Handheld vs. Desktop Scanner -- What's the Difference???

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Jacob99

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Okay, so I'm getting ready to buy my first scanner. I've narrowed it down to 2 scanners:

PRO-106
PRO-106 39,000-Channel Digital Handheld Scanner - RadioShack.com

PRO-197
PRO-197 39,000-Channel Digital Desktop Scanner - RadioShack.com

I've heard the pro-197 is just a pro-106 in a box. Is that true?

Both scanners are the same price.....so obviously I would want the best out of the two. Is one better than the other? My local departments are still on analog, but I'll also be monitoring some digital stuff eventually.

I also see the PRO-106 handheld needs batteries. Is there an AC plug that comes with it, or does it have to be on batteries? I think the pro-197 has an AC plug.

Also, if I remove the batteries or un-plug the scanner, do I have to re-program it every time?

My biggest needs would be the one with the best audio quality and range.

Sorry for all the question......thanks!
 
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Okay, so I'm getting ready to buy my first scanner. I've narrowed it down to 2 scanners:

PRO-106
PRO-106 39,000-Channel Digital Handheld Scanner - RadioShack.com

PRO-197
PRO-197 39,000-Channel Digital Desktop Scanner - RadioShack.com

I've heard the pro-197 is just a pro-106 in a box. Is that true?

Both scanners are the same price.....so obviously I would want the best out of the two. Is one better than the other? My local departments are still on analog, but I'll also be monitoring some digital stuff eventually.

I also see the PRO-106 handheld needs batteries. Is there an AC plug that comes with it, or does it have to be on batteries? I think the pro-197 has an AC plug.

Also, if I remove the batteries or un-plug the scanner, do I have to re-program it every time?

Sorry for all the question......thanks!
They are the same pretty much 106 is portable and is to carry around. 197 is a mobile you can mount in your car or leave at home and plug in. The 106 you need pretty much to buy all the accessories. Batteries adaptor etc...

No you will not have to reprogram the 106 if you take the batteries out. It has a built in memory. And the 197 you will not have to reprogram it either if you unplug it. They both have memories built in basically.


Check the comparison here of the two: http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Digital_Scanner_Comparison_Chart
 
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RadioDaze

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Much better and louder audio with the 197, but the range will be basically the same for each, not counting any inherent differences between the supplied antennas (106 - rubber duck; 197 - telescoping whip.) Whether or not you need to carry the scanner around with you - that should be your main deciding factor.
 

KD0LDK

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I'd recommend the handheld, it's easy enough to setup DC power in your vehicle, an external antenna, external speaker and an easy spot to mount it. Never know when you'll want to take it portable.
 

Jacob99

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Much better and louder audio with the 197, but the range will be basically the same for each, not counting any inherent differences between the supplied antennas (106 - rubber duck; 197 - telescoping whip.) Whether or not you need to carry the scanner around with you - that should be your main deciding factor.
That's what I want.....the best audio quality.

I'd recommend the handheld, it's easy enough to setup DC power in your vehicle, an external antenna, external speaker and an easy spot to mount it. Never know when you'll want to take it portable.
Is there an AC plug that comes with the handheld? I just don't want to worry about batteries and charging.

And thanks to everybody else who answered. Very helpful indeed.
 

KD0LDK

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Is there an AC plug that comes with the handheld? I just don't want to worry about batteries and charging.
Doesn't look like that one has an AC adapter, but doesn't mean you can't buy a universal and use it.

If you're looking for something to use mobile and handheld, I'd recommend the Uniden BCD396XT. With this scanner you have a built in rechargeable battery, AC and DC power adapters and surprisingly good sound quality.

On the website it does say external speakers are not possible, which isn't the case. The output on this scanner is meant for headphones so it won't drive a speaker alone, but amplified external speakers are cheap and easy to come by. Something to keep in mind!

"Uniden" BCD396XT Compact APCO 25 Handheld Scanner at Uniden
 

McP

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I too agree on the handheld. I have both the Pro-197 and Pro-106. Yes, the volume is louder on the desktop, but that's great if I am in another room and the wife & kids don't mind (they will). Otherwise, I can hear the 106 just fine and works like a charm. Downside, as said before.... You don't get a AC or DC adapter with the 106. So pick up some rechargeable batteries too to avoid costly alkalines.
 
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i use to have the pro-2096 scanner in my car but sold it last year so now i own the GRE-800 pocket scanner and it works GREAT the best scanner ive had yet and its great on a digital trunking system.I'm looking to buy the mobile type GRE-800 scanner when it comes out at the end of the year is what i'm getting and i know i'm ready to have one back in my car.i tried the pocket scanner in my car but its not the same and the mobile scanner works better and has better filters than the pocket type scanner.i did use a BC396XT for a little while as a mobile and did not like it.
dave
 

KI4VBR

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Handheld

Someone mentioned the advantage of when the power goes out, the handheld will still work. Very true, and take note of this as well......

Some people have what we call "dirty power" which has a lot of noise in the line. This noise is generally passed through to the scanner and a certain amount of the noise may degrade the incoming audio.

While operating on batteries in the home, you will not be susceptible to the (line-connected) powerline noise, but you may pick up some noise through the antenna.....meaining you will never be completely isolated from power generated noise.

My vote is for the 396xt too, but your question seemed to center around handheld versus fixed mount scanners.

