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Model Number: BC355N|Change
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I purchased this scanner to replace one that I had purchased at Radio Shack about 15 years ago. Comparing the two, is like comparing night and day. What I like the most about this scanner is its ease of use. It took me forever to figure out how to use all of the functions on my old scanner, while on this one I was up and running in just a few hours time. Also, the signal reception is superb, allowing me to easily scan not only police and fire departments, but also the National Weather Service, aircraft bands, ham radio bands, etc.

The scanner has a wonderful feature that allows you to hone in on local frequencies, thus taking the aggravation out of spending an endless amount of time trying to connect to transmitters that are nearby. Also, while I'll probably never use it to the fullest, the scanner comes with a built-in memory, capable of storing up to 300 programmed channels. Another very nice feature, and one that will get you up and running in no time, is the 6 pre-programmed service searches, covering the most listened to bands. You can use either two AA batteries, or rechargeable batteries of the same size. I would recommend using regular AA alkaline batteries, as I've been using the scanner for over two months and have yet to have to replace them.

The bottom line is that this is a well made, reasonably priced scanner that comes with a lot of useful features and is extremely easy to use. I give it 5 stars.
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on December 2, 2014
Had a homepatrol 1 nothing wrong with it. When the homepatrol 2 came out my advice to all scanner owners, Buy this! I am getting Twice what I was hearing on HP 1 . Had it up and running in no time. Pulled in Wilmington Ohio, 54 miles away. Thanks To Uniden I will recommend this to anyone.Money Well Spent.
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on April 9, 2013
(The following review is for the Uniden Bearcat BC355N scanner, and does not apply to other models.)

DISCLAIMER: I work for a well-known electronics store that currently sells this scanner along with other brands and models. Despite this, I am NOT endorsing this model of scanner, or any other particular model. I am merely posting this information as an FYI to anyone who currently has or is planning to purchase this model of scanner. Because of my professional relationship with a corporation that regularly sells scanners and other radio equipment, I have opted to select a "neutral" rating of three stars on this product. Any opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions, and are not shared by my employers or their parent corporation.

As many others have stated, this scanner is extremely difficult to program. This is because it is not a "direct-entry" scanner. I.E., you cannot manually punch in a frequency, then save it to an empty channel. This is quite bothersome. With that said, it IS possible to manually program this scanner...but it is an extremely tedious and slow process.

First off...forget the owner's manual. It implies that the only way to program a frequency into the "Private" bank is to wait until the scanner happens by miraculous luck to stop on the desired frequency while someone is broadcasting on it. Although that is one way to program it, there is a better way.

1. Make a note of the frequency you want to program in

2. Press "BAND" repeatedly until you select the band range that contains the desired frequency.
FOR EXAMPLE: If you want to program in 146.3150MHz, press "BAND" repeatedly until it says "144-148"

3. The scanner will begin searching that band range.

4. Once the display gets near the frequency you want to program, push "HOLD" to stop the search.

5. Using the UP and DOWN buttons, manually select the frequency you want to program in.

6. Push the "PROG" button. This tells the scanner that you want to save that frequency.

7. Push the "PRIVATE" button. This automatically selects the first unused channel in the "Private" bank.

8. Push the "PROG" button again to save the frequency to that channel.

You will need to repeat all of the above steps for each frequency you want to program in. All told, it's actually not too hard...it's just EXTREMELY tedious.

A few caveats you need to be aware of: First, this scanner does NOT check for duplicate entries while programming in frequencies. Thus, if you try to program in a frequency that's already been saved to a different channel, it won't alert you, and it'll effectively be a wasted channel.

Second, although this scanner is advertised as having 300 channels, the "Private" bank actually contains only 100 channels. The other 200 programmable channels are integrated into the "PD/FD/EMG" and "AIR/MRN" banks. Thus, to use the other 200 channels, you MUST have those other banks turned on. Although this might not be an issue to some people, for others it greatly increases the risk of the scanner randomly stopping on frequencies you may not wish for it to stop on. Yes, it is possible to lock out these unwanted frequencies, but depending on your location the number of unwanted frequencies may exceed the maximum number of frequencies you are allowed to lock out.

Lastly, this scanner does NOT in any way support "cloning". A vast majority of scanners made during the past 10+ years can be connected either to a computer or another scanner of identical make with a special cable, thereby allowing you to either program the scanner via software, or by copying the data from another scanner that has already been programmed. Since this scanner lacks cloning, the ONLY way to program it is by hand. Thus, the tedium mentioned earlier.

