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Local assistance with Uniden BCD536HP?

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Joined
Aug 12, 2015
Messages
38
Location
Florissant, Missouri
#1
Hi all,

I'd been around on a limited basis last year, since that time I've become a HAM, but my real interest has really be scanners. I moved from the N County (Florissant) area across the river to St. Charles near Creve Coeur Airport...

That said the new place is "down in a hole", so bad that I don't get any cell phone reception and had to go MicroCell to get service. I hooked my Uniden up to my Browning mobile antenna for the moment and I have managed to get some conventional hits (I'm using ProScan software with the scanner). But I've not gotten a single hit off SLATER or MOSWIN. I feel that this is probably in very large part to my complete lack of understanding of the Sentinel software and loading of the Favorites. Despite re-reading the manual on this scanner several times, I don't feel like "I'm in tune with it" :)

Anyone else around the St. Louis / St. Charles area use this or a similar Uniden scanner?

Any tips/tricks I can use to tune this thing in?
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
736
Location
Gulf Coast
#2
I'm not from that area, so I don't know if I'll be of much help or not. However, how far is the distance that you've moved from your old location? Depending on how far it was, and if you have location based scanning enabled, you would need to enter your new zip code in order to hear stuff in the new area. You might also increase the range setting if it's 0 and the move wasn't too far.

Are you scanning the full database, or are you using favorites lists?
 

kruser

Retired
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
2,897
Location
St. Louis County, MO
#3
Hi all,

I'd been around on a limited basis last year, since that time I've become a HAM, but my real interest has really be scanners. I moved from the N County (Florissant) area across the river to St. Charles near Creve Coeur Airport...

That said the new place is "down in a hole", so bad that I don't get any cell phone reception and had to go MicroCell to get service. I hooked my Uniden up to my Browning mobile antenna for the moment and I have managed to get some conventional hits (I'm using ProScan software with the scanner). But I've not gotten a single hit off SLATER or MOSWIN. I feel that this is probably in very large part to my complete lack of understanding of the Sentinel software and loading of the Favorites. Despite re-reading the manual on this scanner several times, I don't feel like "I'm in tune with it" :)

Anyone else around the St. Louis / St. Charles area use this or a similar Uniden scanner?

Any tips/tricks I can use to tune this thing in?
What is the frequency range of the Browning antenna you are using?
If it is made for amateur use, it could have traps incorporated that limit its usefulness for a scanner.
You may be better off for now using the antenna that came with the 536HP.

There is also a website called marksscanners.com that has easier to read manuals including the 4 and 536HP modes.
Either may help you understand favorite list programming better than what Uniden supplied.

The 4 and 536HP models do have a steep learning curve if you are used to older models.

I'd try scanning the full database only for now and use location control with your zip code. Set a range for something like 10 miles. That should get you Moswin's Weldon Spring site and the St. Charles Slater site (along with a bunch of other stuff you probably don't want!).
Set all the Service Types ON for now and if there is an option to Scan or Search for talkgroups, set that to Search.
Slater is mostly encrypted for the STL County North site for all LAW type traffic but most of the stuff on the St Charles Slater site is in the clear as is most of Moswin.
I'm familiar with your area and it is low but fairly open so you should get something.
Once you get reception using the full database and you zip code for the location, then start messing with favorites. Favorites can be tricky on these models as there can be three levels of different types of quick keys.
Once you get a favorite list or two working, they will get easier to create and setup and then you can turn off the full database and scan only your favorites.
In Sentinel, you also need to make sure your favorites are enabled.
Pretty much everything can also be done via the radios keypad.
Like you said, it is likely a quick key not enabled or something simple.
You should be in range of at least one of the Slater sites even being in a hole. That may be to your advantage as it should eliminate simulcast issues. I think the St Charles Slater system has 5 tower sites.

Somewhere in one of the Uniden forums, UPMan posted a thread that explains how to setup and use favorites and the quick keys but I don't recall which forum or the thread title.
I have about 80 favorites for our area and I never use the full database any longer.
I could export a favorite list using Sentinel which Sentinel will import but it does not export the various quick keys. Those would still need to be setup by you and my guess is it is the quick keys that are causing you problems!

At least you know the radio works from your mention of hearing some local stuff.

Can you hear the local NOAA transmitter on 162.550? If not, that may tell you if your antenna is trapping frequencies outside whatever band it is made for.

Sentinel actually works very well for setting up favorite lists and assigning the various quick keys needed.
I think getting the hang of assigning and using quick keys is the biggest hurdle people have getting these models working like they want.
Once you get a favorite list or two working, it does get easier!

If your antenna handles 900 MHz signals well, you should be able to get the Hollywood Casino system well. It's an analog trunked system.
I'm basically south of you but on top of the hill near Woodsmill & Olive and get good reception of most signals in our area. It took me a while to master the quick key thing though after 40+ years of using conventional scanners.
I'm not sure if the marksscanners site will help but it's worth looking at if you have not checked it yet. It explains a lot of the features in a layman's term which many find easier to understand.

The online manual for yours is at: Easier to Read BCD436/536HP Digital Scanner Manual

At the top of that page is also a link to an easier to read version for using Sentinel.
Both are worth a read and many find them very helpful.

Good Luck!
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2015
Messages
38
Location
Florissant, Missouri
#4
Thank you both and also a special thank you for such a detailed reply!!

After leaving it run all night ignored that I am in fact getting the 800mhz trunked systems, but what I didn't realize (I've sorta been in a hole for the last 6 months) is that nearly all police are now encrypted.

So I'm getting fire / ems / bus / etc

I'm sort of amazed that I'm getting anything at all being down in this hole
 
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