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Old 03-22-2012, 11:52 PM
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Default Programming BCD396XT using FreeScan for Dummies?

How is everyone doing?

Ok, I'm not ashame to say it. I have no clue on how to program the new Uniden BCD396XT scanner I just bought using the FreeScan software. I am computer literate, but just need some sort of step-by-step instructions for getting started programming it?

Yes, I also did invest in a 6 month RadioReference premium plan, so I am ready to roll. I am eager to learn and have no problem reading several pages of well documented steps or watching a video or two. Just need the links pointing me in the right direction.

Thanks for any assistance.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:05 AM
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Hi friend,
Welcome to Radio Reference!
You have bought an amazing scanner. It will give you hours and hours of fun.
This link - Programming Your Uniden Scanner - The RadioReference Wiki has some good info to get you started. There is also a link on that page to "easier to read mnauals" page. Check it out!
There is a forum here for scanner software that has Freescan as a topic. You have chosen an awesome program!
If you didn't already guess - I have a 396xt and use Freescan!
Again - welcome.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:34 AM
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Thanks so much for the link. As a fella user of the same scanner I just got, would you have any tips to share that could help me avoid making any major mistakes as a first timer? I'm hoping there is a way for me to import data from the RadioReference database to my BCD396XT scanner dealing mainly with Police, Fire and Emergency bands for my specific area.
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Old 03-23-2012, 2:20 AM
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Click here for the FreeScan User Guide. It will guide you through it. Take your time, read everything first. Go to the database for your area to see what is available first and make notes. This makes it easier when you go to download these systems later.
Work on one system at a time and build your database as you go. You can also post in your state forum, someone may have a file for your area that you could use and save you a lot of time. Without knowing what area you are in I can't really do much more at this time.
I use FreeScan to program a BCD396T, BCT15 and BCT15X. I currently have over 70 systems in my BCD396T.
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Old 03-23-2012, 4:21 AM
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Keep in mind that FreeScan can import UASD (Uniden Advanced System Director) and BuTel ARC files as a source.

No matter what software you use, you need to understand how Dynamic Memory Architecture (DMA) works with the 396XT. These 2 resources will help...

Easier to Read BCD396XT Digital Scanner Manual

Uniden DMA FAQ - The RadioReference Wiki

HTH...Mike
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Old 03-23-2012, 8:02 AM
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You guys are great! This is just the kind of links that I need. Like going back to Grade School for me. I don't mind for I had lots of fund learning my ABCs and 123s. If you have anymore links to share that will give me the basic definitions of popular scanner terms I will frequent across during my programming ventures, please post them.
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Old 03-23-2012, 8:35 AM
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Ask and ye shall receive...

Category:RR Glossary - The RadioReference Wiki

Mike
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Old 03-23-2012, 8:56 AM
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Really do appreciate all the help you guys are giving me. Do have one favor to ask.

Ok, looks like understanding the structure of Systems, Sites and Groups will be key to my learning how to program my BCD396XT scanner. Now can someone put the following in layman's terms using a real life example:

With respect to conventional frequencies, there are SYSTEMS which contain one or more GROUPS. A GROUP contains one or more channels. For each channel you
enter the frequency, alpha tag, and various other parameters that relate to that channel. There are no sites for conventional channels.

SYSTEM 1
.....GROUP 1
..........CHANNEL A
..........CHANNEL B
.....GROUP 2
..........CHANNEL C
..........CHANNEL D
SYSTEM 2
.....GROUP 1
..........CHANNEL E
..........CHANNEL F
SYSTEM 3
.....GROUP 1
..........CHANNEL G

What I mean is give a real life example of how say "System 1... Group 1... Channel A" would be entered in the scanner's DMA? I'm not sure if the term "System" refers to a branch of law enforcement (Police, Fire, Emergency etc.) And the term Group refers to a section of the county/city/state covered by such law enforcement (West, North, Center City etc.) and the term channel refers to an actual frequency the group would use to transmit (325.5, 326.0 etc.) At least for me, seeing real life examples, instead of generic terminology makes things much easier to understand.

Hoping I'm not requesting to much, but I want to really learn about this hobby, not just understand it enough to program my scanner.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:39 AM
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Keep in mind that what you are defining here is a conventional system - trunked systems are defined at the site level.

