Radio and Scanner Stuff

Uniden recently announced their newest scanner, the Bearcat SDS100. Beyond having a colorful display, it also introduces I/Q software defined radio to the scanner market. The form factor builds off the BCD436HP. However, it’s expected to run around $699 and includes firmware updates, but those cost extra. I’ll stay with what I have right now.

What am I using right now, though? I’ve settled on several radios and scanners for primary use. My main scanner is still the BCD536HP. For both digital trunking and analog signals, it works great. Lately, though, the record feature has been failing, as it decides on its own that it doesn’t want to record anymore. It’s not a problem with storage capacity, as there’s plenty of room left on the micro-SD card it’s using, so I don’t know. I also occasionally run my Radio Shack Pro-135, an older scanner that, as such, only does analog signals. What I like about it, though, is that there’s no boot-up time to using it, and it is easy to program. With my Radio Shack Pro-651 (a Whistler rebranded model, by the way), I have to wait a bit from switching it on to it actually scanning. I remember the BC125AT having a similar issue (I don’t currently have access to that scanner. I really wish I did, though, as that is a great scanner as far as analog-only units go). I sometimes have both the BCD536HP and the Pro-135 running in case one happens to miss something while locked on one signal.

I also have a Bearcat 980SSB, but I don’t really use it that often. Actually, it didn’t come with a “proper” power adapter (it’s designed right out of the box to be used in a vehicle, in place of a car stereo, so I had to order a power adapter unit to use it inside. It works, though). It’s a great CB radio, especially since it has single sideband capability. There is a good bit of CB traffic from truckers in this area, especially early in the mornings and in the evenings. If you’re still interested in CB radio, it’s a great unit.

For radios, I’ve got two that I mainly use. The first is the Tecsun PL-880. I got this a couple years ago as a replacement for my PL-660, and I love it. It has great reception quality on the shortwave band, and even on the AM. I sometimes scan the shortwave bands late at night, and can pull in a lot of stuff. I also use it as an alarm clock, set to go off each morning at 7am and to switch back off at 7:55. One thing I like about how it switches back off is that it fades to silence instead of just switching off suddenly, which is what my CC Radio SW does. C. Crane radios excel at audio quality. The SW Radio has knobs for treble, bass, and AM RF gain controls. It also has a large dial for scanning the dials, but the dial on mine has been bent a bit and doesn’t scan smoothly. Aside from occasional shortwave dialing, I often use this as a midnight-hour radio, with an alarm set for it to switch on and play radio for exactly one hour. It’s nice to fall asleep to.

That about does it for radio and scanner and scanner stuff for now. With any luck I’ll head out to a clear field south of town this Tuesday and take along my PL880 to do some shortwave listening. Last time I did that I picked up a couple of hams talking to each other, one based in east-coast NC and the other in northern Virginia.

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