HP1 vs .HP2

The Uniden BearCat HomePatrol was a revolutionary design that transformed the scanner hobby when it was introduced. Never before was there a scanner that allowed one to just put in a ZIP Code to replace individual channel programming. The success of the HomePatrol led directly to the BCD436HP and the BCD536HP as well as location based scanners from Whistler (GRE and RS).

A couple years ago the HomePatrol line was extended with the introduction of the HomePatrol 2, the original HomePatrol is now called the HomePatrol 1.

So what is the difference between the HomePatrol 1 and 2? Well there are a few differences. The biggie of course is that the HP-2 handles APCO P25 Phase 1 and Phase 2 while the HP-1 only does Phase 1. If your area doesn’t use Phase 2 you could save some money and get the HP-1. The HP-1 has a silver front panel while the HP-2 is black.

In addition the HP-2 (like most other current handheld scanners) chargesits batteries from the USB port instead of using a separate jack like the HP-1. This allows the HP-2 to use common USB chargers of which you probably already have a bunch of. Since it uses common USB chargers it doesn’t come with one. If you are that one guy who doesn’t have a USB charger available we do sell them.

Other than the charger and Phase 2 the HP-1 and HP-2 are almost identical. The same software is used to update and program either radio. You can even take a memory card from one radio and use it in another. If you are using mounting gear the same gear can be used for either radio.

HomePatrol 2:


HomePatrol 1:

All those weird ports on the back of the scanner

Modern scanners have a plethora of various ports, jacks and sockets on them. Here is a look at some of them.

Taking a look at the rear panel of the BCD536HP scanner there are 6 different ports on it. From left to right they are:

  • BNC antenna jack
  • External Speaker Jack
  • USB Port (used for WiFi unit only on the 536)
  • GPS Serial Port
  • 3-pin power port
  • Coaxial power port

Other common ports on scanners include:

  • USB programming port
  • Record jack
  • Headphone jack
  • Various serial ports.

Let’s look at each port and what it is used for: (*Bonus! See below for an explanation of the weird hole smack in the middle…)

Antenna Jack:  Of course this is used to connect an antenna to the radio. Most scanners these days use BNC, the little push and turn job you see in the picture. Some handled scanners use the smaller SMA connector. Some older scanners had Motorola or even SO139 connectors and some had both an external connector and an internal threaded connector with a hole in the case to insert it.

External Speaker:  These are used to plug in an external speaker and are different than headphone jacks. Speaker Jacks do not limit the volume like a headphone jack will. When you plug in a speaker into the external speaker jack the inside speaker is disconnected.

Headphone Jack:  The Headphone jack has a limiting circuit to protect from overly loud sound that can damage your hearing. Otherwise it works much like the external speaker jack. Headphone jacks are usually in the front panel of desktop scanners while speaker jacks are usually on the rear. Handheld scanners usually just have a headphone jack on the top.

Record Jack:  The Record Jack allows one to pull audio from the scanner at a constant level that is not affected by the volume control. This is important when the radio is used as a source for recording or streaming. Some older RadioShack scanners and some current Uniden scanners have record jacks.

GPS Serial Port:  Unique to Uniden scanners, the DB-9 Serial port (male) is used mostly to connect a GPS receiver to allow location based scanning. It can also be used to program or control the scanner with the properly constructed cables. Do not confuse this with the female DB-9 port used for programming on older scanners like the BC780XLT or the BC898T

USB Programming port:  Most scanners these days use a USB-Mini port on the front or side to program and control the scanner. On many handheld scanners these ports are also used to charge the batteries and power the radio. On the BCD325P2 a special cable is used to connect a GPS to this port.

Other serial ports:  Some older scanners use different type serial ports. Older Unidens (like the “XT” series) use a unique 4-pin square connector for programming and connection of the RH-96 remote head. HP-1 and HP-2 scanners use that same port style for connecting to a GPS. Older design RadioShack/GRE/Whistler scanners use a jack that is just like a headphone jack for serial port connections.

