BC 346XT-Frustration headache and more...

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set41249

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Let me preface this post with a little background. I worked in the two-way radio business for nearley 30 years. I thouroughly understand trunking and have programmed both Harris (formerly M/A Com and Motorola products. That said this beast is junk. First off, NO PRINTABLE MANUAL either on the CD or the Uniden website. While I can understand omitting a printed manual saves trees, You SHOULD be able to print one if that's what you need. I have searched the Uniden website and the CD for a printable version, and it is NOWHERE to be found. The'printable version' link takes you to another .zip file which is nothing more than a bunch of hyperlinks. NO .pdf!

Also, the programming and operation of this radio is WAY too complex for the average person to grasp. I have figured it out, but why does it take MULTIPLE KEYSTROKES to listen to NOAA for just one example? GRE and Radio shack use a MUCH simpler method of operation and programming. Uniden should get with the program and make things simpler rather than difficult.

This will be the LAST Uniden product that I buy!
 

gmclam

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Did you look in the Wiki section here for information on that radio? I know I have found and downloaded manuals for that radio in the past, and programmed them for people.

As the saying goes; if you want features, buy Uniden. If you want performance, buy GRE. Many people like the Unidens because they can be controlled by PC software. I wish the analog GREs could be PC controlled, the opposite of your complaint.

But I agree with you when it comes to simple operation. I like my GRE radios because I can operate them blindly. I don't need to look at the radio or its display to make a change, which I do constantly while driving. Because of the soft keys and requirement to hold one button while pressing another, it is impossible to operate many Unidens with one hand and looking at it, let alone while driving too.

The complexity of programming these devices came with two abilities added to the scanners: trunk tracking and alpha tags. I live by alpha tags, but it takes a lot of key strokes to program them in manually, regardless of scanner brand/model. In order for our scanners to monitor radio systems operated by computers (trunked radio systems), they also had to get more complex. And these scanners don't even monitor all of the system types out there!
 

kayi4cle

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Here's a link to where the BC346XT User's Guide is: http://info.uniden.com/twiki/bin/view/UnidenMan4/UnidenScannersUsersGuides Scroll down to the 346.

I got to it from the Radio Reference Wiki: BC346XT - The RadioReference Wiki
And scrolled down the page to "Related Pages" which takes you here:
BC346XT < UnidenMan4 < TWiki
From there I scrolled down to User's Guide (under "Important Information").

Once you get comfortable with the operation of the 346 you won't have to refer back to the User's Guide very often. It's just a matter of learning the dynamic memory system, but it's that very way of storing frequencies/systems that makes this radio (and other recent Uniden models) so great compared to the old banks and also compared to the recent GRE/Radio Shack "object" storing system. Once I caught on to Uniden programming I can program something in and go back and actually find it, unlike the Radio Shack Pro-106 I've had for over a year, which still boggles the mind!

Good luck, and hope this helps!
 
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KE4ZNR

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As the saying goes; if you want features, buy Uniden. If you want performance, buy GRE.
You can never give up your Anti-Uniden Bias can you?
Actually my BCD396XT and BCD996XT work just as good if not better than their GRE/Radio Shack counterparts here in Raleigh, NC.
Your "performance" is gonna vary depending not only on the radio used but your location, antenna, system being monitored, etc.
So your statement at best is misleading, and at worse is absolutely wrong.


Many people like the Unidens because they can be controlled by PC software. I wish the analog GREs could be PC controlled, the opposite of your complaint.
I have the best of both worlds: great reception capability in my Uniden rigs alongside being able to control the radio via remote software interfaces.



But I agree with you when it comes to simple operation. I like my GRE radios because I can operate them blindly. I don't need to look at the radio or its display to make a change, which I do constantly while driving. Because of the soft keys and requirement to hold one button while pressing another, it is impossible to operate many Unidens with one hand and looking at it, let alone while driving too.
Again: misleading at best. Considering how many buttons both GRE & Uniden radios have these days it is always best to concentrate on driving first and operating any radio second. Both GRE and Uniden have approximately the same amount of complexity involved in navigating the radio and using any of the features.
That being said I can operate my BCD396XT while walking my dog and not even look at the buttons I am pressing with one hand to turn systems on and off.

