt for portable use as well, the RS/GRE portables are bulky (like carrying a brick). A 396 will fit in a breast pocket. Unidens have fire tone decoding as well. I like the uniden closecall feature as well.

Rick
 

n0doz

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But what about actually using the features? It (the 106) seemed limited as far as how many TGs could be entered, the programming system was not intuitive at all. Really, the entire user interface was crap IMO. I'm all for "sensitivity" in a radio (God knows that"s the most important thing,) but if you cannot even get to what you want to listen to, either because you're limited to numbers of groups or you can't navigate to it in the first place, then what good is it?
Yeah, I'm frustrated, all right. I certainly understand where you pros (Jim, Phil, etc.) are coming from. I do not doubt your user reports. But I'm not exactly new to this stuff myself... got my first RS police radio (before scanners, young dudes) in the mid 1960's. I've owned nearly every type of scanner, probably 50 or more different units, in that time, up to and including the 396XT. And not one, NOT ONE was as "unfriendly" or difficult to use as the 106. And yes, I studied the manual.
"Sensitivity" varies from radio to radio, not just brand to brand. With all the variables possible between manufacturing and in-radio adjustment, even the pro radios can vary noticeably. For instance, I've sat in the radio shop at work, two new MaCom HTs in front of me, with one not receiving everything the other was. And these are $2700+ radios!
More often than not, the primary answer is the antenna. With a simple rooftop antenna (a ham radio VHF band "Ventenna") I have no difficulty with sensitivity with either the 396T or the XT. I don't bother with a separate antenna for each band (although I have them up and mounted) because it doesn't make any difference on receive. You simply need to get something up, as high and as clear of obstruction as possible, fed with a halfway-decent coax.
Other than that: in-radio adjustment (squelch, etc.) or simply being in a "dead spot" (far more common than you think) are possible reasons for a lack of "sensitivity."
OK, done ranting. I just get frustrated by simply trying to compare radios side-by-side without instruments... if you cannot measure, you cannot decide.
Thank you.
 

mikey60

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But what about actually using the features? It (the 106) seemed limited as far as how many TGs could be entered.
That's the second time in this thread you posted that claim. Last I knew, the Uniden models were limited to 250 talkgroups per system. If all you entered into the PRO-106 was DTRS, you could store up to 1842 talkgroups, so which one is more limited?

Mike
 

n0doz

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Well, Mikey, that's what I don't know...
From the Wiki here at RR, my comments in brackets:
XT: 500 systems, 500 TGs each. (Any/all can be scanned at once. No "hidden" folders unless you lock them out.)
500/106: "Virtual Scanner Memory Management system; One copy of working memory can hold up to 1800 objects, meaning any combination of talkgroups, conventional channels, and trunking systems. Each V-Scanner folder holds one copy of working memory. So, 21 * 1800 = about 37,800 objects altogether can be stored in the V-Scanner storage system."
(Huh? Object-oriented scanning? Virtual memory? V-folders? I'm a scanner user, not a professional computer programmer.) But anyway, OK, I read the book, and I understood that to mean 21 folders, 1800 systems/TGs etc. per folder. And as I recall, you have to physically close and open folders by software or keypad, so you only have access to 1800 "objects" at a time. True, or not? If I'm wrong, I'd love to know, because that's how it worked for me.
Bottom line: I ain't bashing Radio Shack. They are one of the few places that's an icon, kind of like the Church. My dream job growing up was to work there. I simply think that GRE, in the necessary search to make a radio that doesn't use anyone else's programming method, came up with something too complicated.
Sorry if that's offensive, but the OP wanted an opinion... he got that and a lot more, didn't he?
 

scanlist

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Historically GRE has had to do things differently in order to avoid legal issues with Uniden patents.

Both are a PITA when it comes to ease of use and just about require an engineering degree to program even with software.

I played with several 396 series radios up here and they work well in strong control channel signal situations distant sites were difficult. GRE 500/106 are more tolerant of marginal and distant control channel signals.

It's all up to the end user. If one is interested in the local area go with Uniden. If one is seeking to catch distant activity go with GRE.
 

Thayne

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Maybe it's just me and my getting old, but I have both GRE's and Unidens, the 996 is out in the garage so I don't use it much but I keep the book with it because I always forget how to move around in it while I have no problem with any of the GRE-RS radios. To me the GRE's are much easier and logically laid out. Another thing was the firmware updates for the Unidens were a PITA compared to the ease of GRE-RS. Just my opinion for what it is worth--not much :wink:
 

dougjgray

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if we combined unidens and GREs knowledge we may get the perfect scanner, for example to take OOP a step farther and have Site objects for the GRE it would make alot of new options possibly liinking TGs to only certains sites might be efficient. As far as programing the ability to have Sites labeled and seperate is kinda cool. maybe GRE will add the ability to label the sites/CCs in the future
 

n0doz

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Bettter yet, save the "Object-oriented" terminology for the programmers and label the functions with something a little more familiar. I'm much more impressed by K.I.S.S. than with O.O.P.!
 

wuzafuzz

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So far it sounds like the major differences are that RS/GRE is better for sensitivity/digital decoding. The other described differences don't really seem to affect "Colorado use" which was my primary concern.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences and opinions!
 
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