Originally posted over at Wyoming Survival. We replicated much of this in class in Wyoming as well. -NCS
First off let me start off by saying I’m testing these two scanners for a particular application. For just basic scanning the local LEO’s, fire and EMT they both work perfectly fine. You put your zip code in and they upload the frequencies from the Radio Reference data saved on the micro SD card in the scanner. Both of them come with that loaded in them. I updated both scanners a week ago to make sure I have the latest updates and frequencies.
I took the TRX-1 with me to the pacific northwest last week since it was the newest scanner I have and I needed to learn the functions. I’m not sure if updating everything messed something up or not but the zip code feature disappeared on me. It took me going through ALL the menu options to find it. Once I found it I selected it so it would be on the main menu. Then I tried to put the zip code of Tacoma Wa in it….. couldn’t be found. I tried multiple Tacoma zip codes…. couldn’t be found. I then tried my home town in Wy…. couldn’t be found!! WTF?? Anyway I never solved that problem. Also everytime I turned the scanner off the zip code option would dissappear. Now I was able to load local frequencies buy going though a different way and selecting the state, county, and then agency’s and what not. I was able to scan traffic in Tacoma and let me tell you I’m happy I don’t work as an LEO or FD up there. They are busy!!
Ok so obviously I had some problems with the TRX-1 while traveling. The BCD436HP would definitely be a better traveling scanner. You can connect a GPS antenna to it and it will change the frequencies depending on where you are at. Also the zip code function is ALWAYS there. Just put the zip code of where you’re at into the radio and you are good to go. Another plus with the BCD436HP is how easy it is to select different objects to scan or not. It’s very easy to select ham band, air band, public safety, and so on. That option is not hard to fine and not hard to turn off. Ok but as I said before thats not the application I’m testing these two scanner for.
The application I am testing them for is SIGINT and testing group comms against off the shelf equipment. I want to see what I can do on both sides of the spectrum.
Ok so what am I testing then??
I want to know how far away they will pickup an analog signal with stock antenna using Close Call/Spectrum Sweeper?
I want to know if they will decode DMR?
I want to know decode DPMR?
I want to know how far away they will pickup an DMR signal with stock antenna using Close Call/Spectrum Sweeper?
I want to know how much a better antenna will effect the stalking features of both scanners?
If they will do all of the above, I want to know how to defeat those capabilities?
Sounds simple enough and I think those are reasonable questions.
Now there was a comms writer (not NC SCOUT) out there telling everyone if you had a digital scanner with some stalking feature you can basically intercept anyone’s comms around easy. I can tell you from first hand experience that is NOT true! I knew this before the testing session I did today.. These scanners don’t work that great.
First up for testing was the Uniden BCD436HP. It was in wide open ground. All I was testing was the Close Call feature. I want to know if it will pick up an unknown signal. I was using my Anytone AT-D878UV on low power with stock antenna.
1ft away Close Call worked analog
25ft Close Call didn’t work analog
100ft Close Call didn’t work analog
1ft Close Call didn’t work DMR
25ft Close Call didn’t work DMR
100ft Close Call didn’t work DMR
The BCD436HP will NOT pick up DMR with the Close Call feature. I’ve tried multiple times while adjusting settings. It won’t do it. Let discuss another problem I found with the BCD436HP. I cannot for the life of me find where I can just punch a single frequency in and monitor that frequency. This is a HUGE negative for me!! So let’s say I do pick up a DMR signal and I just want to monitor it to gather information. As far as I can find on this scanner its impossible. There are search limits that I can narrow to almost nothing but I like to be able to punch the single frequency I want to listen to into the scanner and monitor just that frequency.
So the BCD436HP WILL pick up and decode DMR if you added that upgrade to it when you bought it but for some reason won’t pick it up with Close Call.
So I added a telescopic antenna to the BCD436HP.
1ft Close Call worked analog
25ft Close Call worked analog
100ft Close Call Worked analog
Close Call didn’t work with DMR
Time for the Whistler TRX-1. It had the stock antenna on it. It was in the wide open just like the Uniden.
1ft Spectrum Sweeper worked analog
25ft Spectrum Sweeper worked analog
100ft Spectrum Sweeper worked analog
200ft Spectrum Sweeper didn’t work analog
25ft Spectrum Sweeper worked DMR
100ft Spectrum Sweeper worked DMR
200ft Spectrum Sweeper didn’t work DMR
I never put the telescopic antenna on it. It did good enough with this test without it.
So as of the first test the TRX-1 works WAY better!!
Next I wanted to just do a DMR test and get it on video for this write up. So I punched a MURS frequency into the TRX-1. As for the BCD436HP I can’t find where to put a single frequency in so I set the search limits from 151.000 to 152.000 and let it scan. I did DMR, encrypted DMR, and DPMR. Both scanners decoded DMR fairly well. The BCD436HP didn’t pick up encrypted signal very well. The TRX-1 seemed to pick up the whole encrypted signal up. Finally neither decoded the DPMR from my TYT radio. I will have the videos posted here.
Those are my initial tests for today. I’m going to get a scanner discone antenna and see what distance the scanner will stalk a signal. I think I can at least double the distance of the TRX-1.
So my final thoughts for today.
The Uniden BCD436HP Close Call feature is weak to almost unusable for the application I need.
Its hard to even get the BCD436HP to pick up DMR signals even while scanning a set band.
The BCD436HP definitely would not be my first choice in digital scanners.
If you wanted just a scanner to travel with and not too worried about trying to catch a signal close to you or your tribe this would be a good option.
The Whistler TRX-1
The Spectrum Sweeper works. It is a bit slow but it works.
I can punch a direct frequency in.
It decodes DMR easy even when scanning a band. It was decoding the DMR net in Tacoma Washington with no problem.
It gets double the distance of signal detection with a stock antenna over the BCD436HP.
As a traveling scanner its a pain in the ass!! It will still work but its not as convenient.
If I personally could only get one I would get the TRX-1 for my tribe/team/group needs. It would serve my needs better.
My testing isn’t done. The next test will be with a better antenna and then I will be trying a few different tactics to defeat the scanners stalking features. Stay tuned for part two.
If you have had different outcomes with either of these scanners let me know in the comments. I would be interested to hear them.
One last thing. I try to go through and fix my grammar problems but I still miss things. English wasn’t my strong suit in high school. I appreciate everyone bearing with my bad grammar.