BCD 396XT programing newbie

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cbrxx11

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Dec 22, 2009
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Hi there. I purchased this for my dad for Christmas. First of all I want to thank all the people for the posts and information provided on here. I could not have done it without it.
That being said I must say that the whole process is a bit overwhelming.But the issue I have is that so much information is provided that is really irrelevant to simple programing.Without the understanding of what you really NEED to know ...I found I was spending to much time on things that were basically advanced programing. Yes its great that the information is here...but its VERY confusing for a newbie.There is a lot of knowledge on here and that is great...but until you can decifer what you really NEED to know from what is GOOD to know. It can be a mass of confusion.
Again I want to thank everyone who takes the time to post the stickys and info.
Thanks.
 

325xia

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I have found that if the 396xt Programming is too difficult to understand, then you have bought the wrong scanner. As this scanner is intended for the intermediate to pro user. It's not a novice scanner. For that you could save yourself a lot of money and heartache. Not understanding it also does not allow you to use the 396xt to its full potential. Giving it time to understand the logic behind the Programming and Options on the scanner is something a radio enthusiast will enjoy. For just the average Joe it will take a long, long time. I would suggest a basic scanner for the latter.
 

cbrxx11

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I have found that if the 396xt Programming is too difficult to understand, then you have bought the wrong scanner. As this scanner is intended for the intermediate to pro user. It's not a novice scanner. For that you could save yourself a lot of money and heartache. Not understanding it also does not allow you to use the 396xt to its full potential. Giving it time to understand the logic behind the Programming and Options on the scanner is something a radio enthusiast will enjoy. For just the average Joe it will take a long, long time. I would suggest a basic scanner for the latter.
I agree. I do think this scanner is a bit much for a novice. There is where I should have done a bit more homework. I wanted one that I was sure would be able to scan everything I wanted.I knew this one would do it.I have developed a better understanding of it... and I am sure my knowledge will increase. But again..it would have been easier in the start without all the confusing info.
 

KE4ZNR

KE4ZNR@radioreference.com
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I would suggest a basic scanner for the latter.
The trouble is that a "basic scanner" would not be able to monitor communications in most major cities/counties these days...Reality is that Public Safety systems ARE complicated and if you want to be able to monitor Police/Fire/EMS you will have to do some homework and put some effort into the hobby. We have some excellent tips and tricks and links to some great resources online but advising someone to get a "basic scanner" instead of spending some time learning about the hobby is a mistake IMHO.
To the original poster: Our RR.com Wiki that is linked at the top of each page is an invaluable resource. I know the first couple of weeks of radio ownership can be frustrating but don't give up :)
Happy Monitoring
Marshall KE4ZNR
 

sjlamb

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Hogwash that the BCD396XT is too complicated for a new user. If you know how to use a computer; you will master the basics of the 396XT within a week or two if you work at it a bit.

If you have not already done so.... begin by downloading the FreeScan programming software and get comfortable with using it: http://scannow.org/

You will learn ten times as much by being able to SEE how your scanner's memory is organized than by reading about it for ten hours.
 

torontokris

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The original poster is a premium remember so he can use FREESCAN and import directly from Radio reference into freescan, then upload to the scanner and thats it.

Try one system at the start to get use to it.

I agree there is a bit of a learning curve for new users but as KE4ZNR mentioned it wouldnt have all the features it does if it was a "basic" scanner.

Even the analog trunking scanners now have most of the same functions, so youd have to go to something really basic to get away from trunking or multi-site programming etc (in which case you may not be able to listen to your local department)

Once you get a hold of it, the functions will become "basic".
 

325xia

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If you allow scanning software to "Set-up" your scanner, then it is easy to use the 396xt. But trying to manually Program this scanner is a bit overwhelming. I did mine manually, (as I only have Macintosh computers avail to me), and I am not a novice. I learned a lot through this method about Uniden and the Programming philosophy. I personally like it. But, I stand by my statement from earlier. Many people bought this scanner thinking it would be easy. It's not, if you are coming from a Radio Shack philosophy such as myself. Yeah, if you live in an area that uses P25 or all digital, you have to buy a Trunk Tracking scanner. No surprise here. You can still buy a nice RS, (that will receive everything the 396xt can without the learning curve), that is much less complicated to use/program in my opinion. I personally prefer the 396xt. But, once again... I'm not a novice! My 2 cents.
 
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cbrxx11

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Dec 22, 2009
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NovaScotia
Firstly I want to thank everyone for thier input. Regardless of the difference in opinions everyones opinion and input counts. I appreciate that.
As an update have used freescan and was able to program the scanner using a downloaded file. I also manually added some items into freescan and loaded those. It is definately a learning thing and I am learning. However I still stand by my fisrt thoughts that there is too much "GOOD" to know info as opposed to "NEED" to know. It was way overwhelming without any understanding at all.But I am gradually learning. However without this website....I am sure I would have been returning it for a refund.
Thanks again :)
 

325xia

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Sep 30, 2009
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I'm glad you were able to get your 396xt up and running. After using mine for 3 months or so, I really like it. It's by far the best scanner I have ever owned. And I have owned about a dozen of them over the years.
 
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