BCD396XT: 1 System with 1 SQK & 3 GQK's

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digirato

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I just got my BCD396XT and got a premium subscription to RR. Using Freescan I downloaded all the trunked sites/groups for my county which includes surrounding cities.

My problem is this. There is one site to which I assigned SQK1 and eight groups that I assigned 3 Group quick keys to based on nearness to my home. My display shows one line with SO1 and the next line shows GRP 234. When I unselect the SO1 the display says "nothing to scan" and the GRP line blanks out showing no GRP keys. The Group keys are not under the Site Quick Key. Why does this happen? Is it not possible to only have the GRP keys active?

I've done numerous searches and can't find any explanation for this issue. As a newbie to this scanner I must be missing something basic but am really stumped. Can anyone tell me why the quick keys behave this way?
 

SDavis90

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Those group keys are assigned to that system key. You push the key, disabling the system,which the group keys belong to. You turn off the overall system, or site, you turn off everything belonging to it.

Sent from my SM-P605V using Tapatalk
 

digirato

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Ok I think I understand that the site quick key is also acting as the system key which would explain why the group keys get turned off.

Freescan won't allow me to set a quick key at the top system level. What if the trunked systems that I downloaded from the RR database didn't include a site? Would I have to create a dummy site entry just to set a site/system quick key?

The reason I was trying to shut off that one site is that it contains a fairly long list of frequencies and the radio seems to spend quite a bit of time scanning through all of them. Overall the scanning is working well though so I guess I can live with it as is.
 

jonwienke

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You can't have a trunked system with no sites. Sites are where the actual talk frequencies are stored.
 

ofd8001

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The 396XTs do not have a "top system level" quick rather. Rather each site within the system have quick keys.

The number of frequencies for a site doesn't matter on a trunked radio system. In trunked radio system, the scanner "listens" to only the site"s control channel. The scanner doesn't go through all of the frequencies as it would for a conventional system. In fact the only frequencies that need to be programmed are the primary and alternate control channels (usually 3 or 4).

In your particular application, you may want to program the Hennepin East, Hennepin West, Minneapolis City Center and Minneapolis N/S sites.

The ARMER radio system is a very robust and thus complicated system, particularly in the Minneapolis area. So combining the complexities of the system and the complexities of the scanner, you have a big learning curve. It is nothing that time, practice and patience won't overcome however.

If you can pass on some more information on which agencies you are interested in monitoring, I should have some additional ideas. Though I'm in Louisville KY, I have family in Minneapolis that I visit from time to time and my 396XT is the first thing I pack.
 

digirato

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Thanks for explaining about the scanner listening to the control channel. That really helps my understanding of how it works.

I did program Hennepin West but not East or the the two Mpls sites that you recommended. My main interest is in the western metro area but I am very open to suggestions. Why did you feel I would benefit from programming in Henn East and the two Mpls sites? I do have one or two Mpls sites programmed but not those. Thanks much!

The 396XTs do not have a "top system level" quick rather. Rather each site within the system have quick keys.

The number of frequencies for a site doesn't matter on a trunked radio system. In trunked radio system, the scanner "listens" to only the site"s control channel. The scanner doesn't go through all of the frequencies as it would for a conventional system. In fact the only frequencies that need to be programmed are the primary and alternate control channels (usually 3 or 4).

In your particular application, you may want to program the Hennepin East, Hennepin West, Minneapolis City Center and Minneapolis N/S sites.

<clip>

If you can pass on some more information on which agencies you are interested in monitoring, I should have some additional ideas. Though I'm in Louisville KY, I have family in Minneapolis that I visit from time to time and my 396XT is the first thing I pack.
 

digirato

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Hennepin Cty, Minnesota
Thanks for the offer of additional ideas. I would welcome them as I'm new to digital and trunk scanning. I did some scanning many years ago and have a nice Yupitero MVT-9000 which can't receive any of the new stuff. The Yupi has a longer, thinner BNC antenna that I'm thinking of trying. I bought the BCD396XT used and they didn't send the sma to bnc adapter so I'm thinking of buying one of those so I can try the longer antenna.

I'm mainly interested in police, fire, ems and other agencies of that nature. Are there others like those that I should check into? Right now I've included St. Louis Park and surrounding suburbs like Edina, Mtka, Golden Valley plus Hennepin west and a couple Mpls groups.

I did switch from scan mode to search mode last night and seem to hear more traffic. Is that advisable? Thx again

If you can pass on some more information on which agencies you are interested in monitoring, I should have some additional ideas. Though I'm in Louisville KY, I have family in Minneapolis that I visit from time to time and my 396XT is the first thing I pack.
 

WA0CBW

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In the search mode the scanner listens to ALL the talk group ID's while in the scan mode it only listens to the talk group ID's you have programmed into the scanner.
BB
 

ofd8001

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The Minneapolis area is a "Target Rich Environment" for scanning. There are lots of police, fire and some EMS agencies to monitor.