To summarize some of the other comments about the handheld rather than the fixed, you can do pretty much anything you can do with a fixed unit, you may have to spend a few extra $$ to add to the handheld costs.

Best of luck and let us know what you get and how you like it.

Vince
 
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KI4VBR

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i use to have the pro-2096 scanner in my car but sold it last year so now i own the GRE-800 pocket scanner and it works GREAT the best scanner ive had yet and its great on a digital trunking system.I'm looking to buy the mobile type GRE-800 scanner when it comes out at the end of the year is what i'm getting and i know i'm ready to have one back in my car.i tried the pocket scanner in my car but its not the same and the mobile scanner works better and has better filters than the pocket type scanner.i did use a BC396XT for a little while as a mobile and did not like it.
dave
How do the filters differ in the fixed/car unit rather than a handheld? I use a 396xt mobile and like it a lot as long as I am relatively near a tower on the trunk network I am listening to. I thought this was just due to the antenna being inside the car and no physical difference within the radio.

V
 

Jacob99

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Thanks!

Thanks all for your help. I've read all your comments and they are helping me in my decision (which will be made at the end of the week when the sale @ RS ends)

My main concern was which one had better range, but from your replies at seems as if they are both about the same.

Another concern I had was power supply for the handheld, but I think I should be able to buy an AC adapter and run it off wall power if need be. One quick question though: How do you know when to charge/replace the batterties? What's the battery life? I mean, does the battery just die or does the scanner audio slowly fade and loose audio quality?

EDIT: And since I'm asking (one) more questionS (lol).... I was wondering about the life of these two scanners. It will mainly be sitting on my desk. I live in a suburb, not a big city, so there won't always be constant chatter. My plans were to just leave the scanner on when I'm home (sometimes just an hour in the evening, other times maybe 3-6 hours at a time). Would constantly leaving the scanner on damage it at all? Like would the backlight fade out or anything?

Thanks again :)
 
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jfhtm350

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I have a pro106 and i keep batteries in mine just in case but i always use the AC adapter when im listening to it. I dont know how long it will run with batteries but I dont think it will run too long (maybe last you 3 or 4 days im guessing) so I would tell you to just get the ac adapter and use it. Batteries are not cheap when you have to replace them all the time.
 

jimsmowin

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on my 106 i get about 10 hrs on full charge, scanning analog and digital at half to 3/4 volume. i use everyready rechargeables from wall mart [cheap] you will need to learn about the possibilty of over charging. RS can sell you the proper ac adapter $20-30. one thing i have learned is, do not plug in while turned on. turn off then plug in and turn on. i was using mine hard and got about a year out of rechargeables and that was charging about 6 nights a week. i like my 106. keep asking questions, by the way regular batteries will run about 8-12 hrs and they are done.
 

KI4VBR

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. One quick question though: How do you know when to charge/replace the batterties? What's the battery life? I mean, does the battery just die or does the scanner audio slowly fade and loose audio quality?

EDIT: And since I'm asking (one) more questionS (lol).... I was wondering about the life of these two scanners. It will mainly be sitting on my desk. I live in a suburb, not a big city, so there won't always be constant chatter. My plans were to just leave the scanner on when I'm home (sometimes just an hour in the evening, other times maybe 3-6 hours at a time). Would constantly leaving the scanner on damage it at all? Like would the backlight fade out or anything?

Thanks again :)
The battery life depends on the brand, quality, milliamp rating and type of contstruction (Lipo, NiMh etc...).

Most modern digital handhelds will give you 1.5 to 3 days service depending on a lot of factors. If you are like me and like to use the backlight all the time, higher volume for us old time rockers with hearing damage, options enabled and so on. Dont cut corners when buying a charger. You can start out with a simple wall wart, but you may grow into an intelligent charger over time which will extend the lifespan of your cells.

As far as lifespan of the radio, I think most of the current radios are too new to truly determine that. I drop my 396xt maybe once a month and still running fine.

Vince
 

Jacob99

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Thanks again...

Once again, I thank you all for your replies.

I guess my last quuestion would be about audio quality. I think somebody above said the 197 is louder, but you could buy speakers to make the 106 just as loud. If I do buy the 106, I don't wanna have to buy too many accessories (AC plug, speakers, batteries etc.)

That might be part of the reason I think I'm leaning towards the 197. I like the mobility with the 106, but I can't see myself using it much in the car. The stores I go to are only a few minutes away anyways.

I don't know.....I'll probably change my mind three more times before I actually buy one....lol
 

KD0LDK

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Well the 197 is definitely going to be louder since it's a desktop, they have larger speakers and generally more wattage to drive speakers.

If you don't see yourself wanting to listen outside of home then shoot for the desktop. I've just always recommended HT's because that one time you want to be somewhere but home, you'll enjoy it.
 

w2xq

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I too would recommend the portable 106. I bought the portable after no power following Irene. My UPS only kept the router running for 12 hours or so, and we had no news coverage from the area radio stations. All we received was a robo-phone call to evacuate; that was in error. The 106 gives me state and county EMS coverage plus two electric companies. 2450 ma rechargeable batteries last me 24-30 hours. In the car a cheap cupholder hangs from a vent on the dash; makes the 106 easy to hear and to read the display. Re AC power, when the wallwart is plugged in regular batteries are disconnected from the circuit. I would recommend using an external stand-alone charger for the rechargeable batteries; more efficient, and you can charge a second set. Just some thoughts... hope it helps.
 
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