- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Receivers: Scanners | Uniden BCD396XT Help

Reviews Summary for Uniden BCD396XT
Uniden BCD396XT Reviews: 18 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $549.95
Description: Compact APCO 25 Handheld Scanner

The BCD396XT comes equipped with Uniden exclusive features like Advanced Dynamic Memory System, Close Call RF™ Capture Technology, and GPS compatibility.

This is a conventional/trunking/digital scanner.
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Uniden BCD396XT.

<— Page 2 of 2

KD0OMN Rating: 1/5 Jan 13, 2012 13:18 Send this review to a friend
Fair to Poor  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have owned scanners since the crystal days.

This scanner looked great but..........

Programming must be done by a computer whiz at uniden radios.

Antenna is circuit board mounted so when you sit
down accidentally on radio the radio and ckt board breaks.

User Manual and Software belongs in trash, in translating chinese to japanese to english failed miserably

This radio EATS batteries, keep it in charger.

Side buttons easily hit causing foul ups.

Squelch set too high by factory, interrmittant reception until adjusted by user (how).

Antenna with radio is worthless. Buy a radioshk 20-283 for great reception boost.

On-line manual by a 3rd party is only manual that works with this radio. Stock manual worthless.

Other than above, this is a good radio.
VK2KIT Rating: 4/5 Jul 15, 2011 21:52 Send this review to a friend
Needs further work  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

Memories galore & good memory organisation once you learn the ropes. Freescan software or similar is a must though.

Well built/solid case construction.

Fast conventional scanning 100ch/s

Nice clear display (can be inverted too)

AA battery operation with decent life from 3x NimH cells.

Reasonable P25 audio (probably about as good as you are going to get with IMBE P25 anyway).

Unidens Close Call is an amazing feature.

Cons/suggestions for future firmware upgrades:

Digital processor audio artifacts (clicks, squeeks and squeels) at low volume levels on all modes. Can be quite annoying particularly when an earphone is used..

Plastic display lens will likely scratch easily.

No RSSI voting ability. This feature is a must nowadays and would improve conventional and trunking performance.

Volume control knob needs to default to volume control when in scan mode! The current system is just plain silly.

Decent operators manual would be nice!

For ~US$450, this unit should be supplied with at least a cheap soft vinyl case. Leather cases are available from a certain scanner dealer though.
KJ4DZF Rating: 2/5 Jun 16, 2011 10:39 Send this review to a friend
ok but not great  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
bought this scanner 6 months ago to be able to monitor my city and county PD on the trunked 800mhz system. i don't consider myself to be technically challenged and it took me playing with it for 3 months even with a RR account and download to get everything working. the wiki page and cd are absolutley worthless. this has been out long enough that a basic user guide could be included.

rx is good on analog PS bands but the rubber duck is deaf as a stump on 800. i am on the northern border of our county and my pd radio works perfectly fine, the scanner doesn't see signal until i drive about 15 miles south, and then only outdoors in open areas.

i am looking for a replacement antenna and hoping that solves the issue. but for the price of this scanner that antenna is simply not accptable. i am wishing i'd bought the GRE instead.
KA7EKW Rating: 4/5 Feb 15, 2011 12:41 Send this review to a friend
Three problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I would call this a great scanner, except for three serious problems.

First, any scanner user knows that the volume control is used more than any other single function -- and some idiot "hid" it. There is a nice, big knob, but you have to PUSH it before it operates as a volume control.

Second, there is a button on the side (where the PTT is on an HT) which toggles a menu for programming and advanced functions. Bump it (not that you would EVER do that with it in a pocket, car seat, etc) and it stops scanning until you press the button again.

Lastly, it will sometimes lock onto digital control signals, which can be annoying.

