Newbie needs Advice!

Status
Not open for further replies.

hc2ca

Newbie
Joined
Dec 24, 2011
Messages
1
Location
Edmonton
Hi everyone:

First let me introduce myself, my name is Mike and I live in Edmonton Alberta.Last time I was into the scanner scene was the days of the good old crystal's.I've been reading these fourms for the past couple of weeks and to say the least I am very confused as to just what I need for a scanner to get back into things.

I have been looking at two scanners the BCT15x and the BCD996XT both are Uniden radios.
I would like to listen to EMS ,Fire Dept, EPS and of course our center airport while it is still here, which radio will suit me best for this area. I have no problem chucking out the $500 plus for a scanner but if I don't need it why buy it when the small one will do the trick.Oh and are they as hard to program as some people on here say it is...just looking for some friendly advice from people in the know.I apologise for asking stupid questions or questions that have been asked before but still a bit confused by this digital and analog stuff.

Happy Holidays everyone!!

Mike
 

W8RMH

Feed Provider Since 2012
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
7,976
Welcome to RR. If money isn't a factor I would go with the BCD996XT. That way you will have digital capability if needed.
You could save a few bucks on the 15X but your area could go digital next month.
The radio is easy to program using FreeScan and this website.
 
Last edited:

scannerboy01

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
261
Location
Alberta, Canada
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

My suggestion would be to get a GRECOM PSR-500 or PSR-600. They are really easy to program with or without software. Although you might not need this expensive of a scanner now, you will need it in the future since Alberta is going to a digital radio system. If you would like to listen to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, Edmonton EMS and STARS Air Ambulance, you can get live audio from edmontonfireradio.com. The owner of the feed is on these forums and his user name is EdmontonFireRadio. Although you can't listen to Edmonton Police Service, this should give you a good indication as to what you would be hearing on your scanner.
 
Last edited:

scannerboy01

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
261
Location
Alberta, Canada
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

OHIO63, Alberta isn't even close to going digital. Alberta will probably be going digital in a few year. If you want to learn more about the system, look at the sticky Alberta First Responders' Radio Communication System.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
I too would recommend a GRE PSR500 scanner as it is a handheld so you can take it with you and it is a pretty good unit, although I would recommend using it with a ducky antenna and not an external base unit type of antenna.

As an alternative .. you may want to consider a GRE PSR800 as it is also very popular with people starting out.
 

W8RMH

Feed Provider Since 2012
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
7,976
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16)

Although you might not need this expensive of a scanner now, you will need it in the future since Alberta is going to a digital radio system.

OHIO63, Alberta isn't even close to going digital. Alberta will probably be going digital in a few year. If you want to learn more about the system, look at the sticky Alberta First Responders' Radio Communication System.
Duh, make up your mind.

I was just helping the OP by recommending a scanner. I have no need to analyze your system. I make that same recommendation to everyone, after hearing of people not getting a digital scanner then regretting it.
 

scannerboy01

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
261
Location
Alberta, Canada
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

I have made up my mind. I' m saying that right now the original poster won't need an expensive scanner, but he will when Alberta gets there new radio system.
 

harryshute

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,622
Location
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
The new digital system is one reason to avoid the GRE radios which have locked out high 700 MHZ and low 800 MHz and will not cover all of the new First Responders system. I'd go with the 996XT which has a lot more features than ther 15X. It will keep your radio more current as technology moves ahead.
 
Last edited:

scannerboy01

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
261
Location
Alberta, Canada
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

Do you know what the reason would be for GRE to lock out those frequencies?
 

harryshute

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,622
Location
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
In the post I read it was because of numerous birdies in that area. It will not allow you to enter a frequency like the 805 MHz conventional/Simplex being used by the new system.
 

scannerboy01

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
261
Location
Alberta, Canada
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

The highest frequency I can get in the 700 MHz range on my PSR-500 is 796.996975. The lowest frequency in the 800 MHz range is 811.000.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
The new digital system is one reason to avoid the GRE radios which have locked out high 700 MHZ and low 800 MHz and will not cover all of the new First Responders system. I'd go with the 996XT which has a lot more features than ther 15X. It will keep your radio more current as technology moves ahead.
I can confirm that the PSR500 does indeed block out higher than 796.996250 and up to 806.000000 although I am pretty much positive that I do not have the latest firmware. But I monitor conventional frequencies and Edacs only on my PSR500 and have never had problems with it.

Back to original programming ...
 

Jay911

.
Joined
Feb 15, 2002
Messages
9,183
Location
Bragg Creek, Alberta
Not to perpetuate the semi-hijack, but the reason for the GRE high end block is indeed purportedly birdie issues. I know a user in Lethbridge definitely had problems with intermod (reception of signals from another band) in their GRE scanner in that part of the band. None of my PSR500, PSR600, or PSR800 can program up anything from 796.6(ish) to 806.

Given the nature of the 700MHz band, what you're losing there is in reality part of the input segment of the band (input frequencies in the 700MHz band are 30MHz up from the output), so unless they make a practice out of using inputs as simplex channels a lot, or if you prefer to listen to inputs, you likely won't miss too much. Having said that, there are some 805MHz frequencies already licensed, but it's hard to tell if they will only exist while the system is being built, and then go away.

To the OP (original poster): The BCD996XT would be a fine scanner to get. I would definitely get a digital scanner instead of an analog one (the 15X, as far as I know, is analog).

Modern scanners are not exactly as easy as older ones to program, but you can get a lot of help by way of programs which you can set up the data beforehand on your computer, then push it into your scanner via a computer connection. You can also download data from this website's database system directly into said programs, making it that much easier.

You can also skip that whole bit and go for something like the Uniden HomePatrol. It's different than "normal" scanners in that it doesn't have a keypad and behaves a little differently, but the entire North American radio database (as far as RadioReference has it, as submitted by its supporters like us), so all you do is put in your location (postal code or GPS co-ordinates) and hit Listen.

A couple things you should know before making any purchase - there's no guarantee that any current scanner is going to pick up the new digital system until we actually have a system to test on. There are a number of different features of digital systems which could make a whole new scanner necessary. Look up FDMA vs TDMA on these forums (as a whole, not just in the Prairies region) for more info. Also, besides the public safety systems including the new digital system, there are other protocols out there like MotoTRBO and NEXEDGE which no current scanner can decode/monitor at this time. You can do it with software on a PC and a "modified" scanner, but it takes some effort.

All said, if I were choosing between a BCT15X and a BCD996XT, the 996 would win hands down. I would also take a good look at the HomePatrol if you don't mind spending a little bit more (with the Extreme Upgrade, which adds some enhancements, you will probably fork out closer to $600 than $500).

Hope this helps!
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
Not to perpetuate the semi-hijack, but the reason for the GRE high end block is indeed purportedly birdie issues. I know a user in Lethbridge definitely had problems with intermod (reception of signals from another band) in their GRE scanner in that part of the band. None of my PSR500, PSR600, or PSR800 can program up anything from 796.6(ish) to 806.
I personally did not know about the shortcomings about the GRE scanners until recently and as such now change my recommendations. But I would still recommend a handheld as a first scanner over a base unit radio.

As a result ... unless you are in a hurry to buy something, I would consider waiting until the new AFRRS system is actually built before deciding on a new scanner. This is what I am going to do ... but if you are in a hurry, the Uniden 996XT / 396XT would be a good choice. (I have a friend that has both of these and he seems happy with them).

To the original poster .... either of these scanners would give you Edacs / Conventional freqs that you would need to listen to for the services you listed in your original post.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top