The Uniden BC346XTC radio scanner has a wide band receive that covers the important trunking frequencies in the VHF/UHF band along with a small section of the HF band including the CB radio allocation. Even though an effective trunking system will give access to EMS and utility transmissions we also like to look at how a scanner deals with conventional signals and its a good start to see Uniden’s close call feature fitted along with enough memories to deal with trunking along with plenty of spot frequencies.
BC346XTC Quick Specs
- A total of 9,000 memory slots that can be used to store trunked or normal channels and hold all the trunking systems data
- Close Call enabled
- TrunkTracker III digital with Motorola, EDACS and LTR decode
- GPS function locates the right set of nearby trunking frequencies automatically
- Band scope shows at a glance activity across a wide bandwidth
- Frequency coverage 25-225, 400-512, 806-824, 849-869, 894-960, 1240-1300 MHz
Incorporating GPS location into the trunking side of this scanner is a great time saver if you intend to use this radio in different areas. By giving the scanner a location it can search the right frequencies meaning less time “fiddling” with the settings.
Trunked radio systems have introduced a whole mountain of data that needs to be entered before the trunking side of the radio scanner gets going. This can be a time consuming business but luckily there are some short cuts.
Getting hold of a compatible USB cable and a decent piece of software that will program the BC346XTC for you saves time and makes updates much simpler.
The trunking data (usually) comes in the form of a disc and it’s just a matter of linking the scanner to a computer and letting the software do it’s job.
After using the software you still have the option to make manual changes, which can be handy if little alterations need to be made to what’s stored on the scanner.
Why you Need an External Charger for the BC346XTC
To fall in line with the California Energy Commission rules the BC346XTC has had the option to recharge batteries inside the scanner removed.
This doesn’t mean that you have to buy endless quantities of disposable batteries but will need to buy a separate charger along with any rechargeable’s you plan to use with the scanner.
Yes, we know it does seem strange that measures taken to conserve our planet are giving you the choice between using many hard to recycle batteries or buying another piece of hard to recycle equipment (the charger) but as with many of these environmental rulings, there’s always far reaching consequences.
Uniden’s older BC346XT has the same specifications as the XTC version but does come with the internal charging circuit fitted. Unfortunately as Uniden have discontinued this model your only choice is to find one on the secondhand market.
Uniden have stated that the simple act of taking out the charging circuit wasn’t cheap as the circuit board had to be redesigned so does that mean that this in scanner charger feature will be absent in all future scanners from this company.
What We Would Add to the BC346XTC
With its coverage spanning slightly into the HF band the addition of SSB receive mode would be an interested feature to have when you consider how much sideband is used on the CB and ham frequencies around 27-29 MHz along with allocations in the VHF/UHF amateur bands.
There does seem to be a huge division (and price) between those radio scanners equipped with sideband and those without. Our take on this is provided you know what you want from a new piece of scanner kit, the lack of SSB won’t be a problem.
With Uniden’s latest mobile scanner almost topping the $500 price range the BC346XTC offers a full feature trunking scanner at roughly half the cost.
More features on a handheld are always welcome but do mean a lot more multifunction buttons to find our way around. Uniden do make the best of this situation (mostly) and still managed to produce intuitive controls that bring all the important functions out into the open.
As with any new radio scanner with this many functions, be prepared to have your head in the manual for a few hours to get to grips with how everything works.