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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-25-2014, 4:42 PM
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Default BCD536

Picked up a BCD536HP today and starting to play.

At the moment, I am focused on the Anne Arundel site of the Maryland FiRST system.

I created a "favorite" (named scan?) list using the provided Sentinel software with only the FiRST AA Site and (just like I've done for my PSR800) removed all but the active CC for the site. I have all talkgroups enabled and running in ID Search (wildcard) mode.

The 536 seems to be "ID scanning" slower than my PSR800 because the 800 is stopping on active talkgroups more often/faster than the BCD536HP is. If I switch to ID Scan (not wildcard) mode, the radio may be locking on TGs just a slight bit faster.... However, when the 536 does stop, the reception is improved over that of the PSR800 (not perfect, but a bit better).

Of course, it's early and I have to move around the house some and do more testing.
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Old 01-25-2014, 5:07 PM
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I would ask you what your hold time is set too but you stated you only had one site programed in another post. Im guessing you updated the firmware which was suppose to help with the scan speed.
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Old 01-25-2014, 7:15 PM
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Well I'm sitting here listening to Baltimore City's system on the 536 -- of what I can hear it's pretty good. Not really able to pick it up on my other radios from here.

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Old 01-25-2014, 11:15 PM
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Waiting to get one of these, wondering if I'll be able to hear PG County police again
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Old 01-26-2014, 9:47 AM
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Default Day Two - learning and tweaking

I'm spending more time today reading the user's manual - learning FLQKs, SQK, DQKs, etc. Mostly, I'm looking for ways to improve speed of finding and opening up on active talkgroups. I'm clearly seeing my PSR800 stop/open up on active Maryland First Phase 2 talkgroups faster than the BCD536. Sometimes it seems that by the time the 536 opens, the message is already over and I hear little to nothing followed by the default 2 seconds delay.

But on the positive side -- I am now hearing Baltimore City fairly well now - the 800 wasn't hearing the city system at all. And the decode is fairly good but with some dropouts and "pops" (this seems to be fairly normal for the all of the digital systems with this radio).

Last night I was also listening to Baltimore County and PG County to some degree - and the 800 from my location really couldn't hear these systems at all.

Going the other way again -- my PSR800 is able to "hear" the Baltimore site of Maryland FiRST (specific and proper stationary radio placement was crucial). So far, I haven't been able to lock onto/hear anything from that site with the BCD536.

Other than the scan/lock speed on talkgroups, it also seems that the sound, while loud, is more "muffled" on digital voice activity more so than what I'm used to for my other radios.

I did hear (briefly) the new 700 mhz air-to-ground activity a couple of times last night and it sounded pretty good (on multiple radios) but I'm wondering it there was something special "active" related to the Columbia Mall shooting (I think several 800 Interop frequencies were "activated" also yesterday in support of both the canceled Polar Bear plunge and probably also for the shooting activity).

I've also been playing with the recording capability a bit (always been a key feature for me since GRE provided it). This is pretty interesting in the way the records are logged. So far, the one recording related thing I don't like is not being able to record selective talkgroups and also that the recording feature must be activated each and every time you turn the radio on (or following programming). Hopefully I just haven't learned of ways to address this yet (it's not on the top of my list of things to figure out at this point).

FWIW - I waited to place an order (just as I also have in the past) but as we got closer, I decided to place an order for a 436 (what I really wanted). However, I started seeing what appeared to be a delay in shipping from the source I ordered from. That, coupled with the ability for me to drive to a store with 90 minutes (and shear agony because I like new toys!) - I decided to pick up a 536. My plan was to end up with BOTH a 436 and a 536 but that was 24 hours ago. Having played with the 536 for almost a day now - combined with some other concerns - I've decided to cancel my order for the 436. MOST of this is based on the performance I'm seeing with the 536 (still not where I want to be) - and of course - I don't see the 436 performing better than the 536. I can always pick when up later if I reach that decision point. However, right now, I don't expect I'll be spending more $$$ on a 436.
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Last edited by troymail; 01-26-2014 at 9:51 AM..
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
I'm spending more time today reading the user's manual - learning FLQKs, SQK, DQKs, etc. Mostly, I'm looking for ways to improve speed of finding and opening up on active talkgroups. I'm clearly seeing my PSR800 stop/open up on active Maryland First Phase 2 talkgroups faster than the BCD536. Sometimes it seems that by the time the 536 opens, the message is already over and I hear little to nothing followed by the default 2 seconds delay.

