BCD436HP Quick and Easy Operation

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Chris45

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May 26, 2004
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I have read many inquiries and comments regarding the post release experiences of those having the BCD436HP and the BCD536HP. Many folks have become immensely, and rightfully, frustrated in the learning process of getting their scanners to perform. I share their frustration, After many hours of reading the available material and familiarizing myself with both the Sentinel software and BCD436HP as best possible, I had to just walk away from it all.

But there is a relatively quick and easy method to start enjoying your scanner.
1. You need to remember that the heart of operation is the SD card.
2. Get the latest version of Sentinel for your computer.
3. Update and write to scanner the latest entire database.
4. Enter Select Service Types you want to on the scanner, and save them.
5. Enter Set Scan Selection/Select Lists to Monitor and turn on Full database.
6. Enter Set Your Location and enter and save your zip code.
7. Set Range for 20 miles.

INTERMISSION - Now spent some time listening to the full Database. Scan your set area and range. This helps you to understand the scanner. While doing this practice with the hold keys for System, Department, and Channel. (Forget the System Tags and Quick Keys!) They are optional, and this means they are not required. You can command and control you scanning very well using the System, Department, and Channel keys only. Keep it simple.

8. Favorite Lists are refined aspects of the full database and Sentinel should be used. Use the Edit Favorites Icon to create your templates. Create and save your list names within Sentinel.
9. Once you have created and saved your Favorite Lists titles, open the database on Sentinel that is applicable for your scanning. This is a “drill down” process that will help you identify the Systems, Departments, and Channels for your Favorites Lists. It may require some practice.
10. Find your Systems, Departments, and Channels for your lists. For the lists I suggest removing, rather than avoiding, the departments you do not wish to hear. Remember that you can hear everything while scanning the full database. Remember to always save all changes you make. Use the gold star icon in the sentinel menu to append your scanning data to the appropriate Favorite List. Save it, then check to ensure all the information is saved within the Favorite List.
When you have programmed and saved your favorites lists, make sure that you turn them on using Set Scan Selection/Select Lists to Monitor. When you turn your scanner on it must boot-up like a computer, and you will see the database and Favorite List data loading on the screen It is possible to scan your favorites list with the main database turned off. It seems reasonable, that by reducing the data being scanned will provide more responsive scanning for your targeted systems.

Like the other folks on the Forum, I hope this is helpful.
 

JamesO

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Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
1,813
Location
McLean, VA
4. Enter Select Service Types you want to on the scanner, and save them.

8. Favorite Lists are refined aspects of the full database and Sentinel should be used. Use the Edit Favorites Icon to create your templates. Create and save your list names within Sentinel.
I find that the Service Type is what may get a new HomePatrol user in trouble most often. These are powerful filters that if not set right will exclude a lot of traffic. When in doubt, enable ALL Service Types, then once you get he hang of things, start narrowing down what you want to listen to.

Favorite Lists. There are 2 ways to generate a Favorite List, from scratch, which is fine, BUT, the Service Type will default to Custom 1, this is really crap and you MUST select the appropriate Service Type otherwise you will paint yourself into a corner and the scanner will display Nothing To Scan.

If you import the to the Favorite List from the Master Datebase this will bring the correct Service Type, however, this may also bring too much information if you are dealing with a Statewide system. You will have to edit and/or Lock Out a lot of Sites and Talk Groups for a Statewide system otherwise the scanner will miss a lot of traffic as it may be busy scanning Sites and Talk Groups that are outside of the area of reception.

Yes, these radios can be a bit frustrating to get used to, very different than non HP style radios. Steep learning curve.

Thanks for your comments and the Readers Digest version of using the radio.

Also keep these in mind as well

Sentinel X36HP Software Manual

Easier to Read BCD436/536 Digital Scanner Manual
 

HM1529

Pennsylvania DB Admin
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Messages
2,410
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West of the Atlantic Ocean
I have been using scanners and two way radios for 23 years. I find the 436HP to be the most baffling radio/scanner device I have ever had to program. Completely perplexing. I have to be honest, I have not owned a Uniden model since about 1992. Everything since then has been Radio Shack/GRE.

I thought the PSR-800 was a pain in the butt until I got the 436. I'm contemplating returning it I find it so frustrating. This is not fun.
 

bama9999

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Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
738
Location
Gulf Coast
I have been using scanners and two way radios for 23 years. I find the 436HP to be the most baffling radio/scanner device I have ever had to program. Completely perplexing. I have to be honest, I have not owned a Uniden model since about 1992. Everything since then has been Radio Shack/GRE.

