Going to buy my first digital scanner ..

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Which one should I get? GRE, Uniden?

Based on some input I've heard or read on this site, it sounds like GRE is the way to go because they have pretty good updates on their firmware. I would appreciate any input I can get from you folks.

Also, if I go with GRE, should I go with the PSR500 or PSR600? Is there any real difference other then one is handheld and one is desktop/mobile?

Any local retail stores carry GRE in Indianapolis? Or will Jeff from www.hamstation.com give me an awesome deal and I shouldn't look anywhere else?

ExpendableCrew .. (The other Todd from Indy)
 

hoser147

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I was in the same boat back about Christmas time, couldnt decide, went with the GRE 600 and have no regrets, excellent scanner with great support. There are alot of threads from around that time that will help ya decide. Good Luck Hoser
 

brentoli

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Do people find the need to get an external, or some other type of antenna with a handheld digi scanner, for SAFE-T listening?
 

kb9sxk

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Do people find the need to get an external, or some other type of antenna with a handheld digi scanner, for SAFE-T listening?

Depends on where you are in relation to the sites you monitor. I find that a higher quality aftermarket ant helps. I also have an antenna cut to 850mhz
 

AK9R

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Which one should I get? GRE, Uniden?

Based on some input I've heard or read on this site, it sounds like GRE is the way to go because they have pretty good updates on their firmware. I would appreciate any input I can get from you folks.

Also, if I go with GRE, should I go with the PSR500 or PSR600? Is there any real difference other then one is handheld and one is desktop/mobile?
I think a lot of the decision depends on where you are and what you want to monitor.

The GRE digital scanners have very sensitive front ends that are susceptible to overload. I have been testing a PSR-600 with an 800MHz mobile antenna sitting on top of a bookcase in my den. I can see a cell phone site from the window of that den. I have to use the GRE's attenuator in order for it to decode trunked system control channels (SAFE-T or MECA) even though the signal strength meter is full scale. This is an example of the overload problem the GRE's have. I'm also testing a Uniden BCD996T with the same antenna and it does not have this overload problem.

Another thing about the GRE that has frustrated me was the limitation of only 20 scan lists. I like to organize my scanning along functional lines. So, if I have Hendricks Police Dispatch, Hendricks Police Ops, Hendricks Police Admin, Hendricks Fire Dispatch, Hendricks Fire Ops, Hendricks Fire Admin, Hendricks Conventional, Mutual Aid, ISP District 52, ISP District 53, INDOT, IMPD Northwest, IMPD Southwest, Marion Co Fire, Marion Co EMS, Airport, Speedway, Air, and Railroads all as separate scan lists, I've used up 19 and only have one left. Yes, you can set up different V-folders to help divide things, but only one V-folder can be active at a time.

On the other hand, with the Uniden DMA scanners, I can have 100 systems and each system can have 10 groups. And they can all be active at the same time (though it will slow down the scanning speed). It's personal preference, but I feel that the Uniden memory management gives me more flexibility than GRE's systems, objects, and scanlists.

One feature on the PSR-600 that is a bit of a novelty, but could be very useful is the programmable multi-color LED on the front panel. You can make it glow blue for police, red for fire, green for EMS, or whatever you like. Makes it easy to see from across the room what's going on.

I'm not sure why Uniden gets a bad rap for not releasing firmware updates. In the time I've had my BCD396T (18 months), I think Uniden has released two firmware updates. The GRE PSR-500 has been on the market for only about a year and I think they've had two firmware updates, but I'm not certain about that. Yes, you can argue that GRE is being more responsive. On the other hand, you can argue that Uniden's software is more stable.

I do like the fact that a Uniden rep, Paul Optiz "UPMan", is a regular participant in the forums. He also writes an occasional article for the scanning magazines. I suppose there is a GRE rep lurking in the forums, but I've never seen him or her identify themselves.

The real test for any of these digital scanners is how well they decode digital radio transmissions. I still get occasional "machine gunning" at the beginning of P25 transmissions on SAFE-T with my Uniden scanners even with the latest publicly-released firmware. I have the beta firmware from Uniden which may fix this problem, but I haven't tried it yet. When MECA goes to their new P25 system, I think a lot of Central Indiana scanner listeners will be scrambling. The reason I'm still "testing" both a BCD996T and a PSR-600 is that MECA hasn't made the switch and I want to hear for myself how well each scanner performs with the new system.

That's my perspective. Both GRE and Uniden are making great scanners. Heck, I remember the days when those of us in the scanning community thought trunking was going to be the end of the world. We've come a long way since then.
 
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W9RXR

Thanks for all the information. I live in Brownsburg (Indianapolis Suburb). I have an older RS trunk tracking scanner. I keep it in my truck now to monitor MECA. I normally scan the 3 channels for each of the 5 districts, special ops and a few others and I monitor the basic Indianapolis Fire channels.

Now that most of the local agencies (Hendricks County) have gone to SAFE-T, I need to upgrade to a digital scanner. To start, I will probably use the new scanner to monitor Brownsburg Police and Fire, Hendricks County Sheriff and dive into ISP a bit (I've never tried to monitor ISP). I'm leaning towards a handheld because I think I'd like the ease of taking it in and out of my house. The old RS trunker I have is a base/mobile unit and it's just not easy to move around.