The complexity of programming these devices came with two abilities added to the scanners: trunk tracking and alpha tags. I live by alpha tags, but it takes a lot of key strokes to program them in manually, regardless of scanner brand/model. In order for our scanners to monitor radio systems operated by computers (trunked radio systems), they also had to get more complex. And these scanners don't even monitor all of the system types out there!
Finally! Something I agree with you 100%! :)
Especially the part of "regardless of scanner brand/model".
If you had checked your "Pro GRE" Bias at the door and made your entire post the last paragraph I would have agree 1000%.
Alas, you let your Pro GRE bias shine through again and it has tainted what
could have been a great contribution.
Yes, I admit I have a Pro Uniden bias because the BCD396XT & BCD996XT work GREAT for me here in Central NC. Yes, I also own several GRE made radios.
All I ask is fairness and not to steer people in wrong directions based off
false perceptions.
Happy Monitoring to all (with either GRE or Uniden!)
Marshall KE4ZNR
 
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Muskratt

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KE4ZNR....*amen* I've been using the 346xt for over a year, and the 996xt and rs pro197 for a little under a year. I find the uniden programming a little more complicated than the radio shack way, but with the uniden way, I have much more versatility in the way I can program and scan with the unidens.

set41249, you may want to try setting up a conventional system and program in the wx frequencies - assign it one of the single number quick keys 0-9. when you want to listen to weather just hit that one quick key that you assigned. Right now I have a local trs and all nearby surrounding conventional frequencies assigned to the same quick key #1. If I hear something interesting happen somewhere, I can just press 1 to turn off all scanning and then I press a different quick key to select which area I want to focus on. I have about 70 counties programmed in and I can quickly focus in on any one of them with just a few keypresses. I can't remember 70 different quick key numbers and what county each one is assigned, so it helps to have the quick key number programmed in as part of the channel descriptor name so you know exactly what quick keys to press to start scanning that county.

I don't scan weather very often, but if I did, I would just program a conventional system with the weather frequencies and assign it a single digit quick key. In my case, I could just hit that single key and wait for the scanner to start scanning the weather, or I would just hit the 1 key to turn off all my other scanning, then press 2, for example, to start scanning wx immediatly.

Muskratt
 

garys

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KE4ZNR....*amen* I've been using the 346xt for over a year, and the 996xt and rs pro197 for a little under a year. I find the uniden programming a little more complicated than the radio shack way, but with the uniden way, I have much more versatility in the way I can program and scan with the unidens.
Sounds about right. I've had at least one of each "generation" of DMA scanner and they are complex to program. Then again, so was the 780XLT when I got it. I've programmed a couple of PSR600s and found them impossible to program without software, whereas the Unidens are difficult to program without software.

The PSR600 has one feature that I like a lot, that is the ability to assign a frequency to multiple "lists". OTOH, I'm limited to 20 lists. One thing I wish the Unidens had was the ability to assign a system to multiple start up keys. I've figured out a work around, sort of, for trunked systems, but not for conventional ones.

There are pros and cons to both brands and to some extent you just trade one set of headaches for a new one.
 

W1CMC

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Let me preface this post with a little background. I worked in the two-way radio business for nearley 30 years. I thouroughly understand trunking and have programmed both Harris (formerly M/A Com and Motorola products. That said this beast is junk. First off, NO PRINTABLE MANUAL either on the CD or the Uniden website.

