Scanners - Uniden Bearcat BCD996XT or Whistler WS1065?

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by KC8QVO, Dec 25, 2014.

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  1. KC8QVO

    KC8QVO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm thinking about getting a good scanner. Mostly I need something to scan the ham bands (2m/70cm). I am in a somewhat new area and would like to try to narrow down some more active frequencies. None of the ham rigs I have do adequate scanning. I figure if I am going to get a scanner I might as well get a decent one.

    If both the Uniden Bearcat BCD996XT and Whistler WS1065 are the same price whats the better buy and why?
  2. KG4PBD

    KG4PBD Ham Member QRZ Page

    A lot comes down to user preference. Both radios have similar capabilities. Both will do P25 9600 baud trunked, but not Type 2. Both do multi-site trunked. The GRE radios have been know to do better with simulcast P25, so if you have such systems you want to monitor you may lean towards the Whistler. The GRE radios are also know to be more sensitive on the front-end, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on where you live. Keep in mind you are spending more for the P25 ability. If you want a scanner for the ham bands you don't need these models.

    The WS1065 is basically a rebadged GRE scanner. The GRE's are great scanners, as are the Uniden scanners. I have both and prefer Uniden, but it really comes down to personal preference with how the memory is structured. The 996 has been around for along time. While it's an older model it is a very good radio. The WS1065 was previously sold as the GRE PSR600, and the Radio Shack Pro 197.
  3. KC8QVO

    KC8QVO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks. I was not aware of the P25 info you describe but will keep that in mind. I went ahead and got the 996. I did some searching, also, and like you say, found GRE was no longer in the scanner business - Whistler is making their lineup and trying to carry on with what GRE started. My buddy has a radioshack/GRE that he likes a lot. The Uniden was on sale, though, and the guy at the store seemed to give it good words. I am working on programming... trying a USB to serial converter with the stock serial cable. So far I am not having much luck connecting to the scanner. I'm browsing the manual so lets see what I can come up with...
  4. K2NCC

    K2NCC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looks as if you've already committed. But for your next, if you don't need it mobile/portable, an RTL-SDR is the cheapest scanner you can get. With abilities scanners $100s more can't do.

    Does require a computer however, which to some folks means it's not real radio anymore. ;)

    24mhz to 1.7ghz, all-mode, no breaks, 3meg waterfall, lots of free software. And the receiver can be had new for around $20. Plugins to handle digital voice and many other tools.


    If it interests you at all, start here:

    What I just happened to be doing with mine at the moment... Tracking ships around 160mhz using AIS.

  5. KD0CAC

    KD0CAC Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. VE3TMT

    VE3TMT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The RTL tuners are great devices for the cost. I use one for a panadapter display for my HF rig. I had used it with SDR# as a scanner owner (996XT) I would take the true scanner over the dongle any day of the week. P25 and trunking are either impossible or a PITA to set up and it tie up the computer. My preference was to go with a stand alone unit.

    I've also monitored aircraft with all the "1080" programs, but you can do the same with FlightTracker. And it got boring very quickly.
  7. NQ5F

    NQ5F Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you are having trouble with the 996 I highly recommend using the free scan software and radio reference database. There is no better way.
  8. KITER

    KITER QRZ Member

    Steve have you installed any of those free databases you can use to program your scanner yet? boards should help you out. I had all the software but had the wrong cables... and I programmed my 996xt all by hand. It is not difficult just time consuming but with fast fingers and a good memory for numbers its a breeze. I went to RadioReference frequency databases for all the freqs (and "talkgroups" for my local police depts). I'd never had a digital trunk scanner before ever and the "radio guys" will demand that you "read & learn all you can FIRST" which makes no sense as what I was reading made zero sense to me, as it was like reading a Greek epic without understanding Greek. I got tired of hearing *nothing* on scanner so I buckled down and just made a new "Site", and started saving frequencies and etc into the scanner all on my own. It did NOT take six hours contrary to what you hear others complain. You will not break the scanner as it can always be set back to Default as you got it out of the box. There is a great How-To: store freq

    That is the "Easier To Read BCD996XT Manual". It is my Scanner Bible.

    have fun and it is easy to do yourself but check out the forums on RadioRef they will help you with any questions and maybe a local person can send you their own database file for your area.
  9. K2NCC

    K2NCC Ham Member QRZ Page

    In all fairness, it takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. Software gurus have made it easy for us to tune into many digital voice formats, including P25, DMR and D-STAR...

    ... and a lot less expensive than any scanner would cost. I can do more with a $20 dongle and a computer than I ever could with a $400 scanner.

    That Bearcat BCD996XT has huge gaps of coverage. Appears to only do FM, no sideband, AM, etc. which, for me at least, is a "I'll pass, no thank you."
  10. K2NCC

    K2NCC Ham Member QRZ Page

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