Coaxial Power Port:  Most desktop/mobile scanners have a coaxial power port to provide 12 VDC to the scanner. There are 2 different jacks in common use. The majority of Uniden mobile and desktop scanners use a “Type M” male jack while most recent RadioShack, GRE and Whistler mobiles use a “Type T” female jack. Both use center-pin positive. Some older handheld scanners use smaller coaxial power ports but newer portable scanners usually use the USB port for charging and external power.

3-pin power port:  This is another unique to Uniden port, similar to the power port used on some of their CB products. On Uniden scanners there are the regular black and red wires for power and a third orange wire used to control the brightness of the display when connected to the lighting circuits of the car.

Discriminator Jack:  This is probably the most popular jack that doesn’t come on scanners. Discriminator audio is used to provide an unfiltered audio source mostly for data decoding. This type of decoding usually does not work from the record or speaker jacks due to the filtering circuitry in the radio. Scanners usually do not come with jacks for this but it is often added on by advanced scanner hobbyists to allow data decoding.


Bonus Round

See that threaded hole smack in the middle of the back panel in the picture at the top of the page? Most Uniden base/mobile scanners have that. It is used to allow a rear bracket to stabilize the radio under the dashboard. It is not mentioned in the owner’s manuals but is shown in the diagrams.

FRS/GMRS/MURS/CB: The Personal Radio Services

Anyone can use one of several types of two-way radios, most of which do not require a license. From something the kids can play with to serious business uses there are a bunch of different types of varying quality and usefulness. These are called CB, FRS, MURS and GMRS. Only GMRS requires a license, the others do not. Each of the four services have different intended functions.

  • FRS: Family Radio Service (low power, short range, intended for families and individuals)
  • GMRS: General Mobile Radio Service (high power, longer range, intended for families)
  • MURS: Multiple Use Radio Service (mid-power, medium range, intended for business)
  • CB: Citizen’s Band Radio Service (low power mobile)

You ever go into Wal-Mart or Best Buy and see those cheap little two-way radios encased in one of the most devious inventions of man-kind (Bubble Packs)? They boast wild range figures (“35 mile Range!”) and are made by many different companies like Motorola, Midland and Cobra. These are called “FRS Radios” (Family Radio Service). FRS radios are restricted to ½ watt, non-removable antennas and are intended for short-range person-to-person communications. While titled as the Family Radio Service they are commonly used by businesses and government organizations. In my neighborhood I hear construction crews, hunters, the local school and the golf course maintainers on FRS channels. Just about everything but families… There are few restrictions on what you can use it for so business and personal communications are allowed.

FRS is actually pretty interesting to listen to in many cases. While a lot of the traffic is inane nonsense, like kids wearing out the noisemaking alert beep button, occasionally there is some interesting stuff to listen to. I live in a fairly isolated area 20 miles from the nearest town. There is construction going on and the crews use several FRS channels to coordinate activities. There is a school in the area that uses FRS radios too. The golf course guys use FRS when performing maintenance or to corral loose duffers. Local landscapers use FRS as well.

Listening to FRS channels at the mall or around amusement parks etc. can also be fun. The stores and shops often use FRS radios for clerks and stockers, customers use them to keep in touch with their family.

A lot of the FRS channels are shared with GMRS, so listening to one set of frequencies you may hear both services.

GMRS is a little different than FRS. Since a license is required and power levels are higher they tend to be used in a more formal matter. FRS also allows repeaters so you may hear traffic from all over the area. GMRS is often used by REACT and other volunteers as well as family businesses and often for just idle chit-chat and radio clubs. Sometimes it sounds a lot like ham radio.

MURS can be very interesting. It is on VHF and allows higher power than FRS but in many other aspects it is very similar. Like FRS there are few restrictions on what you can use it for. Since the radios tend to be a little more expensive MURS channels tend to be more business oriented.

CB these days is mostly a wasteland of unintelligible noise. It is still popular with the highway crowd but between high-power illegal amplifiers, over-driven power echo-mics and other noisemakers it is no longer a viable communications tool. It can be interesting to listen to however!

If you put these frequencies in your scanner you may find some interesting communications. You might also be bored silly but you won’t know until you try it.

