Customer Reviews


483 Reviews
5 star:
 (214)
4 star:
 (96)
3 star:
 (51)
2 star:
 (47)
1 star:
 (75)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


241 of 253 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent scanner from a reputable manufacturer ~ Also, easy to use
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...
Published 24 months ago by Expressed Reviews

versus
93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BCD436hp Download and read the Manual before purchase
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...
Published 10 months ago by Gerald E.


‹ Previous | 1 249 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

241 of 253 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent scanner from a reputable manufacturer ~ Also, easy to use, January 2, 2013
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


157 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing full-featured Scanner!, February 13, 2010
By 
James Prine (Ponchatoula, La. (Katrina)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Uniden Handheld TrunkTracker IV Digital Police Scanner (BCD396XT) (Electronics)
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!

de KC5JLA
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


152 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy the following essentials to enjoy this scanner, September 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Uniden Handheld TrunkTracker IV Digital Police Scanner (BCD396XT) (Electronics)
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 scannermasters.com 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars frills, chills, and features - OH MY!, October 26, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Uniden Handheld TrunkTracker IV Digital Police Scanner (BCD396XT) (Electronics)
!!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.

PROS:
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)

CONS:
Expensive!!
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)

TIPS/RESOURCES:
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 radioreference.com 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 :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Nice Scanner, May 30, 2010
This review is from: Uniden Handheld TrunkTracker IV Digital Police Scanner (BCD396XT) (Electronics)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does what I need it to do., March 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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..
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BCD436hp Download and read the Manual before purchase, 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 ˝ to 4 for falling short in many other areas.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A more portable version of the BCD536HP, May 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
*****************************
July 23, 2014 update: I finally solved the "constant asking for me to set the date and time". After reading numerous post at the radio reference web sit, I arrived at the conclusion that this scanner has a second battery in it that "keeps the clock" current. The only problem with this battery is "it only charges while the scanner is on", and must have been shipped dead. So, to fix this problem, plug in the USB cable, tell it you are NOT charging, and then turn on the scanner. When it asks you if you want to connect as a serial port or mass storage, select Serial Port. Then, leave the scanner on for several days. I've read that three days is the magic number, but I never left mine plugged in and on while not at home. After a while, you will be turning the volume to zero. ;) After this, you should never see the set date and time again.
******************************
Update to the update: I decided to put the scanner on charge and left it on until the unit said it was fully charged. After that, no more asking to set the date and time each time I turned it on. I'm not sure why, but it seems that a low batter will cause this. Also, why a $500 scanner DOESN'T have a battery level indicator is beyond me.
*****************************
May 28 update. One "very" annoying part of this scanner is that you are constantly being asked to set the date and time. I hope Uniden fixes this with a firmware update. This is the only complaint I have had with the scanner since purchase.
*****************************

If you already own the BCD536HP then you are familiar with this unit. It's the exact same scanner; just more portable.

Also, you can use the same USB cable to connect it to your computer. Also, you can use the same Sentinel Software to program it.

This unit does come with a USB cable, and the software is included on the micro SD card that is also included with the unit. The SD card is in the battery compartment.

Having already owned the 536 version, setting up this unit was real easy. I just connected the USB to my computer, opened the Sentinel software and it automatically detected this scanner. Then, since I have already programmed my 536 the way it wanted, all I did was write to the 436 all of my saved preferences. Took less than two minutes and this included checking for a firmware update.

Then, the real test. I turned them both on and to my surprise, they were almost alike. The 536 would pick up a conversation slightly quicker than the 436 but also the 436 (this unit) would pick up a conversation quicker. For the most part, they were on an even keel.

You can use either rechargeable batteries or non-rechargeable batteries with this unit. When you plug in the USB cable, it will ask you if you have rechargeable batteries or not..

The box also includes a belt clip and a hand strap. It also includes an adapter for a larger antenna if you feel the need for one.

