New to scanning, which P25 Phase II scanner to buy?

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w1bp

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Hi Everyone,

I just picked up a Radio Shack PRO-163 at a flea market and the scanning bug has bitten. I'm interested in buying a Phase II-capable scanner. The Home Patrol 2 seems like a good candidate. DMR doesn't interest me so the TRX-1/2 isn't on my list.

Any recommendations?

Thanks,
Brian
 

ChrisABQ

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If you want to just set it and go, that's probably the way to go. If you're interested in ProVoice or DMR, the BCDx36hp's are the way to go.
 

pinballwiz86

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BCD436HP hand held or BCD536HP base/mobile are both good choices. They are simple to use, just enter zip code, but they also have advanced features you can learn how to use.
 

w1bp

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Thanks, that was the type of feedback I was looking for. I can't find much love for the WS-1098, most people seem to prefer the Uniden.

I'm now leaning towards the BCDx36HP.
 

muskrat39

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I ran both a 536 and a 1095 in the same location and with the same antenna. Both radios received well, but the 536 was bassy, and sounded muffled. The 1095 was more trebely, and more intelligible. After using both radios for a few months, I finally sold the 536. I am not anti Uniden, in fact, I have a HP2 I love, but the 536 I grew to hate. Have you considered a 668? If you don't need DMR, or ProVoice, the 668 is a sleeper. Can be purchased new for $225-$250, and works well. It is also capable of being programmed with a zip code.
 
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AA6IO

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Whenever a new person like Brian (W1BP) asks about buying a high-end scanner then says they don't need DMR, I always caution on the side of, "you may regret not having that capability" soon down the line.
I live in Los Angeles and have most of the P2 scanners, including the WS1098, RS668, 436 and 536HP, HP-2, TRX-1 and 2, and the 996P2. I added the DMR updates to the 436HP and 536HP, and bought the TRX-1 and 2 with DMR already available, never expecting that there would be much on DMR. After all, the database did not have much DMR listed (now of course it is increasing).
But in doing searches, I come up with all kinds of DMR activity here in Los Angeles. I was in San Francisco Bay area last week for few days. Had two 436HPs with me. Entered the zip code, and there was all kinds of DMR stuff up in the Bay Area. Without the DMR updates, I would have missed a lot of activity.
So my recommendation to new folks like Brian is that if you are going to spend upwards of $400-$500 anyway for a scanner, get one that has at least has DMR (and NXDN) capability in the future. You will find a lot of stuff.
So often I see my colleagues on RRDB recommend to "newbies" that they should consider what they want to listen to before they buy a scanner. I am of the opposite opinion. It is not until you really listen to all the stuff out there, that you really then know what might interest you in the long run. If you're in a rural area and you only have a few analog stations, fine, you don't need much of a scanner to monitor things.
But I went to QRZ and see that W1BP is in Westford MA near Worcester (where I was born, but came out to Calif at age 7, now age 67) and Boston. There is probably tons of interesting stuff to listen to there that you can't begin to imagine. My two cents worth.
 

W8RMH

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The HomePatrol 2 is the best scanner hands down. The fact that it has never ever needed a firmware update is a good sign.

It is easier to operate over the x36s and the full color touch screen is easy to see and use, especially if you are familiar with smart phones or GPS devices.

If I could only have one scanner it definitely would be the HP-2.
 

w1bp

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Steve,

Thanks for those thoughts. I bought the scanner thinking I would only monitor railroad transmissions. If you look at my QRZ listing, you'll see I live next to train tracks and close enough to the yard in Ayer to hear yard traffic. Now that I have it, I'm enjoying listening to fire departments, in particular. Most of the local departments are conventional, but Nashua, Worcester, Cambridge and Boston all use P25. I can hear the Cambridge UHF broadcast, so it stands to reason that I'd be able to hear their P25 transmissions.

If I do spend $400 to get a scanner, I might as well go the extra $60 to get DMR, because it seems like there are more systems on DMR than I first expected.
 

jonwienke

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I vote for the 436 or 536 HP. DMR and NXDN are growing segments of the radio traffic out there, and forgoing the ability to hear them is going to become more of an issue as time goes by. And if you don't like the scanner's built-in speaker, there are endless options for external speakers available.
 

w1bp

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I should consider NXDN too since the railroads will start using it to achieve their 6.25 kHz narrowband mandate
 

kmi8dy

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w8rmh is correct, i don't have one but i have heard allot about them along those lines. but they are becoming an older platform.kind of like the volkswagon beatle. be very carefull about buying a 536 / 436. please read all the info on them about there consistent problems. it started at the very start of their first release and still continues. i would rather be listening to my scanner instead of having it in the mail somewhere going to uniden for repair. it's sad that allot of people are going out of their way to suggest them but not letting people know that alot of the radios are having problems. maybe they have gotten the good ones with no problems. also NEVER EVER let anyone tell you to get something you don't want. just because they like the super extras does not mean somebody else will to. the best i can say to you is stay with the uniden brand, read, read, read. the newest uniden p1 and 2 is i think the 325p2 hand held and the 996p2 desk modle. both are the same radio programming wise. good luck
 
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Nasby

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I should consider NXDN too since the railroads will start using it to achieve their 6.25 kHz narrowband mandate
Then you really should consider the Whistler offerings too.

While Uniden has some good units, so does Whistler.

There are plenty of threads detailing the pros and cons of the various units available.

If I were you, I would first decide what you want to hear. Then select the units that are capable of receiving what you want (NXDN, DMR, etc.). This will help you to narrow down your choice while eliminating other models (HP2, etc.) from consideration.

Once you decide on two or three models that fit your requirements, research the heck out of them on Radioreference via the search window. Also, read the forums for the state you live in. You will likely find feedback there on the model(s) you are considering.

Good luck!!
 

N8IAA

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Steve,

Thanks for those thoughts. I bought the scanner thinking I would only monitor railroad transmissions. If you look at my QRZ listing, you'll see I live next to train tracks and close enough to the yard in Ayer to hear yard traffic. Now that I have it, I'm enjoying listening to fire departments, in particular. Most of the local departments are conventional, but Nashua, Worcester, Cambridge and Boston all use P25. I can hear the Cambridge UHF broadcast, so it stands to reason that I'd be able to hear their P25 transmissions.

If I do spend $400 to get a scanner, I might as well go the extra $60 to get DMR, because it seems like there are more systems on DMR than I first expected.
I have a 1088 and it works like a champ on DMR. DMR is free on the WS scanners. Got mine in May, and haven't been unhappy since.
Larry
 

captainmax1

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DMR & ProVoice is not free on the Whistler Scanners. It's included in the price where with the Uniden 536 & 436, it's an option. You can buy the Uniden Scanners with ProVoice and DMR options and it is still cheaper than the Whistler Scanners. Believe me, Nothing in life is Free.
 

k5dh

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K5DH here. Our local fire dispatch (Denton County, Texas) went P25 Phase II and I'm now forced to buy a new scanner. My three top choices (in order) are the Uniden 536HP (about $500-ish), Uniden 996P2 (about $365-ish), and the Whistler 1098 (about $510-ish). I don't consider myself to be a "scanner hobbyist". I want to listen to our local police/fire dispatches and some aviation stuff. Could I impose on those of you "in the know" to give me some gentle pushing in the right direction?
 
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