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An ARC996 software record?

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W4UVV

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Nov 9, 2002
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1,532
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Prince George, Virginia--Central Va.
I have used a 796D for a couple of years and thanks to Butel ARC250 software I am now comfortable programing the scanner. Last Friday I purchased a 996T and immediately purchased the ARC996 Butel software. I learned my lesson with the 796D provided software trying to use, in my opinion, that piece of crap Uniden included. That was good for two weeks of frustration trying to get it to work on 4 different computers when I fortunately found out about Butel's ARC250 software. The Butel software installed fine and I have had no problems with it. After reading about 1/3 of the Uniden 996T user's manual I had a headache and gave up for the day. Once again Butel has saved my butt in programing Uniden digital scanners. I try to keep things simple in my scanner's programing requirements. In fact, this is the first thing that needs to be done before attempting to program anything. I went through about 5 different system heirarchy combinations before I was satisfied. Amazingly I am not going to be using the 996T's 500 systems and 250 groups and zillion channels or GPS feature. If I use it mobile I might try the close call feature but I suspect I will get hits on radio, tv and paging transmitters.

In experimenting with the ARC996 software I foolishly created a profile in the setup option and subsequently saved some system files I had created to that profile name. Later I decided I didn't like profiles and deleted the profile data file but did not delete the setup entry option for startup. The ARC996T software did not like that at all. That was a big no-no. It took me a while to figure what had caused the software freeze lockup. I could not figure out how to delete the profile. Eventually I figured it was a setup entry. I think I have probably set a record of locking up Butel software so soon after using it. I won't do that again. Subsequently after hours of trying different system combinations to see/confirm what works and what doesn't for what I want for conventional programing, I actually am having success at programing the "beast".

Of course, my 996T firmware was not the latest/greatest. I had to download that from the Uniden website and install it using the Uniden software/file management combination. You must first register your 996T before you can install the firmware upgrade. After downloading Uniden emails you a secret code to permit further file transfer processing. That file management software worked well and is a major improvement over the 796D software. Then checking the 996T memory I was shocked to see Uniden had loaded every darned major cities's TRS using about 94% of the 996T's total memory! That left 6% of 996T memory for my unique entries. That was unacceptable and I fixed that situation real quick. I deleted everything in the 996T and started with an empty box. Currently I have programed about 120 conventional frequencies in 5 systems and have used 1% of 996T's memory.

I am not keen about using quick keys as my monitoring requirements aren't that sophisticated. I live in a central Virginia rural suburban area and travel only locally so the GPS feature is useless for my requirements. I wish the 996T had a pullout bar to raise it for easier console viewing/access. I use one of my wireless lan laptops for Butel software file management on my two Uniden digital scanners. As a personal perference I don't like to use the computer virtual console display option. I do a lot of monitoring and maintain a large state frequency/user database. I have tower mounted Scantennas pre-amped and have a large ground wave coverage area.

Here are a few comments regarding the 996T compared to the 796D. The 996T is more sensitive and has better selectivity than the 796D. As an additional comparison for sensitivity the 996T is not as sensitive as an ICOM R7000 but it is close. The same signal using the same antenna on both radios shows that on weaker signals that are barely above squelch level solid on the R7000, the 996T will match reception or occasionally chop dropping below the squelch threshold setting. Uniden's scanner's sensitivity and selectivity has significantly improved. Uniden in past models has sacrificed selectivity for sensitivity and seems to have corrected much of the intermod problem in the 996T. The 996T is not totally immune to intermod. Occasionally intermod does appear but the same intermod on selected frequencies that cause extreme overloading grief in the 796D are often intermittent or 1-2 detent settings above the squelch setting. I still am trying to get used to detent squelch and volume control adjustment settings. I use the green display but the red display is for use in darkened environments such as in a vehicle at night. I like the dynamic frequency programing method that allows for no wasted frequencies like in the 796D which uses banks and a fixed number of frequencies(channels) per bank. The 996T seems to operate cooler than the 796D. The conventional/P25 audio sounds good. The P25 automatic audio processing circuitry is a big improvement over the manual audio quality adjustment in the 796D. Here's another 996T programing no-no. Do not change the P25 audio threshold setting unless you have such a crappy P25 audio signal the default setting is not correct. Leave it at the "8" default setting. There are several non-trunked P25 signals I monitor. I wanted to see what would happen if I changed the value to "1".
I found out. I did not receive any P25 transmissions. I quickly changed it back to the default of "8" and all P25 signals were excellent or as good audio as typical with their systems.

So far I am very satisfied with the 996T. I would rather have a scanner with user features I did not use than to have a scanner that did not have user features I want. When I am comfortable programing conventional systems I will do TRS. I have many TRS .mem files for the 796D. According to the documentation, I can import them. Virginia is in the process of converting most state agencies to a VHF P25 TRS. Yes, a 150-160 mhz. trunked radio system. Lucky us. It will be the magic communications system for agency interopertability with many bells and whistles. That is on paper on course. Time has proven things to be different. Many original state agencies have bailed out and it is evolving into basically an upgrade of the current vhf state police radio system. One VSP division has been installed. Apparantly there are some equipment and technical problems and installation to other VSP divisions has been stopped. Apparantly extreme head causes the mobile equipment control head to display all black. Some vhf repeater sites apparantly don't have enough frequencies. As with most everything more time and money can fix the problems. Always a pioneer state, Virginia with the STARS vhf radio system is not like a typical P25 system. Oh no. It is a little different involving the trs system id not being public and some other unknown technical differences. The 396T and 996T do correctly process the STARS system when properly programed. On the 796D the STARS P25 signals scanned in the conventional mode are excellent reception and the improvement in signal ground wave coverage is very impressive. However, when scanned in the trunked mode the 796D cannot lock onto the active control channel and it scans the programed group of 151, 152, 158, and 159 mhz. frequencies and never stops.

Let me emphasize that the ARC996T programing problems I had were of my own doing, not anything Butel programed wrong. In fact I don't know how anyone could create such sophisticated file management software and still retain any sanity. Without the ARC996T software I would be in big scanner programing trouble.

Hopefully I can muddle through programing whatever, but if I get mousetrapped, I'll definitely be seeking help from those much more knowledgeable than myself on programing the 996T.
 

garys

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 13, 2002
Messages
4,601
Location
Eastern MA
W4UVV said:
Of course, my 996T firmware was not the latest/greatest. I had to download that from the Uniden website and install it using the Uniden software/file management combination.
Firmware update? What firmware update? I know that there is a new version of UASD available, but I don't see mention of any firmware update at the Uniden site.

Then checking the 996T memory I was shocked to see Uniden had loaded every darned major cities's TRS using about 94% of the 996T's total memory! That left 6% of 996T memory for my unique entries. That was unacceptable and I fixed that situation real quick. I deleted everything in the 996T and started with an empty box. Currently I have programed about 120 conventional frequencies in 5 systems and have used 1% of 996T's memory.[\quote]

You can fix this very easily with your first upload. Select the option to erase the memory in either program before writing the new profile to the computer.

Gary
 

Butelsoftware

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 8, 2003
Messages
2,219
Location
Dayton Hamvention 2019
Please note your are running a BETA release of ARC996, we appreciate any feedback and details how to duplicate this problem so we can improve/fix this.

When profile autoload is selected and the profile itself is deleted the software does not like that but will eventually start although it looks like it crashed since this takes some time. We are aware of this and looking for a fix.

Gommert
www.butelsoftware.com
 
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