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Programming 436/536

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srpawski

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#1
Ok, so I have a couple of general questions with programming this thing.

If the scanner is set out of the box to scan a certain zip code, what are the primary advantages of using the Sentinel software to program the unit? Is it mainly the ability to set a custom group of frequencies that you can choose by basically going through the Sentinel software and choosing the ones out of the master zip code list that you want? If so, once these frequencies are selected, do you save them as a quick key and title them something and then when you turn the scanner back on choose the quick key and it then only scans the custom saved setting? Are the custom saved setting frequencies that are programmed under this setting show the same exact alpha tags and information about each channel on the display of the scanner like it does using a zip code scan out of the box?

Also, once the DMR firmware is enabled in the scanner, does this unlock the DMR frequencies that are in the database or do they need to be manually entered into the scanner?
 

hiegtx

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#2
Ok, so I have a couple of general questions with programming this thing.

If the scanner is set out of the box to scan a certain zip code, what are the primary advantages of using the Sentinel software to program the unit? Is it mainly the ability to set a custom group of frequencies that you can choose by basically going through the Sentinel software and choosing the ones out of the master zip code list that you want? If so, once these frequencies are selected, do you save them as a quick key and title them something and then when you turn the scanner back on choose the quick key and it then only scans the custom saved setting? Are the custom saved setting frequencies that are programmed under this setting show the same exact alpha tags and information about each channel on the display of the scanner like it does using a zip code scan out of the box?

Also, once the DMR firmware is enabled in the scanner, does this unlock the DMR frequencies that are in the database or do they need to be manually entered into the scanner?
"Out of the box", you still need to install Sentinel and then update the database in it. The database in the scanner when shipped likely will be well out of date, so update Sentinel, then use it to update the scanner.

You can scan using your location (via zipcode)but that is likely to give you stuff you really don't want, and possibly omit a few you do. However, you can use Sentinel to create a Favorites List of 'everything within range', then tweak it to suit your needs. You can edit text tags if desired, as well as lock out (avoid) the things you do not want.

Be sure that in Sentinel, update your Profile to select the Service Types you want. By default, only the dispatch service types (Law Dispatch, Fire Dispatch, EMS Dispatch, etc) will be enabled. So, you'd miss hearing anything like on Law Talk or Law Tac, Fire Talk or Fire Tac, etc. I would suggest doing this step before using Sentinel to update the scanner's database, so that the types you want are active.

If you purchase & enter the DMR key (be sure to use Sentinel to check whether a Firmware update is needed first), then you can access whatever DMR (MotoTRBO) systems are already in the database. But if your area is like mine & most others, there's a lot that is not in the database yet.
 

srpawski

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#4
Perfect. This is what I was hoping to hear. I have watched some Youtube on using Sentinel, but wanted to have my questions answered best as I could boil down exactly what I wanted to know and I think you have hit it spot on.

I have the firmware version in my 436 from way back in July of last year. I know it needs to be updated. The municipality which I live in has new MotoTRBO system which they launched in November of last year, and also my county has some MotoTRBO frequencies which I have found. I used this website to locate these frequencies liked by the UPMan DMR search

Digital Frequency Search

Now, with regards to DMR, here is my frequency question - being that it doesn't appear many, if at all, of the digital frequencies that are on the digitalfrequencysearch.com site are in the radio reference database that Sentinel updates from, am I correct in assuming that, within Sentinel, I can manually enter in any old frequency that I want and upload it to the scanner, in other words, entering in any of them from the digitalfrequencysearch.com site? Also, within Sentinel, if frequencies are manually entered, is there some sort of place they are entered specific to a list of DMR-type frequencies instead of just a standard VHF/UHF entered frequency?
 

srpawski

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#6
Yeah, I'm just now noticing that on that website. It has instructions and everything. Thats what I get for not scrolling ALL THE WAY down the page....

Have you tried using the page? How does the import feature work?
 

ofd8001

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#7
If the scanner is set out of the box to scan a certain zip code, what are the primary advantages of using the Sentinel software to program the unit?
Along with the above responses, you can update the firmware and set customized display things (such as your name), program local weather settings (if you use weather alerting), Fire Tone out (if used) along with some other things you can explore via the Profile Editor.

