Allright; I am not new to all this scanning stuff but my experience has been to buy it, open it, plug it in and listen since 1988. I have now decided to grow up, spend more and become confused and frustrated!! That said I have a question for ye all. I live mid Cape Cod Ma. And I belive equipment purchases are as much about geography as they are about antennas. I want, no am, going to build a shack that is current, high end and fits my area. I want ALLOT more than Police, Fire and baby monitors. (I currently own 2 pro-2022's/2- pro-528's/1- BC 898T) That said, I recently bought an AOR 8200 MK3 for mobile scanning that I plan on putting an opto electronics scout for NF reaction tune. NOW the dilemma. I want a solid base communications receiver/scanner so I can grab the weak/hiddden signals and share them with each and every one of you, my newest, bestest friends... I was gonna buy an Icom 7100 but walked cause it is tooo old, wanted an Icom 9000 but too much money and what if I get bored? So I found two units that have everything that I want but not rolled into one.... That said they are the AOR 8600 MK2B and the BC 996 XT. Okay so what is a newbie to do? The Trunked Apco draw of the 996 I dont see as necessary in my area just yet and the 8600 can accept an apco board though conventional. The 8600 is a "communications receiver" and doesnt scan or play nice with the virginal predisposition of the new guy. The list can and will go on and on and on and on..... I guess what I am asking from those of you who have gone around the block tried, failed and suceeded what would you do if you where me? (and dont say kill myself) I am leaning to the 8600 BECAUSE I belive and am told I can pick out weak signals more so than the 996 that I can throw on my other units and I can add to the 8600 like the spectrum analyzer, voice inverter, etc...etc... and while the 996 is a GREAT scanner I dont see the need for all the bells and whistles that it offers being where I am living........ Maybe I answered my own question, dont know but I would love to hear other, more seasoned hobbyists and your advice. While I dont want to conclude on a negative, and though it is only a first impression I will hope it to be an abberation, I feel sufficently agreived after waiting all weekend (and Presidents day) for Scannermaster to open today, and two plus hours of trying, someone finally answered the phone. I had my credit card in hand READY to buy the 8600 or 996 When I asked some questions advice I got a cold, blank, uninterested response from the other side of the phone. Not what I was expecting. So here I sit, fishing for some knowledge on the boards, still eager to buy, but only after I get some learned opinions/experiences will I then pull the trigger because an old wise ham once said it is much easier to let the cat out of the bag then to get him back in......... Thankx in advance.