BCD436HP: For those thinking about buying a 436

Status
Not open for further replies.

baayers

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
235
Location
Pinellas County FL
I had this radio for about 4 months and wanted to share my thoughts with those who are thinking about making the purchase.

First I will start with the good things about this radio. I will agree with what others have stated in other threads that this radio on systems such as the ones in Phoenix, Indianapolis, & the East Bay system in CA is excellent when it comes to dealing with simulcast issues. It also does a good job on P2 systems such as the new radio systems in Tucson. I personally used my radio in all of the areas I mentioned and have nothing but good things to say about the results. In 400MHz areas such as LA and Chicago this radio held its own quite well. When I put my 436 against a friends 396XT while in Chicago we found that for analog channels the 396 had a slight advantage in the sensitivity department but when it comes to decoding P25 the 436 was able to cleanly decode much weaker signals than its older brother. My PRO 106 was in the shop so I did not have it with me to make any comparisons. On 40MHz channels such as CHP I honestly couldn't see a difference between the 436 my 106 and a local friends 396. For battery life I was getting about 10-11 hours per charge using PowerEx Imedion LSD 2300MaH batteries. I have a total of 12 batteries I keep dedicated to my scanner. When you add up the 3x4 sets for the Uniden vs the 4x3 sets for the 106 the total time I received out of all the batteries combined was almost equal. The last thing I will say in the good section is probably more of an opinion than fact but once I adapted to layout of the X36 Sentinel software it did a good job of handling my needs.


Now to the bad. When it comes to the VHF High band in my 20 years of using scanners this scanner is the worst I have ever used. I honestly received stronger signals on other scanners with their attenuators on than I did with the 436's turned off. As an example on on the NOAA band I receive 3 stations where I live 1 strong 1 medium and 1 weak on all other receivers. On the 436 the strongest which is normally full quieting at my location had static, the medium which I can here anywhere in my house was reduced to the point that I had to go outside and even then I could barely understand what was being said. The weak station on the 436 did not exist. i had a friend from San Diego visit for Labor Day and his 436 showed the same results. My 1st and 2nd scanners were a 13XX and his is a 07XX so that rules out a bad batch. All 3 were using the 1.03 firmware. My first scanner arrived with a defective belt clip attachment on the radio that was broken so had to do an exchange. This seems to be a sporadic issue but still something to keep an eye out for. Using the included MicroSD card my scanner would get sluggish after about an hour or two of use and I would have to reboot it. I swapped it out with a class 10 card and issue went away. Last but not least the plastic that covers the screen is a scratch magnet. The plastic the covers the screen of a $40 Baofeng is 100 times better than what they have chosen to put on a $500 scanner. Once again when I compare it to all scanners I have used in the past it is the worst. Make sure you plan on adding a screen protector to your purchase or you will regret it.

The bottom line is that if your main need for scanning is in the UHF or 7/800MHz bands this is a great scanner and is worth buying but if your area is still primarily in the VHF High band this scanner is NOT for you.

For me I decided to sell my 436 and it will be living out the rest of its life in Concord where it can be used to its fullest potential but for others i hope this VHF issue is something that can be corrected with firmware. Sadly with others talking about lawsuits UPMan has become quiet on this topic so when or if it really can be resolved is unknown.
 

jonwienke

More Info Coming Soon!
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
12,132
Location
VA
I also own the 436HP, and the VHF reception problem DOES NOT apply to all 436 scanners. I live in Martinsburg, WV, and with the stock antenna, I can consistently get 3 weather stations, and with the ST-2 antenna in the attic, I can get 5 or 6. I han hear 2-meter ham repeaters in WV, VA, MD, and PA from Hancock to Dulles. And my scanner is running the most current firmware. So I'm not having any problems receiving VHF, or any other band with my 436.

Some of the micro SD cards that come with the x36 scanners have had issues, but that is easily solved by swapping in a larger, faster card. You can get them on Amazon for $11.

The screen is scratch-prone. I bought my 436 used, and replaced the curved screen with some good-quality flat plexiglas, which is much harder to scratch, and is less prone to glare.
 

tumegpc

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 6, 2003
Messages
937
Location
Southern Oregon
I had this radio for about 4 months and wanted to share my thoughts with those who are thinking about making the purchase.