Aside from the difficulty/tediousness of programming, I'd rank this scanner as "average". The compact size is nice, but the clarity on the built-in speaker is a little lacking. Reception with the included telescopic antenna is adequate (I have not yet tested the vehicle window antenna), but you would definitely get better reception with a third-party antenna (Luckily it has a standard BNC connection for the antenna to facilitate this). I have not had any opportunity to test the "Close Call" feature, so I cannot comment on that.

Personally, I'd choose something else. But, as I said before, I'm not necessarily endorsing this or any other scanner. I simply wanted to post info on how to program the scanner, along with my thoughts in general so you can make an informed decision.
1717 comments| 237 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 13, 2014
With the new BCD436HP Bearcat scanner, Uniden continues to be the front runner in scanning today. I did not buy mine from Amazon but reviewing items here reach a large number of readers. As far as reception, audio quality and features, this scanner has to be at the top of the list along with its counter-part BCD536HP mobile/base unit. With that being said, I returned mine to the local distributer because it fell short of my personal needs. Let me explain. I am currently using and will continue to use the bearcat 396xt for my handheld unit until radio technology in my local area makes it obsolete. I have been using Regency and Bearcat scanners since the days of crystals in late sixties. I am a Ham Radio Operator and IT consultant. There were a few things about the 436 that were deal breakers for me. KEEP IN MIND that my grips might not be yours. Everyone has different needs and wants. This scanner is one of if not the best for listening to your local agencies doing their jobs. Today’s complex digital communication systems make it hard to develop a scanner that is simple to use and easy to understand.

Grip 1. The following is taken directly from the 436hp’s users guide page 15……”When the scanner is turned on, the scanner does not charge the batteries.” Now I know that charging and using at the same time is not the best for battery life and can cause a little extra heat inside the scanner, but I like to return home, plug in my scanner and continue to listen and charge at the same time. I have been doing it for years on my 396xt with no side effects. O.K. Bearcat here’s the scenario ……there has been a strong tornado/thunderstorm in my area. Power is out and my scanner batteries are getting low. I can’t Plug it into my battery powered laptops USB, my car or my generator to charge and continue to listen when I need it most. Bearcat didn’t even provide a 110 charger plug for the USB cord with this unit. The only way to charge it out of the box is with the provided USB cable plugged into your computer. The charge port (also the pc programming port) is hidden by a rubber cover that has to be removed every time you charge or program. I give it six months of bi-daily charging before it falls off in your hand. They also don’t include the normal 12 volt car charger but then again what good would it do. Your only option for continual use is to have an extra set of batteries, a separate plugin wall charger and become a battery swapper.

Grip 2. The size of the unit is noticeably taller and thicker than my 396xt which makes it harder to waist carry it on a belt. The 436hp scanner has a similar case style and feel of the older 245xlt but has a much larger display than any previous handheld model. The larger display is nice for programming, but after that just creates the larger overall footprint for the waist carry. I feel the case style looks and feels cheap in your hand. My 396xt has the feel and looks of a professional 2-way radio and is a compact carry in the palm of your hand.

Grip 3. Speaking of programming, bearcat does make it easy on the HP series scanners for the novice to get up and running with no previous experience. Just pick your country enter your zip code and your listening to local traffic. But you are usually listening to much more then you want to hear. There are panel buttons on the front to fine tune the systems you want to hear and a avoid button to turn off certain unwanted channels on that system. But after that you have to become an expert in drill down menus, Digital Communication design, terminology and patients in order to get the most from this electronic marvel using just the front panel buttons. But like my 396xt there is a much easier way to program the scanner but requires 3rd party software installed on your computer. At the time I am writing this review only one company has a beta version of programming software for the 436/536 at an addition cost of $50.00 and of course you need a computer. Final release of this software is expected 1st quarter 2014. Bearcat provides software that comes on the installed micro SD chip called “Sentinel”. The software is more for frequency database management and makes it easier to keep track of avoids, create favorites lists and saves profiles. It does not address the needs of nitty-gritty tweaking. Bearcat needs to follow through with its own software for advanced tweaking.
Bottom Line:
I suggest that anyone thinking about the purchase of the BCD436HP go to the Uniden website and read the manual completely before they make their purchase. It can be very intimidating to do that. If all you want to do is put in your zip code and hear what you hear, then this scanner is for you. But this scanner is feature filled and you will only be tapping into a fraction of them without extensive programming. I would rate this scanner a 5 as far as a receiver that keeps up with today’s communication technologies, but would have to rate it a 3 ½ to 4 for falling short in many other areas.
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on March 9, 2015
Fantastic. First impression was when I opened the smaller than expected box. There were two complex cardboard shapes with everything slipped into carefully designed spaces inside the folds. (I am impressed when someone takes the time to design a simple thing like packaging. I believe this indicates an overall high level of quality that permeates down to the internals of the product.) I installed the four rechargeable AA batteries and found it to be pre-charged to a useable level. I fiddled for a while then plugged it into a USB charger overnight. (The red CHARGE light never did turn green, but the onscreen battery indicator was a solid green.) I got out the quick start guide and dove in.