An example that really isn't that far off the mark is our own database - get another session going and look at this....

Anne Arundel County, Maryland (MD) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Remember that in DMA, the system is the highest logical level - therefore, let's consider Anne Arundel County Maryland a 'system'.

Each of the categories of frequencies are 'groups' - and as you guessed, each group can have its own list of frequencies. Now how you allocate and build your groups is totally up to you

However to make DMA recognize that this system is one to be scanned, you need to assign and enable a System Quick Key. You would, therefore, need one for Anne Arundel County. You will also need to assign and enable at least one Group Quick Key (GQK) for each group (that's not entirely necessary, by the way - in some cases you might have one GQK assigned to multiple groups, for example). In the simplest approach, you would have one GQK for 'Fire VHF TRS Patches', another for '800 Mhz Talk-Around' and so forth. How you allocate your quick keys is also left up to the user.

It takes some thinking to figure out how to best scan your particular area for your interests. You will find yourself making several variations until you find one that works best for you. Whatever software you choose to use (most do), be sure to catalog various profiles so that if you screw something up you can revert back to a known working version

HTH...Mike
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:00 PM
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Thanks Mike for putting things in terms I can understand.

Well I guess my next question is regarding the software. It looks to be that FreeScan is preferred for programming your scanner via the PC. Not sure if this is because it's good, or because it is free? In either case, for someone like myself who is just getting started in this hobby, would that be the software you recommend I take the time to learn? Is it software that's forgiving to new users, yet flexible enough to grow with me as I learn more about my BCD396XT scanner? As you can see, I have no problem shelling out a little coin for something, especially if it's in my best interest to own it.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:10 PM
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I have read that many folks start off with FreeScan - basically because it's a good piece of software, and it works well - then later on migrate to ProScan or ARC-XT. You lose nothing by starting with FreeScan since, as it's name implies, it's free.

Those are really the 3 main choices for the XT scanners. There are a few what I would term 'utility' programs that some also use - they're linked in our DMA Software Support article...

Uniden DMA Software Support - The RadioReference Wiki

best regards...Mike
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:12 PM
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I know this is an old thread - but maybe someone can help me without a lot of work on your part. I have a BC 346 - I have my two Groups programmed into it - all of which I did manually, since I'm used to the older scanners, but recently I tried to set some quick keys or something and now it's scanning every state and all the systems it came with - like FM radio etc - and I just want to turn it all off and get my two groups back! So I downloaded the FreeScan software, but I am at a total loss as to how to turn stuff off in it - or how to maybe export my two groups, and then reset the scanner back to factory - and then I could import (or re-program) my two groups back into it.. I will try to read about the software from the links above, but there has to be an easy way to do this. Meantime, I have just ordered the new 436 scanner as my state is going digital and that's going to be a different software for me to learn - so if someone could help me with this one, it would be much apreciated.
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Old 02-10-2014, 9:04 PM
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It kinda sounds like you never did an ERASE on the upload the first time you had the scanner, so all the garbage state data pre-stored in several System Quick Keys are still there. How you got to assign a service search to a QK is a mystery - there's a specific screen for that...

I would start by using the ERASE function first, clear out the scanner so you start from a clean slate then it will upload your programming. Also make sure that you don't have any quick keys allocated to the service search functions (which it sounds like you also did, however inadvertantly). Then from here on, use REPLACE when you are just updating, ADD when you're adding something new to it

FreeScan has its own user guide - you can get to it via HELP / ONLINE HELP from the toolbar, or from here...

FreeScan User Guide - The RadioReference Wiki

By the way there are YouTube videos at the very end of this article that some have found helpful

I would spend some time with this - particularly this article which goes into great detail about using quick keys, and the methods FreeScan gives you to manage them

Freescan and Quick Key Processing - The RadioReference Wiki

The service search screen is found in SCANNER / SET SCANNER OPTIONS then choose the SERVICE SEARCH tab

Start with a fresh reload first before doing anything else. And when you're fooling around with the various QKs, ALWAYS backup first. That way you have a known configuration to get to if something goes awry (which this time, it seems to have...)

