I love uniden scanners!... but...

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scruggsy

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how would you answer this question?
what are your pro's and cons on Uniden scanners?

I love uniden scanners.
but:
*They are a bit pricey: all total I have over a $1000 in my BCD396XT, and my HP1 after the upgrades.
*They appear to be unwilling to add necessary features to their devices, and then sell them to you later!
ie. the extreme upgrade to the HP1 $100.00, should have been added at no extra cost, just as my cell phone!
also I don't understand why the new handheld bcd436hp doesn't come with wifi feature like the bcd536hp?
can,t be a size issue every smartphone has wifi.
there are quite a few other things I would like to see uniden bring in the future,
like why cant a scanner be the size of a smartphone.....
I realize this is a scanner and not a cell phone, so please refrain from casting stones in my direction for making the comparison, but technology is technology!

this is by no means a slam on Uniden, I own several of their scanners and looking to buy one of the new one's, trying to decide which.
this is just my opinion, kind of a hopeful wishlist, "if you will"

what I do like about the uniden product is their ease of use, especially the HP1, and most likely the new models that are coming out, they appear to be quite simple right out of the box.
also the longevity of the company. if you've been in business a long time you should know what you're doing
 

eriepascannist

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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE, BrailleNote; IEMobile 7.11))

I like Uniden scanners as well. I agree with your point on them being a bit pricey. Ithink that my biggest concern is their lack of user-friendly material for newbies to the hobby. I am relatively new in scanning even now, and though I have had at least one scanner for 10 years now I still consider myself a novice. Both my Uniden scanners took ages to figure out, and for a new scannist it was purely awful! The BCT15X didn't even come with any kind of owner's manual, I had to rely entirely on Internet resources I could dig up. Even with those they were hard to learn.

Good radios after that though!
 
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troymail

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Price most likely is based on the user base.... If you can sell millions, you'd probably see a lower price. But if you're only going to sell 100,000, the price has to go up to make development cost effective. Competition probably also comes into play in terms of both price and features.

The "feature upgrades" is actually a great idea. Like buying a car, why pay for something you don't need or feel is worth spending money on? Example: why should I pay for NXDN (just an example!) when I don't have a need for it? On the other hand, I'd probably (certainly) pay for a digital simulcast upgrade (within reason of course) because it's a problem I deal with daily. I'd expect to see more on this in the future.

As far as complexity, there's only so much that manufacturers like Uniden can do to simplify things. We're long past the day's of simple single cha nel/one frequency usage. I have to hand it to the vendors (Uniden, GRE, etc.) they've done an outstanding job making it as simple as possible. Between the RR library downloads and the imports with labels and even by location --I'd say the only way it could be made much easier would be to allow the data transfers to the radio via wireless (like a cell phone or tablet) and maybe someday by reading your mind :)

The best solution is to take a little time, read up on the types of systems out there along with the user's manuals for you scanner and ask questions. People here are always ready to help.
 
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SquierStrat

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also I don't understand why the new handheld bcd436hp doesn't come with wifi feature like the bcd536hp?
One of the main purposes behind the wifi feature i believe is so the scanner can have a remote head. A portable scanner would most likely never need a remote head, since its, well, portable. (i would guess thats there reason behind that)
 

br0adband

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Pricing for digital scanners, iirc, has a large licensing fee attached to it because of using code or circuitry to do the actual digital decoding - at least that's how I understood it years past. I remember when the Uniden BC-396T and then the BC-246T came out: barring some differences between them (physical form factor, memory capacity, etc) the primary difference was that the 396T was digital capable (APCO P25) and the 246T wasn't, and yet the 396T was (again, iirc) $499 retail and the 246T was about $249 retail.

When I asked about why there was such a dramatic difference in the pricing what I got back from many people was that because of the licensing fees for the APCO P25 decoding software/hardware in the 396T that forced Uniden to jack up the price somewhat substantially.

Now, I understand if that's the case why these scanners tend to command a premium price given licensing fees Uniden must pay (or the cost of the software/hardware decoders for the digital modes since they could be proprietary software/hardware that Uniden gets from whoever makes those aspects, aka they may not be created/manufactured "in house" by Uniden themselves).

