MPSCS base scanners

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krokus

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The FD I work for is going to be going over to MPSCS shortly, along with the rest of the county. I have approached our chief about purchasing a base scanner for each of our stations, so we can monitor more than the duty radios are going to be programmed for. (We don't need or want to monitor half the state with the duty radios.)

I have been rather happy with my personally PSR-500, that I purchased at Hamvention two months ago, and would like to go with the PSR-600. I have also had good luck with various Uniden scanners I have owned and used over the years. I am wanting to find the best performing scanner, with an ease of use for the non "radio geek."

I will be programming these radios, and rarely modifying the programming. They will be left with instructions for restoring the programming, should I not be available, so the overall programming is not the primary concern.

Who has used both the BCD996T (not the BCD996XT) and the PSR-600? Who has used them on P25 systems? Which performs better? Which is easier to use? Is there a definite case where ease of use was significant enough to warrant a possible slight decrease in performance?

Thanks in advance.
 

KB8UYC

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Definatly the GRE PSR600

Your going to get a thousand different answers when asking this question, so I will just give you my experience. Years ago I tried a BC796. Let me just say that radio was completely deaf. I got rid of it faster than I could turn it on again. Some user here will tell you that the Unidens are fine on the MPSCS. The unidens have to be "tuned" in a sense meaning that you have to find the right setting for the audio. Once you find it if your not planning on monitoring anything else it might be OK. I for one do not like that idea and will not purchase uniden for that reason. Uniden has too many futures that in my opinion are not necessary for scanning, though some like them. To me the uniden line of digital scanners is incomplete and uniden does not listen to the folks that purchase their scanner. Uniden has a goal all of their own. Uniden went downhill after they stop manufacturing the BC780xlt. That was and still is their best scanner currently out.

I am a GRE fan. I have been since they decided to come out with their PSR 500 and 600 line. I was using the Radio Shack Pro96 and Pro2096 before. GRE makes scanners for Radio Shack. However, GRE listened to the radio world and manufactured a top of the line receiver. It did not come with all the gadgets that the Uniden did, ie.. the big screen or gps features. But it did come with the technology to scan systems correctly and it still came with the AGC on digital trunked radio systems. The GRE line of digital scanners blow the unidens out of the water any day of the week. There is not fumbling with the audio levels or anything. You program what you want and listen away. By far the GRE's are the TOP LEVEL SCANNER YOU WANT FOR THE MPSCS!! Sure others will say that the GRE's don't ignore encryption but that's what they make a lock out button for, besides I want to know who is encrypted and then be given a choice if I want to leave it alone or lock it out, I don't want the scanner to do this on it's own.

So, for the money and for the technology, not to mention continuous updates from GRE you will always be on top. Uniden makes their customers wait and wait and wait for any kind of update. GRE listens even though we don't think they do at times but they do.
Go with the GRE PSR 600. Your department will be very happy with it. I have 2 of them and cannot be more happy.

Hope that helps you in your decision. Feel free to PM me if you should want to know anything more that will not be discussed or placed here.
 

rdale

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I have the Uniden 996XT base and it gets MPSCS flawlessly. SEMTTP is incorrect when he says they must be "tuned" to properly receive. That was something that was necessary for some users with their early models, but no longer needed to properly tune in.

So check the featureset of the PSR600, and check the featureset of the 996. One of the 996's abilities is the option to lock out system changes, so funny fingers can't affect the programming of the scanner. It happens a LOT in fire houses.

Whichever scanners fits your using needs best should be the one you pick. There's clearly no overall winner between the two, I use them both all the time and am happy with both.
 

KB8UYC

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Krokus,

I have to say that I am sorry as I went back and read a bit and I see that I indeed did over look the AGC portion on the new 996xt. However, my response still is the same for the older models. Rob, you were indeed correct, I stand corrected.

So, like Rob said, look at what you will need and make your decision from there. It's rather difficult to say exactly which model will work better for you until you lay hands on it. Most time it is a preference. My experience and others with the GRE line is it is very easy to program. You can download software from Mike PSREDIT and or Don Starr's program. If I had to choose one scanner over the other for simplicity's sake, I would go with the GRE's. Again though, that is a decision that only you can make once you get your hands on it.
 

ffexpCP

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I installed a 2096 in a fire station and a police station. I made sure to install it in an inaccessible area to prevent anyone from changing settings. That area happened to be in the radio tower equipment cage. I was able to punch it into the radio system so it could be listened to in the watch rooms, offices and logged on the voice recorder. I also ran some cable to another office and put a set of amplified computer speakers on it.

I could probably do a console patch too, but I haven't tried it. Just didn't have a need.

It's programmed with all the towers in range but only the one talkgroup. I wanted to make sure I had the best chances of picking up the talkgroup, since there is NO guarantee with scanning.

I was planning on adding an antenna on the tower for the scanner but it didn't need it. It picks up the towers fine with the stock antenna.

It misses decoding audio occasionally, but even the real radios do too.

Primary factor in picking this model was price (on clearance) and availability (the local RS store had it in stock).
 

krokus

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In the case of our stations, I would not have to worry much about people messing with the programming of the radios. Myself and one of the LTs are the only people currently inclined to know anything about radio, and I plan on making a Ham of him yet. :)

I am mainly curious about actual P25 decoding performance, and audio quality.

