I'm sure you get tired of these.

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XxMerlinxX

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I need help picking out a scanner for my area. I'm in the Greenwood/Anderson area, but will be traveling across the state back home to the Hartsville/Darlington/Florence area. I'll probably also be traveling up into NC and possibly over into GA and TN some time. What scanner can I get that will "do it all"? Will I have to look into a digital scanner, or has SC not converted yet? Will I be buying a scanner, and then have to immediately ship it off to get it rebanded?

I know that's a lot to cover, but if you've got the time, I'd like some indepth explanations if at all possible. I've sifted through about 4 pages in this section, but I start to get a little bogged down after a while. Thanks in advance.
 

Curfew

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XXmerlinxx- This is only my opinion, others may let you know their own with this. It's my beleif, for what you are looking for with what you need, a PRO-96 is the one for this purpose. Overall, the 96 will react faster in 800 system enviroments. Why they do, i don't know, but i have seen and heard it first hand. They also will scan through these 800 systems and conventional frequencies faster in a multiscan scenario, this is where the radio runs through the 800 systems you have programmed in and any conventional freqs which are not part of a trunked system. The reason for this is that it will work it's way through a 800 system faster them do it's move through to the programmed conventional frequencies.

It may be where you want 800 only without conventional, thus again it will move faster through the 800 system. Now through multiple 800 systems- in the way you want it, you may have to program conventional channels in between the programmed 800 control channels. This helps the 96 move from one 800 system to another faster than if you had a straight channeling program of one control channel to the next. This is a slight quirk with the 96, but overall, it will still work and react faster in transisions from system to system, or talk to talk, than a uniden in 800 systems. This techique has been mentioned by several for use to make system/ converstion within system transitions move faster.

This will take some reading on results with the various units trust me. It's a matter of taking a average of what has been said by users and nailing down fact from fiction as the units work in their repective listening enviroments be it at home or mobile. Difficult to do, but you will see some in-common factors everyone will agree on when it comes to the performance of one unit to another.

With the conventional VHF/UHF freqs used in the state, the CTCSS function comes in handy if you have a need to program conventionals with the CTCSS tones being used by a particular user radio system, but, those can just be programmed without the CTCSS because there may be a few freqs which may be shared from county to county. If you only program that one freq without a tone you will receive anyone talking there without narrowing down a specific user. Now if you program the frequency with a tone, you will hear only that one entity vs. all that may or can talk on that freq.

What i do is program the CTCSS tones on the stuff where i want to ensure clearer reception on and ensure im hearing one user of that particular frequency, then i re-program the same frequency in the next channel number without the tone programmed to allow the frequency to be heard if anyone else uses the same frequency. With this programmed frequency without the tone, i can toggle between CTCSS, DCS, and FM faster if i run into someone or some system or mode that is different while keeping the programmed CTCSS channel left alone to listen just to that. The CTCSS search function works faster in a 96 then any of the Unidens, it's near instant, or instant vs. the Unidens when you want to know what CTCSS tone is being used.

In Carolina, we are getting to a point to where the use of conventional VHF and UHF frequencies is for limited use, ie. for interdepartment chatter or some interops stuff. It is still being used though in the country where a small town may not be on Pal 800 as of yet.

With the 96 you can program the cell site control channels for Pal 800 and it will follow those automatically without programming a trunking plan as with the Unidens. There are some sites in which you will not be able to follow without programming specially for those sites, but, those sites are not really in the realm of Pal 800. Most of the Pal 800 sites that i know of statewide should be able to be followed simply with the control channels. All mainly motorola type 2 analog with some p-25 CAI in those systems taking place but the radio will still follow that.

I have a Uniden 296 also. These will do a few other things but it seems as if they will not react as fast on 800 systems, and once some features are activated with it, it seems to slow down it's functioning within a 800 system or multiscan (programmed conventional freqs and 800 systems) especially if you want to cruise through a wide array of systems at one time. I got my 296 because of the amber backlight vs. what a 396 would offer so i can see it easier at night. On search functions Unidens are faster with the searching speed with the search banks. The PRO-96's backlighting is better than the 396 at night also, although a 396 can still be seen. I can't imagine trying to look at text on a blue dimmed backlight at night -as on the newest 396. This isn't knockin' a 396, this is simply saying to uniden if you're going to put out the next killer tomato, get everything correct with it.

The 296 is better for unknowns in use to search out as i mentioned above. They will scan conventional programmed frequencies in banks faster than a 96 will. But again, if you throw a 800 system in there , it will become slower moving. This one is good once it's already programmed with what you want to hear- and you push a few buttons to get where you want to be for a specific reason.

