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Introductory Information
on Uniden Equipment

By Mike Morris WA6ILQ

Bear in mind that Uniden is a generic brand and a contract manufacturer. Uniden Japan private labels / labeled for Bearcat, Radio Shack / Realistic, Panasonic, Sony, and several other well known brands. Uniden dipped its toe into the USA land mobile pool, and decided to not go swimming.

Consumer Electronics Equipment:
While looking for Land Mobile equipment manuals I stumbled across a consumer elctronics equipment owners manuals download web page. If you are looking for an owners manual on almost any current Uniden consumer product i.e. Cordless Phones, VoIP Phones, Business Phones, Marine Electronics, CB Radios, Scanners, Digital Cameras, GPS Navigation, Cellular Phones, Pagers, Radar Detectors, Satellite Receivers, Laptop and Palm-sized Computers, Modems, etc. go to this Uniden page and select what you are looking for. Note that the "Two Way Radios" option is only bubble-packed consumer FRS radios, i.e. nothing in Land Mobile. And there is no older equipment listed.

Decoding the Uniden / Bearcat product date codes:
The information below is from an ex-scanner shop employee. The sticker format below may be limited to Bearcat scanners, or may be Uniden-wide.

Bearcat scanners were (maybe still are) made by Uniden. Each one has a sticker on the back, or maybe inside the battery compartment. The date code sticker was introduced for warranty purposes.
The date code consists of a two character code representing the month followed by another two character code representing the year.
The code uses letters instead of digits: 0=0, A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, F=6, G=7, H=8, I=9
For example,
0CHB would decode to March 1982 since 0C = March (C=3, the third month of the year), the last two are HB and H=8, B=2)
0GIE would decode to July 1995 since 0G = July (G=7, seventh month of the year), the last two are IE = 95 (I=9, E=5)
AB0E would decode to December 2005 since AB = 12 (December), the last two are 0E = 05 (0=0, E=5)

From an email to repeater-builder:
I recently built a MAX-232 based programmer for a Kenwood TK series radios. Hardly anything to it. Now I have the Uniden 935 beast to deal with, and guess what? The programmer for that series is also a MAX-232 based unit! And Uniden gets over $300 for it. I don't think so! Time to warm up the soldering iron...

Anyway, there are differences between the two, but minor. Uniden tossed a PNP transistor in there, and drove an inverter with an inverter, strange stuff like that, but overall, one could very easily build a combo programmer, which is tomorrow's project here in the sticks...

(This was almost a 'no-go' as I don't stock PNP transistors. I HATE PNP transistors. But, fortunately, an old TV gave up a transistor (2SA1013) from the vertical circuit, so away we go!!!)

Uniden makes use of RS-232 pins 6 and 20, Kenwood doesn't. Other than tiny changes like that, the programmers are almost identical. Both use RS-232 pins 2 and 3 for data to/from the radio. Uniden did some screwy stuff by adding 6 and 20 to the mix. A lot of the added components in the Uniden programmer could be eliminated - they just drive LEDs, etc... Lots of blinking lights...

Uniden also came up with the notion that the programmer can't run if the radio isn't on. Well, duh... And they "enforced" that notion by taking switched 8-9VDC from the mike jack and using that as a control signal to a unique "controlled" wall-wart 12VDC supply. Cute. EXPENSIVE. Cute, tho... No 8-9 VDC from the radio, no 12 VDC from the wall-wart. And the first thing they do is regulate it down to 5V. (Idle engineer's minds - terrible stuff)...

Kenwood got it right - 12 VDC for the programmer is provided by an extra pin in the radio mic jack. Gee - THAT was simple - and cheap !!!

73, Dave.

Contact Information:

The author can be contacted at: his-callsign // at // repeater-builder // dot // com.

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Page created 01-Jun-2003

The information presented in this web site and on these web pages is © Copyrighted 1995 - current by Kevin Custer W3KKC and multiple originating authors.