Help with programming BDC436HP

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cjhmdm

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I recently purchased and finally received my Uniden BCD436HP scanner and am attempting to set it up to monitor local police, fire and EMS frequencies.

One of the main areas I'm attempting to setup is Northeast Philadelphia PD.

Here's the same area on broadcastify, for reference: Philadelphia Police - Northeast Live Audio Feed

Looking at their "Feed notes", it states they are broadcasting with the Uniden BDC536HP scanner, which is effectively the same as mine for this particular topic.

What I am unable to figure out though is why I cannot pick up those same feeds on my own scanner.

I've tried the "simple setup" of entering my zip and allowing the scanner program select the database to use, as well as manually programming via the Sentinel software.

In the Sentinel software (up to date firmware and database), I went to the following:

USA > PA > Philadelphia > County Systems > Philadelphia (P25 Trunk) > Police Dept

I then added the following channels: "Far North-East Division (7th. and 8th. Districts)" and "North-East Division (2nd. and 15th. Districts)"

Adding these channels also added the following zone sites: "Broad St Subway Zone", "Zone 1" and "Zone 2".

As far as I can tell, these are all correct, and match the information listed on the broadcastify feed, which says: "Broadcasting the Northeast Philadelphia Police districts "2nd, 15th, 7th, 8th""

But, when setting my scanner to scan this favorites list, it never picks anything up, even though I'm pretty sure I have everything configured correctly.

Anyone have any ideas? I'd greatly appreciate your help.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
8,468
Location
Dallas, TX
I recently purchased and finally received my Uniden BCD436HP scanner and am attempting to set it up to monitor local police, fire and EMS frequencies.

One of the main areas I'm attempting to setup is Northeast Philadelphia PD.

Here's the same area on broadcastify, for reference: Philadelphia Police - Northeast Live Audio Feed

Looking at their "Feed notes", it states they are broadcasting with the Uniden BDC536HP scanner, which is effectively the same as mine for this particular topic.

What I am unable to figure out though is why I cannot pick up those same feeds on my own scanner.

I've tried the "simple setup" of entering my zip and allowing the scanner program select the database to use, as well as manually programming via the Sentinel software.

In the Sentinel software (up to date firmware and database), I went to the following:

USA > PA > Philadelphia > County Systems > Philadelphia (P25 Trunk) > Police Dept

I then added the following channels: "Far North-East Division (7th. and 8th. Districts)" and "North-East Division (2nd. and 15th. Districts)"

Adding these channels also added the following zone sites: "Broad St Subway Zone", "Zone 1" and "Zone 2".

As far as I can tell, these are all correct, and match the information listed on the broadcastify feed, which says: "Broadcasting the Northeast Philadelphia Police districts "2nd, 15th, 7th, 8th""

But, when setting my scanner to scan this favorites list, it never picks anything up, even though I'm pretty sure I have everything configured correctly.

Anyone have any ideas? I'd greatly appreciate your help.
Looking at your system in the database:

It appears that you are dealing with two simulcast zones'
86495

The third zone appears to be directed for use with the subway system.

Do you have each of the simulcast zones programmed? Does it appear that you are getting a good signal, but hearing little or nothing? If so, simulcast distortion may be rearing it's ugly head. Simulcast is a severe problem for most scanners, the exception being the SDS series scanners, and, while it's a pager, not a scanner, the Unication products are reported to work well. While the 436HP, and 536HP, are good scanners (I have those in addition to the two SDS models), they can have issues dealing with simulcast locations.

Simulcast is extremely location dependent. If you are in the "right spot", it may not affect you at all. If not, then your either going to miss some transmissions, or basically hear nothing at all. Sometimes,moving a scanner, such as your 436HP, a few feet in one direction or another may make the difference between hearing the system, or not hearing it at all. The person providing the feed might be lucky enough to be at a spot where it does not affect their reception.

