RS Pro-97/BC296t or RS Pro97/BC 396 for Alameda County

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Hi,

I am new to scanning (live in Albany, CA) and want to get something that can handle trunked systems (to monitor nearby trunked systems in Berkeley and Richmond) -- but I am kind of stuck on whether or not to get a digital capable scanner. I see that Alameda County is installing the infrastructure for indidvidual jurisdictions to be able to migrate to APCO 25 digital systems -- but its unclear to me if and when any systems I am interested will go this route.

http://www.govtech.net/magazine/channel_story.php/99307

Any thoughts? I am just trying to avoid buying something that will become obosete faster than the already rapid pace of any consumer electronic device.

Thanks!
Steve
 

califzeph

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When I got back into scanning, I got a Pro 97. Great scanner. A few months later I find out that the Sacramento area is going digital. So, when the 96 went on sale I got one. Both are great scanners. I use the 96 for "every day scanning", and the 97 for aviation, searching for new stuff and it's Signal Stalker for snooping on stuff close by. It's ok to have more then one scanner. I have 4 at present.
 

b52hbuff

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PocketProtector said:
Hi,

I am new to scanning (live in Albany, CA) and want to get something that can handle trunked systems (to monitor nearby trunked systems in Berkeley and Richmond) -- but I am kind of stuck on whether or not to get a digital capable scanner. I see that Alameda County is installing the infrastructure for indidvidual jurisdictions to be able to migrate to APCO 25 digital systems -- but its unclear to me if and when any systems I am interested will go this route.

http://www.govtech.net/magazine/channel_story.php/99307

Any thoughts? I am just trying to avoid buying something that will become obosete faster than the already rapid pace of any consumer electronic device.

Thanks!
Steve

Local digital systems that I am aware of...

Marin County (Digital TRS)
San Mateo County (Digital TRS)
Santa Clara County (1-2 Digital Conventional)
San Jose (1 Digital Conventional)
Travis AFB, Beale AFB (Digital TRS)
...and as you are aware, Sacramento.

Uniden vs. GRE/RS is a big 'debate'. Common wisdom, to which I ascribe is that Uniden has better features (e.g. computer control, user upgradable firmware, better memory flexibility, auto store, etc...), but GRE has better sound (e.g. reverse tone burst to eliminate squelch tails & better digital voice decode). Uniden continues to close the gap in their digital decode.

I have both a 396 & a Pro-96 and my preference is the 396. I think the Pro-96 will 'survive' rebanding, because of it's ability to support six trunking tables. But I think that the 396 is going to survive 'better', since there will undoubtedly be a firmware upgrade to handle the new format.

In the life of the 396, there have been about 4-6 firmware upgrades. You can search Uniden forum for details. The Pro-96 has had issues too, I think there are 3 firmware revisions (not including a separate DSP upgrade). Also note that the Pro-96 'latest' firmware is years old and still has some open issues. Most notebly it still doesn't understand how to read 'trunk table' from P25 control channel. This isn't an issue here in Bay area where we don't have any true P25 systems, but points out the problem when you can't upgrade the device.

Other advantages for 396:
Smaller size
10 search ranges (vs. 1 for Pro-96)
Control Channel only searching
...

Suggest you head over to scanners unlimited in San Carlos for a demo.
 
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