Somewhat inexperienced scannist in Saskatoon seeking advice

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sandyrb

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Jan 12, 2005
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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Hi folks.

A couple of people advised me to inquire in this forum. Back in the day I used to have an AOR 8200 (mark 1) which I really enjoyed using and I'd like to get back into scanning. It's been a few years and in that time it seems the airwaves have changed dramatically what with all this trunking bananas!

So, here's the dice... I'm looking to buy a new scanner and I'm willing to throw about $600 at it, maybe a little more. Ideally I'd like to find something versatile but the things I'm interested in listening to are air band, military stuff, maybe some CB, shortwave, hams... that sort of thing. I'd also like to listen to the RCMP, emergency services and local utilities which, as I now understand, requires a digital trunking scanner. I want a hand-held unit, although I'll install an antenna for home use as well.

So I wonder whether anyone could kindly recommend a really decent scanner for Saskatoon and the surrounding area please? Any and all suggestions gratefully received, thank you.

I've read that people here go by the maxim that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask, but I already did a bunch of research in my ignorance and found I was completely barking up the wrong tree. :)

Cheers,
Sandy.
 

colby4601

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Mar 1, 2009
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Hello Sandy!

If you're looking for a handheld that is digital and easy to use, I MUST suggest the Uniden BCD396XT. The Uniden scanners are much easier to program than the Radio Shack and GRECOM ones (my opinion). The P25 decoding on the Sask RCMP system is better on the Uniden's. The BCD396XT is capable of doing everything you want it to do and more. It can be had for under $600.

If you're interested in the very newest scanner, it is the BCD996XT. However, it is not handheld, but mobile. Fantastic P25 decoding and will do the same stuff as the 396XT. Just better! :p The price on this one is right around $600. I believe it might be a little less than, but don't quote me.

Any of those two scanners would be perfect for the RCMP, Saskatoon Fire, MD Ambulance and everything else you wish to scan.

Hopefully that helps you a bit! If you have more questions, go ahead and ask.
 

sandyrb

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Jan 12, 2005
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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Hi Colby.

Thank you for replying to my inquiry.

I MUST suggest the Uniden BCD396XT
Yeah, I'm kinda getting the impression that the 396XT is the way to go. It seems to get a good report most places.

If you're interested in the very newest scanner, it is the BCD996XT. However, it is not handheld, but mobile.
Okay. I'm not really very keen on the idea of a mobile but if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages I might be persuaded. Could you please explain what I might gain by going the 996XT route or lose with the 396XT?

On a slightly different note, I presume that both models will still cover all the other stuff I like to listen to?

I understand it is necessary to program whichever scanner I end up with according to the local trunk tracking system. Programming (of anything) being something I'm really not very good at, I wonder if it's possible to do this more easily with software and a suitable interface via my computer?

Thanks in advance, I really appreciate your help. :)

Cheers,
Sandy.
 

denebru

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Mar 3, 2008
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i got colby4601 to program saskatchewan database,he even updated the databases i tried using different software to program my bcd996xt,i find freescan a really good software.for me it is.so,with this bcd996xt i can scan stony rapids rcmp with no problems. thanks to colby4601
 

colby4601

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Mar 1, 2009
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Hi Colby.

Thank you for replying to my inquiry.



Yeah, I'm kinda getting the impression that the 396XT is the way to go. It seems to get a good report most places.



Okay. I'm not really very keen on the idea of a mobile but if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages I might be persuaded. Could you please explain what I might gain by going the 996XT route or lose with the 396XT?

On a slightly different note, I presume that both models will still cover all the other stuff I like to listen to?

I understand it is necessary to program whichever scanner I end up with according to the local trunk tracking system. Programming (of anything) being something I'm really not very good at, I wonder if it's possible to do this more easily with software and a suitable interface via my computer?

