First steps?

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Phigment

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I was good this year so rumor has it that Santa will be bringing me a BCT15X for Christmas. This is my first scanner so I have been reading this site and the Uniden manual in anticipation. Can anyone tell me what some of the first things I should do (or not do) once I have it up and running? I plan to learn to program/operate it manually to start, using the database for the local fire and police frequencies (I live in Old Bridge). I figure the hands on experience is the best way to start.

I appreciate any recommendations and suggestions.
 

ka3jjz

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I was good this year so rumor has it that Santa will be bringing me a BCT15X for Christmas. This is my first scanner so I have been reading this site and the Uniden manual in anticipation. Can anyone tell me what some of the first things I should do (or not do) once I have it up and running? I plan to learn to program/operate it manually to start, using the database for the local fire and police frequencies (I live in Old Bridge). I figure the hands on experience is the best way to start.

I appreciate any recommendations and suggestions.
I'm totally in envy - wish I had some extra money right now...

Anyway, get something nice to drink, get comfortable in your chair, because you have a good deal of reading to do. From here on out, anything in blue is a link.

BCT15X - The RadioReference Wiki

This is our wiki article on the 15X. Find the link on the DMA FAQ and start here. While it doesn't cover the XT articles specifically, what you want to get out of this is concepts and functions - not keystrokes. At the bottom of the FAQ are the links to the 'Easier to Read' manuals. While they don't cover the XT models, it does cover the BCT15 (older model) - again, go for concepts and functions only.

Middlesex County, New Jersey (NJ) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

This is our database entry for Middlesex county. Become familiar with it. There will be a test on Tuesday :D (Sri, that's the old teacher in me coming out).

Since you have some trunked systems in the area, here is the trunking wiki - just concentrate on the links found in the Overview section for now...

Trunked Radio Systems - The RadioReference Wiki

At the bottom of the database page are the trunked systems in your area. Edison and Middlesex counties both have gotchas to watch for - Edison has some P25 talkgroups (which the 15X cannot handle), and Middlesex County has some ProVoice talkgroups (which no scanner can handle).

Middlesex County (NJ) - The RadioReference Wiki

This is our collaboration wiki page on Middlesex, which has Fire Tone Out information (you will learn about this as you read).

Scanner Antennas - The RadioReference Wiki

The scanner is only half the battle - you need an antenna as well. It's usually best to get it nice and high outside, but with 6 inches of snow on the ground (and on the roof), it's not safe right now. The attic is your best bet. Look at discones, ScanTenna models and others that are pretty broad banded.

Bookmark these pages, as you will come back to them time and again.

And although you want to do the programming by hand, you will (eventually) want to use software for the virtual control and other things. Again, just for now, bookmark the following links - you will find them helpful later...

ScanNow.org - The Home of FreeSCAN!

FreeScan User Guide - The RadioReference Wiki

Connecting scanners via USB - The RadioReference Wiki

That should keep you busy until New Years, at least HI. If you have questions, yell

73 Mike
 

pdfdems286

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another pointer. if you've never programmed a dma scanner before PATIENCE is the key !. you'll get frustrated at time's and want to rip your hair out of your head. <assuming you're not bald>.
refer to the manual and/or ask here for help.
 

W2SJW

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I'm going to put in a dig for myself here, and suggest you do what ka3jjz said & grab FreeScan.

Then download my memory file from here. I have almost 80% of the state covered in there, along with 98% of the trunk systems. You can see how I structured the conventional frequencies & how I set up Old Bridge's TRS.

Some people who do not travel as much as I do set their conventional system entries up for just a single county (I have multiple counties per conventional system). You have a max of 20 groups within a single system, so that works well if your county has less that 20 towns! :lol:

Don't hesitate to reach out when you need help - that's what we're here for! :wink:
 

Phigment

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up and running

So I got the scanner up and running (somewhat) and although it's fun I am also a bit overwhelmed. I am reading the FAQ and manual while at the same time programming and scanning. I started by entering in the Old Bridge systems I want to listen to but have no idea if they were entered correctly since I have yet to hear chatter on any of them. I also have it scanning whatever is preloaded in the scanner for NJ. I hear a few hits and a lot of static at other times. I hit the L/O button when it gets annoying.

A few initial questions:
What am I listening to when the screen reads "New Jersey MOT ID:58704?"
How do I get it to stop scanning "Custom 1?"
Is it normal to just hit a frequency of static and stay there indefinitely? What should I do in that case?
Scanner theory: Do I load in everything I ever what to listen to and let it constantly scan or is there some other, more efficient, approach?

This weekend I will take W2SJW's suggestion and d/l his data and get my scanner hooked up to the computer.

Thank you all for your assistance, patience and advice as I figure this all out.

Regards,
Scott
 
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