The Minnesota ARMER system is composed of many sub-systems. All users are assigned to a "Home" system. If they roam away from their Home system, the "brains" of the radio system will link the tower that the user is closest to, back to their home system.

For state users (state patrol, fire marshal, BCA, MnDOT) and EMS users, their Home system is the Minneapolis City Center sub-system. So if you are interested in these, then you'll want to program the Minneapolis City Center site.

The city of Minneapolis has its own sub-system which is called Minneapolis NS. Minneapolis Police and Fire use this, along with other users (public works, animal control, city plows, etc.) So if you are interested in Minneapolis, then you need the Minneapolis NS site.

You have Hennepin West programmed. So you will hear the law enforcement folks in the western (and I think northern) part of Hennepin County. If state users and Minneapolis folks roam outside the coverage area of their respective systems, then they will affiliate with the Hennepin West site and you'll hear them.

Hennepin East is the home system for agencies south of Minneapolis (Bloomington, Richfield and the South Sheriff talkgroups).

If you don't already have them programmed in your scanner, the mutual aid talkgroups can be very interesting. Anything identified with "TAC" may be good listening. More often than not, if there is a police pursuit a patch between the applicable police talkgroup and L TAC 1 is set up. That's so adjacent agencies can assist with the incident and maintain communications.

There's a little bit of a challenge with the ARMER system and scanning. Back in days of old, there was one transmitter for a radio system putting out lots of radio "horsepower". With newer systems, such as ARMER, they use several lower power transmitters (called simulcasting) to achieve the same level of coverage. Because of this lower power, listening is some areas is difficult. I stay in Bloomington and have difficulty listening to the Minneapolis NS site.

The site below has some good plots on it which show coverage areas of the various sub-systems. (T101 is the state/Minneapolis City Center and T109 is the Minneapolis NS sub-system).

ARMER Coverage Maps

There is also a pretty good detailed description of how this sytem works below:

MN Metroscan Homepage

You may also wish to create another system - a conventional one. Many of the area's suburban fire departments use VHF paging to alert firefighters to incidents (St. Louis Park is but one).
 

digirato

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Hennepin Cty, Minnesota
Thanks for the goldmine of recommendations...truly appreciate you taking the time to share so much great info!

I added the Mpls City Ctr and NS sites as well as the Hennepin East site which looks to have more freqs than Henn West. I also added a VHF system like you recommended. Update - I found all the State Patrol TG's under "Minn dept of public safety - state patrol talk groups". The Freescan group list had chopped off most of the description. Got 'em loaded now.

My scanner is really streaming comms non-stop now.

The Minneapolis area is a "Target Rich Environment" for scanning. There are lots of police, fire and some EMS agencies to monitor.

<clip>

For state users (state patrol, fire marshal, BCA, MnDOT) and EMS users, their Home system is the Minneapolis City Center sub-system. So if you are interested in these, then you'll want to program the Minneapolis City Center site.

The city of Minneapolis has its own sub-system which is called Minneapolis NS. Minneapolis Police and Fire use this, along with other users (public works, animal control, city plows, etc.) So if you are interested in Minneapolis, then you need the Minneapolis NS site.

<clip>

Hennepin East is the home system for agencies south of Minneapolis (Bloomington, Richfield and the South Sheriff talkgroups).

If you don't already have them programmed in your scanner, the mutual aid talkgroups can be very interesting. Anything identified with "TAC" may be good listening. More often than not, if there is a police pursuit a patch between the applicable police talkgroup and L TAC 1 is set up. That's so adjacent agencies can assist with the incident and maintain communications.

<clip>

There is also a pretty good detailed description of how this sytem works below:

MN Metroscan Homepage

You may also wish to create another system - a conventional one. Many of the area's suburban fire departments use VHF paging to alert firefighters to incidents (St. Louis Park is but one).
 
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ofd8001

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Happy to be of help!

If you really want to expand your horizons, it's possible you could even receive the Anoka County sub-system. (Unfortunately my geography memory is dwindling with old age and I'm not sure about the proximity of St. Louis Park and Anoka - get me out of the Minneapolis south side and I'm pretty lost.)
 

Anderegg

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Just a note, if you have a system with groups that you don't have GQK's assigned to, they will scan automatically when you activate the system which you DO have a SQK enabled for. Anything you don't assign a QK to in any fashion will just automatically scan, you just won't be able to toggle it on or off.
 

W8RMH

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Just a note, if you have a system with groups that you don't have GQK's assigned to, they will scan automatically when you activate the system which you DO have a SQK enabled for. Anything you don't assign a QK to in any fashion will just automatically scan, you just won't be able to toggle it on or off.
Actually you can toggle them on and off, you just have to do it from the menu. The best thing to do is assign everything a QK.

And add those QK numbers to each alpha tag.
 
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