I plugged the included USB cable in my PC and selected NO on the Start Charging screen. This is clever: if you choose YES it accepts a charge current off the USB cable, as one might expect. If you select NO, the PC sees a flash drive with a SETUP folder! I went through the setup process and watched it load the scanner's interactive software onto my PC, which downloaded the latest firmware and national+state frequency database. I read up on the use of this software and then loaded the "profile" from the scanner. I reset my location (zip code) and the services I wanted it to scan. I tweaked the volume, squelch, etc. and saved the profile back to the scanner. (All this can be done on-screen, but it's much easier with the PC software.)

I held down the power switch for a second or two and it came to life. I'm too new at this product to judge yet, but I spent some time fiddling with the attenuation and range controls to get it to find what I wanted to listen to. I've been learning the HOLD and AVOID functions by trial and error. I'm going to read the owner's manual (also loaded onto my PC) soon, but I'm having too much fun for now.

Overall, this is a really sophisticated scanner that comes with local PC software support, which uses an Internet connection to keep the frequency database up to date for me. I've had scanners before. The early ones required me to use a book to keep my frequencies up to date. Later many of the radio systems went to trunk and digital modes that my little scanner couldn't handle. When the police and news helicopters were nearby over some incident, it was nearly impossible to find out what was happening. That scanner, as nice as it was, sat in a drawer for many years. This one, however, looks like it will prove to be a lot more interesting and informative. And when we go to the local small airport restaurant for lunch, we will be able to monitor aircraft and tower conversations while we watch the takeoffs and landings. The old scanner didn't support that mode.
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on March 4, 2014
Fair warning: This is not an easy scanner to use. It's complicated because it's trying to do complicated things.
If you're up for it and you need the absolute best scanner for capturing complicated digital trunk radio systems, this is your scanner. It has almost every feature you could want in a portable package. If you're familiar with trunked radio then you know the alphabet soup this scanner is capable of receiving so I won't repeat it here.

I would say the biggest advances in this scanner versus say the HomePatrol-1 has to do with organization. This scanner allows multiple layers of "quick key" organization that makes it easy to select systems, departments and sites in just about any combination you could imagine. IT IS NOT EASY TO GRASP INITIALLY. But once you get the hang of it you really start to see how powerful the features are. There are also multiple startup configurations you can program to activate combinations of systems and departments for different purposes.

Reception has been excellent and sensitivity I've found has been on-par with other scanners I own (396XT and HP-1). Volume from the built-in speaker is as loud as I need. I'm a little bummed that it didn't come with some sort of case option.

I'm giving it 4 stars for a couple of reasons. One - I'm not wild about the display. The pale blue color doesn't do it for me - the jet-black of the HP-1 or even the green from the 396XT are far more pleasing. I really wish they'd made background color choice a programmable option. The other problem with the display is it's just a little too compressed because everything you could possibly want is displayed on the screen ALL THE TIME. By necessity it means the letters get small to fit all of this information on the screen. Don't plan on using this for any mobile applications because the screen just isn't readable at very much of a distance. I'm hoping that they come out with a simplified-but-larger-type display option in later firmware releases.

The other reason I'm not giving it 5-stars has to do with the early version software. As of this date 3/4/14 the software is just a bit sluggish. Keypresses sometimes take a second or so to register, and some of the menu options are a bit tedious. There are very occasional problems with monitoring certain P25 systems although with the systems in my area I've found the performance quite acceptable. The scanner forums are reporting a firmware update is forthcoming that will hopefully address these issues.

