Looking for honest opinions

Status
Not open for further replies.

redandblue

Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
33
Location
North Carolina
I have a bcd396t now and after the updates i still don't like it. Garbled transmissions, machine gunning etc. When I had the opportunity to use and listen to a pro-96 i loved it, it performed flawlessly, it just didn't have enough memory to configure the way i wanted or i just didn't fully understand it. What I'm wanting to know is how the PSR-500 has been performing compared to the 396. I don't use the tone out on the 396 and that's about the only difference i can see between the two. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. My biggest concern is digital sound quality and reception.
 

hypersight

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
413
Location
Canada
I hear you on the 396's digital quality. This is why I promptly returned mine within days of receiving it - as well as the fact it received poorly. My 96 was receiving control channels that the 396 could not even pick-up...even with the squelch turned off.
From what I'm hearing the psr500 has better digital audio than the 96. Sounds like a great scanner.
 

Thayne

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 1, 2002
Messages
2,144
As of now, the PSR-500 is the top of the shop. I have both the 396 and PSR-500. The Only thing better about the 396 is the size. I wish I had never bought it now--but you can't ever have enough radios--
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
635
Location
Phoenix Arizona
Digital sound quality of the PSR-500 is the best going. You can listen to a scanlist of all types of objects, digital and conventional, and all sound about as similar as you can really expect.

As far as the garbled thing, I haven't seen a huge difference between any of the three to the extent where any one is horrible and one or both of the others is better in any big way.

I wonder if you are trying to listen to a simulcast system, which can be a real pain if you are between sites with an omni-directional antenna. In this case, ANY portable is going to have issues, and while the 500 seems to do a touch better, the difference is not huge, based on my testing.

Overall I will give the 500 the edge for the extra features you don't get with the 396, but neither one is going to do miracles on simulcast, and the world of digital is not perfect, with any scanner, or for that matter for any public safety radio costing thousands. I still hear users of digital radios saying "can you repeat that, you went digital?", all the time.
 

SEMTTP

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Messages
1,024
Location
Ypsilanti Michigan
I will simply say this. I use to be a Uniden man years ago. However, when the Pro96 and Pro2096 came out, I was hooked. Since then the Pro96/Pro2096 have been flagged with motor boating issues and they will not address it. Why? I'm not sure, it still is a good scanner and could be top shelf if they would address that problem.

I cannot say enough good about the PSR500/PSR600. What radios! If your not use to the dynamic memory and such you will be a little lost, but hopefully you have a group or something that you belong to and everyone can help everyone out. The digital quality on these is top shelf.

Uniden failed when they "hurried" these scanners along to stay up with the competition, and failed to address their "digital side of things". Why should a user have to go through so many functions and so many steps to "get it right"? Uniden wants to be on their own, so they are....out in left field where so many people are forgetting about them. Dont get me wrong, the radios are nice, great displays and a lot of bells and whistles. However, none of those do any good if all you hear is garble and motor boating on every transmission.

Go with the GRE PSR500 and 600....you will not be disappointed and you will get use to the screen very quickly.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
635
Location
Phoenix Arizona
Going digital?

PSR 500

I can't speak for the PSR 600 but I'd expect it to be just as good or better.
It's the same critter, with even better audio (bigger speaker / ability to use passive external speaker).

When I am able to be near my 600 the 500 sits silent because of this. Listening to my 600 through a motorola speaker is scanner nirvana.
 

mrova

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
74
Location
Chesterfield, VA
I vote for the 500...

Although everyone has their favorite. I knew that I was only able to buy one scanner at this level, so while I saved my pennies, I read and read this forum. I read about the uniden, the RS, and the GRE's. All the pro's and con's, all the issues. I finally settled on the PSR-500 and I really don't think I could be any more pleased. But, that's the only digital one I own, so, maybe I'm a tad skewed.
sv
 

Star56

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
91
My 96 motorboated constantly on my P25 system. It ruined every listening session. Finally gave up and bought a PSR500. Perfection. Not a single incidence of motorboating in months. Not one.
 

Viper43

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2005
Messages
3,309
I have (in order of purchase) 2096, 396, 996 and the 600 and find that I have no difference in the 4 other than very occasional motorboating on the 396. Audio sounds the same on all of them on P25 Digital systems and they recieve the same as well. As for Mot Type II 3600b systems there is no difference on how the scanners "hear" the systems.

