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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Scanners | Radio Shack Pro 2096 Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Shack Pro 2096
Radio Shack  Pro 2096 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $499
Description: The PRO-2096 follows both digital and analog sytems, including 9600bps control channel and C-QPSK modulation. Listen to law enforcement officers and fire fighters, and hear advance warnings of dangerous weather conditions. Virtual Scanner Memory Management system stores 11 memory configurations, each with 500 channels and 1500 talkgroups for a total of 5500 channels and 16,500 talkgroups
• Preprogrammed for most major metropolitan areas
• Frequency coverage: 25-50MHz VHF-Lo, 50-54MHz 6-meter Ham, 108-136.9875MHz aircraft, 137-174, 216.0025-225MHz, 406-512MHz, 806-960MHz (excluding cellular bands), 1240-1300MHz

Product is in production.
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SWL377 Rating: 4/5 Aug 10, 2009 16:54 Send this review to a friend
Buy one. Closeout $160  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Digital scanner deal of the century. Not a great value at $499, but RS is closing them out. I bought one on August 9, 2009 for $160! It is odd, different RS stores have different close out prices on the PRO 2096, some are well over $200 but some are $160. Thge 2096 has its faults, but it is a smoking deal at $160. The display is too small, it cannot be computer controlled just programmed from all I can see, but there is a lot to like. I took it apart and the build quality is high. Audio and sensitivity seemed fine, using distant ham repeaters on all VHF and UHF bands covered for testing. I did manage to listen to some digital voice sigs and they sounded OK. I have no public safety digital scanning experience, just ham DSTAR, but I think the scanner did a fine job of decoding and reproducing digital voice sigs. Ask your RS to check avaialbility in other district stores if they dont have one. They wont last long at this great closeout price.

KB0LEA Rating: 3/5 Jan 4, 2008 14:01 Send this review to a friend
Not a bad scanner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought my scanner new off of EBay. Programming and upgrading are easy with the Win96 software. Mine seems to be weak on the analog receive end as my old $50.00 BC350c will pick stations up this one does not, even after trying different attenuation settings and antennas. Also Radio Shack will not honor their warranty on these unless it is purchased at their stores. With those exceptions I like the scanner very well and would recommend it.
CHARLIE_HORSE Rating: 4/5 Mar 28, 2007 09:02 Send this review to a friend
Really good, but no frequency logging  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm not going to write a lot on this scanner as there are literally hundreds of reviews around the Internet on this very model.

I've had this unit for about 30-45 days now. It's a great scanner, lots of functionality, great sound, metal case.

My issues with it (and the things keeping it from getting a 5)
- *NO frequency logging!* this drives me nuts!!! I had an RS handheld scanner from the early 90's (forget the model, but it was one of the cheap ones) and even it was capable of doing this. On a 2006/2007 model $500 scanner with this many channels that you have to purchase a $25 cable for, it's simply unforgivable.
- Volume knob is inside of squelch knob and they tend to stick to each other.
- I've tightened the metal mounting bracket (it doubles as a stand) to the point that I'm afraid of distorting the case, but over a few days, the front still slowly creeps back down to the desktop.
- The display is ridiculously small for the amount of information it displays. Their $150 mobile/base scanners have larger displays.
- Not enough text memory. I'm not sure how many characters it is, but with all the channels I have programmed, it's very difficult to tell some of them apart.
- Not enough channels. Yes, that's right. Win96 software (which also unlocks the mil-band)can download data from, and I just having local frequencies that I can pick up with the telescopic antenna, I have ran out.

Would I buy it again? At the $399 sale price, yes. But if I had to spend the full $499, I'd be buying a BC996 instead.
KD6JBF Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2007 14:58 Send this review to a friend
excellent receiver!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got this on 2/17, but no chance to use it till 2/18, and probably no chance to do much with it until tomorrow, but first impressions are that : 1. audio is great, room filling sound, 2. sensitivity seems above avge; compared to the BC 396T, it is definite improvement, 3. the ability to turn off and off the ID group sub-banks is very similar to the BC 396 T's, and adds functiionality to the Pro 2096, 4. the lit displays and keys are a nice added extra which adds more ease of use for this unit. I am sure as time goes on and getting more familiar with this unit, more accolade will come. I had the Pro-96 previoiusly, but traded it in to Grove enterprises for the BC 396T. Nothing inherently bad with the BC 396 T, but the BC 396T does add the options to apply different audio sounds when a specific talk group is on, and also the 700 Mhz band is covered. All in all, for a base unit, the Pro-2096 is a good one!
KX1C Rating: 5/5 Jan 4, 2006 07:05 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Performance !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased this PRO 2096 Digital Scanner new on E-Bay about 2 months ago and have enjoyed it no end. It does everything as advertised. The Win96 Software is a must and makes programing a lot easier. My only complaint would be the size of the volume / squelch control knob; it is very small and difficult to grasp. No question, I would purchase this Scanner again in a heart beat and expect many years of listening pleasure from it.
W6LBV Rating: 5/5 Mar 26, 2005 07:25 Send this review to a friend
Preliminary review: it's well done  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an “initial impressions” quick review for the PRO-2096; it is not intended to be definitive. At the time of writing I have used the 2096 for five days, and obviously there is much more to do before a complete evaluation can be produced. Nevertheless this review may answer some questions for other hams who are contemplating purchasing the 2096.

