Creating Favorite lists?

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Zeus661

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Ordered an SDS100 that has not arrived yet. So I installed Sentinel on my computer. I updated the database and figured out how to name and create a Favorite. So far I created 5 Favorites which contain all the frequencies for separate counties I travel.

1. I noticed in one county a Power Company that services three states and had about different cities listed, some in other states. Does it make sense to remove the entries for the states that are out of my listening area? Some are several hundred miles away.

2. Am I correct that I will be able to upload the entire RR database to my SDS100 using the sentinel software? I then can enter my zip code and have the scanner scan frequencies that are listed in the area of my zip code? And I can set that distance in the profile of Sentinel?

3. Am I correct I can also create favorite lists and set the scanner to scan only a favorite list if I want?

Does anyone have any tips or tricks when it comes to setting up a Favorites list?
 

n1chu

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Yes to all three questions. There’s no sense in trying to listen to something you won’t hear (unless it’s a trunked system that simulcasts. The entire database will upload and you can then use a zip code to choose. (That database is updated on a weekly basis.) You can create many FL’s and listen to as many or as few as you care to.

You may run into a message “Nothing to scan” when you first load your own FL’s. If this happens check to see if you have selected the service types in the menu. It reads “Select Service Types” and there is a list of services (fire, police, federal, hospital, etc. that need to be turned on before the scanner will start to scan. I believe the default setting is off, so, turn on the ones you want.
 

hiegtx

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Ordered an SDS100 that has not arrived yet. So I installed Sentinel on my computer. I updated the database and figured out how to name and create a Favorite. So far I created 5 Favorites which contain all the frequencies for separate counties I travel.

1. I noticed in one county a Power Company that services three states and had about different cities listed, some in other states. Does it make sense to remove the entries for the states that are out of my listening area? Some are several hundred miles away.
When you append a system, in Sentinel, to a Favorites list, you can select the individual departments (agencies or cities) that you want. But even though you only selected what you want, Sentinel also appends every site for the system as a whole. You can remove the ones in other states, and also in parts of your own state that may be too far away to hear, or just not of interest to you. Just be sure that you don't delete a local site that carries the talkgroups you want to listen to. The more sites that are in a Favorites list, the longer it will take to scan through them. Even though the extra sites are out of range, the scanner will stop on them briefly & see if it can hear them.

2. Am I correct that I will be able to upload the entire RR database to my SDS100 using the sentinel software? I then can enter my zip code and have the scanner scan frequencies that are listed in the area of my zip code? And I can set that distance in the profile of Sentinel?
Any time you 'write to the scanner' using Sentinel, it will also write the database from Sentinel as well. That's the case even if you were mainly interested in adding an additional Favorites list, or have changed or added something on one of your existing lists.

You can use your location, and a range to limit what the scanner is trying to hear. To get a more complete explanation of how location works, see this:
How it Works: Location, Location, Location

3. Am I correct I can also create favorite lists and set the scanner to scan only a favorite list if I want?
Yep. The "Scan Selection" tab on your Profile in Sentinel is where you set which favorites lists to download to the scanner, and, of those, which ones are set to be monitored by default. For example, among other things, I have a Skywarn Favorites list, with the local Races net frequencies. That list is set to be downloaded to the scanner, but not monitored by default. However, if a line if severe storms is approaching, I can set that list to be monitored, in case the weather turns really ugly in my area.

Does anyone have any tips or tricks when it comes to setting up a Favorites list?
There are a ton of videos on creating lists, along with Wiki pages and the Easier to Read Manual site.

One thing to remember, is that if you plan to use Location Control to shape what you are scanning, be sure that your Favorite lists also include the location data for each department and site. If you create, or add to a list, by appending from the main database in Sentinel, the location and range data for the department and sites (for trunking systems) will be filled in. However, if you manually create a list (or add a system to an existing list) by entering the details instead of appending, be sure to fill in the latitude, longitude, and range information as well. Otherwise, if you leave those fields blank, the scanner, if using Location Control, will treat them as having a latitude and longitude of zero degrees for both. Since "0-0" is a location in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa, those systems and sites would be treated as out of range.

n1chu has already mentioned to be aware of service types. When the scanner is first shipped, and when Sentinel is first installed, only the Dispatch service types for Public Safety are enabled (Law Dispatch, Fore Dispatch, EMS Dispatch, and Multi-Dispatch). You need to be sure that the Tac and Talk service types for those are active as well, i.e. Law Talk, Fire Tac, EMS Tac, etc.
 

ofd8001

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1. If you set Location Control to ON for that Favorites List and enter your location, the scanner will turn off the "too far away" stuff.