Do you have both simulcast zones programmed with their frequencies? If so, try taking your 436Hp to a spot close to one of the actual sites. If you can get within a quarter mile, or less, of the site, and the scanner starts receiving normally, then simulcast is the culprit. If scanning from a fixed location, like at home, sometimes you may success using a directional antenna, aimed at one specific site. The stronger signal from that site, along with weaker ones from sites the antenna is not aimed it, may allow you to receive the system.
More on Simulcast can be found in the Wiki.
Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

If you'll post the Favorites list you are using, someone can take a look and see if something is missiong, or that needs to be changed.
Attaching an *.hpe file to a post

Use Sentinel to "read from scanner" if you have made changes on the scanner that were not also made in Sentinel. If nothing was changed only on the scanner, proceed to the next step.
Click on the drop-down File menu.
86497


Select export the resulting Favorites list(s) into an *.hpe file.

Sentinel will ask you to select the list to export, and then you can choose whether to export all of the systems, or select only the ones to include.

If you have more than one list, export each Favorites list separately.

Note: To upload an *.hpe file, to the Forums, you must change the file extension to one acceptable per forum requirements. To do that, note where your exported *.hpe file is saved on your PC.
Using Windows Explorer, find the file.
<Right><Click> on the file. From the pop-up menu that appears, click on "Send To"
Then, from the choices that appear, choose "Send to Compressed (zipped) folder".
folder.
86498

The zipped file can be attached to a post.

You might also want to have your thread moved to the Pennsylvania forum. To do that, do not create a new thread. Instead, click on the Report in the lower left corner of one of your posts, and request that a moderator move your thread to the state forum. Someone in the area would be more likely to see it there. They might also be able to suggest which Zone you should target.
 

tvengr

Active Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
3,763
Location
Baltimore County, MD
Zone 1 Simulcast is used for Fire and Municipal. Zone 2 Simulcast is used for Police. Set up 2 separate systems, one for Fire and one for Police, with Fire using the Zone 1 site and Police using the Zone 2 site.
 

cjhmdm

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
4
Looking at your system in the database:

It appears that you are dealing with two simulcast zones'
View attachment 86495

The third zone appears to be directed for use with the subway system.

Do you have each of the simulcast zones programmed? Does it appear that you are getting a good signal, but hearing little or nothing? If so, simulcast distortion may be rearing it's ugly head. Simulcast is a severe problem for most scanners, the exception being the SDS series scanners, and, while it's a pager, not a scanner, the Unication products are reported to work well. While the 436HP, and 536HP, are good scanners (I have those in addition to the two SDS models), they can have issues dealing with simulcast locations.

Simulcast is extremely location dependent. If you are in the "right spot", it may not affect you at all. If not, then your either going to miss some transmissions, or basically hear nothing at all. Sometimes,moving a scanner, such as your 436HP, a few feet in one direction or another may make the difference between hearing the system, or not hearing it at all. The person providing the feed might be lucky enough to be at a spot where it does not affect their reception.

Do you have both simulcast zones programmed with their frequencies? If so, try taking your 436Hp to a spot close to one of the actual sites. If you can get within a quarter mile, or less, of the site, and the scanner starts receiving normally, then simulcast is the culprit. If scanning from a fixed location, like at home, sometimes you may success using a directional antenna, aimed at one specific site. The stronger signal from that site, along with weaker ones from sites the antenna is not aimed it, may allow you to receive the system.
More on Simulcast can be found in the Wiki.
Simulcast digital distortion - The RadioReference Wiki

If you'll post the Favorites list you are using, someone can take a look and see if something is missiong, or that needs to be changed.
Attaching an *.hpe file to a post

Use Sentinel to "read from scanner" if you have made changes on the scanner that were not also made in Sentinel. If nothing was changed only on the scanner, proceed to the next step.
Click on the drop-down File menu.
View attachment 86497


Select export the resulting Favorites list(s) into an *.hpe file.

Sentinel will ask you to select the list to export, and then you can choose whether to export all of the systems, or select only the ones to include.

If you have more than one list, export each Favorites list separately.

Note: To upload an *.hpe file, to the Forums, you must change the file extension to one acceptable per forum requirements. To do that, note where your exported *.hpe file is saved on your PC.
Using Windows Explorer, find the file.
<Right><Click> on the file. From the pop-up menu that appears, click on "Send To"
Then, from the choices that appear, choose "Send to Compressed (zipped) folder".
folder.
View attachment 86498

The zipped file can be attached to a post.

