Getting Frustrated With New Scanner

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cdawg030

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I haven’t used a scanner for about 10 years, back when Gwinnett County was on analog. Last week, I decided to get back into it and purchased a Uniden BCD436HP. I upgraded DMR on it. I programmed about 10 favorites, mainly pd, fire and emc in my area. Some turned out to be encrypted but some are not. I have had my scanner on all day for a few days now and I have yet to hear any traffic, other than 1 fire dispatch in Greene County. I do have a favorite at a local airport and I do periodically hear traffic there.

I work in Gwinnett County and live in Waton County. I’m monitoring GSP locally, Walton County Fire Dispatch, the rest of the Oconee system (OARS), DeKalb County, Newton, Rockdale and Briscoe Field airport.

I have the app on my phone and hear traffic on Walton County Fire Dispatch but not on the scanner, even when I solely monitor Walton County Fire on 154.3400. Is there anything extra I have to program after I set something as a favorite if it is simulcast?

Another thing to note is that I set up my favorites from the scanner prior to installing the software on my pc. Should I have loaded it from the pc instead of doing it from the scanner? I have the latest update of both firmware and software.

Also, if I turn off all of my favorites and just listen to the full database, with all service types on, I only hear traffic at airports.

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
 

theDISpatch

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I would try loading the 'full database' from the PC, then set it for your zip code on the zip services function of the scanner, if that works better, and after you are more familiar with the way the system works, then create a 'favorite list' for your area --from the pc on the sentinel program. Sometimes it is possible to miss a setting somewhere that the database may have correct. I am not from your area so I don't know what is encrypted there.
 

cdawg030

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Just to update, I deleted all of my favorites from the scanner and went into the software and added them through there. I also added a few more. I’ll try this for a few days and see how it works, but i still am not hearing any traffic from the scanner when my app is broadcasting traffic.
 

cdawg030

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Just to update, I deleted all of my favorites from the scanner and went into the software and added them through there. I also added a few more. I’ll try this for a few days and see how it works, but i still am not hearing any traffic from the scanner when my app is broadcasting traffic.
Some good news... Some of the new favorites I added to my list are for local schools, buses and public works. Those all have plenty of traffic on them, and if nothing else works, at least I know my scanner works and I have something to listen to other than AM. For the past hour, my scanner has had almost constant traffic on it by just monitoring a few favorites.

I just don't understand how I can listen to something on an app and can't hear anything on my scanner, assuming my scanner can decode it. I will say that one time I noticed that my scanner stopped on a transmission from the same department at the same time my app was broadcasting traffic, but my scanner only made a static noise. This tells me either my scanner cannot decode it or I need to change a setting so that voice is heard.
 

picscan

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I don't know what the problem is with yours but I was trying to listen on my phone app while listening to my scanner and the same was happening, turns out there was a 37-42 second delay if you listen on the app and sometimes a minute whereas the scanner is live so that may be why they aren't matching up. Try leaving it on one channel and listen to what they say and you might hear it first on the scanner then a bit later hear it on the app.
 

cdawg030

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GA
I don't know what the problem is with yours but I was trying to listen on my phone app while listening to my scanner and the same was happening, turns out there was a 37-42 second delay if you listen on the app and sometimes a minute whereas the scanner is live so that may be why they aren't matching up. Try leaving it on one channel and listen to what they say and you might hear it first on the scanner then a bit later hear it on the app.
I assumed there was a delay on the app, but even if I just monitor what I think is the same frequencies as what is on the app, I hear nothing all day. It's weird, even after I changed and made my favorites from the software.
 

theDISpatch

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Colorado
Have you checked the 'Select Service Types' list on your scanner, maybe it is set to avoid some of the "service types" on your channels. Other than the simulcast have you tried listening directly from the Trunked system, maybe the 'simulcast' channel is not on all the time? System with walton county fire on https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=7222
 

cdawg030

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GA
I just learned that if I click on Listen Live from Radio Reference, there are a lot of notes below the player. What I think is on my app is noted on RR to be other municipalities included with Walton. I assume that is why I'm hearing traffic on the app and nothing on the scanner.
 

UPMan

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According to RRDB, all users on the Gwinnett county digital system (PD/FD) are encrypted. You can't monitor them with any scanner.
 

IcomIcR20

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Central, NC
Walton county has moved to this system P25 system (https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=7222) and is full time encrypted on most talkgroups. That is why you aren't hearing much.

