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dropping signal within service area

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jeaves726

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Mar 2, 2008
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Location
Nashville, TN
Hi all. I’m hoping you can help me.

I've purchased the BCD396T and am really having problems with it. Overall, I love the Uniden in every way, but it hasn’t turned out to be very reliable. I've programmed everything according to the database on radioreference.com. So far (about 80% of the time) the audio is choppy and not understandable. When looking at the signal at the top of the display window, I notice that the signal is constantly moving (more than just a little). It will go from full signal to none, then back to full, then down to two bars, then back to none, back to full...you get the idea. This is not something that happens every two seconds, its faster. If this happens while traffic is being received, it will either scramble or just drop the connection (sounds quite a bit like a cell phone in a bad service area).

I also have a Pro 96 that is programmed with the exact same data. When I turn both on, the Pro 96 receives every word while the Uniden drops almost every word. I have noticed that if I go outside and hold the Uniden up as high as I can in the air, it will receive most every transmission. Not very realistic, especially while in the car.

Could the unit I have be defective? I’m trying to monitor Metro Nashville PD (mainly my wife is listening while I’m on duty). Is there anything to try or is the Uniden just not able to receive as well as the others? I’ve read several threads about decoding problems, but I don’t know that this is what I have. My signal to constantly drop out.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

N1BHH

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Mar 31, 2007
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1,843
Location
Jackson Square, East Weymouth, MA.
You don't have any problem with a defective radio. Signals vary on all radios, it depends on antennas, precise location, multipath and a myriad of other reasons. It's best to have a quality antenna. Now don't start asking for that answer, because you will get 200 different answers from 200 different people. Outside antennas are best. Keep it simple, don't go overboard and order $900 worth of antenna and accessories. Just keep it simple and put something outside and see what works. A mag mount on your air conditioner "looking" in the direction of your systems tower sites works wonders.
 

brutalpilot514

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Jan 1, 2008
Messages
122
Location
Oklahoma City, OK
I have to agree. outdoor antenna will do the best. at the very least a better rubber duck sounds in order but i don't know how that will help you. I've heard many people complain about this. Wish I could hear Nashville but i'm too far away and I don't have a digital scanner yet. I'd like to get on with them though when I get off active duty in a few years. Someone in my old reserve unit is with y'all and recommended trying to get on. But that'll have to wait a few years for now since i'm just getting on active duty. just a side question where do y'all go for the police academy? i'm just curious.
 

Dewey

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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
977
While you say that the dropping doesn't seem to be timed, "like every two seconds", you still may want to check your priorities. The 396 has three of them, Priority, Close Call, and Weather. Any of these three, if turned on, will cause a signal loss every two seconds. Again, I know you said it didn't seem like every two seconds, but it's still something to check since this is one that has caught a lot of people off guard.

Dewey
 

rfsparkz

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Dec 19, 2002
Messages
141
Location
Angus Ontario
Reception problems

Hello,
There is the possibility that there is some interaction between the scanners.As some one else noted it does make a big difference as to what kind of antenna you are using.An outdoor antenna will make all the difference.I have antennas mounted on a 30ft tower along with my ham antennas and can receive signals from Toronto which is 100KM/60 miles south of me.

73 Russ VE3ELL
 

jeaves726

Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
10
Location
Nashville, TN
Thanks to all of you for your replies.

I spoke with Uniden about it and was going to look into getting a better antenna. The tech support guy said to hold off. He claimed it was a digital decoding problem with the 396. He said it was a known issue and it was dropping because it couldn't continually read the control channel. Uniden (according to him) is planning on releasing a firmware update next week (around 3/13/08) to address this particular problem.

I guess I'll hold off until then and see what happens. If that doesn't solve it, I may actually return it. I kind of thought spending 500 would get me something that worked without modification. Right now I have a very expensive paper weight (literally, its on my desk at the house).
 

CAPTLPOL1

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Joined
Mar 19, 2003
Messages
248
A good quality antenna would still be your friend. Why buy filet mignon just to put ketchup on it?
 

bobmich52

Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
502
For My 396, I Set The Squelch At ZERO For The Freqs I Have, Made A World Of Diff, Don't Know If It would Help You
 

ve2vfd

Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
12
Location
Montreal, Canada
I got the exact same random recieve drop off problem with the Montreal FD multicast P25 system on my 396...

I tried everything to no avail (new high gain 868mhz antenna, tweaked P25 decode, squelch, and I know the CC, wether and prio are not the problem as they are all off).

I'm between 2 simucast towers so I got a feeling the 396 doesn't like P25 simulcast.

I really hope the firmware upgrade will fix that...

Pat
 

naSTI

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
90
An antenna is to a radio as tires are to a car. There is no *ONE* antenna that will work BEST on all bands, just like there's no *ONE* tire that will work BEST in all weather conditions.

That said, Uniden does have a problem they are working hard to fix. I guarantee not everyone that upgrades will be 100% satisfied their particular trunking or audio decoding issues were resolved, but at least they are trying to get it right (or close).

As all the OP said, an external antenna, whether on your home or your car, should make a world or difference while you are not in the need to be portable with the radio on your belt.

For rubber-duck antennas, do your homework, think long and hard about the frequency range you will do the most listening to, and get opinions from others on here for performance.

BTW, I use two (like many others on here) antenna the Diamond RH77 and Radio Shack 800Mhz rubber ducks and they work pretty darn good.

The absolute best overall antenna I use on my 396 is the Yaesu VX7R's Quad-Band antenna which works almost as good as either of these others, but does it for VHF-Lo/VHF-Hi/MilAir/UHF/UHF-T and does an okay job on the 800 Mhz band all things considered.
 
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