Real World Comparison 396XT VS. PSR500

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letarotor

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Very fair assessment from my experience. I own a 396T, not the XT, but the batteries tend to last much longer in my PSR-500 than my 396T. I was unaware the PSR-500 had signal stalking. Hummh, will have to go back to the manual and figure out how to do that one!!!

One major drawback in the PSR versus the 396; with the PSR you have to group systems together into twenty "banks" for scanning. So say for instance you have 50 or 60 trunked systems programmed in, each object within that system has to be assigned to one more of the 20 banks (that is a plus, however), so you could end up scanning a bunch of systems when you enable a bank key. Essentially, I you didn't want to listen to more than one system at a time you only have a 20 bank scanner. I like Uniden's concept of quick keys for enabling or disabling systems for scanning. Its much more flexible.

Scan rate: my PSR scans between systems faster than my Uniden, even with the system delay time set to "0" in the Uniden.

Would agree that both units are not easy to program on the fly, that is why I depend mostly on software so I limit the number of key sequences I have to make to get when I want to go.
 
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GTO_04

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I would mostly agree with that comparison. The main thing I would disagree with is the battery life. I get about 50% longer runtime on the PSR500 compared to the 396XT monitoring the same systems. It's a tradeoff between power supply capacity and size.

GTO_04
 

DonS

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I was unaware the PSR-500 had signal stalking. Hummh, will have to go back to the manual and figure out how to do that one!!!
FUNC SCAN

One major drawback in the PSR versus the 396; with the PSR you have to group systems together into twenty "banks" for scanning. So say for instance you have 50 or 60 trunked systems programmed in, each object within that system has to be assigned to one more of the 20 banks (that is a plus, however), so you could end up scanning a bunch of systems when you enable a bank key. Essentially, I you didn't want to listen to more than one system at a time you only have a 20 bank scanner.
You can lock out individual trunked systems.
 

DonS

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I would disagree with a couple of the numbers in the GRE column. Namely, "Maximum Channels" (it's 1852) and "Maximum Talkgroups" (it's 1848).

I don't know how "CloseCall Do Not Disturb" works, but it sounds similar to what the GRE radio does if I create a "Signal Stalker" ("Spectrum Sweeper") object and add it to a scan list.

(This is not intended to be a "rah rah GRE" post - I'm merely pointing out a couple of things that the comparison didn't get quite right. I'm sure there are similar errors in the Uniden column.)
 

UPMan

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Don:

Close Call and SS use fundamentally different methods to accomplish about the same thing: nearfield detection.

SS uses a frequency sweep method that takes significant time, but can capture multiple "hits" per band. Because of the time required to sweep a band, SS is performed inbetween scanning other objects.

CC uses a patented signal coherence to detect a strong signal, and can determine that there is no nearby signal in about 10 mS per band checked. Because it can do this so quickly, CC can be performed as an interruptive priority function. When you do this, though, you hear a brief break in any audio when the CC check is made, which can be annoying. DND inhibits CC checks when there is actual audio being received. So, as soon as a comm drops, the scanner takes the 50-100 mS needed to do a CC check then resumes right where it left off.

Each method has its own ups and downs.

SS can get multiple hits per band, but must be performed "sequentially" with other objects being scanned.

CC can only get one hit per band, but since detection is so fast it can be performed preemptively while a system is being scanned (checks are every 2 seconds, by default). DND makes the preemption invisible to the user.
 

rmiller818

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Maybe I am misunderstanding the meaning in the comparison of "Preprogrammed systems" but it says NO for the PSR-500, does it not come with different parts of the country programmed in it my Pro-106?

It also says YES for the 396XT but when I turned my 396XT on for the first time there was nothing programmed in it.
 