As UPman said, Gwinett county is also full encryption.

However, Walton does simulcast FD on 154.430 in the clear for some odd reason. It is strange that you aren't hearing it while the app does hear them, unless you are too far away to hear it or are in a building that blocks out VHF signals... I know that happens to me in hotels for instance unless the tower is very close by. What antenna are you using? And how far are you from the transmitter?


EDIT: I just saw this in the feed's description: *** VHF simulcast appears to have ended on 10/1/2018. ***. My guess is that on the feed, you are hearing the other channels being scanned.
 
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cdawg030

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GA
Thanks UPman and IcomIcR20. Gwinnett was the only thing I used to listen to. This is 10+ years ago, but when they went digital and then encrypted, I didn't listen to anything anymore. I was just hoping that something in Walton was still not encrypted. Guess not, except the schools and utilities.

I assume the traffic I'm hearing on the app is not who I think it is per the name of the feed. Apparently, the Walton Fire Dispatch on the app is a couple of different departments but is named Walton, even though Walton is encrypted and not on the feed any longer.
 

nunyax

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Jun 5, 2008
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Walton County, GA
The Walton County Fire Dispatch talkgroup 35109 (which is simulcast to 154.340) is encrypted on the P25 system so if your scanner mutes or ignores encrypted talkgroups you won't hear the digital transmission.

The VHF simulcast was down for several days last October. Only paging tones were sometimes heard (no voice traffic) but the simulcast was eventually restored but apparently the feed notes weren't updated. The other fire dispatch you're hearing on the feed is for Newton County (154.205).
 

N8IAA

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Fortunately, GA
According to RRDB, all users on the Gwinnett county digital system (PD/FD) are encrypted. You can't monitor them with any scanner.

What a news flash. Been that way since Oct., 2008. Believe he was asking about Walton. Which is pretty much the same as Gwinnett.
 

Bob1955

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Dec 20, 2016
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498
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Eastchester, NY
I haven’t used a scanner for about 10 years, back when Gwinnett County was on analog. Last week, I decided to get back into it and purchased a Uniden BCD436HP. I upgraded DMR on it. I programmed about 10 favorites, mainly pd, fire and emc in my area. Some turned out to be encrypted but some are not. I have had my scanner on all day for a few days now and I have yet to hear any traffic, other than 1 fire dispatch in Greene County. I do have a favorite at a local airport and I do periodically hear traffic there.

I work in Gwinnett County and live in Waton County. I’m monitoring GSP locally, Walton County Fire Dispatch, the rest of the Oconee system (OARS), DeKalb County, Newton, Rockdale and Briscoe Field airport.

I have the app on my phone and hear traffic on Walton County Fire Dispatch but not on the scanner, even when I solely monitor Walton County Fire on 154.3400. Is there anything extra I have to program after I set something as a favorite if it is simulcast?

Another thing to note is that I set up my favorites from the scanner prior to installing the software on my pc. Should I have loaded it from the pc instead of doing it from the scanner? I have the latest update of both firmware and software.

Also, if I turn off all of my favorites and just listen to the full database, with all service types on, I only hear traffic at airports.

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
My buddy Paul(not from Uniden) just got this handheld last month, all though I do NOT like the VHF/UHF sensitivity on it and poor audio quality except on digital, he paid $45 from Bearcat Warehouse in MD to have it set up with everything from Westchester County, NY for 10801 with frequencies and CTCSS/DCS. This is why I STAY with the Bearcat BC-125AT as it is MUCH better on VHF Low Band, High Band and UHF and(Don't need digital) use the ONLY best antenna which is the Diamond RH77CA. On your scanner, you would buy the same but with a SMA type thread.
PS: Paul O. from Uniden America is their product developer and he's a real nice well informed guy and knows his products well as he designs them. He stated that your county is encrypted. Re-read his response to you. My only suggestion is besides returning this to the place you bought it is to do a zip code set up so you'll be able to hear other areas that are NOT encrypted. Hope this helps you out.
 
