What would be a good scanner

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RobynRex

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Hi my name is Robyn and I am interested in buying a uniden scanner but I am not sure which would be the best one to buy. I am looking for one that is easy to use and has dual trunking and fair amount of features. I don't know much about scanners but I would like one easy to use and that I can program on the computer. price is not really a problem but I would like to find one that is under 450 or so. I would like a handheld one. Thanks for your help.
Robyn
 

KC0QNB

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Digital yes or no?, What bands do you need? (if you don't know) ask someone in your town. This question has been answered many times, with the same reply. we simply don't have enough info to offer any suggestions.
 

trixwagen

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If you don't need digital, you can still get a new BR330T from ebay for $250 shipped.

But you will need digital, won't you?

As digital Uniden handhelds go, the best one is the BCD396T. It is a good scanner, but maybe getting a little long in the tooth. $500 seems to be the going rate for those.

I know this is a Uniden forum, but you should also consider the GRE PSR-500. You can get one for $450 and in some ways it is "better" than the current crop of Uniden handhelds.
 

RobynRex

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digital

Could you explain what the pros and cons of going digital would be. I am still really new to scanners. Thanks
 

KC0QNB

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Simply put if the frequencies you want to hear are digital, you won't understand a word on with a non-digital scanner., A digital scanner will run you $500 plus.
 

RobynRex

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how do I know if the frequencies that I want to listen to are in digital and if I get a digital scanner can I also listen to non digital frequencies.
 

hoser147

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Digital would be the way to go and if you want to stay with Uniden the 396 or the 996 is what you want to look at There is a lot of info in the Wiki on starting out scanning the link is listed at the top of the page.........Hoser
 

ka3jjz

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Of course it would help Robyn if we told her that anything underlined or in blue is a link (ahem)

Anyway, Robyn while the BCD396T is the only Uniden digital handheld, there are 2 others currently on the market - the nearest competitor is the GRE PSR-500 and, seemingly fading fast, the RS PRO-96.

The links above all point inside our wiki reference which is an extensive list of articles and information on numerous topics on scanning and other forms of monitoring. You may view as much as you wish without a seperate sign on; if you wish to edit anything, then you must sign on with your RR userid/password.

Even if you don't completely understand what these articles are telling you, keep them handy - as you learn about the various digital handhelds, no doubt you will want to refer to them again. As for terminology, there's no such thing, in my humble (OK not so humble!) opinion, as a complete glossary, but we do have a good start at one here . If you see a term you want defined, click on it and you should go to the article that describes it.

Someone made the suggestion to get to other Topeka scannists (or scannists in that general area) to get some ideas about what works for them, and that's a very good idea. We have a Kansas forum (one of the many state-by-state ones we have here), and while I don't know of any Topeka related scanning email lists, there is one in KC which is quite active, and likely you can get numerous pointers there as well.

Be sure to be specific about what you want to hear; the more specific you are, the better the recommendation will tend to be

73 Mike
 
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GlennGlenn

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Of course it would help Robyn if we told her that anything underlined or in blue is a link (ahem)

Anyway, Robyn while the BCD396T is the only Uniden digital handheld, there are 2 others currently on the market - the nearest competitor is the GRE PSR-500 and, seemingly fading fast, the RS PRO-96.

The links above all point inside our wiki reference which is an extensive list of articles and information on numerous topics on scanning and other forms of monitoring. You may view as much as you wish without a seperate sign on; if you wish to edit anything, then you must sign on with your RR userid/password.

Even if you don't completely understand what these articles are telling you, keep them handy - as you learn about the various digital handhelds, no doubt you will want to refer to them again. As for terminology, there's no such thing, in my humble (OK not so humble!) opinion, as a complete glossary, but we do have a good start at one here . If you see a term you want defined, click on it and you should go to the article that describes it.

Someone made the suggestion to get to other Topeka scannists (or scannists in that general area) to get some ideas about what works for them, and that's a very good idea. We have a Kansas forum (one of the many state-by-state ones we have here), and while I don't know of any Topeka related scanning email lists, there is one in KC which is quite active, and likely you can get numerous pointers there as well.

Be sure to be specific about what you want to hear; the more specific you are, the better the recommendation will tend to be

73 Mike
Hi Mike, I wikie'd this thing to death, read all about the scanners and as I stated in another post, this buying a new scanner is making my head explode. There's a LOT to know and I , like Robyn, want to know what is the current state of art in mobile digital scanners, Uniden or GRE?? Specifically, I am looking for police, EMS and also State Police in northern Illinois, specifically, Lake County, IL. I want Lake County & Cook County Sheriff and Il state Police and also aircraft who time cars for tickets. I was told that there's some channel (40??) where the plane talks to the cops. Is this nationwide setting (40?) or is it local. I moderate a detector forum, so we get Newbs a lot who ask the same thing, whats the best detector. Its hard to sticky or wicki these since people tend to read and then say, What????
 