First I will start with the good things about this radio. I will agree with what others have stated in other threads that this radio on systems such as the ones in Phoenix, Indianapolis, & the East Bay system in CA is excellent when it comes to dealing with simulcast issues. It also does a good job on P2 systems such as the new radio systems in Tucson. I personally used my radio in all of the areas I mentioned and have nothing but good things to say about the results. In 400MHz areas such as LA and Chicago this radio held its own quite well. When I put my 436 against a friends 396XT while in Chicago we found that for analog channels the 396 had a slight advantage in the sensitivity department but when it comes to decoding P25 the 436 was able to cleanly decode much weaker signals than its older brother. My PRO 106 was in the shop so I did not have it with me to make any comparisons. On 40MHz channels such as CHP I honestly couldn't see a difference between the 436 my 106 and a local friends 396. For battery life I was getting about 10-11 hours per charge using PowerEx Imedion LSD 2300MaH batteries. I have a total of 12 batteries I keep dedicated to my scanner. When you add up the 3x4 sets for the Uniden vs the 4x3 sets for the 106 the total time I received out of all the batteries combined was almost equal. The last thing I will say in the good section is probably more of an opinion than fact but once I adapted to layout of the X36 Sentinel software it did a good job of handling my needs.


Now to the bad. When it comes to the VHF High band in my 20 years of using scanners this scanner is the worst I have ever used. I honestly received stronger signals on other scanners with their attenuators on than I did with the 436's turned off. As an example on on the NOAA band I receive 3 stations where I live 1 strong 1 medium and 1 weak on all other receivers. On the 436 the strongest which is normally full quieting at my location had static, the medium which I can here anywhere in my house was reduced to the point that I had to go outside and even then I could barely understand what was being said. The weak station on the 436 did not exist. i had a friend from San Diego visit for Labor Day and his 436 showed the same results. My 1st and 2nd scanners were a 13XX and his is a 07XX so that rules out a bad batch. All 3 were using the 1.03 firmware. My first scanner arrived with a defective belt clip attachment on the radio that was broken so had to do an exchange. This seems to be a sporadic issue but still something to keep an eye out for. Using the included MicroSD card my scanner would get sluggish after about an hour or two of use and I would have to reboot it. I swapped it out with a class 10 card and issue went away. Last but not least the plastic that covers the screen is a scratch magnet. The plastic the covers the screen of a $40 Baofeng is 100 times better than what they have chosen to put on a $500 scanner. Once again when I compare it to all scanners I have used in the past it is the worst. Make sure you plan on adding a screen protector to your purchase or you will regret it.

The bottom line is that if your main need for scanning is in the UHF or 7/800MHz bands this is a great scanner and is worth buying but if your area is still primarily in the VHF High band this scanner is NOT for you.

For me I decided to sell my 436 and it will be living out the rest of its life in Concord where it can be used to its fullest potential but for others i hope this VHF issue is something that can be corrected with firmware. Sadly with others talking about lawsuits UPMan has become quiet on this topic so when or if it really can be resolved is unknown.
I think you made the right decision. You can pick up a nice used 396XT with money to spare and I think you'll be quite happy.
 

AA6IO

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
1,509
Location
Cerritos, CA (LA County)
I agree with the OP regarding VHF using firmware 1.03
However, I have gone back for the time being to firmware 1.02.03. With this firmware, the 436HP seems to much better on VHF. With 1.02.03, my reception for weather, CHP (low VHF), air, and high VHF approaches that of my 396XT and PRO-106.
For me, the 436HP is a good radio in the Los Angeles area. I am near Orange County line, and with the Radio Shack center loaded antenna and Diamond RH77CA, can hear Ventura stations when outside with 436HP, a distance of about 75 miles, and can regularly hear Wx station down in San Diego, about 90 miles away.
That said, there are some advantages to firmware 1.03, so I hope Uniden will eventually fix this issue with VHF using 1.03. With all due respect to the OP, considering the QTH of Central California, perhaps another scanner may be better. For a radio dense area like Los Angeles/Orange County/San Bernadino with P25 and trunking sites up the wazoo, I believe it is hard to beat the 436HP.
Never owned the PSR-800, but to be fair, I am going to buy the Whistler equivalent 1080 and give it a good work-out in some head-to-head comparisons with the 436HP.
Steve AA6IO
 

