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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Scanners | Bearcat BCD396T Help

Reviews Summary for Bearcat BCD396T
Bearcat BCD396T Reviews: 18 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $850
Description: Uniden Bearcat Digital Trunk Tracker
Product is in production.
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N2MWE Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2014 10:09 Send this review to a friend
Still ticking  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had my 396T for several years now. Still loving it!! A nice compliment to my 436
KD9VI Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2012 08:47 Send this review to a friend
Great scanner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It has adaquate memory for all my nearby stations. It's not complicated but You need to be familiar with the functions as there's a lot that is not intuitive about current scanners. Get freescan as it is current with the firmware ie rebanding unlike uniden uasd garbage. Get a USB cable as that is the only way to easily program all of the features and make corrections. Radioreference is the scanner bible but not perfect ie cook county ISP frequencies. Receives entire 902 MHz ham band but sliver 764mhz-776mhz. Still within the narrow public service band but I like to explore 700mhz but can't. It does cover 796mhz tactical unlike rs and gre blocked out. Some simulcast it is not receiving well ie cook county ISP. Thought about other models by rs or gre but happy with this. You can get on eBay for around $250.
KG4RUL Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2012 17:51 Send this review to a friend
Great but Way Complicated!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Bearcat software is useless. I found FreeScan for free on the net and it makes understanding this complex radio much easier. I still have a lot of learning to do with this radio. However it is useful with the standard downloads from the Radio Reference site.
NT9M Rating: 3/5 Feb 5, 2008 05:50 Send this review to a friend
Style trumps function  Time owned: more than 12 months
Let me start by saying the 396 does what it claims to do. The features all seem to work as advertised, and I've used the free software to program and reprogram it without a hitch.

I agree with some other reviewers - the mismatch between digital / analog volume can be annoying. I've not found the correct setting of the AGC to smooth this out to my satisfaction.

My biggest problem concerns portable use. I'm a reporter, so it pretty much goes everywhere with me. Unfortunately, it seems Uniden designed this to look like a portable transceiver. They side mounted a dual switch for the function/hold functions, and it is nearly impossible to carry this thing around without accidentally activating one or the other. They made it 3 CM tall, much bigger than the transmit switch of my Kendwood HT's. Yes...there is a key lock for the front panel, but that doesn't help with the side switch. Perhaps including that big side switch to look like the TRANSMIT button of a transceiver was done for marketing reasons, but it sure is annoying when it comes to using this receiver.

For that reason, I find myself wanting to leave the 396 at the office connected to an internet server rather than slogging along with me out here in the working world. Too bad.
KI4BBL Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2007 15:04 Send this review to a friend
Absolutely what I need  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had this for a short time; however, I am finding it very good for all of my needs. I traded a 996t for this because I don't sit in one spot very much. It has great sensitivity, close call is what I have been looking for to pick up certain signals (RS "signal stalker" did not pick up the freq.) I love the simplicity of the scanner and the small size. The standard belt clip is phenomenal (twist and go kind) I love this scanner and use it ALL of the time.

N0VKG Rating: 5/5 Aug 27, 2007 19:22 Send this review to a friend
One of the best....  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is one of the very best radios...

I'm keeping it short, sweet and to the point. I have no complaints for this radio. Simply one of the best.
PAULGBLUNDELL Rating: 5/5 Jul 23, 2007 20:40 Send this review to a friend
Just keeps getting better  Time owned: more than 12 months
18 months on since I got the 396T and I am simply loving it.
SIWADLOJ Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2007 19:56 Send this review to a friend
excelent scanner radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
i owned one of the first rs programable scanner
in the mid 80"s.a couple years later i had two
or three pro radio shack radios.two years ago
i owend my first uniden250d.which at then i thought was also a great radio.i sold that one to purchase the 396t.programing was simple for
me,radio works exceptonaly well.i only had one
small minor detail,and that is finding the tone
out signals to set for my area.i wish it would
have a search feature in the menu.
K4YHQ Rating: 4/5 Oct 26, 2006 20:04 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful eatures, Great Software, Sensitivity Lacking  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Oddly enough, if it weren't for the RS Pro 96/2096, I'd be giving this scanner a 5/5.


