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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Scanners | Uniden BCT15 Help

Reviews Summary for Uniden BCT15
Uniden BCT15 Reviews: 23 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $$319.95
Description: BearTracker Mobile Trunking Scanner with GPS Support. 2500 Dynamically
Allocated Channels
* Up to 400 Systems
* 100 System Quick Keys* - *with 10 Channel Group Quick Keys Per
* Location-Based Scanning
* 100 System Quick Keys
* BearTracker™ Warning System - Alerts you to activity on Highway Patrol
link frequencies to let you know if there is activity within about 3 miles of
your location.
* Close Call™ RF Capture Technology - Instantly tunes to signals from
nearby transmitters
* Temporary Lockout
* Dangerous Crossing, Dangerous Road and POI Alert
* Public Safety Scanner
Product is in production.
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KD6CCP Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2014 22:45 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been away from scanners since the 2006 went off the market. Recently returned and bought the bct15x used on Ebay. Then Scancat lite plus and Free scan software with radio reference 6 month subscription. Knew nothing about these scanners, trunking etc. Read the manual, which made it worse. Then read some on line manuals etc. and started using the software. What a breeze now. These are truly computer based programming units, to do it by hand is a real time burner. I can load thousands of channels with all the settings in seconds. The audio is great, display is very easy to read. I liked it so much I bought a second one and they both sit next to me in the den stacked. Ham bands on one, ems on the other. They are very affordable. Sure they dont do digital but in my area the local law enforcement went to digital encrypted PSEC, so no one can hear them now. Still there is plenty of analog traffic to keep you busy and this scanner cut the the chase. Great bargain...
KG4CLD Rating: 0/5 Sep 3, 2013 20:50 Send this review to a friend
JUNK!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What a piece of programming nightmare. I've been a scanner enthusiast for decades. This scanner is by far the worst ever. I spent hours trying to decipher the PDF manual just to be able to begin the painful process of entering all the information. Then once I was able to get it working, I couldn't turn off the preprogrammed conventional frequencies. All I want to hear is the trunked system. I spend more time trying to fix it without success. I'm programming this for a friend. I'm glad I don't own it otherwise I would have sold it by now on eBay!
Don't buy this model. I'd recommend either the uniden BCT8 or the Radio Shack PRO-163. Both are way easier to program and operator.
KI6PYQ Rating: 5/5 Feb 11, 2011 14:34 Send this review to a friend
Best scanner with the worst manual  Time owned: more than 12 months
First off let me say that the user manual is the worst written manual of the 7 scanners I have owned. Having said that, the scanner is the absolute best scanner I have owned. Yes there is a learning curve, but ALL new scanners have a learning curve unless your just programming standard analog frequencies, and for some the learning curve may be steeper than for others, especially if you have never owned a trunking scanner before. If you can operate the newer dual band HAM rigs then you can learn to operate this scanner. This was my FIRST trunking scanner and I learned to program and use it, so you can too. I even downloaded the newer firmware so it can be used with the rebanded 800mhz systems. There also are some online resources you can take advantage of to help you, including a simplified manual. My advice is buy this scanner and stick with it untill you learn to program and operate it, it has fantastic reception and MANY great features and options. IMO this is the best non digital scanner BAR NONE. I currently own 3 scanners and will be purchasing another BCT15. 73.
W1XZ Rating: 3/5 Mar 17, 2010 05:10 Send this review to a friend
A good scanner that could be better  Time owned: more than 12 months
After owning the scanner for better than a year I offer the following:
PROS: The receiver section is wonderful. It is sensitive and very immune to intermod. I only get squawks and squeaks when I am near the top of one of those mountain tops where they have had little or no common sense when it came to overloading the top with towers. Nothing at all in the big city of Portland, Maine. It scans fast and has many good usable options. I particularly like the temporary lockout. It does everything you would expect a $300 scanner to do.
CONS: As mentioned by some others who aren't total scanner geeks, the radio is just plain silly as to how the software was written. Once you get the hang of it it isn't that bad, but it could have been a lightyear easier to get from out of the box to receiving what you want to hear. The pick a state option is useless as most of the frequencies (at least in New England) are either now digital or something other than what they are supposed to be...that is a software issue and could be corrected now for all I know. The audio is not what it could be. It is thin sounding even through the same speaker I use on my Yaesu FT7900 (which sounds fine.) A more robust audio chain would be nice. My real big dislike is the layout of the knobs and buttons and their functions. I use my scanner in the car and spend many hours a week behind the wheel. Every so often I will be motoring along and need to turn up the volume. As I reach down and gently find the knob I hit a small bump and push on the control. Pushing on the volume and squelch control has a function attached, so suddenly I am hearing things that I don't want to or not hearing anything, so it is off to the manual to figure out what I did. After the first couple of times you learn what to do, but then you still have to stop to fix it. It is a pain in the tush.
For the above reasons and probably a few more (both pro and con) I have to give this otherwise good radio a 3.
If you are going to use this in a set it and forget it situation you'll love it after the programming is over. By the way download freescan or buy a product. Programming is easier that way. If you live in an RF dense neighborhood, you will love it...better than anything I have heard. If you are confused by programming basic things like the clock on your microwave, get something else. If you like a challenge, go for it. If you drive around a lot and don't like being annoyed, or if you are interested in good audio, don't. If you are a conspiracy theorist who thinks the world is after you and hate electronics, BUY THIS SCANNER! You will have hours of teeth gnashing and will have the guy's picture who wrote the software on your bulletin board right below several of the ex CIA chiefs.
VE3VWX Rating: 5/5 Nov 22, 2009 13:59 Send this review to a friend
Great scanner, good price!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I work as a staff camera for a large TV station in Toronto Canada and have 12 Uniden scanners in my vehicle (plus numerous Motorola's) to monitor the emergency services, transit and public works.

