Easier to use scanner?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Machria

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Long Island, NY
Soooooo, this has been a long time now (year and a half). I just pulled the 396xt off the shelf, blew the dust off and remembered how REDICULOUS the interface on it is. I can't find anything on it. Had to fire up the "Freescan" software just to see what freqs are where, and now I know where they are, I have no idea how to get to them because of the useless interface on the thing.

So has somebody, ANYBODY made a new scanner that you have an EASY to use interface? You know, where you can simply press, MENU, SEARCH, type in a few letters "FIRE" and actually bring up a list of channels tagged with "FIRE" in them?
 

N7VME

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
7
Location
Oregon
Many of the newer digital scanners have the ability to import automatically from the radio reference library. I don't know about the Unidens, but the Whistlers let you set your location and then you can choose a pre-built playlist that has the fire dispatches for your area.

If you want to break them out, it's slightly more complicated and is easier done on the computer but still very doable. It's much easier than trying to program frequencies one at a time.
 

jonwienke

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
9,284
Location
PA
The Uniden 436 and 536 import the RadioReference database, and everything is tagged with a service type (police, fire, EMS, military, etc. To get started, you enter a ZIP code or GPS coordinates to tell the scanner where you are, then select the service types you want to hear.

You can then use the computer to create favorite lists that contain exactly what you want to hear.
 

br0adband

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
1,569
Location
Springfield MO
Easier to Read BCD396XT Digital Scanner Manual

Complicated? Sure, but humans can learn new things - we are remarkably adaptable creatures, you know. ;)

As for something new, that was the idea behind the scanners from GRE and now Whistler like the older Pro-107 (Radio Shack branded GRE scanner) and others that don't even have a keypad but then again a lot of people couldn't even figure those out so, who knows.

There's a basic principle towards the understanding of scanners and once you grasp that it's fairly easy to figure 'em out.
 

kbod9633

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
Messages
555
Location
Charlotte Tn
Depending if you need nxdn or not if so the unidens are just a paperweight


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Machria

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Long Island, NY
I am NOT talking about programming the scanner. My scanner is programmed for about 5,000 freq's, that is NOT the problem. I did some by hand, the rest by Radio Ref. last year/2 years ago. I understand that is complicated, the frequencies and systems are complicated themselves. I get that and have no issues there. Actually, with the online imports, they did a great job! It's EASY to do. BUT..... using it is another story.

The problem is, NOW HOW THE HELL do you get to anything?? Sure, your have "Quick keys", but that is absolutely NONSENSE. In 1987 I had a cell phone with 50 memories in it to store phone numbers. You accessed them using "quick keys". Press 01 and SEND and my phone dialed my parents house. Press 02 and send and it dialed my buddy office. .... Now fast forward to TWO THOUSAND AND SEVENTEEN (2017), that is THIRTY YEARS later, and your telling me I now have 10,000+ memory locations, and still have to use number keys to try and get to them??? REALLY???? For the last 20 years or so, I can dial my phone by using the persons NAME. Why the hell can't I simply type "Bobs Fire Dept" to bring up and start listening to the freq for Bobs Fire dept?? No, instead I have to press and hold the HOLD key, then press the DOT key, then enter a 2 digit number), then press a MENU key on the side of the unit, then turn a scroll knob on the top of the unit to try and find what I'm looking for. REDICULOUS!

Nothing short of ABSOLUTELY REDICULOUS! The industry should be embarrassed by this non-sense. Somebody PLEASE make a modern scanner with ERGONOMIC software that can be utilized by a normal human being. I BEG OF YOU!
 

troymail

Silent Key
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
9,977
Location
Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
Interestingly, the GRE PSR-500 had the ability to do a FIND on a channel/talkgroup label/alpha tag.... but as far as I know the PSR-500/600 may have been the only radio (that I know of) that offered that. I liked that feature but didn't use it as much as it might seem.

Perhaps it's a suggestion that can get some attention.... old is new again.

Maybe even better - a FIND option that displays a list of matches the user can then scroll to and SElect to monitor.... hmmmmm..

These days, I tend to put talkgroups I know I want quick access to into additional scanlists (i.e. my county fire talkgroups are in a scanlist, police in another - but my district police is also assigned to it's own scanlist). Of course, you still have to remember scanlists numbers but that's probably the easiest thing there is in today's scanners.
 

wbswetnam

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Messages
1,590
Location
DMR-istan
The old days of scanning (think 1980s) when all you needed to do was know the frequency of a particular service, then enter that frequency into a channel, are basically long gone. Today's radio communications are far more sophisticated, so police scanners have had to become more advanced along with the technological changes. There's no possible way for a scanner manufacturer to make a radio that "makes sense" to everyone, since what is logical to me may not be logical to you. That said, I agree with muskrat39 that the Home Patrol is probably the easiest and most user-friendly on the market.
 

