Last year during a day-trip to Manchester Airport Visitor Centre, I nearly lost my Kenwood D74 and I vowed not to take it to places like that again! If you're out "playing radio", then you're very focused on what you're doing and you're using the radio all the time, but when it's a family day and you're focus is on aircraft, cakes, ice-cream and beer, then it's very easy to forget you've left your HT sat on a bench. So I decided to buy an AirBand Scanner and leave my valuables at home!
I thought about looking for an old favourite on eBay - the Yupiteru 7100 but damn, they still demand strong money and so too do the Alinco DX-2000's, so I dropped that idea and turned to the cheap and cheerful Uniden UBC-125XLT.
The 125 is a neat, compact and light receiver which covers 25-960MHz (with gaps) and has 500 memories grouped into 10 Banks of 50 channels. The channels can be given AlphaTags which is a nice feature. They typically sell for £120-£140 but I got mine second hand in mint condition, boxed with charger, standard antenna and a "Super Gainer" antenna. The seller was advertising it on FaceBook's MarketPlace and I thought I'd try bidding him in the nuts, telling him that I was local and able to collect immediately with cash - he agreed :-)
The radio is easy to program thanks to some free software that's available online, so it wasn't long before I'd got all my local frequencies into Bank 1, ready to go. I noticed that the previous owner had filled Banks 7,8, 9 and 10 with all the UK Military aviation frequencies, so I left them there.
Two 2300mAh rechargeables provide the power and regular AA's can be put in if required. I've got some Eneloop Pro 2500mAh batteries that I'll probably use. The radio can also work from mains power via the provided power-supply/charger unit. Plugging it into my Discone (outside on the roof) I immediately started to pick up all the Manchester traffic, plus the odd contact from the Isle Of Man. Sensitivity seems pretty good.
Scanning speed is pretty good and even when scanning my regulars in Bank 1, I can include all the Military channels without unduly slowing down the process. So overall I'm very happy with this purchase. The radios are already cheap (and good value) at £120, so my second-hand purchase was especially good.
UPDATE : I only really wanted the scanner for AirBand, so I ended up selling this and bought the magnificent YAESU FTA-550L.