Trouble deciding

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Drachen_Fire

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I am in need of a scanner, preferably of a traditional base/mobile type. I have never really needed a handheld scanner, and the homepatrol scanner-trying-to-be-a-tablet-mixed-with-an-alarm-clock design never really did it for me.

I am an authorized user on some local trunking systems, and have radios for those systems, but I travel quite a bit. At a minimum, I need something that can scan P25 Type 1 trunking systems and Motorola P25 3600-baud systems, and of course, conventional. Being able to properly track 700MHz systems and VHF P25 Phase 1 systems is a requirement, otherwise I would have stuck with a PRO-2096.

Recently, I have had a Whistler WS1065, and it was a thorough dud, unable to scan our local 800MHz P25 Phase 1 trunk. I have been told that others had this issue as well, but that others have had no problem doing so. I sold it and avoided the nonstop tinkering required to make them work, which I have been told was a concurrent problem in the line of epic GRE/Radio Shack/Whistler duds in the form of the PRO 197, PRO 652, PSR-600, and WS-1065, which is a shame, because the PSR-400 it was all based on was a phenomenal analog scanner that I liked a lot.

I've also heard though, that there are plenty of trunking problems with the Uniden BCD996XT/BCD996P2 scanner line.

Does anyone make anything in the $300-$400 range that is actually worth the price they are asking, or am I better off maintaining a bank of Motorola trunking radios using non-affiliate scan?
 

jaspence

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Scanner

My luck with a Pro 18 and a PSR 800 has been very good. The Pro 18 just returned from Whistler with the upgrade and does very well on our local simulcast and now DMR. The 800 is on the way for the same upgrade, and it also handles the local simulcast well. The only radio I have that receives P25 better is my EFJ 5100.
 

Drachen_Fire

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RE the PRO 18 and PSR 800 - I've heard good things about both, but those are also both handheld scanners, which is pretty far from what I'm looking for. Does anyone offer a mobile scanner that is worth it's price tag?

RE the 536HP - $500+ is a lot of money. Does it work is the operable question. How do they do with simulcast systems, and roaming from site to site? Whistler gypped me out of $300+ on a WS1065 that was described as the next coming of Christ, but couldn't trunk a decade-old Phase 1 system at all, so I'm a bit gun-shy at this point.
 

Drachen_Fire

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None of the systems I am currently trying to hear are Simulcast. We are getting a Phase 2 11-site system next year here, but I don't think it will be Simulcast, but it might be. No one knows for sure yet. This isn't too pressing, as I will be an authorized user on it, and will have an issued radio, but wouldn't hurt to have something a bit better than the norm.

Although, after the Whistler debacle, I'd be happy if I had something that remotely resembled working at all.
 

Spitfire8520

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None of the systems I am currently trying to hear are Simulcast. We are getting a Phase 2 11-site system next year here, but I don't think it will be Simulcast, but it might be. No one knows for sure yet. This isn't too pressing, as I will be an authorized user on it, and will have an issued radio, but wouldn't hurt to have something a bit better than the norm.

Although, after the Whistler debacle, I'd be happy if I had something that remotely resembled working at all.
P25 and 11 sites? I would expect at least a fair portion of it will be simulcast.

To somewhat answer your original post, I don't think there is a scanner that can be guaranteed to work all of the time at any price range. Unfortunately your mileage may vary with any scanner that is currently available.You can find reviews across the entire spectrum for all models of scanners that exist. What works for someone else might not work for you. I have the Pro-652 (as a base) and it works pretty good, but obviously my experience with it is not the same as yours.

If simulcast is a factor in the future, you could be stuck "tinkering" for the rest of time. There is not a scanner out there that is guaranteed to handle simulcast correctly, especially if you are mobile. Many struggle to get acceptable performance from their own home. On the other hand, there are quite obviously individual cases where scanners appears to work correctly on simulcast sites. Once again, your mileage may vary.
 

Drachen_Fire

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I don't mind a certain amount of tinkering, but the tinkering that was required of the WS1065 was hideous. "Use a paperclip or a handheld stubby as an antenna because the front end overloads readily" was horrific. My mounting method is with faceplate brackets in an enclosed police console, so all of that really wasn't an option. Reading more into Whistler, it seems that I will (sadly) have to avoid that brand completely. Reports of brand new $600 TRX-2 scanners failing to receive trunked systems or properly track them is a huge red flag.

The general consensus I see on the forums leads me to the 996 Uniden series. A lot of people state that their BDC536HP is great, but doesn't do well in a mobile situation. I think for now, I'm looking at a Uniden BCD996T, based solely on price. Once I get some more funds in the future, I'll swap it out for a BCD996P2.
 

jonwienke

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Consider the 436. It can be used as a base, mobile, or handheld.
 

Drachen_Fire

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I keep saying it - I have no interest in a handheld. My cabin is packed as it is, so real estate can't really be dropped on another cradle.

Is the 536 identical to the 436, except in a mobile format?
 

jonwienke

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Yes, as far as RF performance goes. Both are excellent performers regarding selectivity and sensitivity. And with GPS connected, they work well switching sites and systems on and off to keep up with local traffic as you travel. The 536 also has wi-fi streaming not offered by the 436.

They are not perfect handling simulcast systems, but better than any other scanners. They are excellent monitoring non-simulcast digital trunked systems.
 

chief21

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...and the homepatrol scanner-trying-to-be-a-tablet-mixed-with-an-alarm-clock design never really did it for me.
Form factor preferences aside, I have had good luck with my two Homepatrol scanners. I use them exclusively in desktop service and I enjoy the clear display, descriptive text tags and the front-firing speaker. In both cases, I often monitor large, multi-site P25 phase 1 simulcast systems and have had no issues.

... just sayin'

John
 

Drachen_Fire

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Found a BCD996T that's never been out of the box (apparently) and bought it. I'll keep this one in good shape and get a BCD996P2 in due time.

Thanks to all for the input.
 

Drachen_Fire

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Form factor preferences aside, I have had good luck with my two Homepatrol scanners. I use them exclusively in desktop service and I enjoy the clear display, descriptive text tags and the front-firing speaker. In both cases, I often monitor large, multi-site P25 phase 1 simulcast systems and have had no issues.

... just sayin'

John
The form factor is the major deciding factor in this case. Between the AS+ radios, the siren controller, WiFi hotspot, extension speakers, dash cam, laptop, and all the rest, I literally only have 3 inches of console space to work with. Exactly the size of a DIN-mount mobile scanner faceplate.

Do I understand correctly, though, that the "HP" in the BCD536HP stands for "Home Patrol"? Is it the same thing in a different case?
 

jonwienke

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Home Patrol is Uniden marketing speak for a scanner with a database. The x36 line is a step above the Home Patrol scanners.
 
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