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Need assistance with BCT15X & Freescan

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jjl0412

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Greetings, I am a novice to scanners. I live in Daleville, AL. I was gifted the BCT15X & Centerfire Delux Discone antenna for Christmas, I have a few questions I can not find clear solutions anywhere to help. I have reviewed the You Tube Freescan, I have read the 'Easier to read 15x manual', I have reviewed the Freescan wiki. I need some clarifications, please.

Setup:

1- *'State (BCT15/15X only) - Selects the state-by-state programming in these 2 radios. If it isn't desired, be sure to select OFF. FreeScan will use this to disable the BearTracker function'.

Ok, I want to KEEP Bear Tracker function ON. Do I choose Alabama for state or leave it OFF? I know, I know... it's suppose to be simple, but it's not to me.

I left all other options default except the choices for anything to do with Digital, which I unchecked.

Any advice on HOLD, DELAY, THRESH HOLD, ETC for my system. Seems EVERYTHING I read gives you an ON/OFF choice with no real explanation as to why one is used verses the other. For a novice, it is frustrating. I have read what the sw and scanner wiki's have to say. They all assume you already know what they are talking about and referring to. For a lot of the items, it is not.

2-. **If I choose ‘Erase all Systems and Settings’ on the upload menu, will it affect the factory preprogrammed 'State' files? Or will they remain safe?

3- ***Can/should I load the Trunking program I set up AND the Conventional program? I gave them all different Quick Keys.

Thanks to anyone taking time to assist. I am a retired computer tech & DAV retired Army NCO, I can follow instructions and concepts fairly well. I find this experience a bit frustrating. (1 Example of many, Delays. I’ve read what it is and does, but nothing suggesting why or what I should choose. So I have no idea if 2 seconds is good or not. (?) )

Again, thanks for any assistance offered, short of rebox & return. NOT gonna happin'. I assure you it will be very much appreciated. Jerry
 

ka3jjz

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To your questions;

1. I would leave it off. Since the 15X came out, undoubtedly there are changes in Alabama that the scanner does not have. These pre-programmed systems can be used to demonstrate certain functions in the scanner, but little else. Before they do anything, most folks dump the complete contents of the scanner, and make sure they do an ERASE ALL before they send new programming for the first time. This clears your active memory completely (an almost blank slate if you will - see the answer to 2, however)

I would use the web service and load up what you want from our database. It's much more likely you'll get correct information that way. Alternately go to the Alabama forum and ask for a FreeScan file for a 15X.

There's an accurate description of the difference between hold and delay in the Easier to Read manual (search for SET HOLD TIME and SET DELAY TIME). Most people don't want to slow the scanner down when going to the next system looking for activity, particularly if your area is very busy. They set HOLD to zero to keep the scanner looking for activity in the next system as fast as possible. DELAY works on the amount of time each channel waits to be released after the activity stops. Unfortunately it's something of a global setting - you can't set that up on a per channel basis. It applies to each channel in the system

2. Yes they will. They're actually in a protected memory area, so they won't get erased.

3. I'm not sure what you're asking here. You can assign the same QK for a conventional and trunked system - we refer to that as a 'superkey'. However that comes with a caution - if you disable that superkey everything under it will also be disabled. It greatly depends on what you are trying to do

OK so far? Mike
 

ka3jjz

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Re the AGC - I'm surprised that the 15X Easier to Read manual doesn't have it, but fortunately it's well described in the BCT15 Easier to Read manaul here...

Easier to Read BCT-15 Scanner Manual

You can safely ignore anything that has to do with P25 or digital in FreeScan - the 15 (and 15X) can't handle P25 digital, so it doesn't apply. Just make sure that you enable the Analog AGC in the FreeScan Setup Scanner Options / Advanced form. It's right below the numeric pulldowns for each of the settings

Mike
 

jjl0412

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Thanks for the reply!

Ok, So on the Freescan, I log into the RR Import. Are you saying I should use the web base instead?

RE question 1. I logged into RR Trunk and set up several trunking units and assigned QK's, (10 total). In the Set up, I will put 0 for HOLD and reduce the DELAY to what, 1 second? THRESHHOLD is 8 by default. The wider narrower adjust is not clear to me. All other settings are default except the Digital option I unchecked. Then it has 'STATE' which I had saved as Alabama, BUT I SHOULD go back and default back to OFF? That way Freescan will not shut off the Bear Tracker/alert function, right?

I also imported RR Conventional, and loaded several counties and towns, and military agencies. I gave then QK's (11 to 26). Saved them. So my 3rd question was, I can load the file I saved for Trunking to the scanner, then load the file I saved as Conventional?

