BCD996XT: getting new scanner i have 2 questions

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jturner0829

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I have a new uniden BCD996XT scanner on the way. I will be mounting this in my truck. I will only be programing it with my countys system which is 800mhz digital. I am a volunteer firefighter and need this thing to receive everything clear. I currently use a pro106 radio shack handheld and does not receive very well at all.
my questions are, 1)what is the best antenna to use with vehicle use? 2) what is the best software to use to program this scanner?
 

ofd8001

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Roof mounting an antenna is the best option. However if you'd rather not drill a hole, or you have clearance issues (such as going into a garage) you can consider a vehicle specific antenna bracket for your truck:

https://www.theantennafarm.com/cata...t-mounts-268/nmo-vehicle-specific-mounts-297/

You may also consider an amplified speaker for your scanner. Sometimes the audio output of a scanner is a little weak, especially if your state is like Kentucky and allows volunteer firefighters to operate redlights/siren on POVs when responding to emergencies.

There are three good programs for programming your scanner. Each have good and bad points, but all get the job done. Freescan is freeware. ARC XT and ProScan cost $, but are fairly reasonable. Unfortunately programming a vehicle mounted scanner can be a little cumbersome, even with a laptop computer.

Probably wouldn't hurt to double check legalities of having a mobile scanner in your vehicle. Each state is a little different. In Kentucky it is okay for firefighters to have them installed as long as they have written authorization from the fire chief and all they are listening to is fire frequencies. A good rapport with the cops is always helpful too, just to avoid having to defend a scanner, along with other obvious reasons.
 

jturner0829

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I went ahead a downloaded the full free trial version of proscan. wow I cant belive the difference between proscan and the software I used for my radio shack pro-106. the uniden has so much more setting and options to deal with. far more advanced than the pro-106. I still don't know the 106 very well even though I have had it for about 4 years or so. I may need help from yall once I get the scanner here and start programming it.

WVFC80,
does that antenna have a coax cable with it or is it separate?
 

ofd8001

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It appears from the Laird site that the mount (which includes coax) is ordered separately from the antennna. That is often the case (antennas and mounts being separate).
 

W7FDX

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Antenna

It is separate, and with 800mhz you want to invest in a decent brand of coax.
 

jturner0829

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There sure is a lot to this. I have no idea what I'm doing. Lol. Looking at that website I'm confused when it comes to the coax and mounts. Also looks like I will need an adapter for the coax to scanner BNC. Time for lots of research.
Thanks for the help y'all.
 

jturner0829

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UPDATE

it has been a couple weeks since I have done my install. here is a list of what I used for the antenna.
Antenna: Laird Tech #BB8065CR- 5db gain NMO style for 806-866MHz
mount and coax: Tram #1252-BNC,

this set up works but reception is not 100% I live about 7 miles from the system site antenna. my full time job is 53 miles from the site. I only have 1 county that I listen to which is my county in which I volunteer with. when going down the road or sitting in my yard listening it cuts in and out and is very unstable. as I get closer to the site reception is great. I noticed the other day when I got off work which again is 53 miles away the scanner was picking up great.
why would it be working great at 53 miles away but not 7 miles away. I don't understand that.
is there some settings I need to change on the scanner. again my scanner is a uniden bearcat BCD 996XT.
 

Jaxco

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I use the antenna below. It does not hit the trees, holds up better than a whip and doesn't rust or corrode.

Laird Tech TRAB8063

And I agree with FreeScan.
Nice simple-looking antenna. It says it can be used indoors, would you recommend it for that (since indoors is my preferred option)
 

jturner0829

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Nice simple-looking antenna. It says it can be used indoors, would you recommend it for that (since indoors is my preferred option)
I just pulled it up on the computer at the antenna farm and that's not the one I have. picture is not the same. the part number matches but im not sure why the picture aint showing the rught one. but back to your question. I did not try it indoors so I don't know how it would work. if I were to do a set up for inhome I would more than likely put up a small tower or mount a antenna on the roof of the house. that's just what I would do. someone else that knows more about it may chime in. you could also start a new thread for more direct answers to your question.
but I do like the antenna though.
 

ofd8001

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What system is this (county and state)? The name of your department would be helpful too.