The best way i can explain this is that Unidens are good for specific system monitoring, not so much multi-system. I was going to get the 396, but i had no need for 5,000 channels either.

The newer 396 may have had the scanning the systems transition kinks worked out of it, but from what i have read it has not.

Bottom line is the amount of bells and whistles a unit has, but, are they effective in what you want to do?

I have a uniden and pro- I know. I also have other handhelds that do other things better than others.

I recommend the 96 for you, it's the one i grab the most when i get up and go, and i want to take one with me. It's most adaptive for a wide-area nature of one type of trunking system (type 2 motorola analog) and it will do it all automatically once the control channels are put in. You have the base station equivalents that can be mounted in the car but then you have them exposed to the elements outside all the time and they are subject to theft. While mobile with a 96 or Uniden, the rubber duck antenna works well for the general area you are in anyway, you will hear most everything going on around you without messing with vehicle antennas and the other stuff that goes along with it.

Now, this all depends again on how far out you feel you need to hear. You can equip your ride with the right antennas, filters, and boosters to receive mars if you want. That is all up to you.

With both a mobile unit, and handheld, you still have to drive. To effectively do this without going off the road- one has to read the manual with any unit and learn their way around it to learn what the easiest buttons are to migrate through the systems while paying attention to the road at the same time. There are times when i had to pull off somewhere to program something or get something straightened out with my banks, then go...

Some may disagree with what i have mentioned, but again i believe for what you want to do, the 96 is the best choice. I know it's difficult to tailor a radio's features to specifically what you need when you don't already have a array of them. This is why i have several, to adapt to whatever it is i want to do and it's been a matter of sheer frustration after the makers have been fed by millions of us in what needs to happen with the features of a radio that matter- and they still give us the works partially.

Hopefully the next generation receivers will address this matter and get it all in one place, and take away the things that don't matter no one really uses for a system/s. I beleive you are choosing what you need for your needs and are definetly going about it correctly instead of buying 3-4 different radios with different features that are good for specific functions. Sensitivity in certain bands needs to be considered also but that subject would take forever to discuss because of conditions that will always be variable, most of the radios be it Uniden or PRO do very well anyway without worrying too much with this.

The PRO-96 is the one for following PAL 800 overall in a simple way. I noticed you mentioned that the majority of the time will be in SC. As far as the other state systems and what the interrelationship with the systems in the other states is going to be with the 96 and how the 96 will follow them i don't know, im guessing probably close to the same as SC. If those other systems don't mesh up the same they don't. You may have to program the extended tables in the 96 for those with Starr's program to receive them. Some 800 systems out there in other states are freaked out beyond the normal type 2 motorola analog where they don't broadcast the table information for the talkgroups the receiver needs to go for tracking them.


C.
 
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Caesar

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hey guy, most of my family lives in greenwood and for that area, all you would need is a conventional scanner, ie you don't need a trunk tracker, they are still on UHF, but you should get a trunkt racker so you can listen to SCHP and then for traveling to these other areas you will miss out a lot not having a trunk tracker, so spend the extra 50$ to get a trunk tracker like the BC246t, however if you are serious about listening and don't want to have to upgrade in a couple years, you should go ahead and buy digital, ie the bc396/996 or the pro 96/2096. they are both great radios, uniden adds extra features but some still like the gre/radio shacks for digital better, and hey for 150$ less its obviosuly more apealing, but you most definely with how things are going should buy digital...
 

Curfew

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Caesar is very correct on the digital receive of the PRO vs. The Unidens. C.
 

XxMerlinxX

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That was tons of information Curfew, thanks for that. I probably should've mentioned that I'm looking at a mobile scanner instead of a handheld, and I'd like to keep it under $350. There's no way I can get a digital scanner for that much, so would I be wasting my money on anything else? I was looking at the Uniden BCT15, but I don't want to have to go and buy something else in the next 2 years if they all switch over.
 

Caesar

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Location
Cayce, SC
if you try to buy a pro 2096 used here or on qrz.com you can possibly find one for 350$, you might just have to wait it out a little....
 

LarrySC

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I have a deep database of 96 programs for the upstate areas. The following areas are digital: Laurens Co&City, and Clinton. Anderson Co and small towns in And Co. Greenville City PD and Fire. Greenville Co sheriff is using dig for special operations. Small towns in Greenville Co are useing digital. Easley City uses digital for Vice/Narc. Pickens Co has their own 800 system seperate from Pal800 and various users, but analog. As each Co gets grant $ they add to it and get 800 radios per SC mandate. The state has several emergency teams on digital. Cobra and DHEC. The PRO-96 can be setup in a hack mode for Pal800. Works perfect. If something new pops up you'll find it. If you dont buy digital you will be missing the GOOD stuff. Good Luck.
 
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