I thought the PSR-800 was a pain in the butt until I got the 436. I'm contemplating returning it I find it so frustrating. This is not fun.
Give yourself a little time to get familiar with the Sentinel software, and I believe once you get used to it, you will find it easy to use and will absolutely love what this radio is capable of. I also had more experience using GRE made radios, and did find it a bit confusing at first, but it really doesn't take long to get a pretty good feel for it.
 

davenlr

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Jan 31, 2014
Messages
637
Location
North Little Rock, Ar
Waiting on my GPS to arrive, so I took my 436HP out on a 120 mile road trip today. I wrote down the zips of each county center I would be traveling through. Using a Wilson 800Mhz gain type roof mounted antenna, and I was off and running. The system loaded the full database, and proceeded as I would have expected. I quickly learned to disable FEDERAL in the service types if you dont want to have to avoid 5 or 6 NOAA weather broadcasts. There were a few others that locked up the scanner with some strange noises I needed to avoid.

Once this was done, everythng worked real well. Picked up my home county out to about 60 miles, and picked up traffic in the areas I was in real well as I travelled, switching zip codes as I passed into each county.

The radio/antenna combo worked exceptionally well, even on VHF (railroad traffic and some military), and UHF (older motorola systems) even though the antenna is a 800MHz cellular antenna. Before I turned off FEDERAL, I was picking up 5 separate NOAA weather broadcasts. Checking my CB radio with WX, I was getting only two, and one of those was almost unreadable. Its just using a loaded fiberglass whip tho.

All in all, once the GPS comes in, the longer power cable, and several other accessories to mount the unit in my work truck, this is going to be a great scanner for these trips.

Antenna: Amazon.com: Wilson Electronics Dual Band - 800-1900 MHz Magnet Mount Antenna with SMA Male Connector and 10-Foot RG174 Coax Cable: Cell Phones & Accessories

So far, this 436HP is working great, without any of the bugs of the 536HP, which was sent back to Uniden for repairs and hasnt been replaced yet. I plan on using that at home, if it ever gets returned, and keep the 436HP in the vehicle.

I would recommend the 436HP to anyone...not so much the 536HP at this point.
 

HM1529

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Give yourself a little time to get familiar with the Sentinel software, and I believe once you get used to it, you will find it easy to use and will absolutely love what this radio is capable of. I also had more experience using GRE made radios, and did find it a bit confusing at first, but it really doesn't take long to get a pretty good feel for it.
It must just be how my brain works, but this is not getting any easier.

So, I used the Sentinel software (which I find just horrid) to put together a couple of favorites lists. But, when I turn the scanner on, it still wants to scan the whole database. Even if I just scan that way (whole database), it appears as though I need to deactivate a ton of stuff every time I turn the thing on. I live NW of Philadelphia, PA. When I enter my local zip with a 5 mile radius, I end up with half the state of NJ as well as the Philly TRS. None of that stuff is actually receivable at my location. I also don't want to be scanning through every national level group in the DB, but again, it seems like this always comes back whenever I turn the scanner off and back on. For my home county, it seems like every time I turn the scanner on, I am getting the businesses and school district and other stuff I would prefer no to scan on the whole. I'm fine with my local school district, but I could care less what is going on in the others.

There is so much stuff in the scan rotation, that I am missing a ton of traffic. There is a big fire cooking in the county right now and my radio in the kitchen is receiveing a lot of fire traffic from it. On this Uniden scanner, I have heard nothing related to the fire because it is spending all its time floating through all the other junk that I can barely pick up from other counties.

I think I need a Uniden Optimzation Expert (TM).
 

davenlr

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benrussellpa;2149582 So said:
I actually found Sentinal to be fairly easy to figure out, except for a few special things I was trying to do and had to ask how to do it.

I have the ARC software too, and I cant figure out a thing on it...probably because I dont know how to use Excel. I paid for ARC, and havent been able to use it at all...Keep going back to Sentinal. Neither is just really intuitive for new users.
 

HM1529

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Messages
2,410
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West of the Atlantic Ocean
I actually found Sentinal to be fairly easy to figure out, except for a few special things I was trying to do and had to ask how to do it.

