Monday, December 5, 2011

Radio Shack Pro-2055

Pro-2055 Review

NOTE: Please be advised that a lot of Pro-2055 units have had a problem with the LCD going out unexpectedly. 
My first impressions of the Pro-2055 are good. I like the sensitivity, construction, layout, audio, and other features of this scanner. One of the things I noticed is the color difference to the Pro-2096. The Pro-2096 is more of a silver color and the Pro-2055 is more gray. Not a big deal, just makes them noticeably different.
The scanner is fairly heavy because it has a metal case. It feels solid and well constructed when you unpack it from the box. The scanner is packed in the box really well, unlike it's cousin the Pro-97 that is in a blister pack (newer Pro-97's come in a box). The buttons and controls of the scanner are firm and solid feeling.
The LCD is crystal clear. The LCD is smaller than I expected but the resolution of the LCD is so good that you can easily see all the letters, numbers and symbols. I was surprised to see 16 character text on the 2055. The Pro-2096 only allows 12 characters of text where the 2055 allows for 16. Those extra 4 characters are a blessing! I like the way you can see the frequency along with your text. Some have reported they have had to have the LCD replaced because it would just go black but so far so good here. The backlight on this scanner is nice and bright. It looks good and even has a dim feature if you want to tone it down a notch.
Radio Shack includes a good amount of accessories with the scanner including an antenna, mounting bracket (doubles as a desk stand) and hardware, AC adapter, DC hardwire, DIN sleeve, manual and other literature. I feel that Radio Shack (GRE) Should step up and provide a programming cable in the package like Uniden does for it's scanners of this caliber. The Serial cable will cost you from $15 to $20+ dollars more. eBay usually around $15, and RS around $20. You can visit the GRE America Website and pick up a cable for around $16 but then you have to pay shipping which is going to equal about $20. So if you are near an RS store, pick one up. There is a USB programming cable that is also available for around $24.
Radio Shack (GRE made) scanners can be programmed with software and computer but they cannot be controlled with a PC like Uniden scanners. Win97 is the software available for the Pro-2055 and Pro-97 scanners. The Pro-2055 can clone or be cloned to a Pro-97 scanner using a standard 1/8" to 1/8" mono stereo cable. The 2055 has the PC port on the front which is a great amenity if you have the scanner installed in your vehicle and use the 97 to clone. You can program the 97 and simply clone to the 2055.
The audio on the 2055 is superb. Very loud and clear much like that on the Pro-2096. The speaker is located on the bottom of the scanner and provides more than ample audio for mobile use. Even at higher volumes, there is no distortion in the audio. GRE did a great job with the audio of this scanner.
Sensitivity is good on this scanner. Compared to my BCD396T, the 2055 wins hands down on analog VHF-High reception using the stock antenna on the 2055 and the 396 a VHF-High band specific antenna. The 2055 would receive a good clear signal from agencies 20 to 30 miles away where the 396 never even stopped on the transmission. Using the Scantenna (outdoor antenna) the 2055 tended to overload a little but using the attenuator (ATT) feature and helped the clear signal right up. Even on signals that seemed weak and loads of static, one press of the ATT button and the static was gone! I have received analog Motorola 800 system from 45 miles away on the Pro-2055. This wasn't all day, but every morning and every evening, I could receive this system.
The signal stalker function can be useful but I rarely use this even the similar "Close Call" function on my BCD396T rarely gets used. The Signal Stalker on the 2055 is different from Uniden's Close Call in that you cannot use both scanning of programmed information and Signal Stalker at the same time. You have to choose one or the other which sort of stinks because who wants to tie up the scanner like that? I have heard the Signal Stalker of the 2055 is more sensitive than the Close Call of Uniden's but I have no experiences to back that up. I wouldn't expect to pick up signals miles away. Usually 100' is about max unless you are near a powerful repeater which can be picked up at around 1/4 mile.
This scanner does have SAME functions which I find very useful during severe weather. I use the SAME function on one of my scanners when severe weather is expected. There is no earlier warning system available that I know about. Usually the SAME Wx Alert will go off a good 2 to 5 minutes before my cities tornado warning sirens. This is a great feature that most of the higher end scanners have. The 2055 also has a SKYWARN feature that you can program your local SKYWARN frequency into the last channel or last three channels of the scanner. Activating the SKYWARN feature simply tunes to those programmed frequencies.
Programming is still difficult to me. I suppose I am a Uniden man at heart. The way you have to enter text on the 2055 is really annoying and very, very time consuming. I realize lots of people will use Win97 software, but some will program by hand and if you do, let me tell you, your fingers will be sore. I programmed this scanner initially by hand and had to do it in segments. Program, rest. Program, rest. I just don't like how GRE scanners have to be programmed. Some frequencies the 2055 will round up or down. It does accept 7.5 step frequencies which is becoming more and more common. You cannot adjust the steps manually like you can on most newer Unidens. I would like to be able to adjust the step but it isn't that big of a deal. You can adjust the mode on the frequency from AM or FM. The 138 to 144 MHz range used by some military can easily be adjusted to AM from FM just by pressing the MODE button.
On CTCSS/DCS tone search, you must choose one or the other to search for. The scanner cannot search for both at the same time. Not really a huge deal since all you have to do is push the Mode button to change the search while the frequency is active but still a little annoying.
These are just my observations of the Pro-2055 that I owned. The Pro-2055 is a good scanner. I like the receive and functions of the scanner. I would recommend this scanner to anyone looking for a mobile/base analog scanner. I rate the scanner a 6 out of 10 mainly because of the programming annoyances and the LCD going out issue. Also see my review of the Pro-97. It is a great scanner and performance of the 97 is nearly equal to that of the 2055.
Win97 for the Pro-2055:
I was surprised at how easy this software is to navigate and operate. You can use the software free for 30 days. Mr. Don Starr, states on his site that you should use the software for the 30 day trial period to see if you like it. I am sure you will. It has all the functions you need plus many extras all in an easy to understand and navigate format. It reminds me a little of ARC software but the Win software definitely has it's own attributes! The software allows you to tweak things you couldn't without it. Like at what voltage the low battery beep begins. That is just cool. Also adjust the backlight time settings, and a few other tweaks. You can edit and adjust the 6 searches of the scanner including the limit search by adding Attenuator, and turning on/off certain functions as well as locking out channels. Same goes for the Signal Stalker function. Of course you can add and edit all 1000 of the scanners channels and all the Talk Group ID's. Win97 supports copy and paste, because I copied almost all of my information from my UASD396 program and pasted into Win97. You can do neat things like justify all the text tags either to the left, center, or right. Also you can check for duplicate frequencies. You can also have the software sort by alpha tags or frequency in the bank and on the Talk Groups. There is also a search function that searches for alpha tags, frequencies or talkgroups. And with Win97 you can import from the database. Of course Win97 also supports the Pro-97. The Win97 software is a must have for either of these two scanners! It is well worth the $25.00 to keep your data well organized.
All in all the Pro-2055 is a good scanner. However, due to the LCD issue, I am a little reluctant to recommend this scanner. If you don't think that the LCD is widespread, the proof is in the pudding, just read through this forums thread. An excellent alternative to the Pro-2055 is the Uniden BCT15. In my opinion, the BCT15 is a much better scanner all around comparing features and performance. But, if you can find a Pro-2055 (the newer the date code the better) for a decent price, it will make an excellent analog trunking scanner.