Uniden have made a name for themselves in the world of police scanners, and for very good reasons too. They have a range of mobile and handheld scanners that have proven to be very reliable for users to monitor communications over a wide range of frequencies. The Uniden BCD996P2 is one of such in their inventory with a performance that doesn’t harm the brand.
As this Uniden BCD996P2 review would show, it is phase 2 digital scanner able to monitor all digital transmissions as long as they are not encrypted.
Like most mobile scanners, it doesn’t come cheap. If you have to cough out a pretty dollar to get a device, it is expected that the performance should be excellent. This begs the question of whether the Uniden BCD996P2 is worth the cost or perhaps Uniden are simply betting on their famous brand to make a killing in the marketplace.
The answers to these and many questions are what this Uniden BCD996P2 review would attempt to provide.
Uniden BCD996P2 Review
Like all mobile scanners, Uniden BCD996P2 can be used either indoors or in the car. Using it indoors doesn’t require any mounting as you would in a car. Simply set it on the desk or table and you are ready to start monitoring nearby communications.
If you want to use it and a mobile unit in your vehicle, make sure you have enough space for the 11 x 3.8 x 8.5 inches dimensions of the unit. The unit comes with the installation bracket, screws and other mounting hardware you would need to do it.
Fortunately, the owner’s manual is very detailed with illustrations to guide you if you are not sure how to go about mounting it.
The scanner design is standard. It doesn’t come innovative design features; making it easy to master especially if you have used other scanners before.
As it usual with standard scanners, all the knobs, button and keypad are located across the front panel. But each knob and button perform more than one operation so there might be a noticeable learning curve getting used to the different functions.
For instance, you can rotate the knobs as well as press them to achieve different results. And with some keys, pressing them briefly or pressing and holding them give access to different operations respectively.
The display comes with 7 colors to chose from with several signal adjustments for the system/frequencies.
Programming the Scanner
Unlike a few other scanners, you can’t program it by using your zip code only. The programming software is available for download free on Uniden’s website. Freescan is another amazing free software you could use to program it.
With the software already installed, connect the scanner to a pc using the USB cable. Make sure you know the channel or frequencies to program. A database of all the channels you might need can be found on the Radio Reference’s website. Then simply copy and paste frequencies to the scanner.
Using the Uniden BCD996P2
If you have used the portable handheld BCD325P2 before, many of the features and functions would be familiar. That is because the 996 was designed primarily as the base station model of the 325.
This scanner performs its basic functions of receiving the majority of the unencrypted signals excellently. It would receive fire, public service, military air, government, police, and other bands whether in the digital or analog modes.
With just the stock antenna, reception of phase 1&2 APCO P-25 digital signals is modest especially if you are in a good location to receive P-25 trunk radio signals.
For digital signals, 800 MHz for instance, instead of the stock antenna, an antenna of no more than 7″ should get you optimal reception. With the right antenna setup that includes a booster, analog signals 60 miles away can be received as long as the terrain is flat and the weather is clear.
The audio is okay. It comes out with a deep bass sound which is a good thing in many respect because nobody likes it when the audio is squeaky.
Some Notable features
Band scope mode
You would love the band scope feature of this scanner. Band scope is a special type of scanning mode that allows users to see the strength of each signal presented in a bar graph form on the display. But before using it, make sure the critical channel programming is sorted out first. Again, the Radio Reference website is your go-to resource here.
This allows you to program it to:
- Share trunked systems IDs across multiple sites
- Independently turn each site on/off
And you don’t have to duplicate IDs while also allowing you to choose the optimal site to scan for your location.
System/Channel Number tagging
This feature allows users to navigate to a specific channel or frequency quickly. Numbers tags can be assigned to channels, systems, service searches, and custom search ranges.
Other features that have the benefit of number tags include the
- Close Call that created during Close Call Auto store and
- Close Call Hits
At the moment, this feature works when monitoring Motorola devices only. If the device’s priority scan has been activated, and you have assigned one of the talkgroups as a priority in the Uniden scanner, the scanner would automatically switch to it when the talkgroup becomes active. It doesn’t matter if it was already monitoring another active channel.
Summary of Features of Uniden BCD996P2
Control Channel Only Scanning – Allows you to enter just the control channels to track a Motorola system and the scanner will find the voice channels.
Priority ID Scan – Allows you to set priority to talkgroup IDs.
EDACS ESK Support – Provides the ability to monitor analog talkgroups on those systems
Adjustable Scan/Search Delay/Resume – Set a delay up to 30 seconds or a forced resume up to 10 seconds
Intermediate Frequency Exchange – Changes the IF used for a selected channel/frequency to help avoid image and other mixer-product interference
Individual Channel Volume Offset – Allows you to adjust the volume offset for each channel
Control Channel Data Output – Allows the analysis of control channel data without the need to perform invasive modifications to the scanner
Location-based GPS Alerts – Alerts you when you are near an area pre-programmed as a place of interest.
Close Call RF Capture Technology – Allows scanner to detect and provide information about nearby radio transmissions. Close Call ‘Do-not-Disturb’ checks for Close Call activity in between channel reception so active channels are not interrupted.
Fire Tone-Out Standby/Tone Search – Lets you set the scanner to alert you if a two-tone sequential page is transmitted. You can set up to 10 settings then select one for standby monitoring. The scanner will also search and display unknown tones
Frequency/ID Auto Search and Store – Lets users set the scanner to automatically store active frequencies from a service. It also limits search in a selected system/ or auto-store all new talkgroup IDs into a chosen trunked system
SAME Weather Alert/Priority – To receive SAME weather alert transmitted on a NOAA weather channel.
Record-Out Jack – Allows users to connect an output jack to a VOX controlled recorder or PC sound input to record received audio.
- Easy to install in your car
- Great sound quality
- Comes with many useful features
- Easy to scan different channels
- Well-built and sturdy
- Clear Multi-colored display
- Steep learning curve
- Programming is difficult
The Uniden BCD996P2 is a dream scanner for veterans. For newbies, except they have tons of patience, it is likely that out of frustration, they might easily dispose of it to get scanners that are easier to use. For instance, there are several dozen parameters to go through to fully setup each channel.
But once it has been programmed and set up correctly, it is a dream to use.
It comes equipped with features that are unique to Uniden such as the Advanced Dynamic Memory System, Close Call RF Capture, and it is compatible with GPS. The digital systems support includes the latest APCO Project 25 Phase ll systems.
So if you don’t mind the learning curve and the difficult programming, it is a great scanner to monitor all types of signals except the encrypted ones.
- Uniden’s BCD996P2 Digital Base/Mobile Scanner is a full-featured design with the serious hobbyist in mind. With an advanced digital decoding system and large memory bank, the Bearcat BCD996P2 scanner is an extremely powerful and useful Public Safety scanner.
- The BCD996P2 comes equipped with Uniden exclusive features like Advanced Dynamic Memory System, Close Call RF Capture Technology, and GPS compatibility. It includes support for digital systems, including the latest APCO Project 25 Phase II systems.
- Stay safe and informed with state of the art NOAA weather access and S.A.M.E. weather alerts that warn you of severe conditions in your area.