Customer Reviews: Uniden Handheld TrunkTracker IV Digital Police Scanner (BCD396XT) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on September 5, 2011
Great Scanner you will need the following to program without frustration.

This is my first scanner and after 1 day I had all the counties in my state programmed. I went with police, sheriff, Fish and game, and state patrol only.

1. Order the car charger, also you will need a 9 pin male adapter with a usb port. The scanner comes with a 9 pin female adapter.

2. Order ARC-XT Basic Software. This is the software that makes programming much easier. It also has an online manual you can click for reference.

3. Equally important under the internet tab you will see the radioreference icon. Click that and order a 6 month subscription for roughly $9.00 create your user name and password and they also accept paypal. This internet site will work inconjunction with your ARC-XT software and allow you to click on your state or where ever your located and you simply scroll through the couinties, then click import, followed by copy to clip board, next you click the upper send icon which is a radio icon. This automatically sends all frequencies and names of the department to your scanner.

4. Lastly, and i blew this the first time dont forget to hit the save icon, and save as profile(i used my first name) this way all your county, state, federal, ect frequencies will be saved on the left side of your profile. At any time you can upload them all, or make changes to them. If you close the window after spending a good hour or two selecting all the frequencies from various counties they will not be saved. So dont make the mistake I did save save save your profile.

If you still have trouble look up online, they have a live help chat, a remote access to your computer app, and if you prefer you can send your radio in and have them program it.
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on February 13, 2010
I've owned scanners since the mid-'70s and this little beast is the finest one I've ever owned, hands down. It has more features than I'll ever use (or comprehend), but it's tidy, compact form factor, superlative audio, and superb built quality puts it in a class all its own.

If you decide to get one, please do yourself a huge favor and get a decent USB programming cable...yes, a serial cable comes packed with the rest of the goodies, but how many people have access to serial ports on their computers these days? Don't toss the serial cable, with the optional GPS rig and a null modem, you can enjoy GPS-enabled scanning wherever you go!

And there are several excellent programming programs available; I use Freescan which makes programming ridiculously easy, especially if you subscribe to a site like radioreference...programming digital modes is a cake walk.

Yes, I am delighted with my 396XT and have become a 'true believer' <g>.

Thanks for reading!

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on October 26, 2012
!!PROS/CONS/TIPS below review!!
I've had the Uniden BCD396XT for a month or so and am still discovering new features daily. If you're anything like me, I had no understanding about scanners when I purchased this except that I knew I wanted a scanner that could scan analog, digital, and trunking systems. When I first turned it on and began playing with it I was a little overwhelmed by its lack of good documentation. I halfway expected a $400+ device to just start picking up stuff in my town out of the box but it turned out I just didn't understand the basics of how scanners worked. Now that I've had some time to play with it, I'm quite satisfied with its feature set and capabilities.

Scans pretty much any non-encrypted source including CB/FM/AM/Trunking systems (digital and analog)
Portable (I can take it in my car, leave it on my desk, or carry it with me)
Advanced programming features (hook it up to your PC with FreeScan and program stuff quickly)
Battery life is good (I can leave it on for about 8 hours before the low battery warning comes on)
Comes with a set of rechargeable batteries (simply plug it in to charge them)

Average antenna (portable antennas like this don't pick up as much. However can be hooked up to a better one easily)
Steep learning curve (be ready to do some reading and keyboard smashing from getting frustrated)

Get a USB -> Serial adapter like the Trendnet RS-232 (This will make your life much more enjoyable when programming from the PC)
Download FreeScan by SixSpot Software (free free free is good!)
Google "easier to read 396xt scanner manual" by marksscanners (puts things into simpler terms than the Uniden manual)
Check out for a free collection of frequencies for different agencies/public services in your areas (you can use the copy/paste function of FreeScan to import these into the app)
Set the Squelch low (noob mistake on my part. I had Squelch set too high and it was filtering out everything. I accidentally bumped it down and all of a sudden I heard things going on).

Feel free to email/reply to me if you are having issues :)
1414 comments|169 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 11, 2011
I love this scanner. I purchased it to replace my RadioShack Pro 106 and I couldn't be happier. For one, you don't need to take out the rechargeable batteries to charge them, as there is an included AC adapter. It's about half the size and weight of the 106 as well. If you can stand the significantly higher price, you will not be disappointed with this scanner.
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on May 30, 2010
I bought the analog version last year this time, and enjoyed it for a month before I returned it. It was too much money for what it did. This year, I tried again, but stepped up to the digital version. This scanner picks up everything in my area (except my encrypted county). Once I added an external antenna, things came in loud and clear. It takes a LOT of practice. it is very complicated and your knowledge of radios will have to increase. After over a month, I am still practicing daily.

Anyway, its very well organized, picks up the signals well, and is easy on the batteries. Does exactly what its supposed to. Haven't found any bugs either. Finally, this year they have an actual manual. The website that tried to be a manual is horrible.

This scanner has helped me navigate traffic on the interstates many times. I won't send this one back. Eventhough I think its overpriced, I'll be keeping it.
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on May 30, 2012
Great scanner for conventional and trunk systems. Love the digital readout better
than any scanner out there, very nice and large typeface.
If you've experience with programming software in the past should be no problem to use.
However with all things new, if you have not, there is a learning curve.
Beware, that if you are planning to use it for the newer P25 Simulcast systems the
audio and receives are very choppy and inaudible. Check the internet and
a lot of discussion on this subject and how scanner mfrs have not entirely solved this
problem. Listening to the Oakland Police and Fire P25 simulcast systems have been horrible.
Upgraded to the latest firmware, not much improvement. [...]
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on October 24, 2011
I would have given Four out of Five Stars because the supplied (I use that term loosely) documentation is horrible. But why punish the engineers who put together a fantastic product because of the talentless technical writers at Uniden.