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)

  • Freq (MHz)              Remarks                  
  • 462.5500                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.5500)
  • 462.5750                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.5750)
  • 462.6000                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.6000)
  • 462.6250                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.6250)
  • 462.6500                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.6500)
  • 462.6750                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.6750)
  • 462.7000                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.7000)
  • 462.7250                 Repeater Output/Simplex    (Repeats 467.7250)
  • 462.5625                 Simplex (5 watts)
  • 462.5875                 Simplex (5 watts)
  • 462.6125                 Simplex (5 watts)
  • 462.6375                 Simplex (5 watts)
  • 462.6625                 Simplex (5 watts)
  • 462.6875                 Simplex (5 watts)
  • 462.7125                 Simplex (5 watts)

Family Radio Service (FRS)

  • Freq (MHz)              Ch #         
  • 462.5625                 1
  • 462.5875                 2
  • 462.6125                 3
  • 462.6375                 4
  • 462.6625                 5
  • 462.6875                 6
  • 462.7125                 7
  • 467.5625                 8
  • 467.5875                 9
  • 467.6125                 10
  • 467.6375                 11
  • 467.6625                 12
  • 467.6875                 13
  • 467.7125                 14
  • 462.5500                 15 (Shared with GMRS)
  • 462.5750                 16 (Shared with GMRS)
  • 462.6000                 17 (Shared with GMRS)
  • 462.6250                 18 (Shared with GMRS)
  • 462.6500                 19 (Shared with GMRS)
  • 462.6750                 20 (Shared with GMRS)
  • 462.7000                 21 (Shared with GMRS)
  • 462.7250                 22 (Shared with GMRS)

Multiple Use Radio Service (MURS)

  • Freq (MHz)                                                 
  • 151.8200
  • 151.8800
  • 151.9400
  • 154.5700
  • 154.6000

Citizens Band (CB)           

  • Freq         Ch #          Freq         Ch #         
  • 26.965    1                27.215    21
  • 26.975    2                27.225    22
  • 26.985    3                27.255    23
  • 27.005    4                27.235    24
  • 27.015    5                27.245    25
  • 27.025    6                27.265    26
  • 27.035    7                27.275    27
  • 27.055    8                27.285    28
  • 27.065    9                27.295    29
  • 27.075    10             27.305    30
  • 27.085    11             27.315    31
  • 27.105    12             27.325    32
  • 27.115    13             27.335    33
  • 27.125    14             27.345    34
  • 27.135    15             27.355    35
  • 27.155    16             27.365    36
  • 27.165    17             27.375    37
  • 27.175    18             27.385    38
  • 27.185    19             27.395    39
  • 27.205    20             27.405    40

Selecting Your First Radio Scanner

Scanner FrequenciesBuying your first radio scanner requires understanding the differences between radio systems and scanner frequencies. While you do not need to know exactly how each radio system works, you do need to know which ones are used in your area. It is never safe to assume, just because you live in a small town, your needs will be met with a basic analog scanner. You would be surprised by how many smaller communities have state-of-the-art radio systems, requiring either trunking or digital scanners to listen to two-way radio communications.

  1. Find out what radio systems are used in your town. The first step to selecting a radio scanner is to conduct a little research and find out what radio systems fire, police, and other agencies use for communications. The easiest way to do this is to use our free scanner comparison tool. All you have to do is choose your desired listening range and enter in your zip code. Next, select the counties you want to monitor on your new police scanner to see important information about the radio systems used.
  2. Compare scanner radios based compatible with your location. Our scanner comparison tool also shows you several different models of hand-held portable, mobile, and desktop scanners that will pick up scanner frequencies in your location. The key thing to remember is that it is not what features and options are on the scanner, but the type of radio systems used in your area. Every location is different, and the police scanner has to be matched to the radio systems.
  3. Consider what agencies you want to monitor. Most people buy a scanner to listen to fire, police, and emergency medical responder transmissions. A small percentage of people also use their scanner radios to listen to other government agencies, railroad communications, campus police, and racer/pit crew communications at live NASCAR racing events. Choose a scanner based on the scanner frequencies you want to hear.
  4. Radio systems used in your town can change. Police, fire, emergency responders, and other agencies do upgrade radio systems from time to time. Keep this in mind when selecting a compatible scanner. For instance, if your city currently uses a basic analog radio system, they might decide to upgrade it to a trunking system in the future. Unless you have a scanner capable of picking up both analog and trunking communications, you would no longer be able to monitor any frequencies moved to the new system. You may want to check with your city or county planning commission to find out if there are any plans for upgrading the radio system in the near future before purchasing your new police scanner.
  5. Support options for the scanner. If you know you are going to need help programming and updating the scanners firmware, it is recommended you look at models that can be plugged into a computer. This way, in most cases, you are able to receive remote desktop scanner support without having to send in your scanner any time you need help.

