• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

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shellcode

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Jun 22, 2006
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Hello,

First off I wanted to say that it looks like you have an excellent website here. The wiki was very informative and answered many of my questions and the community on the forums seems very helpful.

For the longest time I have wanted to get into the hobby of scanning. Many of my friends have scanners and I have had a lot of fun using those. However, now I would like to purchase my own scanner which I can use when and how I please. I have done a lot of research on my own and learned a great deal about types of scanners, trunking, communications systems and more. Nevertheless, I felt that asking for advice from those more experienced than I would be a good idea.

I want the scanner that I buy to be one that is high quality and (most importantly) highly capable. It should support practically everything that modern scanners support. I realize that this will cost a lot of money but I have saved money exactly for this reason.

My search for this type of scanner has lead me to quite a few models. I first looked at the Icom IC-R20. What impresed me most about this scanner was its frequency coverage (up to 3GHz). However, I was not able to find any mention of even basic trunking support (not to mention things like APCO 25). Am I missing something or is Icom not providing these features at all? I then looked into Uniden. I was impressed with the TrunkTracker (IV) technology. The BC796D seemed to fit the bill nicely though I couldn't really see what differentiates it from the BCD996T (other than GPS). The BCD396T also seemed interesting. Note that I am open to both handheld and tabletop model suggestions.

Essentially, I want the scanner with the largest frequency coverage, most trunk tracking (and other) features, as well as quality and reliability. I realize that with scanning, as with everything else, there is no silver bullet. I don't mean to be vague by saying that I want a scanner with a lot of "features", I simply want some advice on a general scanner that will not leave me wishing for more once I gain expertise and experience in this field. Do the scanners that I mentioned above fit that description or should I look elsewhere?

Thanks in advance.
 

jharr465

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
71
Location
DeFuniak Springs, FL
Welcome to Scanning!

You will find that no one scanner is good at everything. That is why many of the members here have multiple scanners. For your first one, though, I would recommend a handheld -- simply because you can use it at home, at work and on the road. Also, the new Uniden models (BCD996T and BCD396T) are the only scanners out right now that will scan the new military 380 mhz trunked systems, plus the new Uniden memory management scheme is far superior to any other manufacturers current scanners. I have about a dozen scanners all told, and use most of them. Each one is good at a different facet of the hobby. Mil-air, trunking, local vhf/uhf, military bases, etc. My recommendation at this point is get a BCD396T to start and find which areas you want to specialize in and then buy additional units that are good at those particular areas. 'Just my 2 cents.

Good luck with the hobby!

John
 

elk2370bruce

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
2,052
Location
East Brunswick, NJ
Welcome to our merry band and to the hobby! You will often find that those radios with W I D E frequency coverages are only moderately sensitive on all bands. If public safety is your scoop of ice cream, go with BCD or RatShack models designed for maximum sensitivity at those frequency spreads. Spend some time here and study what systems and frequencies are used in your area. You can select your state and then your county to get a good list. If you find key coverage systems that are digital, your options as to a viable scanner are somewhat reduced and costs rise dramatically. Again, welcome to the group and dive right it. You'll be glad that you did!
 

shellcode

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
3
Thanks for the replies everybody.

First off, was I right about the Icom's not having trunking and digital capabilities. Are there any companies (beside Uniden and Radio Shack) that offer scanners with such features.

The BCD396T and BCD996T look good. However, I am wondering whether there are a lot of communications that I would miss out on because those scanners can receive at frequencies no higher than 1.3 Ghz? I am not sure exactly what I want to listen to yet so I want to have a scanner that gives me a lot of options. Also, what exactly differentiates the BC796D from the BCD996T. I am asking because I've seen it for sale at prices greater than the BCD996T yet it seems to be an older scanner and lack GPS.

I live in Southern California but spend a lot of time on the road. This is why I would prefer a scanner that will work well no matter where I am.

Lastly, if I were to purchase a BCD996T or BCD396T, does anybody know where I can find them unblocked?

Thanks again.
 

BoxAlarm187

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
1,502
Location
Old Dominion
There is very, very little that the average scanner user listens to above 1.3GHz. There is some stuff up there (a limited amount of amateur radio comes to mind), but you'll see that most average scannists don't listen to anything above the 900MHz range.