You might also want to have your thread moved to the Pennsylvania forum. To do that, do not create a new thread. Instead, click on the Report in the lower left corner of one of your posts, and request that a moderator move your thread to the state forum. Someone in the area would be more likely to see it there. They might also be able to suggest which Zone you should target.
Thanks for the detailed reply. I'll definitely try out the things you suggest and see if they help.
Zone 1 Simulcast is used for Fire and Municipal. Zone 2 Simulcast is used for Police. Set up 2 separate systems, one for Fire and one for Police, with Fire using the Zone 1 site and Police using the Zone 2 site.
Thanks so much for this. I removed Zone 1 and the broad st zone and am now aable to pick some things up. I might need an antenna upgrade at this point, but at least it's a start.

Thanks to both of you for your help. I'm new to all of this, and studying for my ham technicians license as well, and am having a lot of fun learning new things.
 

hvytrucker

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2020
Messages
55
Location
Philadelphia, PA
First off let me state that I also live in South Philadelphia and I am about 10 miles from the Phila P25 towers located at
4105 Whitaker Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In my experience with the Phila p25 system is that if you use the software and are a RR premium member all you have to do is just import the systems into your radio and it does a very good job of downloading all of the pertinent info into your radio for you to be able to monitor it successfully.

Presently I am using a Uniden 436HP and everything is working smoothly and I am able to listen to Philadelphia's 800MHz system...

However a few months back after being away for a few years I have gotten back into scanning and I was using an old RS Pro-106 and it worked flawlessly picking up Philly's digital system. A few weeks later I picked up a used Uniden 396XT with a mini rubber duck antenna and although I programmed it using RR & ARCXT software it did a very poor job at picking up hardly any transmissions from Philly's p25 800MHz system...

I did a side by side conparison with both radios on the same talkgroup (South Phila, my District) and while listening the RC 106 out performed the 396XT like night and day. Out of 20 transmissions that the old RS Pro 106 recieved, the Uniden 396XT only picked up maybe 1 or 2 of the transmissions...

After doing some research I came to the conclusion that is was the aftermarket antenna that the previous owner installed. I actually found out later that the antenna was for VHF & UHF only and did a crappy job on 800MHZ and being onlt 1.5 inches didn't help either!!! If you mainly listen to Phila PD I would invest in a Remtronix 800MHz antenna for about $25 and it will make a world of difference!

I know I am long winded here but my advice would be first, make sure you have the correct antenna that is capable of recieving 800MHz signals and secondly make sure you are close enough to recieve the signal. How far are you from the tower location on 4105 Whitaker Ave (Whitaker & E. Luzerne Sts.) ???

NOTE!!! especially with the Home Patrol units with your 436HP is one of you have to create favorite lists and then you have to make sure that you enable those fav lists that you wish to listen to... Otherwise nothing will be scanned and it will be silent.
 
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cjhmdm

Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
4
First off let me state that I also live in South Philadelphia and I am about 10 miles from the Phila P25 towers located at
4105 Whitaker Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In my experience with the Phila p25 system is that if you use the software and are a RR premium member all you have to do is just import the systems into your radio and it does a very good job of downloading all of the pertinent info into your radio for you to be able to monitor it successfully.

Presently I am using a Uniden 436HP and everything is working smoothly and I am able to listen to Philadelphia's 800MHz system...

However a few months back after being away for a few years I have gotten back into scanning and I was using an old RS Pro-106 and it worked flawlessly picking up Philly's digital system. A few weeks later I picked up a used Uniden 396XT with a mini rubber duck antenna and although I programmed it using RR & ARCXT software it did a very poor job at picking up hardly any transmissions from Philly's p25 800MHz system...

I did a side by side conparison with both radios on the same talkgroup (South Phila, my District) and while listening the RC 106 out performed the 396XT like night and day. Out of 20 transmissions that the old RS Pro 106 recieved, the Uniden 396XT only picked up maybe 1 or 2 of the transmissions...

After doing some research I came to the conclusion that is was the aftermarket antenna that the previous owner installed. I actually found out later that the antenna was for VHF & UHF only and did a crappy job on 800MHZ and being onlt 1.5 inches didn't help either!!! If you mainly listen to Phila PD I would invest in a Remtronix 800MHz antenna for about $25 and it will make a world of difference!

