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Help - New member in CA

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#1
Hello All,

I am a new member (currently I"m in Arroyo Grande, Ca in San Luis Obisbo County) and new to the scanner world. I have to say I'm having second thoughts about my purchasing of a scanner (Uniden BCD396T) and getting into this hobby. I'm orgianlly from Alaska and used to listen to my grandpa's ham raido and scanners as a kid and loved it! I guess I didn't realize what I was getting into?

I'm very frustrated so far, it took me over two hours just to figure out the registration process w/Uniden. The learning curve has been very steep so far and I'm thinking about returning my scanner!?

I travel alot for work (400-700 miles a week in my car) and wanted to listen to differnt groups broadcast while on the road. But so far I'm amazed at how hard this process has been. Maybe I just need some guidence?

I'm interested in listening to California Highway Patroll (air & ground) as well as various police and sherrifs dept's, EMT and anyone else broadcasting here in CA.

Does anyone have time to help me learn how to get started and get my scanner correctly programed? The more I read on these fourms, the more questions it raises?! I guess I just need to hear from someone that is going to get easier (even a little bit) as I get into this hobby!

Thanks in advance, I'm not looking for anyone to do the work for me, just work with me along the way!

xalaskan
 

DPD1

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Messages
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#2
I wouldn't take it back. CHP is easy enough. Probably one of the most easy things to monitor, at least as far as the base station side goes. That info is on this site. I don't know how much actual distance you cover... If you are passing through numerous different towns on extended trips from home, then yes, that will be pretty complicated. Each town has their own system, so you'll have to get the freqs for those systems. If they're trunked, you'll have to get that info as well. But it's a heck of a lot easier to get that stuff now than it was 10-15 years ago. Things in Alaska are probably a little more simple, but there are thousands of different radios systems working in a state like CA. Saying you want to hear "anything else in CA" might be a little too ambitious. Start with CHP and maybe your county and go from there. It's all in how you look at it really. Look at it as a puzzle to learn, not a problem to deal with.

Dave
www.DPDProductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist
 
Joined
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Messages
132
Location
CA
#3
Purchase the subscription for RR. I use FreeScan with my 246T and it works really nice.
 
Joined
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Messages
22
Location
Northern California
#4
Dave,

Thanks for the insight, I will start with CHP and work up from their. Are you based here in CA? I'm thinking about getting a CB raido as well for casual use, any suggestions on brands, makes, models? I'm looking for something very low profile(small), I want to spend under $250.00. Looking to mount it in my SUV.

Thanks,

Todd
 
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Messages
22
Location
Northern California
#6
Dave,

How do I go about uploading the CHP info (you mentioned that it was here on the site)? I do travel all over the state, next week Los Angles, San Diego and Palm Springs. How do I gather freq's for those systems?

Thanks,

Todd
 

DPD1

Member
Joined
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Messages
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#7
Can't really help you with comp interface issues, because I'm old school... I still put most stuff in manually. This page has the CA info.

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?stid=6

On the side there you'll see CHP. Read the top and it explains well how the system works. I would just go down the list and put in the freqs for any area you think you'll pass through. Or maybe divide it up into banks, one bank per area. That way you can just change banks as you go from area to area. For freqs that are used state wide, you could just duplicate those in each bank. I don't know if your radio does dynamic allocation, but if you can control how many banks you have, you could even have one bank per set of each area freqs. That way you have the input freq (mobiles) and output freq (DS) constantly scanning and you would hear both if the cars are close enough. You could put a tag on each bank so you know what it is.

Dave
www.DPDProductions.com
Antennas & Accessories for the RF Professional & Radio Hobbyist
 

trooperdude

Member
Database Admin
Joined
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Messages
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Location
SFO Bay Area
#8
xalaskan said:
Dave,

How do I go about uploading the CHP info (you mentioned that it was here on the site)? I do travel all over the state, next week Los Angles, San Diego and Palm Springs. How do I gather freq's for those systems?