Thanks again.
Rich
 

rdale

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In that case - your ears hold the only answer. Some prefer Uniden's sound, some prefer GRE's. There is no "winner" that can be declared.
 

Citywide173

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I'm not overly familiar with the MPSCS system beyond Wayne County, and the Detroit City System, but I have run Unidens (996T & 396T) and GRE's (GRE PSR-600 and RS PRO-96, PRO-2096, PRO-106) radios side by side while in Detroit, and had one radio receive while the other was completely deaf, and vice-versa when I moved the car 10 feet, so it's not necessarily which radio is better at receiving the system, it's which radio is better at receiving the system where the radio is going to be physically located

My recommendation is to get a 996 and a PSR600 (I'd try to borrow them, as it might be costly to invest in a radio that may not get used) and compare them side by side in the locations where you're looking to install them permanently, then make a truly informed decision based upon your own comparison's, rather than asking for opinions, which as pointed out above, are going to be extremely diverse.
 
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SCPD

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I'm going to side with SEMTTP on this one. K.I.S.S. You just need something that listens to a few freqs and systems and that's it. This sounds like a radio that will be left on all the time. The only thing that anyone other than you needs to do is adjust the volume, if they even need to do that. So the least bells and whistles the better.

A suggestion:
Get an extension speaker with a volume control on it, mount the speaker at the console, and put the scanner out of the way somewhere, so folks don't want to play with the buttons.
 

rdale

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I'm going to side with SEMTTP on this one. K.I.S.S. You just need something that listens to a few freqs and systems and that's it. This sounds like a radio that will be left on all the time. The only thing that anyone other than you needs to do is adjust the volume, if they even need to do that. So the least bells and whistles the better.

I'm not sure I understand... Unidens have more features than the GRE (Fire Toneout, FTO Search, etc.) in some regards so wouldn't that mean you are leaning towards the PSR?
 

SCPD

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Neighborhood watch.

I'm not sure I understand... Unidens have more features than the GRE (Fire Toneout, FTO Search, etc.) in some regards so wouldn't that mean you are leaning towards the PSR?

The way I read the first post in this thread, what Krokus is looking for is a monitor to listen to the "neighbors" on. All dispatching and any tone-outs will be with their own two-way radios.

So does his PSAP need to hear another community on another radio system being toned out? I don't know. FTO Search? Not even sure what that means. Are you talking about a radio that will search out frequencies in the area? Like a spectrum analyzer function or something? Sounds like one less thing that Krokus' PSAP don't need to worry about.

Maybe I misread the first post by Krokus. The way I read it, he's not looking for the type of radio you or I would be looking for. Just a monitor, nothing fancy, nothing that the PSAP needs to play with to do it's job. And Krokus will do all the programming, and I'm sure after he does that, he would like it to be a no-touch piece of equipment.
 

kb8rvp

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Michigan Radio Discussion Forum > MPSCS base scanners

I have owned every current digital scanner on the market from GRE, Uniden and Radio Shack. Today I have the Uniden BCD996XT, BCD396XT, Pro-96, and Pro-2096 and of them I would go with the 996XT for a base scanner over all. Now having said that I would do lots of testing like the other person said if you can before you buy. I have been programming scanner for years for other people and offered to come over and do some testing because not all scanners work at every location.

For example I have a fireman friend that had a cell tower almost in his back yard and we had a heck of a time finding a setup on any scanner that would work on the 800MHz Michigan State system because of the front end overload on 800MHz... I have helped others that have a simulcast system tower right in their back yard and it worked great.

So if you can get with someone in the area that may have a scanner or two that you can try at the location to see what works. I can tell you if you are in a weak coverage area the GRE PSR-600 has great sensitivity as well as the New Uniden 996XT but if you are close to a cell tower it may be two much for either of them to handle. I had the 996T and the 996XT has twice the sensitivity and better audio. When I had the 996T I used an external speaker to get the best audio.

I picked up my 996XT at Communications Electronics Inc. - Uniden Bearcat Scanners - Call 1-800-USA-SCAN to order in Ann Arbor Michigan (ordered online) and I noticed they offer a 61 day evaluation period if you are not happy you can sent it back on the 996T or XT if you don't already have a scanner you could try them out. Radio Shack also has a 30 day money back deal and they carry the RS version of the PSR-600 (Pro-197).

Good luck,
Mike in Genesee County Michigan
 
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niagara16

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think about this

With Michigan slowly changing over to 700 instead of 800 you have to start looking at the bands the scanners cover. Last i looked GRE doesnt cover 700.
 

w8jjr

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With Michigan slowly changing over to 700 instead of 800 you have to start looking at the bands the scanners cover. Last i looked GRE doesnt cover 700.




How long ago did you look ? They have for a couple years
 
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rdale

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With Michigan slowly changing over to 700 instead of 800 you have to start looking at the bands the scanners cover. Last i looked GRE doesnt cover 700.

I don't think any parts of the state have moved - which areas have you heard are on 700?
 
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