The 796D came out a couple of years ago, the 996T was just released last month. Therefore, you can expect the 996T to have many technological advances over the 796D: Dynamic memory, GPS-based scanning for areas you're traveling through, automatic digital volume control, Close Call for finding nearby freq's, ability to change between red and green backlighting, plus many, many other features.

The 996D is selling for $525 - $550 most places ... if someone is getting more than this for a 796D with it's "limitations," more power to them!

Finally, you won't be able to find an unblocked scanner anymore. Even producing a scanner that is capable of being unblocked has been illegal for years. Whatever freq's you see advertised are the only freq's that the scanner will be capable of receiving.

Hope this helps...
 

shellcode

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
3
BoxAlarm187, thanks for clearing all that up for me.

I'm still not sure about cellular frequencies though. Are the Uniden scanners (BCD996T and/or BCD396T) actually not capable of receiving cellular frequencies or have they been blocked to prevent listening to those frequencies. The two are very different in my opinion. Would it be possible to import a BCD996T or BCD396T that does not have this type of restriction.

Thanks again. I appreciate all the help.
 

BoxAlarm187

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Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
1,502
Location
Old Dominion
I am afraid that I am not familiar enough with the specs of the export 996T's to tell you whether or not they'd be able to listen to the cell-band stuff. I do know that the US models can't, nor can they be modified to do so.

However, I think one important point to make is that even if you did have a scanner capable of receiving the US cellular band, there is very little activity there anymore. This band was used by analog cellular phones, which are few and far between anymore. In fact, the FCC isn't going to even require the cellular companies to maintain thier analog equipment in the near future ... many of the cellular providers in the market where I live started taking some of their analog equipment off-line last year. (I have a friend that's a cellular network switch tech, he was passing this along to me recently).

I wouldn't give a second thought to what you might be missing in the blocked areas, but that's just my humble opinion. ;-)
 

NightFox

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
112
Location
Lafayette, Indiana
shellcode said:
BoxAlarm187, thanks for clearing all that up for me.

I'm still not sure about cellular frequencies though. Are the Uniden scanners (BCD996T and/or BCD396T) actually not capable of receiving cellular frequencies or have they been blocked to prevent listening to those frequencies. The two are very different in my opinion. Would it be possible to import a BCD996T or BCD396T that does not have this type of restriction.

Thanks again. I appreciate all the help.
The FCC has blocked them and it is illegal (to my understanding) to modify a scanner to receive those bands, or receive one from another country where they are unblocked.
 

taybird

Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Messages
1
Please help me!! I have no idea what I am doing. I don't even know if you will get this message. I just bought a Pro-97 handheld scanner for my husband. Radioshack told me I could upload many frequencies from this website, but my brain is fried. How do I get the frequencies onto the scanner? I also bought the cable that hooks up to the computer and the scanner, but I'm lost on how to get the info onto the scanner. Can you help me?

Thank you!
 

pacrat551

TX Admin
Database Admin
Joined
Jul 10, 2001
Messages
235
Location
Texas
taybird said:
Please help me!! I have no idea what I am doing. I don't even know if you will get this message. I just bought a Pro-97 handheld scanner for my husband. Radioshack told me I could upload many frequencies from this website, but my brain is fried. How do I get the frequencies onto the scanner? I also bought the cable that hooks up to the computer and the scanner, but I'm lost on how to get the info onto the scanner. Can you help me?

Thank you!
Start here A very useful resource as listed on that page is the WIN97 software. You can download it and try for 30 days, but It allows you to download frequencies right from the database. I just got a pro-2055 (which is the mobile counterpart) and the software made it much easier to program.

If you have any other questions....ask away!!! there are plenty of people on here eager to help

Welcome to RadioReference.com!!!
 
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buffalogoat

Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
21
Location
Simpsonville, SC
I have owned 2 scanners that have been "un-blocked" but like BoxAlarm187 said, you don't hear much on cell freqs. unless you live in a rural area that's still analog. You still can pick up 911 calls made from a cell phone but they are very rare. I guess most people just call someone they know in an emergency instead of 911.
 
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