What I have found is that the better the scanner hears the system, no matter what kind of system it is or what scanner you use the better the audio and less motoboating. You cannot look at the scanner and say "it's full scale so it should sound better or trunk better". The S-meters used on scanners are very weak and not worrth even having as they are so inaccurate as to what is actually going on signal wise. The meter is so bad that many try using the attenuator when in fact they need something just the oppposite and vice versa.
One thing that has made a big difference on one system here is using a beam or Yagi 800Mhz directional antenna pointed at a specific tower which didn't change the S-meter but greatly improved the scanners reception, especially on simulcast systems. I picked up a new Yagi for $70 and an antenna specialist beam used for $10. The Yagi got destroyed in a recent tornado unfortunately (along with 40 trees in my yard).
Anyway using the right antenna on the 396 and it's just as good as the 96 pr 500, you just have to figure out what the issue is and go from there. BTW, I use the RS 800Mhz rubber duck on the 396 when away from home and it works great.... $20 well spent.

V
 

Eng74

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
1,786
Location
Kern County, CA
The best way to find out which radio works better in your area is ask in the local forum for your state. The digital systems I listen to when I am in the L.A. area they all seem to work about the same. I do like the multi site on the GRE 500/600 a little better than Unidens.
 

LEH

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 23, 2003
Messages
1,451
Location
Yorktown, Virginia
The very bottom line on which is the 'best' scanner for you is how do you listen? Do you need to be able to access more than 21 systems or departments at any one time? Just within a thirty minute drive, I have over twenty I would want to access at some point.

The 500 is a very good scanner, very sensitive (I'm one of the ones who says the front end overloads very easily) and a lot of nice bells and whistles. But, even with the improved reload speed of the V-folders, I find the twenty one scan list a bit limiting.

If you already have a 396 and are dissatisfied, then the 500 may be the direction you need to go.

For directly accessing available systems, the 396, for bells whistles and probably a slightly better reception, the 500. Now you can load more than one system per scan list, but once in a scan list, there is no easy way to lock it out. This is better than the 96 which really only allowed one trunked system per bank.

For the way I scan, I prefer the 396 over the 500.
 
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
229
I'm in complete agreement with Star56. I had a Pro96 for two years, and I was plagued with motorboating on my local P25 system as well. Sold my 96 a few months ago, bought a PSR-500 and I haven't heard it motorboat once.
 

Viper43

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2005
Messages
3,309
I'm in complete agreement with Star56. I had a Pro96 for two years, and I was plagued with motorboating on my local P25 system as well. Sold my 96 a few months ago, bought a PSR-500 and I haven't heard it motorboat once.
Funny, never once has my 2096 had motorboating, but the PSR600 does it a lot, and more than the 396 or 996.

V
 

beischel

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 19, 2007
Messages
262
Location
Pierce Township, Ohio
I don't have the 396 but I have the 996 and it's crap in my opinion. I now have the 500 and 600 and they are wonderful. I do not have issues with the GRE's like I had with the 996. The GRE audio is clear and I am picking up so much more with the GRE scanners.
 

KC0QNB

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2007
Messages
730
Location
Gothenburg, NE
You will have to forgive me because I don't know a lot about digital systems, as for now none are in use around here and I talked to a Moto installer and he said he hasn't heard about any projected systems in the area.
So to help this analog guy out define motorboating, for now I am guessing that the processors in the scanners are too slow to track the rapidly changing channels, am I close?
 

DonS

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 17, 2003
Messages
4,106
Location
Franktown, CO
You will have to forgive me because I don't know a lot about digital systems, as for now none are in use around here and I talked to a Moto installer and he said he hasn't heard about any projected systems in the area.
So to help this analog guy out define motorboating, for now I am guessing that the processors in the scanners are too slow to track the rapidly changing channels, am I close?
"Motorboating" is when the scanner sends the undecoded digital stream to the speaker, instead of passing it through the "IMBE Vocoder" to decode the actual audio.

When a scanner is trying to "automatically" determine if a given signal is analog or digital (e.g. a Motorola 3600 system that uses some P25 CAI voice, or a "conventional" channel that is set to automatically search for any type of coded squelch), the scanner might try to look for digital voice for some short time and, if it doesn't see digital voice, assume it's analog. If this "short time" is "too short", the scanner might give up too early - and you'll hear the "motorboating".

On the PSR-500/600, the "short time" is user-configurable: PGM FUNC GLOB, scroll down to "DG Int Prime" item. It defaults to 600 mS. Decreasing the number too far can lead to excessive "motorboating". Increasing the number too far can lead to missed syllables at the beginning of analog transmissions.
 

troymail

Silent Key
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
9,982
Location
Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
You will have to forgive me because I don't know a lot about digital systems, as for now none are in use around here and I talked to a Moto installer and he said he hasn't heard about any projected systems in the area.
So to help this analog guy out define motorboating, for now I am guessing that the processors in the scanners are too slow to track the rapidly changing channels, am I close?
Ever grind gears in a manual transmission? It's kinda like that---- the radio "missed" when it tried to lock into the signal and instead of hearing voice, your hear gears grinding (digital encoding noise):cool:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top