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Scanner fans grab latest Uniden radios

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They're available! Uniden's two newest digital scanners are now on the retail market and flying off the shelves.

The BCD536 and the BCD436, unveiled in a slick Uniden video last fall, represent the latest in scanner radio technology, as listeners keep pace with public safety radio communications.

They replace Uniden's high-end BCD996/BCD396 digital scanners and incorporate a feature found on the newer HomePatrol-1: self-programming by simply entering a local zip code.

Both new models also receive APCO P25 digital radio transmissions – the unofficial industry standard - plus less common EDACS and LTR systems, still used by some agencies.

The BCD536/436 are equipped for APCO25 “Phase II,” a technical upgrade that will bring more efficiency to large digital trunked systems, such as those used by Connecticut and Massachusetts state police.

In addition to the self-programming feature, Uniden has introduced a "siren app," which lets users control the BCD-536 remotely from their smartphones and tablets.

“The Uniden siren app gives you the freedom like never before to roam around your house or around the country, while still keeping completely in touch with and in control of your scanner,” Uniden states in promotional material.

Like the HomePatrol, the new scanners include a four gigabyte SD card containing the entire radio database for the U.S. and Canada, and they can record and save audio.

“These radios are in high demand,” says Alex Lentini, president of Lentini Communications, a successful scanner and ham radio dealer in the Hartford area.

Lentini told Examiner.com that he received a first shipment of six BCD436 scanners, and four of them sold the first day.

He attributes some of the popularity to people monitoring the nearby New Britain police radio system, which moved to a X2TDMA digital format last year.

The BCD536 retails for around $600, while the portable BCD436, with no wi-fi remote option, sells for around $500.

Public safety agencies are buying them, too.

Westport (Conn.) Fire Department recently purchased five BCD536 scanners which will be placed in fire stations as backup tone alerting receivers because of their fire tone-out decode capability, said Lt. Matt Cohen, who oversees his agency's communications.

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