In early 2000, I purchased the Bearcat 245XLT so I could listen to the local police and fire department. It's a great radio and does what it does better than anything else I know of. You'll hear a few complaints here and there, but considering the sheer volume of BC245s sold they have been a very reliable and well received radio. I purchased mine from Communications Electronics, Inc. and was extremely happy with the price and service. Overall I really like the radio and wanted to pass on some of the information I've collected from various sources.
You might also want to check out the information at Rich Wells' Strong Signals site. It includes a review, a BC245 FAQ, and modifications for several radios including the 245.
Another source of information is the eGroups BC245XLT mailing list. Lots of information and friendly people (including yours truly )... You can subscribe now:
Kevin Inscoe also has an excellent Bearcat 245 Page.
A while back, Radio Shack sold the BC-235XLT as the Pro-90. Sometimes it's worth checking their Pro-90 Support Page.
Some people swear by different commercial or shareware programs for controlling their scanner. I haven't tried any of these, but two 'freeware' programs have to be mentioned.
Aaron Rossetto's BC245 Backup Utility Page has a great program that allow you to save and restore one or more configurations for your BC245. This is handy if you travel and want different configurations for the different cities you visit.
The other piece of software is from Senss. This program is evolving, but right now the feature I like the most is the ability to use 'alpha tags' and have them displayed on the computer screen. It has very limited programming capability but using it with the Backup Utility above meets most of my needs.
If you need to reset your scanner (and clear all the programming you've done), press the '2', '9', and 'MAN' while powering on. The display will show 'CLEAR'.
It's not that uncommon to hear people complain that the keyboard is locked and they can't get it unlocked. Usually the radio has gotten into the REMOTE mode and is waiting for a computer to tell it what to do. To get out of this mode, press and hold the 'E' key (which is also labeled 'REMOTE') until the radio beeps twice.
The original BC245s would spend five seconds scanning a trunk bank before looking at conventional banks. Later versions reduced this delay (although there are still some arguments about the details of the change). To find out what version you have press the '2', '4', and '9' keys simultaneously and turn the power on. The version number should be displayed. If you continue to hold the keys for a few seconds after the version number is displayed, you get what appears to be a checksum. At this point, I'm aware of three versions:
There has been some talk about older BC245s having serial numbers beginning '96xxxxxx' while the newer ones have serial numbers beginning '06xxxxxx'. I have the newer version with a '96...' serial number and I've seen notes from several other people saying they do to. So for now assume the keyboard trick is the only way to know for certain.
The BC245 has an earphone jack as opposed to an external speaker jack. The manual recommends using a 32 ohm earphone. The earphone included with the radio is monaural, but a stereo headphone can also be used. If you try to plug anything other than earphones or headphones in, you'll probably have weak volume.
Inside the BC245 a resistor is added in series with the earphone jack. This helps prevent damage to your ears (by limiting volume) and to the radio (if the jack should be shorted for some reason). It's easy to bypass this by running a jumper from the ground of the BNC antenna connector to the ground of the earphone jack. You can make this same modification internal to the radio if you want it to be permanent.
This whole issue seems to crop up every few weeks. Common alternative suggestions include 1) the CD player adapters that plug into a cassette player, 2) the CD player adapters that broadcast to a nearby FM receiver, and 3) an amplified speaker. Personally I use an amplified external speaker I picked up at Radio Shack and have been very happy with it.
Another audio mod is available that involves removing a capacitor to restore the high end frequency response. I haven't tried this but if your interested check out the Strongsignal's mod page mentioned above. A word of warning--while I don't think there's anything wrong with the mod itself, I've seen at least two people mess up their radios doing this. Personally, I'll stick with an amplified speaker with a tone control .
Because the Radio Shack Pro-90 was the BC235, you can get some accessories that will work with the BC245 from them. This includes a leather case (catalog #12047163) and the battery pack.
The power connection is 3.5 mm OD, 1.3 mm ID (Radio Shack catalog # 274-1571A). The tip is positive. Rick Parrish on the eGroups list found that the wall charger for his NEC Talktime (P7 or P8) cell phone also fits and is the correct voltage and polarity.
I'd like to thank all the people who have shared information on various web pages, in news group posting, through mailing lists, and e-mail. I've taken lots of little notes and tried to pull them together. I'm not sure where a lot of this information originated but have tried to give credit where I could. If you have more information you'd like to share, corrections or clarification to make, or know who first discovered some feature or function please feel free to drop me an e-mail.
Copyright © 2000,2001 by Jim McClanahan All rights reserved.
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