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Uniden BC125AT Review (Bearcat Scanner)

Uniden BC125AT Review (Bearcat Scanner)

For radio scanner enthusiasts, this is a detailed Uniden BC125AT review article.

Pick any 10 radio scanner enthusiasts and ask them what features they see as essential in their ideal radio scanner. Most would consider military and civil aviation frequencies, weather channels, and amateur bands. CB, FRS and GMRS frequency coverage is seen as added bonuses.

If that is what you want in an ideal scanner, the Uniden BC125AT fits the profile almost perfectly with the added advantage that it won’t cost you much to get one.

Many users of the unit have said lots of nice things about it. They laud its ability to quickly scan channels, it’s sensitivity and the fact that it is easy to program. One common criticism is the poor antenna though.

Are these characterizations of the Uniden’s Bearcat BC125AT true? This review, a deconstruction of the device’s feature and performance, should help you make up your mind.

Features and Specifications of the Uniden BC125AT: Summary

Weight: 6.21oz

Dimensions: 2.6 X 1.3 X 4.5 inches

Channels: 500

Sub-Channels: 50 analog; 104 digital

Antenna: External

Display: Segment-bar signal meter

Batteries: 2 AA

Audio power: 0.3 watts

Frequency Range: 25-54 MHz; 108-174 MHz; 225-380 MHz; 400-512 MHz

Speaker: Built-in

Complete Uniden BC125AT Review

What’s in the box?

2 NiMH AA Batteries

1 Uniden BC125AT

Belt Clip

Flexible BNC antenna

USB Cable

Appearance

In appearance, the device looks solid. It does actually feels solid too when you hold it, though the casing is made of plastic. It is unlikely the radio would handle a fall from a considerable height.

You would immediately notice the large LCD screen which is able to display that is able to show your alpha tag, mode, PL Tone, frequency, the signal strength meter, mode. This seems quite a lot but the large size of the display ensures a comfortable fit for all these indicators.

Unfortunately, though you can turn off the backlight, there is no button or knob to dim it if you wish to save battery juice.

The buttons on the keypad are large, soft, and well-placed. You get a nice tactile feel when you press them and the spacing of the https makes it easy to remember where the buttons are placed.

The battery compartment is located at the rear, bottom section of the scanner. You can easily access the radio through the slide door that snaps snugly into place.

Inside the battery compartment is a switch to select the type of battery you want to use. You are restricted to either alkaline or rechargeable AA batteries.

This switch is important to prevent the device from charging alkaline batteries when the radio is plugged into AC power or attached to USB. You would need to remember to move the switch to its proper position all the time though.

Programming Uniden BC125AT

Programming the scanner shouldn’t pose any difficulty as the software is quite intuitive and easy to her a grip of. Some users though complain of wasting time getting the drivers to work properly.

The combination of the manual and support section of the Uniden website should help you get around the problem of the drivers in less than 20 minutes.

The software is available for download free from Uniden’s site. And unless you are inputting frequencies with long alpha tags manually, using the software to program it is fast and easy. Manually, it would take you around 15 minutes.

Uniden BC125AT Review: Important Features

Alpha Tagging – If you have never used this feature, this would be a pleasant discovery for you.

With 500 channels, organizing them can be very tedious without Alpha Tagging. The feature allows you to organize the channels any way you want. For instance, you could assign special names to each channel and further categorize them by location, department, area of interest, etc.

You could add different tags as they occur to you to make it easy to keep track of who you are listening to.

Close Call RF Capture/ Close Call DND – The two features work in together to ensure you get the best reception at any time. While the Close Call RF Capture tracks and tunes to the nearest signal the Close Call DND prevents interruption from other transmitters in the vicinity.

The DND would resume checking for signals when you are not actively engaged with a signal or channel on the scanner. Basically, the features ensure your transmission is never interrupted.

Temporary Lockout – This feature ranks alongside the DND as one of the most common features of the BC125AT. Due to the absence of the attenuation function in the radio, you can either temporarily or permanently lockout the active frequency.

Pressing the button once lockouts the frequency temporarily. To permanently lock it out, you must press the button twice in rapid succession.

Other features

Weather Alert Standby scans weather channels

Directly Access function allows users to access any channel easily

Narrowband compatibility

Built-in Auto service Searches in 10 preset bands: police, fire/emergency, Ham, Marine, Railroad, Civil Air, Military Air, CB Radio, FRS/GMRS/MURS/, and Racing.

Delay function to control how long the radio pauses at the end of a transmission

Custom search range for up to 10 different frequency ranges

Performance Of The Uniden BC125AT Scanner

Audio – The audio is rather excellent with a clear tone. It is loud enough to be heard over traffic noises of you are in a busy area. But a little distortion in audio quality is noticed of the volume is increased all the way up. Just a little mind you.

Battery – The jury is still out on the battery performance. Some claim the would power the unit for a few days with extensive usage. Others though are not impressed. The truth lies somewhere in between and depends on how much you use it.

You might have to pack extra batteries to be on the safe side.

The low battery warning comes on when you’ve nearly exhausted the batteries. You get about 2 minutes of beeping to let you know you need to change the power source before the scanner auto-powers down.

Receiver – Generally, whether on VHF or UHF bands, the scanner does well as far as pulling in signals is concerned. It also does extremely well in receiving signals from civilian and military air bands without too much interference because of its ability to exclude interfering RF.

However, you might to use a better antenna because the stock rubber antenna doesn’t cut it for weak signals from miles away.

Pros

Easy to switch from Mil-Air to Marine, Police, Marine, Civilian  Air, etc.

Compact and great for universal monitoring

Features 500 channels

Has both civil and military bands

Comes with Alpha Tagging

Has Priority Scan with DND

Close Cal RF Capture with DND

Cons

Battery life is not great

Can only receive analog signals

Walkie Talkies for Emergencies

Conclusion

The Uniden BC125AT is a small compact analog radio scanner that can easily fit into your pocket. It is great for monitoring both civilian, military and aviation bands.

For a radio of this size and price tag, the performance is amazing and you would find it easy to use once you get round to programming it. This shouldn’t be hard with the free software you can get from the Uniden website.

You might want to invest in a better antenna if you want your experience with the device to be worth the investment. But if you target transmitters are close by, the stock antenna would do nicely.