396T, Free scan, & P25 system loading...

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joeuser

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I did some researching here & came upon this thread: BCD 396T Freescan Question - The RadioReference.com Forums (its a very short thread)

I think this is the issue I am having because just loading a few surrounding rural counties & a few, local to me, state entities (DOT, etc) keeps resulting in not enough memory. I knew the T didn't have as much memory as the XT but this is ridiculous!

So now my questions. First off, is this a FreeScan issue or a Uniden one? Hardware or software/firmware? I haven't updated the firmware yet but I'm planning to. Does this issue get resolved with this update?

I'm wondering because when I check the free scan stats it shows that my entire data base is 181% for the 396t but like 30% for my 996xt... Granted I'm just trying to load the smallest fraction of the entire database but if I get any skinnier it won't be worth using!
 

ofd8001

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It's been my experience that programming software is a little confusing when you try to exceed limitations when programming a scanner. There's no indication of where you are going wrong - it just says you are going wrong, period. From there, you have to figure out the specific problem.

I believe the 396T was Uniden's first venture in the Dynamic Memory Allocation method of programming scanners. In the beginning it looked really generous. But as large trunked radio systems have come along, the 396T comes up a little short.

But I remember the days when a personal computer having a hard disk with 20 mega bytes was pretty hot stuff.

If you don't have access to a 396T manual, here are the capacities to be mindful of:

Systems: 200 max
Groups: 20 per system
Channels: up to 2500
Channels per Trunked System: up to 200

My issues mostly have come up in the 200 channels (talkgroups) in trunked systems. And as mentioned in the referenced post, the 396T doesn't do multiple sites on trunked systems.

My 396T has been relegated to scanning just a few things on our local system. Any "high power" scanning is on later models of scanners.
 

joeuser

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It's been my experience that programming software is a little confusing when you try to exceed limitations when programming a scanner. There's no indication of where you are going wrong - it just says you are going wrong, period. From there, you have to figure out the specific problem.

I believe the 396T was Uniden's first venture in the Dynamic Memory Allocation method of programming scanners. In the beginning it looked really generous. But as large trunked radio systems have come along, the 396T comes up a little short.

But I remember the days when a personal computer having a hard disk with 20 mega bytes was pretty hot stuff.

If you don't have access to a 396T manual, here are the capacities to be mindful of:

Systems: 200 max
Groups: 20 per system
Channels: up to 2500
Channels per Trunked System: up to 200

My issues mostly have come up in the 200 channels (talkgroups) in trunked systems. And as mentioned in the referenced post, the 396T doesn't do multiple sites on trunked systems.

My 396T has been relegated to scanning just a few things on our local system. Any "high power" scanning is on later models of scanners.
Crap, I was afraid of this. This unit is basically useless to me now...
 

ka3jjz

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When you first uploaded with FreeScan, did you hit 'erase all systems'?

There is large amount of data in the pre-loaded SQKs that is almost totally useless now, since most all of that data is out of date.

Go back, do an erase first, then let the software load everything you need. Respect the limits on the systems and groups (the 396T can't handle 'sites' the way the newer 396XT can) and you should be fine.

Mike
 

joeuser

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When you first uploaded with FreeScan, did you hit 'erase all systems'?

There is large amount of data in the pre-loaded SQKs that is almost totally useless now, since most all of that data is out of date.

Go back, do an erase first, then let the software load everything you need. Respect the limits on the systems and groups (the 396T can't handle 'sites' the way the newer 396XT can) and you should be fine.

Mike
Actually I did, its the top option on that upload screen, in red bold type IIRC?

I thought it just cleared out the user programmed stuff, does that also clear any preset stuff?
 

hiegtx

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Actually I did, its the top option on that upload screen, in red bold type IIRC?

I thought it just cleared out the user programmed stuff, does that also clear any preset stuff?
Are you going "over limit" due to too many channels (or talkgroups) being entered?

Any chance that you are duplicating some of them? Since the 396T, unlike the 996XT or 396XT, does not allow for multi-site programming, the only way to program a regional or statewide system is by creating a system in the scanner (or software) for each site, along with a set of talkgroups. If you did that on several sites in the same general area, you'll use up your memory much more quickly than expected.

Can you post your file, to see if anything else seems to be out of place?
 

joeuser

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Well from the OP that I researched up here, dated last year, I had all the KSICS sites (towers with their freqs?) listed but only choice counties, maybe 8? Also programmed nearby KHP troops, KDOT, etc. So I'm thinking I have to many sites. My current understanding is, due to the 396T poor implementation of DMA, it somehow tacks every site with every single TG. In essence making redundant use of memories... I might not have used the proper wording there, but I think/hope my point gets across...