I'm trying to determine whether this might be a simulcast digital system. If it is, some additional tweaking may be in order, which I'll mention if that's the case.
 

jturner0829

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What system is this (county and state)? The name of your department would be helpful too.

I'm trying to determine whether this might be a simulcast digital system. If it is, some additional tweaking may be in order, which I'll mention if that's the case.
I belive it is a simulcast digital system I think. but state is Georgia and county is heard. my county is part of a multi county system WARRS is the name of the system. Heard County Fire and Emergency services.
 

ofd8001

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It does appear to be a simulcast system. These can be a bear to monitor with a scanner.

You are probably experiencing multipath simulcast distortion. Depending upon where you are, your scanner is receiving two (or more) transmitters at the same time. For a variety of technical reasons, the signals may be out of sync with each other and your scanner is having trouble decoding them. (Sort of like two people talking at you at the same time and you have trouble making out what both are saying).

This usually manifests itself in either garbled audio or no audio even though the system is transmitting. As you noticed, when you get closer to a site, the problem diminishes. That's because the scanner is getting one good clean signal.

As odd as it may seem, the key is trying to get your scanner to receive more poorly. That's so it is only attempting to receive just one of the sites.

So the first thing to try, as noted above, is to program the sites so that the attenuator is on.

Additional things to try are changing the P25 Adjust Level and P25 Adjust Mode. These are "hidden" settings. To access these, to turn the scanner off. Then press and hold, the Hold button while powering the scanner back up. You'll see the display cycle through the colors.

Then go to the Menu>Settings>P25 Adjust Mode and Menu>Settings>P25 Adjust Level. Change the values of these.

Unfortunately this is a "trial and error" process. You need to come up with a combination that sounds the best to you. I can set my scanner at 13/175 and it decodes reasonably well. My son has a comparable scanner who uses something like 11/178.

Something you may suggest up the chain of command of your fire department is something our fire department did. We're in a similar situation - we're on a simulcast system and not all members can afford scanners. What we did was set up a Broadcastify feed. We've taken a system radio (which doesn't have the simulcast distortion issue because they use "pricier innards") and feed it into a computer for radio feed use.

Then those with smart phones can monitor the feed and stay informed about an incident. Unfortunately there is about a 30 second delay between transmissions and the time they get to the smart phone.
 

jturner0829

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wow. sounds like you know your stuff. thanks for the quick response and info. I will have to try this out. I have noticed that the scanner will stop on a talk group but there will be no audio just like you said above.
now how about the P25 low pass filter? should this be on or off?
 

jturner0829

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also as far as the Broadcastify feed, it has been brought up and they say they are working on getting us radios. have been told this for past year. but last I head a few months ago was they were trying to get us pagers. I just got tired of waiting and also missing all the fire calls. so I took my own measures the best I could do was a scanner.
 

ofd8001

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Just found that out the hard way by having similar experiences. . .

The Low Pass filter isn't a factor.

The newer x36 model scanners are a whole lot better at dealing with this issue than the x96XT series radio. Hopefully at some time in the future, Uniden can take what they learned with the newer models and revise the firmware of the older models thus improving the situation. If it's a hardware issue, that's another story.
 

jturner0829

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Just found that out the hard way by having similar experiences. . .

The Low Pass filter isn't a factor.

The newer x36 model scanners are a whole lot better at dealing with this issue than the x96XT series radio. Hopefully at some time in the future, Uniden can take what they learned with the newer models and revise the firmware of the older models thus improving the situation. If it's a hardware issue, that's another story.


that would be great if they could fix it with a update.
if I don't get anywhere with it in the next couple days would you be willing to take a look at my setting with the software and see if you see anything in there that may help?
 
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