• 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.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:

New BCD396XT, suggestions please!

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Jan 7, 2010
Rochester/Victor, NY
I've been a scanner junkie since I was a kid. I inherited a Bearcat 210XLT many years ago and it was made (even more) obsolete today as Monroe County (NY state) went to APCO25.

My new Uniden BCD396XT arrives tomorrow. I also ordered the ARC-XT Basic software to program it. This scanner is a MAJOR step up for me. I've done some reading, and understand this will be much more complex than the old scanner. I want to get the most out of it as soon as I can, so I look to you for help.

I live near the border of Monroe and Ontario County, in Victor, NY, I will also be scanning in downtown Rochester, NY.


1) Will wiping out the Preloaded Systems also wipe out the Service Searches? I'd like to keep those, but replace the Systems with the RR database and more.

2) What's your favorite mobile antenna? Are they REALLY worth the upgrade?

3) I need recommendations for outdoor antennas. I'll be taking down the old TV antenna on my chimney and putting up whatever I need for all around scanning goodness.

4) Any other tips/advice you might have for a new BCD396XT user would help me and future visitors to this thread.


Wiki Admin Emeritus
Jul 22, 2002
Bowie, Md.
Lots of questions here, and several things you will need to know, so let's get right down to it...I will be referring to our wiki in several places here - go to the blue toolbar under the Scanner Master logo and float your mouse over Wiki. I will emphasize articles and sections to read as we go.

1- I'm pretty sure the Service Searches are unaffected when you drop the preloaded systems. I use the 396T, and only once in a blue moon use the service searches, so someone correct me if I'm wrong...

2- I use the Austin Spectra (expensive but it has yet to be clobbered by several years worth of wind, ice, rain and snow). What you buy as a mobile antenna is going to be influenced by the bands you wish to monitor. Our Scanner Antennas wiki (antennas/scanner antennas in the wiki) has LOTS of links on the subject, and a couple of what I would refer to as rather unscientific - but still useable - articles with comparisons. Read these.

3 - Again this question is best answered when you mention what bands you wish to monitor. The Diamond discones, the ScanTenna and even those made by DPD Productions (all linked in the same article as above, in the various manufacturers and distributors) are all popular choices. Don't skimp on the coax and the waterproofing - using a product like Coax Seal or double wrapping in electrical tape and using a good sealant is an absolute must. Again the wiki has several articles on coax loss issues.

4- Other tips - OK here goes nothing...
a. DMA or Dynamic Memory Allocation is a completely different animal for programming. There are no banks; there are systems, sites and groups. Go to the FAQs, then click on the Uniden DMA FAQ in the wiki, and read up on these 2 very important concepts.

b. While the FAQ is written for the older non-XT scanners, much of this is still applicable to the XT scanners as well. At the bottom of the article, there's a link to the Easier to Read series. Download and study the 396 version - if you understand this, going to the XT version will be much easier.

c. You will undoubtedly need to get an USB cable to connect to your PC. Uniden sells their USB-1; be sure to get the up to date drivers from the Uniden Twiki link which goes to the Prolific website. It's found at the end of the Connecting scanners via USB article in the wiki.

d. This part is linked in the wiki, but easier to get to from the forums. Purchase a premium subscription (cheap) so you can download data from our databases. In the same blue toolbar as I mentioned earlier, float your mouse over About and select the topic.

e. We have a wiki article dedicated to the 396XT, as does Uniden. This would be found linked in Radio Models/Digital Trunktrackers then select the model number from the listing. In our wiki article we have a link to the PDF of the Complete Reference manual. It's big, but likely full of stuff you will need. Download and store it.

Get something tall to drink, get comfortable and begin reading. The test will be at the end of the week :D Open book, no worries, hi

73 Mike
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Premium Subscriber
Sep 4, 2009
Niagara Region - Canada

You have bought a great radio!
The Service Searches stay after you wipe the preloads. I know, because I had problems learning how to program and had to start over several times within the first couple of weeks after getting my XT. Having continuous access to the Service Searches was the only thing that saved my sanity because I could at least listen to SOMETHING. A cool trick I learned was to use the Service Search to get close to a frequency I wanted to monitor and then hit the "hold" button. After that I would use the scroll knob to walk the scanner onto the exact freq I wanted. Totally primitive but it was effective untill I figured out the programming.


Premium Subscriber
Aug 17, 2004
Rochester, New York
Hi Nightjock! Welcome! I am in Hilton, NY and recently acquired the BCD396XT in anticipation of Monroe County law enforcement going digital. I mainly monitor Monroe County fire and sheriff, along with Greece PD. If I can be of any assistance to you, please don't hesitate to contact me. Congrats on the new radio! It's truly SWEEEET! :)
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