Uniden UBC125XLT review

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Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Minus1 » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:28 pm

My Yupitery 7100 having gone into a coma, I decided I needed to but another relatively cheap scanner.

I’d previosuly noticed the US Bearcat scanner BC125XT, and its European equivalent UBC125XLT, at a resonable price and decided to plump for that.

It has 500 channels, arranged in 10 banks, and covers 25-88, 108-137. 137-174, 225-320, 320-512, 806-960.
Whilst band 3 is missing, and 806-960 is relatively useless in the UK, it has most analog transmissions you would want to listen to.

It uses 2 AA batteries, or a 5V USB power lead.
It has temporary lockout, close call, channel name tags, one priority channel per bank, 7 preset search ranges, an 10 user programmable search ranges.
Said to scan at 80 ch/s and search at 90 ch/s.
Weighs 175g without antenna & batteries, and measues 67 x 33 x 115 mm, so comparable with the UBC3500XLT, a tad wider and a tad shorter.
Pushing the volume control shows the voltage, it shows 2.55 when connected to a 5V USB supply.
You need to set a squech level of 2 to avoid shash.

These are the 7 Preset search bands:
1 Emergency = 84.015-87.295 (10k steps, 5 kHz offset). Pretty useless in the UK (mix of a little used military band and a business band).
2 Freenet = 149.025-149.1125 (12.5kHz steps) Only any real use in Germany, it’s a small part of a military band in UK.
3 PMR = 446.0062 - 446.0937 with channel numbers. Good but not future proofed as the band will extend to 446.1937 before long.
4 Marine = Ch1 - Ch88. Shows channel numbers with both ship and shore frequencies with channel numbers. Very good.
5 Aircraft = 108-136.9916 (8.33 kHz steps), Good, but band is over large for most people, and no 25k step so slow so search for low level activity.
6 CB = 25-27.995 (5 kHz steps). No attempt at CEPT or UK channel numbers.
7 Ham = 28-30.105 (5 kHz steps) A bizarre range given that the 10m band is 28-29.7, and other bands conspicuous by their absence.

GOOD POINTS
Large display size facilitated by the wider case at the top, well backlit, and a big improvement over the UBC3500XLT.
2 AA batteries, so less weight, but of course less capacity.
Useful temporary Lockout (until switch on/off or computer PRG/EPG command).
More conventional BNC antenna connector compared to UBC3600XLT.
5V USB external supply (readily available). Can be powered without batteries for desktop use.
Visible channel number, frequency, and channel name (“Bank-##” by default).
Charge timer. Though not sure how useful that really is.
Preset PMR search shows channel numbers; and preset Marine search shows channel numbers is very good, but a shame they didn’t apply that thinking to other preset bands.
Good solid feel to keyboard, and more readable keys; but the E and . keys are swapped compared to most other Uniden scanners, which is an annoying and pointless change.
Close Call bands can be switched on/off, so the relatively useless 806-906 band can be switched off.

BAD POINTS (Or what I would have done better!)
No VHF Band 3 (a poor understanding of UK use by Uniden)
No ‘NFM’ just ’FM'. (The US version has NFM, so that seems a poor effort by Uniden)
Relatively poor search steps (Band Plan 1) at 146 (6.25k), 400-450 (6.25k). There is no 25k step available at all which is out of touch, and means you may spend twice as much time searching as is actually needed. Steps can be set for Close Call and searching, so this omission seems plain clueless.
On airband you can choose 8.33 or 12.5, which shows a complete lack of knowledge by Uniden given that 12.5k is not used for airband. Whilst there is no 25k step for airband, it seems to filter transmissions okay at just 8.33 away from a strong local transmission. There is no mention in the manual of what the actual AM bandwidth is.
Banks can’t be named, you just get “BANK1” etc, which is a very poor effort by Uniden.
The USB cable is very short — poor for powering via mains (it just about reaches a main socket under your desk); and it sticks out of the side of the scanner to an excessive degree. You could buy a longer “right-angle micro B cable” to give you more length, and a tidier desk.
There is no attenuator, which can be a nuisance on overcrowded PMR and Simple UK frequencies.
There are no rubber-like grips on the case (apart from the USB cover), so it could easily slip out of your hand. This could be improved using self-adhesive non-slip tape. A wrist strap is provided.
Whilst 500 channels is enough for monitoring local activity, with the low cost of memory why on earth didn’t Uniden make it more straightforward to use, and provide a nice round 1000?

There is apparently a program called “Scan125” which you can use with a PC.

If, like me, you have a mac, the mac app store has a free app called “Serial Tools” which you can use to program channels, just by keying in the appropriate codes (search for the BC125 protocol document online). Use the Terminal tab. My Serial port comes up as “usbmodem0001”.
MDL should return MDL,UBC125XLT
PRG enters program mode, should return PRG,OK
To input 446.00625 to channel 1, text “Public:1”, FM mode, CTCSS search, 5 second delay:
CIN,1,Public:1,4460062,FM,127,5,0,0 should return OK
When finished:
EPG exits program mode, should return EPG,OK


I’ve yet to experience any close call hits since buying it, so I can’t compare it with the UBC3500XLT.

