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My 396XT finally arrived! A few questions

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Alex1041

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What an exciting day!

Programming went rather easy. Right out of the box I performed a master clear without loading the presets and ensured the firmware was up to date. I had it programmed rather quickly, within 20 minutes after I worked a few bugs out with the USB connection.

ARC-XT Pro was a real pain programming, especially since everything is stored in separate files. I can thankfully store all my frequencies in a single file with FreeScan. I obviously ended up using FreeScan to program my unit.

The area that I live in is all trunked and/or Project 25'd. Reception is excellent. On the downside, CSX and Amtrak reception is absolutely horrible. Would an upgraded antenna such as this : Austin Condor All-Band Portable BNC Antenna perform better?

Also, how do I use the quick keys. I have them assigned through FreeScan but nothing happens on the scanner. I'm assuming that the quick keys will allow me to scan "railroad" only if I have assigned to #1 and "Police" only if I have it assigned to #2?


More questions to come...........

Edit:
Figured out the quick key ...:slaps forehead:

Regarding ARC-XT Pro. In Florida it wont download the Railroad statewide frequencies,I have to enter them manually....what am I missing?
 
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nitroboie

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Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
281
Location
Charlotte, NC
Have no idea about the antenna, but check out the easier to read manual if you haven't already:
Easier to Read BCD396XT Digital Scanner Manual

Function keys are easy, you just need to know/remember if what you want to turn on/off is either a group or a system/site.

To toggle System/Site/Search quick keys on or off for a single digit system/site/search, press the number key assigned to the system/site/search.
To turn a double-digit system/site/search on or off, Press (.)no first then enter the 2 digits.

To toggle a Group quick key on or off while scanning the system, quickly press Func then press the number key assigned to the group.
It'll get easier with time, enjoy the scanner!
 

hiegtx

Mentor
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Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
6,116
Location
Dallas, TX
What an exciting day!

Programming went rather easy. Right out of the box I performed a master clear without loading the presets and ensured the firmware was up to date. I had it programmed rather quickly, within 20 minutes after I worked a few bugs out with the USB connection.

ARC-XT Pro was a real pain programming, especially since everything is stored in separate files. I can thankfully store all my frequencies in a single file with FreeScan. I obviously ended up using FreeScan to program my unit.

The area that I live in is all trunked and/or Project 25'd. Reception is excellent. On the downside, CSX and Amtrak reception is absolutely horrible. Would an upgraded antenna such as this : Austin Condor All-Band Portable BNC Antenna perform better?
Alex,
If the the majority of your listening is 800Mhz trunked systems, then the Radio Shack 800Mhz antenna, 20-283, is probably your best bet. Does an excellent job on the trunked systems, good on Uhf (450->512Mhz), though it's not as good on Vhf-high, which is where rail activity is. However, I use this antenna on one of my 396XT's, and I can get quite a bit of rail traffic on it.

I also have one of the Condor antennas. Frankly, I haven't used it in several years. For my other XT, I use one of the Diamond antennas, such as this one. While not as strong on the 800Mhz as the R/S 800, it works well on the stronger systems here in the metro, including some on the far side of the county from me. Much better on Uhf & especially Vhf-high. This is also the antenna used on all scanners when I'm out of the immediate urban area, as most of the outlying counties, as well as Texas DPS, are still on Vhf. I recently purchased this telescoping antenna to use on my Home Patrol. I haven't had it long enough to give it a full workout, but so far, so good, The theory is you can adjust the length to maximize performance for the frequency range you want (a chart is printed on the antenna, which is slim, so it won't make the scanner overly top heavy. (The Condor, besides being long, is also thick & heavy, so it makes the scanner tend to fall over if you set it down.)

Regarding ARC-XT Pro. In Florida it wont download the Railroad statewide frequencies,I have to enter them manually....what am I missing?
Don't know about ARC-XT Pro (don't use that). But import should be similar to FreeScan, which I just verified works fine.
In FreeScan, select:
File->Import->RadioReference Conventional
Then log in
Select United States, then Florida
Now, don't select a county. Leave that "blank".
Under the Provincial/State Agencies dropdown, you'll see "Railroads" listed.
Select that.
Then, you can import all the listed rail frequencies from the database. FreeScan will create a group for each rail line.
 

hertzian

Member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
2,604
Quick tip:

When programming the System Quick Keys, I make sure that the alpha tag for the system is programmed with it. If you are using SQK's of 1-9, I put a zero in front to make them show up at the top of the list, ie:

01 Fire (assigned to SQK 1)
02 Police (assigned to SQK 2)
.
.
.
14 Airband VHF

To toggle SQK's above 9, you just tap on the decimal key first to toggle it, ie to toggle my airband system 14 on and off:

Tap:
.14 (dot 14)
 

Viper43

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Joined
Jul 23, 2005
Messages
3,301
The 800Mhz RS antenna works great. I also use the mobile all band on the trucks and also a couple of others like a VHF center tuned between 150 and 173 that works well for that coverage and an 800Mhz mobile. In the past and on one Jeep I still have a connector to stick a RS 800Mhz antenna on it. The VHF was custom made.
 

LiberaFan08

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
56
I use the Icom FA-S270C rubber duckie. This is the same antenna that is supplied with their current production amateur dual-band radios. It is a good performer on VHF/UHF and a moderate performer on 800. Just about anything is better than the stock antenna. I believe you can purchase this antenna directly from Icom.
 
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