Need to update 20 yr old scanner

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tacticaltrev

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I have a Uniden BC120XLT that is over 20 years old and looking to purchase a new scanner. I want to monitor local police, sheriff, WV State Police (we have a local barracks/ station), fire dept, and EMS. This past weekend we had a power outage during a storm from a fallen tree over the power lines. I was frustrated with the poor reception and low volume while trying to monitor the event. Time to update the equipment!

Most monitoring will be from the living room of the house, but occasionally will take the scanner to the basement or garage. Thinking a portable unit will be best? I do not want to get into heavy programming, just casual listening. It would be nice to have a scanner that will power up quickly when I hear the "fire whistle" to catch the radio transmissions; I don't plan to run the scanner all day long. A read out on the display showing which department is transmitting will be nice to identify whether police or fire department, etc.

The sticker shock of new scanners is a little overwhelming. I would prefer an investment of $300-ish vs $400+. But ultimately, looking for clarity and great volume, quick power on to catch transmissions, fairly portable around the house, no heavy programming.

I live in Pleasants County, WV 26170. It would be a bonus to cover Washington County, OH 45768, but not a necessity.

I really appreciate the help, trying to make an educated purchase.
 

jonwienke

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Most WV public safety is on the WV-SIRN P25 digital system. I have had very good results with the BCD436HP. You can find them under $400 on Amazon if you watch for flash sales.
 

bharvey2

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The days of "not getting in to programming" and scanning don't much exist anymore. However, with the newest breed of scanners that permit downloading directly from Radio Reference, the task is made to be relatively painless. Selecting your zip code or county from within the menu and you'll gain access to your are of interest. It does take some fine tuning to ferret out the the specific agencies or groups to monitor.

Don't let the complexity scare you off however. With a little patience and help from your fellow RR members, you'll be up an running. It isn't uncommon for me to go 10yrs between scanner purchases and it's always "back to the drawing board" as the technology has passed me up. I manage to catch up.

The newer scanners like the Uniden 436 or Whistler 1088 will display the particular talkgroup being monitored and so will me that item on your wish list. Unfortunately, the added features and complexity come with a matching cost but as jonwienke pointed out, you can save quite a bit with prudent shopping.
 

tacticaltrev

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Would the Uniden HP2 be a viable option compared to a 436 for about the same money? Also, looks like the HP1 covers P25, any major advantages of the HP2 over the HP1 and not save $100?
 

muskrat39

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Would the Uniden HP2 be a viable option compared to a 436 for about the same money? Also, looks like the HP1 covers P25, any major advantages of the HP2 over the HP1 and not save $100?
Main differences between HP 1 and the HP 2 are the HP 2 decodes P2, and the HP 2 will work with just about any standard USB charger, while the HP 1 uses a proprietary charger.
This gives the HP 2 a distinct advantage for using in a car, or in other buildings rather than carrying a special charger with you. All you need to carry is a standard easy to find USB cable.
 

bharvey2

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Would the Uniden HP2 be a viable option compared to a 436 for about the same money? Also, looks like the HP1 covers P25, any major advantages of the HP2 over the HP1 and not save $100?
A year or so ago, (maybe a bit more) when I went looking for a new scanner, The Home Patrol model was on my short list. Although I only needed P25 Ph1 for my immediate scanning desires, I wanted one with Ph 2 as I suspected my area of interest would move to a Ph 2 system. While the Home Patrol 2 met the criteria, the physical format didn't lend itself as well to going "pedestrian mobile". It seemed better suited to home or automotive use. From what I've read, users seem to like the Home Patrol/Home Patrol 2.
 

wbswetnam

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The Whistler 1080 (aka Radio Shack Pro-668 + DSD upgrade) is a very good handheld scanner which can receive P25 phase 1 & 2, plus it will receive DMR digital mode, too. Amazon has them in the $350 - $400 price range.
 

muskrat39

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I have seen a belt holster, similar to the horizontal cell phone holsters for the HP scanners, but I can't remember where. Might have been Amazon, eBay, or Uniden outlet.
 

tacticaltrev

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Only the EMS in my area use P25 phase 1, not sure I have to get P25 phase 2 for a while, but if the unit has it, that is a bonus, but not a deal breaker for now.

The battery situation with the HP1 is not an issue, I have many devices floating around and keeping extra batteries available is the normal. I would probably charge the batteries from an separate source and not use the scanner anyways.

The HP1 and 2 have me confused from the polarizing reviews on the web; seems to be some horror stories out there, but it is the web, not as is what it seems!

Overall, I would prefer the form factor of the 436 and Whistler 1080, easy to clip to a belt if in the back yard. I like the touch screen of the HP models.

My biggest concerns/ needs:
1) fast power on and catch transmissions (watched a video of the HP2 loading software once powered on, kinda slow)
2) reliable, I don't want issues with removing batteries or SD cards to reset the scanner and get working.
3) easy programming (BTW, I use Macs, not PC's. Hope this doesn't effect the programming software)

I appreciate the help everybody.
 

muskrat39

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I have noticed my HP 2 powered on faster than my 1080. That being said however, all SD card scanners take longer to boot up and shut down due to howcSD card work. Perhaps you would be happier with a non SD card scanner, such as a Uniden 325p2, or Whistler 1040, and it's ancestors.
 