The third reason it doesn't get 5-stars has to do with the battery charging and power setup. This scanner DOES NOT COME WITH A CHARGER. You have to buy one separately. It's a commonly available USB charger but it's just a cheap low-rent move. The scanner should come ready-to-go. They include 4 rechargeable batteries but no charger. Buy it as a gift and you have to buy someone a charger just so they can use it. Really cheap move.

WARNING: The USB socket on the scanner is the much older MINI-USB connector NOT the more modern micro-usb connector. When buying cables and chargers make sure you know which one you're buying.

Another annoyance with the power setup has to do with charging and powering the scanner. Just like the HomePatrol-1 the scanner obnoxiously asks you if you want to charge the batteries every single time you plug it in and it won't shut up until you choose. I don't understand why Uniden has to ask this question when every other electronics manufacturer on the planet has figured out how to do this function automatically.

The other annoyance associated with power has to do with line-powering the scanner. If you power up the scanner connected to a USB charger to listen for a long time without draining your batteries, the scanner stupidly asks you the question "Select USB Mode - Mass Storage or Serial Port". While this question is important when hooking to a computer it has NO relevance when hooking it to a charger. To power the scanner from the charger you have to answer "SERIAL PORT" to this question (press the period "." key). But the annoyance doesn't stop there. When you are in this mode - scanner powered up and plugged into the wall charger - you can run forever BUT you are NOT charging your batteries (!). Again this is unlike ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICE I have in my arsenal. If I'm powering my tablet from a USB wall charger it's charging the batteries while running the display, but not with this scanner. Then when you power the scanner down it asks you whether you want to charge the batteries. Again it's easy to work with but it's really annoying.

I would recommend this scanner for anyone who is an experienced scanner listener who wants a lot of capability in a hand-holdable package. If you're more of a beginner I'd stick with the HomePatrol-1, or if you need a home scanner I'd think about the mobile/desk version of this scanner the 536HP (note:Early 536HP's had headphone jack problems - wait awhile if you go this route). Even with the quirks and annoyances I'm glad I bought it and I plan on keeping it for quite some time.
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on October 31, 2012
I purchased this scanner because it has a "private bank" i.e.; you can program your favorite frequencies into this band, and turn off all other banks. The private bank only holds 100 frequencies. This might be an issue if you live in or near a very large city. It's not an issue for me, and probably not for most people.

Programming wasn't all that hard to figure out. Just follow the instructions in the owner's manual.

It has a weather band and has all 7 NOAA bands. Scanner comes with a telescoping antenna, and uses a standard BNC connector.

It has a frequency lock out feature. Permanent and temporary. Turbo search (180 steps per second). 7 banks total. 6 pre-programmed 1 private band. Close call i.e.; checks for strong nearby signals while monitoring other frequencies. This is a great feature when you are monitoring a band that has some activity but not a lot.

I'm not going to use it as a mobile device, but it comes with everything you would need to go mobile, including a window mount antenna. Scanner does not have internal battery backup. I guess if you loose your house power, you can plug it into your vehicle.

Use an external speaker. I've owned several scanners and all their internal speakers pretty much suck.

I've had this scanner for 2 months, and overall, I'm very satisfied.
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on May 27, 2011
This IS the New BCT15X with 9000 Channels as the other reviewer, H. French's "Amazon Surfer" said, not an older model. By the ways thanks for the review, I too, almost didn't purchase this scanner from Amazon for fear that this was an older stock model but now I'm glad that I did. Thanks again H. French for the info. It was shipped quickly and well packaged by Amazon, although Uniden also packages the unit in its own box pretty good too. No damage!

This thing is a brick! Very Heavy! I'm just using it in my Office/ Computer Room, so the heavier the better for me. I also purchased the TRENDnet USB to Serial Converter TU-S9 (Blue)to hook up the scanner to the computer in order to program it. I would NEVER EVER try to program this thing without a computer. If you don't plan on hooking this Scanner up to a computer, I wouldn't get it if I were you.

I also downloaded and installed the FreeScan Software to Control and Program the BCT15X, this is a free program and does pretty much everything the average user could need, and the best part is it's FREE! the Website is ScanNow.org Did I mention it's Free!

I then went to the Radio Reference Website, went to their database and found the Motorola Trunked Frequencies and Talkgroups for my City/County and Copy/Pasted those into the FreeScan Software, Uploaded it to the Scanner via the USB to Serial Cable and Shazaam I'm listening to my local PD/Sheriff/Fire Dept. and others. You can also Register for their pay service and easily download a data file, but I chose to do it the hard way(copy/paste it into FreeScan), which really wasn't that hard.