Thanks,

Todd
CB is pretty useless in CA unless you speak Spanish :D

With a radio like a 396T you definitely need software and a cable to program it.

Try to find somebody local to you and see if you can clone their radio as a start.
 

gmclam

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
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Messages
5,284
Location
Fair Oaks, CA
#9
California scanning

xalaskan said:
I am a new member (currently I"m in Arroyo Grande, Ca in San Luis Obisbo County) and new to the scanner world. I have to say I'm having second thoughts about my purchasing of a scanner (Uniden BCD396T) and getting into this hobby. I'm orgianlly from Alaska and used to listen to my grandpa's ham raido and scanners as a kid and loved it! I guess I didn't realize what I was getting into?
Welcome to RR. Scanning is a hobby that you'll ALWAYS have more to do on. Things are always changing, and it seems like there is an endless amount to stuff to learn/know.

I'm very frustrated so far, it took me over two hours just to figure out the registration process w/Uniden. The learning curve has been very steep so far and I'm thinking about returning my scanner!?
If you become an average user of a scanner that difficult in 2 weeks, you'll be ahead of the curve. Radio systems out there have become very complex, and the devices we use to monitor them have to be just as complex. But because there are several different types of systems, scanners are as complex as all of those systems put together. We can help you to a point of being able to hear stuff quickly, but as I already wrote, expect this to be a "full time hobby". :)

I'm interested in listening to California Highway Patroll (air & ground) as well as various police and sherrifs dept's, EMT and anyone else broadcasting here in CA.
CHP is a unique agency to listen to. In addition, what you hear in different parts of the state is not the same. Discussing this one agency could fill a book. There are lots of threads here already on the topic.

Someone wrote that they considered CHP "Probably one of the most easy things to monitor"; I disagree, especially from a mobile standpoint. The only thing "easy" is that they "re-use" channels around the state. Each channel is identified by a "color". Each region's color has 2 frequencies; one for the dispatcher and one for the cars. In some areas of the state you'll hear both sides of a conversation on the dispatcher frequency. In other areas of the state you only hear one side of the conversation on each frequency.

Also, I strongly suggest using CT/PL tones when monitoring CHP because they are on low band VHF. And each region of the state uses different tones. So, for example, there in SLO county you'll find CHP on the "white" channel with CT/PL values of 167.9. But as you drive down to Los Angeles, they too use the "white" channel, but with CT/PL values of 192.8. This scenario repeats for most frequency pairs.

Thanks in advance, I'm not looking for anyone to do the work for me, just work with me along the way!
Listening to police, fire & sheriff is also interesting. Some areas use "conventional" frequencies, while others use trunked radio systems, and a few are digital. I too travel around the state but I don't try to listen to every agency in every county. I've got specific places that interest me. Good luck.
 

SCPD

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
#10
xalaskan said:
Hello All,

I am a new member (currently I"m in Arroyo Grande, Ca in San Luis Obisbo County) and new to the scanner world. I have to say I'm having second thoughts about my purchasing of a scanner (Uniden BCD396T)
Thanks in advance, I'm not looking for anyone to do the work for me, just work with me along the way!

xalaskan
What are you affraid of ??????????????????????
this is one of the most easiest Scanner to operate.
Hit a button on the side and scroll through the menu choices.
use the uniden software to copy and paste.or go out of a limp and try bctool. frescan. just go to the wikki page and see what software will work.
What is you can't figure out ?
are you afraid you erase something? and break it ? (at this point is useless to you is it ? so what are you afraid you will break before returning it ?)
Sorry if I sound somewhat frustrated !
I own three Radio shack Scanners and for the live of me can't figure/remember how to program them without the software.
On the 396 I hit the side button and will be guided through it

Also go to the forum and county,you find all the info you need for the areas you travell through.
 
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Messages
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CA
#12
xalaskan said:
Gbcue,

Thanks for the input, what does a subscription to RR get me? What is FreeScan??