My only option is to restrict the sites to nearby towers causing less waste of memory?

This makes sense to me because the ENTIRE list I had built loads fine in my 996XT & with lots of room to spare, lots & yet I can't get the smallest fraction of that list in my 396T...

This fraction, according to Free scan, is 197 TGIDs...

Appreciate the thoughts & opinions thus far, I really want to figure out how a T series that does 15k channels & a XT series that does 25k can handle these so differently (& as far as the T goes, badly)
 

ka3jjz

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Re the red 'Erase' - it clears out everything - pre-programmed stuff included.

Yes the older T models have somewhat less capacity in some respects than the XT versions do. And no, it doesn't 'tack every site with every single TG'. Unfortunately since the 396T does not understand site programming, if you want to use multiple sites, you need to create a 'system' for each site, and repeat whatever talkgroups are appropriate.

You might be better off by taking your XT version file and chopping it down. It's going to take some work, for sure, because of the non-site restriction. Mike
 
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W3DMV

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Perked up when I saw your post since I have several 396T'S. Looked through
many counties in northern Kansas and you have all those nice little systems. It
didn't seem possible that you were exceeding the scanner limits. Then I looked
through the KSICS system and that list would possibly be a problem...
Since I'm not a expert, thought I would list what I have in my scanners and
the numbers Freescan returns. I have 3277 frequencies programmed.

Scanner software V 1.20.13 (old)

Freescan Cap 396T cap
Systems 95 700 (13%) 500 (19%)
Sites 95 165,900 (0%) 1000 (9%)
Groups 328 10,000 (37%) 2500 (14%)

My scanners were programmed manually utilizing Freescan. If you
have downloaded the complete KSICS system from the data base, that
could pose a possible problem. If so, I would try to limit it to several sites
and talk groups,,, Good luck. Wish I could be more help...
 

hiegtx

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Well from the OP that I researched up here, dated last year, I had all the KSICS sites (towers with their freqs?) listed but only choice counties, maybe 8? Also programmed nearby KHP troops, KDOT, etc. So I'm thinking I have to many sites. My current understanding is, due to the 396T poor implementation of DMA, it somehow tacks every site with every single TG. In essence making redundant use of memories... I might not have used the proper wording there, but I think/hope my point gets across...

My only option is to restrict the sites to nearby towers causing less waste of memory?

This makes sense to me because the ENTIRE list I had built loads fine in my 996XT & with lots of room to spare, lots & yet I can't get the smallest fraction of that list in my 396T...

This fraction, according to Free scan, is 197 TGIDs...

Appreciate the thoughts & opinions thus far, I really want to figure out how a T series that does 15k channels & a XT series that does 25k can handle these so differently (& as far as the T goes, badly)
Sounds like you are taking a file that loads and works perfectly well in the 996XT. Then using FreeSCAN, trying to load that same file into the 396T.

Been there, done that. FreeSCAN takes the multi-site file, created for the 996XT, and then creates a new system for each site, along with all of the talkgroups, for each and every system it generates.

Form the Wiki page for the 396T, the channel limit is actually 6000. However, the owner's manual (in the pdf copy I have) states "6000, 3000 typical". You are limited to 200 talkgroups per trunked system.

The Uniden scanners don't lend themselves to combining sites in the same system, unlike the "trick" for the older GRE manufactured scanners (Pro-96 & Pro-97, for example) of inserting a valid, but essentially blank frequency between the sets of site frequencies (see this). For the Unidens, the scanner will use the first control channel frequency it can receive, and keep returning to it until it's completely out of range. The scanner will not check any of the other frequencies to see if a control channel can be heard on them or if the reception is better.

What you can do, depending on the sites you're trying to cover, is combine two or more sites that are so far apart, that you would not be able to receive either of the other sites when in range of the first one. That's about your only option, along with possibly trimming the number of talkgroups entered.

Also make sure make sure that FreeSCAN knows you're loading the 396T. I've gotten sporadic "over limit" memory errors when I've done file updates, then go to reload several different scanners. FreeSCAN sometimes 'expects' the same model scanner as the last load, and when it isn't, it will occasionally give an "overlimit" error, when that is not the case. I deal with that potential glitch by running the 'auto detect', have the software find the scanner connected. This resets the software for the scanner currently connected.
 

joeuser

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OK, this is great. *All* of you were most helpful & informative. Including a back channel I got on the 6k limit, not sure where I got 15k from. I'm going to create a new file after I do some back & forth upload / downloads and remote controls. Then try and upload that. If it still errors out then I will trim the sites/towers to those around me because the radio just looks at the frequencies & they are used on multiple sites/towers just not in close proximity to each other. So I still gain the coverage. I'll also limit to nearby counties & state entities. Eventually I should get it. Really appreciate you guys & this community. Enjoy what's left of the weekend!
 

ofd8001

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The 396T and programming software can still deal with systems having multiple sites.