As for features, there will never be a perfect scanner for all of us let alone any of us individually. Uniden and GRE make the best of what they've got to work with I suppose - let's hope this thread doesn't turn into a "here's what I think this/that scanner should have had from day one" type threads with everyone tossing out what they think a scanner should or shouldn't have.

If I had to guess why the 436 doesn't have Wi-Fi capability and the 536 does, well, I'd say it's as simple as you can hold/operate the 436 in your hand and the 536 is a bit more cumbersome in that respect. As Paul/UPMan himself commented (I think I saw it from him) he said his mobile setup would be something using the 536 in a trunk mounted situation and control of that unit with a device (smartphone or tablet running the control app) in the cab of the vehicle and that makes perfect sense to me for a mobile vehicle install - I'd never mount/install a handheld scanner in the trunk, obviously. :)

Same situation in a home I suppose, with the 536 set up in "the shack" or wherever all the hardware happens to be and then controlled by a smartphone or tablet with the app running. But with a handheld I'd just carry it to wherever I was in the house I suppose, makes more sense to me in that respect.

Yes, today's (and even over the past few years) modern "police scanners" are somewhat expensive but they're very narrow profile pieces of hardware, and supply and demand dictates in such situations a somewhat premium price. If everyone owned a scanner, and I mean pretty much everyone, they'd be far cheaper in the long run most likely - like how years ago hardly anyone had a CD or DVD player of any kind and they were expensive in the several hundred dollar range. Now that they're ubiquitous in society, they're dirt cheap: you can even find Blu-ray players nowadays for $30 at most places.

Hell, the microwave oven I've owned for half a decade finally gave up the ghost a few days ago, so I went out looking for a replacement and at Walmart they can be found for $40 nowadays - I remember the very first microwave oven my family owned years ago in the mid-1980s, purchased from an appliance store back home for $950 (it was a big serious Maytag model).

My how things (and prices) have changed... :D
 

UPMan

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In addition to licensing royalty costs, there are also up-front engineering costs in 6 digits that we must pay for some of the licensed technologies. That is in addition to our own internal engineering costs. The Extreme Upgrade took about a year of engineering and testing (multiple engineers involved). It adds significantly to the price of a unit that sells in the volumes that scanners sell.
 

N8YX

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I wish someone besides AOR or Icom would make a tabletop-sized (not DIN sized) full featured scanning receiver - but in lieu of that I'll keep my various BC- models around as long as they're serviceable.

Depending on which direction our local agencies take with regards to their trunking systems, the purchase of a '536HP or two will probably be on order in the next year or so. That model doesn't seem to be unrealistically priced given what it can (purportedly) do.
 

WILSON43

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In 1992 a Pro-43 hand held scanner was over $300.00. (Which I still have, BTW along with a Pro-2006).

Phenomenal scanners for their time. Consider the advances in technology of our modern scanners compared to those models, and over 20 years of inflation, and for $200.00 more you have our current units.

I do not believe these scanners are overpriced at all when considered in that context.
 

kd7eir

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As much as these advanced scanners are a major part of our lives, in the marketing scheme of things, they are a niche product.

Comparing costs to cell phones is fallacious on several fronts.

First, virtually ALL cell phones in the USA are heavily subsidized by the carriers. An unlocked iPhone 5s from Apple starts at $649 and goes up to $849. Since no one subsidizes the purchase of a scanner, these are the REAL prices that you need to compare them to. Once reality is factored in, the prices of these new scanners are quite reasonable. Of course, anyone here is welcome to try and develop a business model whereby they can sell scanners to people dirt cheap and then make it up on the backend - "I know that you REALLY wanted to hear that big fire/accident/bomb scare on your scanner, but you were late on your monthly $99.95 service contract payment, so we turned it off."

Second, a new iPhone will sell more units in the first weekend of it's release than Uniden will sell new scanners in several years.

Third, a cellphone is not designed to scan several thousand different frequencies at the same time, while also accounting for various PL/DPL/TGID's, etc. before deciding which audio to present to the user - the logic that exists inside a scanner dramatically eclipses that which a cell phone requires.

