Suggestions for cross country trips?

WhiskeyPup

Newbie
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
1
Hello,
I have recently decided to make the jump to an actual scanner rather than using a smartphone streaming app. The apps are unreliable at times and don't cover every area.

The goal is to be able know what is going on, including digital trunked communication in the areas I pass through. I do road trips from CA to TX, AZ, NV, NM and UT for camping or offroad excursions.

Currently I am considering the Whistler WS1040 due to price point and BCD436HP due to the Uniden prestige.
What should I consider or have I not taken into consideration so far? I appreciate any feedback and suggestions.

Thanks!
 

trap5858

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
760
Location
Doylestown PA
You would be best served by a scanner that has GPS or zip code access and programming. GPS will allow you to drive through without touching the scanner. It might be sensory overload though. I personally have never tried this feature but I am sure someone will pick up on this and offer more advice. Happy trails!
 

DJ11DLN

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
2,117
Location
Mudhole, IN
A Uniden with GPS is the way to go for long road trips. If you set it correctly (range, Service Types, etc) it will work pretty well and as mentioned above it's pretty much a hands-off proposition. Everything is a compromise to one degree or another but this works pretty well, all things considered. I'm a Grecom/Whistler guy by general preference but if I'm going more than 100 miles or so the 436hp is what goes along with me.
 

cpfinlay

Feed Provider
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
237
Location
Princeton, NJ
I feel the Homepatrol II attached to a GPS is a strong choice. It's small, easy to control and has P25 Phase 2 decoding. They make a mobile mount for it to be held in place securely and the scanner is USB powered. Add a decent antenna such as the Larsen tri-band and select which service types you want from the full database on the radio. The clean interface and controls make it easy to operate as a mobile unit.
 

ofd8001

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
6,948
Location
Louisville, KY
My two cents is that a lot will depend on whether you will be scanning while mobile, or just when you stop. If mobile, then by all means a GPS device is very helpful, almost essential. Possibly even an amplified speaker to overcome road noise.

The Home Patrol would be an okay choice, though it isn't as portable for when you arrive. I do not have any Whistler products, so I cannot make a comparison with the 436, but I have one of those. The 436 works well unless simulcast is involved, then it is variable. I have an SDS 100 that does deal with simulcast quite well and it would be my "go to" scanner. Downside is cost, however.

You did not mention the Uniden 325P2, which could be a decent choice, but a pain when it comes to programming for road trips. The cost is a plus, however.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
7,790
Location
Dallas, TX
Hello,
I have recently decided to make the jump to an actual scanner rather than using a smartphone streaming app. The apps are unreliable at times and don't cover every area.

The goal is to be able know what is going on, including digital trunked communication in the areas I pass through. I do road trips from CA to TX, AZ, NV, NM and UT for camping or offroad excursions.

Currently I am considering the Whistler WS1040 due to price point and BCD436HP due to the Uniden prestige.
What should I consider or have I not taken into consideration so far? I appreciate any feedback and suggestions.

Thanks!
Any of the Uniden "database" scanners would work for what you want to do. That includes the two Home Patrol scanners (HP-1 & HP-2), the 436HP or it's base-mobile sibling the 536HP, along with the SDS series scanners, SDS100 & SDS200.

The Home Patrol 2 is a nice handy size, with a clearly readable display. It's not as sensitive as the x36HP scanners, but it's far from deaf. The downside is that it is not a good choice if you are spending an extended period of time in an area with simulcast systems. That might not matter as much if you are mainly passing through the dense urban areas, enroute to a campsite location or some sort of outdoor excursion.

The 436HP is more sensitive than the HP-2, and a little more resistant to simulcast issues; not perfect by any means, but better than the HP series. While I don't see a big difference, many people insist that the x36HP models are better on Vhf & Uhf conventional frequencies than the SDS series. (Most of the conventional systems I monitor are either fairly close, or have a strong signal.) While many of the scanner models are currently in short supply, or out of stock for extended periods, in general you can often find the 436HP for less than the HP-2.