What you have to do is program each individual site as a stand-alone system. Thus if you are in range of 4 sites, then you'll need 4 systems. The groups and channels for each will be the same however.

A little tedious, but can be done.
 

ka3jjz

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<skip>
Also make sure make sure that FreeSCAN knows you're loading the 396T. I've gotten sporadic "over limit" memory errors when I've done file updates, then go to reload several different scanners. FreeSCAN sometimes 'expects' the same model scanner as the last load, and when it isn't, it will occasionally give an "overlimit" error, when that is not the case. I deal with that potential glitch by running the 'auto detect', have the software find the scanner connected. This resets the software for the scanner currently connected.
This is a worthwhile tip to add to the User Guide. Thanks for this.

Mike
 

joeuser

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Could be quite tedious, if I understand you correctly! Thanks for the suggestion though.

Well, I updated the firmware & that's all squared away. I created a new file & downloaded just the KSICS. Cleaned all sites - free scan calls systems? down to 18* of those closest towers/sites/systems whatever...


Upload status when done - Systems 18* Groups 324 Channels 3710 Mem Full 54% (sad) Errors 18* Skipped 0

*18 every system came back with this error (where X is the site name) -
No APCO band plan available for X (I see this on my 996XT, tho)
ERROR: Scanner max channel or MAX TGID limit reached.

So now, I'm unsure about this/these errors & its sad I still have 54% of the memory open - I guess I can stick conventional freqs in there but... smh

I upload the entire KSICS & associated systems, every possible conventional freq I could possibly need - I'm talking CB freqs here folks! and the 996XT?!

Systems 725 Groups 413 Channels 7011 Mem Full 28%.... (10 errors see above - No APCO band plan available for X)
 

ka3jjz

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It's been mentioned before, but you can safely ignore the 'band plan' errors FreeScan generates. They're spurious. Why Assaf hasn't corrected this is not known but it doesn't cause any issues, at least so far.

Mike
 

cpuerror

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Also make sure make sure that FreeSCAN knows you're loading the 396T. I've gotten sporadic "over limit" memory errors when I've done file updates, then go to reload several different scanners. FreeSCAN sometimes 'expects' the same model scanner as the last load, and when it isn't, it will occasionally give an "overlimit" error, when that is not the case. I deal with that potential glitch by running the 'auto detect', have the software find the scanner connected. This resets the software for the scanner currently connected.
This isn't correct. As soon as you click on Upload (or download), it detects the type of scanner you have connected at that instant. This information isn't retained afterward, since the user might take the cable and move it to another scanner and hit upload so it gets redetected every time. If there is an overlimit error, one of the scanner's memory limits have been reached and using autodetect isn't going to change that.

For the OP's problem, there is a 200 TGID limit but the limit for conventional groups is much higher. I suspect he has more than 200 TGID's, which the 996XT can handle without a sweat but the older 396T will choke on. Clicking on the group in FS will show a count of how many TGIDs are in it.
 

robkermit

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A way around your problem is if you are programming a regional trunked system is to place the control channel frequency for each tower under one system. It's not perfect, but it'll work in a pinch!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

hiegtx

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This isn't correct. As soon as you click on Upload (or download), it detects the type of scanner you have connected at that instant. This information isn't retained afterward, since the user might take the cable and move it to another scanner and hit upload so it gets redetected every time. If there is an overlimit error, one of the scanner's memory limits have been reached and using autodetect isn't going to change that.

For the OP's problem, there is a 200 TGID limit but the limit for conventional groups is much higher. I suspect he has more than 200 TGID's, which the 996XT can handle without a sweat but the older 396T will choke on. Clicking on the group in FS will show a count of how many TGIDs are in it.
Assaf,

I agree that this should not happen, but I've seen a false "over limit" error too many times. Not every time, but enough to notice. I use one main "master" file for my various DMA scanners, but then select a much smaller number of systems to load on a particular model, or scanner (one of the two 396XT's). I may get an "overlimit" error message, when I know that I'm i no way exceeding any of the limits (systems, sites, or channels/talkgroups). If I then run autodetect, without making any change in the systems selected, or the load method (erase all, or replace same name, add new, etc), I get no error message. Case in point- Even if I loaded my entire regional master file in one of the 396XTs, it would still be under 25% memory usage. Yet, switching scanner types from something else to a 396XT (and not even loading every system in the file), I'll get an overlimit message. My pc has a "real"serial port, if you're thinking something's up with a USB-Serial adapter.
 
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