The official PRO-96 / BCD396T comparison thread

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Voyager

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Soon many people will be asking for comnparisons, here is a thread for reference between the two current offerings from Uniden and GRE (via Radio Shack)

Joe M.
______________________________________________________

Features of the BCD396T, (that the Pro-96 DOES NOT HAVE or are better in the BCD396T)

-- MUCH smaller size
-- Fire ToneOut feature
-- Close Call frequency capture feature
-- Longer alpha-tags (16 vs 12)
-- LTR trunking (except Passport and MultiNet)
-- EDACS Narrowband trunking (Except ProVoice on any EDACS system)
-- EDACS SCAT trunking
-- EDACS Emergency ID feature
-- I-Calls
-- Patch Tracking
-- Status Bit option (on or off) (3600 systems only, of course)
-- End Code option (detect or ignore)
-- Lockout Talkgroups without taking away available ID channels
-- Up to 200 Talkgroups ID's per bank (vs 150 in the 96)
-- Up to three Base/Offset ranges for VHF/UHF through the keypad
-- More custom search ranges (10 vs 1)
-- Above ranges may be searched WITH SCAN!
-- More pre-programmed searches
-- Data Skip option
-- More priority channels (infinite number vs 1 per bank)
-- Selectable frequency step sizes (Auto, 5, 6.25, 7.5, 8.33, 10, 12.5, 25, 50 and 100kHz)
-- More frequency modes (supports SNFM and WFM)
-- Auto Store during a search
-- Beep Alert for desired frequencies or talkgroups
-- Faster scanning and searching rate (theoretically 100 ch/sec vs 60 ch/sec)
-- Priority Plus option (Scans only priority channels)
-- More channels per 'bank' (unlimited vs 50) and more total channels (6000 vs 500) of immediate use (meaning without having to load from memory or computer program)
-- 20 Groups (as opposed to 5 TGID sub-banks)
-- Above with up to 200 TGs (as opposed to 30 IDs per sub-bank)
-- Computer Control (Not just programming)
-- Reverse Frequency button (Repeater input)
-- Lockout specific CTCSS/DCS during scanning or searching (Tone LockOut)
-- PC Cable included
-- Power supply included
-- Batteries included (3 NiMH 2300 mAH)
-- User upgradeable firmware
-- FREE UASD software
-- Squelch operated backlight option
-- Skips over all encrypted transmissions (PRO-96 only does on 3600 systems and when both sides are using it)
-- Up to 400 systems (trunked, conventional, or mixed)
-- MilAir coverage spec'ed (96 has MilAir expansion abilities at reduced sensitivity)
-- Some TV (CHs 2-20) coverage (none on 96)
-- FM Broadcast support (none on 96 - frequencies can be opened, but not heard clearly)
-- On-frequency support of the FedBand (96 uses 5 kHz steps I.E. 166.1600 MHz as opposed to 166.1625 MHz)


Features of the Pro-96, (that the BCD396T DOES NOT have or are better in Pro-96):

-- Louder audio
-- Better screen and keypad backlighting (debatable)
-- More backlight functions and delays
-- Wider screen fonts
-- More reliable Subaudible Squelch Tail Elimination turn-off codes (debatable)
-- V-Scanner Folders feature (Virtually 11 scanners-in-one or 5500 channels total)
-- Excellent software (Win96 by Don Starr)
-- Battery Low threshold adjustable (Through software)
-- Up to six Base/Offset ranges for VHF/UHF trunked systems through software (Only one through the keypad)
-- Analog volume and squelch controls (BCD396T has 16 digital steps on each)
-- Easier to store found CTCSS/CDCSS tones/codes
-- V-folders can quickly restore a default setup (clear lockouts, etc)
-- Infinite backlight availability without losing timed setting.
-- Can remove from belt much easier if you have other devices on belt
(396 must be turned upside down to remove)
-- Can scan several zones/sites in the same bank. (only need one scan list)

Trade-offs:
-- SMA (396) vs BNC (96)
-- Blue backlight (396) vs Amber (96)
-- PRO-96 has rubber grip issues - 396 may have printing issues (too new to tell)
-- Faster to change 96 battery 'pack' vs only 3 cells for 396 (loose)


Note: This list will be updated as required.
 

rescue161

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I LOVE the fact that I can mask the frequency on the 396. The 96 forces you to always view the frequency and the CTCSS/DCS tones even though you have an alpha tag for it.
 

whooey

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I personally think that their is some comparison between these radios but not much. GRE really needs to ante up to the 396 :p then have a comparison thread. It will be a long time though I suspect.

The PRO96 came out in 08/03 I believe, so the BCD396T is almost 2 years newer!!!

Come on GRE give us a new smaller, more advanced, digital hand held!!!
(Make it black, not silver please!!!)

Brandon G.
 

loumaag

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whooey said:
...Come on GRE give us a new smaller, more advanced, digital hand held!!!...
But before you do, please address a realistic (pun intended) method of handling rebanding in the 800MHz area. :shock:
 

rescue161

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It is confusing as it has very different programming. It (software) almost reminds me of how M/A-Com radios are programmed.
 

scanjunkie

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loumaag said:
whooey said:
...Come on GRE give us a new smaller, more advanced, digital hand held!!!...
But before you do, please address a realistic (pun intended) method of handling rebanding in the 800MHz area. :shock:
Lou, What do you mean by this? I thought the PRO-96 would be able to handle the rebanding via a custom table set up...is this not the case??

