• 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.

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    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

New 396XT user

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Alex1041

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It has been many years since I was in the scanning hobby. Many years defined as a 10-channel digital Uniden that went as high as 512mhz. I was the cat's meow on the block at the time.

My interest was sparked again, after weeks of lurking on the forums I jumped and bought a 396XT tonight; it should be here by next week. I'm quite excited.

Where do I start? I've looked at software programs to simplify things. There seems to be a lot of positive things about ProScan. If I understand right, I can become a paying member and download the scanner database from Radio Reference and import it to ProScan...to put it into the scanner.

Will I need any type of "special" USB cable, or will a standard cable from a camera work?
Is it as simple as downloading the database and transferring to the scanner?

Many thanks!
 

spooney

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Messages
419
Location
Indiana
Download "FreeScan" program software & you will probably need a usb/serial port adapter. The 396xt comes with a cable that will plug into the scanner, but the other end is the old DB9 serial port connection. If you have an older computer with a serial port then you might be good to go. Otherwise Uniden sells the adapter and also available for less money. You will just have to shop around for the best price.
 

CoolCat

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It has been many years since I was in the scanning hobby. Many years defined as a 10-channel digital Uniden that went as high as 512mhz. I was the cat's meow on the block at the time.

My interest was sparked again, after weeks of lurking on the forums I jumped and bought a 396XT tonight; it should be here by next week. I'm quite excited.
Hi Alex. Congrats on your new scanner purchase and welcome to RadioReference :)

I also started my scanning hobby with a 10 channel Uniden scanner, the [original] BC60XLT (they later produced a 30 channel model with a full frequency display that used the same BC60XLT model number). Looking back, I wish I had kept it, but I sold it on eBay several years ago.

Will I need any type of "special" USB cable, or will a standard cable from a camera work?
No, a camera cable will NOT work. The little connector on the 396XT is a serial connector (not USB). The primary reason for this is to allow GPS connection. The 396XT comes with a serial data cable (with a standard RS232 plug). If you have a desktop computer then it probably has a serial port. If you do, then you can use it right out of the box without having to buy anything else, but If you use a laptop or "all-in-one" PC then chances are you have only USB ports. If this is the case then you will have to purchase the Uniden USB-1 cable, or use a USB-Serial adapter with the factory serial cable.

Where do I start? I've looked at software programs to simplify things. There seems to be a lot of positive things about ProScan. If I understand right, I can become a paying member and download the scanner database from Radio Reference and import it to ProScan...to put it into the scanner.
I have never used ProScan so I can't say anything good or bad about it (they do offer a 30 day "free" trial, so you can certainly test it out first before spending any money on it. Many/most of us (myself included) use Freescan for programming our Uniden DMA scanners. Freescan is a free (and does not require registration or activation), great, easy to use, full-featured program that can easily handle all your programming needs. If you pay for a Premium Subscription here at RR, you can directly import systems from the RR database. Alternatively, you can use Freescan's EZ-grab feature to copy systems from a website (including the RR database pages); this works fairly well but it is nowhere near as easy as a direct import.

So where do you start? I would recommend you purchase a RR premium subscription (they offer several subscription options at different price points). To view options and purchase a subscription, click on your user name at the very top of any RR web page (you may need to login first, it is a separate login from the forums). Then download and install Freescan. You can setup and edit your scanner's setup ahead of time so it will be ready to upload to your scanner when you receive it in a few days. The 396XT uses Uniden's DMA memory architecture; it is a fantastic memory system that is easy to use once you know how it works, but you need to read up a bit first or you'll may get very frustrated with it.

Is it as simple as downloading the database and transferring to the scanner?
Yes and No... Yes it is that easy (if you already understand how the scanner works), however you just made a giant leap in scanner technology. The 396XT is a top of the line, high end scanner, but it is also very complex when compared to the basic 10 channel model you had before. The Easier-to-read-396XT manual is your best resource to learn how to use that scanner. And if you get stuck, there are plenty of us here who are willing to help you as well ;)

Good luck and happy scanning :D
 

Ablice

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Jul 25, 2009
Messages
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FreeSCAN has its advantages* but also has terrible UI. I prefer BcTool for free scanner controllers.

