• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Got my scanner...now what?

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K4DFR

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#1
I have a Uniden BCD436HP handheld scanner, which includes support for P25 Phase II and P25 X-2 TDMA operation.

I have downloaded the Sentinel software and updated the frequency database of the scanner. My question is related to acquiring P25 Phase I and Phase II signals. I am in Shelby County (near Columbiana), and cannot seem to locate any trunked signals with the radio. I'm getting virtually every analog signal that I can get on an older model analog scanner, but not receiving anything in the digital spectrum. Am I doing something wrong here? Also, does anyone happen to know if the Shelby County Sheriff's Department frequencies are encrypted?

Thanks in advance!

David
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
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21,681
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Bowie, Md.
#3
If you're sure your programming is correct, the next thing to look at is the antenna. Your trunk system is unusual in that it's on the VHF hi band - and here, most antennas that come with handhelds (referred to as 'duckies') are no better than a wet noodle. Can you try the antenna from your old scanner? You will damage absolutely nothing doing this test.

Even a 2 meter / 440 Mhz amateur handheld antenna will perform far better than a stock duckie. Mike
 

K4DFR

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#4
I have purchased a high-gain Diamond antenna, which seems to pick up signals much better than the standard antenna that comes with the radio. However, I have also discovered, through searching the database that I downloaded from the firmware, that the Sheriff's talkgroup is not even listed in the firmware database. I'm wondering if there is a way to program this talkgroup manually into the radio. I have also updated the firmware to ensure the latest updates are in my radio's database.
 
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ofd8001

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Messages
6,101
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Louisville, KY
#5
If you have created a Favorites List, then adding a new talkgroup is pretty straight-forward. Simply use Sentinel to edit the Favorites List and go to the Department where the other sheriff talkgroups are located. Then click the green plus sign to add a new row. Enter the appropriate information. Click Save, exit Favorites List editor and then do a Write to Scanner.

If you are scanning only the full database, then you should scoll up on this page to the box that says "Submit Info" and complete the form to submit this new talkgroup to the database. Then you'll need to wait a week or two and do another Update Database. (Hopefully the change will have been made by then). It would be good to submit this even if you do the Favorites List so others interested may also monitor this talkgroup.

Also, "Updating Firmware" and "Updating Master HPDB" are two different things. The firmware is software embedded in the scanner that makes it function. The Master Database is the actual frequency data, etc., used by the scanner. Updating the firmware does not update the database.
 

K4DFR

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Alabama
#6
Well, I finally located the Sheriff's department talkgroups for Shelby County, Alabama on the Sentinel database, but for some reason, I cannot seem to get the information saved to this scanner. Beginning to think I should have bought a new one instead of a used one, but you live and learn. I've been doing well with the online user manual I've located, and I have two different USB cables for the scanner...one to fit each input on the side of the unit, but having trouble getting the scanner to recognize what I want it to do. Still trying to figure this out...sorry for the delay in my response, but I work overnight shifts, and have to do this stuff when I get home in the mornings.
 

K4DFR

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#7
SUCCESS! After experimenting with it and thoroughly reading the instruction manual (which wasn't as clear as it could have been, but still helped somewhat), I am scanning our local digital frequencies!

This just proves to me what I have seen posted repeatedly on this forum: Scanning has changed. Forget the way we used to program the old analog scanners...this is totally different, but TOTALLY WORTH IT!
 

K4DFR

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#9
Been there, done that. The system has been saved into my favorites...got the hang of that once I finally got the frequencies uploaded into my radio. Thanks for the tip, though!
 
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