And this article has links to a LOT of other material, including the Easier to Read guides and our DMA FAQ

Program your DMA Scanner - The RadioReference Wiki

Mike
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Old 02-10-2014, 9:44 PM
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Hi there - and thank you for this answer - No I never did an erase because I never used the software before I somehow made this mess.. so there's no way to "lock out" all systems and then just "unlock" my two groups? I have no problem doing the "erase" either. can I re-import my stuff from an exported CSV file? I have no way to know how to know if I assigned anything - like you said - I must have - but I have no idea how. I will watch the videos. I tried to use the help screens a little - It seems that I can see my two groups (and like 4 systems - or whatever they are under the groups) and nothing else at all.. which would be fine if I could get RID of all that stuff - so -sounds like the "ERASE" is a great idea.. and I'll keep in mind the "replace" if I ever actually do anything with the software.. I would like to just have my groups/systems and the only thing I wanted was to be able to set the scanner at a moment's notice to one certain channel/freq.. that's all!!! LOL - meantime, long story short, I just got the new 436 scanner today - b/c my state police are going on to digital - and that requires different software - oy vey - but that does do the "HP-1" which we put in a zip code and it's scanning - but I still want to be able to get my own stuff in there so I hear what I want when I want - wish me luck! But- if I could "fix up" the 346 with the free scan software - it would be great.. so - again - how best do I export my stuff off before doing the erase? I LOVE that plan though.. and get rid of all that other junk.. What if, though, some day (which hasn't happened yet) I wanted to just scan like "air" freq's? I'm so used to the older scanners - this 346 killed me as far as using it - and the 436 will probably be worse! Thanks again very much.
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Old 02-11-2014, 7:15 AM
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You don't want to download your current configuration - it's got errors, and you would just propagate them back into the scanner. You would be back to square one.

Make a new, clean configuration. Put in just what you want to hear, and nothing else. Then do the erase and you should be set. Don't worry about wiping out the state data - it's dated material anyway and not very useful any more.

Go through the user guide and the material I gave links to in the last message (anything blue is a link). It explains a great deal about the various operations available to you. In addition pay close attention to the quick key article - QKs are how you tell the scanner what to scan or ignore

Once you have it built, zip (compress) it up using one of the popular utilties such as WinZip or the freeware 7-Zip, and I can take a look at it. My email is ka3jjz (at) comcast (dot) net. (replace the at and dot with the symbols...)

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Old 02-11-2014, 6:55 PM
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Hey Mike - thank you very much.. I think my stuff in there is just fine, but I did somehow use a QK to get it to stop ignoring the state stuff.. I can try the erase and put my stuff back and I'll know asap if it's working or not - it's not that much stuff - which means I could re-put it in, but I'll try that before making you look at it - if I can get all that other stuff out of there, and just have my stuff - then with the software I could probably make the tiny mods I'd like to have.. But what if I ever did want to search for "air" freqs or something - is that something I could download from here, as in RR? I'll let you know how it goes. I should get to it over the next couple of days I hope.. I did just get the new 436 scanner, so I'm looking at that a little too - although that comes programmed to some degree - although I'll rather have my own programming there as well.. oh boy - a whole new software to learn!! Thanks again.
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Old 02-11-2014, 7:41 PM
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According to the Easier to Read manual, System QKs 21-46 are set up with the state data. Using the System Quick Key Manager, make sure you don't have those SQKs set up to be active, and the state data should vanish from your scans, assuming you haven't erased that data yet

As for air frequencies; we do have some air frequencies in our database. In addition, you can use EZ Grab to pull aero frequencies from other sites, assuming they're set up in a columnar (tabled) fashion. That function is also defined in the User Guide

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Old 02-11-2014, 8:10 PM
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Hey Mike - thanks.. I'm going to check that out first - thank you.. thank you a lot.. I looked at the guide for that and it shouldn't be too hard! Up until now, all I have been able to "see" in that software is my stuff.. but I think I can do what you said and I bet it will work.. I will let you know.. thanks again. I appreciate your time.
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Old 02-18-2014, 8:11 PM
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Hey Mike - I swear I'm going to try to fix up or re-do my 346 scanner, but I have been swamped and am going away - but I haven't forgotten the time you have taken to help me and I AM going to get to this.. Thanks again.
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