ExpendableCrew
 

W9NES

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I would recommend the Uniden 996T as I own (6) of them along with a Uniden 396T that I carry with me.I had zero problems and I am glad I use the 996T.I also own the following scanners as well. 796d's (2) 785D (1) 780xlt (1) Along with other analog scanners from Uniden,Radio Shack.As you can see I do not own a GRE scanners in my working collection but I have heard the audio on line that are feeding live scanner audio from the GRE line.*The Newsmedia in the Indianapolis area* do not use any GRE scanners on the asignment desk.They are using Uniden's 796D'S along with 996T's and 396T's for the handhelds.I programed (4) Uniden Scanners (2) 996T'S and (2) 396T'S for WIBC 93.1 and the love there scanners.Also the Indianapolis Star News also use the Uniden 796D's.If i was going to buy a scanner I would look at the Specifications for the Uniden 996T's and the 396T before buying a GRE. Others like the GRE and others like me like the Uniden.The Uniden BC 996and the 396T are very easy to program using a computer with less time programing on the computer and more time for listening.Just my two cents worth on the subject
 

eorange

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Here is the main reason you should strongly consider GRE over Uniden.

Uniden scanners only allow 250 talkgroups per trunked system. Look at the SAFE-T system and see how many TGs there are -> http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=933 With a Uniden, you'd have to define the same system again and again, supplying 250 different TGs each time.

With GRE, there are no limits (except memory) - you can associated as many TGs as you want with a trunked system.

This was a major factor in my decision to purchase a GRE PSR-500 over any Uniden, because I wanted to listen to Ohio MARCS (similar to SAFE-T) and not be limited by the number of talkgroups. I have over 1100 MARCS TGs in my PSR-500.

(Regarding firmware - GRE has been supplying great firmware updates very frequently. You can go to the Uniden forum and judge for yourself on their updates.)

Hope this helps.
 

hoser147

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, should I go with the PSR500 or PSR600? Is there any real difference other then one is handheld and one is desktop/mobile?

Just depends on how you would use it. They are basically the same scanner, one is base/mobile and the other a handheld. As far as GRE having someone on here I believe Don Starr would be the man.....Hoser
 
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I went with the Uniden 396t handheld. So far, I am very pleased with the unit. I downloaded bc tool to program it. Seems like a much better tool then the one provided by Uniden. bc tool plus the premium subscription to this site made programing the unit a snap.

At this point, I cant see how I would fill all the banks. I wouldnt consider myself a "power scanner" though. I stick with my local SAFT-T stuff plus I've added the area's state police and MECA.

Anyway ... I'm just glad I finally broke down and went digital. Next step is getting my ham license so i can feel a little more comfortable with my scanners in my truck.

Thanks for all the information you guys provided. This forum is a great source for information.

ExpendableCrew (The other Todd in Indy)
 

AK9R

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Since you are in Brownsburg, you may want to set up a conventional bank for the local VHF public safety frequencies. Brownsburg PD is still using their repeater for car-to-car traffic. Don't forget to include the town's UHF frequency. It gets busy in the winter when they are snow plowing the streets.

In your SAFE-T system, you may want to set up a bank for Boone County. Their talkgroups show up on the Hendricks site quite often and Brownsburg, Pittsboro, and Lizton have mutual aid agreements with some of the Boone County township fire departments. Also, in SAFE-T, you can probably lock out the Hendricks County digital fire talkgroups. They are using analog.

One last local item, if you are interested in the rail traffic that goes through town, set up a conventional system for the rail frequencies. The line through Brownsburg is the CSX Crawfordsville Branch. It runs from downtown Indianapolis, out to the airport, north to Clermont, then west to Crawfordsville. It is dispatched by the CSX IC Dispatcher (160.800MHz road, 160.560MHz dispatcher). You'll hear westbound trains getting "track warrants" from Clermont to Ross (New Ross), Corr (between New Ross and Crawfordsville), and Ames (junction in Crawfordsville with the former Monon line to Lafayette). Track warrants are a train's permission to occupy the track in unsignaled territory. You'll also hear the eastbound trains releasing their track warrants when they get east of Clermont. Trains you'll hear on the line are Q642/Q643 (road train between Chicago and Indianapolis), P050/051 (Amtrak passenger train between Washington DC and Chicago), P317/318 (Amtrak between Indianapolis and Chicago on days P050/051 doesn't run), J726 (local to/from Lafayette), J727 (local to/from Crawfordsville), and the occasional G-series grain train or E-series empty coal hopper train. Generally, eastbounds have even numbers and westbounds have odd numbers. You'll also hear the local crews switching Contract Lumber on the west side of Brownsburg and SDI Steel in Pittsboro. The line is getting busier because of the ethanol plants in Linden and Reynolds.
 

trido

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Which one should I get? GRE, Uniden?

Based on some input I've heard or read on this site, it sounds like GRE is the way to go because they have pretty good updates on their firmware. I would appreciate any input I can get from you folks.

Also, if I go with GRE, should I go with the PSR500 or PSR600? Is there any real difference other then one is handheld and one is desktop/mobile?

Any local retail stores carry GRE in Indianapolis? Or will Jeff from www.hamstation.com give me an awesome deal and I shouldn't look anywhere else?

ExpendableCrew .. (The other Todd from Indy)
The Ham Station will be at the INDY Hamfest July 12th and we will have GRE and Unidens on special sale.I wont be there myself as I may still be inline for the 3G IPHONE....
 
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