Looking for a recommendation

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wdatkinson

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I am a police officer. My department only issues us portable radios. We do not have mobiles. I've been using a BC780XLT in my car for years so that when I'm off-duty I don't have to have my portable on and can save its batteries. Recently my department just switched to digital. So I'm looking to pull down the BC780XLT and toss it on ebay.

I'm want to replace it with a digital capable model. Obviously a digital model that will track our Motorola system. I'm assuming the digital models will allow me to alpha-tag the digital talkgroups?

I'm posting in the Uniden forum, because that's what I have and know it to be a good scanner, but I would consider something else. I don't care about wideband scanning or anything like that. I'm principally interested in scanning our system and maybe a few VHF simplex/conventional frequencies.

I also used the ARC780 software on my laptop, because the scanner is mounted at the rear end of the console in my car. So a computer control interface is a plus too. That will save me having to relocate any of my equipment.

Thanks in advance.
 

captclint

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With remote head, choice is limited to http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/BCD996T. Very good unit. However, the general consensus is that the PSR-600 handles digital better, and is more sensitive than the 996. Neither use banks, so you really need software to help you understand all the features, as well as the lack of banks. ARC makes good software for both(for 996, there are 2 free programs, FreeSCAN and BCtool, that do everything ARC does).

Now, you might want to consider the BC796D, which is pretty much like your 780, so learning curve, and the price, are less. If your dept is not going to trunked, bank scanners offer quicker access to specific frequencies. If the new system is trunked, that advantage is a wash. Since your interest is fairly focused on a few frequencies, the 796 might be a better choice for the reasons mentioned. All have alpha tags.

For the benefit of others that will want to comment, can you tell us specifically which county and which system(name of agency) you are talking about? Is it listed here: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?ctid=741
 
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wdatkinson

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I found the PSR-600 for approximately $70 less than the Uniden 996.

We're supposed to have 99% coverage with a hip antenna once then finish converting over our existing analog sites to digital. I'm don't believe that for a minute. On the old trunking system, there were spots in the city where the scanner would fuzz out, but my portable did ok. So if the PSR-600 has better digital performance I'd certainly consider going with it.

The remote head isn't a big deal, as I don't have one now. I just want to be able to mount it on the back of my console where my 780 is now and be able to control it via my laptop.

Is the PSR rugged enough to live in a squad car?

Thanks for the help.
 

captclint

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One other point to consider. The PRS is reported to have more issues with front end overload in a high RF environment. Indianapolis would probably be considered high RF. Another point to discuss in the GRE forum.
 

AK9R

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I'm want to replace it with a digital capable model. Obviously a digital model that will track our Motorola system. I'm assuming the digital models will allow me to alpha-tag the digital talkgroups?

...

I also used the ARC780 software on my laptop, because the scanner is mounted at the rear end of the console in my car. So a computer control interface is a plus too. That will save me having to relocate any of my equipment.
Either the Uniden BCD396T (handheld) or BCD996T (mobile) will work just fine on MECA Digital. I live in Brownsburg, but work in downtown Indianapolis near Methodist Hospital. I can sit at my desk on the 1st floor of our building monitoring MECA Digital with a 396 and get about 90% of the transmissions.

The difficulty with monitoring MECA Digital is the type of digital encoding that's being used and the fact that MECA has multiple towers that are simulcasting the radio traffic. If your scanner receives a nearly equal signal from more than one tower and the timing isn't perfect, the decoded audio will be nearly unintelligible. You may have already experienced this with your Motorola radio. The problem is worse with scanners.

Yes, you can alpha-tag the talkgroups with any of the currently-available digital scanners from Uniden or GRE.

Butel has versions of ARC for the 396 and 996. They both include a "virtual control" feature that will allow you to run the scanner from a computer. The 396 and 996 both come with a computer cable that plugs into the serial port on your computer. Uniden has a USB cable for those scanners available at extra cost. You could also use a USB-to-serial adapter, but some of them are a little flaky.

As for the GRE scanners, yes they are sensitive to front-end overload. If you can see a cellphone tower, my experience is that it will probably overload a GRE scanner.
 

tuttleje

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If your department uses random encryption, you need to consider a BCD-996T or a BCD-396T. The 996T mutes encryption and continues to scan. The 396T mutes encryption, but holds on the TG until the transmission ends. The GRE scanners do not mute encryption and as a result you get the awful noise of digital encryption. My local multijurisdiction P25 system has some units that transmit encrypted (most don't even realize the encryption button is pushed). I have been very pleased with the performance of my 396T and 996T.
 

kennyloatman

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If your department uses random encryption, you need to consider a BCD-996T or a BCD-396T. The 996T mutes encryption and continues to scan. The 396T mutes encryption, but holds on the TG until the transmission ends. The GRE scanners do not mute encryption and as a result you get the awful noise of digital encryption. My local multijurisdiction P25 system has some units that transmit encrypted (most don't even realize the encryption button is pushed). I have been very pleased with the performance of my 396T and 996T.
Learn something new everyday, I realize now that I have never heard encryption on the 996 or 396, I do here it on the 796D, Thanks for the infro. I only have one system that has encryption that I won't be listening to on the 796 from now on.
 

Raven95150

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Learn something new everyday, I realize now that I have never heard encryption on the 996 or 396, I do here it on the 796D, Thanks for the infro. I only have one system that has encryption that I won't be listening to on the 796 from now on.
Whenever I run across an encrypted transmission with my 396, the audio comes through for about a half a second and then mutes. You will know it's encrypted because the scanner displays "ENC" next to the frequency instead of "P25"
 
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