Is it mainly the ability to set a custom group of frequencies that you can choose by basically going through the Sentinel software and choosing the ones out of the master zip code list that you want? If so, once these frequencies are selected, do you save them as a quick key and title them something and then when you turn the scanner back on choose the quick key and it then only scans the custom saved setting? Are the custom saved setting frequencies that are programmed under this setting show the same exact alpha tags and information about each channel on the display of the scanner like it does using a zip code scan out of the box?
If you wish, you can create Favorites Lists which contain selected systems and channels. Scanning by zip code tends to cast a pretty wide net for things. If you wish to drill this down to certain things, the Favorites List route is suggested.

When you create a Favorites List, the information (such as alpha tags) is imported from the master database. You can then Edit that Favorites List making alpha tags anything you want them to be. Range values can also be changed as desired. You can set channel delay times, set alert lights such as red for fire, blue for police, etc.

Quick Keys are a means to rapidly turn "things" on or off as desired. They can be assigned to a Favorites List, a System within the Favorites List and a Department within a System.

Note that periodically updating the master database will not affect your Favorites Lists. FLs stay the same until you make a change.

Whether or not Favorites Lists are scanned when the scanner is turned on is determined by the settings you make in your Profile.

Its kind of redundant to scan both the full database via zip code and Favorites Lists at the same time. You'll end up scanning the same stuff twice - once via master database and the second by FL.

Typically I do Favorites List scanning with full database off when I'm at home or at a trip destination. If I'm traveling, I turn Favorites Lists off and use the full database. I'll have a GPS device connected so my location is continuously updated, but you can do this by periodically changing the zip code to the one for your current location.

Experimentation is a good thing to learn. You cannot hurt the scanner by bad programming. You can wipe the slate clean if needed.
 

srpawski

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#8
Thanks for the explanation. I am now getting the concept of the difference between the quick key and the favorites. I would think if I want to scan everything I put in my favorites list at all time and dont wish to turn certain frequencies within it off and on there isn't much need to set up quick keys. I want to put in my zip code and go out say, 10-15 miles on the range, and then filter out what I dont want. Right now I have weak channels coming in from two adjacent counties causing the scan to hang on them. I want to filter those channels out since they are too weak from where I am at to monitor plus I dont care about them.

I have a 32 gig class 10 water/shock/dust, ect. proof Samsung SD card to clone before I go updating firmware and getting hot and heavy into things. Thats on tomorrows task and then I will start getting things rolling including the DMR firmware update.
 

ofd8001

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#9
You might find the article below helpful on how location based scanning works with respect to range settings:

How it Works: Location, Location, Location

You can try reducing your range setting to see if that helps to filter out the adjacent counties. If that doesn't work, a Favorites List creation is a good course of action.

You don't need to set up Quick Keys, but as time goes along you might find them handy.

I'd suggest updating the firmware before doing much of anything.
 

srpawski

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#10
Thanks for the link. That does help.

I got the new SD card installed and firmware updated. No issues doing either. Now I just need to create my favorites list and put frequencies into it and update the scanner and I should be good to go. Once I see how that works then I'll do the DMR upgrade and append those to the favorites list and go from there.
 

srpawski

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#11
Is there an easy way to incorporate new frequencies updated to the master list in Sentinel to the favorites list other than having to examine each list of frequencies in the master list to compare it to if it is already in a favorites list?
 

ofd8001

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#12
Unfortunately no. Some time ago I suggested adding some fields to the RR master database that would show whether an entry was new or changed and the date it was done. I suppose doing so would be a bigger pain than the benefit. That would have allowed users to get a better handle on changes and additions.

So now you are stuck with a longer process. You can flag systems to watch in the RR database section. By doing so, you'll see changes when they are posted. From there you can make changes as needed.
 

hiegtx

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#13
Unfortunately no. Some time ago I suggested adding some fields to the RR master database that would show whether an entry was new or changed and the date it was done. I suppose doing so would be a bigger pain than the benefit. That would have allowed users to get a better handle on changes and additions.

