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Railfan Technology > Question about BC125AT


Date: 06/14/20 05:38
Question about BC125AT
Author: Jettrainfan

Hi, after doing some looking around, I decided to get a BC125AT radio scanner. From what I've seen, it looked like the Slim Duck 160MHZ antenna would be a good add on. When I went to order the antenna from smileyantenna.com, it asked for a base connector. I don't know what this scanner would require, but it gives the following options:

MX
PL-259
SMA Female
SMA Female Motorola
SMA Female Vertex
SMA Male
TNC
BNC

Anyone know which of these I would need?

Thanks!



Date: 06/14/20 06:43
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: seod

page 20 of the manual says it is a BNC. I do not own the radio but you can look it up to make sure.

Scott



Date: 06/14/20 09:44
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: TCnR

Simply BNC, there's lots of ways to complicate an antenna connector but this one is the simplest, common, BNC. Here's another forum with a bunch of basic questions and answers specific to the BC125:

https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/uniden-bc125at-antenna-upgrade.355613/



Date: 06/14/20 11:06
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: norm1153

I have one.  The connector on the radio is a BNC.

 



Date: 06/14/20 19:05
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: WW

The Diamond antenna mentioned in the Radio Reference forum is a good "wide band" antenna for general scanner use, but not optimum for railfanning.  My experience with them is also that they are not as physically durable.  The Smiley Sim Duck tuned to 160 mHz is probably the best bet these days.  I generally prefer the Laird EXH-160 over the Smiley on commercial radios, but the EXH-160 is almost impossible to find with a BNC connector at this point.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I use a "stubbly" antenna on my BC-125AT that I got with a bunch of used radio equipment.  The antenna is of unknown manufacture, probably close to 20 years old now, but was in its original packaging (no manufacturer name) and was stamped "160 mHz."  It works nearly as well as a Smiley Slim Duck, but is about 1/3-1/2 the length.  The closest thing that I've seen in appearance to my "stubby" is the Laird EXS-150 BNX--its specs do show it tuned for 150 mHz-162 mHz, good for the the railroad band--it's about 3.5" long.  The Laird EXB-155 BNX is about 6" long and is tuned for the 155 mHz-165 mHz band.   Lairds are good antennas that are very physically robust. The standard BC-125AT antenna is a dog for railfanning.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/20 19:10 by WW.



Date: 06/15/20 05:12
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: rhitchco

It's a BNC. I have one of these radios, it seems very good for the price. Best thing is that it comes pre-programmed witll all of the AAR railroad channels. Just take it anywhere. I also use a magnetic mount roof antenna cut to the proper length for 160 MHz which greatly improves the reception.

Flatwheel



Date: 06/17/20 06:39
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: Englewood

Will the BC125AT run off the AC USB power adapter or does the adapter
just charge batteries?  

I use my current Radio Shack hand held scanner mostly as a "portable" around
the house or in the backyard.  I just plug the AC adapter in where I am sitting
while reading, watching TV, etc.  That way I don't run down the batteries.

Has anyone purchased a radio through Bearcat Warehouse ?
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/20 07:26 by Englewood.



Date: 06/17/20 10:48
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: WW

I believe the BC-125At will run off the USB charger/adapter (I don't use mine where I have a charger to connect).  The USB charger is the doggiest part of the BC-125AT--fully charging the battery using the USB charger takes 14 hours.  That's ridiculous, considering one can take the rechargeable batteries out of the radio and charge them on fast charger in a couple of hours, plus or minus.  My recommendation is if you are planning to spend extended time with the BC-125AT in use, just use regular AA batteries and carry an extra set or 2 with you.

I've never dealt with Bearcat warehouse.  You can usually find good deals on a BC-125AT by just doing a search online.  I bought mine a  few years ago for about $100 online.  Repeating this advice again--if you buy a BC-125AT, spend the extra money and buy the leather case for it.  The BC-125AT's case is plastic and likely will not survive a drop onto a hard surface without the protection of the leather case.  The leather case also has a swivel that makes the radio easy to carry on your belt.  The supplied belt swivel clip  supplied with the  leather case is not the best, but it is the identical swivel size as the much better one used for Kenwood portable radios--so I use the BC-125AT case, with a Kenwood belt loop swivel. 



Date: 06/18/20 04:42
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: Englewood

Searching for info on the net I ran across comments that
listening to the radio while powered by the AC adapter
introduces a hum in the audio.

Anyone actually use the BC125AT on AC power ?