I have the ARC software too, and I cant figure out a thing on it...probably because I dont know how to use Excel. I paid for ARC, and havent been able to use it at all...Keep going back to Sentinal. Neither is just really intuitive for new users.
If I spend time making favorites list, can I scan only the favorites? All I can seem to do right now is scan both the "whole database" and the two favorites list I threw together so far.

I live in a very busy urban area so I have a lot of stuff that I normally toggle on and off. With the PSR-800, I was able to group things by police zones and fire zones for each of the counties near me. As needed, I could quickly toggle things on and off.

Also, can anybody explain to me why, if I hold on a channel and then start scrolling I end up in really weird places? For instance, after stopping on my local PD talkgroup (Norristown in Montgomery County, PA) to monitor a shooting, I turned the knob to the right and was suddenly in Kent County, DE. Turn left and I was in another distant area. When I stopped on one of the state level channels to "avoid" it because of interference, scrolling right or left took me to distant areas (i.e. Pocono Raceway which is hours north of me). I thought the zip code/radius entry was supposed to limit what you are looking at? Also, when scrolling through listings manually, why would I suddenly jump to another state (See Kent Co issue above). I cannot figure out how the information is organized in this thing.
 

davenlr

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Messages
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North Little Rock, Ar
Yes. Hit Menu -> Set Scan Selection -> Select Lists to Monitor -> Full Database -> Toggle OFF

Dont know about the hold. When I hold on a CHANNEL, turning the knob changes to the next/previous talk group. Now if you are HOLDING on a SYSTEM, I dont know what it would do. I really cant answer how it works for your second question, since I rarely hold on a channel and do anything except unhold it when the traffic is over.

If I spend time making favorites list, can I scan only the favorites? All I can seem to do right now is scan both the "whole database" and the two favorites list I threw together so far.

I live in a very busy urban area so I have a lot of stuff that I normally toggle on and off. With the PSR-800, I was able to group things by police zones and fire zones for each of the counties near me. As needed, I could quickly toggle things on and off.

Also, can anybody explain to me why, if I hold on a channel and then start scrolling I end up in really weird places? For instance, after stopping on my local PD talkgroup (Norristown in Montgomery County, PA) to monitor a shooting, I turned the knob to the right and was suddenly in Kent County, DE. Turn left and I was in another distant area. When I stopped on one of the state level channels to "avoid" it because of interference, scrolling right or left took me to distant areas (i.e. Pocono Raceway which is hours north of me). I thought the zip code/radius entry was supposed to limit what you are looking at? Also, when scrolling through listings manually, why would I suddenly jump to another state (See Kent Co issue above). I cannot figure out how the information is organized in this thing.
 

HM1529

Pennsylvania DB Admin
Database Admin
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
2,410
Location
West of the Atlantic Ocean
Yes. Hit Menu -> Set Scan Selection -> Select Lists to Monitor -> Full Database -> Toggle OFF

Dont know about the hold. When I hold on a CHANNEL, turning the knob changes to the next/previous talk group. Now if you are HOLDING on a SYSTEM, I dont know what it would do. I really cant answer how it works for your second question, since I rarely hold on a channel and do anything except unhold it when the traffic is over.
I hit hold on a particular PD talkgroup for my area and was trying to jump over to another PD talkgroup for the adjacent area since they were doing a traffic stop on a vehicle of interest related to the alleged shooting that happened on the first talkgroup. I figured that hitting hold would let me scroll to the other talkgroup but it did not work out that way.

Anybody have advice on limiting what you're scanning? I am still trying to figure out how to block out all the NJ stuff that I am scanning while still retaining the option of scanning it when I do drive over to NJ. I don't really want to have to manually "avoid" this stuff every time I turn the scanner on. If i reduce the distance on the zip radius, I lose stuff from an adjacent PA county that I can hear from home.
 

ofd8001

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Messages
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Louisville, KY
You might think about assigning your NJ stuff to a Favorites List of its own and perhaps the PA stuff to one (perhaps more) Favorites List of their own. When you hit NJ, turn that Favorites List on and the PA Favorites List(s) off, if you don't want to listen to PA.

Then when you return, shut the NJ Favorites List off and turn the PA Favorites List(s) back on.
 

whsbuss

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Joined
Jun 15, 2005
Messages
534
Location
SE Pa
I hit hold on a particular PD talkgroup for my area and was trying to jump over to another PD talkgroup for the adjacent area since they were doing a traffic stop on a vehicle of interest related to the alleged shooting that happened on the first talkgroup. I figured that hitting hold would let me scroll to the other talkgroup but it did not work out that way.

