Staying informed, alert, and aware of activities going on around has been one of man’s survival techniques and can never be out-of-date even with technological advancements. Uniden Bearcat scanner has been the device to stay updated on local activities from different stations, both personal and professional. You can scan through various frequencies or channels to pick up communications.
BC125AT has complete VHF and UHF coverage with channels including the police, military air, civilian air, local fire stations, etc. You could get information on fire outbreak, weather alerts, safety alerts, rescues, rail communications, and so much more using the Uniden radio.
The Uniden BC125AT scanner provides access to over 40,000 frequencies that are easy to find and search using its full alpha-tagging feature. The alpha-tagging allows you to tag 500 channels divided into ten storage tanks to label channels appropriately for tracking purposes.
The handheld radio is easy to move around. It is designed to be the perfect event scanner. The display is clear and easy to read with its orange backlight, making reading possible even in low light conditions. If you are looking to choose a scanner that can be used both at the comfort of your home, workplace or even while you are outdoor, the Uniden Bearcat BC125AT is the right pick for you.
BC125AT is one of Uniden’s best upgrades, with all of the advanced features and enhancements expected from Uniden. This review will provide you with information about this scanner’s features, how to use it, and why it is the appropriate choice of scanner for you.
Table of Contents
Considerations When Choosing The UNIDEN BC125AT
If you have to choose a scanner, there are certain considerations you should look into to determine the best pick for you. Depending on individual needs, you may have to look out for the following qualities in a scanner.
Scanners come in various sizes. A scanner could be as large as a desktop scanner or portable enough to be handheld. The Uniden radio is a handheld scanner that is about 0.9 pounds in weight. Despite this considerably lightweight and size, the keypad of the BC125AT are well spaced and larger than the most conventional handheld scanner.
The scanner has a belt clip that can be used to hinge it to a pocket or belt for mobility ease. The belt clip is firm and clips appropriately on any surface about 0.25″ or less.
The scanner is designed such that its sides have grooves that help to grip the scanner, the perfect handheld scanner feature. The device will sit comfortably on a desk or any flat surface without rolling or falling even with its extended antenna, which helps for better signal reception.
The type of communication used by the source station should greatly influence your scanner choice consideration. An analog scanner will pick up analog communications only while a digital scanner can pick up analog and digital communications.
The Bearcat BC125AT analog scanner picks up a wide range of frequencies, including Military air transmissions, local police transmission, and even local business. The Analog scanner does not seem anyhow limited considering the range of signals it picks.
Ease of Use and Programming
Having a programmable scanner that is easy to use is as important as having a scanner at all.
The Uniden radio has one of the easiest program software and an easy-to-understand manual programming procedure. While it is a lot easier to download the BC125AT software to program using a personal computer, you can also program your scanner manually; hence, you are not limited by a personal computer’s unavailability.
For a scanner to be efficient outdoors, the battery life is a huge consideration. The radio has both a rechargeable battery and an alkaline battery, which you can use, switching from one to another to ensure constant power. There is also a USB cable with which you can connect the scanner to an external power source to recharge the batteries.
Signal Reception Strength
The major function of a scanner is to receive signals and transmissions. The signal reception strength of the Uniden Bearcat scanner is very impressive, with clear audio communications. Its extended antenna helps it to receive signals better even when not in a relatively close range.
It is stressful trying to remember what each channel is, especially when you have up to 500 channels. The alpha-tagging feature of the Uniden radio allows you to tag a text to each channel or frequency for ease of identification. It accounts for the ease of use of the radio.
Close Call RF Capture Technology: This feature of the radio allows you to detect nearby radio frequencies you can tap into to pick up communications. It provides information on close radio frequencies. It will only scan close call bands and not pre-programmed channels.
You can set notification alert for close call bands, either by having the alert light come on or a beep sound. You can also turn on or off all the bands listed in the frequency coverage.
Close Call Temporary Store on the radio allows you to store your last ten close call hits. The radio provides temporary storage in the “Close Call Hits” system to scan the most recent close call hits.
Close Call Do Not Disturb Mode helps to filter unknown and unwanted frequency interruptions. The Uniden BC125AT now includes priority channels in its Do-Not-Disturb mode so that the scanner can put even interruptions from priority calls in check.