So now you are stuck with a longer process. You can flag systems to watch in the RR database section. By doing so, you'll see changes when they are posted. From there you can make changes as needed.
Which is what I do. Being a Premium Subscriber, you can select which systems and Counties to monitor, I look at the changes, which are often a small tweak in the description or service type, or adding one or two talkgroups. If anything impacts one of my systems or areas of interest, I'll manually change it in Sentinel. For large changes, such as a bundle of added talkgroups on a new system (I have a few of these in progress in the area, with more coming), I may simply append the new updated system to my Favorites Lists, deleting the old version.
 

srpawski

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#14
Thanks guys.

I guess I will need to check into the premium subscriber deal on here then. I spent a good hour to hour and a half creating a favorites list and examining all of the frequencies for not only my county, but also some of the nation wide and state tactical frequencies. I had to manually remove a lot not in my area as when i added MSPSC statewide to my list as it also added every single county in Michigan to the list. I went through all of the categories and picked out the statewide and region wide specific I wanted and nuked the rest. So far it seems to be playing out nicely.

I haven't opened the can of worms yet on the DMR firmware or database frequency updates for those yet. i'll do that over the next couple of days.
 

ofd8001

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#15
This is one of those scenarios where a Quick Key system would be helpful. You could assign the "local" sites to one Quick Key (Department) and the "distant" sites to another. That way when you are "local" you have the local DQK enabled and the others off. If you travel, the other DQK can come on for those sites.
 

srpawski

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#16
I can see how that would be handy. Would prevent having to spend the time to go through and manually remove every non-local county.
 

phask

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#17
Simple way to edit sites , IMHO, change the name of the one(s) you wish to keep by prefacing with either an A- or Z_, then sort, that will place the keepers at the top or bottom, then select ALL of the unwanted ones and delete.

I have the exact same issue in Ohio - nice thing , my primary site already starts with Z.

Need to rebuild mine rather often as so much is still changing rapidly in the state.


It helps that I run 1 scanner in ID search 100% and can catch something new as well as another that logs the system 24/7 via Proccom.






Thanks guys.

I guess I will need to check into the premium subscriber deal on here then. I spent a good hour to hour and a half creating a favorites list and examining all of the frequencies for not only my county, but also some of the nation wide and state tactical frequencies. I had to manually remove a lot not in my area as when i added MSPSC statewide to my list as it also added every single county in Michigan to the list. I went through all of the categories and picked out the statewide and region wide specific I wanted and nuked the rest. So far it seems to be playing out nicely.

I haven't opened the can of worms yet on the DMR firmware or database frequency updates for those yet. i'll do that over the next couple of days.
 

srpawski

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#18
Things are just really starting to turn in this part of Michigan and it is gonna be another couple of years before most of this area is really digital. I can't find anything concrete yet as far as my county, but two counties that border mine should be completely digital in 3 years and the other is already half way there.
 

ofd8001

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#19
Another option to consider is setting the Favorites List Location Control to On. This can be found in the Options tab in the Favorites List editor.

That way the scanner will turn off sites that are too far away. Then if you change locations, change the zip code and the scanner will turn on sites applicable to the new area and turn others off.

If it was me, I'd put the statewide system in one Favorites List and then create a separate Favorites List for "things" not yet part of the statewide system.
 

srpawski

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#20
I weeded out all of the stuff not pertinent to my location that is statewide and left in the statewide stuff that are emergency and tactical that could be used anywhere within the state if something big goes down. I upgraded to the DMR key this morning and then created a second favorites list with those frequencies in them. I figure I can just keep adding to that list the DMR stuff and can create another favorites list for NXDN whenever that happens. I am also gonna become a premium member on here to make it easier know what changes as they happen.

So far, everything seems to be nicely working. I love the display actually knowing who is talking. There has been a lot I have been missing if yesterday's activity is any indication of what I heard. I don't think it has to do so much with digital frequencies, just that the list I had programmed into my old scanner was over 15 years old and I never updated it. I seem to have a lot more inter-car communication frequencies and more inter-department tactical talk going on, at least just by reading the channel labels on it when it stops.
 
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