For more information about police scanner radios or friendly assistance from one of our scanner experts, contact us today at 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).

What Is the Best Police Scanner?


One frequently asked question by people in the scanner world, as well as those interested in purchasing their first new scanner, is which one is the best police scanner to own. The most straightforward answer is: it depends on the situation. There are several key factors that need to be evaluated to determine what radios scanners are most appropriate for your needs and, from there, these can then be narrowed down to the best scanner radio.

  1. What scanner frequencies are you going to be listening to? Do you want to monitor police, fire, and EMT channels only, or do you also want to be able to listen to railroad, NASCAR racing, and other public broadcast channels?
  2. What signal formats do you need to listen to your favorite scanner frequencies? You need to find out whether local police, fire, EMTs, and other channels you want to listen to use analog, analog trunking, or digital scanner frequencies, or some combination thereof.
  3. How do you intend to use the scanner? If you only intend to listen to transmissions from your home office, a desktop radio scanner could be sufficient. However, if you want to be able to listen to scanner radios while on the go, you need to determine if a handheld or mobile police scanner meets your needs.
  4. How many channels and how much memory does the scanner have? If you intend to save multiple favorites in the scanner, you should look at models with more memory. The number of channels is really not important. What truly is important is the type of radio systems used in your local area. You could have a high end scanner with all the bells and whistles, but may not need it.
  5. How much does the scanner cost? Some people get hung up on cost and think the higher the price, the better the scanner. This is not always the case, and you need to be careful the price does not distract you too much. Remember, you are looking for a scanner with the features and options to satisfy your listening requirements.
  6. How difficult is it to program the scanner? If you are tech savvy, then this probably is not an issue. For other scanner users, there are one-touch programmable scanners where you simply enter in the zip code, and the scanner downloads all available scanner channels. Another option for more complex scanners is to have the scanner preprogrammed before it is shipped to your home or office.
  7. Is the scanner computer friendly? Many modern scanners can be connected to desktop and laptop computers to make downloading radio frequencies and installing firmware updates simple and easy. You are able to obtain remote support for most programming and scanner update issues with computer-friendly models.
  8. What is included with the scanner? Some models include everything you need to get started, while others could require purchasing additional accessories, like an external antenna to pick up more frequencies.

For further assistance in selecting the best police scanner, contact us today at 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).

Give Bearcat Scanners as Holiday Gifts

2Are you looking for a last minute holiday gift for those difficult people on your list? Why not consider getting them a Whistler or Bearcat scanner as a gift? These radio scanners are the perfect gift for anyone who likes to listen to local police and fire communications. Even though 90 %+ of people use scanners primarily for these purposes, they are also beneficial for monitoring traffic patterns, construction delays, accidents, and other communications over the local public broadcast channels.

How Difficult Is It to Program Bearcat Scanners?

Programming radio scanners is not difficult for most people with some technical background, or if you select user-friendly Uniden Bearcat models, like the BCD536HP or BCD436HP. Another option many people choose is to have police scanners preprogrammed for their locations before they are shipped. When your gift recipients open their holiday gifts, their radio scanners are ready to go. All they have to do is either plug the scanner into an AC outlet, or, if it is a portable Bearcat model, make sure the batteries are fully charged.

What Types of Frequencies Can You Listen to with Bearcat Scanners?