Getting back into scanning after a 25+ years absence, I consider myself an old-newbie. And I chose correctly with the BCD396XT. It is more 'scanner' then I need but that's OK. There is a learning curve with this scanner. I have invested about 25 hours thus far learning about the scanner and doing some programming. I'm maybe 3/4 the way there before feeling comfortable utilizing this scanner's capabilities.

Documentation from Uniden is less then pathetic. Unicorns and elves can write a better manual. Nevertheless, as long as you utilize the information at [...] (pay for the $30/yr membership - best bargain around), you'll be in good hands. Don't try to program the scanner manually. Window users can utilize the FREE utility FreeScan - makes programming the scanner a snap!

BOTTOM LINE: This is NOT a plug and play scanner. Documentation stinks but there is plenty of other (friendly) support and user groups out there that will get you going. Don't let the learning curve shy you away from this scanner. Invest the time and you'll have rewards for many years to follow.
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on May 18, 2014
I am a novice with trunked scanners. I ordered the BCD396XT because I wanted to listen to the police calls in Lubbock, Texas, and I counted on being able to figure out how to manually program it. I could not find step by step instructions anywhere. After extensive research, and a lot of trial and error, I got it programmed. There are still bugs in my programming, but I am listening to all the police calls here in Lubbock. The following are the step by step high points of manually programming the 396. I have over 5 pages of hand written notes and will condense them to the most important steps.

1- go to the radioreference web site. Select databases, then your state and then your county.
2- scroll down to all trunked systems. Select the one you want. For me it was Lubbock/County.
3- note the system type. For me it was EDACS Standard.
4- note the system frequencies and the talk groups. The frequencies are preceded by a 2 digit LCN. For Lubbock, there were 20 frequencies with the LCNs numbered from 01-20. For Lubbock, there are 21 individual talk groups for the police, all three digit codes. The first one is 136.
5- when entering characters in the scanner, use the knob on top to change the character. Use the arrows on keys 4 and 6 to move to the next character. Hit the Eyes key to enter the data and hit the menu button on the side of the scanner to go back.
6- to start, press MENU. Select PROGRAM SYSTEM by pressing Eyes. Scroll back one and select NEW SYSTEM.
7- select your type of system. Mine was EDACS. For EDACS, it then asks if it is wide/narrow or scat. The answer is wide so select wide/narrow.
8- now you select level settings with the system name. Use the knob and the arrow keys.
9- for system options, leave the system quick key as the (.) default, set the system hold time, channel delay, and be sure that DATA SKIP is TURNED OFF.
10- enter the system frequencies. For Lubbock, the first was 856.2375. Then it will ask for the LCN for that frequency. That was 01. Enter every frequency and LCN for your system.
11- create the channel group. Select channel group and then select NEW GROUP. Give it a name, make the quick key number the same as the group number, and be sure to leave it UNLOCKED.
12- enter the channel information. Select NEW CHANNEL and you will be prompted to enter the DEC. it actually asks for the TGID (talk group ID). For Lubbock, the first police DEC/TGID is 136. Enter the DECs one at a time for each talk group that you want to listen to.
13- the next menu allows you to set the group name. Next, be sure to leave it unlocked. After that, you can turn on the alert if you want. Leave Modulation at AUTO. For the Attenuation, leave it OFF.

That is the step by step by step high points that I used to manually program my BCD396XT. I really hope it helps anyone who needs to program their scanner.
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on December 22, 2014
I had an BC92XLT scanner, for a few years. It was OK but receiving was often broken while listening to chatter Changed the Antenna but didn't help. Decided to get new scanner. The 396XT is far better quality. It came with a charger, standard antenna,belt clip, and a usb cable to use for downloading from your PC.You'll probably have to buy a more up to date USB cable to connect from PC to scanner for downloading. The one in the box is for much older 'puters.. Also had rechargeable batteries and a CD instruction disk that you can probably throw away and just follow Radio Reference. com instructions on the web.This 396XT is a whole new ballgame. I went with '' to assist in the downloading process. The site is free but to get the program to help in adding freq's is a minor fee. Took a 6 mo membership for $15.00 . The BEST $15.00 ever spent.
These scanners today are pretty technical to enter channels into. This model is good for Trunking freq's . Thank god for 'You Tube' videos & Radio Reference. com Highly recommend them.
Still a bit confused to loading freq's but slowly getting the hang of it. Reception is 100% better, clear reception. I have it set up for PD & local Fire Depts. Now to figure out how to load the other 25,000 channels that's available. I bought a 800-900 MHz 2db antenna to improve reception. Seems to be a good choice. These scanners are not exactly the cheapest scanners to have, but it's great to hear what's going on in the community. I have an older Uniden 170 table model that's been scanning for 40 years and is still going strong . Can't beat Uniden for quality.
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on February 14, 2014
I've been a prime member for years and I have ordered three of these scanners from Amazon and now have had to return all three. I'm sure the scanner is a nice product if you could actually buy a new one. The first scanner wouldn't program, the second scanner had obviously been used because the items were out of the original packaging in the box and it had been programmed to Ohio stations. The third scanner arrived and looked used but I was not certain until I put it together and the POWER CORD was missing. I called the Amazon representative who offered to send me a label to send it back. One would think the representative would know I can do the same thing on the computer. The representatives advised me - DON'T BUY ANOTHER FOR 3-5 DAYS - so they can figure out what is going on. I told him what was going on - THEY ARE SELLING RETURNED ITEMS AS NEW!!!
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