W2GLD

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For the money, if you watch Amazon.com you can get a Whistler TRX-1 for just over the $400 mark which will give you every possible item in one scanner. Well worth the money in my opinion and I've always been a diehard Uniden guy until the BCD436HP issues; now I own TRX-1 and TRX-2's and I am very happy; decodes analog, P25, EDACS, DMR, and NXDN with no issues and programs fairly simple with free software.
 

jonwienke

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Whistler doesn't have GPS location-aware scanning. It's a must-have if you ever want to use the scanner in a vehicle.
 

tacticaltrev

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Scanning from the car is not a concern. I am only a casual user, that is some of the frustration of the high price tag, paying for the capability to listen, not based on the level of user or the amount of time you listen.

Feels like I would be wasting features or capabilities of the higher $400+ units.
 

wbswetnam

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If you only want to upgrade so that you can get P25 phase 1 right now, for the lowest possible price, the Whistler WS-1040 is selling on Amazon right now for $236.93.

If you can live without digital capability, the Uniden BC125AT is a terrific analog, non-trunking handheld scanner with CTCSS/DCS tone squelch and large alphanumeric display, for under $100 (I have seen it as low as $83 on Amazon). I have one of these and it is probably the most sensitive handheld scanner I have ever had. It's a real gem for the features that it offers for under $100.
 
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Bubba1661

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I have had great success with the Pro-197, Pro-106 and their sisters Pro-651 and Pro-652. Turn them on and the action is there. Of course you need to program them. If You choose one of them I will gladly help You set it up by sending you a download of your area.
 

wbswetnam

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I have had great success with the Pro-197, Pro-106 and their sisters Pro-651 and Pro-652. Turn them on and the action is there. Of course you need to program them. If You choose one of them I will gladly help You set it up by sending you a download of your area.
I used to own a RS Pro-652 and it was a %$&@! to program through the front keyboard. Computer programming is the only way to go with this unit, except that it does not come with programming software, and it needs a proprietary cable to connect the scanner to the computer.
 

JamesO

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Scanning from the car is not a concern. I am only a casual user, that is some of the frustration of the high price tag, paying for the capability to listen, not based on the level of user or the amount of time you listen.

Feels like I would be wasting features or capabilities of the higher $400+ units.
Famous last words, especially with the HP version scanners that have a COMPLETE database of everything located near where you live.

You will find yourself probably listening to things you did not even know were of interested.

As for weather and traffic, I often listen to the local public school bus channels. You would be surprised what weather and traffic info you can get in real time listening to the school bus channels!

Suggest you get something that supports Phase 2 for when you travel or if they upgrade in your area. The unit will also have longer/better resale value if you decide to upgrade or change for any reason.
 

N8IAA

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Read the OP's post #6 everyone. He lists what he doesn't want.
#2 is no SD card scanner. Only one poster has suggested the WS-1040. Since he doesn't want battery operation, the WS-1065 would be for him.
As to programming the scanner by hand, it isn't easy, but can be done. NOTE: he uses Macs.
So without running windows or parallels, he can't program the scanner since there is no software written for the Mac.
Not everyone wants, or needs a SD card scanner. The only other one I would recommend is the Uniden 996P2. I could be wrong, but doesn't FreeScan run on Mac's?
Try not to confuse people who have come back to scanning with what is considered "simple" . Full data base scanners are not always needed, or wanted. Again, read the OP's post #5.
To the OP, do your due diligence before buying something you won't want to use:)
HTH,
Larry
 

BillH1

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I recommend the Uniden BCD325P2 which is a handheld. it is about 360 dollars on amazon right now. Also, the 996p2 is a great scanner if you want a desktop scanner. It is about 350 dollars or so on amazon I believe. I believe the software freescan works on both scanners, however, I am not aware if Freescan works with Mac.
 

muskrat39

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He didn't say he didn't want battery operation, in fact he mentioned clipping to his belt when he is in the back yard. the 1040 line of scanners can be programmed from the radio. I know, I have done it. Other options would be 325p2, 396xt, Personally, I would spend a bit more, and get a P2 radio for $325-$375. These would include the 325p2 or the 996p2. The 996p2 is actually a base/mobile, so it would not clip on a belt very well. Only handheld p25 phase 2 scanner without a SD card is the 325p2. I know the OP said he didn't need P2, but I can just about guarantee if any of the agencies of interest are using P25, it will be just a matter of time before they switch to P2. In some cases it just involves flipping a switch. If he is set on just a P25 phase 1 scanner, then the logical and most economical choice is the 1040 series radios which include the RS PRO 106, PRO 652 PSR 500, and the 1040. Any of these radios can purchased as low as $150 used. The 1040 can be found new for around $230. Used Uniden 396xt scanners can also be found for less than $300. If I recall correctly, someone posted awhile back about using a Windows virtual machine on a Mac to program scanners. Don't remember the scanner being programmed but I believe it was a RS
 
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