The 396XT is a sophisticated scanner and it is best to take things slowly. There is a lot of information to learn and all at one time will make you stumble.



*: I like the way it sorts the systems by alphabetical organization rather than by time created. This makes it easier to sort the systems in a logical format for rapid system lookups. I used FreeSCAN for the majority of my re-alpha tagging of nearly 3000 frequencies because it was faster than BcTool for editing the alpha tag.
 

spooney

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Messages
419
Location
Indiana
Thanks for the warm welcome guys. I'm sure I'll be asking questions.

Would it be wise to download the FreeScan software now and purchase a premium mebership to get comfortable with the software, or would it be best to wait?

Also, I found a serial to usb adapter, will this work?
Newegg.com - Aluratek AUS100 USB to Serial Adapter Cable
If you have MS Excell you can copy & paste your programming into FreeScan. The cable adapter is the correct type and should work ok. Some people have had problems with driver software with some cables so I guess there is some risk with any cable.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
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Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,764
Location
Bowie, Md.
Re FreeScan: EZ-Grab does work on the database, and it even works in the wiki, so long as the data is arranged in a tabular manner, so that columns can be detected. No need to use Excel to cut/paste

best regards..Mike
 

hiegtx

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Dallas, TX
Thanks for the warm welcome guys. I'm sure I'll be asking questions.

Would it be wise to download the FreeScan software now and purchase a premium mebership to get comfortable with the software, or would it be best to wait?

Also, I found a serial to usb adapter, will this work?
Newegg.com - Aluratek AUS100 USB to Serial Adapter Cable
Alex,
The Newegg adapter should work.
I'm using this one on my laptop (Vista Home Premium).

Other adapters, and information on connecting your scanner to the pc via USB, can be found in the Wiki here.

You'll find FreeScan, as well as a premium membership, make programming your scanner much easier, and definitely quicker. While it's to your advantage, as you go along, to get comfortable with entering or editing frequencies, text tags, or system settings from the keyboard (without a pc), initially, using a computer and software, lets you see more of the information at one time, making it easier to spot and correct any errors or typos.

So, go ahead & download FreeScan (the main page name has changed to Sixspot Software instead of Scannow; the download link is on the page linked, or here). The premium membership will enable you to directly download systems from the database here into the software. You might also consider joining the Yahoo group for the 396XT.

You did not indicate your general location (city/state), but you might check the files section of the 396TX group for a file that might cover your area, or ask in the regional forum that includes your city, see if anyone would be willing to share their file. While you might not use a shared or downloaded file completely "as is", if nothing else, you can compare the way one of the systems looks in FreeScan (or BCTool, or ProScan, or...) to how the same system looks on it's database page in RadioReference. If nothing else, see this thread on the North Carolina forum. In it are FreeScan files for various parts of the state that members have provided. Take one of those and compare it in FreeScan versus the information on screen. Get a little more comfortable with how the information needs to be entered, before your scanner arrives. Most of those files are zipped, so if your version of Windows can't unzip (decompress) them to be opened, you'll need a utility to di that. There are a number available. Winzip is probably the best known; I use 7-zip.
When you get a chance, you might also take a look at a couple of articles in the Wiki: Scanning 101 and Trunking Basics.
 

McP

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
115
Location
Palm Beach, Florida
I am a FreeScan fan for my 396 & 996XT. It serves it's purpose for me in just being able to edit my alpha tags, channels, etc and send them right back to the scanner. Since it's free, you can't go wrong giving it a try.
 

CoolCat

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Also, if you do wish to download a pre-setup file for your area, any DMA scanner file will work (it doesn't have to be for/from another 396XT). Other DMA scanners include the BCD996XT, BCD996T, BCD396T, BC346XT, BC246T, BCT15X, and BCT15). You can use a file from any of those scanners, even if it was not originally a Freescan file (Freescan can import files from other programming software). NOTE: If you use a file that was created for an analog-only scanner, it may not include digital channels for that area, so you will have to add them in yourself (again, fairly easy to do in Freescan).
 

Alex1041

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I went ahead and purchased a premium membership and downloaded Freescan.

There certainly is a lot to learn. I also ordered a USB-1 cable. Tuesday can't come quick enough :)
 
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