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nunyax

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Feed Provider
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Jun 5, 2008
Messages
371
Location
Walton County, GA
I have the app on my phone and hear traffic on Walton County Fire Dispatch but not on the scanner, even when I solely monitor Walton County Fire on 154.3400. Is there anything extra I have to program after I set something as a favorite if it is simulcast?
I forgot to mention before but make sure your 154.340 for Walton Fire it is set for carrier squelch and is not set for a PL/DPL. The RR database shows 173.8 but anytime I've let my scanners search in the past I've never detected a PL or DPL.
 

cdawg030

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Feb 5, 2019
Messages
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Location
GA
I wanted to thank you all for your replies and follow up on my experience with my new scanner. I am no longer frustrated with it and have enjoyed learning how to program it using the Sentinel software, learning it’s capabilities, as well as working on my setup. I ended up deleting all of my favorites that I programmed using the scanner and I taught myself how to use the software to do it. It is actually quite simple once you get the hang of it, and using the software is a lot easier to use than the scanner to program favorites and edit the settings on each of them. I've been able to use the software to program systems near me that I never would have known existed and I listen to them all day at work, a couple of which are not encrypted police systems.

I looked around the forums at different antenna reviews and I ended up purchasing a Diamond SRH77CA antenna. I read both good and bad reviews about it, but so far, it seems to work great for what I listen to. I purchased cell phone holders for my vehicles that work great with my scanner, one for my truck and one for my company car. I also got a Uniden BC-GPSK Serial GPS Receiver. When in a vehicle, I am running the audio through the stereo speakers instead of listening on the scanner. I also use a USB plug to power the scanner so that I don’t have to run it off battery power. My antenna is long and it touches the windshield, but it doesn't seem to be an issue. One day, I may get an external antenna for the exterior, but this seems to work just fine for now.

I travel all over the states of Georgia and South Carolina for work. I am in the middle of a 2-day trip in South Carolina right now and this has been a great trial run for using the GPS with my scanner. This morning, I left my house just outside of metro Atlanta and drove up I-85 to Chester, Rock Hill, Florence, and Columbia, SC. I drove on both interstates as well as back roads. The entire way, I used the GPS and my range set at 0 miles. I used service types for police, fire, ems, multi and security. I was skeptical at first about how well it would perform as I drove from county to county, but it did great. As I left one area, it quit scanning those systems and started scanning others as I got in range of them.

One great thing about South Carolina is that hardly anything is encrypted. I heard police, fire and ems my entire trip. There were few moments thatI went longer than 30 seconds without hearing traffic over the scanner. It was crystal clear, and I rarely couldn’t make out what they were saying. The few times I couldn't, the other person couldn't either and they told them to repeat what they said.

A lot of South Carolina uses the Palmetto 800 system, but some municipalities have their own systems. When it scanned the Palmetto 800 system, the GPS maked it so that it only scanned the departments that I was in. I enjoyed being able to hold on a channel or system with just the press of a button, and then go back to right back to scanning when the conversation was over. As I was first getting used to using the GPS, I would hold on some of the GA counties as I was headed up I-85 at 6am this morning. I soon realized that I didn’t have to hold on them as they were all that it was scanning anyways because of my location.

When I finally got to my hotel, I unplugged the GPS, and it held on scanning it's last known location, which is where I was. In my hotel room, I added the business service type and started to hear all types of conversations from businesses around me. Most were kids chatting on the radios about nothing at closing time, but I don’t listen so much for what they are saying. It’s more about the fact that I spent a lot of time programming and working on a setup and getting to hear it in action that excites me.

Again, thanks for your replies in this thread. I honestly think the reasons I was having so much trouble was: 1. My county was completely encrypted and I didn't realize it. 2. The app I was using was playing multiple systems in the area and I thought it was just my county because of the feed's name. And 3. I really think my new antenna is picking up a lot more than the stock antenna. My office is in the middle of our building and my cell phone hardly gets reception in it, but with this new antenna, I seem to be able to listen to much more than I did before.

Attached is a picture of my setup in my company car, a Ford C-Max Hybrid.

Happy Scanning!
 

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TailGator911

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Glad to hear you figured out your 436 and now enjoying it! When I decided to get back into the scanning game the 436 is what I bought and I got so frustrated with it that I sent it back. Too much going on to concentrate on it. About a year later I got mad at myself at not keeping the scanner and learning it, so I got back into it and purchased 3 digital scanners at the same time - 536, 1065, and a TRX-1. What a learning curve! Long story short, I learned the scanners inside and out and now own both SDS models and I am loving the scanning hobby once again. Congrats to you for your perseverance!

JD
kf4anc
 
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