I bought mine from www.nevadaradio.co.uk for £109.95 plus P&P, delivered in 3 days (including a Sunday).
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby FreqFreak » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:17 pm

Great review, thanks :thumbup: :walkietalkie:
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Crazylegs » Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:58 pm

Unidens main commercial activities are situated in the United states
They won't take into account these tiny little isles!
Just as your hand has the power to hide the sun, mediocrity has the power to hide your inner light!

Uniden UBC3500XLT
Uniden UBC125XLT
Realistic Pro-50
Harvard 410T
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Scan125 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:31 pm

Thanks and great comparison.

I also created a technical/specification of the BC125AT, UBC125XLT and the UBC126XLT scanners here: http://nick-bailey.co.uk/scan125/manual/Scan125-Manual.html#4

Scan125 Control Program (I'm biased as I wrote it) will work with the UBC125XLT, BC125AT and UBC126XLT scanners. It also works (I'm told) on MACs and Linux with the various Virtual Machines and Windows emulators.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Alfie » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:01 pm

Nice review been looking at either one of these or a UBC3500 for the car but am gonna go with the UBC125XLT as the nice big screen wins it for me and i can use the change on something else :thumbup:
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Minus1 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:56 am

Follow up:
The Serial Tools app stopped working with OS X El Capitan. :sad:
Specifically, my mac no longer sees the scanner's USB port.
This problem has not been resolved with OS X Sierra. :sad:

I can't get Scan125 to work as I use Crossover for Windows programs, and that requires an installer file, not an .exe :rolleyes:
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Scan125 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:52 pm

Minus1 wrote:Follow up:
I can't get Scan125 to work as I use Crossover for Windows programs, and that requires an installer file, not an .exe :rolleyes:


Crossover not handling Scan125????

Please can you explain a little more about the installer file and not exe file limitation?

I'm not a MAC user and have not access to one so.

Details on which type of installer file etc. would be great. I could possibly create an installer file.

Email direct to me would be the best way to handle this.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Scan125 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:35 pm

A little research and contact with Crossover support YOU CAN run just an exe file as explained here: https://www.codeweavers.com/support/doc ... over#cxrun

However they say the driver file may/will be a problem.

Thinking about your original post you said that Serial Tools used to work with your UBC125XLT. This tell/suggests to me that the Uniden Driver (actually just a simple .INF file that defines generic COM support and contains no kernel level code used to work on MAC, or you told MAC to treat the scanner as a generic/standard COM device. If this is the case then Scan125 should work OK provided Crossover can handle Windows .NET based applications?

Meanwhile for COM ports stuff in Crossover see this: https://www.codeweavers.com/support/wik ... sbtoserial
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT review

Postby Southwales » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:29 am

I know this is picking up an old thread but would others agree the the 125 only sells well because it covers a lot of frequencies?

There are a lot of things that I think need to be improved on this model, for starters they seem to have cut corners on a proper charging circuit, the timer method is not reliable way of charging when you may just want to top up the charge to full but unsure how long of a charge is needed. on a £120 device I think this is very poor, my £5 Lidl bike lights have a better charging system that charges to full and then turns off the charging circuit. Also it should run off at least 3 AA Batteries possibly 4 to give a longer run time, I am only getting 3 to 4 hours tops, it means you are giving the batteries a lot more charge cycles, even the Uniden EZI-33 XLT runs on 3 AA batteries. Does anybody know if the uniden charges when switched off or direct charge when switched on? My manual says it will charge at a slower rate if using why charging but I am sure I have read that it only charges when fully off and displaying charging.

Why did they think 2 second delay default was a good idea?, it is borderline that you could miss a reply before moving on and scanning, but to make things worse you have to change each channel individual.

Another thing I dont understand is why in the menu has it got turn scan hits on and off when you can just select it by pressing the (clr) key why scanning, and unless I have got this wrong, when saving a close call hit or a found frequencie the scanner displays the first available bank and channel for you to store the frequencie, but the only way to get to say bank 5 channel 1 for example is to scroll there with the scroll dial, ok it does not take long but I feel that is all I am doing is constantly relying on the scroll dial and I would imagine this is what will be the first thing to fail on this radio, especially as it is ratcheted, why can you not type in the channel to get straight there?, Unless you can and I have again got this wrong. There is a full numeric keypad on this radio that is limited to its use, surely uniden could have used letter mapping as another option for alpha tagging.

Image


I know there is free scan software available that may help resolve it make some of these issues easier, but surely uniden should provide owners with free software included with the scanner to make it more user friendly.

I have to admit that if I had known about the above issues I may have just stuck with my uv5r as all I would be mainly missing was civil and military air.
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