BCD-396XT DEPOT Repair: Going Back Again...

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cowand

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I purchased my $500.00+ dollar 396XT a few months ago, and noticed that I was not receiving a local P25 system as well as when I first received it. I tried many antennas, posted here (link below), and even drove by a few P25 sites. I wrote to the depot, and they requested me to ship it to the depot in Fort Worth, Texas. It was returned about one month later repaired. They had to replace the main board.

Now I am having the exact same problems. Poor reception on P25 trunked systems, poor reception on conventional systems in which I can see the repeater tower of multiple agencies, on UHF, VHF, and 800 MHz. I was getting full signal on these when I first got it back, now its back to square one. I am currently sitting in the office with it sitting in the windowsill, where a few days ago I was getting three to four bars of service, but now not even one is coming up on the Nashville P25 system with clipped/choppy audio. Conventional systems are back to the way they were before I sent it in as well.

When I am in my vehicle I connect it to a BNC coax with the Larsen rooftop multi-band antenna, a BC-RH96 remote head, and it works really well. The reason I am posting is to see if anyone else is having the same problem, or if anyone here knows the internal workings.

Thank you in advance for your time in reading this!

Sincerely,
cowand

Previous Link:
http://forums.radioreference.com/antennas-coax-forum/151846-antenex-tuf-duck-portable-antenna-uniden-396xt.html
 

garys

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When I am in my vehicle I connect it to a BNC coax with the Larsen rooftop multi-band antenna, a BC-RH96 remote head, and it works really well
It works well on an external antenna in your vehicle, but doesn't work well on the supplied antenna in a building? Have you tried a different antenna? Have you tried it outside with the supplied or other antenna?

I would look into these issues before I'd the scanner back again.
 

motomeso

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Is it also possible that you exposed your scanners to a nearby transmitter such as a cell phone?
I was wondering the same thing? I have seen a few BCT-15's have issues after being exposed to a close source of RF.
 

cowand

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  • Negative RF exposure
  • The antenna on the vehicle is not bad, nor the Radio Shack 800 MHz BNC.

I am using the same antennas as I always have. When it came back from the DEPOT the same antennas worked great. I'm stumped. Another month at the DEPOT... nice.
 

cowand

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One reason I had posted here was to see if anyone knew if there was something causing the main board to fail, like maybe another component within the scanner. On another note, I have used this set-up with a Radio Shack Pro-96, and have not had any problems. They usually set side-by-side.

Other than this, I really have enjoyed this scanner. I have been listening to scanners for many years, and this is the best I have encountered.
 

deadringer

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I was wondering the same thing? I have seen a few BCT-15's have issues after being exposed to a close source of RF.
When you guys say "close source" what does that mean? Is that a specific freq, power level, or proximity?

Like I have a 5watt Yaesu handheld I use on 2m/440 all the time next to my 396xt - am I killing it? (oh no!)

And I was about to install a 50watt 2m/440 rig in my truck and I have my 396xt in there with me as well - is that a no-no?

Thanks for any help!
 

rvictor

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When I am in my vehicle I connect it to a BNC coax with the Larsen rooftop multi-band antenna, a BC-RH96 remote head, and it works really well.

If it works really well when connected to the antenna in your car, but doesn't work inside buildings, it sounds like it would be worth trying a different indoor antenna and/or a different indoor location before concluding that there's a problem with the main board. It seems unlikely that the main board would work fine when connected to the antenna on your car, but be defective when you bring it indoors. Perhaps what you've got is some new source of interference in the vicinity of your indoor location.

Dick
 

cowand

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Nashville, TN Area
The scanner started malfunctioning with all antennas. I did try multiple antennas, of multiple bands, multiple outdoor antennas of multiple bands. I checked the settings, and all are within spec for optimal performance for what I monitor.

I spoke with the Uniden scanner department this morning, due to the online problem reporting department not sending me a timely reply, and they are having me ship it back to the DEPOT. They stated that this is an isolated problem, and have not had any problems with any others. Maybe this one is a lemon. We will see.

Thanks to everyone's input. It is definately appreciated!

-cowand
 

cowand

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Shipped it out Thursday to Texas. Hopefully it will get in to he repair department before all the malfunctioning Christmas products are returned. I will let everyone know what the problem was when it comes back in.

I wonder if I can purchase an extended warranty? I may need one...
 

DaveIN

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Curious, what was the listed repair the first time you sent it to the repair center?
 

cowand

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I am at work today, but I believe the receipt stated Main Board Replacement. I still have it though, and I will post in a few days what it exactly said.

I spoke with someone there the day they shipped it out, because it had been so long since I heard anything about it. They could not find it in their system at first, and I became very unnerved. It all worked out in the end though... until now.
 

JimInMichigan

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I wonder if I can purchase an extended warranty? I may need one...
I felt the same way. I purchase an after market warranty from squaretrade.com
PM me and I can send you a 35% off coupon code, if you decide to go that route before Christmas ( expires on the 25th ).

Good Luck. I know this is the last Uniden product I will ever buy.
 

cowand

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Got another one back with a big "Factory Serviced" (refurb) sticker on the back a few weeks ago. It looks like it has a new case. The DSP is a little sluggish decoding the P25. This one makes sounds that I have never heard when trying to decode P25 signals. Its choppy audio when placed beside a Radio Shack Pro96, and a Pro-2096. It makes me nervous that the warranty is almost expired! WHEW!!! HERE WE GO AGAIN!
 

ratboy

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A friend of mine seems to be having similar issues with his 396xt. We were sitting there at his kitchen table one day with his 396xt and my GRE PSR-500 running and I was picking up all kinds of stuff his radio wasn't. When we listened to some freqs with known weak signals on them, it was clear, there was a problem. Off it went to Uniden, and when it came back, it was ok, for a while. Now it's deaf again, and very bad on P25 stuff. Off it went to Uniden again. He went out and bought a used Pro-106 from someone locally, and so far, he's loving it. I just cloned my 500 into his radio, and he locked out a few things he didn't care about. He's talking about selling the 396 when it comes back and getting a PSR-500 or another 106 instead (one for home, one for work). It's kind of funny, he had problems years ago with a RS Pro-93 and a 95, and got so annoyed with GRE made stuff he went to Uniden, now it appears he's coming back. Years ago, my BC205's annoyed me so much with battery pack issues, that I sold them off and refused to buy another Uniden radio until they went to AA batteries instead of the packs. I don't know how many times the packs died on me unexpectedly, with no easy/cheap way to eliminate the problems . After I got rid of them, I missed the nice audio, but I sure didn't miss the battery issues that those, and other Uniden handhelds had. I went and bought several Uniden made RS scanners just because they used AA batteries instead of the packs.
 
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