Sunday, December 4, 2011

Uniden BC796D

The BC796D is an excellent scanner. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to program 2 of these scanners. I used the UASD796 software that was included to program the scanner. The 796 software isn't as good as the software that came with the BCD396T, BCD996T or other newer scanners because it doesn't offer any copy and paste feature or a way to set other configurations through the software like SAME and other scanner settings.
The scanner itself though, receives really well. I tested it out on numerous conventional channels, a few air band and mil air band frequencies, analog trunking systems, as wells as a Motorola P25 digital system.
Nice audio for indoor use, but I found that in my noisy interior of my Nissan Frontier the audio was lacking a bit. If it is turned up too loud, it distorts. But for an indoor base scanner or a less noisy vehicle this scanner works great.
Super fast scanning, excellent digital decode, excellent analog sound. I have heard people cut this scanner down compared to the Pro-96/Pro-2096 but in my opinion, there just isn't much difference in audio on my local digital system or the analog trunked systems I monitored.
The scanner is very easy to use and understand. It is a monster to program by hand especially for large trunking systems or numerous conventional channels. It isn't necessarily difficult to program, it is just time consuming inputting all of the text. It is much easier to input text by hand than on the Pro-2096/Pro-96 scanners though. On the 796, you simply turn the VFO through capital letters A-Z then lower case a-z, then numbers and symbols. Very easy, just time consuming. It is much faster to use the software. Butel offers a higher quality programming software for $39.95 Basic and $69.95 Pro version.
I love the signal meter offered on the BC796D. The 16 character alpha tags are also nice versus the 12 on the Pro96/2096. The LCD screen is nice and LARGE so seeing it even mobile isn't a problem. The dark box inside the LCD bothers me a little. There may be a way to adjust the contrast but I didn't find it.
It is somewhat unfriendly to activate the attenuation (helps block strong interference) on channels because you must go through the menu to activate this. I like scanners that offer this attenuation on the keypad.
The 796 offers many add on features as well, like a remote head. I was disappointed that there wasn't a programming cable included, especially since the software is included. I did happen to find a standard serial cable at a computer store though very cheap! also offers the cable in either 6' or 25' lengths for a decent price!
When you get your BC796D, you need to perform a firmware update. There are two updates currently available for the BC796D. One is to fix the digital card error message that many have been plagued with. You can download both fixes at Uniden's Download page. Download both the BC796D Update Program and the BCi96D Update Program and follow the instructions. The BC796D is an excellent scanner.
The BC796D has a lot of great features. However for the price of $500 +, you can get a more feature packed scanner in the BCD396T or the BCD996T. The age of banks and channels are going away. Uniden's new Dynamic memory featured on the BCD396T, BCD996T, BR330T, BCT-15, and BC246T is the wave of the future. Being able to program multiple systems either trunked or conventional and not wasting memory is definitely a plus. I am not saying that bank/channel scanners are obsolete, I own several. But I am saying that the Dynamic Memory design is much easier to use and keep your agencies separated.
If you can find a good deal on the BC796D and need a digital mobile/base scanner, then jump on it. It is a good scanner. It has good analog and digital decode. And has a fast scan rate. All in all the scanner is probably a 7 out of 10 for me.
date written: 03/19/06
796trunklcd.JPG 796rear.JPG

796volume.JPG 796keypad.JPG

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