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FreeSCAN BCD996XT Setup Check

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#1
Hello all,

I am completely new to Trunked Scanning and the BCD996XT. My sig line shows what I was used to before :p

Anyway, I have no idea if I am doing this right or wrong so I am going to abuse of your generosity and kindness to help me with setting up my extensive collection of CONVENTIONAL databases into the new format and help in telling me if my Trunked programming is up to snuff or not.

Also, if anyone is kid enough to share their FreeSCAN files with me, it will make my life easier (and I will share what I have with others as well :) )Thanks in advance

First up, Prince George County MD and Joint Base Andrews. Preparing for Airshow next year. Did I set up the Trunk System correctly? I basically did a blind copy import with EZ Grab.

Thanks again.
 

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ka3jjz

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#2
I can't install FS on my work machine, but here are a couple of things you might not know;

a. The PG system is copyable only on a GRE PSR-800 - unless someone affiliates with the system using a normal Phase I radio. What this means is typically fire dispatch, and very occasionally, a response unit will be about all you will hear using any other scanner (including a 996XT)

b. If memory serves, there was an article in the Bowie Gazette that mentioned that due to budget issues, the next JSOH won't be until 2014

c. I can't look at your file right now, but we have a fairly complete history of freqs used at previous JSOH shows in our wiki - and you'll have to wait to see whether the TBirds or Blue Angels will be flying in 2014...

Joint Services Open House - The RadioReference Wiki

HTH Mike
 
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#3
Thanks Mike,

Yeah I read a bit more about the Prince George using TDMA X2 or something and only a PSR800 being able to decode it. No worries.

I am also aware of the 2013/2014 airshow issue as I am somewhat closely involved in photography at airshows and cover quite a few shows so i try and stay up to day, but thanks. I hope they don't end up like McGuire every 4 years :-( JSOH is probably one of the only shows where you get all services participate. Then again, I can't wait for them to finish RWY construction and get the flight line back closer to the crowd!

So if you can take a look at the JSOH Trunked setup on the file, let me know if I did it right. I can't figure out the difference between the text written on the RR DB and the drop down menu descriptions on FreeSCAN for the 396XT and how to properly match them up.

Finally, yeah, I stole all the info off the web page you referenced already, at least I know the Conventional stuff will work :p I have a ton of data on the other performers so I will start with those I have already for T-Birds for Jones Beach and Rhode Island shows. Should be a good start.

Thanks for your help.
 

ka3jjz

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#4
OK - I'm unsure if that system/site type is right for the Joint base - I think it is, but I'm not sure.

Also note that you don't need to load every frequency for these trunks. For a P25 system, control channel only trunking is the default, and you can turn that on for the PG county site as well. What this means is that the scanner will calculate the next voice channel in the conversation. You don't need to waste memory space loading frequencies. Only the red and blue ones are necessary.

The one thing I see here that's a big issue is the lack of quick keys. You need a Site Quick Key (SiQK) for each site, and a Group Quick Key(GQK) for each group that contains talkgroups.

Let's start at the group level - that's the lowest logical level in DMA programming. Let's assume that you use the pulldown on the group form, next to the group name and select GQK 0. Go to the Trunked System Setup form and look slightly right of center at the top. Make sure that at least GQK0 has a check mark in the box. FreeScan defaults all GQKs to on (they all have checkmarks). I'm not a particular fan of that, simply because it wastes resources on GQKs you aren't using. But to each their own.

Now for the site, let's also assume you use the pulldown next to the site name, and select SiQK 0. Go to TOOLS/SYSTEM QUICK KEY MANAGER, and hit the 'AUTO SELECT' button at the bottom of the form. Make sure SiQK 0 has a check mark in it. When you float your mouse near that box, when it's properly allocated, the name of the system/site will show up in the white area at the right. By the way, that method also works with conventional systems.