Thanks in advance, I really appreciate your help. :)

Cheers,
Sandy.
The 996XT is the newest. It will have better P25 decoding than the 396XT. I haven't used the 996XT, but from reports from other users, it is the way to go. Brand new, top of the line, it's obviously up to you in the end. Both would work fine for what you're looking for. As well, both will cover everything else you wanted to/like to listen to.

Like denebru suggested, use FreeScan. It's easy to use and it's free! I would also suggest getting a Premium Subscription to the Database. That allows the systems you want to scan to be downloaded right into your scanner from the DB to FreeScan to your scanner.

Hopefully that helps.
 

SuperTex

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Apr 5, 2009
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Location
Barrie, Ontario
I bought Colby's old PSR-600 and I have another one too. The programming is a little goofy until you get used to it, especially if you are used to Uniden programming. It is really good at conventional (one channel) P25. You cannot use Freescan with the PSR-600.

I have the 996xt as well and it is a really awesome unit. It excels at trunked P25. You can also assign priority to individual talkgroups which is handy (feature not available on the t)

You can pick up older units like the 996t used for a little less money. While not quite as good as the 996xt they are still quite serviceable. The xt is about 125% of the t in my opinion.

The Unidens seem to hold their value better as well. My house is becoming a halfway home for 600's :)
 
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sandyrb

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Joined
Jan 12, 2005
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Location
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Well folks, I really appreciate all the help, thank you so much.

I definitely want a handheld unit so I reckon the BCD396XT is going to be the way for me to go. I'll get a mag-mount aerial or something for my truck and a decent antenna for home so I'll be sorted. :)

Now, the question is; where do I go to buy one? Bear in mind I use neither banks nor credit cards so buying online isn't an option unless I go through a friend. I would rather walk into a store and pay cash if possible and, of course, the more cost-effective the better. :)

Any recommendations for Saskatoon or somewhere in the province please? Thanks again for all your help, this is terrific.

Cheers,
Sandy.
 

colby4601

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Mar 1, 2009
Messages
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Sandy,

Unfortunately, there is nowhere in Saskatchewan that sells a digital scanner. Your best bet would be to purchase through a friend, either from the States at Scanner Master - Police Scanners by Uniden Bearcat, AOR and Radio Shack. or in the Classifieds section here on RR.com. You'll be able to keep it under $600 CAD that way. Prices for the 396XT at radio stores in Canada are around $630 CAD at last check.

Hopefully you are able to figure something out!

Good luck!

-Colby
 

SuperTex

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Apr 5, 2009
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Location
Barrie, Ontario
I believe Scanner Master will allow you to use PayPal.

Or buy a used unit from one of our members here. I have used Canada Post money orders to purchase units from members here, including a deal with Colby. Torontokris usually has a selection of units to choose from. I have dealt with him and he is reliable.

Check out the feedback section in the classified area to give you an idea of who has completed satisfactory deals here on the site.
 

colby4601

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Mar 1, 2009
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124
That's true. I forgot about Canada Post money orders. Those were very easy to use when I dealt with SuperTex.

There's always that option, Sandy.
 

denebru

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bcd996xt

go to durhamradio.com website. they will ship c.o.d. for the bcd996xt you`re looking at around $ 800.00 after taxes and fee. hope this helps
 

sandyrb

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Joined
Jan 12, 2005
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Location
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Unfortunately, there is nowhere in Saskatchewan that sells a digital scanner.
Sounds like a business opportunity to me! I'll tell the boss. :)

So I've been talking to Rich at ScannerMaster and he's been very helpful, as have all you guys.

I'd just like to express my appreciation for all the kind and friendly answers you've given me. Most boards/forums you join when researching stuff, you kinda get some taciturn responses from people who are, like "oh, another noob" but you guys have been really helpful AND genial. So I'm really grateful to you all.

Now I just have to sneak the purchase past 'she who must be obeyed' and I'll be back in the scanning game! :)

Cheers,
Sandy.
 
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