Thanks!!
 

loumaag

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scanjunkie said:
Lou, What do you mean by this? I thought the PRO-96 would be able to handle the rebanding via a custom table set up...is this not the case??
Yes, it will (or at least we think it will). I don't consider that a realistic approach for a future scanner, how about taking a hint from Uniden (and several other radio manufacturers) and allow flash updates of firmware.
 

Al42

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scancapecod said:
Features of the Pro-96, (that the BCD396T DOES NOT have or are better in Pro-96):
- Superior AGC
Just a firmware tweak I wish Uniden would make already.

- No need to make adjustments to P25 threshhold settings (there are none, it's accomplished automatically)
So does the 396. But you can start the 396 at a better place if you prefer.
 

John_M

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They are both great scanners.

The biggest complaint that I have with the 396 is that if you want to find a CTS or DCS code you have to go through the menu and enable the search for each frequency, quite combersome compared to the Pro 96. Like other people have said the digital AGC just doesn't kick in soon enough.

The 396 is much easier to program by hand and you hardly have to
look at the manual to program. With the Pro-96 you have to keep looking at the manual to remember all the keys to press for different functions. As for the size of the 396T. I think that this is as small as a scanner can get. Any smaller and you won't have room for the display, keypad, and speaker.

Biggest reasons why I bought the 396: Digital, LTR, Milair, and Close Call.

I think that we should wait for the next GRE Digital scanner to compare to the 396T. There is just too many features on the 396 that the Pro-96 doesn't have.
 

Voyager

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JMedley_1 said:
Biggest reasons why I bought the 396: Digital, LTR, Milair, and Close Call.

I think that we should wait for the next GRE Digital scanner to compare to the 396T. There is just too many features on the 396 that the Pro-96 doesn't have.
Digital is a non-issue. They both do digital.

I thought about comparing the 396 to the next GRE, and likely I will, but for now the choice for those needing a P25 portable is between the PRO-96 and BCD396T. The BC296D was released after the PRO-96, too, and you could have argued that the PRO-96 should have only been compared to the BC250D, and not the BC296D. Who knows when the next GRE will be out. Maybe the next P25 portable will be yet another one by Uniden.

Joe M.
 

John_M

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Voyager said:
I thought about comparing the 396 to the next GRE, and likely I will, but for now the choice for those needing a P25 portable is between the PRO-96 and BCD396T.

Joe M.
True. I would like to see continuous coverage on the next digital model whether it be from Uniden or GRE. I hope it is from GRE just to keep the competition
going.:)
 

gatorhater

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Question

With both the BCT396D and the PRO-96, which is the easiest the program it manually? I ask just in case my computer has a problem.
Thanks.
 

mikewazowski

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Voyager said:
Features of the Pro-96, (that the BCD396T DOES NOT have or are better in Pro-96):

-- V-Scanner Folders feature (Virtually 11 scanners-in-one or 5500 channels total)
I think this one is debatable as the BC396 claims 6000 channels although that decreases as you add alpha tags and other features. With Uniden's Quickkey's, you can easily select/deselect systems. I'd say it's a tossup.

Voyager said:
-- Excellent software (Win96 by Don Starr)
Since the BC396 is newer, I think we'll see software comparable to Win96. Already there's some freeware available and ARC396 by Butel is looking good. There's also UASD from Uniden although I've never tried it.

Voyager said:
-- Up to six Base/Offset ranges for VHF/UHF trunked systems through software (Only one through the keypad)
This one confuses me. All the Motorola RSS I've ever used has only shown 3 ranges for programming when it comes to the older Motorola 3600 trunk systems.

With P25, I believe the ranges are transmitted in the control channel data and the need for entering this information is negated. The BC396 supposedly will pick this information out of the data stream and program itself accordingly.
 

DaveIN

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Mike_Oxlong said:
The BC396 supposedly will pick this information out of the data stream and program itself accordingly.
It won't program itself, but it will automatically store frequencies or talkgroups using the auto-store feature, but the automatic programming is at the top of the wish list for future models.

IMHO: I think GRE will really need to work hard to come up with a better handheld scanner.
 

DaveIN

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gatorhater said:
With both the BCT396D and the PRO-96, which is the easiest the program it manually? I ask just in case my computer has a problem.
Thanks.
That's a tough one. I can do both just as easy, but with the 396 dynamic memory all you need is to have the system programmed in, select the quick key you have it assigned to, and your scanning. With the 96 you have to do go to into the virtual scanner mode, select the location you have your setup stored in, and wait for the 96 to reload and then select the bank you want.
 

John_M

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This upgrade I think the BCD396T needs the most. Finer digital adjustment of squelch. I have been listening to both scanners scan the same two banks, all frequencies in the 150mhz range. The Pro-96 stops on transmissions while the 396T just keeps scanning. This has only happend on two frequencies. I think the culprit is the squelch setting on the 396T. With the 396T the squelch setting at "1" I think is more squelch than what the Pro-96 is set at (Just over the threshold). Instead of have 10 settings for squelch on the 396T I think that it could use 20 or more settings.
 
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pro92b

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There are 16 settings for squelch, 0 through 15. If you set the squelch at 0 can the 396 receive the station that the PRO-96 hears?
 

John_M

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Pro92b:

I'll have to try that. I have had my radio set to 1 and haven't changed the setting since I got the radio. If the transmissions do come in with squelch at 0
then we know it's the squelch.
 
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