The SDS series scanners, while very good on 700 & 800MHz trunked systems, including simulcast ones, are overkill for what you indicate you are going to do.

All of the above Uniden scanners can utilize a GPS. I would suggest that if you get one of these, update the database in the scanner before you leave for a trip.

Technically speaking, as ofd noted, you can use a GPS with the 325P2 or 996P2, but you'd have to program them in advance to make either of those work. Plus, since you can only have one file loaded, unless you were taking a laptop, to be able to change or add programming, you're stuck with whatever you left the house with. The WS1040 does have the V-folders, where you could stash various sets of programming files to switch as needed, but it does not have the capability to use a GPS, and it cannot handle a P25 Phase II system. While that system type is much more common in urban areas at this time, a number of systems are being upgraded to Phase II, and many newer trunked systems are Phase II from the start.
 

cpfinlay

Feed Provider
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
237
Location
Princeton, NJ
The Home Patrol would be an okay choice, though it isn't as portable for when you arrive.
In what respects? It takes 4 AA batteries and is smaller than most portable scanners, including the SDS100 (although obviously not as advanced).

Additionally, the mobile mount holds it securely when mobile, but it is quick-release.

SDS100 - 5.5 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches

HOMEPATROL II - 4.25 x 3.75 x 6.43 inches
 
Last edited:

ofd8001

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
6,948
Location
Louisville, KY
As in being hand-held, carrying in a pocket/on belt, etc. Not saying it is a bad choice, but not my first choice either.
 

cpfinlay

Feed Provider
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
237
Location
Princeton, NJ
As in being hand-held, carrying in a pocket/on belt, etc. Not saying it is a bad choice, but not my first choice either.
I had seen a case once for the HP, but it would be bulky on a belt given its thickness, that's for sure!!!
 

jonwienke

More Info Coming Soon!
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
12,132
Location
VA
The HomePatrol radios are terrible at receiving simulcast, which is becoming more common all the time. The 436 is better, but still nowhere near as good as the SDS100. GPS is the only way to go, as it automatically switches what is scanned as your location changes without manually changing any settings.

Uniden makes an external GPS kit, and I do internal GPS installs in the HomePatrol, 436, and SDS100.
 

KK4JUG

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
3,286
Location
GA
Simulcast will likely be your biggest problem, BUT, it may not be as big a problem as one would think. If you're moving, quality simulcast reception will always be in a state of flux. Location is of prime importance with simulcast and your location will be constantly changing. If you're willing to tolerate that, the 436 with GPS will be great. If you're traveling with someone, you could conceivably do without the GPS because one person could change ZIP codes while the other one drives. The SDS100 or 200 will GPS should give you the most problem-free reception, however.

I use the SDS100 with GPS when I travel. For at least 10 years, I've used an el cheapo magnetic multi-band Tram antenna that does extremely well. I used it on the 436 previously. I only use it on the road. I've never needed it for local reception.

If you can afford it, I'd get one of the SDS radios. It'll work for just about anything you want to listen to.
 

cpfinlay

Feed Provider
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
237
Location
Princeton, NJ
If you do get one of the SDS radios... you may want to consider purchasing the NXDN and DMR upgrades. If your travels have you going through San Antonio or another area running EDACS Provoice, you may want to consider purchasing that upgrade as well. I keep reading where that is going away in the future, however.
 

jonwienke

More Info Coming Soon!
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
12,132
Location
VA
I've rarely run into issues with simulcast (ymmv), but yes the SDS100 is far superior in that regards!
In many cases you'll have no way to know if you're having issues--the radio will be completely silent during a transmission. The only way to really know is to have a radio designed for simulcast connected to the same antenna, and compare what you get from each radio.
 

cpfinlay

Feed Provider
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
237
Location
Princeton, NJ
In many cases you'll have no way to know if you're having issues--the radio will be completely silent during a transmission. The only way to really know is to have a radio designed for simulcast connected to the same antenna, and compare what you get from each radio.
Point taken
 
Top