Handheld Scanner Suggestions for Primarily VHF Freqs

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firecaptdave

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Hi, first time poster.

I live in an area that is almost exclusively VHF due to terrain (Prescott, AZ.) I'm looking for a handheld scanner that is easy to program and won't break the bank. I currently have a BC125AT but it's a PITA to program by hand and as far as I know I can't program via my Mac. As mentioned, I don't need something that is Trunking capable due to my location, although it could be nice for when I travel but it's not a priority.

So in a nutshell, handheld, VHF capable, easy to program (using a Mac if a computer is necessary), not overly expensive.

While I'm at it, is there an easier way to program my BC125AT?

Suggestions appreciated

Best,
Thanks in advance.
 

marksmith

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You have radio I would have suggested, if you just want VHF and no trunking.

It is probably the easiest out there to program by hand.

I know of no scanner that can be programmed with a Mac, unless you run some type of PC emulation software, and that seems a lot more complicated.
 

tvengr

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An inexpensive handheld is the Uniden BCD325P2. It looks like the twin brother of your 125AT. That one is also capable of trunking and P25 Phase I and Phase II out of the box. In can be upgraded to DMR and NXDN later with paid upgrades. I doubt that it will be any easier to program. I find the Uniden scanners are easier to program manually than the Whistlers. For a little more, you can get a BCD436HP. That scanner has a built-in national database that you can scan by zip code without having to do any programming. I would consider getting a cheap Windows laptop. There is software to program your 125AT which makes it far easier and faster. You still need a Windows computer to update the firmware and database in any scanner, including the firmware in your 125AT.
 

blackbelter

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I also wanted an easy radio to program and to monitor VHF ( Mostly Air and RR). As a licensed Ham, I decided to purchase a small and rugged amateur radio ( Yaesu 70DR) to monitor my interested bands and occasionally contact my local ham repeater. This radio is built to the commercial grade spec and IP54 rating. The Sensitivity is awesome and the audio is 700 MA which blows away any consumer grade scanner.
The difference in price was an additional $50 compare to BC125AT.
 
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jaspence

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You can buy a used Windows 7 laptop to program that radio cheaper than the software cost to run Windows on the mac. Microsoft has a free upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 if the computer isn't to old. The ARC 125 software from Butel is a good choice for software. I have a ham license, and none of my ham radios can scan as fast or have the flexibility of the scanner.
 

ka3aaa

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forget about being easy to program that doesn't exist anymore with today's scanners, however software helps considerably over hand programming.
 

p1879

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That 125 is a very hot VHF tool, in my experience. I have one, and did program it with the Bearcat free software--very easy and customizable. I do frequently add frequencies when needed by hand, which is actually very quick unless you are adding alpha tags and other parameters-- software for that, as the other folks suggested. It does a nice job on aircraft bands --except a bit of the upper UHF Mil band is cut out.
 

K7MFC

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forget about being easy to program that doesn't exist anymore with today's scanners
When I hear this, it makes me think people aren't taking the time to read the instruction manuals. Yes, programming scanners today is more involved than it was 20, 30 years ago. But it's not inherently hard to do, given you have taken the time to RTFM..
 

Valeriy

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Hi, first time poster.

I live in an area that is almost exclusively VHF due to terrain (Prescott, AZ.) I'm looking for a handheld scanner that is easy to program and won't break the bank. I currently have a BC125AT but it's a PITA to program by hand and as far as I know I can't program via my Mac. As mentioned, I don't need something that is Trunking capable due to my location, although it could be nice for when I travel but it's not a priority.

So in a nutshell, handheld, VHF capable, easy to program (using a Mac if a computer is necessary), not overly expensive.

While I'm at it, is there an easier way to program my BC125AT?

Suggestions appreciated

Best,
Thanks in advance.
Actually the BC125AT is very easy to program/modify by hand while in the field.
I know because I have the European version.

Anyway it's advisable to get access to a Windows machine in order to run Scan125 Control Program:

And in VHF the BCD436HP is a good performer, too (yet a bit deaf in UHF).
 

JoshuaHufford

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My suggestion as well is, just find an old Windows Laptop for free and use programming software for the scanner you already have. I doubt you are going to find anything easier to program than what you have.
 

eorange

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Also consider the Icom R6. Excellent VHF receive and runs a long time on 2 AAs. To program the current frequency:
1. Push a button.
2. Rotate dial to select the target memory channel.
3. Push the same button again.
 

N4DJC

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The 125 was pretty easy for me to program from the keyboard. I can‘t think of an inexpensive scanner that’s easier.
 

GB46

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Also consider the Icom R6. Excellent VHF receive and runs a long time on 2 AAs. To program the current frequency:
1. Push a button.
2. Rotate dial to select the target memory channel.
3. Push the same button again.
A little more complicated than that, but once a few channels have been programmed and the other features have been studied in Icom's excellent manual (the printed version comes with the radio), the R6 is a breeze to operate, has crystal clear audio, especially with headphones, and is exceptionally sensitive, as well. My last scanner, now inoperative, was a Uniden BC75XLT. It was very affordable and perhaps a little easier to program, due to the numeric keypad, but the display stopped functioning altogether.

I finally received my R6 today after a longer than usual delivery time due to the pandemic. I've just finished programming 36 channels. There are relatively few active frequencies at my location, mostly on VHF, but the radio has such a wide frequency range that I'm likely to find some more with a bit of exploring.
 

eorange

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I'm glad you like your R6. I've always liked small radios. I have a vr-500, a vx-3r, the R6 and I used to have two vx-1r HTs. I liked the R6 because it was a small radio, but I had no idea how good it was until I really started using it. it's the only radio I had that broke the squelch on a low-power CW id on a local airport beacon.
 

GB46

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I'm glad you like your R6. I've always liked small radios.
It's a nice, solidly built radio, and the smallest scanner I've ever used. That's mostly due to the absence of a numeric keypad. There are more frequencies available here than I thought. Several years ago I was using the search options offered by Industry Canada, but can't find them today. However, a Google search led me to this site:
Now I have 70 channels programmed instead of 36, and I've labeled each one with a name. It's great when the scanning stops on a channel, and instead of a frequency, it comes up with "Taxi", "Works" (for our public works dept.), etc. Going to try the R6 on the AM broadcast band this evening for long-distance reception. Our city has only one AM station, but not worth listening to. There are no other AM stations in this region close enough to hear.
 

GB46

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Update: Just discovered that the site I described above has a link to the original database at Industry Canada's site, although my search there does not show any of the air band frequencies, even though I specified from 118 mHz to 500 mHz. The results from the site at mckie.ca includes them, and we have an active airport here.
 
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