Fourth, form factor is also dictated by ROI (Return On Investment.) Making a device as slim as an iPhone/iPad takes serious engineering, including the development of ASIC's (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) at TREMENDOUS cost. The development of just one ASIC could devour the entire engineering budget for a product. Such a slim form factor would also eliminate the use of any common power source and require the development of a custom power source, whether that be LiIon or NiMH, or something entirely different. In order to maintain the form factor, you are almost forced to seal the unit from all but factory service people as the possibility of damage is increased by several magnitudes - this means no easily user-replaceable power source. That fact alone could doom a scanner in an iPhone form factor.

There are many, many factors that influence the form factor of a device, but I think that I have provided a small taste of the realities involved.
 
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phask

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In 1992 a Pro-43 hand held scanner was over $300.00. (Which I still have, BTW along with a Pro-2006).

Phenomenal scanners for their time. Consider the advances in technology of our modern scanners compared to those models, and over 20 years of inflation, and for $200.00 more you have our current units.

I do not believe these scanners are overpriced at all when considered in that context.
That 300 is 500 in today's world. So it's actually more for the same.

Inflation Calculator: Bureau of Labor Statistics
 

NWI_Scanner_Guy

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Great post!!

:)

As much as these advanced scanners are a major part of our lives, in the marketing scheme of things, they are a niche product.

Comparing costs to cell phones is fallacious on several fronts.

First, virtually ALL cell phones in the USA are heavily subsidized by the carriers. An unlocked iPhone 5s from Apple starts at $649 and goes up to $849. Since no one subsidizes the purchase of a scanner, these are the REAL prices that you need to compare them to. Once reality is factored in, the prices of these new scanners are quite reasonable. Of course, anyone here is welcome to try and develop a business model whereby they can sell scanners to people dirt cheap and then make it up on the backend - "I know that you REALLY wanted to hear that big fire/accident/bomb scare on your scanner, but you were late on your monthly $99.95 service contract payment, so we turned it off."

Second, a new iPhone will sell more units in the first weekend of it's release than Uniden will sell new scanners in several years.

Third, a cellphone is not designed to scan several thousand different frequencies at the same time, while also accounting for various PL/DPL/TGID's, etc. before deciding which audio to present to the user - the logic that exists inside a scanner dramatically eclipses that which a cell phone requires.

Fourth, form factor is also dictated by ROI (Return On Investment.) Making a device as slim as an iPhone/iPad takes serious engineering, including the development of ASIC's (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) at TREMENDOUS cost. The development of just one ASIC could devour the entire engineering budget for a product. Such a slim form factor would also eliminate the use of any common power source and require the development of a custom power source, whether that be LiIon or NiMH, or something entirely different. In order to maintain the form factor, you are almost forced to seal the unit from all but factory service people as the possibility of damage is increased by several magnitudes - this means no easily user-replaceable power source. That fact alone could doom a scanner in an iPhone form factor.

There are many, many factors that influence the form factor of a device, but I think that I have provided a small taste of the realities involved.
 

scruggsy

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When I started this post, I was just giving my opinion on the uniden scanners, and BOY have I been educated! thanks for all the constructive and educational criticism! when I saw that I got UPMan's attention I knew I was in trouble....a lot of great and valid points have been made, I especially thank kd7eir for his post, that did put it in perspective for me in the terms of form factor and how the cell companies get their money.
to the point on cost,in the late 80's I bought a Realistic PRO-34 200 channel handheld for a little over $200.00, to compare that to what i can get for a couple hundred dollars more is actually astounding when put in perspective!
My original intent for this post was to get some input on what others would like to see in a scanner, having said that, I still think "WIFI" could still be useful in the new "436" handheld model, also the addition of bluetooth would be great!
as I stated in the original post this is not a slam against uniden, I really like their scanners and own 4 of them, and most likely will be adding one of the new models if not both.
I am going to lick my wounds now, but please keep the opinions and informative post coming, I am getting schooled in a very tough love kinda way, i'm learning a lot from your post!
Thanks....
 

