Newbie here.....Questions and hopefully answers

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LisaHawn

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I live in the interior of Alaska (Fort Greely, AK to be precise). I am interested in purchasing a home unit scanner (my first one). I asked one of our "local" scanner guys which one he would recommend. He said that this unit is a good one. Being that we are remote, he said that a Apco 25 phase ll and l digital signals to hear Alaska Land Mobile Radio signals is needed. He also said a digital trunking scanner is needed. He recommended Uniden and Bearcat as brands and said that an external scanner antenna is needed.

Uniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile Scanner with HPDB and Wi-Fi & (BC23A) Bearcat 15-Watt Amplified External Communications Speaker

Since I am totally new to this jargon, I'd like to know what you all think? What home unit would you recommend? What should I stay away from? ANything else you'd like to share?

Any help is appreciated.

Lisa
 

CanesFan95

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The previous generation digital trunking scanners like the BCD536HP don't work well on P25 systems that use simulcasting with multiple sites. You will get garbled and missed transmissions and will end up frustrated. The newer (and more pricey) SDS scanners are meant to properly decode simulcast voice transmissions much better. The only real competitor in previous years was Whistler, but they reneged on their announcement to develop a simulcast-capable offering, so they're out. Another good option are the Unication pagers.

A much cheaper option is to use RTL-SDR dongles with software like DSD+ Fast Lane or OP25, but this has a steep, time-consuming learning curve and gets rather technical. Whatever you do get, it'll take some time to learn. I'd recommend either an SDS scanner or a Unication.

An external outdoor antenna is always recommended to get the most out of this hobby. But if you're in range of a local system with a good signal, the included stock antenna will be a quick and dirty start that should work okay.
 

jonwienke

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The 536 is a great scanner, it's only weakness is that it (and nearly all other scanners) handle simulcast poorly.

Multiple system sites is not the same as simulcast. I don't see any indication of simulcast use in your area in the database, but I don't know your location well enough to be certain. you may want to post in the Alaska regional forum to find out for sure. If you will be moving or traveling to the lower 48, a simulcast-capable scanner like th SDS100 (handheld) or SDS200 (base/mobile) might be a better choice than the 536 long-term. But if not, then the 536 is probably an excellent choice.
 

paulmohr

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The first question I would ask is what exactly do you want to listen to? Aircraft, military, police/fire, businesses, that kind of thing. Then check the database to see if they are encrypted or not. If they use encryption you won't get them no matter what. It might be a good idea to post something in the Alaska forum here and see if someone local can help you. Alaska is large with a lot of remote areas. Depending on where you live, yes a good outdoor antenna might be needed. As for an external speaker? I guess it depends on how loud you want it to be. Do you listen in a noisy area, or do yout want to be able to hear it on the other side of your house or something. I have never needed an external speaker personally. I use a hand held and its plenty loud enough for me to hear in the same room. If I use while mowing the lawn or something noisy I wear noise cancelling headphones.
 

Whiskey3JMC

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Hi & welcome to RR!
Looks like your system of interest would be here. If the database is accurate, most Fort Greely talkgroups appear to utilize partial encryption as designated by the "De" in the mode column, meaning encryption can be enabled at the transmitting node's discretion. Someone in the Alaska Forum may be from your area and be able to confirm or refute the database's accuracy for sure.
79390

Scanner radios in the screenshot below should at the minimum be able to trunk track the system which is listed as P25 Phase I. Talkgroups with mode "D" should be picked up, whereas "DE" (with a capital "E") mode talkgroups utilize full time encryption and therefore cannot be picked up by any scanner radio on the market. Hope this helps, enjoy the hobby!

79391
 
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Bob1955

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Eastchester, NY
I live in the interior of Alaska (Fort Greely, AK to be precise). I am interested in purchasing a home unit scanner (my first one). I asked one of our "local" scanner guys which one he would recommend. He said that this unit is a good one. Being that we are remote, he said that a Apco 25 phase ll and l digital signals to hear Alaska Land Mobile Radio signals is needed. He also said a digital trunking scanner is needed. He recommended Uniden and Bearcat as brands and said that an external scanner antenna is needed.

Uniden BCD536HP HomePatrol Series Digital Phase 2 Base/Mobile Scanner with HPDB and Wi-Fi & (BC23A) Bearcat 15-Watt Amplified External Communications Speaker

Since I am totally new to this jargon, I'd like to know what you all think? What home unit would you recommend? What should I stay away from? ANything else you'd like to share?

Any help is appreciated.


Lisa
Lisa,
Hi and how are you?
First off, if your area "doesn't" have simulcasting, then WHY spend the money on a Bearcat BCD-535HP? Your fine with the Uniden 15 watts amplified speaker but go with the Bearcat BCD-996P2 which is a PROBLEM free base/mobile and no SD card and can be purchased for $335 on Amazon or Bearcat Warehouse in Maryland which offers FREE shipping. The BCD-535HP is much more money and you are paying for a full alpha tagging display which is very door according to what people have said, plus zip code programing and a built in Radioreference data base. My friend BOUGHT the handheld version which is the BCD-436HP and he sent it back for the BCD-325P2 which is the handheld version of the BCD-996P2.
Lisa, please message me anytime.

Bob M.-Eastchester, NY
 

jonwienke

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The BCD-535HP is much more money and you are paying for a full alpha tagging display which is very door according to what people have said, plus zip code programing and a built in Radioreference data base.
You don't own the 436 or 536, so you really don't have an informed basis to make statements like that. The 536 display is pretty much the same as the 996 display in terms of brightness, contrast, and legibility. The 536 costs about $120 more than the 996P2, but includes free access to the RadioReference database through Sentinel, is simpler to get started with, and is much better suited to scanning while traveling, particularly with GPS.

The P2 scanners have to be programmed manually, unless you pay extra for a subscription to RadioReference. And the free software to program them doesn't support NXDN at all, and only partially supports DMR, with some kludges. You have to pay extra for ProScan or whatever to be able to program everything correctly.

The only reason the x36 and SDS models are "unreliable" with card failures, is because of the recording/replay function. Flash memory has a limited number of times it can be written before it fails, including the flash memory soldered to the motherboards of the P2 models. When you write to the flash memory after every transmission received (whis is what happens when recording or replay are active), it wears the flash memory out more quickly than if you only write when you change programming or settings. If you turn off recording, the card-based scanners are no more unreliable or failure-prone than the models with built-in memory. And if you use the high endurance type cards, they will last for years even with recording/replay active.
 
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