Thanks,

Todd
The subscription to RR enables you to program your scanner very quickly. Instead of inputting in all your frequencies directly in your scanner, you can transfer thousands of things to listen to directly from the internet.

FreeScan is free software that you use to program the scanner. It hooks up with the RR database and downloads information for you.
 
Joined
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Messages
512
#13
The San Louis Obispo sheriff and police depts. are using several UHF repeaters on 460.0 mhz. band.

It's easy to program the entire CHP chart into the newer scanners. All of the channel pairs fit into one 100 channel bank of my Pro 97, with a few spaces to spare, even with a few duplicates. Add those UHF links listed in the RR data base while your at it. No more worring about hearing the CHP as you move around the state.

These high powered repeaters are heard all over the central coast. Search the bands and see what else you might pick up out of Fresno. The sheriff's office uses some long range high powered links in the 160 mhz range.

159.090 - Monterey SO 1
158.910 - 2
158.805 - King City PD
154.370 - county fire
154.175 - county fire
151.250 - CAL-FIRE - King City / Hollister
151.325 - CAL-FIRE - San Louis Obispo
170.050 - Pinnacles Monument (Hollister)
158.755 - San Benito Sheriff (Hollister)
 
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Messages
1,841
Location
Burbank, CA
#14
I think he could just do a SERVICE SEARCH in A.G. to get started.....they dont have too many fancy systems up there (except for Santa Maria being encrypted)
 

Kirk

DB Admin
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Messages
778
#15
The RadioReference database for San Luis Obispo is *very* complete. All local police, fire, EMS and public works frequencies are well documented.
 

gmclam

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
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Messages
5,284
Location
Fair Oaks, CA
#16
Programming CHP statewide

It's easy to program the entire CHP chart into the newer scanners. All of the channel pairs fit into one 100 channel bank of my Pro 97, with a few spaces to spare, even with a few duplicates.
Well, if you don't use program CT values you can program in all the CHP frequencies into a 100 channel bank. But that really does not work.

I brought this issue up over a year ago asking how people program CHP into their scanners. All the replies were from people using Unidens or who only programmed "local" CHP channels into GRE scanners. I have programmed in every area of the state, and I find myself having to change CT values on the fly while traveling from one area of the state to another (something I do frequently).

One issue is the "re-use" of certain frequencies. For example 42.440 can be RED in some areas or PINK in others (it depends on the CT value). Then you have different combinations of base/mobile frequencies, such as 42.500 (Brown base) & 42.820 (Brown mobile); and 42.500 (Ruby base) & 42.280 (Ruby mobile).

When I programmed in all the frequencies in any of my PRO-95s, there was no problem getting them all into a 100 channel bank. But the text tags are quite cryptic trying to describe all the possible names for a frequency. When programming them into a PRO-97 (or PRO-92) the addition of CT values makes it possible for the scanner to display a proper text tag, but takes up a lot more channel slots. Then you have channels like BLACK, WHITE, BLUE, BROWN & GREEN which are used all over the state, each with the area's CT value.
 
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Messages
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#17
It's easy to program the entire CHP chart into the newer scanners. All of the channel pairs fit into one 100 channel bank of my Pro 97, with a few spaces to spare, even with a few duplicates. Add those UHF links listed in the RR data base while your at it. No more worring about hearing the CHP as you move around the state.
The CHP uses microwave to link almost all of their electronic sites to their offices and dispatch centers. A small number of sites are not on the state's microwave backbone and are linked using 72 MHz frequencies. The UHF system was inherited from the California State Police, which the CHP absorbed a number of years ago. The CHP uses the system when conducting the functions the State Police used to conduct, which is the protection of state properties and buildings, and I believe high ranking state officials who need protection.

I seem to remember that ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) uses the UHF system also. There might be some RR members who know more about this UHF system than I do as I've never heard anything on it in my area because there aren't any large state property facilities here and thus only a couple of simplex licenses on the UHF frequencies and even those are out of range for me.
 
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