KE4ZNR

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It also says YES for the 396XT but when I turned my 396XT on for the first time there was nothing programmed in it.
Every 396XT comes preprogrammed with a sample database file of cities across the US (which is documented in the Wiki). If yours truly did not have anything programmed in from the beginning then you received a used scanner.
Marshall KE4ZNR
 

JASII

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I have given some thought to your post before replying. I had a GRE PSR500, but sold it recently and bought a BCD396XT, In answer to your specific question, I think that the Scanner Master comparison is pretty good. Like DonS pointed out, you can actually get a few more conventional channels than published numbers. I, too, have found out that the batteries don't last a long on the BCD396XT. I don't know if it is simply an issue of 3 batteries vs 4 batteries, or if the BCD396 actually does draw more current. As far as real world examples, I am a deputy sheriff and use a digital simulcast system system at work. I have a Motorola XTS5000 and scan 15 talkgroups with it. I use the BCD396XT in the car to supplement the Motorola. As such, I am often comparing the audio of the BCD396XT to the Motorola and recalling how it compares to the PSR500. I have to say the 396 is very good. I am somewhat inclined to say that it is better because I seem to recall more times with the XTS5000 that it would be receiving a talkgroup while the GRE PSR500 was stopped on that very talkgroup and could not decode it. I really don't have that happen with the BCD396XT.

For me there are some other important features that the BCD396XT has that the PSR500 doesn't have. That is ENCRYPTED AUDIO MUTE. We do have some talkgroups that can have encrypted audio on them. I don't want to hear that noise. The Bearcat mutes it and the GRE doesn't. It is as simple as that. Also, the priority is huge for some people. A woman who retired from her civilian position with us came back part time and was asking me which scanner. We discussed it a bit and as soon as she heard that the 396XT has trunked priority and the PSR500 does not, the discussion was over. She dispatched for a number of years and still likes to listen. She said she had to have trunking priority.

The above having been written, both are very good scanners. Some things are pretty objective, like physical size, and really aren't subject to debate. You can debate how important size is, but the PSR500 simply is bigger than the 396XT. That is better for some and not so good for others. Other things are more subjective, like the 396XT sounds better or the 500 sounds better.
 
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rmiller818

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Every 396XT comes preprogrammed with a sample database file of cities across the US (which is documented in the Wiki). If yours truly did not have anything programmed in from the beginning then you received a used scanner.
Marshall KE4ZNR
I recall reading that, and I really only briefly looked in the scanner before loading my programming anyways, must have missed it.
 

DonS

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Also, the priority is huge for some people. A woman who retired from her civilian position with us came back part time and was asking me which scanner. We discussed it a bit and as soon as she heard that the 396XT has trunked priority and the PSR500 does not, the discussion was over.
?????
 

PeterGV

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I own both a PSR-500 and an 396t.

The Scanner Master comparison mirrors my experience almost exactly.

JASII's comment about the GRE lacking encrypted audio mute is also a VERY good point.

For me, the "which is better" question comes down to:

a) Sensitivity (more sensitive GRE also more subject to overload)
b) Size (MUCH smaller and handier 396t)

The only answer is you've got to have both :) I leave my PSR-500 on my desk at home (feeding an RR audio feed) because I live in the woods (where signal overload isn't a problem) and it can receive a relatively distant trunked system that my 396 can't decode at all. I carry the 396 with me, because it's small and handy.

Peter
K1PGV
 

pdfdems286

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I own both a PSR-500 and an 396t.

peter, with all due respect,the thread is bcd396xt vs.psr500. while the 396t & 396xt are similar radio's, there's a world of difference. for starter's the xt is a lot more sensitive than the t.

for whatever it's worth, i like the 500 strongly. i love the crap out of the 396xt !.
 

k9xyz

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To have all the best you need both

I own both a PSR-500 and an 396t.

peter, with all due respect,the thread is bcd396xt vs.psr500. while the 396t & 396xt are similar radio's, there's a world of difference. for starter's the xt is a lot more sensitive than the t.

for whatever it's worth, i like the 500 strongly. i love the crap out of the 396xt !.

