MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Uniden BCD396T

Tool photo.

Remember those old crystal-controlled police scanners it seems just about everyone had during the CB radio craze of a few decades ago? You probably have visions of an old table-top scanner, with its flashing bank of glowing red LEDs and the crackle of your local fire or police departments being heard through its speaker, sitting next to your dad’s favorite recliner. Well, communications technology has rapidly progressed over the years, and so too has radio scanning equipment. With advances that will seem virtually light years ahead of the scanners of days gone by, the Uniden BCD396T offers capabilities unheard of just a few years ago.

With coverage from of just about every frequency from 25 MHz to 1.3 GHz (sorry, the cellular bands are excluded as per the FCC), the handheld BCD396T lets you tune into police, fire, weather, ambulance, aircraft, military, amateur radio, marine, news media, and even FM and VHF-TV commercial broadcasts. Sporting a memory capacity of up to 6,000 alpha-numeric channels, the PC-programmable and controllable BCD396T utilizes Uniden’s “TrunkTracker IV” technology, allowing you to follow the action of most trunked radio systems commonly used by emergency response agencies. Over 400 major US cities are preprogrammed into the radio for rapid deployment.

In addition, the BCD396T also features Uniden’s “Close Call” RF capture technology, which allows the scanner to lock onto nearby transmissions even if you haven’t programmed anything into your radio. Other features include fire tone-out capability, Weather Alert, Search and Store operations, and Priority Scan.

This definitely isn’t your father’s scanner.

Available online and is often discounted.