For comparison purposes I have owned and/or operated other Radio Shack, ICOM, and Uniden (Bearcat) scanners, most notably the classic PRO-2006 (a nearly perfect receiver!), the ICOM R-2, R-8500 (another nearly perfect receiver), and R-9000, and the Uniden BC-296D (which is a hand held scanner, of course; the BC-796D is the base/mobile version).

First, some of the PRO-2096 good news: no more plastic; the all-metal case is back! This product has heft and feels solid. It ships with both the 120 v.a.c. power supply/cable (a wall wart) and the 12 v.d.c. cable, and includes both an under-dash mobile mounting metal bracket and an in-dash metal cage mounting system for the scanner. Receiver sensitivity indoors with just the included telescoping whip antenna on the back of the scanner seems better than average. I have not yet tested the 2096 with an outside antenna, nor have I noticed any intermod while using the attached whip antenna. The received audio output is quite clean, and there is a very abundant amount of it. The backlit LCD display screen has good visibility and contrast, and every button on the front panel that can be pushed with a finger has at least adequate backlighting (LCD contrast and all backlighting are adjustable).

IMHO, in comparison with the operation of the BC-296D, the PRO-2096 has considerably better PC programming software (the Win96 product for the PRO-96/2096, which is not included with the product but is available on the Web as shareware with an added purchase cost, vs. the free, included software for the BC-296D). The Win96 product has many more of the standard “Windows features” that modern PC applications contain, and it has one crucial feature, “Extended Frequencies.” With this feature turned on, the 2096 is put into a mode where it can receive all frequencies (800 MHz cellular excepted) between 25 and 1300 MHz, including military air.

Note that for both scanners, programming of large trunked systems (either analog or APCO25 digital) really isn’t feasible using only the radio’s key pad; there’s just too much data entry! The user almost must program via a PC application. The BC-296D can be remotely controlled as well as programmed from its PC application, while the PRO-2096 can only be programmed from the PC, but not also remotely controlled from it.

Audio recovery from APCO25 digital systems seemed just a bit better with the 296D, and the 296D also has provisions for “tweaking” the quality of digital audio. The 2096 does not have this. However, the PRO-2096 has an effective audio AGC system for digital signals, and that helps considerably since digital audio levels can vary widely. At its worst, the PRO-2096 digital audio contains a “burbling” noise and some distortion on weak received signals, annoying but not critical. On clean, solid digital signals the quality of PRO-2096 recovered audio is almost the equal of conventional narrowband FM on the same scanner. The PRO-2096 has no provisions for wideband FM signals (such as TV audio and broadcast FM radio), or for operation on internal batteries.

The PRO-2096 has, and the BC-296D does not have, a massive number of data storage registers, called “virtual scanners.” These provide the scanner with storage for up to 11 different complete “data load” sets of 500 receive channels each. These 500 channel data sets can be individually loaded into and out of the main scanner operational memory, which can contain only one 500 channel set at a time. Very generously, Radio Shack has pre-loaded the sets with the operational frequencies and other system data for the 100 largest trunked radio systems in the United States. The pre-loads included both the city and the country 800 MHz trunked systems for my city, so I was up and running with them in just a manner of minutes.

The Radio Shack manual is extensive and is well enough written (English only) to be useable. The sequence of topics is not particularly well organized, and some improvement could be made here. For a new purchaser, previous experience with scanners in general and the Radio Shack PRO series in particular would be helpful. Nevertheless, it is probably a better plan to do most of the scanner system programming and set-up work in the Win96 application and thus to learn Win96 well, rather than just to depend on the 2096 manual and scanner key pad provisions.

In my attempt to purchase the scanner at retail from a local store, I discovered that Radio Shack apparently made its initial distribution of the (top of the line) PRO-2096 only to its “high volume stores,” i.e., the major company retailers in each metropolitan area. Even the identified “high volume” store where I purchased the 2096 appeared to stock only one unit of this scanner; this is a very new product and probably production is still limited. My scanner was delivered with no apparent faults.

This is a very sophisticated product, and its has much more capability than space and time permit discussing now. In that the scanner has so far performed to expectations over this very limited time period, I have to rate it as a preliminary “5.” Whether that rating is still warranted several months from now, when I anticipate submitting a more detailed review, remains to be seen.

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