I agree with most comments, I don't like only being able to have 20 groups per system on the 396XT(yes it's the XT not the PSR-500) that limits to 20 groups as someone posted. They are however both fantastic scanners. If you want the best hand helds currently made you need to own both the GRE PSR 500 and The uniden BCD396XT, nothing else made now or ever can touch these two hand helds, they both have fantastic qualities.
 

torontokris

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Your complaint is the XT only has 20 groups per system..
but how many GROUPS does the GRE have per scanlist.. ONE (the only one)

yes the XT has only 20 groups (PER SYSTEM)... comparison the GRE ONE
the GRE has 20 SCANLISTS ... the XT has 99 system quick keys (and 500 systems)




I agree with most comments, I don't like only being able to have 20 groups per system on the 396XT(yes it's the XT not the PSR-500) that limits to 20 groups as someone posted. They are however both fantastic scanners. If you want the best hand helds currently made you need to own both the GRE PSR 500 and The uniden BCD396XT, nothing else made now or ever can touch these two hand helds, they both have fantastic qualities.
 

torontokris

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I disagree with

Ease of Use PSR500 / PRO106 ... easier to add channels on the fly.
&
Better Tactical Radio PSR500 / PRO106 The larger size and more extensive keyboard makes it easier to change things on the fly, once you understand the programming method.


I find the Uniden 's way easier to change things on the fly (copy/move/delete groups/TGID are all easy available menu options)

but Im not new to Uniden radios I know how to program them fully by hand so thats my opinion
 

DonS

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Your complaint is the XT only has 20 groups per system..
but how many GROUPS does the GRE have per scanlist.. ONE (the only one)

yes the XT has only 20 groups (PER SYSTEM)... comparison the GRE ONE
the GRE has 20 SCANLISTS ... the XT has 99 system quick keys (and 500 systems)
Keep in mind, though, that it's trivial to enable/disable complete "trunked systems" on the PSR-500. So, while a single scan list might have talkgroups from multiple systems, you do have a bit more granularity than just those 20 scan lists - monitoring one scan list doesn't mean you have to monitor every system that happens to have talkgroups in that scan list.
 

kayleesdad

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Seems like a fair comparison. I like the RS106 because when it is in a limit search or tune search it can recognize more systems (edacs, ltr, motorola, p25) and send the control data info to the cc programs via the cable without having to be in "control channel" mode or programmed in like the 396xt. My 396xt audio is better than the RS106, and the overall reception of the 396xt is better in a high RF environment. I like "close call" better than "signal stalker" so far because signal stalker just picks up everything in the range, although I try them both periodically -- as an alternative for both I use known input channels for nearness testing which works quite well. Close call picks up truckers, the neighbor's answering machine, etc..and appears more selective than "signal stalker." RS 106 seems more senstive when searching for transmissions in tune mode. Overall the comparison seems fair, but I really like identifying systems on the fly with the RS106, and the LTR automove function is pretty neat, too.
 

pdfdems286

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well i'm somewhat lazy. i don't really have a gazzilion system's in my 396xt anyway. what i do is load each group i want to listen to as it's own system. i got tired of doing the locking/unlocking group's.
it's nice having different radio's. not alway's fun trying to remember how to program and use everything.
 

k9xyz

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Wasn't a "complaint"

Your complaint is the XT only has 20 groups per system..
but how many GROUPS does the GRE have per scanlist.. ONE (the only one)

yes the XT has only 20 groups (PER SYSTEM)... comparison the GRE ONE
the GRE has 20 SCANLISTS ... the XT has 99 system quick keys (and 500 systems)
I wasn't complaining about the 396XT, it is a fantastic scanner. Anyone that has a "T" version and wondering if it's worth "upgrading" do yourself a favor....buy one now. If you live someplace that has digital you'll soon fall in love with this little gem. My comment about 20 groups per system was just that a comment here in Indiana we have a state wide system and it would be easier to be able to put more than 20 groups in ONE system esp. in a scanner that has 25,000 "channels" that's all just a comment not a complaint........NOT ONE TIME has this near perfection gem made that damn bbbrrrraaaapppppp noise..........got to love the 396XT
 
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