Anybody have advice on limiting what you're scanning? I am still trying to figure out how to block out all the NJ stuff that I am scanning while still retaining the option of scanning it when I do drive over to NJ. I don't really want to have to manually "avoid" this stuff every time I turn the scanner on. If i reduce the distance on the zip radius, I lose stuff from an adjacent PA county that I can hear from home.
PM sent.
 

HM1529

Pennsylvania DB Admin
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Messages
2,410
Location
West of the Atlantic Ocean
You might think about assigning your NJ stuff to a Favorites List of its own and perhaps the PA stuff to one (perhaps more) Favorites List of their own. When you hit NJ, turn that Favorites List on and the PA Favorites List(s) off, if you don't want to listen to PA.

Then when you return, shut the NJ Favorites List off and turn the PA Favorites List(s) back on.
The issue comes up when scanning the full database. I end up with stuff from NJ (out of monitoring range) but not the county to my south (some of it within monitoring range).

It appears to me that if I just turn the scanner on and scan the DB, I would have to temporarily avoid all the NJ stuff every time I turn the thing on so that it would later be available for scanning when I am in NJ (I do work over that way sometimes, so I am up and down the Delaware River on the NJ side).

At any rate, I have not touched the scanner today. I've opted to file my taxes first, so I may not touch the scanner until tomorrow...playing with it after taxes just seems wrong...I'll only hate it more.

The Sentinel software is unlike any other scanner software I have used, so it is even more mysterious than the scanner itself. From what I have done so far, it looks like I would have to go in and opt out of everything I did not want to hear when using the scan full DB option. I much prefer the opting in of the PSR-800, but maybe that's what the Favorites lists are going to be on the Uniden? Nevemind....tax time!
 

kd9ahx

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Joined
Jun 2, 2014
Messages
3
Here's how I did it this. Sentinel is a bit confusing because the left side of the screen scrolls down to the fav lists at the bottom.. so you have to scroll back to your selections. Think of the database as a hierarchical structure with Systems at the top and individual channels at the lowest level, and the departments in the middle. (Like a business org chart.) When you HOLD a System, Dept, or Channel, the scroll knob moves you to the next one of what you've "held" at the lowest level... so if you HOLD System, Dept, and Channel, the scroll will scroll the next channel. If you held the System, the scroll will move from system to system. Now, to a couple of things I've found, and how I set up my favorites. I have created favorite lists for each location I frequent, so for my home area, I have selected the federal and county and local municipality info ... click on the drop downs on the left in Sentinel, and the included stack in the hierarchy shows up to the right... you can select those that you want and press [ins] (or right click and select "add to favorites") ... you can then establish a new fav list or add to an existing one. When you're done with that, go to the top screen and select "edit favorites" and you will be able to assign a quick key to your favorites, AND, if you so chose, a CONFIG key as well. (If you have multiple favorites you want to load on a given start of the scanner, assign them to the same CONFIG key, then hold down that number button when you power up the scanner and it will load just those you've asked for.) You have to tell the scanner which of the favs to monitor, too... that can be done by editing your profile in Sentinel [Edit]{Profile}. Now, when the scanner comes up, you may have multiple favorites listed and you've assigned them a number (best to keep track so you can remember if you're as old as I am :) ) ... to disable a favorite, press that favorite's quick key number and press E (yes). Unlike what I found in the manual, pressing the number and [.No] doesn't work... but the number + E will toggle that favorites list on and off. I was also getting drop outs on my channels, and that was because I'd enabled weather alerts as an alternate priority, and the scanner would bounce to that to check.. .turning that off, solved the problem, and I can turn that on from the scanner if I decide I need it. I've only had this thing about a week, and am still learning, but I thought I'd share what worked for me...

KD9AHX
 

DSC45

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benrussellpa,

If I can suggest that you watch the You Tube Videos regarding the programing of Sentinel Software,
it would make it much simpler. Although, the past suggestions have been good, you must know the basics and familiarize yourself with pictures and detailed descriptions. When I started viewing them at first I was lost. I found that approaching these videos early in the morning when your fresh is a big help. Also without a lot of noise around the house.

I had to wait two months for my radio to arrive, back in March, I had a fundamental favorites list prepared, waitting for its arrival.

Once the radio arrived, a hook up to Sentinel, and a quick 'write to scanner' from computer. I was up and running 15 minutes after the radio was delivered.

