Topics

Hand Held Scanner Recommendations


Orion, AI6JB
 

Hi everyone,

A non-ham friend of mine is looking for a hand held scanner capable of listening to local public service and CalFire.  Does anyone have any recommendations?

73 Orion, AI6JB


Gary - KC3PO
 

I think the first (and maybe last) brand to look at is Uniden... I'm on my second Uniden scanner in close to 20 years and have been happy with their performance. The one I have is about 10 years old, so I'm not up to the minute up to date with the current models... but even still, mine handles trunk tracking and really 98% of what's needed in this area. CalFire and so on is not trunked, but a lot of the other systems in the area are. The model I have is the BCD396XT, but as you might imagine, it's no longer sold.

Looking at Uniden's website quickly, it looks like the current equivalent to mine would probably be the BCD325P2 but I see they have a couple other categories in their handhelds - the "Home Patrol" BCD436HP looks interesting, as does the SDS100 (which you "program" merely by entering your zip code).

As I'm sure you know, in the end it boils down to a final compromise between price and features - but I'm fairly certain any three of the above will meet and exceed the minimum requirements - most of the differences beyond that are convenience of operation, type of display, etc.

I do have an aftermarket antenna on mine - the Diamond SRH77CA works well and definitely improved over the standard rubber ducky. Your friend might also be interested in connecting to an external antenna at home or whatever - the usual cables and connectors apply. Discones work well (I have one stashed away) but even my X50 helps a lot.

Great, now you've got me thinking I need to upgrade this thing - LOL. Thanks!

- Gary  KC3PO


Bruce Anderson
 

Orion,

I would recommend a scanner with  APCO P25 and Phase 1 & 2 trunking. Roseville and Placer County are now digital and Sacramento has switched to Motorola II. A good external antenna is a must for most listening outside your town.

Bruce-K6BAA


On 8/19/2020 11:07 AM, Orion, AI6JB wrote:
Hi everyone,

A non-ham friend of mine is looking for a hand held scanner capable of listening to local public service and CalFire.  Does anyone have any recommendations?

73 Orion, AI6JB


Bruce Anderson
 

I would also second Gary's recommendation of the SDS100. Even the slightly older digital scanners are having reception issues with Motorola phase II.


On 8/19/2020 11:07 AM, Orion, AI6JB wrote:
Hi everyone,

A non-ham friend of mine is looking for a hand held scanner capable of listening to local public service and CalFire.  Does anyone have any recommendations?

73 Orion, AI6JB