baayers

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
235
Location
Pinellas County FL
I agree with the OP regarding VHF using firmware 1.03
However, I have gone back for the time being to firmware 1.02.03. With this firmware, the 436HP seems to much better on VHF. With 1.02.03, my reception for weather, CHP (low VHF), air, and high VHF approaches that of my 396XT and PRO-106.
For me, the 436HP is a good radio in the Los Angeles area. I am near Orange County line, and with the Radio Shack center loaded antenna and Diamond RH77CA, can hear Ventura stations when outside with 436HP, a distance of about 75 miles, and can regularly hear Wx station down in San Diego, about 90 miles away.
That said, there are some advantages to firmware 1.03, so I hope Uniden will eventually fix this issue with VHF using 1.03. With all due respect to the OP, considering the QTH of Central California, perhaps another scanner may be better. For a radio dense area like Los Angeles/Orange County/San Bernadino with P25 and trunking sites up the wazoo, I believe it is hard to beat the 436HP.
Never owned the PSR-800, but to be fair, I am going to buy the Whistler equivalent 1080 and give it a good work-out in some head-to-head comparisons with the 436HP.
Steve AA6IO
You are 100% Correct. With Cal-Fire having all their opps here between 151-154MHz I found my self missing almost half the radio traffic compared to my 106 and other friends 396's. When I recently went to the San Joaquin valley where about 70% of Police / Fire channels are VHF I missed more than I heard. To the firmware situation I remember Paul mentioning at the time of release that another update would be out in a few weeks. A few weeks were up almost 5 months ago so I gave up. At least it went to a place with heavy 7/800MHz usage.

To the scanner situation I took the money from selling my 436 and ordered a new 1080 yesterday from Ham Station. It will be here Thursday so I am excited to get it in hand. I also sent my 106 out a few months ago to get a speaker replaced and some overall rehab and it is once again good as new.
 

AA6IO

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
1,509
Location
Cerritos, CA (LA County)
bayeers
I am right behind you. Just ordered the 1080 20 minutes ago from Jeff at HamStation.
Should be here Friday. This weekend will give it a good workout for comparison with my 436HP.
Should be a very interesting comparison with all the different systems here in LA area. I fully understand you concern about missing all the VHF traffic. I will be interested in how you think the 1080 performs on those same frequencies.
Hope you enjoy your new scanner. I'm anxious to compare the two here in LA.
Steve AA6IO
 

W6KRU

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
3,408
Location
Oceanside, CA
My experience with the decoding errors on my 396T and 396XT were very frustrating and I can't bring myself to consider another Uniden. I ordered a WS=1080 in spite of it's LBS feature.
 

achmafooma

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
7
This is very much like my experiences, although my biggest problem is with reception on the Loudoun County, Virginia, P25 phase 2 system on the 800 mHz band.

I get a reasonably solid signal, but the scanner just doesn't want to decode the traffic reliably. With an 800 mHz antenna and setting the P25 threshold to Manual and 8 I can improve things significantly, but it's still not great. I can pick up neighboring Fairfax County's P25 [not phase 2] system much more reliably even when there is much less signal strength.

Overall, I really like the scanner, but I too am becoming frustrated waiting for the firmware fix that is supposed to fix the reception issues and was due back in, what, April? May?

The only reason I haven't traded it in for something else is that Loudoun County's system is the one I care most about listening to, and it's P25 phase 2...so my options are the 436, the 536, or trying to get my hands on a used GRE PSR-800. I console myself by remembering that even spotty reception of Loudoun's phase 2 system is more than I would get with a super-reliable scanner that can't do phase 2 at all ;-).
 

Hulca

Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2007
Messages
237
If there are no resolutions to the promised features and updated firmware by 11/01/2014, I am selling my Uniden scanners. If Uniden will not keep us informed of there progress then 6 months is enough time to get their **** together.
 

mrkelso

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
1,498
Location
NNJ
IMHO I have put my 436 and 536 back in the boxes and gone back to my 396 and 996. If Uniden fixes the problems with these radios in the next few weeks great. If not they are going up on Ebay. End of story.
 