Prior to the above:

I set up the scanner yesterday. I turned on, started the default Alabama PO/DT/HP/BT and listened to it while I set up the RR Conventional program on Freescan. Then I uploaded it to the scanner and it has been working. And BTW: The only time I saw the BT alert was on HP. SO I don't know if that is the preprogrammed Alabama I selected on the scanner, or the programmed file I uploaded(it had 4 QK's). I say this because I had changed STATE from OFF to Alabama in the Freescan Setup yesterday.

But then I redid a more detailed Conventional file and created a Trunking program file. (1 file is Conventional, 1 file is Trunking). I have them saved for upload when I am ready. So Now I need to remove the file I uploaded yesterday, and load the 2 new files I have saved. That's why I asked if I should choose to 'Erase all systems and settings' in the Upload settings, or add to existing? I was going to load the Conventional 1st after selecting Erase all systems, then once I checked all was ok, I was going to choose 'Add Only, Do Not Override' to add the trunking file. OR am I misunderstanding something when it comes to Trunk and Conventional?
 

ka3jjz

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Ok, So on the Freescan, I log into the RR Import. Are you saying I should use the web base instead?
Yes you should use the RR import, which will allow you to get more up to date information from the database, which is found on this website. This will undoubtedly save you a bunch of error-prone typing. It's fully documented in the FreeScan User Guide, which you can get to from Help / Online Help in the FreeScan tool bar or from here...

FreeScan User Guide - The RadioReference Wiki

RE question 1. I logged into RR Trunk and set up several trunking units and assigned QK's, (10 total). In the Set up, I will put 0 for HOLD and reduce the DELAY to what, 1 second? THRESHHOLD is 8 by default. The wider narrower adjust is not clear to me. All other settings are default except the Digital option I unchecked. Then it has 'STATE' which I had saved as Alabama, BUT I SHOULD go back and default back to OFF? That way Freescan will not shut off the Bear Tracker/alert function, right?
I don't know what you mean by 'wider narrower' adjust. The THRESHOLD setting is for digital systems (and the 15X can't handle that) so you can leave it as is and it won't hurt a thing. Setting DELAY to 1 second will cause each channel in that system to remain on that channel for a second before moving on. If your area isn't that busy, then this is probably an acceptable setting. Many set both HOLD and DELAY to zero to insure that the scanner scans as fast as possible.

If you turn the STATE function to OFF, FreeScan will disable the BearTracker function. Keeping it on will be confusing, since it will cause the scanner to scan whatever you program, THEN go to Alabama. - and you really don't want any of that pre loaded stuff anyway - it's out of date material. Utterly worthless to use it.

I also imported RR Conventional, and loaded several counties and towns, and military agencies. I gave then QK's (11 to 26). Saved them. So my 3rd question was, I can load the file I saved for Trunking to the scanner, then load the file I saved as Conventional?
You can do that- make sure to use the FILE / IMPORT / FROM FREESCAN function to bring the file into your configuration

Prior to the above:
I set up the scanner yesterday. I turned on, started the default Alabama PO/DT/HP/BT and listened to it while I set up the RR Conventional program on Freescan. Then I uploaded it to the scanner and it has been working. And BTW: The only time I saw the BT alert was on HP. SO I don't know if that is the preprogrammed Alabama I selected on the scanner, or the programmed file I uploaded(it had 4 QK's). I say this because I had changed STATE from OFF to Alabama in the Freescan Setup yesterday.

But then I redid a more detailed Conventional file and created a Trunking program file. (1 file is Conventional, 1 file is Trunking). I have them saved for upload when I am ready. So Now I need to remove the file I uploaded yesterday, and load the 2 new files I have saved. That's why I asked if I should choose to 'Erase all systems and settings' in the Upload settings, or add to existing? I was going to load the Conventional 1st after selecting Erase all systems, then once I checked all was ok, I was going to choose 'Add Only, Do Not Override' to add the trunking file. OR am I misunderstanding something when it comes to Trunk and Conventional?
Yeah it's likely that the HP was being scanned because you left Alabama turned on. I don't have a 15X so I can't duplicate the action. There's a good section on the BearTracker functions in the Easier to Read manual - I would highly recommend reading that. Even there, the author (correctly) recommends disabling the function entirely. See the USING BEARTRACKER SCANNING section

You can use ADD ONLY when you upload to add additional systems to the existing configuration. The type of system(s) - conventional or trunking - have absolutely no bearing here. You can do this one file at a time or....

Another way to do this would be to get your first file settled in, then import the 2nd FreeScan file (no matter how many files you actually have constructed). Then upload the whole thing as one file. I would probably want to start from a clean slate, so I'd use the ERASE function. Be sure to validate your quick key assignments before you do this. It's easy to get them mixed up.