Of the 12 scanners, I own 4 BCT15's and must say they are very good. Compared to the older 780's and 785's which had intermod and noise rejection issues, especially in the lower bands such as UHF low and especially VHF, the newer scanners such as the 996T and BCT15 don't have the noise issues. The audio is much crisper and cleaner across the board, the sensitivity is improved overall and the ability to store literally thousands of systems and set quick keys makes operating the scanner a breeze.

Now remember the BCT15 does not have the same sensitivity and noise rejection capabilities that a true radio does. My case in point is that I use Motorola MTX's, Spectras and Radius units to monitor trunked systems when I am very distant and the BCT15's or other scanner can't hear them. But we have to remember it's apples to oranges, a scanner will never have a front end as good as a real radio and even if Uniden could match the specs the FCC would never allow it. One significant bonus is that unlike the Motorola's which are power hogs requiring 4 gauge wire, the Unidens come standard with 14 gauge automotive wiring and that is more than enough!

I should also note Airband reception is much improved and the close capture features are much quicker than previous models.

If you do buy this scanner beware that it will not work with Digital APCO-25 systems, but for conventional AM/FM/NFM and analog trunked systems it is well worth the money.

The unit has fairly rugged construction, some weight to it and a big bright display that will show you your systems name (i.e Toronto Fire), talk group ID or Alpha Tag (North Tac 3) and current frequency (868.5545) plus whichever quick key and group within the system are active (virtual banks and lists).

For programming I would highly recommend Butel ARC15. Uniden offers their own software called BC Tool but it's not as quick and easy as the Butel Software. If you are not familiar with trunked systems visit and read the forums and wiki. In fact you should probably skip the owners manual and go right to the quick reference wiki on for less complex explanations.

If your computer does not have a serial port, you can buy an expensive USB programming cable or buy a cheap USB-serial adapter (I did the latter).

Just as an FYI - scanning today is very different than it was 10 or 15 years ago and while the BCT15 looks complex and seems overwhelming it is actually very easy to use once you get a feel for it. It's more important to understand how to program it and how a local trunked system works in your area than it is to actually use the scanner. Using it you will find is the easy part!!!

One last note, don't go cheap with the antenna. In fixed locations where you want wide-band reception go for a good discone. If you just want 700, 800 or 900 Mhz coverage get a good band specific antenna which has high gain. If you want mobile wide-band use I highly recommend the Hustler MRM Scanner antenna. It has excellent gain across the board and is the best wideband antenna to use with any Uniden. I have tried literally 30 or 40 different models and the Hustler antenna for some reason works the best with Uniden scanners. Better than many of the Larsen's and Diamonds I have tried. If you really want good reception replace the Hustlers wire with LMR-400 and you will be rocking. I would recommend Heliax but that might be a little too thick haha.