Drkatzjr42

Professor Emeritus of Police Scanner Science
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
567
The clip, holding the micro chip on my unit, broke as well....
 

joeuser

The Wretched
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Messages
1,614
Location
North Central Kansas
I'm not surprised by possible poor performance in the VHF area. However, if you want VHF get an older rig. Cheaper. Better? If you want to decode P25p2 get ya a 436. I guess this only makes sense if you just want one radio to do everything. I don't. I use my 436, 996XT, 396T, & 197/600's for P25p1. I use my 780's, 164's, etc (old stuff) for VHF, UHF, & air. You use rigs that accel in the areas they are best at, don't you? I do...
 

iMONITOR

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
8,454
Location
MACOMB, MI.
I'm very happy with my BCD436HD hand-held. In spite of some issues others have pointed out, it's still worth it to me, just to be able to clearly decode Macomb County, Michigan's simulcast system (part of MPSCS). It works so much better than any Radio Shack, Uniden, GRE scanner I've had previously, and I've had them all.

How satisfied am I? I ordered the BCD536HD base/mobile model yesterday!
 
Last edited:

bearcatrp

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
620
Location
Central Mn
My 436 does better than my 396T I sold after getting this. Only reason I kept the 436. No more unidens after this though.
 

AA6IO

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
1,509
Location
Cerritos, CA (LA County)
I'm not surprised by possible poor performance in the VHF area. However, if you want VHF get an older rig. Cheaper. Better? If you want to decode P25p2 get ya a 436. I guess this only makes sense if you just want one radio to do everything. I don't. I use my 436, 996XT, 396T, & 197/600's for P25p1. I use my 780's, 164's, etc (old stuff) for VHF, UHF, & air. You use rigs that accel in the areas they are best at, don't you? I do...
But why would the older radios excel in VHF? Is there some trade off if a radio is going to be good up at 800.
I tend to agree that some of the older radios may be better. But why? Can't the new radios also get VHF right? Guess I will see with the WS-1080 I ordered.
Steve AA6IO
 

sibbley

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Messages
1,517
Location
Nazareth, Pennsylvania
But why would the older radios excel in VHF? Is there some trade off if a radio is going to be good up at 800.
I tend to agree that some of the older radios may be better. But why? Can't the new radios also get VHF right? Guess I will see with the WS-1080 I ordered.
Steve AA6IO
I think you'll like the WS-1080. At least if it's still like the PSR-800. The 800 does pretty well across the board. You'll need to adjust the DSP level to your digital systems. I've found the lower the better, I think I'm around 16. Through these adjustments, I have my 800 decoding as well as my 436. Before I started playing with the adjustment, the 396xt decoded better than my 800.

I read on the boards here at one time, that you should not adjust the DSP level unless told to do so by GRE. Why, I have no idea. Since I've lowered it, the scanner decodes so much better.

Good luck, and have fun...
 

pdfdems286

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
1,723
Location
Florida.Where it's alway's friggin' hot.
i don't know why uniden didn't think/beta test the 436 out better ?. at this point, i'd have to abstain from purchasing the 436.

i just can't justify spending around $525.00 on a scanner that just will not do it. i could live with the waiting for the firmware enhancements, and the sd card falling out once in a while. taking a gamble on the vhf-hi reception is the real deal breaker. too bad, because i have may unidens, that behave almost flawlessly. the huge build up, was not worth the equally huge let down. i'm disappointed.
 
Last edited:

WILSON43

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Messages
33
Location
Northern New Jersey
I was able to pick up a used 436 from another user shortly after it's release, and have since sold it as well.

The potential for a drop dead great portable scanner was missed here in my opinion.

EVen after following to a letter the fixes listed in these forums for the reset clock issue, I was constantly asked to set the clock every three or four times powering up the unit.

This is a PORTABLE unit, and the folks behnd the design of the HORRIBLE power / battery / battery charging system on this unit must have been drunk when putting forth this design.

THREE AA batteries on a portable? No way. Battery life was horrible rendering a "portable" unit useless in the field.

I will keep my PSR 800 thank you very much.

On the other hand, I also purchased a 536 base / mobile unit and so far I feel it is very fine scanner, top of the line right now, despite the embarrassing and amateurish lack of updates to firmware, the analyze feature, and the SIREN APP fiasco.

Simply said, missing the above the 536 is a $500.00 scanner at best.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top