But on the positive side -- I am now hearing Baltimore City fairly well now - the 800 wasn't hearing the city system at all. And the decode is fairly good but with some dropouts and "pops" (this seems to be fairly normal for the all of the digital systems with this radio).

Last night I was also listening to Baltimore County and PG County to some degree - and the 800 from my location really couldn't hear these systems at all.

Going the other way again -- my PSR800 is able to "hear" the Baltimore site of Maryland FiRST (specific and proper stationary radio placement was crucial). So far, I haven't been able to lock onto/hear anything from that site with the BCD536.

Other than the scan/lock speed on talkgroups, it also seems that the sound, while loud, is more "muffled" on digital voice activity more so than what I'm used to for my other radios.

I did hear (briefly) the new 700 mhz air-to-ground activity a couple of times last night and it sounded pretty good (on multiple radios) but I'm wondering it there was something special "active" related to the Columbia Mall shooting (I think several 800 Interop frequencies were "activated" also yesterday in support of both the canceled Polar Bear plunge and probably also for the shooting activity).

I've also been playing with the recording capability a bit (always been a key feature for me since GRE provided it). This is pretty interesting in the way the records are logged. So far, the one recording related thing I don't like is not being able to record selective talkgroups and also that the recording feature must be activated each and every time you turn the radio on (or following programming). Hopefully I just haven't learned of ways to address this yet (it's not on the top of my list of things to figure out at this point).

FWIW - I waited to place an order (just as I also have in the past) but as we got closer, I decided to place an order for a 436 (what I really wanted). However, I started seeing what appeared to be a delay in shipping from the source I ordered from. That, coupled with the ability for me to drive to a store with 90 minutes (and shear agony because I like new toys!) - I decided to pick up a 536. My plan was to end up with BOTH a 436 and a 536 but that was 24 hours ago. Having played with the 536 for almost a day now - combined with some other concerns - I've decided to cancel my order for the 436. MOST of this is based on the performance I'm seeing with the 536 (still not where I want to be) - and of course - I don't see the 436 performing better than the 536. I can always pick when up later if I reach that decision point. However, right now, I don't expect I'll be spending more $$$ on a 436.

Great Report Troy!

I have noticed that with HP-1 and PSR-800 side by side, the HP1 is slower/delayed compared to PSR-800 on the AACo System. HP-1 is also much softer (sound) and more muffled than the PSR-800. I guess Uniden didn’t do many improvements in those features.

The recording features sounds just like the HP-1. Do User IDs come up or unknown talkgroups (wildcard) show up when you listen to them (files) on the computer? HP-1 didn’t have that like the PSR-800.

HP-1 also makes you record everything and not selectively record certain talkgroups.

Sounds like HP-1 and this new radio are very similar expect for the Phase 2 capability.

I will probably get the handled within the next couple weeks.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ThePhotoGuy View Post
The recording features sounds just like the HP-1. Do User IDs come up or unknown talkgroups (wildcard) show up when you listen to them (files) on the computer? HP-1 didn’t have that like the PSR-800.
To be honest, I had to read up to find out how to switch to "ID Search" (wildcard in GRE parlance) mode but then I stopped using it because I felt it was slowing things down even further (this may be a false observation).

I played with some recordings and saw how the audio file fields (title, etc.) were being used to store recording data but I haven't looked too much at that yet.

At this point, this radio (and the HP-1 from the little I played with it in the past) seem to be geared more towards users who want to know what is happening in their area (zip code or GPS programming of alot of "stuff"). I guess the thinking is as long as you are hearing "something", the user will be happy. Of course, you can change this but it takes some effort to tailor the programming to what you want. And in that mode of thinking, the speed really isn't important.