I hope this review helps!
N2VU Rating: 5/5 Aug 29, 2009 17:59 Send this review to a friend
ARC15-PRO a MUST!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
To add more since my June 20th post, I see that a few people have given this scanner a poor score because of their frustration with programming it. Yes, if you’re used to programming scanners from 20 years ago, these new scanners will seem daunting. Programming software is a must—or at least it makes enjoying the scanner easier and faster. I highly recommend the ARC15-PRO software. I got it with my scanner and now that I’ve become familiar with it I’m having way more fun that I ever did with ANY scanner! By the way, with the ARC15-PRO you have a Band Scope! How cool is that. Once you get familiar with whatever program you choose, the BCT15 is a great scanner!!!
WV1K Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2009 16:33 Send this review to a friend
Read the manual.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own four and have programmed them all manually, just as I did with my DSTAR radio. I then backed it up with the software months later. In this case you can use FreeSCAN or bcTool.I do miss the bail on the other models. That was a cheap omission by Uniden and is continued on the BCT15X and new version of the 996.
N2WEC Rating: 0/5 Aug 23, 2009 15:07 Send this review to a friend
Piece of Junk.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The Uniden BCT-15 is the absolute worst acanner I have EVER OWNED. You have to be a rocket scientist to program it. Once you get to do one thing you can't get it to do anything else. Heaven forbid touch a key, this piece of junk has a mind of it's own. It will do WHAT EVER IT WANTS. TO HECK WITH WHAT I WANT. THE OWNERS MANUAL IS REALLY BAD. WRITTEN BY AN ASIAN WHOSE PRIMARY LANGUAGE IS ANYTHING BUT ENGLISH. FORGET THE PROGRAMMING SOFTWARE OUT THERE. MOST OF THE TIME THE COMPUTER WILL NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE THE SCANNER IS PLUGGED IN TO IT. If you want a scanner that will scan the frequencies YOU PROGRAM, forget this piece of trash. I have two of them. Yes they work they are the biggest waste of my communications money I have ever spent. They are for sale.....I hope I can recoup some of my wasted money
N2VU Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2009 07:27 Send this review to a friend
A real winner - get one!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
It’s been almost 20 years since I’ve had a scanner, which was the Realistic Pro-2006. It was a great model in its time (when communications was much simpler than today – no digital or trunking) but since then a lot has changed and the Uniden BCT15 is without a doubt the Cat’s Meow when it comes to scanning “conventional” and “Trunking” traffic.

As many here have mentioned, this is a hefty unit, nice and compact but no compromise in build. Its weight and material along with a quality bottom mounted speaker help this unit deliver everything it hears LOUD and CLEAR! None of that hollow, plastic resonance that’s common with so many of the plastic cases that were common of scanners made in the 80’s and 90’s. Selectivity is also great – though without getting off topic, the subject of “selectivity” also has a lot to do with what you’re using for an antenna. Anyway, I’m able to pick out HAM radio repeaters that are 70 miles away and that’s without the aid on a RX amp. I usually reference HAM repeaters since they’re rather anemic in contrast to government/police repeaters that use 10x the power and antennas with higher gain. Hearing a HAM repeater 70 miles away is a better test of sensitivity than hearing a police dispatcher at the same distance. With that said, the BCT15 is a nice, sensitive receiver yet isn’t an intermod sponge like other models.

Yes, unless you’ve already been programming late-model scanners, you’ll find that there is a learning curve to this beauty, which is frustrating at first, knowing that there’s so much that this thing can do, it’s just a matter of marrying its potential to all the frequencies in your particular area. ARC soft ware is recommended. To mar this radio with a poor score because of frustration with programming really isn’t fair to this very capable unit

I will offer this little bit of extra info … PLEASE … do not skim on what you use for an antenna and feed-line! I use an antenna that I can’t say enough about which is the Austin Ferret, which I marry to my radio using Times Microwave LMR-600-UF coax. Expensive? Subjectively – but then what price to you put on the potential of your receiver and the pleasure of hearing EVERYTHING! I’m sure most of you would be speechless to hear the difference – especially with UHF – between LMR-600 and RG-8 or worse yet RG-58U!

If you want to treat yourself to a NICE scanner, at this price you can’t go wrong, just anticipate some time with your nose in the manual and some time logged on the Yahoo Uniden BCT15 user group for help in programming this radio for what in your area. By the way, I DO NOT work for Uniden, I just couldn’t help contribute to this review.


Donald - N2VU
K4YRK Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2009 15:26 Send this review to a friend
Great Scanner  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is the first scanner in over 15 years that I have purchased and used the reviews here to make my selection. What a change in the last 15 years. The new programming makes a PC data base for trunking a must. Once I downloaded the software and database for my location it programmed up and is working very well. Appears to be quite sensistive on receive from low VHF through 800 Mhz trunking.
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