Icom R20 v Uniden UBC93XLT

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SCPD

QRT
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Launceston Radio Scanner Guy

Icom R20 v Uniden UBC93XLT
Over the past few days I have been doing some head to head testing of the Uniden UBC93XLT and the Icom R20 in various locations over a group of the most common frequencies I listen to (see below)

76.03750 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
76.40000 STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE (SES) DISASTER
76.48750 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
76.91250 ST JOHNS AMBULANCE
77.00000 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
77.12500 TAS AMBULANCE SERVICE SIMPLEX
77.52500 STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE (SES)
78.62500 TAS AMBULANCE SERVICE MT BARROW
78.65000 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
79.03750 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
79.06250 TAS AMBULANCE SERVICE WESTLAUNCESTON
79.56250 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
79.65000 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
79.66250 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
79.83750 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
79.93750 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
463.25000 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
464.25000 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
466.60000 TASMANIA FIRE SERVICE (TFS)
118.10000 HOBART TOWER
118.70000 LAUNCESTON TOWER
123.45000 AIR SIMPLEX
123.80000 ATC-NORTH
126.50000 ATC-LAUNCESTON
126.70000 GEORGETOWN CTAF
128.85000 AERO CARE
129.50000 QANTAS
130.22500 JETSTAR
130.35000 VIRGIN
136.12500 JETSTAR
157.53750 PN SIMPLEX
157.57500 PN SIMPLEX
157.77500 PN SIMPLEX
158.00000 PN SIMPLEX
162.37500 PN MIDLANDS
162.60000 PN DAZZLER
162.61250 PN MT ARTHUR
414.02500 PN TASRAIL
473.50000 PN SIMPLEX
475.07500 PN SIMPLEX
53.87500 VK7RAA 6M
70.32500 ACC SERVICES
72.02500 ACC SERVICES
72.12500 CONNORVILLIE
72.27500 LES WALKDEN
75.59000 BEAMS BROS TRANSPORT
76.85000 BENLOMAND WATER
77.08750 LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL
77.15000 GEORGETOWN COUNCIL
77.65000 TECS
77.88750 ARMAGUARD
78.01250 WEST TAMAR COUNCIL
78.28750 LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL
78.31250 LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL
78.47500 FORESTRY TASMANIA
78.55000 GEORGETOWN COUNCIL
79.00000 WORKS INFRASTRUCTURE PTY LTD
79.13750 FORESTRY TASMANIA
79.33750 LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL
79.47500 FORESTRY TASMANIA
145.42500 2M AMATEUR SIMPLEX
145.47500 2M AMATEUR SIMPLEX
146.45000 2M AMATEUR SIMPLEX
146.57500 2M IRLP
147.00000 VK7RAA 2M
156.37500 MARINE CHANNEL 67
156.40000 MARINE
156.60000 MARINE CHANNEL 72
156.80000 MARINE CHANNEL 16
159.64000 REDLINE
160.48000 JONES WASTE
162.08750 TAXICOM
162.31250 SUNCOAST EXPRESS
162.50000 BORAL
163.06250 STORNOWAY
163.07500 CSR LIMITED
163.08750 CENTRALCABS
163.12500 ACC SERVICES
163.42500 TECS
163.57500 TECS
163.60000 STAR TRACK EXPRESS
163.86250 OXBERRY
163.91250 OXBERRY
166.27500 HANSON CONSTRUCTION
168.11250 GT TAXI
419.70000 TAS AIRPORT
438.55000 VK7RAB
463.17500 ACS SERVICES
463.52500 METRO
464.42500 RACT
465.40000 OXBERRY
467.17500 TECS
467.47500 CASINO SECURITY
469.65000 TOTE - MOWBRAY
469.70000 OPTUS/LCC TIP
471.47500 SHORT TERM RENTAL
471.62500 SHORT TERM RENTAL
471.82500 YORK PARK
471.85000 SILVERDOME
471.90000 SHORT TERM RENTAL
472.22500 BOAGS
472.82500 M D DUNCAN
473.10000 TARGET
474.17500 TAS POLYTECHNIC
474.22500 QVM MUSEUM
474.37500 LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL
474.70000 REDLINE FREIGHT
474.77500 UNI SECURITY
474.80000 SSL SECURITY TASMANIA
474.85000 TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT
474.87500 LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL
474.92500 GUNNS
474.95000 JACKSON MOTOR COMPANY
475.00000 CHURCHILL PARK PARTS
475.02500 RACING
475.05000 AGPS SECURITY
475.12500 THE JAC GROUP
476.42500 UHF 01
476.45000 UHF 02
477.40000 UHF 40
480.50000 LAUNCESTON CUP SECURITY
484.55000 QANTAS
484.80000 BOAGS BREWING
485.25000 OXBERRY
486.37500 SCTV (SIMPLEX)
487.35000 TNT
488.55000 OXBERRY
488.70000 TECS
491.67500 OXBERRY
492.60000 LC STAFF
494.92500 LAUNCESTON CITY COUNCIL

I have also ran a search of the following bands in each location with each radio to look for any frequencies where the radio locks up due to broadcast band / pager overload or other issues like that.
70-80MHz (VHF Mid), 118-137MHz (Air band), 156 – 174MHz (VHF High), 462 – 512MHz (UHF) 865-870MHz (EDACS)

For these test’s both scanners were using their standard aerials, running off fully charged batteries with the squelch set to just past the noise threshold.

