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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A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-32 Handheld Programmable Scanner Radio

I am a very sentimental person.

I also frequently think about what technology was like around the time I came into this world (especially radio and computer technology.)

Because of that, for years, I had wanted to own a Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-32 scanner.

Why?

Because it was put on the market in 1987, the same year I was born.

In 1987 this was Radio Shack’s premium handheld scanner. It retailed for $299.99 (which would be the equivalent of $674.84 in 2019 Dollars.) I bought mine second hand but in very good condition with the original box and paper work for $25 even (more on that in a bit.)

The Pro-32 runs on 6 AA Alkaline or Rechargeable (NiCad/NiMH) batteries. It also uses three watch batteries to power what was a vast memory (200 Bank+10 Monitor Channels) in 1987. The Frequency ranges it covers are:
30-54 MHz FM
108-136 MHz AM
138-174 MHz FM
AND
380-512 MHz FM

This scanner must have been a failure, because it was only featured in the Radio Shack Catalogs from 1987 to 1988.

In 1989, a significantly more sophisticated model was put on the market, the Pro-34. This better scanner also ran on 6 AA batteries, but did not require watch batteries for the memory. In addition to what the Pro-32 received, the Pro-34 had more frequency ranges:
806-823 MHz FM
857-868 MHz FM
AND
896-906 MHz FM

Many police, fire and EMS services as well as some bigger businesses would begin to migrate to 800 MHz in the 1990s.

The Pro-34 costed slightly more at $329.99 ($680.07 in 2019 Dollars)

What I find amusing though, is the Pro-32 seems to be the direct ancestor of several entry level scanner radios such as:

The Radio Shack Pro-79, which came out 15 years later in 2002 and is more power efficient (runs on 4 AA batteries instead of 6 and the memory is flash based instead of requiring those watch batteries) and costed $99.99 ($142.04 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro-82, which came out 16 years later in 2003 and has the features of the Pro-79 in addition to push button dedicated searches for certain radio services and costed between $79.99-$99.99 ($111.09-$138.87 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro-404, which came out 22 years later in 2009 has all the features of the Pro-82 in addition to a Signal Stalker/Spectrum Sweeper and PC programmable features and also costed $79.99-$99.99 ($95.28-$119.10 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro 649 which came out about 27 years later in 2014 and is almost a younger clone of the Pro-404, but can tune in more narrow frequency steps on certain bands and costed $99.99 ($107.94 in 2019 Dollars.)

The closest modern equivalent to it is the Whistler WS-1010, which came out 31 years or so in 2018 or so and has all the features of the Pro 649 but double the memory and costs between $79.99-$119.99 ($81.40-$122.11 in 2019 Dollars.)

I had checked on eBay quite a few times trying to buy this scanner, but there was always a problem purchasing it.

A few weeks ago, I had tried for the final time, when my transaction didn’t go through. Within seconds of the failed transaction, The Good Lord Himself told me stop and wait because I would be purchasing one at Ham Vention 2019 in Ohio.

I’m beginning to learn to obey Him and this time, I did just that.

And do you, the reader, know what?

The Pro-32 scanner I bought a Ham Vention was in much better condition and cheaper than any of the ones selling on eBay!

Any Christian (but only a Christian) is a child of the One True God. And God is a passionate loving Father who wants only the best for His children. This is a very small but still valid example of that.

By the way, this particular scanner is not very common. Case in point: It is vintage and it wasn’t in production very long. That means there probably aren’t too many in existence anymore. It would have taken basically an act of God for one to be available at the flea market, for me to see it there because the flea market is the size of a horse track and covered entirely with vendors and for no one else to purchase it. So the fact that God Himself told me I would be purchasing one at the Ham Vention flea market, strengthens my faith in Him and my walk with Him and it should be good testimony for believers and non believers alike!

I was planning to go to Ham Vention to purchase gently used flashlights and calculators in the flea market anyway, like I did last year.

I am indeed a ham and in fact, I do hold a General Class license.

Those of you whom were forwarded to my blog from Q R Zed already know this, but I don’t like to give out my call sign.

I’m not too active on the radio, because of where I currently live.

My lease forbids any sort of transmitting antennas and neither do I want to interfere with any of my neighbors’ electronics, because I tend to enjoy peace and detest drama.

So for that reason, I basically stay on 2 Meters and 440 with low power portable radios and usually only during emergencies.

I do all my HF, high powered long antenna activities at a friend’s house with his equipment.

So why besides it being as old as me would I want a Radio Shack Pro-32?

I mean, compared to the modern scanners: It is bulky as a brick in size and weight. It is power hungry as a starving pit bull in a butcher. It is slower than molasses in the dead of winter when it comes to scan and search speed. It is analog only which makes it obsolete, at least partially. And the coverage is limited.

Yes, that is all very true.

…BUT…

I find that for what I listen to most which is railroad and marine traffic, older scanners are far more sensitive than their modern counterparts. They clearly pull in signals from farther away that most modern scanners cannot even detect. Japanese electronics, which this particular scanner was made in Japan, seem to overwhelmingly outperform their Chinese and Vietnamese made descendants in ways where performance truly counts.

I interpreted the date code (5A7) to mean this particular unit was made in May of 1987. That means it was made thirty two years ago this month (the same month I bought it)!

What amuses and amazes me the most is that the model number is 32, I am 32 (at the time of writing this) and it is also 32! God definitely has His hand in this!

This concludes my review on the Radio Shack Pro-32.

I would like to thank and cite Radio Shack Catalogs for the picture (which I do not own) and the technical details.

I hope you the reader have been informed and entertained by this piece. Thank you for taking the time of reading and may God richly bless you!

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