February 5, 2017

Why I Recommend The Uniden Home Patrol

By now you should realize why having good monitoring equipment is more important is being able to transmit.  You also by now should know that the recommendation of myself and others such as Sam Culper is the Uniden Home Patrol II.

Now despite the good reviews and recommendations of this unit, there are still a few ignorant folk who come up with comments such as:
"Wow. That’s kinda spendy. Anybody know of an alternative for those of us whose wives are accountants?"
 The short answer to that question is "No.", and here are the reasons why.

  1. The vast majority of public safety agencies are switching over to APCO P25 systems, and you need a scanner capable of decoding P25 modulation to hear them. The Home Patrol II does this.
  2. The Uniden Home Patrol II is the easiest scanner to program. You simply turn it on, enter in your zip code, and it loads your local frequency data in automatically. You are ready to go in seconds.
It's that second point that's most important.  I've seen a lot of you come through classes and show up at events across the country.  90% of you have serious problems programming in simple frequency data  into your dual-band ham HT.  You're not going to be able to program a P25 trunked radio system into most police scanners.  With the Uniden Home Patrol II, you don't have to.

That's important, because most of you when you buy something, such as radio gear, that perplexes you, you stick it in closet or a corner of the basement and forget about it, thinking you'll get to it during the great TEOTWAWKI / WROL / SHTF fantasy event.  The police scanner is for the here and now.  Buy another P25 scanner, and I guarantee that'll happen unless you have a resident techie who can set it up for you. Buy a Uniden Home Patrol, and you'll be up and running in no time. Getting the intel feeds you'll need to ride the storm(s) out.

Yes, it does cost $464 from Amazon. Good quality tools will cost you some money, and I know you spent more on that for your M4orgey. In fact, if you own more than one gun, especially if you have a duplicate, sell it and you'll be able to afford a Home Patrol II.  Then you'll be able to know what's going on around you, as in the raw unfinished truth of the signal. That's important.

Your wife is an accountant, you say?  Then sell some excess crap you don't need, and come up with the money.  Put aside a measly $25 a week, and you'll have it in four and a half months.  By then it'll be warm enough for you to install a proper antenna.

As an alternative, provided you don't need P25 Phase II reception, you can find a used Uniden Home Patrol I.  That'll do P25 Phase I, but not Phase II.  They're going for $200-$225 on Ebay.  You'll have to do some research to find out if that'll suffice for your area. That's half the price of a new Home Patrol II.  Get off your ass and do some research.

Finally, if your spouse isn't on board with your self-reliant and prepared lifestyle, then you have a problem that goes beyond money.  Fix it before she gets pissed off and files that false police report before handing you divorce papers.


  1. I guess I qualify as a resident techie, since I got a PRO-197 and programmed it myself (albeit with the USB cable.) Here's the real test, though -- I have to make a reference card that's taped to the top if I expect my wife to be able to do anything more than hit the WX button for weather radio. So, unless you self-studied for your ham ticket, Sparks is 100% correct.

    Comparable things to programming a non-Home Patrol scanner for trunking and P25:

    - Installing linux on a computer that is more than 10 years old
    - Setting up a system to automatically pirate TV shows and movies and send them to your TV
    - Setting up an ADSB receiver (actually a little easier)

    Essentially, if your VCR has ever blinked 12:00 over and over, get the Home Patrol.

    (You are completely right about the antenna. As soon as I get the garden in, it's time to get the ADSB antenna on the roof, and decide if I'm making an old fashioned discone with a sheet of copper, or make a psuedo-discone with radials. And if you can't figure out what I mean in less than 10 minutes get the Home Patrol.)

  2. I also like the Radio Shack/GRE/Whistler scanners. PRO-96 and PRO-97 here, and they work well for my needs in this area.
    Subscriber Hint: Watch the next issue of Signal-3, because, you know, you paid extra for that, downtown.