I opened the box at 6pm, hooked up the power, antenna, Installed the Driver for the USB to Serial Cable. Downloaded and Installed the FreeScan software, Went to the Radio Reference website, copy pasted the Freq/Talkgroups into Freescan and was listening by 8pm.

This Scanner sounds great too, so much better than my Old handheld Radio Shack Pro-92, which since FCC Rebanding the trunking hasn't worked. The BCT15X Audio is loud and clear, scanning is quick, display looks great.

The only thing I don't like about this scanner is that there is not a printed manual with it, just the PDF file on the CD. I didn't think this would be a big deal, and thought the other reviewers were just being cry babies for bringing up this issue. But now I see their point, it would be very helpful to have at least some basic printed manual for quick reference.

I will Update this Review later as I just received it less than 3 hours ago.
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on March 31, 2013
I'm a rail fan so I like to be able to hear the engine crews and dispatchers when I'm trackside. With it's pre programmed service bands, the BC75XLT is so easy to use. I found the reception to be good and when using Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries, I could listen in for hours on a full charge. The batteries can also be charged in the unit via a USB power source such as a computer or wall adapter. The unit is also simple to program if you want to enter specific frequencies or a range of frequencies. I also like that it is very compact and seems to be well built. I would recommend..
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on January 19, 2015
I have owned many scanner radios over the years, including Regency crystal type. I have a 396xt which has been THE scanner to receive most digital signals, in my county. Cincinnati Police are partially encrypted so most reception is Hamilton County Sheriff as well as surrounding counties. This is the scanner to own, for the majority of users. As to install, it literally took me 1 minute to getup and running. At this time, i'm going with the factory firmware and not connected to a laptop. The display is superb, finish and build quality very good, and the reception of digital signals very clear. The one thing I miss is the loss of search function. You can't set a lower and upper scan range looking for new frequencies. The signal strength meter is way to small in the upper right corner. Setup is very easy. Punch in your zip code.. The scanner will load all local frequencies from a 4 gig micro sd card, located under the right side batteries. 2300 Mahr nimh AA batteries are included. After loading your frequencies, you then can go into the meny and adjust distance from transmitters to your home and pick what type of freq. to load.
When doing setup just go past the page asking for user info, either attach USB to computer to download Sentinel off Uniden's web site. I did not use Sentinel. A better choice would be Scancat. Sentinel will not run properly in XPpro, especially if you have a lot of drivers loading. I strongly suggest you install into Win 7-8.1. I have seen issues involving corruption of the sd card, especially if nimh batteries are nit loaded. An AC failure seems to corrupt some cards. Honestly,the radio is fine with original firmware. So, if you have no laptop handy, use as is. The clarity of digital signals is better then on my 396. Now the bad- get an extendable whip antenna and toss the rubber duckie. Universal has a fine antenna with the correct sma connector and swivel. Consider getting a Uniden extension speaker, especially in autos. The gps option automatically changes freq. depending on location. Be gentle installing the two connectors to the radio. Jacks have been reported to fail when excessive presure is applied. The gps uses a very
clunky interface needing a separate power connection. I would recommend not leaving scanner on dashboard in summer. I have not encountered any software bugs with original firmware. The ver. 2 has a charge indicator on the front panel. The scanner is currently overpriced. If you don't need it now, wait until the prices come down. For the average listener, the zip code feature issuperb. I had to pay to program previous Unidn's. They were terrible even using scanning software. I would've given five stars, except for the price. ADVOCATE USE REPORT- after living with the HPII, I become more impressed everyday. The scanner was so easy to setup. No computer required. Tone quality superb even on APCO 25 phase one. The scanner also decode phase 2 being used in some large cities. This is first trunk tracking HP. Graphics in color are EXCELLENT. Sensitivity excellent. Setup SUPERB. If you use matching speaker, sound is fantastic. You can alter to exact mile away from transmitter that you will receive.
Start with zip code. Then go into menu and fine tune distance. All the negative issues concerning jacks failing is not really correct, at least on my sample. You do not have to immediately use a computer. You don't have to enter your info. Bypass these screens and enjoy. I was particulary impressed by clear reception from other counties. I do recommend you dump the rubber duckie. Universal sells a superb telescopic whip that cones with a swivel sma plug. You can use and charge, if you AC adapter is rated 1 amp @5v. Next use test will be new uniden trunking five handheld.
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