Put more simply;

a. Edit your first file and get it settled down to the way you want it, then save;
b. Import your second file using FILE / IMPORT / FROM FREESCAN
c. Edit that until you're satisfied then save;
d. Repeat steps c and d until complete
e. In the upload form, make sure ALL the systems are checked, and use the ERASE function

Mike
 

jjl0412

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Thank You Sir!

Mike, I salute your kind patience and taking time to sit eye to eye with me. I can not show the appreciation I have or the gratitude you deserve. A simple Thank You, Sir, will have to suffice.

I think one thing confounding me is all of the reading and options to set up in the scanner and software can be overwhelming at first. I found myself going back and re-reading the same info over again trying to resolve a questions or concern with no real insight to a solution. One does not learn programming, or networking server integrations in one sitting, no matter how hard you try.

Thanks to you, I feel confident now to make the necessary tweaks, access the scanner, and attempt setup like I think I want it. I trust I can ask for assistance again when I have exhausted the effort myself?

I still need to do like you suggested and go research the Alabama treads for more local info. That I will do as soon as I finish this note.

I do have one 'concern'. At present I have the Centerfire Delux Dicone on a pvc pipe in the room with the radio. It is connected via a 6' cable. ( I intend to mount it outside later). I am receiving transmissions, but I notice a certain amount of 'undulation'. Like the transmission is riding a wave. Sometimes it is more pronounced than others. Any thoughts on the cause? I know this is not software related, but I hope you do not mind me asking you. If not, can you steer me in the right thread to research?

Thanks Mike, for your time and your help. Jerry
 

ka3jjz

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<snip>
Thanks to you, I feel confident now to make the necessary tweaks, access the scanner, and attempt setup like I think I want it. I trust I can ask for assistance again when I have exhausted the effort myself? </snip>
It will be much easier to diagnose issues if you send me a file - just compress your .996 file using one of the popular file utilities such as WinZip or 7-Zip (which is freeware) and fire it off to me at ka3jjz (at) comcast (dot) net (written that way to defeat those nasty bots that collect email addresses)

One thing to keep in mind is that if you find you messed up a system and want to redo it, when you use the upload form, check off only that system, and that's the only one that gets modified (use the REPLACE option). NEVER rename a system unless you want to add it first. FS is finicky about this. For example, a system called HARFORD is NOT the same as system called harford. Caps and spelling count! This is an area where a lot of newcomers get nailed.

Many GRE/RS radios don't have this capability (they send the entire configuration, even if you made a change in one bank), so if the one you have has this restriction, you have greater flexibility with Unidens in this regard

I do have one 'concern'. At present I have the Centerfire Delux Dicone on a pvc pipe in the room with the radio. It is connected via a 6' cable. ( I intend to mount it outside later). I am receiving transmissions, but I notice a certain amount of 'undulation'. Like the transmission is riding a wave. Sometimes it is more pronounced than others. Any thoughts on the cause? I know this is not software related, but I hope you do not mind me asking you. If not, can you steer me in the right thread to research?

Thanks Mike, for your time and your help. Jerry
'Undulation'? Not sure about that, although if you are hearing mobiles, they could easily be fading in and out as the signal alternately fades in and out from you (like they went down a hill, then came up the other side). Getting the antenna nice and high will help with that, although due to the physics of how signals propagate at VHF and higher, you'll probably never get away from it entirely

Mike
 

jjl0412

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Ok, Thanks.

Ok, I will check this for sure. I will let you know how it all goes. Thanks.

My wife ordered the Trendnet usb/seriel rs232 dongle with the set. Thursday, After reading for a couple hours, I made my first Conventional file, loaded the sw for the Trendnet, hooked it all up, let the FS sw choose the comm, set the front baud to match what FS said the connection was, 57600, and hit 'Add only, do not over ride' ( I was afraid to choose 'Erase all systems' because at the time, I did not understand the presets in the scanner were protected from getting wiped). It uploaded instantly, and has been working since.

Of course now you know I have since taken more time and created the other 2 files from the Convential & Trunking scenarios. So now I am tweaking the files, and when I think I have it all right, I will set up the connection again, Erase the old file and upload the new ones. I am still researching all the Set Up Scanner Options stuff and possibly how to combine the 2 files I made into 1 for a single upload. I am in no hurry, I want to be reasonably sure I have it all right. Like I said, I have been listening to it since Thursday evening.
 

jjl0412

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I think I got it ok.

I have both files uploaded and after clearing any duplicate frequencies, appears to be functioning properly. Thanks.
 
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