These three things aside, this is a great, highly-capable scanner with good sensitivity, convenient size and good audio. I'm glad I kept it after buying the Home Patrol 1 that I ended up taking back to the store.
W6AAJ Rating: 4/5 Oct 17, 2010 16:11 Send this review to a friend
I agree, great radio, terrible documentation  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I am REALLY pleased with the scanner's performance but, as others has stated, this is a difficult device to progrem without the assistance of a PC. The documentation provided with the radio is near worthless. The good news is that HRO in San Diego uploaded a significant number of local frequencies for me for free. That was extremely helpful getting me started.
KJ4DZF Rating: 4/5 Oct 17, 2010 07:12 Send this review to a friend
great scanner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
very good receive and appears to be well made. the stock antenna works well.

i have had good results with freescan software and it's really the only practical way to program the scanner. A radio reference account is almost a must for new owners.

i'd have given this a 5 except for 2 reasons.

for 500.00 i'd like to see a bit more robust case and an actual user manaul. the included wiki cd is a joke and virtually useless.

i found much more help at this like for a manual...

the amount of effort this guy put into this manual is impressive and he deserves a LOT of credit for it.


K6MTT Rating: 4/5 Mar 7, 2010 08:02 Send this review to a friend
Great radio, lousy manual  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As mentioned in the previous review - plan to spend some time learning the new ways of things. Banks and talkgroups are a thing of the past. Unless you learn the ways of things in this radio, it will frustrate you greatly. The worst part of all is the decision by Uniden to not include a user's manual in the traditional sense. Instead, you get a CD with an abysmal "wiki" version of a manual. It's awful and of very little help. What helped me most was the [PDF] manual for the predecessor BCD396T radio (available online), and the wealth of information about that radio here and there. What's really missing in the XT's documentation is how to actually *use* the radio once you've got it programmed!

That aside, the radio is a marvel. Along with a very decent receiver, it has scads of customization in features and you really can set it up any way you want. Things like different color displays, fire tone-outs and the gobs of searching and close call features will keep you busy for a long time.

I am not sorry I got it, because the more I use it the more it makes sense, but the lack of a manual for a radio this complex is mind-boggling. The excuse for a "manual" they include is laughable. Given the cost of this radio- charge me $10 more for a real user manual. When you read all the discussions, the fans of the radio seem to be in denial that Uniden really should be providing something more usable.

All things considered, the BCD396XT is a very cool radio and if you listen to trunk systems (get the BC346XT if you don't need P25 digital) it will be a worthy companion.

KC2RGW Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2009 12:51 Send this review to a friend
Amazingly capable, can't imagine a feature that is missing  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got this scanner after having bought an Icom R1 as my next most recent scanner in my collection. A LOT can change in a bunch of years!

The memory capacity of 25000 channels is amazing. The online database connectivity for programming with apps like Freescan is incredible. The dynamic channels system is incredibly flexible for enabling and disabling groups.

For actual scanning, the performance is fantastic and compares very favorably with my old reliable Pro-2006 on the desk.

Battery life with properly charged NiMH (included) batteries is quite impressive for using only 3AA batts.

My only warning is to new and even seasoned 'old style' bank scanner users. You _will_ need to do some digging and experimenting to get your head around the new memory system and all of the features of this unit. It is immensely featureful and has no paper manual. The "Complete Reference" provided in a pdf is as is typical of manuals now... Function->Definition. There is very little application and procedural documentation.

You will want software assuredly, Freescan is the one I am using and it works very nicely. You will very likely want an on line database membership from somewhere like as well. This permits you to just click on your county and automatically load it up.

I would also strongly recommend a good quality smart charger rather than using the internal charger. I bought the Maha Wizard and it's quite nice. This permits very proper charge maintenance of NiMh batteries. NiMh are sensitive to proper charging in general so internal chargers in devices are not the best plan.

For the patient and enthusiastic, this scanner will pay off in spades. If you are not a tinkerer or a manual reader, you should just stick to the old fashion and less capable scanners. This will upset you. is highly recommended for their wiki and info there on operation. is where you'll find the Uniden on line manuals and wiki reference for operation info.
<— Page 2 of 2

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.