Date: 06/18/20 10:32
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: WW

It can happen if the adapter is poor quality.  Most USB adapters don't have very good electronic "noise" limiters, so I would say that it's certainly possible.  I seldom run into this issue because I usually don't use a portable radio if I'm where I can use a mobile radio (or base) on external power.  I've seen plenty of problems with alternator noise and other electronic interference from vehicle electronics when a radio is powered from a 12V vehicle source.  In mobile installations, I frequently put an inline filter in the power supply to control that.  I have seen situations where even that doesn't help--the vehicle electronics are emitting so much RF interference that it literally creates a "jamming cloud" of interference around the vehicle.  On one vehicle, I discovered that the vehicle's electronic control module (ECM) was emitting so much spurious RF that it was jamming radio communications in a 25 foot radius around the vehicle.The only solution was to replace the vehicle's ECM--expensive, but it solved the problem.  Scanners are especially vulnerable to RF interference because they usually have poor selectivity and spurious signal rejection characteristics.  That is a big difference between scanners and commercial two-way radios.  The BC-125AT is one of the better scanners at rejecting spurious RF, but still not as good as commercial radios.



Date: 06/18/20 11:14
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: Englewood

Thank you for sharing your knowledge



Date: 06/20/20 21:00
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: ATSF160

I recently purchased a BC125AT, as my old Radio Shack Pro-95 finally succumbed to old age. I still have my old Diamond RH77 and it works well for general jse.

But I also just bought a stubby from ScannerMaster and am very pleased with it. When in the car, I use my roof-mount antenna, also from ScannerMaster. No manufacturer name, but the whole thing was twenty bucks. 



Date: 06/21/20 08:16
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: Theowhitey

I just picked up the Slim Duck 160MHz antenna for my BC125AT. While I haven't tested it in the field yet, the reception at my home base is vastly improved over the stock antenna. 
/Ted



Date: 07/15/20 10:33
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: wa8pyr

Yes, the BC125AT will run off a USB adapter while scanning. However, buy the best quality adapter you can (preferably at least 2 amps). Also use a good quality USB mini cable.

This one from Monoprice is tops: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=5447

It can be used for programming the radio, and has 24ga power wires so can be reliably used for charging while listening (many "ordinary" USB-A to Mini-B cables have 28ga wires throughout, which makes charging while listening problematic at best). It also has a filter which helps knock down the noise generated by many USB chargers.

Tom WA8PYR

Englewood Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Will the BC125AT run off the AC USB power adapter
> or does the adapter
> just charge batteries?  
>
> I use my current Radio Shack hand held scanner
> mostly as a "portable" around
> the house or in the backyard.  I just plug the AC
> adapter in where I am sitting
> while reading, watching TV, etc.  That way I
> don't run down the batteries.
 



Date: 07/15/20 10:46
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: WW

One note about charging the BC-125AT from the USB charging port.  No matter what adapter or charger you use, to fully charge the radio takes 14 hours.  That charge time is part of the radio's firmware.  There is an option to allow shorter charge times in the programming, but it doesn't charge the radio faster, it just stops the charging after the specified time.  That long charge time is the biggest drawback to an otherwise very good scanner.  One can remove the rechargeable batteries from the battery pack and charge them on an external fast charger, but constantly removing and replacing the batteries in the radio will eventually cause mechanical wear in the battery bay.



Date: 07/15/20 11:08
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: Rmosele

WW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One note about charging the BC-125AT from the USB
> charging port.  No matter what adapter or charger
> you use, to fully charge the radio takes 14
> hours.  That charge time is part of the radio's
> firmware.  There is an option to allow shorter
> charge times in the programming, but it doesn't
> charge the radio faster, it just stops the
> charging after the specified time.  That long
> charge time is the biggest drawback to an
> otherwise very good scanner.  One can remove the
> rechargeable batteries from the battery pack and
> charge them on an external fast charger, but
> constantly removing and replacing the batteries in
> the radio will eventually cause mechanical wear in
> the battery bay.

That recharge time is the only thing I really don't like about my 125. Any idea why it takes so long? I mean is there a technical reason to have it take that long? I bought a second set of rechargeable batteries and a car charger so I can swap them out when I'm in the field if necessary but I've never had to do that yet.



Date: 07/18/20 17:32
Re: Question about BC125AT
Author: WW

Rmosele Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> That recharge time is the only thing I really
> don't like about my 125. Any idea why it takes so
> long? I mean is there a technical reason to have
> it take that long? I bought a second set of
> rechargeable batteries and a car charger so I can
> swap them out when I'm in the field if necessary
> but I've never had to do that yet.

My suspicion is that many USB chargers put out uneven voltage and charging rates, so the radio firmware is set up to only allow acceptable voltage and charging wattage to get to the batteries.  Why the rate is so low, I don't know, but it is a pain.  As with most any scanner, they are really designed (thus the often fairly cheap price) for a pretty light duty cycle.  Wear a BC-125AT daily on your hip for 8-12 hours and it will probably be worn out within a year or two.  My commercial Icom is a decade old and still going strong, despite having a lot of heavy use.



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