Bearcat scanners monitor a wide range of scanner frequencies from numerous agencies in your area. It is possible to listen to police, fire, railroad, public works, forest rangers, railroad, air traffic, general mobile radio service (GMRS), family radio service (FRS), and car racing. Most basic scanner radios pick up all of these analog transmissions.

Do keep in mind, in certain locations some frequencies may be transmitted over analog trunking or digital systems. If you want to be able to also monitor these transmissions, you need to look at Bearcat scanner radio models with trunking and digital capabilities. It is highly recommended you search our free database for your location to see what types of systems are used in your area, or the location where the scanner is going to be used the most, before ordering police scanners for holiday gifts or for yourself.

What Sorts of Transmissions Can I Hear over Bearcat Scanners?

Radio scanners have a set range of operation. It is possible to extend this range by installing an external antenna. Within the normal range of operation you can hear communications from dispatch centers, police, fire, and emergency medical responders, construction workers, GMRS and FRS radio transmissions, and more, depending on where you live and your distance from the transmission towers. If you have a portable scanner and use this in your vehicle, your range of operation is based on current location. As you drive through town, the types of communications you hear may change if you pick up new transmission towers or go out of range of current towers.

For further assistance in selecting the best Bearcat scanners to give as holiday gifts, feel free to contact us now at 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637), and speak to one of our friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable scanner experts.


The Uniden BCD536HP and BCD436HP Are User Friendly Scanners

There are all different levels of users in the scanner community, ranging from new hobbyists, to long time scanner enthusiasts, to professionals using scanners as part of their jobs. Finding the right scanner to fit your skill level with the features you want is essential in order to be able to get the most out of your scanner. The Uniden BCD536HP and BCD436HP are two scanner models that are ideal for users of all skill sets and include a wide range of features to make owning and using a scanner radio fun and enjoyable, such as:

Scanner Radio

  • TrunkTracker V Support: Monitor LTR, X2-TDMA, Motorola, APCO Project 25 Phase I and Phase II, and EDACS trunked radio systems.
  • Multiple Frequency Coverage: Monitor the scanner frequencies used by numerous agencies, like police, fire, public works, university security, forest rangers, and more.
  • Simple Programming: Choose from several flexible channel selection options, like GPS, zip code, or service types, and select your locations and the frequencies you want to hear. The BCD536HP and BCD436HP radio scanners automatically program the channels based on these selections.
  • Auto Update Using a GPS: By plugging a GPS into the scanner, radio frequencies are automatically updated as you move from one location to another. This feature is ideal for those who listen to their scanner in their vehicle while traveling.
  • Easy Scanning: The scanners allow you to select from your favorites lists, the main frequency scanner database, or custom combinations of these to monitor transmissions.
  • Sentinel Software: Install the software on your laptop or desktop computer, and plug the scanner into any USB port any time you want to update the firmware or the scanner database, as well as edit, manage, and create your favorites lists.
  • Front Panel Programmable: Both Uniden scanner models allow users to program their scanners using the front panel, without being complex or complicated.
  • Selectable Scan Control: Scan radio frequencies by pushing the channel hold, dedicated system, or department buttons, or use the quick key access to use your favorite lists.
  • Remote Access: The BCD536HP includes Wi-Fi access, so you can monitor and control your scanner from anywhere in your home using your smartphone or tablet. The Wi-Fi access feature gives you full control of your scanner radio over an Internet connection while you are away from home. You can even configure the Wi-Fi settings as a remote access point, if the scanner is installed in your car, and use your mobile device to control and listen to the scanner in your vehicle.

Who Uses Uniden BCD536HP and BCD436HP Scanners?

The types of people who use the BCD536HP and BCD436HP scanners include law enforcement radio systems technicians, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, news agencies, hobbyists, homemakers, truck drivers, and other people from a variety of backgrounds and professions. Anyone can own and operate a scanner radio to monitor what is going on in their community or while they travel around the country. People use their Uniden scanners to monitor traffic conditions, road closures, weather alerts, accidents, fires, and crimes in their community.

For more information about Uniden BCD536Hp and BCD436HP scanner radios, feel free to contact us at 1-800-SCANNER (1-800-722-6637).