Do that for all sites and groups. When you are done with all the sites, go back to the System Quick Key Manager, and don't forget to hit the 'AUTO SELECT' before you do anything else. This insures the manager is pulling the most current information from memory. You can check how you've allocated the sites by pointing to the box as I mentioned before.

Finally you really don't need all those sites for PG county. Just the North site will generally do.

HTH...Mike
 
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#5
Mike, excellent post, thank you. I know about the QKs believe me :) This file is a scratch file I will pull together with other main file to build a final production file (my terms) I try to keep my scratch files in separate folders and clean of any QKs so that I have force myself to select new ones when I make the final file.
I also know how to select the default on/off thingy as you described.. very cool feature.

But what is worrying me is the whole trunking thing. So you say I only need the control channel freuencies. OK, so the scanner will synthesize the actual transmit frequency as it receives it in the data stream? Interesting. So why do the various guides tell me to select them all and EZGrab them into FreeSCAN ?? OK so be it, I'll try it. Not that I am dying for memory space LOL. I have small setups (so far)

Now, the North and South sites, I guess they simulcast so I only need one? Or is it that only one will be relevant (closest to the airfield?) good point :)

Finally, what about the question you raised about which System Type/Site subtype? I am very confused about that selection. RR db says one thing and the radio has a different nomenclature!

And what is ID search vs. ID Scan? Well, that seems to be only for some systems...

Thanks again for the help
 

ka3jjz

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#6
Yes, the system/site type stuff is very confusing. I'd ask over in our Maryland forum - make sure you say that you have a 996XT, and are using FreeScan (re the Joint Base system). I'm quite sure someone will point you in the right direction, as we have a fair number of scannists here in PG county. I have a 396T myself, but the system/site type definitions were changed with the XT scanners (thanks a bunch, Paul...)

I have no idea what 'guides that tell you to use EZ-Scan' you are talking about - nonetheless, the use of control channel only trunking works just fine. If memory serves, there's an option in FreeScan to only grab the control channels when doing the import. Yes, the scanner will use data from the control channel to calculate the next voice frequency - you need not worry about that at all.

The only time you need to have all the freqs is if you don't seem to have an indication of the primary and alternate control channels in the database. Briefly put, many systems rotate these channels in part to relieve stress on the transmitter. Remember that the control channel broadcasts all the time - that's a heavy load on any transmitter, over time. In these situations, if you don't have all the freqs, it's possible that it will change to one that you don't have - and will lose trunking. It will appear that the system is dead, but it's just missing a CC

Remember too that PG county really isn't receivable (at least most of the time) on any Uniden scanner. So the distinction of north vs. south is simply where the CC is stronger (I live not far from the Joint Base). My family is in northern NJ, and I spend the better part of a hour - each way - getting to/from work.

Re the ID Search/Scan - ID Search will not scan any talkgroups you've allocated and show you everything. ID Scan says scan ONLY those talkgroups I've defined.

Now there are other kinds of quick keys - number keys, startup keys, etc. Hopefully you've found your way to the Easier to Read manual, and have also checked out the descriptions on the Uniden website (which are linked in the FreeScan user guide, also hosted in our wiki). I've only given you the basics - the rest, as they say, is up to you.

You didn't think I was going to give you ALL the answers, did you? :.>>

HTH...Mike
 
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#7
:) :) Much obliged... yes, I have been pouring over the docs (or lack thereof) and have been reading the Easier manual (f that's easier, the original must be ridiculously hard) But it's beginning to make sense now.

I will take you up on the offer of the Maryland sub forum and ask further details in there. But given what you said about the TDMA stuff being GRE only at this time, I may not bother much...

Thanks again.
 

ka3jjz

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#8
I probably didn't say this clearly, but what I was trying to say is that someone in the Maryland forum could probably point out the right system/site type for your Joint Base settings, not the PG stuff...when your day starts at 5am, at night the brain starts fogging up a bit.

HTH...Mike
 
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