Location 1: My house.
I live about 2 km as the crow flies from the centre of the CBD about half way up a large hill that has a number of radio towers / users on it. I am also LOS to Mt Barrow which has a number of broadcast and two way users pumping up some large amounts of power.
The first test here where I had both scanners programmed the same and scanning the above frequencies while sitting on my desk, I noticed from this test that the R20 had some problems on the Air band and VHF high band with what sounds like FM broadcast or TV audio overload. The UBC93XLT seemed to lock on to signals in the UHF band the best and both units were about the same on the VHF mid band with the UBC93XLT having a slight problem on 72.025MHz with what sounds like FM broadcast band audio.

Running the search test here on both radios showed that the R20 seemed to have the most problems around the 74-76MHz band and again on the Air band, The UBC93XLT was very good on all tests with it pulling in UHF signals better and hearing more of the EDACS control channels.

Location 2: My office at work.
I work in the centre of the CBD so this test was quite harsh as I have a few different transmission sources close by and a number of computers running as well.

The scan test produced much the same results as what I did at home with the main difference being that the R20 has some issues with locking up on the three UHF CB frequencies but the UBC93XLT was fine on these. I also noticed the R20 locking up on a couple of frequencies around the 78MHz area.

The search test produced much the same results on both radios with the R20 locking up on a few more frequencies in the UHF band and the UBC93XLT having issues around 72.100MHz. From here I could get 2 EDACS control channels on each radio.

Location 3: Freeland’s lookout Trevallyn.
Every radio I have tested here has had issues of some sort due to the fact it sits between 4 broadcast sites and has a direct view in to the CBD, so I was interested to see how badly these radios would play up.

The scan test showed a number of issues with both radios on the low VHF frequencies around the UHF frequencies, the R20 seemed to suffer slightly worse in the lower UHF band and the 70-80MHz band plus some issues on the air band where as the UBC93XLT seemed to have more issues in the low VHF band, the audio was much the same on both with the R20 sounding better on the VHF air band.

Running the search ranges showed quite a number of problem frequencies on both radios across the bands, both radios were much the same on VHF Mid, air band and VHF high but on UHF both really dropped it with the R20 having some real problems between 406 – 418MHz on a large number of frequencies where as the UBC93XLT still had issues but not as badly or on as many frequencies.
The EDACS search got 7 control channels on each radio the R20 had a couple of frequencies in this band it locked up on badly.

Overall:
Both radios preformed fairly well and each had good / bad points, overall the R20 seemed to have the most problems and the lack of a useable “lock out” feature really takes away from this. For the price I feel the UBC93XLT is the better value radio.
 

hertzian

Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,605
A very nice test and comprehensive. I love detailed info.

But did you try swapping the antennas? The R20 has an airband-sized telescopic whip as supplied at about 23 inches, whereas the Uniden has the smaller helical duck. The difference in attenuation between the two could make a difference.

Maybe swap the antennas and see if there is a comparable difference.

As for a lockout, are you toggling the "skip" (5) button? Or are you talking about bank-links that need skipping? I'm pretty sure it has that.

Aircraft should sound better since the R20 has an ANL which to me is just a low-pass audio filter that you can turn on and off.

You did a good comparison, although remember that we're talking apples and oranges kind of - the R20 is more of a scanning receiver, whereas the 93XLT is a real scanner.

I'd hang on to both! :)
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
A very nice test and comprehensive. I love detailed info.

But did you try swapping the antennas? The R20 has an airband-sized telescopic whip as supplied at about 23 inches, whereas the Uniden has the smaller helical duck. The difference in attenuation between the two could make a difference.

Maybe swap the antennas and see if there is a comparable difference.

As for a lockout, are you toggling the "skip" (5) button? Or are you talking about bank-links that need skipping? I'm pretty sure it has that.

Aircraft should sound better since the R20 has an ANL which to me is just a low-pass audio filter that you can turn on and off.

You did a good comparison, although remember that we're talking apples and oranges kind of - the R20 is more of a scanning receiver, whereas the 93XLT is a real scanner.

I'd hang on to both! :)
Thanks for the reply, yes I did do some testing with different aerials but this didn't show up much of a difference between them.

With the skip I was meaning when you press 5 (skip) I can't not find anyway to then unlock it without finding each channel that is locked out and holding it or reprogramming from the computer which is what I have been doing.

I have just now sold the R20 and it is going to a new home later tonight ;)
 

hertzian

Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,605
With the skip I was meaning when you press 5 (skip) I can't not find anyway to then unlock it without finding each channel that is locked out and holding it or reprogramming from the computer which is what I have been doing.
Ah yes, I wish it had that ability too - that can be frustrating when you are used to a scanner like the Uniden's (and others) that can do that in one fell swoop!
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
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Just my .02

ANY receiver will have problems with AM Aircraft band. It's not fair to label the R20 has "problems" with this...

Because the R20 is a true radio receiver, it's designed to be sensitive and probably a lot more sensitive than the Uniden especially because it supports HF frequencies.

Personally, I don't think you can compare the two receivers and expect them to perform equally. You're deciding on which radio is a better value to you. It's an apple versus orange thing...

(i.e. it's like buying a car - what may be of great value to you, isn't to someone else.)
 
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