  3. Despite my awareness of Tom's recommendation, I bought Whistler WS1040 scanners for myself, my father, and for a friend's father this Christmas. Being the resident techie person, I programmed them easily enough using PSREdit500. The WS1040 is a decent product but its main drawback is the very poor battery life even with higher end NiMH cells. I can deal with this, but for my father and my friend's father, the Home Patrol would have indeed been a better choice if they weren't so darned expensive.

  4. Went on Amazon; there are several of these types of critters, but what one to get? I don't have any ham-related stuff, other than the Technician-2-be book.

    None of these have a rating over 3.9 out of 5 stars, and the price changes with each one.
    Uniden HomePatrol-2 Phase-2 Digital Scanner with Pre-Programmed Database
    Uniden HomePatro-2 Phase II Portable Digital Scanner Bundle
    Uniden HomePatrol-2 Touchscreen Phase II Digital Scanner plus with 4 Rechargeable Batteries
    Uniden HomePatrol-2 Touchscreen Phase II Digital Scanner plus BC-GPSK GPS Receiver BUNDLE
    Uniden HomePatro-2 OPTIMIZED Phase II Portable Digital Scanner Bundle
    Uniden Public Safety Receiver (HOMEPATROL)

    Which one is the one you are recommending?
    And the one I should get?


    1. You want the Uniden Home Patrol 2. That is what it's called. There are several package variants available that offer extras.

      Use this URL: http://amzn.to/2kIAAcn

  5. Key Sentence: "By then it'll be warm enough for you to install a proper antenna". Proper being the operative word.

    1. Yea, the stock antenna leaves a little to be desired unless you're in an urban environment.

  6. I own one, it is my 3rd and final scanner, not counting SDR Sharp....I'm a IT pro by profession and this thing is set it and forget easy...Comes w bnc adapter to connect to add an SO-239 pigtail to connect to my wide band discone in attic, where i routinely receive LE chatter 20+ miles away...
    The other nice thing is its portability, unplug, go to local festivities, sit in car and scan...nice n discreet....yeah, costs some money, but all things considered, the cost of this is worth way more the price of not knowing...

  7. I definitely need to link this page on my own blog. I'll be getting my own Uniden ASAP. Should only require one OT shift. No biggie. Thanks for the info, Sparks.

  8. From an IA/security standpoint, my only concern about the Home Patrol is one of the strengths you list - enter your zip code. If the unit automatically downloads the local freq, then I have to assume, unless otherwise indicated, the device could be instructed to brick itself.

    1. It comes with the database already installed. Updates can be downloaded for free directly from Uniden, but you have to visit the Uniden web site to do so.

      A greater concern would be the planting of fake information into the database, but at present Radio Reference, who does the database, is pretty good with verification.

      Once the balloon goes up, you won't be logging onto the Internet to download updates, but for now the chances of someone messing with the info is slim, and Uniden would offer a corrected update once they notice.

  9. Tom (or others),
    What do you guys recommend for an antenna setup (indoor attic config and/or outdoor roof mount)? I am between DC and Baltimore and would like to pull in DC Metro PD. I consistently receive Baltimore PD. DC shouldn't be hard if the portables are bouncing off a repeater (which I think the trunk systems do).

    I jumped into the Home Patrol II a few weeks ago, it is super simple. Great recommendation. I am the techie guy that could program it myself, but I have to much else happening in life. Turn on, set the zip code, adjust the volume. The display will tell you who/what you are listening to from the trunk codes.
    Years ago I had a portable Bearcat Trunk Tracker, programmed up for the Philly area systems. You had to remember which channels/codes were who or program additionally to set the specific districts. Considering that was 15 years ago, the Home Patrol II is probably a lot cheaper and much simpler.

    1. The usual solution is a Diamond AH3000 discone that HRO in Delaware shoud have in stock. If you have an attic, try mounting one of those Radio Shack Scanner ground plane antennas in the attic.