Machria

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Long Island, NY
These days, I tend to put talkgroups I know I want quick access to into additional scanlists (i.e. my county fire talkgroups are in a scanlist, police in another - but my district police is also assigned to it's own scanlist). Of course, you still have to remember scanlists numbers but that's probably the easiest thing there is in today's scanners.
This is what I used to do on my 200XLT when 90% of the freq's were conventional. So you simply put what you used most of the time in a bank or two, and you could easily access and scroll thru a bank of conv freqs to what you wanted. BUT, I live on Long Island, there are 100's of Fire depts., 20 or so different police depts., 100's of towns and villages, 100s of ..... you get the picture, ALL within 20 to 50 miles of me. So I need LOTS of freqs and systems, and trying to remember where are they are via quick keys or something like that is impossible. If I were to just scan them all, or even a small portion of them, my scanner would never get thru the scan, it would stop one after another.... they are ALL busy, all the time. So I often listen to just one town, or village, or FD dept when something is going on. BUT, because the scanners today are TERRIBLE, it is absolutely impossible to find these town or PD or FD freq's in the middle of 1000's of others without having to fire up my computer, finding where they are stored, and then reading my notes of how to bring them up (with two hands of course, 17 keystrokes, a scroll knob and five function key presses plus holding another key while standing on my head and turning in a circle 3 times). I mean really???? Are they kidding us?

There is ABSOLUTELY no reason, we should not be able to hit Menu, Search, and type in a few letters and get a list of all tags starting with those letters... OR, even containing those letters...

We should have:
Menu
Search Keyword (this one finds all tags with this text in it)
Search Text (this one finds all tags starting with this text, alphabetical)
Search Service then Text (this one you select a Service type (Fire, Police..) and then enter text to search within that service)
Search for a Freq (this one would simply search for the freq you enter: "46" brings up all starting with 46)
Search for a Talkgroup #
Search for a Tone

DONE! You could now find ANYTHING in your scanner in seconds, and you would not give a hoot about where it is, why it is, how it is, or need to remember anything. Just click the menu button, select the search you want, and type in the starting text or #'s you want to search for. A list comes up, and you select from the list the item you wanted. DONE.

Is that so blank_ING hard??? REALLY???? Uniden should be embarrassed. I am absolutely amazed.

SOMEBODY PLEASE DESIGN A REAL SCANNER!!!!!!
 
Last edited:

troymail

Silent Key
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
9,977
Location
Supply (Lockwood Inlet area), NC
Yup - it's interesting how features come and go but in most cases, I'm sure the feature set(s) are based on user demand... I can only assume the assumption is that there isn't high demand for this feature... but we can help move it up on the list!
 

Machria

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Long Island, NY
The old days of scanning (think 1980s) when all you needed to do was know the frequency of a particular service, then enter that frequency into a channel, are basically long gone. Today's radio communications are far more sophisticated, so police scanners have had to become more advanced along with the technological changes. There's no possible way for a scanner manufacturer to make a radio that "makes sense" to everyone, since what is logical to me may not be logical to you. That said, I agree with muskrat39 that the Home Patrol is probably the easiest and most user-friendly on the market.
Again to be clear, I do not think they need to dumb down the scanner, or programming of the scanner. As I mentioned earlier, the systems and freq's are complicated, there is nothing they can do to make that easier, I get that. And, in fact I think they have done a GREAT job with the programming side of it. It takes 5 minutes to download Freescan or similar, connect to Radioreference and download your area's systems and frequencies. And then you can spend a coupled of days customizing it to your liking, changing tags, setting priorities...

But the problem is, THEN what? How the hell do you use it? It's almost impossible unless you are only interested in a few freq's. On Long Island (or any other metro area), that is not possible.

So they spent all their time getting the programming interface for people nice and easy, and they spent NO TIME on the other side of it, usability/ergonomics of using the dang thing.
 

Machria

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Long Island, NY
Think of an IPhone type interface to use it. Click a button, and it does what it says, pretty simple. The memory on an iPhone is Dynamic, and we know nothing about that and don't care. We simple click SEARCH, type in "Mike" and press enter. You then get a list of all contacts, emails, texts.... that have "Mike" in them. Select one, and you can call them, text them, email them, or just edit Mikes contact.

Why can't we do that on the BCD396xt?? I should be able to hit SEARCH, then type "Smithtown" and find ALL tags with the name "Smithtown" in them. I can then select the one I want, lets say "Smithtown Fire Dept" and then either edit it, delete it, or Listen to it.

So simple, so intuitive, yet not a single dang scanner has that feature????
 

TDR-94

Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
417
That type of interface would make the production costs of a scanner more expensive than your iphone.Your iphone has such features because it's a essentially a handheld computer running much more complex software and it's tied into a powerful data network.

Apple also sells iphones by the millions which significantly reduces the cost.Scanner companies don't have that economy of scale and they certainly would not be getting government subsidies to offset the cost for consumers the way it has been for cellphones and the associated cellular networks.
 

