Help picking a scanner

gregbart

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Nov 18, 2016
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All Points
Hi,
I've been lurking for quite a while, and using the database to find frequencies. I'm going to be buying my first scanner in 20 years and could use some input.
My wife and I are Full-time RVers and spend most of our time volunteering in the State/Nationsl Park systems. So, we tend to be in some pretty remote areas. But, some of the state parks are close(ish) to urban areas. We, also, can go 2-3 months without decent internet access. We check emails etc. weekly, when we go to town for groceries.
It looks to me like the dividing line between scanner models is whether or not it receives P25 phase 2. How prevalent is P25 getting? Should I assume everyone will be migrating there eventually?
I would like for the scanner to do SAME weather alerts (but we do have a separate weather radio).
It will be a while until I have the money saved. So, I would like to get a few suggestions to start my research.
Thanks,
Greg
 

ladn

Explorer of the Frequency Spectrum
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559
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Southern California and sometimes Owens Valley
Thank you for being a park volunteer!

I think you should go for a P25 P2 radio for future comparability. Some of the newer scanner can also handle NXDN and DMR. On Uniden scanners, it's an extra cost software entitlement download, but you can do it anytime if/when the need arises.

You didn't say if you wanted a handheld or a mobile scanner. You will also want to consider an external antenna regardless of which type of scanner you select.
 

gregbart

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Joined
Nov 18, 2016
Messages
9
Location
All Points
Thanks,
I'm leaning towards a handheld, but that's not set in stone either. The external antenna was a plan, whenever we're in the RV. We normally spend 1-3 months at a location befire moving to our next assignment. I'm a ham operator and I usually put up a 36' verticle and a j-pole. I'm thinking about going with a discone antenna for the scanner. See if I can turn the 5th wheel into a full-fledged antenna farm. Lol
 
Joined
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CT
I would like to get a few suggestions to start my research.
Here's a listing of base and handheld scanners for your reference:


To future-proof, you'll want a Phase 2 scanner.

I recommend the 996P2 base and 325P2 handheld. They're very reasonably priced and have a proven track record for trouble free operation.

If Simulcast is an issue in your area, the more expensive SDS models will be a plus.

Good luck!
 

GlobalNorth

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May 2, 2020
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Many Federal systems are on or adopting P25/PII. States are a bit of everything from analog to P25/PII.

I would review the parks and local urban areas nearby that you've worked at over the past several years to see if a simulcast capable scanner is helpful or needed.
 

TailGator911

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Feb 12, 2005
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Fairborn, OH
If you can afford it, one of the SDS models w/upgrades will cover anything you want to listen to on the road. Being in an RV, you'll want to have a radio that hears it all w/out problems. Last year at this time I was on a great adventure to Alaska via the Al-Can Hwy in our Winnebago Via and I had two SDS200s - one w/Uniden gps puck, one pre-programmed - and an SDS100. I ran into a lot of simulcast in some places I did not expect, and having the SDS radio (s) was a lifesaver. If you're doing the RV way-of-life, you have to have the best there is. ;)
 

gregbart

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Nov 18, 2016
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All Points
I keep reading about problems with simulcasting. Im not sure of what simulcasting means. Is it when you are receiving from two, or more, transmitters at the same time, thereby garbling the signal?
 

hiegtx

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Dallas, TX
I keep reading about problems with simulcasting. Im not sure of what simulcasting means. Is it when you are receiving from two, or more, transmitters at the same time, thereby garbling the signal?
Signals from multiple towers, at varying distances from your receiver's location, arrive at the scanner with enough variation in time to make it difficult, if not impossible, for some scanners to receive the system without issues.

