Whats the best "general" scanner? WS1088 or Uniden BCD436HP??

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Skeptical

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Hi,
I'm new to the "hobby" and was wondering what scanner I should get. I did a little research and saw the Whistler WS1080/1088 and the Uniden BCD436HP look like the go to devices. Are there any other models I should be looking at? I did not see any other options

At the moment I'm leaning towards the Whistler because you can use it while it's charging unlike the Uniden.
I would like a device that can do it all, so to speak. My budget is around ~500$ and I would like a handheld unit not a base station.
I might consider a base station if they are a lot better but I got the impression there is not that big of a difference.
Thanks in advance!
 

Ensnared

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The Whistler model you mentioned used to be called a PSR 800 made by GRE. When the factory was closed by the Chinese government, GRE stopped production. Eventually, Whistler bought the GRE line.

Let me start by saying I prefer GRE/Whistler to Uniden; however, Whistler has not developed anything beyond the PSR 900 (has new name with Whistler).

I hate the Uniden memory. But, I've observed the performance of the radios you mentioned in a side-by-side comparison. No comparison. The GRE/Whistler radios fail, miserably, in the presence of linear simulcast distortion. The reception is very intermittent and choppy in comparison to the Uniden 436. I own a PSR 500 and Uniden 436HP. In fact, I bought the 436 to address linear simulcast distortion. While my 436 is not perfect, it does a fine job on linear simulcast distortion and Phase II digital.
 

Ed6698

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The Whistler model you mentioned used to be called a PSR 800 made by GRE. When the factory was closed by the Chinese government, GRE stopped production. Eventually, Whistler bought the GRE line.

Let me start by saying I prefer GRE/Whistler to Uniden; however, Whistler has not developed anything beyond the PSR 900 (has new name with Whistler).

I hate the Uniden memory. But, I've observed the performance of the radios you mentioned in a side-by-side comparison. No comparison. The GRE/Whistler radios fail, miserably, in the presence of linear simulcast distortion. The reception is very intermittent and choppy in comparison to the Uniden 436. I own a PSR 500 and Uniden 436HP. In fact, I bought the 436 to address linear simulcast distortion. While my 436 is not perfect, it does a fine job on linear simulcast distortion and Phase II digital.
As far as the Whistler scanners failing miserably, I have to disagree. My 1080 and 1095 receive 2 different simulcast systems near perfectly, one is a 800mhz system, the other a 700mhz Phase II system, I actually can't see how it could get any better. Here are a couple videos to show the 700mhz Phase II system reception, it is just recordings as I tried to make sure no personal information is on them..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHWcjl6-vGQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLI7KpwmLik
 

SCPD

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There is definitely no non debatable answer to the question .. you will get a differing opinion from just about everyone.

It is like asking what is better .. Coke and Pepsi, Ford or Chevy, Canon or Nikon, Apple or Android.

But .. cause I like these questions, my answer .. it is about personal preference, features, location, and things like user interface and ease of use.

I personally prefer Whistler scanners (with the exception of the HomePatrol models), though their performance RF wise can be lacking.

That has more to do with the location item above more than anything. For some people, they will work great .. others not so much. The Uniden products tend to work better in harsh RF environments.

I personally hate the later design Uniden user interface and will not use their scanners (except the home patrol models).
 

Skeptical

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That has more to do with the location item above more than anything. For some people said:
I'm currently living near the DFW area so I take it I might be in a "harsh RF environment". If so I might look at the Uniden some more.

Thanks
 

SigIntel8600

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As far as the Whistler scanners failing miserably, I have to disagree. My 1080 and 1095 receive 2 different simulcast systems near perfectly, one is a 800mhz system, the other a 700mhz Phase II system, I actually can't see how it could get any better. Here are a couple videos to show the 700mhz Phase II system reception, it is just recordings as I tried to make sure no personal information is on them..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHWcjl6-vGQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLI7KpwmLik
I have no problems either with monitoring 700 MHZ Phase II simulcast systems. The "failing miserably" may be the operator not the hardware.
 

R8000

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I don't have any P25 simulcast close by where I am, so I wont worry about that aspect of things.

I have a 996, 785 and two Pro 652's and a Pro 668.

I find the Whistler programming much easier to understand. When I got my 652 I almost had the thing programmed by hand before I got the software and cable.

Each brand has their pro's and cons. Here are my experiences :

Uniden Pro : I like their receive audio. The 996 display is nice, easy to understand for the basic user. Freescan software is free.

Uniden Con : My 996 keyboard has failed three times now. P25 non simulcast trunking is slow to unmute compared to my 652 scanning the same system/talkgroups on the same antenna system. Programming structure is a bit odd. Love my 785, but again....software was $$. Bummer. Slower to decode/unmute in P25 trunking.

Whistler Pro : Display is more advanced. Better for an advanced user with more technical info.Very easy programming with object oriented system. Whistler allows for a choice of multi trunking site roaming based on RSSI, or scanned in a list. Pro 668 uses a industry standard USB cable for charging and programming.

Whistler Con : No free software (Pro 652). I use WIn 500 from Starrsoft and like it a lot. (The PRO 668 has software built into it's SD card....nice).

I always been a Uniden fan, but I stumbled on both of my 652's on closeout and couldn't pass them up. My 668 was a Pawn shop find for a great price. Since playing with the Whistler's, I just find them very versatile as an advanced user.

To be fair, I was closely watching the Uniden 536 scanner , but the unresolved hardware problems have turned me off to them. Some use the 536 and love them, but when playing with $500 for a scanner, it wasn't a gamble I couldn't afford and didn't want to take. Perhaps when the hardware problems are resolved, I will give em another look.

If you are able to, I'd say visit a local store that sells them and play with both brands and see which one suits you the best. If no store, maybe find local hams who have these units and ask around of even have a look at em.

Good luck !
 

troymail

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There is definitely no non debatable answer to the question .. you will get a differing opinion from just about everyone.

It is like asking what is better .. Coke and Pepsi, Ford or Chevy,
When I saw the thread title, this was my thought exactly.

No one (except maybe your next door neighbor who uses his scanners to monitor the same things you want to monitor) can say for sure.... and then, you may still like something different about one radio that he doesn't like.
 

Voyager

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Ditto.

The best answer is to talk to others who are monitoring the systems YOU want to monitor, and ask them which works better because one manufacturer may work better on one system while the other may work better on another system.

All these "XXXX brand works better" is telling you is what works better on the systems THEY monitor. That likely won't do you any good unless you're in the same area.

Uniden has one distinct advantage that is currently irrefutable - they decode ProVoice which may be a critical factor to you. Check to see if anything you want to monitor uses that format.
 

trunker

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There is definitely no non debatable answer to the question .. you will get a differing opinion from just about everyone.

It is like asking what is better .. Coke and Pepsi, Ford or Chevy, Canon or Nikon, Apple or Android.

But .. cause I like these questions, my answer .. it is about personal preference, features, location, and things like user interface and ease of use.

I personally prefer Whistler scanners (with the exception of the HomePatrol models), though their performance RF wise can be lacking.

That has more to do with the location item above more than anything. For some people, they will work great .. others not so much. The Uniden products tend to work better in harsh RF environments.

I personally hate the later design Uniden user interface and will not use their scanners (except the home patrol models).
Location is the key factor for receiving. Like a lot of people I live in a "dirty neighborhood" and my GREs/Whistler are hit and miss most of the time and the 436/536 do better with P25 and I get no garble (but no signal either). If I go out to the airport (flat, out of town), they both do very well but the GREs do better.

Both have rather clunky menus, especially Uniden, but what bothers me is the software has gone south (proprietary, incomplete).
 
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