The scanner has ten channel storage banks, with each bank having the maximum capacity of 50 channels to store a total of 500 channels. The storage tanks help to easily identify communications. The memory has a back-up system that allows you to keep stored frequencies over a while after power has been lost on the scanner.
You can lock out certain frequencies to allow your scanner to skip over them while searching for frequencies. You can automatically set your scanner to undo your lock-out settings using the temporary lock-out function, which clears out your lock-out setting once you turn-off power on your radio.
Pressing the L/O button once will temporarily lock out a frequency, and you double press the L/O button to permanently lock out a frequency.
BC125AT comes with two batteries; the rechargeable and alkaline batteries and a USB cable that allows you to power the scanner from within or an external source. The battery alert icon displays and warns you when power is low on your scanner.
The battery is located at the bottom with a door that fits it and holds it tight. You can switch users from the rechargeable battery to the alkaline battery using the switch on the battery’s inside. With this switch, while using an alternating current power source with the USB cable, you won’t charge the alkaline batteries.
Uniden Bearcat BC125AT scanner has a power-saving feature that helps to extend battery life. It turns radio frequency power for one second to turn it on for 300ms when there is no active transmission for 60 seconds in the scan hold mode or search hold mode.
Uniden BC125AT allows you to set your scanner, so it only scans priority channels. You can program a channel into each of the ten available storage banks and set the scanner to scan each bank every two seconds to transmit those priority channels to not miss out on communication.
The priority feature also has the Do Not Disturb mode like the Close Call to prevent unwanted interruptions.
Press the Func button followed by the Pri button to explore the priority menu, and you can navigate through the options to select the Priority Off, Priority Do Not Disturb, Priority Scan, and Priority Plus.
Priority Plus allows the scanner to scan the priority channels exclusively.
The scanner has a large LCD, which is one of its outstanding features. Here you have to display your alpha tag for tagging text with your stored channels, channel frequency, number, signal strength meter, and mode. There are symbols on display, such as weather priority symbols and close calls, among others.
The orange backlight is bright enough to use the scanner in a dimly lit environment. However, you can turn off the LCD backlight or program it to come on once you press the keypad or with squelch to save power.
You can access the LCD menu by pressing the Func button then the power button. This way, you can set the LCD backlight contrast, when and how you want the backlight to come. You can also set the batteries’ charging time, between 1-16 hours, when connected to an external power source.
Searches and Service Banks
There are ten preset banks on the scanner, namely police, Fire/Emergency, Ham, Marine, Railroad, Civil Air, Military Air, Radio, FRS/GMRS/MURS, and lastly, Racing.
The service banks are available for quick scanning, and you can activate them using the Srch/Svc button after pressing the Func key.
A general weather alert is available on the radio. To activate the weather menu to select weather scan, alerts, or set delay, press the Func button followed by the #3/ Wx key. You can use the multi-function knob key to navigate through the option on the weather menu and use the E button to select an option. You can set your weather alert priority either on or off.
The Uniden scanner covers a wide range of frequency bounded at the lower level of 25 MHz and 512MHz at the higher end. The analog scanner’s frequency coverage includes; 25-54 MHz, 108-174 MHz, 225-380 MHz, and 400-512 MHz.
On your scanner, there are modes that you can set each channel. Depending on the frequency, you can set your mode as FM, NFM, AM, or Auto. Some services search is preset to a particular mode; for example, the Mil-Air seems to be set to NFM.
It is an analog scanner and hence cannot receive digital modes. The 800 MHz coverage is also not available on the BC125AT scanner.
Does the Uniden BC125AT scanner pick up military conversations?
The scanner can pick up military air communications, and it is one of the services included in the searches among police, emergency, Railroad, marine, Civil air, and others. The Military Airband is also listed among the possible frequency channels, but certain frequency ranges are locked out, especially frequency ranges above the 512 MHz range, and this is because the military is assumed to have secured transmission lines for private communications.
Can I use my earphone with this scanner?
The radio has a plug just at the top of the scanner, about 3.5mm in diameter, to plug in earphones and headphones. Yes, you can use your earphone with the Uniden BC125AT scanner.
What alternative options do I have to power this scanner?
Uniden BC125AT comes with two batteries; a rechargeable Nickel-metal hydride and alkaline batteries with the feature help you switch from one to another according to your preference. A USB cable that comes with the scanner, which can be used with a 5-volt adapter for recharging, and you can also use this to connect to an external power source.