2a. Sentinel will upload the Master Database (which comes from the RR database) as a matter of routine. You do not need to do anything for that to occur. (You should update the Master Database every now and then as a matter of general housekeeping at intervals you think is appropriate to your scanning preferences).

2b. Stated simply yes, the scanner will scan frequencies, etc. in the area of the entered zip code. The Range factor is a little more complicated and it took some time for that to sink in my head. Easiest advice is to experiment with different values and use what gives you best results. Larger values means the scanner is casting a wider net, trying to listen to more "stuff", which takes more time. You can check this page out for a greater explanation: How it Works: Location, Location, Location

3. See the late Upman's video on YoutTube:

Most likely you will never be completely satisfied with your Favorites Lists. I find myself continuously "improving" them. There are so many ways to skin this cat and they all work pretty good. Another thing for experimentation.

You can have as many Favorites Lists as you wish and are willing to keep sorted in your mind on how they work. You can scan just one or multiple Favorites Lists, however you wish.

A couple of "rules" I go by:
  • Don't scan Favorites Lists and the Full Database at the same time unless you are really bored or looking for something new.
  • Don't scan the same trunked system site in more than one Favorites List at the same time because it is inefficient.
  • Figure out a way of setting up Quick Keys for Favorites Lists and use them if you have more than one Favorites List.
  • Incorporate the Favorites List Quick Key number in the name of the Favorites List. (Same for System and Department Quick Keys)
  • It's okay to make mistakes in programming Favorites Lists, that helps you learn. You can't ruin a scanner with bad programming, just your day.
(Sorry Steve, we were writing at the same time)
 

n1chu

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Here’s a comprehensive listing of all the reasons for getting the “Nothing to Scan” warning on your display. You don’t have to bother with it now, but copy it and paste it in your notes to use as a reference when you do need it. I don’t know anyone who does their own programming that hasn't gotten the Nothing to Scan warning at least once. Or, if you do read it now you can use it as a learning tool...try to understand how these various reasons would cause the problem.


“Nothing to Scan" Checklist BCD436HP, BCD536HP, SDS100, SDS200
Scanner Checklist:

1. A location has to be set in 'Set Your Location' to monitor the Database.

2. You must enable at least one Favorites List or the Full Database in 'Set Scan Selection>Select Lists to Monitor'.

3. Favorites Lists or Systems with QK's assigned to them must be enabled with QK's or in 'Set Scan Selection>Manage Quick Key Status'.

4. Make sure 'ID Search' is On for the system if no IDs are programmed.

5. Service Types for the channels you want to monitor must be set to On.

6. Any FL with 'Use Location Control' set to On must have locations programmed for the Departments and/or Sites.



If you are programming everything in Sentinel first and sending it to the scanner:



Edit Profile>Scan Selection tab: Make sure 'Monitor' and 'Download' are On for FL's you want to scan.

Check or uncheck 'Monitor Full Database'.

Edit Profile>Service Types tab: Make sure the Service Types you want to monitor are checked.

Custom 1 is needed for miscellaneous channels.

Edit Profile>Location Settings tab: Make sure you have a location programmed for scanning the Full Database or FL's with 'Use Location Control' set to On.

Edit Profile>Quick Key Status tab: Make sure FLQK's are checked for FL's you want to monitor.

Edit Favorites List>System QK Status tab: Make sure SQK's are checked for systems you want to monitor.

Edit Favorites List>System>Options tab: Make sure 'ID Search' is On if no IDs are programmed.

Edit Favorites List>System>Dept/Site Quick Keys Status tab:Make sure Department/Site QK's are checked for departments/sites you want to monitor.

Edit Favorites List>System>Dept/Site>Location tab: Make sure Departments/Sites have locations programmed if 'Use Location Control' is set to On for the FL. 8/7/2018 Upman added “Do you have any sites programmed and enabled? If not, you have NOTHING TO SCAN.”
 
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