Like you, I have a strong technical background, but found myself completely defeated by the combination of the Uniden user interface and manual. I think we all agree that the manual stinks, but there are other resources available that make up for much of what it lacks. I had a thread on this very subject not so long ago

http://forums.radioreference.com/ne...2836-uniden-bct396xt-display-explanation.html

I think Uniden should write a "getting started guide" that explains their user interface so that the first time you take the scanner out of the box you at least have a chance of getting some audio. It took me quite a bit of time to get to that point, and that's just crazy.
 

set41249

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...Still, no manual

I have no problem understanding the user interface. I own a BC-15 & 246. I DON'T NEED a refference with over 200 pages, I just need an old fashioned OWNER'S manual (like used to ship with the radio in printed form. It's nowhere to be found. I NEED IT!
 

davidmc36

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Much could be solved if the radios had two modes. Beginner and Expert.

My first DMA radio was a 246 which was a snap to learn. Made the 996 and 396 easy to grasp. I think the DMA experience actually helped me with the 600 and OOUI. Same idea of 'Dynamic' memory, just organized differently and gives different flexabilities and limitations.

If the radio shipped like a 246, and you could turn on the expert mode (396XT) once you got a handle on the concepts it would make for a smoother transition.

I think the complete reference is pure genius. Finally a real Index so you can quickly look up a detail without it being buried in pages of text that explain all the nitty gritty about that feature. I already know what the features do for me I just need a quick reference of what the key presses are or what sounds or sights should come from the scanner.

Reaistically how big would a printed manual have to be!!

The complete reference is over 200 itself and would be basically what you would include in a manual with the details following.

I am pretty happy using the complete reference as an index and then hitting the web for the details.
 

kayi4cle

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I think the complete reference is pure genius. Finally a real Index so you can quickly look up a detail without it being buried in pages of text that explain all the nitty gritty about that feature. I already know what the features do for me I just need a quick reference of what the key presses are or what sounds or sights should come from the scanner.

I am pretty happy using the complete reference as an index and then hitting the web for the details.
I agree. I have downloaded the Complete Reference as a PDF on my computer. It's easier to read off the computer screen than trying to hold a printed manual open to the right page and read small print. And, you can also use the search function.
 

Viper43

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I agree. I have downloaded the Complete Reference as a PDF on my computer. It's easier to read off the computer screen than trying to hold a printed manual open to the right page and read small print. And, you can also use the search function.
the big thing here is with the online pdf files if Uniden makes a change or adds an option it can be added to the pdf as soon as the change hits the general public too, and you couldn't do that with a printed manual.

As to programming the XT vs the 600 manually the XT is the easiest for me and I can do it driving down the road, can't do that with the 600. As for performance, a lot goes into that, I have 23 scanners and they all perform as they should but I don't skimp on the "extras" either. I use LMR 400 coax for all coax runs, even in the car. Keep connections to a minimum and proper grounding all help as well, and are just as important as the radio and the antenna. Cheap coax will make the best radio and/or antenna look (sound) bad.
 

acepilot340

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Would buying a 246t manual help at all? I know the 346t has a few more functions but for just basics of the radio I think the 246t manual would work just fine.
 

davidmc36

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Would buying a 246t manual help at all? I know the 346t has a few more functions but for just basics of the radio I think the 246t manual would work just fine.
Just download it, but I would not use it to learn the 346 per se. It could be a good learning tool to familiarize with the DMA idea if you have never seen it before but no manual is particularly useful unless you have the device in front of you to apply the info. And 'applying' it to the wrong device would just confuse you more.
 

UPMan

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BCD396T would be a closer match to the operational feature set than the BC246T.
 

eaf1956

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Manuals

Would buying a 246t manual help at all? I know the 346t has a few more functions but for just basics of the radio I think the 246t manual would work just fine.
Of all the scanners I ever bought that had manuals I rarely ever read them. Most manuals are full of such BASIC stuff like Copyrights and warnings about grounding antennas and such. When it came to specifics on programming or something like that the manual never covered it. Oh and I forgot the manuals would tell you about the knobs and the display and stuff like that. The ONLINE PDF is much better and you can link to what you need to know about a certain topic. Granted, even that may not tell you what you want to know. Just my 2 cents.....

Ed
 
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