Another new observation I just had -- I'm listening and hear a rescue assignment dispatched in Baltimore City so I take advantage of a x36 feature and "HOLD" on the fire "department". I think that ended up being a mistake because since that time, I haven't heard anything except more dispatches of calls. Of course, this *could* have something to do with the way I programmed the favorties list -- but I'm pretty sure I put all fire department talkgroups in the same "department" quick key.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:26 AM
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Any way you could post a recording from the statewide system and a local system, I am curious how it sounds?
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:33 AM
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Troy,

Thanks for the updates.

I am a little discouraged by the Baltimore (County & City) reception.

The SLOW scan speed is a concern too. A coupel other peopl ehave expressed disappointment in the slow scann rate and "missing" transmissions.

I guess, to me, it would be a question of reception between the 106 and a 436.

I realize I'm actually in Balt County and you are not, so "maybe" the Couonty an dCity will come in better.

I am so torn.... I hate not being able to listen to the the County/City simulcast from home at all now, but hate the thought of spending $500-600 on a scanner that is only a "little" better receiving them.

That's why I'm waiting for Scanner Master to get the 436 in stock, as they have that 30 day return policy.

I looked again at the HRO return policy and it's only 10 Days from the "Date of Purchase". So it's possible that thoses 10 days are gone between my date of purchase and when I even receive the scanner.

I gotta be able to return the scanner if it doesn't do a lot better on the simulcast systems near me.

Maybe we'll get more reports from someone inside the County/City.

Thanks again......

Last edited by pratzert; 01-26-2014 at 10:36 AM..
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:39 AM
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I'll be in Arbutus on Tuesday evening and be able to give some reports after that (if not before). I was receiving PG fairly well yesterday on the drive back across 495 from Woodbridge but I also had my 800 running and was routinely missing things on the 536. Of course, my 800's programming is very specific (one site, on the CC programmed, etc.). The "default" load of the systems on each of the radios is to load all sites and all frequencies which wastes alot of time if the radio struggles to find the CC and also sometimes results in the radios locking onto the wrong site.

My first and most important goal right now is tweaked programming and speeding this thing up! There are far too many different settings, quick keys, etc. - it's no wonder the first and most prominent button on the radio is "ZIP".
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Last edited by troymail; 01-26-2014 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pratzert View Post
Troy,

Thanks for the updates.

I am a little discouraged by the Baltimore (County & City) reception.

The SLOW scan speed is a concern too. A coupel other peopl ehave expressed disappointment in the slow scann rate and "missing" transmissions.

I guess, to me, it would be a question of reception between the 106 and a 436.

I realize I'm actually in Balt County and you are not, so "maybe" the Couonty an dCity will come in better.

I am so torn.... I hate not being able to listen to the the County/City simulcast from home at all now, but hate the thought of spending $500-600 on a scanner that is only a "little" better receiving them.

That's why I'm waiting for Scanner Master to get the 436 in stock, as they have that 30 day return policy.

I looked again at the HRO return policy and it's only 10 Days from the "Date of Purchase". So it's possible that thoses 10 days are gone between my date of purchase and when I even receive the scanner.

I gotta be able to return the scanner if it doesn't do a lot better on the simulcast systems near me.

Maybe we'll get more reports from someone inside the County/City.

Thanks again......
It does seem that I can receive the Maryland FiRST system (AA Site) in more locations on the 536 than the "perfect" positioning needed for the PSR800. However, the voice has dropouts, pops, and other "anomalies" when listening to FiRST. It appears the improvement Uniden made is to ensure that garbling from the digital simulcast results in voice dropout vs. letting the user hear garbage.

There is also still a distinct increase in volume most times for FiRST Phase 2 digital voice over that of Phase 1 (say - Baltimore City). The PSR800 Phase 2 capability exposed this also. I assume the Uniden fix for this is in the programming (Sentinel) where you can "adjust" the volume level per talkgroup (which I have't played with yet).

I'm really missing hearing the Baltimore site of FiRST on this radio! There isn't as much activity on the Anne Arundel site (but it is Sunday).
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:22 AM
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Yesterday, I found myself creating separate "favorites" for each system I wanted to listen to. Then, I (think I) learned that enabling multiple "favorities" lists at the same time was one of the things slowing scan speeds down.

