Top positive review
Capable Scanner for the Price
Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2018
I had a 25 year old Radio Shack Scanner 10 channel (not ten bank) scanner and it was time to update. Living in the rural area of Northern California, and being an ex-volunteer firefighter, my wife and I depend on our scanner to keep alerted to local emergency events.
I decided on the Uniden BC125AT after helping a friend program his. There were a number of things I found that helped me decide:
• Good sound. The filtering in this scanner was able to filter out the static noise from the various electronics in our home.
• Compact size and comfortable in the hand.
• Alpha Numeric channel programming and labeling. The ability to add labels to each channel as it appears on the screen during a transmission makes it easier to know what is actually happening. I can instantly know what dispatch center is transmitting.
• The free Windows software available from the Uniden website (link in the owners manual) allowed me to quickly and easily enter the frequencies I wanted along with a name for each channel, save it to a file on my computer, then upload the file to the scanner. With ten separate banks of 505 channels each, it was a simple matter to create separate banks for Fire, Police, Air Firefighting Resources, and even separate banks for local city emergency resources. After I programmed the friend's unit I received mine about two days later and it took just a few seconds to upload the data into my BC125AT.
• The ability to lock out banks. It is very easy to lock out any of the banks so, for example, you can lock all out except one bank where you program local fire resources.
• Scan all banks, scan one bank, or pick on channel to scan. In an emergency it is nice to be able to just listen to the main fire dispatch channel and it is easy to select that function.
• The multi-function "volume knob." The rotary knob has many functions including setting the volume, adjusting the squelch, scrolling through the channels saved in banks.
• Adjustable screen brightness and contract
THE BAD (or at least, not as good)
• The included rechargeable batteries are decent but the charger in the Uniden is set by time only in hours. Insert a fully-charged pair of cells and plug the Uniden in and if the charger is set to charge for six hours, it will charge for that period of time. This overheats the batteries which can shorten their life. Thy get quite warm to the touch, but so far not dangerously so. I suggest keeping a spare set of batteries charged and switch them out as needed.
• It charges through the USB cable, and only charges the batteries when the unit is turned off. If the BC125AT is on, the batteries will not receive a charge. When turned off the charge restarts and will run the full length of time you selected in the menu system.
• When I purchased this, the Amazon link to the warranty information was to an old PDF page from 2010 from Uniden that stated the unit had a three (3) year warranty. THAT IS INCORRECT. The printed manual that came with the scanner (©2012) states it has a one (1) year warranty. I called Uniden today (8/6/2018) and that information was confirmed.
• The owners manual could be better. This is a powerful unit and can do a lot of things. To access much of the menu system takes multiple button presses. The manual describes these is somewhat more complicated text than is necessary. Flow charts for each functions would have been MUCH better. I know- I have written owners manuals and created flow charts for similar programming and function systems.
I give this unit 4 stars instead of 5 only because of the outdated battery charging system. Other than that, this is a very nice scanner for under $100. I do suggest purchasing the extended warranty so that you have more than one year's protection.
NOTE: The linked PDF warranty file on the Amazon sales page when I purchased this scanner stated that the warranty was three (3) years. IT IS NOT! That PDF file was from 2010. The ©2012 owners manual that comes with the scanner states that the warranty period is one (1) year. I verified this with Uniden Customer Service.