captclint

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Hi Mike, I wikie'd this thing to death, read all about the scanners and as I stated in another post, this buying a new scanner is making my head explode.
In general, it is not a good idea to jump into a thread that someone else has started, as the answers may be confusing. In this case, you both need digital, so the general answers may apply to both. Neither of you or RobynRex specified whether you wanted portables or base/car mobiles. Here are the links for Digital Trunktrackers. GRE tends to handle Digital a little better than Uniden in some ways, but GRE tends to overload where there are a lot of transmitters, including cell towers. In other words, they are great in more rural areas, but other stations might block communications in a city environment. Cook and Lake counties look like they may be far enough from Chicago, so GRE might be OK. However, I also note there are several subdivisions, so may depend on where you live in this areas:
1-Northern Suburbs, 2-Western Suburbs, 3-Southern Suburbs, Chicago, City of
It is best to ask users on the Illinois Radio Discussion Forum to see if they have any experience with GRE and your counties. Another source is Chicago Area Radio Monitoring Association (CARMA) Yahoo Group.
As you can see answer for you may be quite different than for
RobynRex

You both are going to need software to help program, but more importantly, to understand all the features of your digital radios. Once you decide on the scanner, clicking on the links provided for Digital Trunktrackers will list the software that works with each radio.
 
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GlennGlenn

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In general, it is not a good idea to jump into a thread that someone else has started, as the answers may be confusing. In this case, you both need digital, so the general answers may apply to both. Neither of you or RobynRex specified whether you wanted portables or base/car mobiles. Here are the links for Digital Trunktrackers. GRE tends to handle Digital a little better than Uniden in some ways, but GRE tends to overload where there are a lot of transmitters, including cell towers. In other words, they are great in more rural areas, but other stations might block communications in a city environment. Cook and Lake counties look like they may be far enough from Chicago, so GRE might be OK. However, I also note there are several subdivisions, so may depend on where you live in this areas:
1-Northern Suburbs, 2-Western Suburbs, 3-Southern Suburbs, Chicago, City of
It is best to ask users on the Illinois Radio Discussion Forum to see if they have any experience with GRE and your counties. Another source is Chicago Area Radio Monitoring Association (CARMA) Yahoo Group.
As you can see answer for you may be quite different than for
RobynRex

You both are going to need software to help program, but more importantly, to understand all the features of your digital radios. Once you decide on the scanner, clicking on the links provided for Digital Trunktrackers will list the software that works with each radio.
Clint, I wasn't trying to hijack her thread, BUT she had the same questions as I. Thanks for your advice, as I am going to go digital since thats the wave of the future. Now, the real question for me, as I want to go MOBILE or handheld is what unit to get. Like the Passport Radar Detector 9500 Ix, I want something that is updateable online for firmware changes. Seems like the GRE guys are happier than the Uniden people on the updates?? This true???

Being near Chicago during the day, I can imagine that the sheer numbers of calls would make a scanner crazy or me, or BOTH!! However, at night and in Lake County, I would assume less traffic for Lake and Cook Counties? Again, I don't know as this is all new to me. On our detector forums, its pretty easy to narrow the good ones down to 2, the V-1 and the Passport 9500iX. Its that simple despite the hundreds of choices out there. I wish scanners were that simple since the detectors are almost dummy proof, plug n play and they do it all for you with GPS, Redlight cams & speed cams. So, as far as a mobile digital unit for northern Cook and Lake County Illinois for both sheriff, ISP and aircraft, what would you do??? Don't forget the antenna either??

Thanks again for your reply, it was very helpful.
 

captclint

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So, as far as a mobile digital unit for northern Cook and Lake County Illinois for both sheriff, ISP and aircraft, what would you do??? Don't forget the antenna either??
Since you are in a fairly high RF area, AND *StarCom21 - Illinois -- 700/800 MHz (Statewide P25) has encrypted channels(see the mode column for "E"- GRE does not "skip over" encrypted channels), I would go with the 396, unless you want the more permanent installation of a 996 in the car. Also, you have tons of sites, systems, and TGID's, and I think Uniden has more capacity in this area. However, you should check with your IL forum as they will know a lot more about conditions and digital issues than I do here on the east coast. As far as an antenna, don't know if you mean for the car or the home. There is an Antenna Forum for that decision.

Since there are trunked systems, you should definitely get software. This will not only make your programming much easier, but it will help you understand all of the features of the 996. Here is a list of software. Three that provide the most value are ARC996 by BuTel, and free programs, FreeSCAN and BCtool. They allow a automatic download of any or all frequencies in your county and state from this site, and sets up trunking TGID's & para's(this is a big help). They have a neat virtual control panel that works your scanner from the keyboard., but the best part is that it logs all the information(freq & PL) and lets you see your scanner window in a much larger scale that you can actually see clearly. The logging is great when searching, but it is also handy for normal scanning. Often, I do not look up in time to see what agency was just talking, so I just look at the log.

For the "free", I lean towards BCtool, because the display can be easily minimized and made to "stay on top". However, you can download all three and see which one you like(ARC free demo has some limitations, but it is robust)

Also, if you have a new PC or lap top, you will need a serial to USB converter from Uniden http://tinyurl.com/2cqyu4 or Radio Shack: http://tinyurl.com/2gpbsp . Another source is http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...=10311&cs_id=1031104&p_id=2276&seq=1&format=2, for quite a bit less. It is reported to work.


Note: You would need to become a paid subscriber to this site to get the automatic down loads, but this is also very reasonable($7.5 for 3 months). This can save you countless hours of programming and frustration.
 
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