I'm constantly learning about Sentinel and its capabilities.

Up to the point before I got involved with these radios, I was not computer savy, now its like old hat!

You'll grow to love these radios.
 

scma127

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Aug 13, 2005
Messages
280
Location
Fontana California
bcd436 quick easy ooperation

thank you for the easy operation I have a question I close the full data base and only have my favorite list
now I need to break it down more to curtain freqs I what to listen to how do I go about that I live in los angeles area I donot what to listen to all the cities in los angeles I need to loock them out how do igo about doing that in my favorites list plus you said forget those quick keys and how do I turn on my close call feature while scanning any input would be great
 

kd9ahx

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2014
Messages
3
If you built your favorites list using Sentinel, just go to those lists, bring up the one you want to edit (Edit Favorites List)... that will give you a list of the systems on the left... expand those, and select departments by clicking on them.. the individual channels will appear in the right screen. Those that you want to permanently "lock out" select "avoid" and rewrite to your scanner. I use quick keys to select my fav lists, but that's up to you. I haven't played around with Close Call yet... sorry.
 

scma127

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Joined
Aug 13, 2005
Messages
280
Location
Fontana California
BCD436HP quick and easy operation

thank you for your help with that I used me sentinel software it work out fine I was happy I turned off the master list and only kept my favorites but do I need I need to ad quick keys I will not scan all my sites in my favorites what did I do wrong help
 

Ensnared

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Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Messages
3,068
Location
Waco, Texas
Great Insight

I have read many inquiries and comments regarding the post release experiences of those having the BCD436HP and the BCD536HP. Many folks have become immensely, and rightfully, frustrated in the learning process of getting their scanners to perform. I share their frustration, After many hours of reading the available material and familiarizing myself with both the Sentinel software and BCD436HP as best possible, I had to just walk away from it all.

But there is a relatively quick and easy method to start enjoying your scanner.
1. You need to remember that the heart of operation is the SD card.
2. Get the latest version of Sentinel for your computer.
3. Update and write to scanner the latest entire database.
4. Enter Select Service Types you want to on the scanner, and save them.
5. Enter Set Scan Selection/Select Lists to Monitor and turn on Full database.
6. Enter Set Your Location and enter and save your zip code.
7. Set Range for 20 miles.

INTERMISSION - Now spent some time listening to the full Database. Scan your set area and range. This helps you to understand the scanner. While doing this practice with the hold keys for System, Department, and Channel. (Forget the System Tags and Quick Keys!) They are optional, and this means they are not required. You can command and control you scanning very well using the System, Department, and Channel keys only. Keep it simple.

8. Favorite Lists are refined aspects of the full database and Sentinel should be used. Use the Edit Favorites Icon to create your templates. Create and save your list names within Sentinel.
9. Once you have created and saved your Favorite Lists titles, open the database on Sentinel that is applicable for your scanning. This is a “drill down” process that will help you identify the Systems, Departments, and Channels for your Favorites Lists. It may require some practice.
10. Find your Systems, Departments, and Channels for your lists. For the lists I suggest removing, rather than avoiding, the departments you do not wish to hear. Remember that you can hear everything while scanning the full database. Remember to always save all changes you make. Use the gold star icon in the sentinel menu to append your scanning data to the appropriate Favorite List. Save it, then check to ensure all the information is saved within the Favorite List.
When you have programmed and saved your favorites lists, make sure that you turn them on using Set Scan Selection/Select Lists to Monitor. When you turn your scanner on it must boot-up like a computer, and you will see the database and Favorite List data loading on the screen It is possible to scan your favorites list with the main database turned off. It seems reasonable, that by reducing the data being scanned will provide more responsive scanning for your targeted systems.

Like the other folks on the Forum, I hope this is helpful.
Thanks for the summary of operations. This system of quick keys is driving me mad. Perhaps, in time, when I've had stem cells implanted into my brain, I can better understand this bizarre way of numbering channels. Yes, it is a paradigm shift from my PSR 500, but I am determined to learn this.

I am comforted knowing I don't have to use those quick keys and number tags.

Thanks again.
 

AC2OY

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Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Messages
2,365
Location
Belleville,New Jersey
I hear you Ensnyred I've had this radio for months now and I still struggle. I do better with the software but I wish I could figure out how to search or other options. I hit close call and I get commercial radio stations and if I do the full database I hear three states so that's not go either.
 
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