I know I am long winded here but my advice would be first, make sure you have the correct antenna that is capable of recieving 800MHz signals and secondly make sure you are close enough to recieve the signal. How far are you from the tower location on 4105 Whitaker Ave (Whitaker & E. Luzerne Sts.) ???

NOTE!!! especially with the Home Patrol units with your 436HP is one of you have to create favorite lists and then you have to make sure that you enable those fav lists that you wish to listen to... Otherwise nothing will be scanned and it will be silent.
Thanks for the detailed response.

I'm wondering if my issue is the antenna after all. I bought the scanner from bearcat warehouse and also purchased an antenna upgrade for it, specifically, REMtronix REM-810S, which says it's optimized for 700~900MHz UHF Band. I wonder if an 800MHz specific antenna will help, I'll definitely check out the one you suggested and see how it compares.

I also have a Whistler WMM-860 desktop antenna that I purchased together with a different scanner that I ended up returning because I didn't pay attention to the fact it wasn't p25 Phase 2 compatible. I'm thinking about mounting this antenna outside and see if it helps.

As for distance, I'm 15 miles (straight line) from the tower you're talking about.

I do have an RR premium subscription. Which software are you referring to? It seems that I'm not having much luck with the Sentinel software, but then again, I'm still brand new to all of this, so its probably user error. Even when I go with the "easy setup" and input my zip code, all I get is NJ State Police.

Would it be possible for you to link a config file that you're using so I can compare to what I have and potentially see where I'm going wrong?

Thanks again for your detailed reply.
 

hiegtx

Mentor
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
8,468
Location
Dallas, TX
Thanks for the detailed response.

I'm wondering if my issue is the antenna after all. I bought the scanner from bearcat warehouse and also purchased an antenna upgrade for it, specifically, REMtronix REM-810S, which says it's optimized for 700~900MHz UHF Band. I wonder if an 800MHz specific antenna will help, I'll definitely check out the one you suggested and see how it compares.

I also have a Whistler WMM-860 desktop antenna that I purchased together with a different scanner that I ended up returning because I didn't pay attention to the fact it wasn't p25 Phase 2 compatible. I'm thinking about mounting this antenna outside and see if it helps.

As for distance, I'm 15 miles (straight line) from the tower you're talking about.

I do have an RR premium subscription. Which software are you referring to? It seems that I'm not having much luck with the Sentinel software, but then again, I'm still brand new to all of this, so its probably user error. Even when I go with the "easy setup" and input my zip code, all I get is NJ State Police.
The Remtronix antenna you already have is likely your best choice. Most so-called "800MHz antennas" that you see work well across the same frequency bands as your Remtronix.

There are two software packages that cover your 436HP, and allow you to import what you select. These are ProScan & ARC-536.

Some people prefer the ARC software programs, as they are used to them. I prefer ProScan because it has more features than the ARC software, and also supports a number of other Uniden scanners, not just the x36HP & SDS series scanners that can use ARC536. However, both programs offer a 30 day free trial, so you can try one, or both, and see which you like better, before you purchase either of them. Once purchased, both have free updates. You still need to keep Sentinel, as it is required to maintain the RR database used by the scanner.
 

Ubbe

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
5,713
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Turn the squelch down to 0 and then push the channel button on the scanner to stop scanning and enter one of the red frequencies that where given to you by hiegtx and then push the channel button again and listen to the signal. It should be a breif datasignal and then the scanner mutes the noise if it's a good enough signal.

Try the other red frequencies and if none of them mutes the audio the sites might be using an alternate frequency, the blue ones. So enter them as well and test.

The test will show if you have a signal to work with, it will mute the noise, or you'll need a much better antenna, perhaps an outdoor one.

You don't need a subscription to RR, it's only neccesary if you have a different scanner than a HP1-2/BCD436/536/SD100/200, as Uniden supplies you with the RR database from their own server. There's not much difference using ProScan or ARC than Sentinel. They all have a learning curve and will take some time to first understand how the actual scanner works and what info are needed to feed it with, then it will be clear to you and you can then use any software with ease.

/Ubbe
 

cjhmdm

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks for the replies and info @everyone. Using the ProScan software, I was able to get things working. I was also able to compare the config structure from ProScan vs Sentinel and was able to get everything working with both programs.
 
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