Upgrade from BCT15X

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Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby shatnersbassoon » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:28 am

Hi All,

I currently have a BCT15X which I use mainly for airband listening, attached to an antenna in the loft (soon to be on the roof!).

I've not dabbled in the digital modes yet, and got to thinking; if I was going to upgrade from the BCT15X to something that supports DMR, what should I upgrade to?
The BCT15X is great for just letting it scan a known list of frequencies, so wouldn't want to lose that ease of use.

I'd kind of like a handheld for when we go away. If I could only have one scanner, would I lose much having just a handheld over a basestation?

Does anyone have any recommendations?
I've seen the Whistler TRX1/2 or SDS100/200, though I'd ideally prefer to spend less :)
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby thelad » Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:58 pm

The UBCD3600 Is a bit cheaper, even more so second hand but its not the best Digital scanner.
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby shatnersbassoon » Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:40 pm

thelad wrote:The UBCD3600 Is a bit cheaper, even more so second hand but its not the best Digital scanner.


Yes, I haven't heard many people say good things about that one! :)
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby Minus1 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:04 am

shatnersbassoon wrote:
thelad wrote:The UBCD3600 Is a bit cheaper, even more so second hand but its not the best Digital scanner.


Yes, I haven't heard many people say good things about that one! :)


You'll get nowhere if you base a decision purely upon the rantings of pontificating fools on forums who haven't even bothered to read the manual properly :wink:
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: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby thelad » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:17 am

Minus1 wrote:
shatnersbassoon wrote:
thelad wrote:The UBCD3600 Is a bit cheaper, even more so second hand but its not the best Digital scanner.


Yes, I haven't heard many people say good things about that one! :)


You'll get nowhere if you base a decision purely upon the rantings of pontificating fools on forums who haven't even bothered to read the manual properly :wink:


Ah is that where i am going wrong, please explain to me where in the manual it tells me (and others) how to stop it being so Deaf compared to other makes and brands?
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby jimh » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:02 pm

shatnersbassoon wrote:Hi All,
if I was going to upgrade from the BCT15X to something that supports DMR, what should I upgrade to?
The BCT15X is great for just letting it scan a known list of frequencies, so wouldn't want to lose that ease of use.
I'd kind of like a handheld for when we go away. If I could only have one scanner, would I lose much having just a handheld over a basestation?
Does anyone have any recommendations?
I've seen the Whistler TRX1/2 or SDS100/200, though I'd ideally prefer to spend less :)


Getting back to the original question, I would suggest you go for a handheld and you have 3 real options:
- Uniden 3600
- Uniden SDS100
- Whistler TRX1
I've discounted the Icom R30 (excellent receiver, would be excellent for airband but since it doesn't do DMR then it's very limited for Digital modes) and also the AOR DV10 (lots of reasons - you will only be disappointed). I have personal experience with all of them, except the SDS100 - the performance of which i read is very very similar to that of the 3600.

In short the TRX1 and the 3600 are very similar and good scanners IMHO. In my view, the bigger differences are:
TRX is good for scanning a known set of frequencies but is a nuisance to program in the field.
3600 much easier/better for searching for new frequencies: the TRX isn't intuitive on this
I find the TRX a bit more sensitive but much less selective vs the 3600
3600 much better on civil and milair vs the TRX
DMR simplex on the TRX is better than the 3600
The TRX doesn't trunk track (not a huge issue in the UK)
Close call on the 3600 much better than the equivalent on the TRX
Auto decode mode on the TRX doesn't work on several search techniques. Always works on the 3600
Delay in opening squelch on the TRX is annoying
Volume on the TRX earphone jack is quite low on the TRX vs the 3600
Recordings from the 3600 easier to work with but the TRX 'always enabled' way of recording is much better/sensible
TRX is slow to startup.
Lack of ability to configure step size and mode per bandplan is a real constraint on the TRX
The ability to search a band by digital mode only is very helpful on the TRX
I have very few issues reading/writing data on and off the 3600 SD card. I have frequent issues with the TRX
I find the TRX display a bit clearer to read but the way it displays some digital mode info is annoying/limited
4 AA batteries in the TRX means it lasts longer than the x3 AA in the 3600. Both eat batteries. Both can run happily off power to the usb port.
Software for the Uniden (eg ARC536) MUCH easier to deal with vs EZScan.
Both cover the same common digital modes

From what I gather the SDS100 just has a funkier colour display vs the 3600 but is the same performance, more expensive and a worse Lithium Ion battery setup. The SDS100 handles simulcast which is important is you live in many areas of the US but of no importance in the UK

If I had to decide one vs the other, I'd be going for the 3600 (largely because it is much better at/easier to search for new stuff - the TRX is good at scanning known stuff): so my 3600 is my main unit.
But if I had the option to do so I'd still have both - I do and I have !

These are my own views based on my experience.
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby thelad » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:47 pm

Airband is very good on my 3600 i admit that.
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby Bobcode » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:23 am

Jimh, excellent post, thinking of an upgrade myself, this helped a lot !
The past serves nothing, save lessons learned for the future !
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby AndrewIrvine » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:17 pm

Minus1 wrote:
shatnersbassoon wrote:
thelad wrote:The UBCD3600 Is a bit cheaper, even more so second hand but its not the best Digital scanner.


Yes, I haven't heard many people say good things about that one! :)


You'll get nowhere if you base a decision purely upon the rantings of pontificating fools on forums who haven't even bothered to read the manual properly :wink:



To some there is such a thing as information overload. I've never read of so many people finding a radio so hard to programme. I learned to work my 3500 a lot quicker after years of Realistic's and an AOR8200
Pro 2042, Pro 26, 3500XLT, Yaesu FT60-R, Yeasu 1900, Retevis RT3, Tytera MD380, Retevis H777, FDC160A, 278B, Puxing 888, Uniden 3600XLT


"I'm listening"..
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Re: Upgrade from BCT15X

Postby shatnersbassoon » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:50 pm

Thanks for all the helpful comments and advice.

I've actually done a bit of a U-turn and decided against a digital capable radio.
I suppose my main goal was to get a decent handheld that was good for airband (80% of my listening), but also good at scanning around some of the amateur bands.
DMR capable would be the icing on the cake, but certainly not the main use case for me. I have an SDR to play with if I want to scratch that itch.

So I bought an Icom R30 that just arrived a couple of hours ago! Have to wait till I get home from work to play with it though :(
The R30 is probably overkill for what I use it for, but as long as the girlfriend doesn't find out how much it cost, all is well!
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