Machria

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Long Island, NY
That type of interface would make the production costs of a scanner more expensive than your iphone.Your iphone has such features because it's a essentially a handheld computer running much more complex software and it's tied into a powerful data network.

Apple also sells iphones by the millions which significantly reduces the cost.Scanner companies don't have that economy of scale and they certainly would not be getting government subsidies to offset the cost for consumers the way it has been for cellphones and the associated cellular networks.
GIVE THAT A REST!! PLEASE! That is an argument from 1992.

I have a programmable remote control in my house made by URC. It controls my TV, DVD, Directv DVR, amplifier, CD player, Ipod, security cameras, Lights, door locks, air cleaner, ceiling fans, thermostat, garage, ceiling fans....... I paid $300 for it. It has a processor just as powerful as the iPhone processor.. It has interface software to program it via the computer with a serial usb connection for interface. It has a touchscreen display, customizable software that is ergonomic, EASY TO USE, simple search functions to find things (since I have 1000's of things programmed into it). URC is making a fortune on it. They get no subsidies, they don't sell million of these, and it costs them just as much if not more to engineer it, and keep the db up to date since 1000's of new devices come out daily which need to be added to it's abilities.

Now, do you wish to tell me again that Uniden, one of the largest electronics companies in the WORLD, doesn't have the resources required to do something similar with a scanner? Really? Give me a break.


And you know what, what did I pay for my BDC396xt, $600 or something?? For $600 I can buy one of the highest end LAPTOPS, with WIFI, Cellular service, a 2 Terabyte solid state hard disk, 12 gig of ram, and INTEL CORE 7 4th generation processor, a 15" LCD high Def display, USB interfaces, Network interfact, sound system, sound interface inputs and outputs, latest version of Microsft Windows, Virus software, Home Office........ hmmmmmmm, but Uniden can't figure out two to add a simple SEARCH menu item? REALLY?
 
Last edited:

jonwienke

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
9,284
Location
PA
Adding a search function would be a firmware update, not a hardware cost. The scanner already does searching on a regular basis to enable and disable things based on Location Control and Service types. Adding a menu option to search based on user input is not that big of a deal.
 

mule1075

Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
Messages
3,789
Location
Washington Pennsylvania
GIVE THAT A REST!! PLEASE! That is an argument from 1992.

I have a programmable remote control in my house made by URC. It controls my TV, DVD, Directv DVR, amplifier, CD player, Ipod, security cameras, Lights, door locks, air cleaner, ceiling fans, thermostat, garage, ceiling fans....... I paid $300 for it. It has a processor just as powerful as the iPhone processor.. It has interface software to program it via the computer with a serial usb connection for interface. It has a touchscreen display, customizable software that is ergonomic, EASY TO USE, simple search functions to find things (since I have 1000's of things programmed into it). URC is making a fortune on it. They get no subsidies, they don't sell million of these, and it costs them just as much if not more to engineer it, and keep the db up to date since 1000's of new devices come out daily which need to be added to it's abilities.

Now, do you wish to tell me again that Uniden, one of the largest electronics companies in the WORLD, doesn't have the resources required to do something similar with a scanner? Really? Give me a break.


And you know what, what did I pay for my BDC396xt, $600 or something?? For $600 I can buy one of the highest end LAPTOPS, with WIFI, Cellular service, a 2 Terabyte solid state hard disk, 12 gig of ram, and INTEL CORE 7 4th generation processor, a 15" LCD high Def display, USB interfaces, Network interfact, sound system, sound interface inputs and outputs, latest version of Microsft Windows, Virus software, Home Office........ hmmmmmmm, but Uniden can't figure out two to add a simple SEARCH menu item? REALLY?
If you paid 600 dollars for a 396xt new you got robbed.
 

robertmac

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,151
And here I thought my 396 was much easier to use than my iPhone. Just make favourites and away I go. iPhone I have to enter all my contacts by hand. A pain. And it doesn't scan my contacts.
 

marcotor

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
718
Location
Sunny SoCal
Perhaps with your vast knowledge of Human Interface Devices, software, hardware, programing, and obvious engineering and R&D expertise, you should design such a scanner.
 

sparklehorse

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 15, 2003
Messages
1,134
Location
Portland, Oregon
It takes 5 minutes to download Freescan or similar, connect to Radioreference and download your area's systems and frequencies. And then you can spend a coupled of days customizing it to your liking, changing tags, setting priorities...

But the problem is, THEN what? How the hell do you use it? It's almost impossible unless you are only interested in a few freq's. On Long Island (or any other metro area), that is not possible.
It's all in how you program your radio. Create your System Quick Keys by county. You'll have, what, maybe four or five counties within ear shot? Each county is then divided into different groups, one group for each city or town. You know Smithtown is in Suffolk County, and Suffolk County is Quick Key 5. Enable only that and you'll pretty quickly figure out which group is Smithtown. Or you could just go into the menu on the radio to find which group it is. You're making this sound much harder than it is, or harder than it needs to be.

.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top