Take note that while the scanner is powered from within the unit, you cannot charge the scanner simultaneously to avoid charging the alkaline battery.
Will I be able to enter the fifth digit of frequencies with five digits?
Yes, the Bearcat scanner allows you to enter the fifth digit, mostly shown as a subscript. If this fifth digit is zero, you may not have to enter it.
How do I tag my frequency or channels?
The alpha-tagging feature of the BC125AT scanner allows you to score and tag about 500 frequencies in storage tanks. You can use the keypad on the scanner to tag the channels, and there is also the option of connecting the scanner to an external keyboard, which can be used for naming channels.
Is this scanner easy to use?
Several first-time users have found the Uniden Bearcat scanner easy to navigate. The program software is user-friendly. There is the technical support option for a guide on programming instruction.
You do not need prior knowledge on operating a scanner to use the Bearcat BC125AT scanner.
Is this scanner Digital or Analog?
The Uniden Bearcat scanner is an analog scanner; however, most local frequencies and communications around you are analog, so there is a wide range of communications to tap into.
Can you use the scanner to broadcast?
You can only listen to the BC125AT scanner. It is not designed to broadcast.
Do you add frequencies manually, or you need to use a computer?
Once you have the Uniden Bearcat software for BC125AT downloaded, installed, and running, the process of adding frequencies is easy. You can manually add your frequencies, tag, and edit on the Bearcat scanner or use a computer depending on your preference.
How to program the BC125AT
The program software for BC125AT is downloadable on the Uniden Bearcat website. You can download the program information on your Bearcat scanner and control using the keypad or connect it to an external personal computer. You can get the programmable software for free.
The free Uniden programmable software does not have the RadioReference import feature, but you can work around this by downloading CSV files of counties, stations, and agencies and then paste them on the Uniden’s software.
It is possible to program the BC125AT scanner by hand without downloading the free Uniden software. While this might be time-consuming and tedious, it is entirely easy to program.
Manual programming can be done if you are not in the hold mode already by pressing the hold button. Locate an empty channel using the multi-function knob on the top of the scanner. Pressing the Func button followed by the E button and choose the enter frequency to input your desired frequency manually by pressing down on the multi-function knob. You can manually input your preferred frequency using the keypad. You cannot input the same frequency twice; the scanner will not allow you to add a frequency that is already programmed. You press the E button to register the entered frequency.
Once you return to the program menu screen, you can choose to tag the frequency with a text that can be 16 characters long, set CTCSS and DCS squelch modes for a rapid search for CTCSS or DCS TONES or codes used during a transmission. You have up to 50 identifiable CTCSS tones and 104 identifiable DCS codes. This is very good for reducing interference.
At any time, you can decide to delete a channel or even an entire bank to reprogram as you wish. You can edit the alpha tag by pressing the Edit tag and the E button.
Other functions you can program include the key confirmation tone, key lock that helps prevent accidental changes to your already programmed transmission. You can program direct access to any channel and memory back-up to prevent program frequency loss due to sudden power loss.
You can go to any channel with the direct access feature by pressing the hold button, followed by the channel number and the hold button again. You need to know the channel number you program the particular transmission you intend to go directly to use the direct access feature.
Going through this review, it is evident that the BC125AT scanner is an upgrade on previous Uniden scanners with an important enhancement of the scanner’s features and performance.
For a scanner that costs about $139.99 on most platforms, the Bearcat scanner features are very impressive, especially compared to other costly scanners. You can’t tell the difference in the signal strength as the BC125AT pulls signal and picks transmission at a very fast pace.
The BC125AT scanner has been improved to reduce interference to the barest minimum. The Do Not Disturb modes also helps to improve user experience with this scanner.
Despite being an analog scanner, the scanner picks up both civilian and military frequencies. It has strong signal strength for Military Air transmissions. You can get an external antenna to improve the signal strength for weak signals, and it is easy to get a compatible antenna for the Bearcat BC125AT scanner.
The scanner is very effective for outdoor use with clear audio loud enough to be heard over radio noise. The speaker tone is clear, and the earphone plug on the scanner makes outdoor use a lot better.
Comparing price and value, the BC125AT scanner is one of the best available in the market today. If you are looking for a cost-effective, handy, analog scanner covering bands below 512 MHz, the Bearcat scanner is the right choice for you.