A Review of the Uniden BC72XLT Handheld Programmable Scanner Radio

For the record, I do not own the featured image. I downloaded it from Radio Reference.

I have been listening to scanner radios since September of 2002, when I was fifteen going on sixteen.

In those days, I wanted to listen to police traffic, because I was a rebellious teenager and I felt very empowered when I did so.

At the age of twenty-two, I was seeing a new psychiatrist and she advised me that I shouldn’t listen to police traffic because it was too stimulating.

By that time, I was interested in listening to other stuff.

Since 2003 or so, I’ve been listening to retail, security and janitorial frequencies.

In 2011, I began listening to railroad traffic and was actually taught by others to understand what was being said.

Also 2011 was when I became a full blown foamer.

I say full blown because, since infancy I had harbored an interest in trains, but in late 2011 at the age of twenty-four going on twenty-five, I finally had the time to dedicate to my railroad hobby.

In 2015, after learning that railroads will eventually go to Nexedge, I was inspired by a dream in 2015 to start listening to marine traffic

I had been through several different scanners which I used specifically for my railroad and later my marine hobbies:
From December of 2011 until March of 2014; I used a Radio Shack Pro-404, it died on me in July of 2014, but always had receiver issues.
From March of 2014 until August of 2016; I used a Uniden BC75XLT, it worked great until the display failed-more on that in a bit.
From August of 2016 until October of 2018 and February of 2019 to present; I used a Uniden BC72XLT, which this piece will be a review of.

In August of 2016, the display on my Uniden BC75XLT had begun to malfunction. I was strapped for cash at the time and couldn’t afford a new one, so I looked on eBay and found a gently used Uniden BC72XLT for around $50. I purchased it and it came in the mail a few days later.

It was definitely a downgrade from the previous Uniden I had purchased.

For example:

It could only hold 100 memory channels whereas the BC75XLT could hold 300 channels.

It wasn’t narrowband capable like the BC75XLT.

It did not have a dedicated railroad search function.

It couldn’t be charged with USB.

Despite all of this, I find it was built more ruggedly and it was slightly more compact-excellent for when foaming or gongoozling on foot.

While it doesn’t have a dedicated railroad search, it does have dedicated service searches for conventional police, fire/medical, civilian aircraft, 10m/6m/2m/70cm FM amateur radio, VHF marine and weather radio.

This scanner can accept most frequencies between the ranges of 25-54 MHz, 108-174 MHz and 406-512 MHz.

It also has ten custom searches that can be programmed to search between those aforementioned bands.

There is a Uniden Close Call™ RF Capture Technology, which allows the user to detect nearby frequencies in use. This is especially useful for listening to retail or janitorial frequencies.

There is an orange backlit display for reading in low light conditions.

It has a generous runtime on 2 AA batteries.

From 2016 onward I had taken this scanner on just about every railfanning trip I’d been on and it pulls the signals in nicely and it does so even with just the stock antenna. The speaker has decent, crisp audio reproduction.

This scanner has assisted me watching trains in places like Raceland, Louisiana, (almost daily from August 2016 to January 2018), Des Allemands, Louisiana (every Sunday from August 2016 to January 2018), Schriever, Louisiana, (frequently between 2016 and 2018), Lafayette, Louisiana, (October 2016, January 2017, Ferbruary 2017, January 2018, February 2018, March 2018) Lake Charles, Louisiana, (February 2017, February 2018), Livonia, Louisiana, (December 2016), Plaquemine, Louisiana, (April 2016, December 2016, April 2018), Alexandria, Louisiana, (October 2016, January 2017, January 2018, April 2018), Oakdale, Louisiana, (October 2016), Meridian, Mississippi, (November 2016, November 2017), Baton Rouge, (April 2016, December 2016, April 2018), New Orleans (multiple times), Dallas (January 2017 and 2018), Shreveport (January 2017 and 2018), Little Rock (August 2018), Beaumount (February 2018), and Houston (February 2017.)

As for marine listening, this scanner has helped me in places like Houma, Louisiana, Amelia, Louisiana, Morgan City, Louisiana, Bourg, Louisiana, Bayou Blue, Louisiana, Lockport, Louisiana, Larose, Louisiana, Plaquemine, Louisiana, Tallulah, Louisiana, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Baytown, Vicksburg.

Most of the fire dispatch voice pagers are still in analog FM and I do have their frequencies stored in this scanner.

Usually, I have it in a special slot of the console of my Buick Century and it keeps me informed and entertained.

So, even though it is 2019, there is still a good bit of stuff to hear on a budget friendly, entry level scanner.

In October of 2018, I had sold mine in order to have some extra spending cash.

However in February of 2019, I had ordered another one for about $60. Iinitially, I wanted it because I had planned to take it with me whilst fishing. However, I hadn’t been able to go fishing like I wanted to, but it is still frequently carried by me.

In fact, it is sitting on my computer stand in front of me as I am typing this review.

Even though narrowbanding to 6.25 KHz steps was mandated for 2018, many radio users are still using 15 KHz or 25 KHz steps in FM mode, including the railroads in 2019. They come in loud and clear in most cases. As for marine traffic, they will still be in 25 KHz steps for years maybe even decades to come, since VHF Marine is internationally implemented and regulated. This means that for listening to VHF Marine, this scanner is perfect and will be for a good while.

This scanner came on the market in 2004 and I believe was sold brand new until about 2011 or 2012. In the mid to late 2000s decade, this scanner was common among volunteer firefighters as a cheaper alternative to a voice pager. It was usually clipped to their belts next to the badge and a red Mini Maglite in its Nylon holster. It is now quite common on eBay, usually still in good condition.

I really enjoy this scanner, even though it was never top of the line.

I do give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars because it didn’t come with a dedicated railroad search and it didn’t cover 800 MHz, but other than that it is an awesome scanner radio.

This therefore concludes my review of the Uniden BC72XLT…

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