Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Uniden EZI30XLT Review

The Uniden EZI30XLT is the first new handheld radio scanner Uniden have released in Australian since the Uniden UBCD396T back in late 2005, it has been a long time since this happened and the scanning hobby has changed a lot in that time. Digital (APCO25) and trunking are now used in every Australian state (which the UBCD396T supported). Since early 2009 the only handheld scanners from Uniden that you have been able to purchase new are the UBC73XLT and UBC93XLT, these are a 100 channel and 200 channel basic handheld scanner, they don’t support APCO25, trunking or any other advanced features. They both do have “close call” and this I have found to be very useful at times.
Details for the Uniden website:
Designed and Engineered in Japan
Mini Compact Handheld Unit:Compact unit ideal for Outdoor use.
Easy Operation
213 Channels: Program up to 210 of your favourite frequencies. 20 Favourite channels can be programmed per service bank plus 50 favourite channels in the Miscellaneous bank. 213 Channels are programmable –including Instant Channels.
3 One Touch Instant Channels: 3 One Touch programmable instant channels
8 Pre-Programmed Service Banks: Radio Scanner/ Emergency Scanner/ Racing Scanner / Sports Scanner
7 Frequency Bands:Covers VHF, FM radio, Aircraft and Land mobile bands.
Frequency Range:75-85MHz, 88-174MHz and 410-489MHz
Service Scan: Scan the pre-programmed service banks to find your desired frequency.
FavouritesScan: Can scan your favourite channels.
Keypad Lock:You can lock the keypad to avoid undesired setting changes.
Backlit LCD Display: The Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) can be backlit at the press of a key for easy viewing at night or in low light situations.
Memory Back UP
Size of Unit (mm): 53mm (W) x 28mm (D) x 106.8mm (H)
Includes:1 x EZI30XLT Scanner1 x Antenna,1 x Belt Clip3 x AA Alkaline Batteries1 x Earphone1 x Owner’s Manual*

Physical overview and packaging:
The EZI30XLT is a very small and basic handheld scanner; it has 213 channels, no numeric keypad and most surprising no real “search” feature. Physically the EZI30XLT is tiny, weighing in at 100g (excluding batteries) it is so small and light you can easily slip it in to a pocket and use it, this I think is one of its main advantages. It is about 53mm (W) x 28mm (D) x 106.8mm (H)
The aerial provided is a mini version of the BNC aerial provided with all Uniden scanners, it is about 11cm long.

The user manual is a whole 26 pages long, other than showing how to program the instant and favorite channels it does not really tell you anything your average scanner user could not work out for themselves.

Programming / Use:
The EZI30XLT has one of the strangest programming systems I have ever seen in my 12 years in this hobby. You have two ways to program this but to understand this you need to understand how Uniden have arranged things. Unlike most scanners where you have scan and search in this case they are called different names and work unlike anything I have seen before.
“Service scan” is programmed by Uniden and has a number of “banks” including:
FM (Broadcast)

Each of these have been programmed with the Australian frequencies for each service, I can confirm these seem to be up to date at least for Tasmania and in the case of running the Ambulance “service scan” I heard a few of the T.A.S frequencies active. In the case of the air band this scans the whole air band, the UHF CB is setup with the new 77 channel UHF CB channels and numbered to match. Each of these “service scans” are separate so for example you can only scan the UHF CB bank and not that plus any others, this to me is a bit of a letdown and reduces the usefulness of this being limited to only one bank at a time. While running a “service scan” if you hear a frequency active you can save this to one of the “favorite scan” groups which are the same as above and can each hold 20 channels. Another Miscellaneous group which holds 50 channels exists in the “favorite scan” mode and this is what I have been using for my testing.
If you wish to just program in some frequencies without having to search for them or they are frequencies that are not included in any of the “service scans” then you need to enter fav mode, press and hold the store key and then the display with show 00.0000, you use the up / down keys to set each digit and then the right / left arrow keys to move to the next space and set that number, it is a very slow process. One this is done you save the frequency and move on to the next one.

From my testing so far it performs as well if not better than the other Uniden handhelds, Casino security on 467.475MHz comes in very well and all the other frequencies I have heard active has been nice and strong. Scan speed is around 30-40 channels a second and so far I have had no problems with overload or birdies. Audio is fairly decent but a bit quite, this I suspect is due to the small size of the speaker. Headphones supplied work well and the belt clip seems strong enough.

- Small Size
- Number of preprogrammed services.
- Includes new 77 channel UHF CB plan
- Fast scan speed
- Use of digital controls for squelch and volume (like 396T)
- Instant channels, makes listening to 3 favorite frequencies much easier and quicker.
- Price ($129 is cheap for what it does)

- Lack of programmable search feature.
- No lockout, once a frequency is programmed you have to delete it to not hear it any more.
- No close call
- Slow programming process
- Single bank only scanning

Possible Improvements:
If Uniden wanted to improve this a couple of simple steps could fix a few of the problems and make it a much more useful radio.
- Add a custom search range
- Allow banks to be linked
- Expand frequency coverage to 70MHz and 500MHz.

Overall view:
The EZI30XLT does that it does and works quite well, even with the few small issues I think it makes a worthwhile addition to anybodies scanning line up and for somebody who only have a few channels they want to scan, provided they fall within the frequency ranges of the EZI30XLT then you could do a lot worse than this radio.

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