KE4ZNR

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Kudos to you for being a stand up guy and admitting that you were a little bit off with your initial claims. :)
We all have made mistakes in the hobby (many myself) and it is a constant learning experience for all.
Happy Monitoring
Marshall KE4ZNR

When I started this post, I was just giving my opinion on the uniden scanners, and BOY have I been educated! thanks for all the constructive and educational criticism! when I saw that I got UPMan's attention I knew I was in trouble....a lot of great and valid points have been made, I especially thank kd7eir for his post, that did put it in perspective for me in the terms of form factor and how the cell companies get their money.
to the point on cost,in the late 80's I bought a Realistic PRO-34 200 channel handheld for a little over $200.00, to compare that to what i can get for a couple hundred dollars more is actually astounding when put in perspective!
My original intent for this post was to get some input on what others would like to see in a scanner, having said that, I still think "WIFI" could still be useful in the new "436" handheld model, also the addition of bluetooth would be great!
as I stated in the original post this is not a slam against uniden, I really like their scanners and own 4 of them, and most likely will be adding one of the new models if not both.
I am going to lick my wounds now, but please keep the opinions and informative post coming, I am getting schooled in a very tough love kinda way, i'm learning a lot from your post!
Thanks....
 

scanman1958

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A follow up

I was also thinking of our scanners years ago and how excited I was when I bought my first eight channel Realistic crystal scanner. Which got me to thinking. For a lot of us old guys our original object was to simply listen in to what was going on in our neighborhoods. No priority, no colored screens, no delay settings, no gain controls, no frequency offset, no tone out settings, no weather priority/same settings, no baud rates for PC operation, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. I could probably find 30 more things that we probably don't really need. (wink wink) But......how much simpler could our scanners be today if we did not have all the bells and whistles but kept the basics. Conventional channel set up and trunking set up only. Just the basics. Might actually make scanning fun again.!

Just my opinion.
 

ofd8001

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I recently retired after 39 years in the fire service. As I was making my exit, a number of folks asked me about all of the things that have changed during my years. I told them "There are only two things that have NOT changed: we still use water to extinguish fires and firefighters always say 'Things ain't like they used to be, everything is more complicated'".

Radio stuff has changed from a public safety user standpoint. Mobile radios were all we had. Then we got single channel portables. That migrated to multi-channel radios. Then a scan option was added. Then programmable scan. Next came MDC signalling and call alerting with Quick Call encoding. Now we're (or they) are up to digital trunked radio systems. Each new addition had benefits, but a class on how to use radios went from about ten minutes to four hours.

If you think there's lots of stuff with scanners today, just imagine what things will be like in fifteen more years!

The bad thing is that scanner manufacturers are challenged by being in a constant "catch-up" environment. They come out with products that receive most everything, but then radio systems engineers come up with something new (such as going from conventional to trunked or analog to digital).

This is just me thinking out loud, but hopefully the FCC narrowband mandate that kicked in about a year ago may lead to a period of stability with scanners and radio systems. Governments plunked down lots of money getting ready for narrowbanding. So it's unlikely that they'll be making any major changes in their systems in the next five to ten years.
 

W4ELL

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This thread really got me thinking about the advancements since the Pro 2006 / 43 days. I never owned a 2006 but had 2 43s that I LOVED dearly. Since then, the advancements we have had are astounding really.

Neither of these great scanners had the following:
CTCSS/DCS decode and search
Trunking (All types)
Alpha Tagging

Not to mention:
Close Call
Fire Tone Out
APCO Digital Decode
Location Based GPS scanning
Dynamic memory
Computer programmable
Home Patrol
WiFi capability

There is more that I don't have on the list but in my mind, the current prices are nothing considering what we have gained. :D
 

natedawg1604

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The unfortunate reality is that most every "heavy" scanner user who wishes to scan/analyze a large variety of radio systems/protocols will never come close to finding any single product that fits all their needs/wishes/desires. Moreover there are certain protocols and/or "features" of specific radio systems which are not supported by ANY "off the shelf" scanner product.


-Nate
 
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