This scanner is probably more scanner than the average user will ever need but if you are really into keeping tabs on what's going on in "your neck of the woods" then this is the scanner for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An advanced scanner for advanced scanning, March 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's like it's going through puberty..., February 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This scanner is strange. Coming from 396XT, which was a nice scanner package, I feel the 436HP is a bit gangly. It is certainly much larger than the 396, mostly in height. The massive Uniden logo at the top seems overly large. The display is large but is very cluttered with very small text with seemingly no way to customize what information you see or how large it can be (unlike on the HP1, where you can make the text larger). I admit I am disappointed there is no way to switch the backlight color.

The case itself is a lightly textured quality plastic. It feels well made with no creaking and has a nice heft. The buttons are rubber with nice crisp labeling that does not seem like it would wear off. The display covering is slightly curved and very glossy - so much so that glare is a real issue. The clip on the back is all plastic now, but it seems well made and unlikely to break. The included antenna is lackluster, the same as usual for Uniden. But they do include a nice SMA to BNC adapter so no need to find SMA antennas.

Three decent 2300MaH batteries are included. It's a strange charging situation though. I understand there is no way to monitor the charge of batteries in series, but the implementation of the user interface when it comes to charging is confusing. If you plug it in to a USB power adapter (none is included) with the scanner off, it will ask you if you want to start charging. If you do this while the scanner is on, it will ask if you want to connect via mass storage or serial (mass storage is the proper selection when plugged into a computer and you want to interact with the software while serial seems to just power on the scanner as usual with the power coming from the USB and not the batteries). Many complaints are around about how this scanner does not charge when on. You can plug it in and keep it on continuously, but the batteries may or may not be charged. A proper workaround would be to simply charge the batteries in a separate charger and that's what I am doing at this point. It's an acceptable solution I think. The battery charger I use is the La Crosse Technology BC1000 Alpha Power Battery Charger.

Having owned both the 396XT and the HP-1, I am happy to report that this scanner has everything those two scanners had combined (mostly - there are some features missing) and it does everything very well. Reception is very nice, audio is crisp and loud. I sure do hope a better display option is available through firmware updates - maybe they can be clearer with battery charging too. The glare from the display cannot be fixed apart from an anti-glare decal, which seems to be a good workaround. The product I am using is Naztech 10120 ScreenWhiz Universal HD Anti-Glare Screen Protectors - 10 Pack - Retail Packaging - Clear and they work really well at reducing the screen's glare. Note that the screen on the scanner is not rectangular - it actually gets wider at the top (in fact, the whole scanner is wider at the top than at the bottom - probably adding to it's strange appearance - something just didn't look right to me).

All in all, the best handheld Uniden has ever offered but at a price that is difficult swallow. It needs a silicone carrying case with an anti-glare display cover. It comes with a decent manual (!) and a first for a consumer electronic device I have purchased, it was made in Vietnam. It also includes a cheap lanyard that you will quickly discard. And there is no software CD - the Sentinel software is pre-installed on the included memory card so all you need to do is plug it into your computer and start the setup program to install it. I think that's a pretty cool way to distribute software, especially since more and more PCs are coming without optical drives.

**UPDATE**
I've been using this scanner all week and the glare from the display cover is just awful. You have to look at it basically straight on at fairly close range to make anything out. I took the drastic measure of popping the display cover off (used a spudger or guitar pick-like device - it was held-in with some double-sided tape). It came off easily and I saw why it was so difficult to see through - it's curved like a lens. I guess it's for looks but that darn curved ultra-glossy cover is going to drive me buggy. So I cut out a piece of good museum plexiglass and popped it in place, covering the rough edges with some gaffer tape. Now I know it doesn't look pretty but having a nice, flat display is SO much better and you can easily read it from many angles. I hope Uniden is looking at these reviews and taking note that they need to change the display cover to a flat piece instead of curved. If you have a 396XT sitting there, look at the cover on that display - it's perfect. I uploaded my rough alteration job picture to the item page in case you want to admire my work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 249 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.