(1) Dynamic Memory Allocation allows you to program as many as 500 Systems (banks) with as many as 250 talkgroups per bank. This should be the model for all future scanners to copy.t's very easy to build an custom scanner profile that lets you activate or lock out whole systems as you need to. It takes a little getting used to, but once yopu've forgotten all you learned about programming other scanners, the Uniden Dynamic Memory Allocation is much better than anything you used before.

(2) It's very easy to operate with the Butel ARC396 software. Butel software makes it a pleasure to program the 396. You can import whole systems directly from the RadioReference Database. You just open up the software and pick and choose, like a kid in a candy store. Butel ARC396 also allows you to control the scanner directly from your computer.

(3) The display is an attractive blue with good contrast.

(4) The unit is about 1/2 the size of the RS Pro 96, and fits easily into your shirt pocket.

(5) The 396 has good audio quality, if not too much volume.


(1) Clearly less sensitive than the RS 96/2096. I have both scanners, and if put them side by side, programmed with the same frequencies, the Pro 96 will pick up almost twice as many signals.

(2) Without the Uniden or Butel software, the 396 would be a nightmare to program.

(3) It eats batteries at almost twice the rate of the RS Pro 96.

(4) The volume levels are not equalized, especially when going from digital to analog signals. This means that some transmission are so soft you're tempted to turn up the volume, then the next signal is so loud you're tempted to turn it down.

(5) Service Searches are not as easy to initiate, as with the RS Pro 96. When near the shore, I like to flip the Pro 96 onto the Marine Bands to monitor the Coast Guard. With the Pro 96 I just hit one button and can switch it back and forth between the Marine Band and whatever else I'm scanning. With the 396 this requires hitting buttons and scrolling, and can't be done as quickly.


I like this little scanner very much, and I use it often, but here's no getting around the fact that the RS Pro 96 will give you more to listen to.
KC5IMN Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2006 17:32 Send this review to a friend
Very complex radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an initial review of the BCD 396T after two weeks of use. I had a need of a portable radio capable of demodulating P25 digital voice transmissions because our local police department just switched all their voice operations over to P25 and the Texas Department of Public Safety is in the process of switching over to P25 digital.

My first impression of the unit is that it is very small, nearly twice the size of my Radio Shack PRO 97. This radio is complex. It has a tall learning curve and will require more than a basic understanding of trunking and conventional radio systems. The downloadable software from Uniden to program and control the radio is not user friendly and will require some time to master. Using the manual and Uniden software I was not able to successfully program local radio systems into the radio. This was very frustrating because I feel that I am a power user of windows GUI driven software and of cutting edge personal electronic devices. After about five days of use, I reluctantly purchased the downloadable software from Butel software (ARC396PRO). This software was pretty straight forward on programming the radio and has so many logging and control features that I may never use them all. Using the ARC396 PRO software I was able to download all of my local, rural, radio systems (conventional and trunking). After three days of frustration, I spent about 8 hours on the yahoo.groups BCD396T site, and now, I have determined that this is an awesome radio.

It actually tracks the TXU 900 MHz narrowband EDACS trunking system; a massive statewide networked trunking system (something that no other handheld scanner could do). So far, it has worked great for Motorola Type II and LTR trunking systems as well as conventional systems. The radio hears as well as any high end scanner/receiver that I have owned. It does a great job of decoding the P25 digital voice transmissions from our local police department. The system/group method of data storage is very effective and efficient; I have all the state police frequencies, all the state DOT frequencies, and all the major and minor trunking/conventional systems in my area (including the Dallas/Fort Worth areas and 50 miles east) programmed up and have only used about 25 percent of the memory storage.

In the end I really wish that the radio had a per channel delay instead of being on a per system basis. Absolutely no other derogatory items to report. Overall, this radio has to be the most feature packed hand held scanner radio on the market today. However, be prepared for a steep learning curve just for basic operation of the radio.

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