More on Simulcast in the Wiki.
Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki
 

GlobalNorth

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Simulcasting is the use of multiple low power transmitters in an area. This is often far more efficient way of increasing signal strength and saturation in a given area compared to installing one tower and a high powered transmitter in one location.
 

scanmanmi

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Sep 25, 2011
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Central Michigan
Here's my issue. My scanner is P25 but not phase 2. Before I learned about simulcast I wanted to throw it in the garbage. I need a new computer. I know in the future all police will be encrypted or using some non-present means. If I get the 996 I solve only the Phase 2 problem. The only real solution is the $D$. If you're serious and intend on listening to alot and in the future then get the SDS. I'll probably just keep using this one and take whatever I can get (which is quite a bit actually). Everyone that bought a new scanner probably did so because it could handle 'the new stuff' and now needs to be replaced.
 

gregbart

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Nov 18, 2016
Messages
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Location
All Points
Here's my issue. My scanner is P25 but not phase 2. Before I learned about simulcast I wanted to throw it in the garbage. I need a new computer. I know in the future all police will be encrypted or using some non-present means. If I get the 996 I solve only the Phase 2 problem. The only real solution is the $D$. If you're serious and intend on listening to alot and in the future then get the SDS. I'll probably just keep using this one and take whatever I can get (which is quite a bit actually). Everyone that bought a new scanner probably did so because it could handle 'the new stuff' and now needs to be replaced.
I'm kinda leaning toward the SDS. It'll take me longer to save for it. But, if I can pick it up on sale, or used, it might save me having to upgrade for a while. My last scanner was a bearcat 60XLT. The one before that was a radio shack crystal controlled. So, I don't upgrade often (Lol).
 

Bob1955

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Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
648
Location
Eastchester, NY
Hi,
I've been lurking for quite a while, and using the database to find frequencies. I'm going to be buying my first scanner in 20 years and could use some input.
My wife and I are Full-time RVers and spend most of our time volunteering in the State/Nationsl Park systems. So, we tend to be in some pretty remote areas. But, some of the state parks are close(ish) to urban areas. We, also, can go 2-3 months without decent internet access. We check emails etc. weekly, when we go to town for groceries.
It looks to me like the dividing line between scanner models is whether or not it receives P25 phase 2. How prevalent is P25 getting? Should I assume everyone will be migrating there eventually?
I would like for the scanner to do SAME weather alerts (but we do have a separate weather radio).
It will be a while until I have the money saved. So, I would like to get a few suggestions to start my research.
Thanks,
Greg
gregbart-I'll also say the same thing to you as "drdialtone", the Bearcat BCD-996P2 is a "trouble/problem free base and so is the handheld version BCD-325P2. A step up for traveling would be the 535HP with zip code programing/Radioreference data base plus when you go from one state to another, you can find local police/fire departments but it is another $100-150.00 more. A base is MUCH better then a handheld plastic radio as it is all metal casing and both the BCD-996P2/536HP are well made. You need Phase 1/2 like other members told you.
Good luck and purchase either one from Bearcat Warehouse in Maryland and ask for Paul or Melissa and their number is 1-877-568-7226 and free shipping on ALL digital scanners and no sales tax. They also offer paid programing and will update the software for you on the BCD-996P2 to 1.08.01 as I can ONLY answer to what I own.
 

N4DJC

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Apr 24, 2019
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408
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Anderson SC
@gregbart

The SDS200, especially if you're traveling. I owned the BCD436HP for almost a year (after being out of scanning for 25 years), and was convinced it was as good as an SDS at my location. After I bought the SDS200 I was astonished how many transmissions I had been missing.
 

captainmax1

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Dec 28, 2010
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Florida Keys
An SDS model is a must if you're going to travel. I've been in areas where my BCD436HP was completely deaf while my SDS100 was receiving non-stop transmissions. I also carry a good analog scanner {Uniden BC125AT or BCT15X} along with a 2 meter/440 Ham, GMRS and CB when I travel.
 

jonwienke

More Info Coming Soon!
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Jul 18, 2014
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I can ONLY answer to what I own.
And that's why your advice is mostly worthless. You have zero experience dealing with simulcast issues, especially when mobile, and your recommendation of a 996 is unhelpful and inappropriate. You seem obsessed with shilling a scanner that while excellent within its designed limitations, is absolutely the wrong tool for the job of receiving simulcast. You're doing no one any favors doing so.
 
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