Today, I created a single "favorities" list and put Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, and Maryland FiRST (AA site) in that list - each having a separate system quick key (SQK).

I have only recently come to the realization that I am only hearing fire dispatches for Anne Arundel and Baltimore City unless I manually switch to a fireground talkgroup....

Clearly, I need to learn more about xQKs and "departments"....

Oh, and I set audio AGC "on" for all systems/talkgroups and now the AA system (analog) - which is usually low in volume - is REALLY loud when compared to the digital systems.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:31 PM
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Well, in prep for a quick road trip (North side of PG to South Baltimore), I did some more programming with Sentinel. One of the things I did was manually readd the Baltimore site to Maryland FiRST (I really wanted to create a 2nd "system" so I could listen to both sites but I haven't figured out how to do that in a single Favorites list).

Anyway -- NOW I can hear the Baltimore site! But, I suspect the radio is now locking onto that site and I won't hear the activity on the Anne Arundel site (not what I want). Note a feature that is missing (or two) is not being able to see which site you'r listening to and/or the active frequencies.

Still, some progress....
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:39 PM
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Default BCD536

I believe the 436 will show you the sites your on while a transmission is active due to the larger display. The 536 doesn't do this. This was demo on Marshall's 436 video. The 436 will provide you with all the info your looking for such as site and I believe site frequency.
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Last edited by wise871; 01-26-2014 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
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I have only recently come to the realization that I am only hearing fire dispatches for Anne Arundel and Baltimore City unless I manually switch to a fireground talkgroup....
Do you have the Service Type "Fire-Tac" enabled?
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:44 PM
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I believe the 436 will show you the sites your on while a transmission is active due to the larger display. The 536 doesn't do this.
From the videos I've seen, the 436 has alot of wasted screen space. Hopefully, they can get it in there. But there's also alot of space for options on the 536 too. Having said that, I really need a way to create a 2nd system for Maryland FiRST for the different site(s). This way I have more control over which site I'm listening to

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Do you have the Service Type "Fire-Tac" enabled?
I do now -- was asking about that in the Uniden forum. I assumed from past experience that had more to do with service searches and not scans lists. I now have enabled ALL SERVices... expected I'd do that all the time (would like it to be my default for all Favorites lists but the software doesn't even have a "enable/check all"....
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Old 01-26-2014, 1:05 PM
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Hello,

In Sentinel, you can change the order of how the Sites are scanned and assign DQK's/Site QK's, without the need to add a second system or FL. Since I monitor the Maryland FIRST Elkton Site, it scans first, followed by Kent Co. Each site has a Hold Time of ZERO. If there are sites you want to disable/enable, assign them a Site QK.

My setup is one list of TGs with all the sites, and each site assigned a Site Quick Key, and each Department a DQK for easy enable/disable.
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Old 01-26-2014, 1:18 PM
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Quote:
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Hello,

In Sentinel, you can change the order of how the Sites are scanned and assign DQK's/Site QK's, without the need to add a second system or FL. Since I monitor the Maryland FIRST Elkton Site, it scans first, followed by Kent Co. Each site has a Hold Time of ZERO. If there are sites you want to disable/enable, assign them a Site QK.

My setup is one list of TGs with all the sites, and each site assigned a Site Quick Key, and each Department a DQK for easy enable/disable.
Thanks - I saw this on my last "programming session".More FL, QK, tag stuff I need to learn more about. Right now, I'm more focused on reception and digital decode quality. I did learn about assigning QKs through the user manual. So now I know about SQK and DQKs, etc. I like to program it through the radio and then transfer the data to my PC so I can see what QK values are being updated.. and then use that info for future software programming.
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Old 01-26-2014, 1:30 PM
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^^^ Sounds like a plan. You also have the option of Department Hold, Channel Hold, Site Hold, and System Hold, along with xQKs. So you can HOLD on a System and a Site at the same time, as an example.
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Old 01-26-2014, 2:25 PM
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Just about went nuts here... I managed to disableALL SAKs in my favorites list and no matter what. I did, the radio would not enable anything. I hadto remove the SQK value for one of the systems before I could reenable anything....
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